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Tech

Apple Watch new feature can identify irregular heart rhythms

The Apple Watch is one of the most popular time pieces of this era due to its slick design and nifty features.
A new development has made it even more enticing to the public, as Apple launched a new app that will allow the company to gather irregular heart rhythm data from the watches’ heart rate sensors.

Dubbed as The Apple Heart Study app, the extremely helpful feature will be able to detect irregularities and send notifications to watch owners who may be unknowingly suffering from atrial fibrillation (AFib).

 

The medical initiative was first launched last September as part of the watchOS 4, The Verge reports.
In partnership with experts from Stanford University, Apple hopes to collect heart rate data, which could further aid patients, doctors and researchers to detect and cure heart irregularities.
“Working alongside the medical community, not only can we inform people of certain health conditions, we also hope to advance discoveries in heart science,” Apple’s chief operating officer, Jeff Williams, said in a statement.
Heart rate is measured by green LED lights flashing hundreds of times per second, as well as photodiodes, which monitor the amount of blood flowing through the wrists.
Moreover, Apple Watch users who took part in the survey will be notified through their devices if an irregular heartbeat is detected.
Those who will be flagged will also receive free consultation with a study doctor and an electrocardiogram (EKG) patch for further observation.
As of wiring, the app is available only in the US App store and accepts users 22 years or older. They must also possess an Apple Watch Series 1 or later model. Khristian Ibarrola /ra

Can Europe create the next Google?

The Google logo adorns the entrance of Google Germany headquarters in Hamburg, Germany July 11, 2016. Reuters/Morris Mac Matzen
LONDON, ENGLAND — Europe is making major strides to eliminate barriers that have held back the region from developing tech firms that can compete on the scale of global giants Alphabet Inc’s Google, Amazon.com Inc or Tencent Holdings Inc , a report published on Thursday shows.

The region has thriving tech hubs in major cities, with record new funding, experienced entrepreneurs, a growing base of technical talent and an improving regulatory climate, according to a study by European venture firm Atomico.

While even the largest European tech ventures remain a fraction of the size of the biggest U.S. and Asian rivals, global music streaming leader Spotify of Sweden marks the rising ambition of European entrepreneurs. Spotify is gearing up for a stock market flotation next year that could value it at upward of $20 billion.

“The probability that the next industry-defining company could come from Europe – and become one of the world’s most valuable companies – has never been higher,” said Tom Wehmeier, Atomico’s head of research, who authored the report.

Top venture capitalists and entrepreneurs in the region told Reuters they are increasingly confident that the next world-class companies could emerge from Europe in fields including artificial intelligence, video gaming, music and messaging.

“What we still need to develop is entrepreneurs who have the drive to take it all the way – I think we are starting to see that now,” said Bernard Liautaud, managing partner at venture fund Balderton Capital, who sold his software company Business Objects to SAP for $6.8 billion a decade ago.

The Atomico report is being published in conjunction with the annual Nordic technology start-up festival taking place in Helsinki this week and set to draw some 20,000 participants.

Stronger fundamentals

Capital invested in European tech companies is on track to reach a record this year, with $19.1 billion in funding projected through the end of 2017 – up 33 percent over 2016, according to investment tracking firm Dealroom.co.

The median size of European venture funds nearly tripled to around 58 million euros (£51.1 million) in 2017 compared with five years ago, according to Invest Europe’s European Data Cooperative on fundraising investment activity.

Beyond the availability of funding, Europe has a range of technical talent available to work more cheaply than in Silicon Valley, enabling start-ups to get going with far less funding.

With a pool of professional developers now numbering 5.5 million, European tech employment outpaces the comparable 4.4 million employed in the United States, according to data from Stack Overflow, a site popular with programmers.

London remains the top European city in terms of numbers of professional developers, but Germany, as a country, overtook Britain in the past year with 837,398 developers compared with 813,500, the report states, using Stack Overflow statistics.

While median salaries for software engineers are rising in top European cities Berlin, London, Paris and Barcelona, they are one-third to one-half the average cost of salaries in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is more than $129,000, based on Glassdoor recruiting data.

Pushing up against the limits

Big hurdles remain. A survey of 1,000 founders by authors of the report found European entrepreneurs were worried by Brexit, with concerns, especially in Britain, over hiring, investment and heightened uncertainty in the business climate.

Although Europe has deep engineering talent, many big startups focus on business model innovation in areas such as media, retail and gaming rather than on breakthrough technology developments that can usher in new industries, critics say.

Regulatory frameworks in Europe put the brakes on development on promising technologies such as cryptocurrencies, “flying taxis” and gene editing, while autonomous vehicles and drones face fewer obstacles, the report says.

A separate study by Index Ventures, also to be published on Thursday, found that employees at fast-growing tech start-ups in Europe tend to receive only half the stock option stakes that are a primary route to riches for their U.S. rivals. Yet their options are taxed twice as much.

The Index report said employees in successful, later-stage European tech start-ups receive around 10 percent of capital, compared with 20 percent ownership in Silicon Valley firms.

“There is quite a gap today between stock option practices in Europe and those in Silicon Valley,” Index Ventures partner Martin Mignot said in an interview. “There are other issues where Europe is behind, but we think stock options should be at the top of the agenda.”

Another factor holding back Europe is that regional stock markets encourage firms to go public prematurely, Liataud said.

“Europe has markets for average companies. In the U.S., going public is hard. You have to be really, really good. You have to be $100 million, minimum, in revenue,” the French entrepreneur-turned-investor said. “Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange have not lowered their standards.”

10 streaming services in the PH: Which one is right for you?

 

All screenshots from respective official apps and websites 

 
 
 
 
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MANILA, Philippines - The influx of streaming and video on-demand services becoming available locally in the last year or so has provided Filipinos options to choose which appeal to them the most.

Before planning your binge-watch sessions, figure out and decide which service works and best fits your interests.

 

1) Netflix

     

Price: Netflix has a steeper price when compared to others on this list – P370 a month for the Basic, P460 a month for the Standard, and P550 a month for the Premium.

Why subscribe: The service continues to provide new and exclusive original content
for their subscribers to binge on like Stranger ThingsNarcosHouse of Cards, and
many others. And most of them now support UHD (4K), HDR, and Dolby Atmos, great forthose with a high-end home entertainment system.

Subscribers also have the chance to personalize their viewing experiences by creating separate profiles for each person using the service, allowing Netflix to make the appropriate movie/show recommendations. Some plans allow accounts to be shared with friends or family for simultaneous viewing.

The downside: Licensed content are continuously being added and removed from the service.

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android, Smart TVs, Windows 10, set-top boxes, and game
consoles.

2) Amazon Prime Video

 

     

 


Price: $2.99 USD/month for the first 6 months and $5.99 USD/month for the following months

Why subscribe: Amazon Prime Video has its own selection of award-winning original
content like Mozart in the JungleAmerican Gods, and Transparent. It even has
licensed content from its direct competitors like HBO’s Game of Thronesand Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. In addition, it allows up to 3 devices to be streaming simultaneously and a watch offline feature.

Gamers will also love the Twitch Prime membership that comes free with their subscription, which grant them access to exclusive content and streams on Twitch.

The downsides: The service has a la carte content that do not come with the
subscription and require extra pay. Similar to Netflix, some of the licensed content are
constantly changing.

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android, Smart TVs, Windows 10, set-top boxes, and game
consoles

3) iwantTV

     

Price: Free, P10/day, P40/week or P99/month
Why subscribe: iWantTV puts all content produced and aired by ABS-CBN all in one
place. The service lets its subscribers access the network’s sizeable archive of original shows, movies, news features, and more. Subscribers can also livestream all channels under the network from their mobile devices.

Best of all, catching up on currently airing shows is also free. All this makes the service a must-have for any fan of the network and their content.

The downside: The service does not allow simultaneous streaming between multiple
devices.

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android

4) HOOQ

     

Price: P59 for 7 days, P149 for 30 days, P125 for film rentals

Why subscribe: HOOQ has a large selection of local and international shows and
films. The service will soon offer locally produced original content like the long
delayed On The Job sequel.

It also allows up to 2 devices to be streaming simultaneously and content can be
downloaded for offline viewing.

The downsides: The lack of UHD (4K) support for content make this more appropriate for those who enjoy viewing on their phones or tablets. Rental feature also locks some content behind a paywall.

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android

5) iFlix

     

Price: P129 per month

Why subscribe: iFlix has a commendable library of local and international shows and
films. Critically-acclaimed shows like Mr.Robot and Fargo are exclusively streaming
here locally. The service also has a decent amount of foreign language shows. There is a download feature for offline viewing and up to 2 devices can stream simultaneously.

This is bang for your buck value considering all the content included for the budget
friendly price.

The downside: Similar to HOOQ, there is no UHD (4K) support for their content.

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android

6) Cinetropa

     

Price: P288 per film (pay-per-view)

Why subscribe: Any fan of independent Philippine cinema will certainly love what
Cinetropa is offering. The service features breakout hits and festival favorites like
Heneral Luna and Patintero. Those who missed these films’ theatrical runs could use
this service to finally see them.

The downside: As of writing, the service is still trying to expand its library of films and
content is still mostly pay-per- view.

Platforms: Web

7) Fox+

 

     

 

Price: P390/month

Why subscribe: Fox+ has a bit of everything, from its selection of movies and shows to live sporting events. It’s the local home of shows like The Walking Dead and Homeland. Subscribers can also livestream their channels including all 3 Fox Sports. Up to two devices can watch at the same time and it supports download for offline viewing.

The downside: In terms of on-demand content, it’s limited when put beside others on this list.

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android

8) HBO Go

     

Price: P199/month

Why subscribe: HBO Go has everything on its cable channel counterpart including all original shows, films, sporting events, talk shows, and documentaries. This is definitely the must-have service for those wanting to catch up on shows like Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, Westworld, Veep, and many others. The service also lets its subscribers livestream all their channels. Up to 2 devices can use the service simultaneously.

The downside: Similar to Fox+, when compared to others on this list, the selection of
content may seem limited.

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android

9) Viu

     

Price: Free, P129/month for premium

Why subscribe: Viu has the largest selection of Korean and Japanese teledramas on
this list. Episodes are even added just hours after its telecast. The service is free for
those who don’t mind watching in SD (480p) and can bare all the video ads.

The downside: The premium subscription does not entirely remove ads from the
viewing experience.

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android

10) Crunchyroll

 

     

 

Price: Free, $6.95 USD for premium

Why subscribe: Anime fans can’t go wrong with this service. It has a decent number of Japanese animated and live-action shows including simulcast streaming. Premium
subscribers can even access digital versions of manga (Japanese comics).

The downside: Despite having a search bar, the interface is cluttered making it hard to
navigate and find specific content.

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android, Chromecast, Apple TV, Windows 10, and game
consoles

 

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Elon Musk teases TED crowd with Tesla electric truck

Image: Twitter/@JMBooyah
In a recently held TED talk at the 2017 TED Conference in Vancover, Elon Musk revealed some of the things that he’s been working on apart from getting people to Mars. One of which is an electric semi-truck.
TechCrunch reports that Musk did not actually make a great reveal, though he shared a shadowy image of Tesla’s forthcoming electric semi-truck.
Even with just a silhouette, it’s rather easy to spot the unmistakable image of a truck, except that this one appears to have more curves, and is more streamlined. This will likely help keep drag down and help the electric engine push the large vehicle more efficiently.

Musk mentioned on stage that the truck will be a “spry” vehicle that can be driven like a sports car. The CEO even attests that he himself has driven the prototype.
The electric truck is set to be fully unveiled sometime in September. Musk claims that it will be able to stand alongside, and possibly even outperform, its diesel-powered counterparts.
Additionally, Musk mentioned that four new Gigafactory sites will be announced before 2017 ends. Alfred Bayle/JB

China dominates list of world’s top supercomputers

Photo taken on June 20, 2016 shows Sunway TaihuLight, a new Chinese supercomputer, in Wuxi, east China's Jiangsu Province. Xinhua/Li Xiang
WASHINGTON — Once again, China dominated a new list of the world’s fastest supercomputers, not only taking the top two seats, but also pulling ahead of the United States in the sheer number of systems being used.

According to a biannual ranking of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers, called the Top500 published Monday, China’s Sunway TaihuLight maintains the lead as the No. 1 system for the fourth time, with a performance of 93.01 petaflops.

China’s Tianhe-2, or Milky Way-2, is still the No. 2 system at 33.86 petaflops. Intel chip-based Tianhe-2 had topped the list for three years until it was displaced in November 2015 by TaihuLight, which was built by entirely using processors designed and made in China.

The No. 3 is Switzerland’s Piz Daint, which is also the most powerful supercomputer in Europe. A new system in Japan, called Gyoukou, is the No. 4, pushing Titan, the top U.S system, to the No. 5.

“For the second time in a row there is no system from the U.S. under the TOP3,” Top500 said in a statement.

And that’s not all. The 50th edition of Top500 ranking also shows that China has overtaken the United States in the total number of ranked systems by a margin of 202 to 144. Just six months ago, the United States. led with 169 systems, and China with 159.

“It is the largest number of supercomputers China has ever claimed on the TOP500 ranking, with the U.S. presence shrinking to its lowest level since the list’s inception 25 years ago,” Top500 said.

“China now clearly shows a substantially larger number of installations than the United States.”

China has also overtaken the United States in aggregate performance as well. The Asian country now claims 35.3 percent of the TOP500 flops, with the United States at second place with 29.8 percent.

When it comes to companies making these systems, the U.S.-based Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has the lead in the number of installed supercomputers at 123, which represents nearly a quarter of all TOP500 systems.

China’s Lenovo followed HPE with 81 systems, down from 88 systems on the June list, and another Chinese company called Inspur jumped to the third position with 56 systems, up from the sixth place and 20 systems only six month ago.

Liu Jun, Inspur’s high performance computing (HPC) general manager, told Xinhua said China and its research institutes and companies have invested a lot in supporting HPC research, development and innovation.

“So China has improved greatly in its HPC competitiveness and performance,” he said. “In addition, the United States and Europe may have a more prolonged update cycle for their supercomputers.”

Liu cautioned that China’s overtaking of the United States in the total number of ranked systems didn’t make too much sense.

“We should be soberly aware that core technologies of the mainstream products on the HPC market, such as CPU and GPU, are now still being dominated and controlled by U.S. companies,” Liu said.

“China still lags far behind when compared with the U.S. and Europe and requires continuous efforts for further development,” Liu said.

Experts also predicted that Summit, a system currently being developed by the U.S. Department of Energy, could dethrone China’s TaihuLight next year, when it comes to run with an expected performance of 200 petaflops.

Other systems in the top 10 included Sequoia, Trinity and Cori of the United States, as well as Oakforest-PACS and K computer of Japan.

Top500 said this is the first time that each of the top 10 supercomputers delivered more than 10 petaflops.
There are also 181 systems with performance higher than a petaflop — up from 138 six months ago, according to the list.

Taking a broader look, the combined performance of all 500 systems has grown to 845 petaflops, compared to 749 petaflops on the June list and 672 petaflops one year ago.

“Even though aggregate performance grew by nearly 100 petaflops, the relative increase is well below the list’s long-term historical trend,” the list said.

And the entry point in the latest rankings moved up to 548 teraflops, compared to 432 teraflops in June.

“The 548-teraflop system was in position 370 in the previous TOP500 list,” it said. “The turnover is in line with what has been observed over the last four years, but is much lower than previous levels.”

The Top500 list is considered one of the most authoritative rankings of the world’s supercomputers. It is compiled on the basis of the machines’ performance on the Linpack benchmark by experts from the United States and Germany.

Neutron star smashup 'transforms' our understanding of Universe

DISCOVERY. Samara Nissanke, Representative of the Virgo Interferometer, speaks during a presentation at the ESO speaks during a presentation at the ESO (European Southern Hemisphere) German headquarters in Garching near Munich, southern Germany, on October 16, 2017. Christof Stache/AFP

PARIS, France – For the first time, scientists have witnessed the cataclysmic crash of two ultra-dense neutron stars in a galaxy far away, and concluded that such impacts forged at least half the gold in the Universe.

Shockwaves and light flashes from the collision travelled some 130 million light-years to be captured by Earthly detectors on August 17, excited teams revealed at press conferences held around the globe on Monday as a dozen related science papers were published in top academic journals.

"We witnessed history unfolding in front of our eyes: two neutron stars drawing closer, closer... turning faster and faster around each other, then colliding and scattering debris all over the place," co-discoverer Benoit Mours of France's CNRS research institute told Agence France-Presse.

The groundbreaking observation solved a number of physics riddles and sent ripples of excitement through the scientific community.

Most jaw-dropping for many, the data finally revealed where much of the gold, platinum, uranium, mercury and other heavy elements in the Universe came from.

Telescopes saw evidence of newly-forged material in the fallout, the teams said – a source long suspected, now confirmed.

"It makes it quite clear that a significant fraction, maybe half, maybe more, of the heavy elements in the Universe are actually produced by this kind of collision," said physicist Patrick Sutton, a member of the US-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) which contributed to the find.

Neutron stars are the condensed, burnt-out cores that remain when massive stars run out of fuel, blow up, and die.

Typically about 20 kilometers (12 miles) in diameter, but with more mass than the Sun, they are highly radioactive and ultra-dense – a handful of material from one weighs as much as Mount Everest.

'Too beautiful'

It had been theorized that mergers of two such exotic bodies would create ripples in the fabric of space-time known as gravitational waves, as well as bright flashes of high-energy radiation called gamma ray bursts.

On August 17, detectors witnessed both phenomena, 1.7 seconds apart, coming from the same spot in the constellation of Hydra.

"It was clear to us within minutes that we had a binary neutron star detection," said David Shoemaker, another member of LIGO, which has detectors in Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington.

"The signals were much too beautiful to be anything but that," he told Agence France-Presse.

The observation was the fruit of years of labor by thousands of scientists at more than 70 ground- and space-based observatories on all continents.

Along with LIGO, they include teams from Europe's Virgo gravitational wave detector in Italy, and a number of ground- and space-based telescopes including NASA's Hubble.

"This event marks a turning point in observational astronomy and will lead to a treasure trove of scientific results," said Bangalore Sathyaprakash from Cardiff University's School of Physics and Astronomy, recalling "the most exciting of my scientific life."

"It is tremendously exciting to experience a rare event that transforms our understanding of the workings of the Universe," added France Cordova, director of the National Science Foundation which funds LIGO.

The detection is another feather in the cap for German physicist Albert Einstein, who first predicted gravitational waves more than 100 years ago.

Something 'fundamental'

Three LIGO pioneers, Barry Barish, Kip Thorne and Rainer Weiss, were awarded the Nobel Physics Prize this month for the observation of gravitational waves, without which the latest discovery would not have been possible.

The ripples have been observed four times before now – the first time by LIGO in September 2015. All four were from mergers of black holes, which are even more violent than neutron star crashes, but emit no light.

The fifth and latest detection was accompanied by a gamma ray burst which scientists said came from nearer in the Universe and was less bright than expected.

"What this event is telling us is that there may be many more of these short gamma ray bursts going off nearby in the Universe than we expected," Sutton said – an exciting prospect for scientists hoping to uncover further secrets of the Universe.

Among other things, it is hoped that data from neutron star collisions will allow the definitive calculation of the rate at which the cosmos is expanding, which in turn will tell us how old it is and how much matter it contains.

"With these observations we are not just learning what happens when neutron stars collide, we're also learning something fundamental about the nature of the Universe," said Julie McEnery of the Fermi gamma ray space telescope project. – Rappler.com

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