Sony’s new A7 III is a $2,000 full-frame mirrorless camera that should terrify Canon and Nikon

Sony spent 2017 releasing pricey powerhouse cameras like the A9, but today the company announced one that sounds almost as good at half the price. The new full-frame A7 III splits the difference between the pixel-packed A7R III and the A7S II, the company’s low light and video king. It boasts big-time speed and just about everything else you could ask for, all for $ 1,999 (body only) when it ships in April.

The A7 III is being positioned by Sony as the “basic full-frame model” of its mirrorless camera lineup. But the new shooter is anything but. The centerpiece of the A7 III is a brand new backside illuminated 24.2-megapixel sensor with 5-axis optical image stabilization.

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The Future of Male Birth Control: A 2,000 Year Old Poison?

While contraceptives available today certainly have limitations, there are far more options available to women than there are to men. Now, a possible solution to this shortage of male birth control options has emerged from a rather unexpected source: a heart-stopping poison daubed on arrows as far back as the 3rd century BC by hunters and warriors in Eastern Africa.

Let that sink in a minute while we take a tour of what’s currently on the market.

Birth control methods can be separated into two broad categories: hormonal and non-hormonal. Methods like the pill tinker with hormones to prevent pregnancy. While these methods usually work pretty well, they can cause a host of side effects: everything from weight gain to an increased risk of developing blood clots. Yes, your birth control can kill you.

On the other hand, non-hormonal options, such as condoms or the diaphragm, don’t come with those scary side effects. They are, however, not always convenient, or available, and how well they work largely depends on whether or not they’re being used consistently — and correctly.

The options for women may not be overwhelmingly great, but they have more of them. There are currently just two contraceptive options for men: condoms or a vasectomy. That could be soon to change, though, because there are a few hormonal options in development — one of which has reached clinical trials.

It’s not the one with the poison arrows, however.

That potential option is the brainchild of a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota. The team has been researching a non-hormonal alternative that would work by making it more difficult for sperm to move or swim. After all, sperm can’t fertilize an egg unless they can get to it.

How are they obstructing the sperm’s mission, you ask? A toxic substance found in African plants known as ouabain. Believe it or not, many mammals actually produce the substance naturally (albeit in very low qualities) and scientists think it plays a role in regulating blood pressure. In fact, doctors sometimes give the substance in very small doses to patients who have heart arrhythmias.

Ouabain works well as a poison because it interferes with protein subunits in the heart that transport ions. Your heart beats because of electrical impulses — and if you recall your high school chemistry class, it’s those electrically-charged ions that tell your heart when to contract. Messing with those ions, then, is a cardiac disaster in the making.

What does this heart-stopping poison have to do with sperm, then? The researchers also found that ouabain can interrupt the work of another subunit — transporter subunit α4 — which is only found in one place: mature sperm cells.

The challenge for the team over the last ten years of their research was to find a way to use a derivative of ouabain that would only hone in on those sperm cells, sparing the heart in the process. The other consideration was permanency: what the team figured out was that since ouabain only effects mature sperm cells when its used to inhibit their movement, the effect shouldn’t last forever. In fact, it should be completely reversible because any new sperm cells that are produced once treatment has been stopped should develop normally.

So far, they’ve tested their idea in the lab using rats and found that the derivative they created did make it harder for sperm to move and didn’t have a toxic effect on the heart. The hope now is that this research will lay the necessary groundwork for developing the ouabain derivative into a safe and effective form of male birth control. And, since it doesn’t affect hormones, it may be an option free from the unpleasant side effects often experienced with many current options.

The team will now be moving into the next phase of research: proving that using a 2,000-year-old poison to make it harder for sperm to swim upstream is actually effective at preventing pregnancy. While using an ancient poison to slow-mo the little swimmers is cool, if it turns out they can still lumber their way to an egg and fertilize it, then touting it as a birth control method might be a tad premature.

The post The Future of Male Birth Control: A 2,000 Year Old Poison? appeared first on Futurism.


Logic Pro X 10.4 update brings over 2000 new features and bug fixes to Apple’s audio composition app

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Apple has issued another update for Logic Pro X, adding a Smart Tempo feature to combine content regardless of original tempo, as well as a host of new Plug-Ins, more content including drummers and loops, and assorted bug fixes.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

AT&T workforce stricken with over 2000 layoffs U.S-wide days after $1000 tax reform bonus check

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In the days before Christmas, AT&T and DirecTV gave layoff notices to a large number of landline, legacy service, and home installers spanning the country — and more are coming.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Man swipes domains from BT in 2000; flogs them for a fortune in Bitcoin in 2017

Seventeen years ago, the UK’s then-biggest telecommunications company, BT, opened a pioneering new research incubator in Ipswitch, called Adastral Park. And… er… forgot to purchase the domain names. It’s a schoolboy error, and as a prank, a BT contractor called Ric Hayman bought them for the grand total of £20 (at the time, that was roughly $ 28). Predictably, the humorless suits at BT didn’t particularly appreciate his joke, and Hayman quickly found himself out on his arse, without a job. Hayman’s having the last laugh though, as the bundle of domains are now on sale for a cool ten Bitcoins.…

This story continues at The Next Web

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The Next Web

Bitcoin lost $2,000 in a single day, but that’s okay – right?

Bitcoin made cryptocurrency enthusiasts’ heads spin this week when its value first crossed $ 10,000 two days ago, and then surged past $ 11,000. But it also alarmingly dropped by more than $ 2,000 within a few short hours of crossing that milestone. Perhaps you don’t really need to worry – at the time of writing (5:38AM GMT), Bitcoin looks to be hovering around $ 10,370 – up from its low of $ 9,749, as per Coindesk. I’ll be honest, I’m terribly risk-averse, so this roller-coaster ride makes me uneasy – but I understand that this is par for the course for folks entrenched in…

This story continues at The Next Web

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The Next Web

Steve Jobs’ 2000 BMW Z8 Expected to Fetch $400K at Auction

Noting how the late Apple co-founder had a “penchant for German automobiles and design,” the New York City-based auction house, Sotheby’s, announced that a BMW Z8 roadster once owned by Steve Jobs will be heading to auction next month, where the ultra-premium automobile is expected to sell for around $ 400,000 or more.

In its official listing for the 2000 model-year sports-car, Sotheby’s details the vehicles’ rich-history of ownership, which includes its first three-years under Steve Jobs’ watchful eye. “According to legend,” the listing asserts, it was Larry Ellison — Jobs’ good friend and CEO of software-giant, ORACLE — who persuaded his billionaire buddy to purchase the Z8 back in 2000, suggesting it was not only a high-quality car, but also consistent with the iPhone-creator’s penchant for excellence in design.

After three-years of owning and maintaining the car in pristine condition, Sotheby’s notes how Jobs then sold it to “a person in Los Angeles,” who just one-year later allegedly flipped the car and sold it to a “Bay Area Tech executive.” Rumor then has it that some 18-months thereafter, the Los Angeles owner was remorseful over his decision to sell the Z8, and contacted the Bay Area buyer to purchase it back.

Though the car has been in use for over 17 years now, the auction-house noted how its only been driven for 15,200 miles during that time, and was otherwise kept covered, fully maintained, serviced and up-to-date over the years, ensuring its “good condition.” According to The Auto Channel, BMW produced around 3,000 Z8 roadsters during its four-year production run from 1999 to 2003, while it sold less than 2,300 of those here in the U.S.

Back in 1999, a base-model Z8 cost around $ 128,000 by order. However, buyers were treated to a range of noteworthy specifications including the car’s intricately designed, all-aluminum chassis; its powerful, 4.9 Liter V8 engine capable of producing over 400 horsepower; and its uniquely-crafted engine compartment, which was not only placed to allow for an “even 50/50 weight distribution” between the front and rear axles, but allowed the beast mobile to accelerate from 0-60 miles per hour in just 4.2 seconds, according to Motor Trend.

Jobs’ Z8 will reportedly go up for auction on Wednesday, December 6, 2017, as part of Sotheby’s “New York — Icons” event.

iDrop News

White Forest Tower in Paris Will Fight Climate Change With 2,000 Plants

Enter the White Forest of Paris

A new high tower is being constructed in Paris, France, and it will be unlike any other building in the city. Instead, it will be made entirely out of wood, and adorned with a large number of plants.

Italian firm Stefano Boeri Architetti is behind the design, which has since been named Forêt Blanche (“White Forest”). Set to be erected in the Parisian suburb of Villiers-sur-Marne, Forêt Blanche will be 54-meters (177 ft) tall and will be covered by nearly 2000 trees, shrubs and plants.

Concept image of Stefano Boeri Architetti's Forêt Blanche/White Forest. Image Credit: Stefano Boeri Architetti
Concept image of Stefano Boeri Architetti’s Forêt Blanche/White Forest. Image Credit: Stefano Boeri Architetti

The lower floors of Forêt Blanche will contain offices and retail services, while higher floors will contain luxury apartments. All four sides of the tower will have balconies and terraces, with the East and West sides featuring a number of windows that will, as the Italian company explains, “allow the passage of sunlight all day, giving natural illumination and ventilation to the apartments and an exceptional panorama on the landscape of central Paris.”

Plants Are More Than Decoration

Incorporating thousands of plant-life species into the White Forest’s design wasn’t simply a stylistic choice. The firm explains in its announcement post that it wants to go beyond using trees and shrubs to improve the aesthetic of their structures — it also wants to contribute to the fight against climate change and promote biodiversity in urban settings.

As we know, trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it within themselves; they also provide shade and can cool the pavement beneath them, thereby reducing the overall temperature in a city — which are often lacking in trees. As discovered by researchers earlier this month in Los Angeles, pavements cooled by the presence of trees are more beneficial than the addition of reflective pavements.

While construction on Forêt Blanche is under way, Stefano Boeri Architetti told Business Insider there is as of yet no set timeline for completion. Meaning we’ll have to wait and see how the project progresses, and if its use of plants really aid the struggle against climate change. If it’s a success, it may prompt other companies to follow their lead.

The post White Forest Tower in Paris Will Fight Climate Change With 2,000 Plants appeared first on Futurism.


Remarkable Images of London Show the City’s Evolution Over Nearly 2,000 Years

Like all living things, cities have lifespans. London started as a small Roman settlement along the Thames River. Initially encompassing just a few families, today, more than 8.6 million people call the place home. So take a moment to take a journey. Here are is a series of maps, paintings, and old-time photographs that show the journey of the British capital from the past to today.

Two recent archaeological excavations, in 1999 and 2010, suggest that there were settlements near London’s Thames River as early as 4500 BC. The area saw a widespread adoption of agriculture in the Neolithic and Bronze Age.

A 1974 painting of a Bronze Age farming settlement. Alan Sorrell/Museum of London Image (Source: British History Online)

The Romans founded Londinium (now called London) in 43 AD. This artist’s illustration of Londinium in 200 AD shows the city’s first bridge over the Thames River.

Image Source: Imgur

From the 7th to 11th centuries, Anglo-Saxons moved into Londinium. Their settlement was laid out in a grid pattern and grew to contain between 10,000 and 12,000 people.

An artist’s reconstruction of the Roman town of Venta Icenorum. Image Source: Sue White/University of Nottingham

Westminster Abbey, built in the 10th century, is a World Heritage Site and one of London’s oldest and most important buildings. Here it is in a 1749 painting.

Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

William, Duke of Normandy, was crowned King of England there on Christmas Day, 1066 — just after it was completed. By the 11th century, London had the largest port in England. In the 12th century, the English royal court began to grow in size and sophistication and settled in Westminster, a neighborhood in central London.

The Old Palace at Westminster. Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

In 1176, King Henry II commissioned a new stone bridge. Finished in 1284, the original London Bridge would stand for over 600 years. It supported homes and shops — which weighed down its arches over time.

“View of London Bridge,” a 1632 oil painting by Claude de Jongh. Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

The development of the printing press in the early 15th century made news available to the entire city and improved literacy levels. Coffeehouses also became popular spots for friendly debates.

A London coffee house, circa 1660s. Image Source: Public Domain

In the 17th century, London suffered from the Great Plague, which killed about 100,000 people. In 1666, the Great Fire broke out; it took the city a decade to rebuild.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The city became a major hub for trade throughout the 1700s, and the Port of London expanded downstream.

London Bridge, circa 1750. Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

During the Georgian era (from 1714 to 1830), new districts like Mayfair formed, and new bridges over the Thames encouraged development in South London.

London’s Trafalgar Square in 1814. Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

In the mid-19th century, London overtook Amsterdam as the Europe’s leading financial center…and the Royal Navy became the world’s leading military fleet.

London in the 19th century. Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

London was the largest city in the world from 1831 until 1925, when New York City superseded it. The growing population and increased traffic led to the creation of the world’s first local, underground urban rail network in the late 1860s. An extensive sewage system was also constructed.

London Sewage system being built in 1860. Source: WikiMedia

WWII devastated London starting in 1941. As seen below, civilians hid in underground train stations to get away from air raids, which killed approximately 30,000 Londoners by the war’s end. The city then slowly began to rebuild itself.

Bomb-damaged commercial buildings line London’s Cannon Street in 1941. Source: Getty Images

The city has maintained its place as a center of global power …

Piccadilly Circus in London, circa 1950s. Image Source: Transpressnz

… and today, over 8.6 million people reside there.

Aerial panoramic cityscape view of London and the River Thames in the 2000s. Source: Getty Images.

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