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Insurance Companies Want Access To Your Fitbit Data

April 20, 2015 by mphillips   | Category: Around The Net
Insurance Companies Want Access To Your Fitbit Data

Could a 15 minute work out save you 15% on your life insurance? If you sign up with John Hancock, it could. The company has become the first to offer ratepayers a discount when they use Fitbit wristbands that enable exercise tracking. For years now, consumers have been able to plug a dongle into their car’s onboard diagnostics port and send driving data to Progressive, State Farm, or other auto insurance firms who offer reduced rates for good driving. Now, John Hancock policyholders who wear... 

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Twitter Re-designs Home Page, Hopes To Attract New Users

April 17, 2015 by mphillips   | Category: Around The Net
Twitter Re-designs Home Page, Hopes To Attract New Users

Twitter, hoping to attract new users, is turning its home page into a portal for news and content around dozens of topics. Twitter.com has been redesigned to make content posted to the site more accessible to people who do not have accounts with the service. Those people can visit the site, and as of Wednesday they will find 18 tabs leading to streams of content on various topics, whether it be country singers, general news, or travel guides. There’s also dozens of other curated streams of... 

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Was Earth Hit By A Mercury Size Object?

April 17, 2015 by Michael   | Category: Around The Net
Was Earth Hit By A Mercury Size Object?

A key ingredient of the early Earth may have been a chunk of rock much like Mercury, scientists say. This finding could help explain how Earth’s magnetic field has lasted for billions of years, researchers added. Scientists think Earth formed at about the same time as the sun and the rest of the solar system about 4.6 billion years ago from a giant, rotating cloud of gas and dust. Earth and the other rocky planets coalesced from smaller asteroid-sized bodies that accreted or stuck together... 

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RadioShack Moving Forward With Plans To Sell Customer Data

April 16, 2015 by mphillips   | Category: Around The Net
RadioShack Moving Forward With Plans To Sell Customer Data

RadioShack plans to keep moving forward with its plan to sell its customer data, despite opposition from a number of states. The company has asked a bankruptcy court for approval for a second auction of its assets, which includes the consumer data. The state of Texas, which is leading the action by the states, opposed the sale of personally identifiable information (PII), citing the online and in-store privacy policies of the bankrupt consumer electronics retailer. The state claimed that it found... 

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Scientist Map Image Of Dark Matter

April 16, 2015 by Michael   | Category: Around The Net
Scientist Map Image Of Dark Matter

In the universe, dark and light tend to cluster together, according to new maps that chart the location of dark matter over a large portion of the sky. The new maps show that in some places there are large amounts of dark matter, while in others it is almost entirely absent. The researchers who made the maps also looked at the location of regular matter — huge clusters of galaxies — and show that the two appear to be linked: the galaxy clusters tend to lie close to where the dark matter lies. The... 

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Nokia Looking To Acquire Alcatel-Lucent

April 15, 2015 by mphillips   | Category: Around The Net
Nokia Looking To Acquire Alcatel-Lucent

Nokia Oyj is holding talks on acquiring smaller telecom equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent, a deal that would combine the industry’s two weakest players but could pose challenges in cutting costs and overcoming political opposition. In a joint announcement, the Finnish and French companies said they were in “advanced discussions” on a “full combination, which would take the form of a public exchange offer by Nokia for Alcatel-Lucent.” The two, which have been seen as... 

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Will The James Webb Telescope Live Up To The Hype?

April 15, 2015 by Michael   | Category: Around The Net
Will The James Webb Telescope Live Up To The Hype?

A telescope will soon allow astronomers to probe the atmosphere of Earthlike exoplanets for signs of life. To prepare, astronomer Lisa Kaltenegger and her team are modeling the atmospheric fingerprints for hundreds of potential alien worlds. Here’s how: The James Webb Space Telescope, set to launch in 2018, will usher a new era in our search for life beyond Earth. With its 6.5-meter mirror, the long-awaited successor to Hubble will be large enough to detect potential biosignatures in the atmosphere... 

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New Stars Appear To Be Forming Near The Center of The Milky Way

April 14, 2015 by Michael   | Category: Around The Net
New Stars Appear To Be Forming Near The Center of The Milky Way

Despite the harsh environment created by the monster black hole lurking in the center of the Milky Way galaxy, new observations show that stars — and, potentially, planets — are forming just two light-years away from the colossal giant. Bright and massive stars were spotted circling the 4-million-solar-mass behemoth more than a decade ago, sparking a debate within the astronomy community. Did they migrate inward after they formed? Or did they somehow manage to form in their original positions? Most... 

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Does Methane Prove Alien Life?

April 13, 2015 by Michael   | Category: Around The Net
Does Methane Prove Alien Life?

In the search for life beyond Earth, the mantra has usually been, “Follow the water.” But now, scientists say it may be possible for a waterless environment to give rise to alien life. In a recent study, researchers at Cornell University proposed a formula for life that could thrive on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. With its freezing temperatures, seas of liquid methane and toxic atmosphere devoid of any liquid water, it may seem unlikely that Titan could give rise to life. But in... 

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Facebook Launches Standalone Messenger Web App

April 10, 2015 by mphillips   | Category: Around The Net
Facebook Launches Standalone Messenger Web App

Facebook has rolled out a standalone Messenger app for chatting on the web outside of Facebook.com. The move is Facebook’s attempt to create a dedicated hub for chats on the web as it incorporates many new features into the Messenger mobile app and grows its use. Facebook users can still chat with others as they would normally do on Facebook.com. But the new web app, accessible at Messenger.com, is aimed solely at messaging, without other distractions like the news feed or profile pages. To... 

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YouTube Planning Subscription Based, Ad-free Service

April 10, 2015 by mphillips   | Category: Around The Net
YouTube Planning Subscription Based, Ad-free Service

YouTube is planning a paid service that will allow viewers to watch select videos without ads, Google has confirmed. YouTube began laying out the terms of the service in a letter seen by IDG News Service. The letter was sent Wednesday to members of YouTube’s Partner program, which lets YouTube video makers earn money from ads and merchandise. It’s not clear when the new service will launch, nor the price or what it will be called. “While we can’t comment on ongoing discussions,... 

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Can Alien Planets Influence One Anothers Habitability Over Time

April 10, 2015 by Michael   | Category: Around The Net
Can Alien Planets Influence One Anothers Habitability Over Time

A new study sheds light on how exoplanets in tightly-packed solar systems interact with each other gravitationally by affecting one another’s climates and their abilities to support alien life. Because the exoplanets are so close to one another in these compact solar systems, they have tidal influence, much like the Earth and the moon have on each other. The tides modify the spin rates, axial tilts and orbits of these planets over time, and therefore alter their climates. The study examines... 

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Bitcoin Foundation Acknowledges Financial Woes

April 9, 2015 by mphillips   | Category: Around The Net
Bitcoin Foundation Acknowledges Financial Woes

The Bitcoin Foundation, formed in 2012 to promote the virtual currency, has denied claims by a board member that it’s bankrupt but has acknowledged significant financial problems — ironically as a result of a big drop in the value of its bitcoin holdings. On Tuesday its board of directors rejected claims made a day earlier by board member Olivier Janssens that it was “effectively bankrupt,” but said the bitcoin roller coaster has forced it to drastically cut back its operations. In... 

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Amazon’s Founder Space Company To Begin Test Flights

April 9, 2015 by mphillips   | Category: Around The Net
Amazon’s Founder Space Company To Begin Test Flights

A space company owned by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos has completed work on a rocket engine for a suborbital spaceship and plans to conduct flight tests this year, Blue Origin officials have said. The so-called New Shepard spaceship is designed to fly three people and/or a mix of passengers and payloads to altitudes about 62 miles (100 km) above Earth. It will launch from Blue Origin’s west Texas facility near Van Horn, Texas, southeast of El Paso. Testing and development of the rocket engine,... 

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Will NASA Find E.T. By 2025?

April 9, 2015 by Michael   | Category: Around The Net
Will NASA Find E.T. By 2025?

Humanity is on the verge of discovering alien life, high-ranking NASA scientists say. “I think we’re going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we’re going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years,” NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan said Tuesday (April 7) during a panel discussion that focused on the space agency’s efforts to search for habitable worlds and alien life. “We know where to look. We know how to look,”... 

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