JetBlue Switching To Revolutionary Customer Service App...

The average workplace manager spends between 25% and 40% of their time in conflict management. This can be frustrating to both the manager doing the conflict resolution and the individuals involved in the conflict, especially if it’s a customer. The goal is to provide the best customer service possible, which isn’t always successful. To help managers track their customer-support related tasks, developers created task management software and similar applications. And now, companies are seeking to expand this software, including JetBlue, who expanded their customer service platform to track users across a wide variety of systems. The airline is partnering up with a startup called Gladly, which provides a more modern web app for customer service operations. Using this program, JetBlue hopes it can track customer emails, phone messages, and texts, as well as tweets and Facebook messages, to make their customer service systems run more smoothly. This is an overhaul of their entire current customer service operation, making it all into a single feed. Frankie Littleford, a co-founder of the airline and its vice president of customer support, told The Verge that he was thankful for the streamlined system, as most customers use more than one channel to communicate. “Seventy-one percent of customers use at least three channels to communicate. Gladly is going to take all of those communications and consolidate it into one platform. So instead of our crew members today having to have multiple applications open, toggling between screens, and maybe because of inactivity being logged out of one application and having to log back in and piece things together, this tool brings everything into one view in one application.” With the new system, a customer can tweet at the airline about missing their flight, follow up with a phone call, move...

Future Of USB Is Here In USB 3.2...

On average there are at least three billion USB ports shipped every year, making it one of the most popular types of connection technology in the world. Virtually every computer and smartphone contains a USB port. USB 3.1 has been the leading USB standard for a few years now, but it is backward compatible with its predecessor USB 2.0. However, a new version has been revealed that could shake the computer technology world and increase speeds like never before. The USB 3.2 is expected to be up to double current USB speeds when compared to the current USB technology. The current USB is the 3.1, which runs at the same speed as the USB 3.0, much to the disappointment of technology buffs across the nation. The USB 3.1 transfers data at a speed of 10 gigabits per second using two lanes, while the USB 3.2 tech aims to double that to 20 gigabits per second, with the same two lane technology. Unfortunately, however, the devices you’re using will have to support the newest USB hardware and come with the modern connectors, or the USB-C. As such, there is a lot of focus at pushing the industry to update its hardware. The plus side, however, is that once these upgrades do come out, users won’t need to get newer cables. The USB-C is designed to eventually work with higher-speeds. Making them a future-friendly option for electronics owners. “A USB 3.2 host connected to a USB 3.2 storage device will now be capable of realizing over 2 GB/sec data transfer performance over an existing USB Type-C cable that is certified for SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps,” explained the USB Promoter Group. The Chairman of the USB Promoter Group, Brad Saunders, added further explanation: “When we introduced USB...

Arizona Dentist Takes Americans Across Border to Mexico For Cheaper Dental Care...

According to Business Insider, back in 2016, it was estimated that over 1 million Americans would travel across the border, either into Mexico or Canada, to receive health care. Due to the staggering costs of medical care in the United States, many Americans consistently search for quality healthcare at a cheaper price. And that is exactly what Mark McMahon is looking to help with. As a former Tuscon, Arizona dentist, McMahon is used to patients complaining about exorbitant healthcare fees. So while he was traveling over the border, he went undercover as a patient to many different Mexican dentist offices to see if the quality of care was up to American standards. He found that the Mexican dental care was on par, if not better, and came up with an idea to help bring Americans over the border in a search of cheaper dental work. Plus, considering that half of all adults say they visit their dentist only every six months, oral care in America is becoming dire simply because of the cost. McMahon noticed that the problem with Americans is that they often let their oral hygiene go until they can’t stand it anymore. This tends to happen because of the high cost of dental procedures. For example, a dental crown and root canal in the United States averages around $2,500 to $3,000, when in Mexico it costs around $800. So, McMahon decided to make a business out of it. He sold his dental practice, set up Coyote Dental, which is a play on smugglers who help immigrants cross the border into the United States, and now drives a car full of Americans across the border every Tuesday and Thursday to Mexican dentists waiting for them. Some of the dentists McMahon works with are...

U.S. Government Rates Tesla Safest Cars In History, IIHS Claims Otherwise...

It is said that at any given moment, 16% of drivers in the U.S. are uninsured. Insurance can play a vital part in post-accident issues, covering the car’s damages, but it doesn’t help much with safety in the moment of the crash. That’s the car’s job. And so, for those who are interested in the Tesla Model S or the Model X, there is good news. According to a statement by a Tesla rep, the U.S. government rated these cars as “the safest cars in history.” “Tesla’s Model S received the highest rating in IIHS’s crash testing in every category except for one, the small overlap front crash test, where it received the second highest rating available. While IIHS and dozens of other private industry groups around the world have methods and motivations that suit their own subjective purposes, the most objective and accurate independent testing of vehicle safety is currently done by the U.S. government, which found Model S and Model X to be the two cars with the lowest probability of injury of any cars that it has ever tested, making them the safest cars in history.” This statement is in direct opposition to one made by the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), which maintained that while the Tesla was the highest scoring in many categories of safety, it’s second-place rating in the small overlap front collision test made less than optimal for car safety. “If you’re looking for top-line safety, we believe there are other, better choices than the Model S,” said the IIHS representative. This claim from the Insurance Institue comes from the results of the test, in which the head of the crash test dummy slammed into the steering wheel. Because of this, they gave the car an...

Tesla’s Daring Plan To Save The Auto Industry, A Fleet Of Self-Driving Cars?...

It’s no secret that startup ride-share company Uber has had some trouble lately, having lost somewhere in the hundreds of millions of dollars trying to keep their competitive edge. They’ve recently lost their CEO, COO, and CFO, and investors are looking rather bleakly at their projected losses. The company’s losses ended up sending them into a crisis just a year after they had been valued at $100 billion. It was supposed to “disrupt the auto industry” in the same way that Tesla was, the article from Buisness Insider states. But even though Uber is suffering some setbacks, some people are still holding out hope that Tesla will save the industry. Self-driving cars have long been an idea of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who now plans on creating a fleet of self-driving cars that are also for ride-sharing purposes, and they could be a way for automakers to keep the industry alive. After a decade of record breaking sales, many are saying that the industry has peaked and that it will now start a slow decline. Tony Huges, the Managing Director of Moody’s Analytics, has argued that it isn’t the cars themselves that will lead to the decline of the auto industry, but the ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft. “Our bold prediction is that if ride-sharing companies become truly huge, they will seek to buy vehicle manufacturers and shift research and development efforts firmly in the direction of cost reduction and reliability,” he says. The idea that cars will start to only be seen as a method of transportation will be the reason that they end up declining, Hughes told The Street. “The nature of the vehicles by my reasoning will be that they become more homogeneous where ride-sharing is everywhere. If [vehicles are...

Could Electronic Devices Play a Role In Carpal Tunnel Development?...

Smartphones could be leading to a trend among the youth of sore and aching wrists and fingers, according to an article by The Economic Times. Doctors point out that smartphone users have been reporting soreness or numbness in their hands or wrists after an extended period of time texting. The size of the phone doesn’t help in these aspects, as it requires more compressed joint movement. As some may know, smartphones require specialized screws, like a SEMS screw, which combines a fastener and a screw in one. These hybrid microscrews are necessary because the devices are so small. And those small sizes and compressed movements can lead to problems down the road with continued use, says Dr. Sanjeev Kakar, an orthopedic surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “I think we may see more problems in terms of hand disorders, such as tendonitis, repetitive strain injuries, arthritis, thumb arthritis down the road, and even possibly carpal tunnel syndrome. I don’t think this will happen if you’ve texted once in your life. I think the process of doing this over 20 to 30 years may lead to having these problems down the road.” However, despite these potential problems, there have not been any official medical diagnoses based on the technology issue. So just because there are hand and wrist problems, does not mean that smartphone usage is the cause, notes Dr. Kakar. “I think you’d be hard-pressed to have a direct linkage between too much electronic device time and carpal tunnel syndrome,” he says. “I don’t think it’s been proven by this, but it does raise awareness.” A small study published in the journal Muscle and Nerve suggests that using electronic devices for more than five hours a day might affect the nerve in...

Having Your Employees Blog For The Company Could Help Its Brand...

Having an online presence is one of the most important parts of being a business in the modern day and age, with companies that blog 13 times more likely to see a return on investment. Getting a company’s name and brand out into the public eye, and in a positive way, can be difficult for many, especially small businesses. Most smaller companies don’t have the advertising power that a large corporation can throw around, and so they need to find a way to get their name in front of an audience. And that’s where the blog comes in. According to Founder and CEO of JotForm Aytekin Tank, one of the fastest ways to grow the company blog or website is to encourage not just the B2B or B2C content writers to write on it, but the employees, too. “B2B content normally sterilizes the human experience,” says Tank. “Companywide blogging restores it. When you liberate employees to write what they care about, the content can build your brand. Excited people tend to write exciting stuff.” The entrepreneur states that marketers struggle to capture the “passion, expertise, and experiences” of their organization. And that the alternative, mobilizing the entire team together, can be much more rewarding. And he means the entire team. Engineers, designers, HR, sales, and marketers. Any employee with interesting and exciting things to say can and should write for the company. According to the CEO, blogging builds the company brand by unveiling its human nature, instead of relying on products to do that. “Buyers,” he said, “can’t distinguish between products easily. They can, however, differentiate between the thoughts and personalities of sellers.” Tank believes this to be the way to earn not just a mindshare and portion of a customer’s money but build...

What Does HR Technology Mean For Recruitment?...

Technology is being introduced into a great many things, but should it be introduced into the HR departments of businesses? For many companies, using data and information sorting technology has become mainstream, but according to experts, they should not forget the human element. Alexandra Mizzi, senior associate at Howard Kennedy, believes that companies should use the technology, but be willing to account for biases in their systems. “There’s a reason it’s called human resources and not data resources,” she said. “Tech must not be allowed to run away with itself.” This comes from the idea that companies are becoming more and more reliant on using algorithms and data statistics to recruit, rather than meeting with potential applicants face to face. “HR must also take a proactive role in ensuring that recruitment technology does not promote bias against candidates with particular diversity characteristics,” she said. By this same logic, Andy Campbell, senior director of HCM strategy at Oracle, believes that instead of thinking of employees as “cogs in the wheel” of the company, businesses should think of them as customers. “HR also risks alienating employees through its use of data and technology if it does not consider the end user,” he said. Employers often overlook how smart use of HR tech can improve the employee experience. Many programs offer the ability to give performance reviews and evaluations based on how that individual did, but instead of giving that data immediately, HR waits until an annual or bi-annual review. “Millennials expect continuous feedback, but performance management systems make it annual or bi-annual,” he said. “The system is all wrong.” Recognizing and giving good feedback to employees can have a positive impact on businesses and increase employee retention. According to studies, 86% of companies with employee recognition...

Technology Helping Fight the Global Pollution Epidemic...

Pollution remains one of the most damaging and immediate concerns across the world. Scientists, researchers, and developers are constantly working to find innovative solutions to the world’s pollution issues, and drones might be the answer this generation was looking for. “Most of what we know about air pollution is based on ground-level date, but that’s not where many of the emissions are happening,” said Markus Hilpert, an Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the Mailman School. “Without a drone, it’s not safe or it can be difficult to take these kind of measurements.” Hilpert and his team recently became the first group of researchers to be approved by Columbia University to use drones for scientific researcher in the United States. The School of Engineering research team, along with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, are building a multirotor drone helicopter to measure pollution coming from industrial smokestacks. The drone will be able to ascend up to 400 feet and collect otherwise impossible-to-get-to air samples for lab analysis. Although air pollution is a major problem, there are still plenty of pollution issues taking place on the ground level. Luckily, there are non-profit organizations, volunteer groups, and environmentally conscious companies that are doing all they can to help preserve the environment and combat pollution. Each week, for example, GreenDrop stops roughly 100 tons of used clothes, electronics, and other harmful items from being carelessly tossed into landfills. As reported by KRWG, drones are also being used to take aerial photos of landfills in order to provide a reliable, comprehensive look at the images and figure out potential solutions. “Every tiny black dot on the phone image is a location where the drone has taken a picture,” said Don Gray of Gordon Environment/PSC. “When the photos are processed,...

Flying Car Launches Out Of Silicon Valley...

If you have been waiting to own a flying car, your chance may come by the end of the year. Of course, people have been saying that about hoverboards for years. Silicon Valley’s flying car startup, Kitty Hawk, has taken to the sky, and their product may be available for purchase very soon. Business Insider reports that Kitty Hawk President Sebastian Thrun recently tweeted a video showing a prototype flying over a body of water. According to The New York Times, the project is backed by Alphabet CEO Larry Page (Alphabet is the parent company of Google), adding to the list of companies attempting to make vehicular flight a reality. Kitty Hawk has not yet revealed the final price of the vehicle, but they are offering a $2,000 discount for anyone who puts down a $100 early deposit. This may also include test flights. “Our mission is to make the dream of personal flight a reality,” Kitty Hawk says on their website. “We believe when everyone has access to personal flight, a new, limitless world of opportunity will open up to them. At Kitty Hawk, we engineer, design and build safe, fun, easy-to-fly aircraft.” While most mechanics recommend rotating your tires about every 7,500 miles, flying cars could let you remove that step from your maintenance list, seamlessly soaring on your morning commute. The first Kitty Hawk model is designed to fly over water, as it does not require the licensure of traditional aircraft operation, according to the company’s website. The New York Times reports that the company qualifies under a Federal Aviation Administration category for ultralight aircrafts. “The Kitty Hawk Flyer is a new, all-electric aircraft,” the website reads. “It is safe, tested and legal to operate in the United States in uncongested...

This Company Turns Old Shipping Containers Into Heated Swimming Pools...

In the era of ultimate mobility, innovative housing solutions are constantly evolving. Modular homes, for example, are becoming an increasingly viable option for people who want to customize both the design and location of their living space. And while modular homes are so durable that they can be built to withstand 175-mph winds, another ‘modular’ technology is rapidly making its way toward popularity as well. Meet Modpool, a relocatable, digitally controlled, above-ground mini-pool made out of a shipping container. Modpool technology is something straight out of the future. These unique pools can be installed within mere minutes, as opposed to traditional pools, which can take days to get up and running. Not only that, but they can be heated up to a balmy 84 degrees in just a few short minutes, even in freezing temperatures. And while these pools are certainly lacking in size compared to traditional pools, the sleek design and cost savings are well worth it. “What we mean when we say it can be set up in minutes, is that it delivers as fully functional, so all the plumbing, heater and electrical are all built into the pool,” Sammy Diab, Modpool general manager, tells New Atlas. “So once you lay it on the foundations, you make two service connections, which are really just your gas connection and an electrical plug. And once you fill it with water, it is ready to go.” In 2015, about 21.23 million people lived in a house that had a pool. And while the campground industry in America grossed about $5 billion in 2013, swimming is also consistently regarded as one of America’s most popular outdoor activities for both children and adults alike. It can burn 650 calories in just an hour, making it great exercise....

2017 Solar Eclipse to be Livestreamed by NASA...

As the 2017 solar eclipse approaches, many people have found they will not be able to make it out to see this wonderous event. Luckily, NASA has come up with a unique and ideal solution so that everyone can enjoy the incredible view. Whether it’s because hotels are filling up too quickly or they simply cannot find the time, many people will be stuck at home while the first eclipse visible to Americans on either coast in 99 years passes them by. It’s been reported that the best spots are already gone, booked out months in advanced. But, that doesn’t mean one has to miss out on it completely. While nothing can beat the wonder and awe of actually being there to witness the eclipse, NASA has come up with another solution for those unable to make it out to see it for themselves. Using 57 balloons flying roughly 100,000 feet in the air, they plan to livestream the event online. While not a lot of information has been given out yet, NASA has predicted that this livestream of the solar eclipse could surpass the 2012 Curiosity’s trek on Mars in the number of people watching. Creating these balloons with livestreaming cameras has been a long process. Des Jardins, director of the Montana Space Grant Consortium and leader of the project, said in a recent press release, “We have spent the last three years researching and building the camera payloads and ground stations in preparation for eclipse day. The live-video distribution was the last technical hurdle we needed to overcome, and the partnership with Stream allows us to focus on the payload technology while they handle the video.” For those lucky few who are able to view one of the grandest spectacles our world...

Study Finds Practicing Yoga Regularly May Help Ease Depression...

A small study from Boston University has revealed that twice weekly yoga sessions may play a part in easing depression, thanks in large part to the deep breathing involved with each session. The study was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine and included 30 participants from ages 18 to 64, all of whom were diagnosed with clinical depression. The participants were either not taking any antidepressants or had been prescribed a steady dosage for a minimum period of three months. Half of the study participants were instructed to take Iyengar yoga sessions three times weekly, as well as four 30-minute home sessions on their own each week. Iyengar yoga is an important style for beginners because it focuses on finding modifications to avoid injury. The other half of participants were instructed to take two in-class sessions and three home sessions every week. One of the major benefits of Iyengar yoga, aside from its emphasis on alignment and modification, is the deep breathing exercises that are performed in 20-minute intervals. After approximately three months of attending these sessions, the majority of participants in both groups lowered their scores on depression-screening tests by almost 50%. The group that took additional classes exhibited better results, but they reported that the large time commitment was a challenge that made the assignment more difficult for them. Regardless, even those participants who took fewer classes reported significant results. Dr. Chris Streeter, associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, is the lead author of this study. He explained that while yoga isn’t a traditional treatment method for depression, it still has “far fewer side effects” than anti-depressants and other mood-altering medications. In fact, the only major complaint from study participants was temporary muscle...

Fire Resistant Mattress Stopped Blaze in Washington Warehouse...

A fire-barrier on a Jones Nonwovens mattress is credited with preventing a warehouse from being burned to the ground. After several days of employees complaining of a burning smell, a sales associate discovered one of the warehouse’s heaters had been causing a mattress to smolder for nearly two days. Loepp Furniture stores their mattresses in an old downtown warehouse with heaters that are built directly into the walls. A burned plastic smell began to flood through the warehouse, initially being blamed on either a wiring or lighting problem. However, when a sales associate removed a bed to check the label, he was met with melted plastic cover and singed mattress. It was only thanks to the mattress’ fire-resistant thermally bonded barriers that the whole warehouse did not end up getting burned to the ground. This would’ve cost owner Kevin Portch a large sum of money, not only from the warehouse being lost but the inventory inside the warehouse falling to the fire as well. A typical mattress can last around seven years, but if the fire had spread, all of those mattresses would have been destroyed. Many mattresses in the modern age are investing in fire-resistant technology. Even memory foam mattress toppers are made with material that makes them resistant to fire. This is not only safe for families in the event of a house fire, but, as clearly shown, it is a benefit to employees and owners of furniture businesses as well. The use of this technology continues to prove itself the more it’s being used. And people like Kevin Portch can rest easy, knowing the mattresses they wish to sell are kept safe thanks to fire-resistant...

Swedish Singer Pays Musical Homage to 3D Printed Tumor Models...

The benefits of modeling tumors in 3D are numerous and rarely questioned. With these innovative models, cancer researchers are better able to observe cell-to-cell interactions, growth rates, and gene expressions in 3D than they ever were in a 2D culture. Along with 3D tumor models that use live cells, the popularity of 3D printing has allowed surgeons to better plan out complicated procedures or provide superior education for medical students. But, apparently, 3D tumor models have musical benefits as well. This incredible technology has been memorialized as part of the musical landscape by one Swedish singer-songwriter who knows the importance of such advancements. The tune, written by Jens Lekman, serves as tribute to a personal friend who developed a tumor. He eventually had the tumor removed, but he still owns a 3D printed model of the cancerous growth. The song “Evening Prayer” is surprisingly upbeat, given its subject matter, and is in the style of 70s disco. That contrast is intentional, though. While another artist might have turned the material into a predictably mournful ballad, Lekman wanted the song to have a pop feel, full of vibrancy and life. Lekman says of the song’s conception to NPR: The idea of printing out something that’s as scary as a tumor into its concrete form was something that spoke to me — there is something very liberating about that idea. I think a lot of my anxieties and fears are things that are very abstract. Of the times that I’ve been able to overcome a fear, it’s been by making it something that I can understand, that I can hold on to — just something that’s more tangible. While other musical artists have featured 3D printing in various forms — Björk’s latest world tour included 3D...

High Prices Becoming Issue for Fitness Wearables and Smartwatches...

Usually, after a house and a vehicle, furniture is the third-most expensive item a person will buy during their lifetime. Of course, that’s starting to change in the digital era, now that smartphones and laptops have become so essential. And while furniture items like sofas can typically last up to 15 years, the latest tablet or smartphone will be obsolete in two to three years. Technological advancements are leading to an increase in consumer spending across virtually all industries, but these smart devices come with significant high costs. In particular, the high price tag that comes with fitness trackers and smartwatches is starting to turn off many consumers. Across the board, wearable technology devices are being developed, marketed, and distributed at prices higher than ever before. In general, smartwatches and Fitbit-style fitness trackers are now much too expensive for the majority of people. According to The Motley Fool, the most expensive wearable device in 2016 was the Apple Watch Series 2 Edition, retailing for $1,299. “Dropout from device usage is a serious problem for the industry,” said Angela McIntyre, research director for Gartner. “The abandonment rate is quite high relative to the usage rate.” Readwrite reports that Gartner’s survey shows that nearly one-third of smartwatch or fitness tracker owners end up abandoning the technology after a brief flirtation with wearables. So what’s the solution? McIntyre’s idea is for these companies to improve their marketing approach, the products themselves, and make the prices much more affordable. “To offer a compelling enough value proposition, the uses for wearable devices need to be distinct from what smartphones typically provide,” McIntyre added. “Wearables makers need to engage users with incentives and gamification.” Many of these wearable items would be great gift ideas, but are just too expensive for...

A Peek into the Future of Shopping: How Retailers Are Responding to E-Commerce...

As Americans continue shying away from brick and mortar stores and more towards the online shopping market, retailers have had to revamp their business models to keep up with consumer needs. When it comes to clothes shopping, one of the biggest reasons people still visit these brick and mortar storefronts it to try things on. Since sizes can vary between brands, collections, and cuts, many people still choose to try on their clothes with unfamiliar brands. In general, people also like seeing what the clothes look like on their bodies before they make the commitment to buy. But the future of shopping may be well under way. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has announced that his company has developed a 3D in-store knitting machine that creates custom fitting garments on-demand, instead of displaying handmade garments knit from one of three different needle sizes. The machine was unveiled in mid-January at the National Retail Federation’s annual convention in New York City and has a lot of potential to eliminate unnecessary costs and bring in more profits. “If you end up selling a model of sweater that goes really [fast], you can keep making it here,” said Joe Jensen, general manager of Intel’s retail solutions division. The machine takes about 45 minutes to create a garment, while it can take a human hours to knit or weave a fabric before even creating the garment. Virtual and augmented reality were also highly showcased at the NRF convention. Gap is currently working with Google and San Francisco-based app developer Avametric to continue the development of its app that shows exactly how each piece of clothing in their collection would look on a specific person’s frame, eliminating the stressful need to try clothing on in the dressing room. Not only...

3 Years After Elk River Spill, Advocates Continue Work to Protect Drinking Water...

The third anniversary of the Elk River chemical spill came and went at the beginning of January. Though the chemical spill occurred over three years ago, advocates remember clearly how more than 300,000 West Virginia citizens were left without usable drinking water for over a week. The chemical leak started at Freedom Industries, located just beyond Charleston. The spill created a serious need for new legislation, which is exactly what the West Virginia Legislature did. The legislature passed a bill that required 125 public water facilities across the state to create new water source protection procedures. The new plans included updated lists of potential sources of contamination, as well as new procedures for responding to imminent spills. In addition, public water systems were required to identify alternative water intakes so that in the event of contamination from one source, another could be used. These preventative measures will ensure that customers will still be getting clean water in the event of a spill. Approximately 16,000 chemical spills occur every year when materials are being transferred to trains, trucks, and storage tanks. Evan Hansen, an advisor to the WV Rivers Water Policy Workgroup, explained that the biggest challenge now is implementing the new laws that have been written. Hansen said that some of the newly written laws will “require changes to the state code or the state rules,” which is placing some strain on getting the job done. This is one of the major issues behind advocates’ work. Citizen organizations and environmental advocates gathered on the spill’s anniversary and explained that while the state has made progress, it needs to maintain its keen focus on providing clean, safe water to its citizens. Angie Rosser, executive director of the Rivers Coalition, said that the groups wanted “to...

Unmanned Submarines Bring Scientists One Step Closer to Understanding the Deep Seas...

It’s hard to believe that there could be life in the deep recesses of Earth’s ocean, but over 13,000 feet below the surface, small shrimp, crabs, and other creatures flourish near hydrothermal vents. An unmanned submarine named SuBastion recently ventured down into the deep to join them. Scientists located a previously undiscovered group of hydrothermal vents in a region titled the Mariana Back-Arc — located near the Mariana Trench — in 2015. They returned to the marked location with SuBastion, a remotely-operated submersible developed by the Schmidt Ocean Institute. SuBastion was launched from their ship, Falkor, which gathered information and broadcasted Subastion’s video via livestream. Video footage revealed chimneys up to 100 feet tall in the Back-Arc region, as well as vast numbers of sea creatures around them. The chimneys teemed with life, which included shrimp, lobsters, and crabs. National Geographic explained that the hard rock around the chimneys provides a better setting for these sea creatures to live on, when compared to the soft mud on the sea floor. But SuBastion isn’t the only submersible setting out to explore the depths. Students at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay have been working hard to develop Matsya, an autonomous submersible that is capable of controlling its own movements and tasks without the need for human guidance. Right now, the only unmanned submersibles operated by India’s naval forces are remotely operated. Matsya’s technology could actually “train” the equipment currently being used to act independently. Unlike military forces in the U.S. and in China, which have been using unmanned submersibles for some time, India’s entry into the world of unmanned equipment is fairly new. The IIT project’s 21-year-old team leader, Varun Mittal, said that while space exploration has forced the need for unmanned machines, “development of underwater...

Norway Accuses Group with Links to Russia of Executing Cyber Attack...

A recent survey revealed that approximately 87% of small businesses experienced a cyber security breach in 2012 alone, and the number of attempted attacks is increasing. But one group of cyber criminals with alleged links to Russia had a much bigger target in mind. Norway’s foreign ministry, army, and a number of the nation’s other institutions were targeted in a serious cyber attack at the beginning of February. According to Norwegian intelligence reports, a group with suspected links to Russia was allegedly responsible for carrying out the attack. The group, known as APT 29, was called out by Oslo and has already faced accusations of interfering with the U.S. Presidential election. Arne Christian Haugstoyl, an official with Norway’s intelligence service, told television channel TV2 that as many as nine e-mail accounts were singled out “in an attempt at what is called spear phishing, in other words, malicious emails.” Haugstoyl explained that it’s difficult to ascertain the end goal of the attack, but APT 29 has consistently been described as a group “with links to the Russian authorities.” He added that Norway was notified of the attack not from an internal source, but from an allied country. The attack came at a point when Donald Trump had just eased a set of sanctions against Russia implemented by the Obama administration. Earlier in the month, the U.S. Treasury Department allowed some cyber-security sales to go to the Russian Federal Security Service. This is the same organization that was accused by U.S. Intelligence of interfering with the electoral process. While Trump has suggested that all Russian sanctions should be lifted if America sees “some really great things” from the country, Norway is still viewing Russia as a serious security threat. In addition to the PST and the...