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News

  • Cape Town’s latest veld fire blankets social media in smoke

    Just when Cape Town thought it saw the last of the fire season last week, Mother Nature has returned with more red hot anger. Veld fires have flared up across the Peninsula this week, including Paarl, the Helderberg and even Rondebosch Common late last night. But a fire which flared up on Simon's Town's Red Hill early Wednesday, has become the latest flare up at the centre of Cape Town's social media attention. Instagram and Twitter have been inundated by users snapping stills and videos of the blaze, which Volunteer Wildfire Services notes has spanned "across the South Peninsula". Simon's Town disappearing behind...

  • Miss Obama’s final speech? Rewatch it in 360-degrees

    Like saying goodbye to a kid finally leaving for the big wide world, outgoing US President Obama gave his final speech to a nation on the brink of change on Tuesday evening in Chicago. But while it was a momentous occasion for both Obama and the American public, it was also fairly big for emerging technologies. Alongside traditional broadcasts, the speech was the first of a US president to be aired as a 360-degree video on Facebook, Periscope/Twitter and YouTube. Using three of Nokia's OZO camera rigs, virtual reality company VRScout alongside Radiant Images and vantage.tv recorded and beamed the feed...

  • Pornhub 2016 stats: most popular devices, platforms revealed

    Pornhub's 2016 year in review has revealed a ton of interesting data, including the most popular devices, browsers and operating systems for adult streaming. The streaming network found that, when it came to traffic by device type, smartphones were continuing to grab more marketshare at the expense of desktop. Interestingly enough, tablets saw a slight drop as well. In terms of traffic by operating system, Windows was still on top, accounting for 80% of the pie. But Linux and Mac OS saw notable growth, at the expense of the "other" category. As for mobile platforms? Android gained the lion's share of traffic, at...

  • Uber Movement: service to offer traffic data to cities

    Uber has announced a new initiative, dubbed Uber Movement, which will see the smart cab service sharing traffic data with city planners, researchers and more. The service said it launched the initiative after numerous requests from cities for access to the data. "Making our cities move more efficiently matters to us all. That's why we're providing access to anonymized data from over two billion trips to help improve urban planning around the world," the company wrote on the Uber Movement website. Uber says that the service will allow city planners to measure the impact of infrastructure improvements and major events, as well as...

  • Pornhub 2016 stats: how does South Africa fare? [Slightly NSFW]

    Adult streaming website Pornhub has enjoyed a bumper year, according to its 2016 year in review. The network revealed that it used 3100 petabytes of bandwidth last year, equivalent to 99GB per second or six terabytes a minute. It said that this data would fill 194 million USB flash drives and, if laid end-to-end, would be 11 000 kilometres long. Pornhub also revealed that users watched almost 4.6 billion hours of porn -- or 524 641 years. As for the top nations by traffic, South Africa managed to climb four positions since 2015 to land at number 20 for the first time. Otherwise, the...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • More research reveals why birds are toothless

    Researchers over at the George Washington University have discovered a new species of toothless dinosaurs which could explain the reason why birds have beaks. The dinosaur they observed was  Limusaurus inextricabilis, which forms part of the theropod group of dinosaurs, which are evolutionary ancestors of birds. These dinosaurs lost their teeth during their adolescent phase and didn't grow another set when they got older. James Clark, a Ronald Weintraub Professor of Biology at the George Washington University's Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, was a co-author of the paper, published in Current Biology. The team studied 19 Limusaurus skeletons which were discovered in the Xinjiang province of China...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Machine learning can predict food crises, crop yields

    A mere two hundred years ago, our planet was home to less than one billion people. Today, the Earth's population count stands at over seven billion. To further put this rapid growth into perspective, 6.5% of all people ever born are alive at this very moment. With Earth's rapidly increasing population, the growing need for food is becoming a serious concern. According to the World Bank, the human population will hit a staggering nine billion people by 2050. That means that to keep sustaining human life on Earth, the world will need to produce fifty percent more food, which is a...