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Saturday, 31 October 2015

Hackers Access Nearly 2,000 Vodafone Accounts

Vodafone shop, London
Vodafone says hackers have accessed the accounts of 1,827 customers, just a week after a separate hacking attack at TalkTalk.
The hack could potentially give criminals customers' names, mobile numbers, bank sort codes and the last four digits of their bank accounts.
The company said an attempt had been made to access some of its customers' account details between midnight Wednesday and midday on Thursday.
An investigation has been launched by the company and the National Crime Agency and communications watchdogs were told on Friday.
A Vodafone spokesman confirmed 1,827 customers had their accounts accessed but added that the information obtained by the hackers "cannot be used directly to access customers' bank accounts".
The information does leave the customers open to fraud and perhaps phishing attempts, however, and Vodafone said the banks of affected customers had been contacted.
Vodafone said it is also contacting affected customers and helping them to change their account details.
They added: "Our investigation and mitigating actions have meant that only a handful of customers have been subject to any attempts to use this data for fraudulent activity on their Vodafone accounts.
"No other customers need to be concerned, as the security of our customers' data continues to be one of our highest priorities."
TalkTalk was hacked on 23 October, saying last Friday that fewer than 21,000 unique bank account numbers and sort codes were accessed.
Two boys - a 15-year-old from County Antrim in Northern Ireland and a 16-year-old from Feltham, west London - were arrested and released on police bail over that incident.

Meet the new London Taxi: hybrid TX5 black cab revealed

Meet the new London Taxi: hybrid TX5 black cab revealed

London’s black cab is a globally recognised icon. Like the red phone box, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, London’s famous Hackney Carriage has lined the streets of our capital for decades, with the most recent model remaining largely unchanged for almost 20 years.
Now though, current owner of the London Taxi Company (LTC), Geely, has debuted an all-new model for 2017 – called the TX5 – complete with a super-efficient hybrid powertrain, enough room for six passengers, and a bold new look.

The new black cab be built at the company’s state-of-the-art production facility in Warwickshire, following a substantial £300m investment programme.

TX5 design draws on the classic lines of the black cab

The TX5 design concept captures the spirit of past generations of LTC models and draws on more than sixty years of style that has made the black cab and iconic sight on the streets of London.
Senior vice president of Geely design, Peter Horbury, told Auto Express: “The brief was clear. It has to look like a London taxi.”

The new design uses a similarly vertical front grille, and rounded headlights, with a more upright stance and classy chrome touches. While the interior design is still under consideration, the six-seat layout has been confirmed, alongside the large panoramic glass roof for a more “premium experience.”
David Ancona, Design Director of Geely Barcelona said: “This decision was market driven. The [Mercedes] Vito quite successful because it had that extra seat. It allowed three couples to go out together, or people to go to airports in groups. So it was decided to go that way.”

It makes use of a new lightweight aluminium structure and composite panelling, and benefits from a futuristic plug-in hybrid drivetrain that will return a realistic range of “well over 100 miles” along with a “full five-star Euro NCAP score” – according to Geely bosses.
As before, the new London taxi will use a front engine, rear-wheel drive layout, allowing it to boast the same market-leading tight turning circle. Despite its obvious associations with the outgoing TX4, Geely tells us all 2,000 components have been designed from the ground up.
The taxi isn’t due to hit the streets until late 2017, though a production-ready version with prices and specs is expected a little earlier. Despite the higher specification and complex drivetrain, Ancona insists the TX5 won’t cost any more to buy or lease than the current model – thanks to government subsidies for low emission vehicles. 

Friday, 30 October 2015

10 of the best apps to spook on your smartphone

 10 of the best apps to spook on your smartphone

It’s that time of year when things go bump in the night. Spooky things, obviously, rather than just your partner/neighbour/cat thumping the wall in anger when they fail at a Candy Crush Saga level, which is a year-round thing.
Yes, Halloween is here with its army of ghosts, witches, werewolves, zombies, vampires and monsters – all knocking on your door demanding chocolate with their parents hovering apologetically in the background.
There are apps for that too (Halloween, not hovering apologetically) with a range of games and apps offering suitably spooky thrills. Here are 10 worth trying out.

You might think an app to make your photos and videos look like they’ve got ghosts in them is a niche, yet this one has been downloaded more than 8m times so far. It’s neatly done: you choose from a selection of backgrounds and filters then shoot your own mini ghost clips or shots. Basic features are free with others unlocked by in-app purchases. 

Alright yes, surely now everyone who wants Minecraft has got it, given its 70m sales across all platforms. Yet just in case, Halloween might be the perfect time to pick up Mojang’s wonderful sandbox. Not only does it come with zombies, skeletons and eerie Endermen as standard: it’s just added a Halloween Costumes skin pack as a 79p in-app purchase to spook up your character.

If you’re new to the Five Nights at Freddy’s series, you may want to start with the first game and work your way through. The fourth and final game was released this year, and is arguably the best. All see you pitting your wits against horrific-looking animatronic toys – initially in the shop where they’re installed, but in this game, the action moves to your own house.

This is part game, part story and part fitness app, and it remains one of the most inventive ideas on the app stores. It’s an app to get you running in the real world, with the carrot (or stick) being a horde of zombies chasing after you – at least, according to your headphones. But there’s also a proper story here from novelist (and – disclosure – Guardian columnist) Naomi Alderman to keep you interested.

The Hunting Part 1 (Free)

Has mobile found its Blair Witch Project? The Hunting is one of the apps hoping to fulfil that role: “the world’s first interactive zombie movie app” as the blurb puts it. It’s a film shot from a first-person view, which sees you deciding what to do in order to survive. There are plenty of frights, and while this first part is short, it’s a free taster for the second and third episodes.

Toca Boo (Free - £2.68)

Here’s an app for anyone who’s ever run around their house with a sheet over their head giving it their best “woooooo” – i.e. everyone. This children’s app from developer Toca Boca gets kids to control Bonnie, a little girl who dresses up as a ghost and floats around her house stalking family members then jumping out at them from behind the furniture. It’s great fun.

With The Walking Dead back on TV screens for a new series, this brand new tie-in game is providing fans with a new way to put themselves into the story. It’s an absorbing roleplaying game (RPG) with a mixture of turn-based battles and careful team management. Weekly challenges promise to keep you playing beyond the current TV season too.

Deathless: The City’s Thirst (£2.33 - £2.49)

There’s some fascinating stuff happening around the interactive fiction genre – see this recent roundup of book-apps for examples – with publisher Choice of Games one of the leading lights. This is a suitably-spooky sample of its work: a 150k-word novel by award-winning author Max Gladstone with all manner of undead, necromantic goings on. Your choices drive the story, but this is something you’ll enjoy reading as much as playing.

Skullduggery! (£2.29)

Finally, the best action game featuring “semi-organic autonomous skulls” that money can buy on the app stores. Admittedly, it’s the only one. But this is a well-crafted game blending action and puzzles, as you ping your skull through a series of platform levels by stretching its brain out and then letting it go. It works beautifully on the touchscreen, and while it’s not specifically a children’s game, my two sons (aged six and eight) enjoyed it as much as I did.

Audio Defence: Zombie Arena (£1.49)

Somethin’ Else is the company responsible for the Papa Sangre audio-only games, which were critically acclaimed on iOS in their day. Audio Defence used the same technology, with you playing a blind warrior caught in the midst of “Dr Bastard’s zombies” – fighting them off by moving, swiping and tilting. “It’s oculus thrift!” claims the developer, but this is anything but cheap.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

This photographer uses ordinary food to create a fantasy worls we wish we lived in

big appetites
Christopher Boffoli takes playing with your food to a whole new level.
The Seattle based photographer is the mastermind behind "Big Appetites," a photo series and book that combines miniature human figures with foods to create life-like scenes.
From a man pushing a snowblower through piles of powdered donuts to a family camping trip under a broccoli forrest, Boffoli's photos are both whimsical and delicious.

These miniature scenes look so realistic, you almost forget they are made of food. Check out the tiny ATV tracks on this pumpkin pie.
These miniature scenes look so realistic, you almost forget they are made of food. Check out the tiny ATV tracks on this pumpkin pie.

Or this camping trip set under broccoli trees.
Or this camping trip set under broccoli trees.

Forget crying over spilled milk, try canoeing in it.
Forget crying over spilled milk, try canoeing in it.

 Smashed blackberries make for a delicious looking crime scene.
Smashed blackberries make for a delicious looking crime scene.

Boffoli also designs the miniature humans using a 3D printer.
Boffoli also designs the miniature humans using a 3D printer.

He paints the figures, like this scuba diver, by hand.
He paints the figures, like this scuba diver, by hand.

Rock climbing looks a lot tastier in this piece, entitled "Palermo Climbers."
Rock climbing looks a lot tastier in this piece, entitled "Palermo Climbers."

Boffoli's attention to detail is impressive. Check out the tiny traffic cone in this shot.
Boffoli's attention to detail is impressive. Check out the tiny traffic cone in this shot.

Boffoli also includes humorous, tongue-in-cheek captions with some of his shots.
Boffoli also includes humorous, tongue-in-cheek captions with some of his shots.

"Gary always uses too much mustard. But no one can say so. It’s a union thing," Boffoli captioned this hot dog photo.
"Gary always uses too much mustard. But no one can say so. It’s a union thing," Boffoli captioned this hot dog photo.

"Elliott finally found a place where he could smoke without being bothered," Boffoli writes.
"Elliott finally found a place where he could smoke without being bothered," Boffoli writes.

"The headspace that the sugar cone tent afforded didn't really make up for its lack of performance in the rain," writes Boffoli.
"The headspace that the sugar cone tent afforded didn't really make up for its lack of performance in the rain," writes Boffoli.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Weird things space travel does to the human body

This month NASA astronaut Scott Kelly hit an incredible milestone: He has spent more time in space than any other American in history.
Oct. 16, 2015, marked his 383rd total day spent zooming 250 miles above Earth aboard the International Space Station (ISS), beating astronaut Mike Fincke's previous record of 382 days, according to NASA. And on Oct. 29, he'll have spent 216 consecutive days in space, beating Michael López-Alegría's previous record of 215 days.
Astronauts are normally limited to six-month trips in space — but this is just the beginning for Kelly. He's spending a full, uninterrupted year aboard the ISS while his identical twin brother stays here on Earth. Scientists are studying both brothers to measure how the human body changes during long-term spaceflight. The brothers are routinely giving cheek swabs, blood samples, and fecal samples to researchers for analysis and comparison.
This year-long experiment could pave the way for a long-duration trip to Mars, but it is not for the faint of heart. Scientists already know a few things about what space and microgravity does to the human body over time, some of which are downright disturbing.
Keep scrolling to see some of the bizarre things that happen to the body in space.

1. It stretches out your spine
 Astronauts can grow up to 3% taller in space. That means that a 6-foot-tall astronaut could tack on an extra two inches.
The growth spurt happens because microgravity allows the squishy spinal discs between vertebra freedom to relax and expand — almost like relieving pressure on a spring. It takes a few months to return to normal height after they get back to Earth.
It's possible Kelly could grow more than the average astronaut, since he's spending more time in space.
2. It turns your muscles into jelly
You don't need muscles to support you in a weightless environment, so astronauts' muscles almost immediately start shrinking and absorbing that extra, now worthless tissue.
That's why there's a gym of sorts on the ISS. Strenuous exercise can help astronauts can maintain the muscle mass they need when they return to Earth and have to stand up and walk around again.
They usually budget about two hours a day for exercise, according to NASA. That includes "weight lifting" using a special resistance machine, since a free-weight weighs, well, nothing in zero gravity.

3. It makes your face puffy
Our bodies are mostly liquid. The gravity on Earth pulls that liquid down and some of it pools in our lower extremities. In near zero-g the liquid is spread out more evenly around the body, so astronauts' faces look puffier than normal while their legs look skinnier than normal.
After a few weeks the body adjusts to the gravity change and some of the puffiness goes down.
4. It thins out your bones
NASA Astronauts can lose around 1% of their bone density every month they spend in space if they don't regularly exercise. It makes them a lot more likely to break bones when they're back on Earth — similar to people who have osteoporosis.
Exercise and good nutrition is crucial for minimizing this effect. This is especially important for Kelly who is spending a full year in space.

5. It can cause vision problems
A 2013 study examined the eyes of 27 astronauts who had spent an average of 108 days on board the ISS. NASA researchers found that many of them had eye abnormalities after returning from space. MRI scans showed that nine of the astronauts had bloating around their optic nerves and six of the astronauts had eyeballs that were physically flattened out in the back.
This is definitely cause for concern, and there is a risk that microgravity could cause irreversible vision changes, according to a NASA report. Researchers still aren't sure what causes the vision problems, and NASA is conducting a more comprehensive follow up study.
6. It messes with your immune system
Living in space can depress astronauts' immune systems, according to a study published in 2014.
"Things like radiation, microbes, stress, microgravity, altered sleep cycles and isolation could all have an effect on crew member immune systems," Brian Crucian, NASA biological studies and immunology expert, who led the study, said in a statement. "If this situation persisted for longer deep space missions, it could possibly increase risk of infection, hypersensitivity, or autoimmune issues for exploration astronauts."
That means Kelly may be more likely to get sick. (Good thing he got his flu shot, above.)
The study also found that astronauts' depressed immune system meant that old, latent viruses like chicken pox can be reawakened, even though no symptoms have shown up in astronauts living in space so far.
Some immune cells collected from astronauts living in space were actually overly aggressive instead of depressed, and might explain why some astronauts get rashes and other allergic reactions.

7. It screws up your sleep cycle
Astronauts have to strap themselves into sleeping bags every night. In microgravity their heads roll forward and their arms float up once they fall asleep.
The weird position is hard to get used to.
"Sometimes you wake up in the morning to see an arm floating in front of your face and think, “Whoa! What is that?” until you realize it’s yours," astronaut Marsha Ivins told Wired.
But there are many other disturbances that make it challenging to get quality sleep in space. Astronauts have reported seeing flashes of light when cosmic rays pass through their retinas.
The flashes can make it difficult to sleep. Astronauts have individual sleeping pods that help shut out sunlight and the rays. Still, studies have found that most astronauts are only getting about six hours of sleep even though their schedules call for eight and a half hours.

8. It throws off your coordination
It's a struggle returning to Earth after spending 6 months in microgravity. Astronauts lose their sense of up and down while they're in space because their vestibular systems can't tell where the ceiling is and where the ground is in a weightless environment.
Eventually the body recalibrates on back Earth, but astronauts can feel a little shaky on their feet for awhile.

9. It messes with your senses
The same lack of downward pull that makes astronauts' faces puffy also makes them congested.
"It's the same as having a cold or allergies," astronaut and physician Scott Parazynski told Scientific American. "A stuffy nose definitely dampens your sense of smell and consequently your sense of taste."
Many astronauts have reported that flavors are much more dull in microgravity, so they crave food with a lot of extra flavoring and spice to make up for the bland taste. Food and drink that rely on a sense of smell to bring out the flavor, like coffee, are disappointing in space.

10. It makes nutrition a challenge
 Not getting the right nutrients can make almost all of the effects we've covered even worse.
Vitamin D is a concern for astronauts because they're not exposed to sunlight and it's easy to wind up with a deficiency, Sara Zwart, a senior scientist at NASA who studies the nutrition effects of long-term spaceflight, told Tech Insider.
Specifically, oxidative stress is much greater in space, so astronauts need a lot of antioxidants, Zwart said. Spaceflight also causes astronauts to have elevated iron levels, because their red blood cell mass decreases.
Astronauts track their food intake every week to make sure they maintain the right levels of nutrients. Usually iron levels return to normal after a few months back on Earth.

11. It exposes you to dangerous cosmic radiation
NASA, ESA, HEIC, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)© Provided by Business Insider NASA, ESA, HEIC, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) Cosmic radiation will not give you super powers like in "The Fantastic Four." A dose of it can tear through your very DNA, and that damage can lead to cancer, cataracts, or other diseases.
Earth's atmosphere acts as a force field that shields us from 99% of cosmic radiation, but astronauts don't have the same kind of protection in space. Radiation risk increases by a factor of about 30, according to the European Space Agency.
Astronauts wear dosimeters while on board the ISS that measure how much radiation they are exposed to. Their careers as astronauts are limited based on their exposure.
Scientists don't know much about what will happen beyond six consecutive months in space. Some of the effects may stay the same, some could worsen, or we may see new effects. Kelly's year-long space mission will be crucial to understanding the risks of long-term manned missions to the moon or Mars.

12. It takes a toll on your psyche
Astronauts undergo a rigorous psychological screening before they can even start training for space. Still, feelings of isolation and confinement are a big risk. Combine that with sleep deprivation, the absence of the comfort of gravity, and dulled senses, and you can begin to imagine the psychological toll long-term spaceflight can take.
Many astronauts have described it as the hardest thing they have ever done.
© Provided by Business Insider Astronaut Scott Kelly demonstrates small robotic satellites, called SPHERES, that NASA uses for research and for student competitions. (NASA) It's a lot to handle. That's why astronauts have to go through rigorous training and pass an intense psychological evaluation. Luckily this isn't the first time Kelly has been to the ISS, so he already knew what he was getting himself into.
Scientists expect to learn a lot more about what spaceflight does to the human body by studying Kelly and his brother.
By the end of his year-long mission in March 2016, we might have some new things to add to this list.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Facebook Continues To Test New Video Features


Facebook is continuing their push to make video a central part of the platform. Back in August, the company announced that public figures could share live video with fans and last month, it integrated 360-degree video.
VP of Product Management Will Cathcart announced today that Facebook has been testing several new video features for iPhones, including the ability to watch a Facebook video while scrolling through your newsfeed or messaging a friend, the option to save videos to watch later, and suggestions of additional videos to watch based on your viewing history.
The social network is also trying out a video-exclusive platform, which, according to the release, will include videos that Facebook users saved for later, and ones from friends, pages they follow, or other video publishers on Facebook. For now only "a small number of people" have access to the feature (it hasn't been announced who those users are yet), but if you're one of them, it can be accessed by tapping the “Videos” icon at the bottom of the Facebook iPhone app or in the left-hand menu under the “Favorites” section on the web.
Publishers will also find new tools are being tested for their benefit. Facebook is testing a “video matching technology” like that of YouTube’s Content ID, which would ensure that a video's creator gets credit and potential monetization if their video was re-uploaded by another user. Facebook also made updates to Page Insights and better control and customization in the video uploading tool.
“The last few years have been exciting for video,” writes Cathcart in the release, “and we look forward to seeing more people discover the videos that matter to them on Facebook.”

Saturday, 17 October 2015

The nine best attack helicopters in the world

Attack helicopters are fierce predators that go after enemy troop formations and guard friendlies. Here are the 9 that most effectively prowl the battlefield:

Capable of operating at high altitude and speed, the two-seater Ka-52 snags the top spot from the usual winner, the Apache. The Alligator’s anti-ship missiles have better range than the Apache and the helicopter boasts similar armor and air-to-air capability. A one-seat version, the Ka-50, is also lethal.

The AH-64 is armed with a lot of weapons including Hellfire missiles, 70mm rockets, and a 30mm automatic cannon. Its tracks and prioritizes 256 contacts with advanced radar and targeting systems. Optional Stinger or Sidewinder missiles turn it into an air-to-air platform. The newest version, AH-64E Guardian, is more efficient, faster, and can link to drones.

The night-capable version of the Mi-28, the “Havoc” carries anti-tank missiles that can pierce a meter of armor. It also has pods for 80mm unguided rockets, five 122mm rockets grenade launchers, 23mm guns, 12.7mm or 7.62mm machine guns, or bombs. It also has a 30mm cannon mounted under its nose.

The Tiger minimizes its radar, sound, and infrared signatures to avoid enemy munitions and still has thick armor, just in case. It carries a 30mm turret, 70mm rockets, air-to-air missiles, and a wide variety of anti-tank missiles as well as countermeasures for incoming missiles .

The Z-10 has an altitude ceiling of nearly 20,000 feet and carries capable anti-tank missiles, TY-90 air-to-air missiles, and a 30mm cannon. The Z-10 was originally considered a triumph of the Chinese defense industry, but it was actually designed by Russian manufacturer Kamov, the company behind the Ka-52 and Ka-50.

An upgraded version of the Italian A-129, the T-129 is a Turkish helicopter carrying robust UMTAS anti-tank missiles, rockets, and Stinger missiles. Its cannon is relatively small at 20mm, but it can zip around the battlefield at 150 knots, rivaling the newest Apaches.

The Mi-24 carries understrength anti-tank missiles by modern standards, but it’s great against infantry. Multiple machine guns up to 30mm chew up enemy troops while thick armor grants near-immunity from ground fire up to .50-cal. It also doubles as a transport, carrying up to eight infantrymen or four litters.

A heavily upgraded version of the first attack helicopter, the Viper still has a lot of bite. Hellfire missiles destroy enemy tanks and ships while a 20mm cannon picks off dismounts and light vehicles. Sidewinder missiles allow it to engage enemy air from a respectable distance.

The AH-2 is a South African helicopter that uses a stealthy design, electronic countermeasures, and armor to survive threats on the battlefield. While it’s there, it fires a 20mm cannon, TOW or ZT-6 Mokopa anti-tank missiles, or rockets at its enemies. There are plans for it to gain an air-to-air capability.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

A new type of bike is showing soon in 2016

The Gi FlyBike will go in to production following a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign.The Argentinian born concept is set to change the face of urban commuting and cycling, on a global scale reckon its inventors..

Clever thinking

Lightweight (17kg) and easy to use, the bike is mobile integrated, eco-friendly and folds in just one second and one motion. You can control everything wirelessly, whether you need to lock your bicycle from five metres away via the app, share your bike with a friend via an unlock code, turn the integrated safety lights on, access the GPS and even charge your phone while you pedal.

Gi FlyBike is as smart as any phone. Sync it with your smartphone by attaching it to the bike’s smartphone panel. You can ride with a full-view navigation system. The Gi FlyBike App will show you the most efficient bicycle route possible. The app is designed in a way that considers the visibility of the rider so that its route selection does not sacrifice your comfortable upright riding position.

Your Gi FlyBike will lock automatically once you are five meters from the folded bike. The Gi FlyBike App detects the distance and does the job for you. You can also share your Gi FlyBike in a safe way. Just use your App to send your friend an exclusive unlocking code. The code ensures that that person, and only that person, can use the bike.

Gi FlyBike is an electric bike so each time you pedal you will be assisted by a smart electric engine that makes your commute easy, propelling you up hills and going 60 km on one charge of the LifePo battery.

Gi FlyBike is made from 100% recyclable aircraft grade aluminium alloy and is manufactured with a CNC machine, the same as that used in airplane manufacturing. 

Gi FlyBike has solid tires, which are soft enough for the ride, hard enough not to give out to sharp obstacles. Gi FlyBike is also grease-free thanks to the carbon belt that doesn’t require a lubricant. Meanwhile, a shock-absorbing saddle system and silicone gel inserts with thickness around the cutout ensures ultimate comfort.