Smartphones have surged to prominence in the the mobile market, which should be obvious to anyone who has seen the sheer number of people bent over their phones, surfing the web and updating their social networks. In 2012, over 712 million smartphone units were sold (Apple and Samsung dominating in this sector with 51.3 percent of total sales according to a Gartner report). Compared the 491 million sold in 2011, this is a 47 percent increase.
In contrast, the mobile market’s sales overall dropped 1.7 percent from nearly 1.78 billion units sold in 2011, down to 1.75 billion in 2012 according to Gartner’s latest mobile report. This is the first time since 2009 that sales of mobile phones decreased.
After weeks of drilling with an environmentally safe hot water drill, scientists have found that Whillans Lake, a 60-square kilometer body of water underneath the Ross Ice Shelf in West Antarctica, is home to about 1,000 bacteria per millimeter of water. That’s approximately one-tenth the amount in the oceans, but what stands out about these microbes is that they require no sunlight to live.
Appendix Evolved More Than 30 Times, May Be Useful After All
by Colin Barras
The appendix may not be useless after all. The worm-shaped structure found near the junction of the small and large intestines evolved 32 times among mammals, according to a new study. The finding adds weight to the idea that the appendix helps protect our beneficial gut bacteria when a serious infection strikes.
Charles Darwin was one of the first scientists to theorize on the function of the appendix, which in his day had been identified only in humans and other great apes. He hypothesized that the distant ancestors of these animals survived on a diet of leaves, and so they required a large cecum, a portion of the gut that houses bacteria that can break down stubborn plant tissue. Later, he speculated, these ancestors shifted to a largely fruit-based diet that was easier to digest. A large cecum was no longer necessary, and it began to shrink; today our cecum is tiny. Darwin thought the appendix, which juts off of the cecum, is one of its former folds that shriveled up as the cecum shrank. Consequently, he thought it carried no function.
But some scientists have challenged the idea that the appendix serves no purpose. It’s been clear for about a century that the structure contains a particular type of tissue belonging to the lymphatic system. This system carries the white blood cells that help fight infections. Within the last decade, research has shown that this lymphatic tissue encourages the growth of some kinds of beneficial gut bacteria. What’s more, careful anatomical study of other mammals has revealed that species as diverse as beavers, koalas, and porcupines also have a structure jutting off of their guts in exactly the same place as our appendix—in other words, the feature is much more common among mammals than once thought…
(read more: Science NOW)
(image: istockphoto/Thinkstock; (Inset) Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock)
Northern Lights - recent aurora in green and red waves, USA and Canada below, the universe above.
Ina Fried reporting on HBO’s Eric Kessler talking at AllThingsD’s D: Dive Into Media conference:
As for why the company doesn’t just get directly on Apple TV, Kessler said, “We will get on Apple TV, as we’ve said all along.”
I get why there would be a hold up putting HBO Go on Apple TV — Apple fully controls the apps that appear on that device and negotiating with Apple is never easy. But why did it take HBO this long to enable AirPlay in their app when rivals did it months ago? Leverage against Apple, I have to assume. (And now that it’s already been reported that HBO Go is coming directly to Apple TV, no more leverage required…)
It will be great to be able to watch HBO content on the Apple TV. But don’t forget that you still need that cable television subscription to get access to HBO Go in the first place. Which is fucking lame.
If you’ve had any sustained glitches with your Surface RT, check for a software update — Microsoft might just have sorted it out. A February refresh pushing out today should mend problems with WiFi reliability that have led to the tablet showing “Limited” access. It also eliminates sluggishness…
Apple released iOS 6.1.1 Tuesday and the Evad3rs team, which cracked iOS 6.1, almost immediately re-released its updated universal untethered jailbreak tool.
Redsn0w, another hacking team, also released its jailbreak for iOS 6.1.1, though it is a tethered version, which means that it must be re-jailbroken every time your device is rebooted.
Draw some random points on a piece of paper and join them up to make a random polygon. Find all the midpoints and connecting them up to give a new shape, and repeat. The resulting shape will get smaller and smaller, and will tend towards an ellipse! [code] [more] [bigger version]
John Downer Productions (JDP) dispatched robotic penguins to colonies of emperor penguins in Antarctica, rockhopper penguins on the Falkland Islands and Humboldt penguins in the Atacama Desert of Peru. BBC’s new documentary “Penguins: Spies in the Huddle” is filmed from 50 spycams, all of them designed to fit right into their new habitats without adding the disruption of human interference.
The cameras are disguised as penguins and chicks, or inanimate objects such as rocks and and eggs. The company even recycled a snowball cam from its film about polar bears - “Spy on the Ice,” which can roll across the terrain and has no visible moving parts.