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Latest Posts

Apple handed users data to the Indian Government on request, owing to iTunes Gift Card fraud investigation

Apple was asked by the Indian government to provide information in connection to the 27 devices and 18 accounts, during the period of January-June 2018, in most of
the cases owing to an iTunes Gift Card fraud investigation.

Apple said in its bi-annual transparency report released on late Monday that the number of requests from India-in various formats such as court orders, subpoenas,
warrants or other valid legal requests, which also included 34 financial identifiers and three emergency requests.

In context to the device requests, Apple had provided data to the Indian government in 63 per cent of cases and 85 per cent in the cases related to financial identifiers.

"The high number of financial identifiers were specified in requests predominantly due to an iTunes Gift Card fraud investigation," said Apple.

"One request may contain one or multiple identifiers. We count the number of identifiers identified in each request and report the total number of identifiers by type
(Device, Financial Identifier, Account)," the company added.

For account requests, Apple gave data in 78 per cent of cases and for all the three emergency requests.

During the time of July-December 2017, Apple provided data in 14 out of 27 requests (52 per cent) to the Indian government.

With tech giants like Facebook and Twitter that release bi-annually transparency reports, Apple keeping up with the global trends has now launched a new transparency
report website that makes it easier to scan data request from various governments.

In total, Apple approved more than 25,000 government requests to access customer data in the first half of 2018, which is almost nine per cent rise in demands in the
July-December 2017 period.

"Apple is committed to your privacy and being transparent about government requests for customer data globally. This report provides information on government
requests received," said the company.

Governments around the world had sent requests for device information on 29,718 Apple devices, out of which India asked for 27 device requests during the time of
July-December 2017 period. Overall, the data was provided in 79 per cent of cases globally.

"Apple regularly receives multi-device requests related to fraud investigations. Device-based requests generally seek details of customers associated with devices or
device connections to Apple services," said the Cupertino-based company.

Apple needs government and private entities to follow applicable laws and statutes when requesting customer information and data.

ISRO will launch communication satellite GSAT-7A on December 19

On Wednesday, the Indian Space Research Institute said that GSAT-7A will be released from Satish Dhawan Space Station in Sriharikota with the help of GOsynchronous
Satellite Launch Vehicle GSLV-F11. The 2,250 kg capacity is the 35th Indian communications satellite manufactured by GSAT-7A ISRO. ISRO said that it has been made the
size of the agency's standard I-2000KG (I-II) bus. This satellite has eight years of life and it will provide communication capability on KU band in the Indian region. 

During its 13th flight, GSLV-F11 will deliver GSAT-7A to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).

Earth days getting longer due to Moon

Washington :
Days on the Earth are getting longer, thanks to the movement of the Moon away from the planet, according to a study which found that 1.4 billion years ago a day lasted just over 18 hours.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reconstructs the deep history of our planet's relationship to the Moon. It shows that 1.4 billion years ago, the Moon was closer and changed the way the Earth spun around its axis.

"As the Moon moves away, the Earth is like a spinning figure skater who slows down as they stretch their arms out," said Stephen Meyers, professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US.

It describes a tool, a statistical method, that links astronomical theory with geological observation (called astrochronology) to look back on Earth's geologic past, reconstruct the history of the solar system and understand ancient climate change as captured in the rock record.

"One of our ambitions was to use astrochronology to tell time in the most distant past, to develop very ancient geological time scales," Meyers said.

"We want to be able to study rocks that are billions of years old in a way that is comparable to how we study modern geologic processes," he said.

Earth's movement in space is influenced by the other astronomical bodies that exert force on it, like other planets and the Moon.

This helps determine variations in the Earth's rotation around and wobble on its axis, and in the orbit the Earth traces around the Sun.

These variations are collectively known as Milankovitch cycles and they determine where sunlight is distributed on Earth, which also means they determine Earth's climate rhythms.

Scientists have observed this climate rhythm in the rock record, spanning hundreds of millions of years.

However, going back further, on the scale of billions of years, has proved challenging because typical geologic means, like radioisotope dating, do not provide the precision needed to identify the cycles.

The solar system has many moving parts, including the other planets orbiting the sun. Small, initial variations in these moving parts can propagate into big changes millions of years later; this is solar system chaos, and trying to account for it can be like trying to trace the butterfly effect in reverse.

Researchers combined a statistical method that Meyers developed in 2015 to deal with uncertainty across time - called TimeOpt - with astronomical theory, geologic data and a sophisticated statistical approach called Bayesian inversion that allows them to get a better handle on the uncertainty of a study system.

They then tested the approach, which they call TimeOptMCMC, on two stratigraphic rock layers: the 1.4 billion-year-old Xiamaling Formation from Northern China and a 55 million-year-old record from Walvis Ridge, in the southern Atlantic Ocean.

With the approach, they could reliably assess from layers of rock in the geologic record variations in the direction of the axis of rotation of Earth and the shape of its orbit both in more recent time and in deep time, while also addressing uncertainty.
They were also able to determine the length of day and the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

Now famous people can use Facebook Pages to raise funds

San Francisco :
Facebook has just announced a slew of measures to make fundraising on its platform easier including an initiative to allow brands and public figures to use their Facebook Pages to raise money for nonprofit causes.

"Brands and public figures use their Facebook Pages to connect with followers and fans, and now they can rally support around nonprofits as well," Facebook said in a statement.

The social network now also allows people to invite friends to manage a fundraiser together, helping to expand their network of supporters.

"Just like you can add a co-admin or moderator to a Facebook Group or a co-host to your Facebook Event, you can now add up to three friends to be organisers of your fundraiser to help you manage it and rally more supporters to reach your fundraising goals," Facebook said.

Nonprofits can now also start fundraisers on their Pages for their own causes, it said. 
"Each of these new features is aimed to help nonprofits raise more from their supporters through Facebook Fundraisers, and we'll continue to work on tools to make fundraisers even more meaningful," the statement added.

15,000 lightning strikes recorded in 4 hours across Britain

London :

Around 15,000 lightning strikes were recorded in four hours across Britain, the BBC Weather said on Sunday.

Many people got out their cameras to photograph and video the electrical storm on Saturday, which was called “utterly insane” and “like being under a strobe light”.

Others remarked that they had “never seen a storm quite like this” and said the flashes were “stunning”.

The lightning strikes were followed by thunderstorms and torrential rains.

The thunderstorms swept northwards across the south of England, the Midlands and Wales and are expected to continue throughout Sunday and continue into the early hours of Monday, according to the Met Office.

It has issued a yellow warning for heavy rain and flooding.


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