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A plane with the top speed of a homing pigeon is set to embark on a landmark round-the-world flight powered only by the sun's energy, organisers said Tuesday.

Solar Impulse 2, the first solar-powered plane to be able to fly for several days and nights, will land 12 times along its roughly 35,000 kilometre (22,000 mile) trip -- including a five-day stretch above the Pacific Ocean without a drop of fuel.

"We want to demonstrate that clean technology and renewable energy can achieve the impossible," said Solar Impulse chairman Bertrand Piccard, the scion of a dynasty of Swiss scientists-cum-adventurers.

"Renewable energy can become an integral part of our lives, and together we can help save our planet's natural resources."

The plane's route was unveiled Tuesday in Abu Dhabi, where it will begin the journey in late February or early March.

 

 

 

 

Google began turning smartphones into real-time language translators -- of both written and spoken content.

The California-based Internet titan is hoping that, along with making it easier for people to understand one another on their travels, Google Translate will serve as a useful tool for teachers, medical personnel, police and others with important roles in increasingly multi-lingual communities.

The company on Wednesday began rolling out a new version of a free Google Translate application that, in part, lets people point Android or Apple smartphones at signs, menus, recipes or other material written in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish and see it in English.

"We're letting you instantly translate text using your camera, so it's way easier to navigate street signs in the Italian countryside or decide what to order off a Barcelona menu," the Google Translate team said in a blog post.

The feature builds on Word Lens technology that Google acquired last year when it bought Quest Visual, a startup founded by former video game developer Otavio Good.

Word Lens uses video mode in smartphone cameras to scan scenes, identify writing and then display it as if it were written in English, a demonstration by Good revealed.

 

 

 

 

Drones, wearable computing and enormous, immersive TVs were in the spotlight at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show which wrapped up Friday in Las Vegas.

Another big draw was the auto industry's newest connected cars that can be virtually autonomous, and quirky alternative transportation solutions such as scooters and Segway-like vehicles.

Smaller items ranging from the $5 "selfie stick" to the $6,000 Tonino Lamborghini smartphone also drew interest at the massive technology event.

The vastly expanded drone category was one of the hottest, with more than a dozen exhibitors, at a time when the US government is evaluating regulations for the flying devices.

"Drones were very big, they were everywhere. It was almost like being in an airport," said Roger Kay of the consultancy Endpoint Technologies Associates.

Kay said he was impressed with the array of televisions which promise a more realistic picture with "4K" resolution, which have now become affordable enough to allow many consumers to upgrade.

"Samsung's 103-inch bendable display was astounding to look at," Kay said. "Curved displays were a huge thing."

Behind beautiful screens was a budding battle to the software brains in home entertainment centers. Samsung caused a buzz by announcing it will open its smart television platform to outside developers and rival manufacturers in a bid to be the de facto standard. But Google's rival Android TV also gain adopters.

- Wearables, wearables -

Wearable technology was seen in just about every size and shape imaginable -- in shirts, socks, shoes, bras, jewelry, headgear, for fitness and health, medical monitoring and for keeping tabs on children and pets.

 

 

 

The Consumer Electronics Association, which organizes the annual show, projected that US wearable unit sales will reach 30.9 million units, up 61 percent, and generate $5.1 billion in revenue in 2015 -- a 133 percent increase. Most of these are fitness bands and trackers, with smart watches and eyewear also gaining.

And yet some analysts remain skeptical about long-term prospects for wearables.

"We can't get enough of these watches and fitness trackers," said Ramon Llamas, analyst at the research firm IDC, at a forum on the sidelines of CES.

"But the fundamental question is whether wearables is a solution in search of a problem."

Industry trackers report that the abandonment rate of fitness wearables is typically measured in weeks or months.

- Music in the air -

Music was an area seeing new innovation, especially in areas to boost the quality of audio for smartphones and tablets. High-resolution audio was in focus with Sony's $1,200 luxury version of its once-hip Walkman portable music player, and others unveiled sophisticated wireless earbuds, and technology for 360-degree or 3D sound.

Mobile phones that were once stars of the annual CES gadget extravaganza took a back seat to other unveilings but one which drew attention was the powerful and sleek LG G Flex 2 with a curved screen and self-healing back cover.

 

sainsb

 

Herbert Morrison Primary School entertained customers with a selection of Christmas songs at Sainsbury’s Nine Elms Temp Store

The aisles of Sainsbury’s in Nine Elms Temp Store were filled with music and festive spirit on Friday 12th December 2014 as the Herbert Morrison Primary School pupils performed a selection of Christmas songs and carols.

The group was invited by colleagues to entertain customers with classics such as Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer, Silent Night and fundraise for the schools fund.

Sainsbury’s stores across the UK were taking part in the nationwide sing along and inviting their Local Charity partners to take part and kick start the Christmas celebrations.

 

 

Cambridge University has come top of an universal association table distributed today positioning foundations on the employability of their  graduates.

The college climbs from third place a year ago – thumping Oxford University, which moves down to fourth place, off the top spot. In any case, the coordinators of the alliance table – French human assets consultancy Emerging and German surveying organization Trendence – have issued a cautioning to Western colleges that Asian organizations could be going to thump them off their perch.the table demonstrates the extent of Asian colleges in the main 150 has multiplied in the previous four years from 10 every penny to 20 every penny.

 

 

Nobel prize week can prompt uncomfortable soul-searching at universities in Latin America, which has produced relatively few winners in the sciences -- a symptom, experts say, of the region's struggles in higher education.

Latin America's universities are often overcrowded, underfunded institutions where most professors do not have doctoral degrees and many students end up dropping out.

After increasing investment in higher education over the past two decades, the region has more than doubled enrollment and increased its production of scientific papers more than six-fold, to 4.3 percent of world output.

"But the bad news is that the quantity has not necessarily been accompanied by quality," said Jorge Balan, an Argentine sociologist and higher education specialist at Columbia University in New York.

"We have more scientists than in the past, more full-time university faculty, faculty which is better prepared, and their production has increased. But the quality of research is not as good in international terms."

Latin America's universities are largely absent from world rankings, and those that do make the cut come in far from the top.

In the most recent Times Higher Education rankings, no Latin American university made the top 200.

 

 

 

The best ranked, the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, made the top 225 but came in behind institutions in other emerging markets like Russia, South Africa and Turkey.

And few Latin American researchers have gained international recognition at the highest levels.

Latin Americans have won the Nobel peace and literature prizes 14 times, but just seven times in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine and economics -- a drought that has continued at this year's Nobels, which wrap up Monday with the awarding of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

The brain drain also remains a problem for universities, with much of the best talent moving to Europe and the United States.

Across the region, fewer than one in 10 university professors has a PhD.

"In most of Latin America the academic profession is not a full-time profession. Most of these folks are part-timers who get paid very little and who have other jobs to be able to make a living," said Philip Altbach, director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College.

"You can't build a top-flight university on the basis of part-time faculty. That's kind of an iron law. You can't get around that."

 

Students also face daunting obstacles to get their degrees.

In countries like Argentina and Mexico, tertiary education is built around public universities that aim to provide free or low-cost education to anyone who can meet basic requirements.

The University of Buenos Aires and National Autonomous University of Mexico are sprawling institutions with hundreds of thousands of students, most of whom never graduate -- a system Altbach called "Darwinian."

Just 25 percent of admitted students graduate in Argentina. In Mexico, the figure is 30 percent.

High dropout rates mean resources devoted to higher education are being used inefficiently, said Liz Reisberg, an independent education consultant who has studied Latin America for 30 years.

"There's been massive investment in improving higher education, but the priority has been to focus on access -- building more institutions, creating more access for more people," she said.

As the region fights to reverse deeply entrenched inequality, what it needs, she argued, is a diversified system with more private institutions, technical training and community colleges for students who may not want or need traditional university degrees.

That, and more research funding -- particularly from the private sector.

 

 

 

Ocean acidification has risen by a quarter since pre-industrial times as a result of rising carbon emissions, casting a shadow over the seas as a future source of food, scientists warned on Wednesday.

In the past two centuries, the sea's acidity level has risen 26 percent, mirroring the proportion of carbon dioxide it absorbs from the air, they said in a report to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting in South Korea.

Rising acidity will have damaging consequences for shellfish, corals and other calcium-making organisms which play a vital part in the food web, they said.

"It is now nearly inevitable that within 50 to 100 years, continued anthropogenic [man-made] carbon dioxide emissions will further increase ocean acidity to levels that will have widespread impacts... on marine organisms and ecosystems and the goods and services they provide," they said.

Acidification may already be affecting shellfish farms in the northwestern United States, they said.

 

 

 

 

On Friday 26th September, Herbert Morrison’s Primary School held a coffee morning for Macmillan, with ingredients kindly donated by Sainsbury’s. Colleagues from the Nine Elms store Andy Robins, Anton Blair and Mohammed Abdul donated cakes, napkins, milk and coffee to the school.

Vanessa Bennett, a teacher from the school paid the store a visit with a few pupils to pick up the donations from the store colleagues, and thank them for their kind donation.

Vanessa said: ‘’Our Macmillan coffee morning was a great success, the cakes and coffee donated by Sainsburys Nine Elms were a real treat. All proceeds will go towards supporting Macmillan.’’

 

 

A lucky koala was recovering Friday after being caught by firefighters when it fell unconscious from a tree before being given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Emergency crews were called to the Melbourne suburb of Langwarrin on Thursday night after reports that an injured animal was lying on the road after being hit by a car.

When officials arrived, they found the furry native marsupial had climbed a tree for shelter and firefighters were brought in to bring it down.

"We believed it had died in the tree, just when we were trying to rescue it," Langwarrin Country Fire Authority's Sean Curtin told Fairfax radio.

"Then it fell out of the tree and the members caught it in a blanket."

A wildlife officer on the scene then performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, while another rescuer pumped its chest to revive its heart.

"We put it on O2 oxygen therapy to assist in getting some oxygen into the blood flow of the koala," Curtin added.

The koala -- nicknamed Sir Chompsalot by the firefighters -- was taken to the Animalia Wildlife Shelter where he was "well and eating" Friday.

Thought to number in excess of 10 million before British settlers arrived in 1788, there are now believed to be as few as 43,000 koalas left in the wild, though their existence high in the treetops makes them difficult to count.

 

"There is an ancient wisdom: the cause

for every end is hidden in the beginning."

Rigden Djapo (the ALLATRA book)

Millions of dollars have already been invested in the research of anti-aging.

The search for the elixir of longevity fascinated scientists at different times, and now businessmen of various levels are also funding research in the field of gerontology, the extension of human life. Public information sources confirm such financing. Among investors in the development of research laboratories and clusters are:

Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders of Google;

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook;

Yuri Milner, the founder of DST Global (projects: Odnoklassniki (Classmates), VK social network, Mail.ru and others);

Oleg Deripaska, the founder of the Basic Element holding;

Timur Artemyev, co-founder of Euroset;

Dmitry Zimin, Honorary President of VimpelCom company and many others.

The sums invested in the search for a cure for old age are calculated in tens of millions of dollars. The task that representatives of the scientific community set before themselves is the extension of the active period of life in an elderly person. Research is being done with laboratory mice. An extension of a rodent's life by 10-25% is considered successful. Scientists have proven the fact that a person's potential is estimated at 100-120 years. Only a few make bold statements about the radical extension of human life and significantly going beyond the limit for the species. Among public gerontologists who talk about the possibility of significant prolongation of human life is the British researcher Aubrey de Grey.

Going beyond the limit for the species and extending life up to 250 years is a reality of today.

The bold statement of the famous British scientist is not that fantastic. Today, Ukrainian scientist, natives of the former Soviet Union, has conducted scientific experiment on lab mice in a closed laboratory. At the beginning of the experiment, the biological age of the animals was above average and equalled to 65 years of the human age. A few months later, due to the overall regeneration of the organism, which followed only after three repeated injections of the experimental drug, the biological age of laboratory animals equalled to 35-40 human years. And most importantly, it remained so until the animals were withdrawn from the experiment, which happened when their actual age exceeded the limit for the species by more than two times.

These scientific studies have actually confirmed the possibility of a significant prolongation of the human life and going beyond the conventional ideas about human longevity. When translated into the human world, modern society has a chance to live more than 200 years. In a private conversation, the Ukrainian scientist who made the discovery spoke of the functional capabilities of the human organism and the possibility to live without biological aging up to 1000 years.

Society turned out to be unprepared for the prospect of longevity.

Synthesizing a cure for old age, conducting studies on humans and putting the drug on sale is just a question of time. The knowledge to do it already exists! However, the author of the study states that prolongation of human life by at least two times poses serious risks and threats to humanity. These risks are connected primarily with the domination of the consumerist model of development in society.

Risk #1. Taking possession of the knowledge and limiting access to injections against old age.

Scientist is seriously concerned by the desire of people in power to take hold of the knowledge. Modern science has known many cases in which developments, having fallen into the hands of corporations or people who stand behind them, became classified and withdrawn from public access. The unique discovery in the field of gerontology can be used to build a multibillion-dollar business empire, and access to the drug against old age will be severely limited or the knowledge will be removed. How will society benefit from this discovery then? A narrow circle of priests and politicians will continue to build their empire of power. The social divide will become more pronounced: the rich will continue to get richer and the poor, poorer. We are seeing this now.

Risk #2. Overpopulation of the Earth.

As of today, there exists the problem of constant growth of the world population:

In 1900, the population of the planet was 1.65 billion people;

In 1960 - 3 billion people (despite the fact that humanity survived two world wars);

In 2000 - 6.7 billion people;

On November 1st, 2011 - 7 billion people.

It is obvious that with the advent of the drug against old age and prolongation of human life by at least 200 years, the problem of overpopulation of the Earth will become more acute, which in its turn is connected with three subsequent risks.

Risk #3. Intensification of social inequality.

With the increase of Earth’s population, the number of people in the world who are living below the poverty line is on the rise even today. Among more than 7 billion people on Earth, 2.6 billion people live on less than $2 per day. According to the World Bank, the increase in food prices has contributed to the transition of about 44 million people into poverty since June 2010.

Against the backdrop of about 40% of the population living below the poverty line, according to Forbes magazine, 1,645 of the world's richest people became richer over the past year by 1 trillion US dollars. Their combined capital equals US $6.4 trillion. Interestingly, 268 new people were added to the list of billionaires in 2013. At the same time, according to another source - the analytical data of the World Organization of Creditors (WOC) - 61 million people in the world receive the same income as 3.5 billion people with the lowest income. In other words, for every dollar received by the world's wealthiest, the poorest receive 1.7 cents.

The poverty of Earth’s inhabitants is an artificially created problem that can be solved within just a few years. For this to happen, those 1,645 people on the list of the richest people need only to direct 25% of their capital towards reducing social tensions. But are we seeing this in practice?  The nominal or declarative fight against poverty continues to increase social inequality, much of which is likely to get worse with the prolongation of life. Lives of the poor will be inextricably linked to the constant struggle for survival.

Risk #4. Depletion of natural resources

Consumer attitude toward Earth’s natural resources has already led to serious environmental problems - land, air and water pollution. Deforestation, pumping oil and gas, and greenhouse gas emissions are causing climate change on the planet. What will happen to the ecology if the number of people living on our planet doubles? And if it triples? ..

This being said, modern society possesses technologies which allow us to turn the planet into a blooming garden and put the environment in order. However, people in power prefer to extract super-profit for the sake of economic feasibility and continue to hold power in their hands. If the situation does not change now, it will not change when the anti-aging drug appears, but, on the contrary, it may become worse.

Risk #5. Destruction of civilization: wars and natural disasters

On the one hand, there is a more intense growth in negativity and the brewing of social unrest, which is usually accompanied by demonstrations, protests, local military conflicts and revolutions that often lead to the death of civilians. On the other hand, nature starts responding to people's consumer attitude towards itself in the form of natural disasters, which have become more frequent, awakening volcanoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural phenomena.

The prolongation of people’s lives in this model of development is a ticking time bomb, which can ultimately lead to the death of the entire civilization. Either the society will destroy itself in a war for domination or nature itself will do the trick.