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The first set of Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ reviews are out ahead of their retail availability next week. Given that the Galaxy S9 packs modest improvements over its predecessor, how good are the phones when compared to their predecessors? And is Samsung’s latest flagship better than the iPhone X? Continue reading → iPhone Hacks | #1 iPhone, iPad, iOS Blog
The Apple Watch introduced a fundamentally new way of interacting with a smartwatch. This means there are a whole lot of new tricks to learn about, of course. The latest software version, watchOS 4, brought a lot of new features to the Apple Watch. While we have extensively covered the headline features in watchOS 4, there are a few little-known Apple Watch tricks that aren’t apparent at the first glance. Here’s the scoop you have to know. 1. Set an Image From Gallery as Custom Watch Face Unlike Android Wear, watchOS doesn’t let you set custom third-party watch faces. If…
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Autonomous weapons are currently at the core of the debate about the future of artificial intelligence, and some countries are already starting to distance themselves from the ethical dilemma and the political controversy involved in their use.
“We have a very clear position. We have no intention of procuring […] autonomous systems,” said Lieutenant General Ludwig Leinhos, head of Germany’s new Cyber and Information Space Command, according to eNCA. However, he made it clear that the German military is not simply choosing not to engage with the issue, but is prepared to defend the country against potential attacks carried out by foreign remote weapons.
Surely, autonomous weapons occupy only a part of the overall discussion on the future of AI, which most agree is a technological development that should be encouraged and not stymied. Nevertheless, the potential of AI to be co-opted in weapons development is raising alarm in the highest ranks of the world’s security circles.
The Life’s Good crew wants to change things up. Not necessarily for the smartphone market in general (though, if they could, I’m sure they’d jump at the chance). Over the last couple of months, we’ve heard quite a few stories about the company, which includes a focus on releasing smartphones with a more direct, less responsive approach.
Interestingly, I never really considered that LG (or any company, for that matter) was launching phones just because the competition was, but I can understand why that would be the outlook, even for a company like LG. We’ve all been sucked into this yearly refresh schedule, and if LG wants to jump off that bandwagon, well, more power to them.
We expected LG to announce the G6’s successor this year at Mobile World Congress, but it is definitely sounding like that’s not going to happen. The most recent report points to the company announcing a more powerful (maybe?) version of the LG V30 that was launched late last year.
Actually, there isn’t a lot known about the V30s, the name that will apparently be used. The initial report suggests that the handset will have 256GB of built-in storage, which is a huge increase from the standard V30 which had 64GB, and even a significant uptick from what the V30+ offered at 128GB. There’s no indication that LG is going to be changing anything else about the V30 variant, though.
Except it will apparently include a feature called LG Lens. As the name suggests, it’s tied to the camera, and it will apparently work like Google Lens or Samsung’s Bixby Vision. That means you will be able to point the V30s camera at things and get information pertaining to that item, which includes shopping info as well.
The LG Lens feature will reportedly also boast support for augmented reality (AR) for location info, and will be able to translate languages, too. So, all-in-all, a lot of things that we’ve already seen before.
That aforementioned report suggests LG Lens is going to be the standout feature. The one thing that the Life’s Good crew thinks will help sell models. I can’t think that’s going to work out at all. It’s great that the handset will allegedly boast a ton of built-in storage, but if you’re just going to offer a V30 with more storage and LG Lens . . . that shouldn’t even warrant a name change of any kind. Other than the fact that LG has changed the names for these built-in storage differences already, so I guess we’re just sticking with the routine.
Is this going to work? It sounds like the company is just buying time before it can get around to announcing the G6’s successor, which will obviously come sometime after MWC and warrant its own special event. But who knows! Maybe the V30s will sell like hot cakes.
What do you think? Is the V30s, based on the rumors so far, something you’d be remotely interested in? Let me know!
There are Apple products I’ve been more excited to receive, but I can’t think of any that I’ve awaited with such impatience. The reason? Curiosity about that audio quality!
I wrote last time that it was Home hub and voice control of HomeKit devices for my partner that really sold it to me, and I wasn’t expecting too much from it on the audio front. Sure, it was going to beat out other smart speakers, but I didn’t see it as serious competition to proper HiFi brands.
Several U.S.-based biotechnology companies are developing ways to harness the power of genetics as well as AI in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Their ally? Viruses. More specifically, bacteriophages, usually just called phages.
We’ve been treating patients who have potentially life-threatening bacterial infections with these viruses for a long time, but typically only as a last resort. Phage therapy is imperfect in practice because it can be difficult to identify the bacteria, find the right treatment, and administer it before the patient succumbs. The potential of the process lies in whether it could be sped up without sacrificing accuracy or safety, which is exactly what many researchers are attempting to do.
Bacteria may be small, but they’re capable of wreaking great havoc on a population. The World Health Organization knows the potential of the pathogens should not be underestimated and has deemed antibiotic-resistant bacteria to be one of the most pressing global health concerns today.
For scientists, understanding how and why bacteria become resistant to the drugs we use to treat them is only the first step. In addition to the fact that the treatments we have today are becoming less effective, we also know that we just don’t have enough of them. And given the rate at which bacteria are becoming resistant to the limited options we currently have, global public health depends on these advances coming sooner rather than later.
Bacteria: Friend or Foe
The good news is, we know quite a bit about bacteria. The single-celled organisms have existed alongside (and inside) humans for the entirety of our shared history. Humans enjoy a great deal of symbiosis with the bacteria that live in our gut, for example. Much of the bacteria that live on our skin are more friend than foe; at the very least, they don’t harm us. Often they even help. It’s disease-causing bacteria that we have to protect ourselves against.
If you have a sore throat and fever, you might go to your doctor for a strep test. If it comes back positive for Streptococcus bacteria, you’ll be prescribed a course of antibiotics. These drugs either kill bacteria outright or make it difficult for them to continue to multiply. We’ve been using antibiotics in one form or another for a long time, and they have been very effective against a number of bacteria that sicken humans. The problem is, that’s changing. Because bacteria are changing — and they’re doing so faster than we can change the drugs in response.
Bacteria become resistant to drugs in a number of ways: sometimes by changing themselves to resist the effect of the antibiotic and survive it, and other times, by “neutralizing” the drug itself, rendering it ineffective. The more a bacterium gets exposed to a certain drug, the more opportunities it has to find a way to defend itself. It only takes a single bacterium figuring out how to survive an antibiotic for resistance to spread: when it divides and multiplies, it passes its survival strategy on.
Getting to the root of antibiotic resistance may well mean infiltrating the pathogens. To do that, scientists need something smaller, yet still powerful. That’s where viruses come in.
A Tech Boost
Advances in one field of science and technology often lend themselves to solving a problem in another. Techniques in genetic engineering and DNA sequencing, for example, have opened doors to life-saving treatments and feats of medicine that seem nearly miraculous.
Whether culling through data or assisting in surgery, robots and computers are partnering with humans to improve public health. Page therapy, which up until now has only achieved partial success, could be one of the main beneficiaries of this evolving partnership.
For example, the startup AmpliPhi Biosciences, is working to sequence the genome of disease-causing bacteria like Staphylococcus aureusso they can identify the best bacteriophages for the task of defeating them, assemble them into a treatment that would be ready-made and available to patients as soon as they need them.
Another startup, Adaptive Phage Therapeutics, is working on a machine learning algorithm that could process the genetic data of the bacteria and phage much more quickly than current methods (which take hours, if not days). Once the system is trained, it will be able to match the most effective phage to a particular bacteria.
“When a patient is critically ill, every minute is important,” Adaptive Phage Therapeutics CEO Greg Merril told MIT Technology Review. Time is of the essence not just for patients who are already sick, but to everyone around the world who is vulnerable.
Both AmpliPhi Biosciences and Adaptive Phage Therapeutics are planning clinical trials, which may even begin this year. As the threat of antibiotic-resistance grows, the results can’t come soon enough.
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