Jay Harris

Jay Harris

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Google Search finds quality of newsy content algorithmically
  • Search results to omit fake news through improved ranking signals
  • India marks 2x growth in daily active search users on Google

Google Search already receive some artificial intelligence (AI) tweaks to enhance user experience. But with the swift growth of inferior-quality content, Google is now in the process of improving the quality of its search results. VP of Engineering Shashidhar Thakur on the sidelines of Google for India 2017 on Tuesday stated that Google is making continuous efforts to cut down on the amount of fake news content listed on its search engine.

"Whether it's in India or internationally, we make sure that we uphold a high bar when it comes to the quality of newsy content. Generally, in search, we find this type of content algorithmically," Thakur told Gadgets 360. The algorithms deployed behind Google Search look for the authoritativeness of the content and its quality to rank them appropriately. Thakur said that this continuous improvement will uplift the quality of the search results over time.

"We improve ranking signals on our search engine from time to time to overcome the issue of fake news. Signals help the system understand a query or the language of the query or the text or matching different keywords to provide relevant results," explained Thakur.

Similar to other search engines that use code-based bots to crawl different webpages, Google Search indexes hundreds of billions of webpages consistently. Once indexed, Google Search adds webpages to different entries that include all the words available on those pages. This data is then processed to the Knowledge Graph that not just looks for any particular keywords but also picks user interests to give relevant results.

Related...

"Inferior-quality content on the Web isn't a new and special problem," Thakur said. "But certainly, it is a problem that we need to solve by continuous tuning and making the underlying search algorithms better. This is indeed a very crucial area of focus for us."

Google isn't the only Web company that is taking the menace of fake news seriously. Facebook and Microsoft's Bing are also testing new developments to curb fake news. A recent report by Gartner predicted that fake news will grow multifold by 2022 and people in mature economies will consume more amount of false information over the information that is true and fair.

Having said that, Google is dominating the Web space and its search engine is the most prominent area for counterfeit content. Thakur at the Google for India stage revealed the number of daily active search users in India has grown two times in the last one year. The Mountain View, California-headquartered company also released Google Go as the lightweight version of the flagship Google app on Android devices.

 

Source: This article was published gadgets.ndtv.com By Jagmeet Singh

 

Scientists at McGill University have published a new theory stating that not all of the Earth's crust was formed from the inside out, but some of it fell from the atmosphere. (Shutterstock)

Scientists at Montreal's McGill University have added to the common theory about how the Earth's crust was created.

Don Baker and Kassandra Sofonio looked into a theory that not all of the Earth's crust was formed from the inside out, but that some of the crust fell to Earth from the atmosphere, Baker told CBC News in an interview.

He described it as "raining marbles," or silicate rain, formed by the high temperatures on the Earth's surface.

"These dissolved minerals rose to the upper atmosphere and cooled off, and then these silicate materials that were dissolved at the surface would start to separate out and fall back to Earth," Baker said.

This process helped create some of the earliest rock specimens known today.

Baker and Sofonio tested their theory in a lab using a mixture of  silicate earth materials and water, put under extreme temperatures and high pressure, the results are published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

Silicate rain graphic

A depiction of the process researchers believe helped form the Earth's crust. (Don Baker and Kassandra Sofonio/Earth and Planetary Science Letters)

The discovery could help other researchers trying to find signs of life on other planets, Baker said, explaining silicate rain is believed to have been observed on some exoplanets.

"Because the Earth was made this way, and we're looking for Earth-like planets, we may want to look for other planets that have evidence of this sort of mechanism occurring," he said. "It's another bit of evidence to look for."

Source: This article was published cbc.ca By Nicole Riva

Saturday, 03 June 2017 15:01

New Trends In Traffic Generation

Worried about the next Google slap? Do you only rely on Search Engine traffic? Don’t know where to start when you need to drive traffic to your site? If yes, this article is for YOU! Whatever you do on the net, you will always deal with Traffic Generation…the holly grail.

To make it short, you have 2 main types of traffic :

1) Search Engine traffic

What is it? : organic traffic coming from search engines such as Google, Yahoo, MSN

Pros :

– This traffic is free 
– Traffic is highly targeted 
– Volume of traffic can be very high

Cons :

– you don’t control it 
– you rely on robots to analyze your site and deliver some traffic 
– you need to get indexed…without being de-indexed (once again, you rely on search engines policy and algorithms) 
– short term

2) Referred Traffic (I know Search engine traffic is also a sort of referred traffic, but let’s put SE traffic apart from this category)

What is it? Traffic coming from third party sites (other than search engines) and is a result of a “manual / human” action.

Examples : article directories, social bookmarking services, forums, partners, text link ads, banners, directories, rss…

Pro :

– you control it 
– you have a lot of means to develop it (almost unlimited ; a lot are free) 
– it’s highly targeted 
– You can pay to get better targeting and control over your referred traffic 
– Long term

Cons :

– Time & resources consuming 
– Repetitive tasks

Now, through my membership, my forum, my readings of other forums, I know that most webmasters mainly rely on search engines traffic, our first category.

The aim of the present article is to throw the light on a different angle of the Traffic Generation big box!

Summary : the right way to get into traffic generation is to forget about search engines.

Focusing on search engine traffic gives a too narrow vision of traffic generation. It does not reveal all the opportunities existing outside of the search engines (understand all the way to generate Referred Traffic).

In addition, as you’ve seen from the cons above, you accept to rely on something you never control, and this is a HUGE risk in your marketing strategy.

Warning : I do not say, you should not care about search engine traffic. I say that it should not be your priority, and the first door you try to open when dealing with traffic generation. It’s a question of point of view.

Now, on the other hand, focusing on developing what we called Referred Traffic is a more positive, constructive and profitable attitude and marketing strategy.

Not only will you build traffic for the long term, but you will also “manually” control your traffic, either by submitting your content, your sites, your feeds, or by exchanging links, content, traffic with partners, being active on forums, blogs…

Doing it this way will give you a lot of power and effectiveness. Those sources of Referred Traffic only vanish…if you decide to let them vanish. Once again, you control everything.

Now, you have some positive side effects :

– By building Referred Traffic, you give a lot of food to search engines to index your site, understand them, and rank them well…

– …thus developing naturally your Search Engine Traffic!

Try to develop Referred Traffic by submitting your sitemap to Google, and you will understand the difference between the 2 approaches.

Google and other search engines tend to change their algorithms quite often to produce more relevant content for users of their engines. Sometimes, your site is getting de-indexed in a day just because of this.

Are you lost, is your site dead? It could if you only relied on Search Engine traffic. It has no impact if you focused on building Referred Traffic.

In one case, you feel bad and like if you had wasted your time. In the other case, you don’t even notice it (on the long run ; of course, you can see a fall in traffic coming from a given search engine)

But even then, your site has a lot of chances of being re-indexed when you’ve build Referred Traffic, simply because the search engines food is still there! And this is a HUGE difference and one of the most valuable asset you can develop.

If you’re still with me, you should now understand my point : when dealing with bots, you need to act as a human…which means you should not try to talk to them Give them some “bot food” that you build naturally by developing a Referred Traffic Generation Strategy.

Here are 10 easy “pieces” to do what we described above :

Once you have a site…

1) Find some related blogs, read them, identify trends, and post comments (no stupid comments, no spam of course) with a link back to your site where you’re also discussing the topic

2) Do the same with related forums. Use search engines (!) to find relevant forums. Register and start being active on these forums. Use your signature to put a link back to your site

3) Create a blog (if you don’t have one) and post on a regular basis on it. Use a service like feedburner to syndicate your content with other webmasters.

4) Submit your feeds, blogs, and site to niche directories

5) Find “authority” sites in your niche, analyze them and contact the webmasters to :

a) propose a link exchange (you should first put a link to their site), 
b) if you’re selling a report or an ebook, propose them to become an affiliate (give them a fre.e copy of your ebook first), and make it easy for them to manage their promotion 
c) if they have a newsletter, read it, understand it, and then ask the webmaster if you can have a sponsored ad into it, or even better a solo ad where you could advertise your site, newsletter, ebook… 
d) propose content exchange with link back to each other’s website 
e) build a relation with them

6) The most effective : write articles and submit them to article directories (some with big traffic, and some niche related ones)

7) Social bookmarking and social networking :

a) build a Squidoo lens (see Squidoo Profits for more details: http://www.squidoo-profits.com). You can find many sites like Squidoo and build pages about your niche on these ones too. You can link them to your main niche sites, you can link back to your blogs, or even to your other “squidoo” like pages, thus creating a “niche social net” all relevant to your niche. 
b) build a myspace account and create a profile around your niche, then build your “list” of friends around this profile 
c) submit your site to social bookmarking services (digg, technorati, del.icio.us …) 
d) You can also comment on the most popular entries with a link back to your site, blog, or squidoo lens.

8) Use videos and sites like youtube.com (and similar) to drive traffic to your niche site. Produce a short video (2-3 minutes) around your site, your niche and you. Link to your Videos from your “niche social net” (see 7) ) Also, ask webmasters to put a link to this video (once you have build a relation with them) – Or they can upload it to their server and brand it with their affiliate ID, if you have an affiliate program

9) Make it viral : your best source of (new) traffic…is your (current) traffic!

Use some “Tell a friend” features on your site to have them promote your site. You can provide incentives (such as a free report, a coupon for your ebook…)

10) Paid Traffic : yes…all the above techniques do not cost a penny…(unless you pay for advertising on a partner’s site)

You can pay to get targeted traffic : you can advertise through text link ads, banners, that will appear on high traffic sites.

You should seriously consider paid traffic. Do not see it as a cost, but rather as an initial investment to boost your site. Also, if your site is correctly monetized, then paid traffic is the easiest way to get some quick metrics about this, and to make it profitable quickly.

As you see we could easily expand this list. But, those are, in my opinion, the most important sources of Referred Traffic.

Now, compare the above list with Search Engine traffic, and you will see why your approach should focus on generating Referred Traffic and not Search Engine Traffic. This type of traffic will come naturally anyway…

JP Schoeffel is a full time Internet Marketer specialized in Site monetization and Traffic generation. He operates a monthly membership (http://www.Niches-In-A-Box.com) where he provides a complete business to his members, month after month, as well as comprehensive training center.

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Source: This article was published goodherald.com By Ayat Ahadi

The e-commerce businesses today realize the importance of exploring Customer Behavior. They know how pivotal it can be to increase sales. Research has it that around 96% Americans have made at least one online purchase in their lives. Out of these, 80% bought in the previous month alone. After all, it is more about enhancing your site visits and business than anything else. Similarly, checkout page discount codes is a handy way to get your customer back to buying more. A study reveals that up to 54% customers are willing to buy more products if there is a discount. Naturally, lower price translates into more sales. Here’s what you can do to offer discount codes on checkout page:

Does Consumer Psychology Work?

The famous Marketing Experiment by Dr. Flint McGlaughlin is at work here, which suggests that consumers think of the first price as an average. For instance, seeing a “15 – 30% off” scheme will make them believe that most items are 15% while others are 30% off. Trevor Banes – marketer at CouponBend endorses the research and states that you see a perception at play in the marketing experiment that still works. The consumer psychology comes into play every time you offer them an attractive discount on the checkout page. Furthering his point, he claims that promoting discount coupons on the checkout page is like hitting the nail on the head. It creates doubt in customer’s mind whether or not to buy the offer. Despite not being a scientist, a marketer knows how the art of psychology for selling works. In other words, by creating a sense of scarcity or urgency, marketers can lure you into buying immediately. The same analogy is at work on the checkout discount offers. They see the consumer reaching the checkout page and offer a discount to sweeten the deal, leaving the customer in two minds and eventually buying the offer. Helpful tips and checklist pages like party planning checklist are best place to offer discount codes to customers.

1. Incentivize Your Checkout Page

study reveals that up to 60% customers leave their shopping carts as is and never return. There are several reasons for abandoning carts, but that’s how customers tend to browse e-commerce sites. Call it the e-commerce version of window shopping where customers will compare prices, check gift options and save merchandise to buy later. The simple reason for this behavior is the absence of a discount code. Another study suggests that around 27% customers would abandon their carts only to look for a discount code. To avoid this, you should incentivize your checkout page with a current discount code that works. Keep updating your checkout page discount codes so that customers don’t abandon their carts without in disappointment. Another way to lure customers into buying discount codes on the checkout page is to re-direct them to your discount voucher page, something similar to this. This trick will reduce chances of losing customer midway and help them stay on your page longer.

2. Promote A Sale When The Deal Ends

Sometimes, e-commerce sites come up with a unique idea to promote a discount code on the checkout page. For instance, promoting your sale just before the scheme is about to end sounds great. After all, customers will hastily try to buy the offer, and you’ll end up with decent sales. Another way of putting it is that it triggers customer’s buying desire. Here is a great example 7 of how you should promote the discount offer on your checkout page. Since the deal is about to end, you’ll likely see a lot of traffic on your checkout page so make sure it stays in order and doesn’t crash due to heavy traffic.

3. Using Scarcity to Create Buying Urgency

This one is interesting and can bring results almost instantly. Ideally, your site should keep it on the checkout page as that’s where it works. The human psychology operates in a way that it can urge customers to buy something that might run out of store shelves soon. A Study shows that adding a discount coupon will only further sweeten the deal. Tell them that the stock will only last by the end of the month and create a sense of urgency. Here is a success story that helped the store garner enough sales by creating a scarcity of a particular product.

4. Offer A “Difficult To Find” Product In Limited Stocks

The beauty of understanding buyer’s psychology is that you are always exploring new ideas on how to sell your stock quickly. As such, the idea of selling product that’s hard to find and is in limited sounds attractive. Though not new, and has been successfully used by several e-commerce stores, the offer is all too attractive for customers to ignore. Moreover, it would make sense to release “limited versions” of your quality products from time to time. For instance, this e-commerce store is a great success story as it follows a similar psychology trick to sell its products in significant numbers.

5. Offer Limited Time Free Shipping

Free shipping is among those e-commerce promotion mantras that always work. After all, who would say no to merchandise that comes without transportation costs? Keep in mind that free shipping best works when offered for a limited period. The idea is to create a sense of urgency among customers for buying the discount code. Off course, without a limited duration, they’ll keep delaying buying decision. To make this psychological trick work best, put the offer on the checkout page and urge them to act now to buy this limited time offer or the time will run out. Here is a great example to learn to promote a limited time free shipping offer to your customers. Once your psychology trick begins to show its effects, and you start to sell in numbers for a while, start improvising and think about newer tricks to lure consumers into buying more from you before leaving the checkout page. Keep in mind that the selling psychology is an intriguing thing and success will likely trigger your ability to come up with innovative e-commerce psychological tricks to sell.

Source: This article was published customerthink.com By Hassan Mansoor

Today Apple has launched iOS 10.3.2 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Apple released five betas of iOS 10.3.2 to developers and the public before rolling out the final version. This update comes a bit over a month since iOS 10.3.1 was released on April 3rd. iOS 10.3.2 is considered a minor point release update containing bug fixes and security improvements for iOS 10.3, which added major features like Find My AirPods, Wi-Fi Calling on iCloud devices with Verizon, a Podcasts app widget, new app animations, an Apple ID Settings menu, weather forecasts in the Maps app, an iCloud storage meter and a complete under-the-hood revamp of the file system.

Between June 5th and June 9th, Apple will be hosting the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) where iOS 11 is expected to be announced. But based on Apple's previous software update schedule, iOS 11 will not be available for download until September 2017 when the new iPhone should be unveiled. iOS 11 is expected to have many new features and enhancements including a new Apple Music user interface with an emphasis on exclusive video programming.

What Is Included In The iOS 10.3.2 Update?

iOS 10.3.2 Software Update Amit Chowdhry
iOS 10.3.2 Software Update

The release notes Apple provided does not contain much information. But the betas of iOS 10.3.2 revealed that third-party VPN apps should now work as expected and some of the SiriKit car commands should be fixed. I will add more details to this article as more information comes up.

The download size of the iOS 10.3.2 update varies based on the device you have. On the iPhone SE, it appears to be between 160-170MB. And it is between 190-200MB on the iPhone 6S Plus and iPhone 7 Plus.

You can install iOS 10.3.2 by connecting your device to iTunes or downloading it by going to the Settings app > General > Software Update. The iOS 10.3.2 update is available for the following devices: iPhone 5 and later, iPad 4th generation and later, iPad mini 2 and later and iPod touch 6th generation and later. The iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c are not eligible for this update because the update software is compatible for just 64-bit devices.

macOS, watchOS and tvOS Updates

Apple also released macOS 10.12.5 for Mac computers, watchOS 3.2.2 for the Apple Watch and tvOS 10.2.1 for the Apple TV today, all of which have minor bug fixes as well. The macOS Sierra Update 10.12.5 fixes issues where the audio may stutter while playing through USB headphones and support was added for the media-free installation of Windows 10 Creator Update using Boot Camp. The previous updates for watchOS and macOS had notable features like Theater Mode (Apple Watch) and Night Shift (Mac).

You can update the Apple Watch on a connected iPhone while the smartwatch is on the charger with over 50% battery remaining. macOS 10.12.5 is available as a download on the Mac App Store. And you can update the Apple TV through the System menu and tapping on the Software Update.

Do you plan to update to iOS 10.3.2 right away? Are there any problems you are having with iOS? Please leave a comment with your thoughts!

Source: This article was published forbes.com By Amit Chowdhry

The price of flagship smartphones has skyrocketed in 2017... but are these increases in prices justified?

Are phones getting too expensive? I’d argue, yes.

Do you need a flagship phone for your daily driver? I’d argue in the negative – no, you really don’t; there are many, many awesome phones out there and a lot of them can be acquired for less than $400/£300

Should you get the latest iPhone every year? Probably not.

But people do – millions of them, each and every year. Apple, Samsung, Google and whoever else you care to name have ALL increased the price of their flagship offerings in 2017.

Apple is expected to unveil the first $1000+ phone later on this year in the form of the iPhone 8.

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, which are both fine, fine handsets, arguably the best Android phones available right now, retail for just shy of $1000 unlocked.

Back in the day, the Samsung Galaxy S4 retailed for £589.95 in the UK.

This is a dramatically lower figure. So what’s changed? Samsung’s upped its game, of course, improving the specs, hardware and design of its phones. But to the tune of over 300/400 quid? Not a chance.

Each Galaxy S8 handset costs Samsung $307 (or £240) to build, meaning the company is making a very tidy profit margin – around $45 more than it cost to make the Galaxy S7.

Apple’s even worse: its iPhone 7 costs $224.80 to make and it sells them for $649 (and that’s for the base model).

Costs will have increased with 2017’s iPhone 8, which is now scaling up, but Apple will still be making the same HUGE profit margin on each phone, as all it has to do is increase the price per unit accordingly.

Hence the $1000+ iPhone 8.

Which brings me back to my original point: Paying $1000 For A Phone Is Kinda Stupid When You Think About It.

First, $1000 is A LOT of money. Second, are you getting THAT much value from your phone, or could you get just as much using a lower-cost model? Third, why are you buying this $1000 over a $600 or even $500 phone like the OnePlus 3T, which is just as good and has similar specs/performance.

Seriously: why are you (and millions of other people) limbering up to pay $1000+ for a new phone in 2017? Couldn’t that money be used elsewhere?

There are a myriad of cheaper options out there. Some, like the OnePlus 3T are actually better – I’d take that handset over a new iPhone any day of the week.

Don’t believe me? Check out this guide to the best, brilliant-yet-affordable Android phones I put together. All the handsets on this list are superb, so be sure to check them out.

But What If You Like The iPhone?

You mean: what if I have expensive tastes? Simple: get an iPhone – but don’t buy the latest and greatest; go for last year’s model and you will save a fortune (even more so if you buy reconditioned).

Apple supports its iPhones for A LONG TIME, meaning those running an iPhone 6 will still probably get at least another two solid year’s worth of updates from Apple before it is consigned to the rubbish heap.

Moral of the story? If you’re looking to save money, don’t by a new iPhone – buy it reconditioned from somewhere like Gazelle. The phone will look new, get software updates for years to come, and cost you A LOT less than a brand new one.

Once you’ve done this you’re free to shop around for the best data and minutes packages on the web.

Android’s a little different, in that ALL Android phone makers are terrible at supporting their handsets with consistent, timely updates. Case in point: some Galaxy S7 models are ONLY just receiving Android Nougat, an update that came out almost 12 months ago.

This is a big downside. You can get around it by rooting your Android phone, though this isn’t something everybody is comfortable doing.

Still, with Android you have WAY more options when it comes to getting your hands on cheaper phones that are very impressive. The OnePlus 3T is my ultra recommendation, followed by the Google Nexus 6P if you can find one. Beyond this you have the Xiaomi MI5 and handsets like the one’s listed here.

If you’re looking to save some bucks in 2017, you might want to check out some of the phones I’ve mentioned above. They’re all superb and, best of all, retail for WAY LESS than $1000.

Source : This article was published knowyourmobile.com By Richard Goodwin

There's nothing quite like the feeling of pure, ice-cold hydration. Some of us get our water for free from the tap. The rest pay for it — at the cost of roughly $100 billion a year.
 
At that steep a price tag, you might assume buying the bottled stuff would be worth it. In most cases, you'd be wrong.
 
For the vast majority of Americans, a glass from the tap and a glass from the bottle are virtually identical as far as their health and nutritional quality are concerned. In some cases, publicly-sourced tap may actually be safer since it is usually tested more frequently.
 
There are exceptions, however — people living near private wells do not enjoy the same rigorous testing as those whose water comes from public sources, and some public sources are not properly screened, as was recently seen in Flint, Michigan.
 
But there are plenty of reasons to stop shelling out for bottled water. Read on to find out all the things you didn't know about your drinking water.

The first documented case of bottled water being sold was in Boston in the 1760s, when a company called Jackson's Spa bottled and sold mineral water for "therapeutic" uses. Companies in Saratoga Springs and Albany also appear to have packaged and sold water.

Sources: GreatLakesLaw.orgFineWaters.com

Across the globe, people drink roughly 10% more bottled water every year, but Americans continue to consume more packaged H2O than people in other countries do.

Source: Container Recycling Institute

At 12.8 billion gallons, or 39 gallons per person, Americans today drink more bottled water than milk or beer.

Source: Beverage Marketing Corporation 

Last year was the first time Americans drank more bottled water than soda. "Bottled water effectively reshaped the beverage marketplace," Michael C. Bellas, Beverage Marketing's chairman and CEO, said in a recent statement.

Source: Beverage Maketing Corporation

It's not cheap. At an average cost of $1.22 per gallon, we're spending 300 times more on bottled water than we'd spend to drink from the tap. But that number could be even higher, some analysts have pointed out, since most sales are for single bottles.

Source: Business Insider

Soda companies are aware of how lucrative bottled water can be — corporations from Coca-Cola to PepsiCo have been investing in bottled water. Pepsi recently bought a 30-second Super Bowl ad to debut its new premium bottled water brand "LIFEWTR."

But research suggests that for most Americans, the stuff in a bottle is not better for you than the stuff in your tap. In fact, a recent report found that almost half of all bottled water is actually derived from the tap. In 2007, Pepsi (Aquafina) and Nestle (Pure Life) had to change their labels to more accurately reflect this.

Sources: Food and Water WatchCNN

Tap water is also typically tested for quality and contamination more frequently than bottled water. The Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for conducting those tests.

Tap water is also typically tested for quality and contamination more frequently than bottled water. The Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for conducting those tests.
Unsplash/Averie Woodard
Source: Natural Resources Defense Council

However, if you live in one of the 15 million (mostly rural) US households that gets drinking water from a private well, the EPA isn't keeping an eye on your water quality. "It is the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain the safety of their water," the agency states on its website.

However, if you live in one of the 15 million (mostly rural) US households that gets drinking water from a private well, the EPA isn't keeping an eye on your water quality. "It is the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain the safety of their water," the agency states on its website.
Drinking water, including that from wells, can become contaminated.Aungkul Intaraprasong/Shutterstock
Source: EPAScientific American

Research suggests that the water from many of these wells is not safe to drink. In a 2011 report, 13% of the private wells that geologists tested were found to contain at least one element (like arsenic or uranium) at a concentration that exceeded national guidelines.

Research suggests that the water from many of these wells is not safe to drink. In a 2011 report, 13% of the private wells that geologists tested were found to contain at least one element (like arsenic or uranium) at a concentration that exceeded national guidelines.
Dora Martinez cooks food at her home in a trailer park near Fresno, Calif. in 2015. She and her neighbors get notices warning that their well water contains uranium at a level considered unsafe by federal and state standards.AP Images
Sources: Scientific AmericanUS Geological Survey

The recent resurgence in bottled water's popularity may be due to rising concerns about the purity of tap water. A recent Gallup poll found that 63% of Americans worried a "great deal" about the pollution in drinking water — the highest percentage since 2001.

And when it comes to taste, most of us probably can't tell the difference. A recent blind taste test survey by students at Boston University found that only a third taste-testers identified the tap water sample correctly.

Source: Boston University

Making bottled water is also an extensive, resource-heavy process. A study in the journal Environmental Research Letters found that roughly 32-54 million barrels of oil went into producing the amount of bottled water consumed in the US in 2007.

Making bottled water is also an extensive, resource-heavy process. A study in the journal Environmental Research Letters found that roughly 32-54 million barrels of oil went into producing the amount of bottled water consumed in the US in 2007.
Source: Live Science

It also takes more water to make a bottle of water than it does to fill it. A recent study from the International Bottled Water Association found that North American companies companies use 1.39 liters of water to make one liter of the bottled stuff.

It also takes more water to make a bottle of water than it does to fill it. A recent study from the International Bottled Water Association found that North American companies companies use 1.39 liters of water to make one liter of the bottled stuff.
Pete Norton/Getty Images
Source: International Bottled Water Association

But hey, you might be thinking: At least they get recycled, right? For every six water bottles Americans use, only one makes it to the recycle bin, according to National Geographic.

This article was published in businessinsider.com by Erin Brodwin

Donald Trump wants humans on Mars in the next three years.

He is unsatisfied with Nasa's current plans – to get humans on the Red Planet in the 2030s – and wants people on Mars by the end of his first term, in three-and-a-half years.

At a push, he wants people on the planet by the end of his second term, which would come in 2025 if he were to be elected again. The President told the astronauts that they need to speed up to meet his target.

Nasa's plan of a mission to Mars by the 2030s was already highly ambitious. It has been funded through a bill that Mr Trump just recently signed into law – which the astronauts had to remind him of during the video.

It wasn't clear whether or not Mr Trump was joking about the new, highly ambitious target. Putting people on Mars will require technical and specialist equipment far beyond any space mission so far, which astronauts pointed out during the call was only now being invented and built.

 

Mr Trump made the request during a livestreamed chat with Peggy Whitson, an astronaut who just became the American who has spent the longest time in space. During that video, he spoke at length about his plans for space exploration, and of his hopes for private corporations to be involved in that work.

image© Provided by Independent Print Limited image

The President has actively supported exploration of other planets like Mars, even taking funding away from Nasa's earth science work to focus instead on missions into our own solar system. And he is being supported by Elon Musk, who also wants humans to move to Mars and is invested in doing so through his SpaceX private spaceflight company.

 

During the call, Mr Trump joked that he wouldn't want to go to the International Space Station, because it is flying around the Earth at 17,000mph. That is "about as fast as I've heard", and "I wouldn't want to fly" at that speed, but it's "what you do", he said.

He also joked that the call to space was possible because of "great American equipment that works, and that is not easy", and said that he liked speaking to the astronauts more than he enjoyed speaking to politicians on the ground.

© Provided by Independent Print Limited

Source : MSN.com by Andrew Griffin

This artist's illustration shows a hypothetical planet covered in water around the binary star system of Kepler-35A and B.

Life on an alien planet with two suns in its sky, like Luke Skywalker's home world Tatooine in the "Star Wars" films, may indeed be possible, a new study suggests.

Tatooine world could be habitable despite its inevitably complicated orbit, as long as the planet stays within a particular range of distances from its two host stars, researchers said.

"This means that double-star systems of the type studied here are excellent candidates to host habitable planets, despite the large variations in the amount of starlight hypothetical planets in such a system would receive," Max Popp, an associate research scholar at Princeton University in New Jersey and the Max Planck Institute of Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany, said in a statement.

Nailing down the habitable zone for single-star planets isn't simple or straightforward; details of the zone depend heavily on the nature of a world's atmosphere, for example. But habitable zones get even trickier when the planet in question has two suns.

Tatooine planets' habitable zones, after all, depend on the distance from the two host stars' center of mass, not just the distance from any particular star. And Tatooine worlds don't orbit in a circular path; their paths wobble considerably due to the gravitational influences of their parent stars, researchers said. 

To better understand such factors, Popp and Eggl modeled conditions on a hypothetical Earth-size, water-covered world in Kepler-35, a real two-star system more than 5,000 light-years from Earth that's known to host a planet eight times more massive than our own. (Popp and Eggl ignored the gravitational influence of this actual planet, which is known as Kepler-35b, for simplicity's sake.)

"Our research is motivated by the fact that searching for potentially habitable planets requires a lot of effort, so it is good to know in advance where to look," Eggl said in the same statement. "We show that it's worth targeting double-star systems."

The duo's simulations investigated what this imaginary Tatooine world's climate would be like if it orbited with periods between 341 and 380 Earth days.

They found that, near the outer edge of Kepler-35's presumed habitable zone, the planet would be relatively cold and dry. The dearth of atmospheric water vapor would also make the climate quite variable; global average surface temperatures would swing by as much as 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), the researchers said.

"This is analogous to how, on Earth, in arid climates like deserts, we experience huge temperature variations from day to night," Eggl said. "The amount of water in the air makes a big difference."

But conditions would be quite hospitable, and much more stable, near the habitable zone's inner edge, thanks to the water vapor's stabilizing influence, the researchers said. (Just as with single-star systems, a planet beyond the outer edge of the habitable zone would become a "snowball" world, while one too close in would experience a runaway greenhouse effect like Venus did and end up a sweltering hothouse, they found.)

Interestingly, the duo's models suggest that Tatooine worlds have less cloud cover than their single-star counterparts, providing any hypothetical inhabitants with great views of their double suns.

The new study was published April 6 in the journal Nature Communications.

Source : space.com

This artist's illustration shows a hypothetical planet covered in water around the binary star system of Kepler-35A and B.

Life on an alien planet with two suns in its sky, like Luke Skywalker's home world Tatooine in the "Star Wars" films, may indeed be possible, a new study suggests.

Tatooine world could be habitable despite its inevitably complicated orbit, as long as the planet stays within a particular range of distances from its two host stars, researchers said.

"This means that double-star systems of the type studied here are excellent candidates to host habitable planets, despite the large variations in the amount of starlight hypothetical planets in such a system would receive," Max Popp, an associate research scholar at Princeton University in New Jersey and the Max Planck Institute of Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany, said in a statement.

Nailing down the habitable zone for single-star planets isn't simple or straightforward; details of the zone depend heavily on the nature of a world's atmosphere, for example. But habitable zones get even trickier when the planet in question has two suns.

Tatooine planets' habitable zones, after all, depend on the distance from the two host stars' center of mass, not just the distance from any particular star. And Tatooine worlds don't orbit in a circular path; their paths wobble considerably due to the gravitational influences of their parent stars, researchers said. 

To better understand such factors, Popp and Eggl modeled conditions on a hypothetical Earth-size, water-covered world in Kepler-35, a real two-star system more than 5,000 light-years from Earth that's known to host a planet eight times more massive than our own. (Popp and Eggl ignored the gravitational influence of this actual planet, which is known as Kepler-35b, for simplicity's sake.)

"Our research is motivated by the fact that searching for potentially habitable planets requires a lot of effort, so it is good to know in advance where to look," Eggl said in the same statement. "We show that it's worth targeting double-star systems."

The duo's simulations investigated what this imaginary Tatooine world's climate would be like if it orbited with periods between 341 and 380 Earth days.

They found that, near the outer edge of Kepler-35's presumed habitable zone, the planet would be relatively cold and dry. The dearth of atmospheric water vapor would also make the climate quite variable; global average surface temperatures would swing by as much as 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), the researchers said.

"This is analogous to how, on Earth, in arid climates like deserts, we experience huge temperature variations from day to night," Eggl said. "The amount of water in the air makes a big difference."

But conditions would be quite hospitable, and much more stable, near the habitable zone's inner edge, thanks to the water vapor's stabilizing influence, the researchers said. (Just as with single-star systems, a planet beyond the outer edge of the habitable zone would become a "snowball" world, while one too close in would experience a runaway greenhouse effect like Venus did and end up a sweltering hothouse, they found.)

Interestingly, the duo's models suggest that Tatooine worlds have less cloud cover than their single-star counterparts, providing any hypothetical inhabitants with great views of their double suns.

The new study was published April 6 in the journal Nature Communications.

Source : space.com

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