Watch the first all-female spacewalking team fix faulty power unit on space station

NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch team up for the first all-female spacewalk. (NASA Photo) Friday’s first all-female spacewalk is coming later than expected, and also earlier than expected. It’s later, because the original plan for the first scheduled pairing of two spacewalking women had to be called off in March when NASA decided they couldn’t get two medium-size spacesuit torsos ready on schedule. Instead, the spacewalk lineup was shuffled to have the women working alongside male crewmates. From a different perspective, the team-up of spacewalkers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir is coming nearly a week earlier than planned, due to an urgent problem on the International Space Station.… Read More

Continue Reading

Does praying burn calories? Here’s the pope’s $110 e-rosary

The Vatican continues to take great pains to bring Catholic faith into the modern era, and this week it’s transforming the faithful rosary — adapting today’s popular fitness tracker idea into a $110 bracelet that tracks your prayers. No, we’re not joking: this is a real gadget launched at a Vatican press conference whose specs include: Six-axis inertial sensing Bluetooth 5.0 IP67 water and dust resistance Wireless charging a 15mAh lithium-ion battery 10 black agate beads and 11 hematite beads It’s basically an adapted fitness tracker, and it still doubles as a fitness tracker, too: “Once the prayer begins, the smart rosary shows the user’s progress throughout the different mysteries… Read More

Continue Reading

Catalan separatists have tooled up with a decentralized app for civil disobedience

Is our age of ubiquitous smartphones and social media turning into an era of mass civil unrest? Two years after holding an independence referendum and unilaterally declaring independence in defiance of the Spanish state — then failing to gain recognition for la república and being forced to watch political leaders jailed or exiled — Catalonia’s secessionist movement has resurfaced with a major splash. One of the first protest actions programmed by a new online activist group, calling itself Tsunami Democràtic, saw thousands of protestors coalescing on Barcelona airport Monday, in an attempt to shut it down. The protest didn’t quite do that but it did lead to major disruption, with… Read More

Continue Reading

Budget smartphone maker Realme lands in Australia with four tempting handsets

As flagship smartphones from the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google are comfortably cracking the AU$1,000 mark in Australia, we’re seeing a rise in the number of budget and mid-range handsets that promise premium features at less than half the cost. The latest brand to arrive on the scene, Realme, has launched locally with four new handsets due to become available throughout October, all under AU$500 and packing features that belie their price. Three of them, for instance, sport quad cameras while one even boasts an OLED display. Realme has been around for a little over a year now, being founded by former Oppo vice president Sky Li, and already… Read More

Continue Reading

Swarm gets green light from FCC for its 150-satellite constellation

Swarm Technologies aims to connect smart devices around the world with a low-bandwidth but ever-present network provided by satellites — and it just got approval from the FCC to do so. Apparently the agency is no longer worried that Swarm’s sandwich-sized satellites are too small to be tracked. The company’s SpaceBEE satellites are tiny things that will provide a connection to devices that might otherwise be a pain to get online. Think soil monitors in the middle of corn fields, or buoys in the middle of the ocean. Their signals don’t need low latency or high bandwidth — so the requirements for a satellite that serves them are much lower… Read More

Continue Reading