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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Motorola Zeppelin to Bring Touch-Sensitive Buttons at MWC

Motorola Zeppelin to Bring Touch-Sensitive Buttons at MWC

Mobile phone maker Motorola has been rumored quite a few times before to be working on a new Android device called the “Zeppelin,” and now a few more details on the matter emerged into the wild. Originally, the handset was said to be on its way to the Chinese market with Google’s mobile operating system on board, yet it seems that it will actually make an appearance on the floor at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month and that it won’t be that China-bound phone we though it might be.

According to a recent article on mobil.cz (via Engadget), the Motorola Zeppelin that will arrive at the MWC show in Spain will boast touch-sensitive buttons on the front, as well as a 3.2-inch touchscreen display that delivers an HVGA resolution. The MotoBlur solution from Motorola will also be there, and the same might apply to the latest version of Android, namely 2.1, or, in the worst case scenario, to Android 2.0. However, exact details on the matter seem to lack at the moment.

Among the other goodies that Zeppelin might include, we can also count a 5-megapixel photo snapper, along with a built-in GPS receiver. The specs show that it won’t be able to compete with some of the top Android devices currently on the market, but that it should prove a more than decent option. Nevertheless, it still remains to be seen whether the rumor on it will pan out, but that won’t take too long, since MWC is only a couple of weeks ahead.

In the meantime, we should say that the handset originally believed to be the Zeppelin, dubbed XT800, was said to include a 3.7-inch touchscreen display that would boast an 854 x 480 pixel resolution, a 5-megapixel camera with auto focus, Android 2.0, MicroSD memory card slot with support for up to 32GB of additional storage space and more. The handset can be seen on Motorola’s website here, slated for release on the Chinese market.

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Scientists Claim to Convert Skins Cells into Brain Cells

Scientists Claim to Convert Skins Cells into Brain Cells

In a stem cell breakthrough that could speed-up treatment of dementia, American scientists have claimed to have developed a method to directly convert skin cells into nerve cells.
“We actively and directly induced one cell type to become a completely different cell type,” claimed study author Dr Marius Wernig from Stanford University in California.

“These are fully functional neurons. They can do all the principal things that neurons in the brain do,” Dr Wernig wrote in the journal Nature.

The breakthrough could “revolutionise the future of human stem cell therapy” for the regeneration of brains, said the researchers.

In a mouse-model laboratory experiment, Dr Wernig’s team selected 19 genes involved in either genetic reprogramming or neural development and function and introduced them into mouse embryo skin cells using a virus, The Telegraph reported.

The team then monitored the changes in the rodents.

They observed that the cells connected with other nerve cells within one week and with an efficiency of almost 20 per cent.

After 32 days, some of the former skin cells had acquired the appearance of nerve cells and were producing neural proteins.

“We were very surprised by both the timing and the efficiency,” said Dr Wernig.

The process was used to whittle the original 19 genes down to just three, which were then tested on skin cells from the tails of adult mice.

The ability to make neurons quickly from an individual patient may one day lead to the manufacture of cells for therapy. Such changes are critical to future treatments for Parkinson’s disease and other brain disorders, he said.

The scientists now hope to duplicate the feat with human cells.

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Apple iPad: New Tablet Computer Wows Many, Bores Some

Apple iPad: New Tablet Computer Wows Many, Bores Some

Apple wowed many in the tech world with the launch of a new tablet computer – the iPad – that could pioneer a new style of media use in the digital age.

But some critics said Apple’s new device fell short of expectations.

Hopes for the device had been high. In the words of The Wall Street Journal: “The last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it.”

Amazingly, Apple’s iconic chief executive Steve Jobs managed to blast those expectations out of the water by showing a device that users cannot but crave.

Like the company’s other revolutionary breakthrough, the iPhone, the iPad is trying to define a new category of digital devices by giving customers something they didn’t even know they needed before Apple came up with the idea.

Analysts had predicted that the device could cost as little as $600 and sell 5 million units in its first year. But Apple outdid that with units starting at just $499, and a device that could appeal across a huge audience.

“It’s a mainstream device, not a geek gadget,” Apple enthusiast Mark Jaro said as he watched a live stream of the invitation-only event.

Some of the enthusiasm that rocketed over the blogosphere can be put down to Jobs’ legendary presentation skills, known in tech circles as the RDF, or reality distortion field.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Shahrukh Khan on the Moon

Shahrukh Khan on the Moon

For those who thought that the fans of Bollywood (Tamil film industry) were one crazy lot, we are sure that this piece of news will just not be a ‘Moonwalk’ (quite literally) for them. It’s general knowledge that Shahrukh Khan is called the King Khan for enough reasons that would fill many pages of an Encyclopedia. And the fan following that he has is nothing short of hysteria.

Well, if that wasn’t enough, here is a piece of news that is bound to make you sit up and take notice. The news is that one of SRK’s biggest fans had purchased (you read it right) a piece of land in SRK’s name on the Moon. And the good news is that, the International Lunar Geographic Society (ILGS) has now approved of the same. The crater in question is located on the moon’s Sea of Tranquility and is the largest of the four Arago craters, positioned directly south of the main crater.

It is said that the crater was named after SRK on his 44th birthday in November last year, and was only recently approved by the International Astronomical Union following a spate of petitions from SRK fans worldwide.

With this, SRK has proved quite literally, as to what ‘feeling over the moon’ really means. Way to go, SRK!

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Pakistani Players to Play in IPL?

Pakistani Players to Play in IPL?

Flames between India and Pakistan seem to be dousing over the controversy regarding the non-bidding of Pakistani players for the third season of the Indian Premier League. After allegations and counter allegations for more than a week both the sides seems to be moving towards a mean path. Controversy erupted after none of 11 Pakistani players available for auction were hired by any of the eight teams. Pakistan alleged that India had snubbed it’s cricketers after pre-planning.

Buzz up!
IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi who had initially hit back at the allegation of any foul play seems to have softened his stand on the issue. While speaking to CNN-IBN Modi said “I am sure the Pakistani players will return. We will discuss this with the Pakistan board officials when we meet them.” Modi also added that “Some teams have still not finished their quota of players and some players can still drop out. In that case, franchises can choose Pakistani players as replacements.”

Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi who was initially upset at being snubbed said to the media “”When you think about it, Pakistan and India have much more in common than there are differences. We need to build our relations rather than break them. Sport should be used to build peace between our great nations, not break them. Although Pakistan and India have borders, these borders cannot divide humanity.”

Kolkata Knight Riders owner Shahrukh Khan who was the first person to come in support of the Pakistani players in an interview with CNN IBN Shahrukh said “I believe my country stands for democracy, goodness and welcome-ness. We should open our arms to everyone and I think we should have a little more leeway in involving people from all over the world to come and showcase their talent.”

Sports Minister MS Gill also echoed Shahrukh and said “”I have seen the graceful response of some Pakistani cricketers to the IPL auction fiasco. I welcome the remarks and hope there will soon be an opportunity for these boys to play exciting cricket in India.” Gill had always maintained that the Government had nothing to do with the bidding of the players.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Oil Prices Fall on China Concerns

Oil Prices Fall on China Concerns

Oil prices have dropped on concerns that China will make further moves to tighten credit, energy analysts said.

New York’s main futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in March, slid 75 cents to 74.51 dollars a barrel.

London’s Brent North Sea crude for March delivery decreased by 59 cents to 73.10 dollars at about 1230 GMT.

Prices were driven lower on “concerns that China might further restrict bank lending,” said Victor Shum, an analyst at energy consultants Purvin and Gertz.

“That’s what’s driving the market.”

Policymakers in China have taken steps to tighten credit lending in a bid to slow down a roaring economy, which grew by 10.7 percent in the fourth quarter.

China is the world’s second biggest oil consuming nation after the United States.

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Dad’s Death Puts Kerrigan in Spotlight Again

Dad’s Death Puts Kerrigan in Spotlight Again

Nancy Kerrigan’s low-key family, which struggled with the attention brought on after an attack at a skating competition nearly derailed her Olympic dreams, has again been thrust into the spotlight with the death of her father after what authorities said was a violent struggle with his troubled son.

At his arraignment on Monday, the son, Mark Kerrigan, repeatedly rubbed the knuckles of his handcuffed hands and pleaded not guilty to assaulting 70-year-old Daniel Kerrigan at the family’s home in the Boston suburb of Stoneham, where he had been living with his parents. The 45-year-old put his head in his hands and wept but did not speak at his arraignment.


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