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All posts by Hadlee Simons

  • NASA announces two ambitious missions to asteroids

    NASA has just approved two missions to explore asteroids, with the aim of learning more about the early solar system. The two missions, dubbed Lucy and Psyche, are tentatively scheduled to launch in 2021 and 2023 respectively, the space agency announced on its website. "Lucy will visit a target-rich environment of Jupiter's mysterious Trojan asteroids, while Psyche will study a unique metal asteroid that's never been visited before," Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, was quoted as saying. Lucy is slated to launch in October 2021, arriving at a "main belt" asteroid in 2025. From 2027 until 2033, it...

  • IM-only SIM provider ChatSim to launch in airports

    ChatSim is one of the more intriguing mobile offerings around, allowing users to pay a R220 yearly fee for unlimited access to mobile messaging platforms anywhere in the world. The service supports WhatsApp, Telegram, BBM, Facebook Messenger, WeChat and several other notable messaging apps. However, the one catch is that, while you have the ability to send/receive unlimited texts and emoji, it uses a credit system for photos, video and VoIP calls. Nevertheless, it's a rather convenient and cost-effective option for frequent travellers wanting to avoid roaming charges. ChatSim was launched in 2015, allowing users to send and receive texts in over 150...

  • Questions raised over Ukraine artillery hacking

    A cybersecurity expert has questioned claims that Russian intelligence hacked Ukrainian artillery units with malware to track their location. Security firm Crowdstrike issued a report last month, finding that malware had infected Ukrainian artillery units who used an application called POPR-D30. The artillery operators used the Android app to calculate firing corrections for the D30 howitzer. Crowdstrike's report found that an infected version of the app was floating around, adding that the infected version was sending the artillery units' location to Russian intelligence. The report added that Russia may have used the malware to get a fix on Ukrainian artillery emplacements and destroy...

  • AI is making Japanese insurance workers redundant

    A Japanese insurance company has announced that it will cut over 30 employees as a result of a shift to artificial intelligence (AI). Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance would be slashing staff in its payment assessment department as a result of introducing an AI system this month, The Mainichi daily reported. The AI system is based on IBM's Watson platform and will sift through medical histories, hospital trips and surgical procedure names. The system will also be reading medical certificates issued by doctors. Ultimately, all of this information will be used to determine payouts, with the AI also able to check for special coverage clauses. There's...

  • Intel acquires 15% of HERE, expect collaboration

    Chipmaker Intel has agreed to buy a 15% stake in mapping company HERE, it has announced. The deal, which is expected to close in Q1 2017, will also see the two companies working closely together. The two firms will be collaborating "on the research and development of a highly scalable proof-of-concept architecture that supports real-time updates of high definition (HD) maps for highly and fully automated driving". HERE and Intel say that the architecture and associated mapping updates are planned to make autonomous driving as safe and reliable as possible. Intel's agreement to acquire a stake in HERE serves as more proof of the...

  • Check these Somerset West fire photos on Twitter, Instagram

    Wind and hot weather has combined to deliver the first major wildfires in the Western Cape of 2017, with Somerset West's blaze being one of the more notable fires. The effects of the fire are felt around the city at large too, as smoke sweeps over the city centre and much of the Cape Peninsula. If you didn't realise the scale of the blaze, perhaps these Twitter images will help... Good luck to all the firefighters in Somerset West this morning. #somersetwestfire #hansekopfire #capetown @NCCwildfires @vwsfires #kfmnews pic.twitter.com/z9nyHbf1jW — Sullivan Photography (@Sullphotography) January 4, 2017 The Aerial attacks are in full swing #somersetwestfire @OverbergFPA @NCCEnviron @wo_fire @vwsfires...

  • SpaceX set for return to launch on Sunday?

    SpaceX has been hard at work following the explosion of one of its rockets on the launchpad late last year. Now, the company has revealed the final cause of the explosion, as well as plans to launch on Sunday. The final cause relates to "composite overwrapped pressure vessels" (COPVs) inside the second stage oxygen tank, falling in line with the preliminary findings. These vessels are used to store helium, the private space company noted. "Specifically, the investigation team concluded the failure was likely due to the accumulation of oxygen between the COPV liner and overwrap in a void or a buckle...

  • Amazon Prime Video: originals to watch in SA?

    Let's be honest for a second... Amazon knows that many people are only tuning into Prime Video for The Grand Tour. After all, the trio of Clarkson, Hammond and May are pop culture icons thanks to their escapades. But what if you don't care for the motoring stuff? Or do you need a bit more justification to subscribe to the service? Here are a few more notable original shows that are available in South Africa. It's worth noting that a few Amazon Originals are still missing from the SA selection though... The Man In The High Castle One of the more popular Amazon...

  • Carrie Fisher: Twitter reacts to death of an icon

    Carrie Fisher is the latest death in a tumultuous year for celebrities, having died as a result of a heart attack suffered earlier this month. There have been loads of tweets as a result, with Fisher still trending two days after her death. We take a look at some of the more prominent Twitter reactions. Her Star Wars brethren paid tribute to her no words #Devastated pic.twitter.com/R9Xo7IBKmh — Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) December 27, 2016 #AFewWords pic.twitter.com/rOKiPr7gP9 — Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) December 28, 2016 Harrison Ford issues statement after the death of "Star Wars" co-star Carrie Fisher https://t.co/DB3nuIjXnb pic.twitter.com/O8miieefuV — CBS News (@CBSNews) December 27, 2016 "She was Princess...

  • Now Ukraine’s artillery is affected by malware

    We've already seen malware being used to disrupt power stations and other infrastructure. But a new form of malware has been affecting Ukraine's artillery pieces. According to security firm CrowdStrike, hackers crafted the X-Agent malware into an Android app used by Ukrainian artillery operators. The legitimate version of the app allows operators of the D-30 howitzer to quickly process targeting data, reducing processing time from minutes to "under 15 seconds". And it's seen quite a lot of downloads, with roughly 9000 users, it's been claimed. The malware should be a big concern for militaries around the world The security firm found that X-Agent was able to...

  • Superbalist accused of ‘large-scale design theft’ [Update]

    Update: In an emailed response to Memeburn, Superbalist said it had a "zero-tolerance policy towards plagiarism or copyright infringement" of items. "On immediate inspection, it appears that we may have some issues in this regard. The items in question have been pulled from the site and we will deal with any substantiated claims arising therefrom swiftly and fairly," it concluded. Original article: E-commerce website Superbalist has been accused of stealing scores of designs from artists and creative types. The platform's actions came to light after Twitter user Karmen Wessels (@spotfishy) accused Superbalist of copying a mug design from British artist Gemma Correll. The e-commerce...

  • Snow in Sahara: satellite image shows beautiful landscape

    The last time it snowed in the Sahara Desert was in 1979, but the desert has seen another rare dusting this week. The snow fell on the Algerian town of Aïn Séfra, sitting on the edges of the desert and with a population of over 30 000 people. It only lasted a day before melting though, so tourists wanting to see it in person are out of luck. Fortunately, the Landsat-7 satellite acquired a rather striking image of the snow, showing dunes covered in the stuff. The snow was even captured by local citizen Karim Bouchetata, being uploaded to his Facebook account. Featured image: Landsat-7/NASA...

  • Not over yet: Nokia in new patent fight against Apple

    Nokia has announced that it is restarting its patent battle against Apple, covering several continents in the process. The Finnish telecommunications icon first took Apple to court several years ago, with the Cupertino company agreeing to license some patents in 2011. But Nokia says that Apple has refused subsequent offers to license other patents. "Through our sustained investment in research and development, Nokia has created or contributed to many of the fundamental technologies used in today's mobile devices, including Apple products. After several years of negotiations trying to reach agreement to cover Apple's use of these patents, we are now taking action...

  • Going to the beach? Download these apps first

    We're pretty much in the thick of it as far as summer holiday madness goes. And if you live on the coast, chances are good that you'll be visiting the beach at least once. But before you make your way to Clifton or Muizenberg, you might want to download a few of these apps... Shark Spotters (free - Android, iOS) Sure, there is a flag system in place at major beaches, courtesy of the Shark Spotters team, but they have an app as well. The Shark Spotters app delivers updates on shark sightings (as well as a recent history of shark sightings) for a number of...

  • Russia tests ‘anti-satellite’ missile

    Russia has conducted a successful test of an anti-satellite missile, it has been reported. According to the Washington Free Beacon, it was the third successful test of the PL-19 Nudol missile out of five tests in total. The missile was launched from a base in central Russia on 16 December and was monitored by the USA, the publication added. According to CNN, US intelligence didn't track any debris, suggesting that a target wasn't destroyed during the test. Russia purportedly says that the missile is intended for defence against ballistic missiles. An anti-satellite missile could wreak havoc on a military's capabilities, targeting communications and spy satellites as well...