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THE CURATOR

Banking on models

US to create worlds fastest computer by 2025


Reuters

Internet in the sky: FBs drone ready for tests

Machines Speed
To Be 30 Times
More Than
Todays PCs

DIGITALIZING THE WORLD: Facebooks solar-powered drone Aquila has a


140-ft wingspan and can fly at high altitudes for up to three months. It will use
lasers to send internet signals to remote parts of the world

acebook said it will begin test flights later this year for a
solar-powered drone with a wingspan as big as a Boeing 737, in the
next stage of its campaign to deliver internet connectivity to remote
parts of the world. The drone has a 140-foot wingspan, weighing less than
1,000 pounds. Designed to fly at high altitudes for up to three months, it
will use lasers to send internet signals to stations on the ground.
Though FB is better known for online software, engineers in a unit
called the Connectivity Lab are working on designing a laser
communications system they hope will be accurate enough to hit a
target the size of a dime at a distance of 11 miles, said Yael Maguire,
director of the unit. The project is part of a broader effort that also
contemplates using satellites and other gear to deliver net service to
millions of people living in regions too remote for broadband networks.
Google is experimenting with high-altitude balloons as well as
drones and satellites. Microsoft has funded a project that will transmit
internet signals over unused television airwaves. AP

computer. Such ultrafast machines are seen as potentially


transformative tools in forecasting weather or unlocking mysteries of the human brain through
the simulation of its operations.
This is an important step for

the National Strategic Computing Initiative, represents an


American commitment to gain
an upper hand in an increasingly
competitive race for the fastest
supercomputers. China currently has the fastest machine, the

Daniel Victor

TYRA BANKS: Todays models are always on

ts easier to now become a model, but its harder


once you become one, says Tyra Banks whose sizzling good looks made her one of the worlds top models at the turn of the century. To illustrate how much
has changed since her earlier modelling days, the
supermodel posted a Throwback Thursday photo on
Instagram last month of herself backstage at an Yves
Saint Laurent show in sneakers, plaid flannel and bad
jeans. The model-turned-TV-personality noted that
Yves Saint Laurent couldnt care less how I looked
when I arrived to his show, highlighting the difference between then and now, when a model has to
always be on. Social media also controls the assignments models get today, she said. They have to post
pictures of themselves constantly on social media.
They have to make sure they have a lot of likes
because if they dont have a lot of likes theyre not
going to get booked for the job even though theyre
the best model, she told EOnlines Alyssa Toomey.
FOR MORE: EONLINE.COM

Cross controversy

he orthodox church of Serbia has run into


unexpected resistance after it announced plans to
construct a giant steel cross on Mount Stolovi, near
the town of Kraljevo. Weighing a more than 40 tonnes,
it will be lit up at night by solar power or a small wind
turbine, according to Ljubinko Kostic, the priest in
charge of the project. The cross will be 33.5m tall,
because that is how old Jesus was when he was crucified. Its hard to say how much it will cost, certainly
over 100,000 euros, he said. The church hopes to
raise funds through donations, but the cost has made
Serbians uncomfortable. While some believers have
praised the plan, many argued that the money should
be used to feed the poor or help sick children. Nikola
Knezevic, an expert in church matters, said that the
cross was an attempt to highlight religious domination, in which the cross should be a symbol of the
domination of Orthodoxy in this region.

S President Barack Obama has announced an ambitious plan to build the


worlds fastest computer, a machine capable of speeds far beyond technologys current reach,
in a bid to enlarge the frontiers of
fields, including medicine, biology and astronomy.
By 2025, the government will
aim to create a machine capable of
performing quintillion operations
asecond, or one exaflop, roughly 30
times faster than todays fastest

Humans have evolved


to cope with texting
while walking: Study
Siobhan Fenton

nyone who has ever


walked down a busy
British street will be familiar with the sight of mobile phone users bent over
their devices whilst they text.
moodboard/Corbis

FOR MORE: BALKANINSIGHT.COM

Repatriating statues

set of Soviet-era statues which were recently


removed from the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius
have been offered a home in the Russian town of
Sovetsk. If these sculptures arent needed in Vilnius, that means well have them here in Sovetsk,
Nikolai Voishchev, the citys mayor said, adding:
Theres a connection between Sovetsks historical
past and the Soviet sculptures. Authorities in Vilnius have acknowledged Voischevs offer and say
they will consider it in the autumn.
FOR MORE: BBC.COM

15

TRENDS

TIMES

THE TIMES OF INDIA, PUNE


SATURDAY, AUGUST 1, 2015

SPECIAL MOVEMENT PATTERN

Researchers claim to have


found that the phenomenon is
now so much a part of modern
day life that humans have developed a special movement
pattern to cope with texting
whilst walking.
A protective shuffle has
apparently evolved to protect
phone users from banging in-

to other people or objects in


their environment.
The phenomenon was
noted by academics at the Universities of Bath and Texas
who describe the new movement as people travelling at a
much slower pace, with large,
often exaggerated gestures.
To test the theory, scientists asked participants to
walk round a specially designed obstacle course whilst
attempting to text. The environment was altered to simulate everyday encounters such
as steps, curbs and people.
Researchers then noted
how they altered their movement to cope with the reduced
focus and vision. They found
that those who were texting
took 26% longer to complete
the course.
Last year, authorities in
Chongqing, China, introduced a 30-metre wide cellphone lane in a bid to reduce
accidents.
US emergency departments treat around a thousand
people a year with texting related injuries. THE INDEPENDENT

high performance computing in


the US, Horst Simon, a computer science expert and deputy director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory said.
The order, which establishes
a cross-government body called

Tianhe-2, which can carry out


nearly 34 quadrillion operations
per second, according to The Top
500 List, a ranking of the worlds
most powerful computers.
The US has the second-fastest
machine, a Department of Ener-

FOUND: EXOPLANET CLOSEST TO SOLAR SYSTEM


AFP

STELLAR FIND: A Nasa image


shows an artists conception of the
nearest rocky exoplanet found
outside our solar system. Nasa
confirmed its existence through
Spitzer Space Telescope. The
exoplanet is about 21 light years
away and is called HD 219134b. It is
1.6 times the size of Earth and orbits
too close to its star to sustain life.
Scientists predict that the planet,
having a density of 3.5 ounces
per cubic inch, would have a rocky,
partially molten surface with
geological activity, including
volcanoes. Rocky planets such as
this one, with bigger-than-Earth
proportions, belong to a growing
class of planets called super-Earths

Japanese whisky heads to space

Tokyo: A Japanese brewing and


distilling company is sending its
whisky and other alcoholic beverage samples to the International
Space Station (ISS) next month to
study the effect of zero gravity on
the flavour of the drinks.
Suntory Holdings will send a
total of six samples to the ISS,
where they will be kept for at least
a year to study the effect zero gravity has on the ageing process and
the taste of the products. A company spokesman said the samples, which will be carried in glass
flasks, will include both a 21-year-

old single malt and a beverage


that has just been distilled.
With the exception of some
items like beer, alcoholic beverages are widely known to develop a
mellow flavour when aged for a

EFFECT OF GRAVITY
long time. Although researchers
have taken a variety of scientific
approaches to elucidate the underlying mechanism, it is not
clear how this occurs.
The companys research suggests the probability that mellow-

ness develops by promoted formation of the high-dimensional


molecular structure in the alcoholic beverage in environments
where liquid convection is suppressed. On the basis of these results, the space experiments will
be conducted to verify the effect
of the convection-free state created by a microgravity environment to the mellowing of alcoholic beverage, the company said.
The samples will be carried to
the ISS on August 16 on Japan
Aerospace Exploration Agencys
transfer vehicle Kounotori. PTI

Times of India, Pune, August 1, 2015. Pp.15

gy supercomputer that runs more


than 17 quadrillion operations a
second. Intel and Cray are collaborating on a Department of Energy
project to create a system that
would run at 180 quadrillion operations a second, with a deadline of
2018. Other world powers, including Russia, India and the EU, are
also eyeing similar speeds.
Any effort to unlock the technology to faster computing will
have to be paired with effort to reduce the amount of power it
would require. If an exaflop-capable machine used todays technology, it would need its own
power plant to run. The question
has vexed scientists, although
some see potential solutions.
The initiative will coordinate
efforts across multiple federal
agencies, including the Federal
Bureau of Investigation, the National Institutes of Health, the
White House said. NYT NEWS SERVICE

Spinal cord
stimulation
helps paralysed
men move legs
Los Angeles: A new non-invasive method of stimulating
the spinal cord has for the
first time allowed five completely paralysed men to move their
legs in a walking motion, scientists say.
The strategy, called transcutaneous stimulation, delivers electrical current to the
spinal cord by way of electrodes strategically placed on
the skin of the lower back.
In the study, the mens movements occurred while their legs
were suspended in braces that
hung from the ceiling, allowing
them to move freely without resistance from gravity.
Movement in this environment is not comparable to
walking; nevertheless, the results signal significant progress towards the eventual
goal of developing a therapy
for a wide range of individuals with spinal cord injury.
The study was conducted
by a team at the University of
California, Los Angeles; University of California, San
Francisco; and the Pavlov Institute, St Petersburg, Russia. PTI