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Knowledge Update

New programming method can control swarm of robots

​London, Feb 28 (IANS) A new programming method previously used in manufacturing can be applied to control a swarm of robots to make use of robotics advantageous in areas where safety is a concern, says a new study.

Nigeria not to devalue currency: Vice President

​Lagos, Feb 28 (IANS) Nigeria's currency will not be devalued despite pressures, Vice President Yomi Osinbajo said.
Speaking at a town hall meeting here on Saturday, Osinbajo insisted that devaluation was not on the table, adding that is the position of government, Xinhua news agency

New cargo train service links China, Russia

​Beijing, Feb 28 (IANS) A cargo train carrying Chinese-made goods left China's Harbin city for Russia, marking the opening of a new freight route between the two countries.
The new route links Harbin, capital of China's Heilongjiang province, with Russia's fourth largest city Ekaterinburg, said sources with Harbin Commerce Bureau on Saturday,

World's longest selfie stick is here but can't get stunning photos

London, Feb 27 (IANS) James Ware, a YouTube personality in Britain, has claimed to have built the world's longest selfie stick but his unusually long monopod may not guarantee a stunning selfie, a media report said.
Currently, the Guinness World Record for building the world's longest selfie stick is held by Ben Stiller, who used his 8.56 metre monopod to click selfies at the London premiere of "Zoolander 2" earlier this month. But Ware was determined to break the record, tech website reported on Friday. So he went shopping for bits of tape and pipe that cost him around $62. Using the material, he built a selfie stick that he said measured 9.57 metres.
"I'm just trying to get a new profile picture," he explained to a security officer in London's Trafalgar Square where he went to click a selfie.But the officer didn't feel secure so Ware had to go elsewhere.
Although Ware successfully got his selfie using the stick, his iPhone also captured a passing truck quite well. He looked like a man who was desperately trying to stop a lamppost from falling in a windstorm, said.He admitted that his pose made him look like he was "taking a slash" - a British slang for urinating. Moreover, there was no one from the Guinness World Records organisation to witness his feat.Ware may not have been successful to be able to register his name with the Guinness World Records this time, but he got ample admirations from his followers on YouTube for the feat.

Even computers can gauge if you're bored

​London, Feb 25 (IANS) Not just your employer or spouse, even computers programmed to monitor people's body language can tell whether they are bored or not, says a study.
Body-language expert Dr Harry Witchel from University of Sussex found that by measuring a person's movements as they use a computer, it is possible to judge their level of

China adopts first law on deep seafloor exploration

Beijing, Feb 26 (IANS) China's top legislature on Friday passed the country's first law on deep seafloor resource exploration to protect the maritime environment and ensure sustainable exploitation.

US stocks fluctuate after upbeat GDP report

​New York, Feb 27 (IANS) US stocks traded narrowly mixed as the country's economic growth was revised up to one percent in the fourth quarter of 2015.
By Friday noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged down 0.89 point, or 0.01 percent, to 16,696.40, Xinhua news agency reported. The S&P 500 rose 3.19 points, or 0.16


Skyline University College,UAE Technology is the moving force, and it's impacting every dimension of human life. New technological developments create new opportunities for various businesses, and at the same time make many others obsolete. The latter half of twentieth century changed the way world shops, distantly located small independent stores gave way to shopping malls and hypermarkets. Shopping malls became the indispensable part of modern lifestyle. Modern consumers got inspiration for emerging fashion in shopping malls and they spent hours every week in these malls to shop, to see and to make new friends. Malls had a lot to offer for evenings and weekends from fashion to food courts, from child entertainment to mega theaters. Malls became the major factor for an area to develop, for flats in an apartment to get sold at the right prices. New residents based their house selection decisions not only on the availability of schools and hospitals but also on the malls in nearby areas. Shopping malls grew so fast in the last few decades that retailers operating at independent locations began moving to these malls for survival and growth. The number and types of shopping malls often decided how modern a city was. City with sprawling malls became shopping destinations and added to the tourism and overall economic growth of the cities. Different malls were known for different types of retail stores, different types of merchandise they offered, different type of customers they attracted. No wonder, governments and decision makers awarded high priority to malls' development in urban planning. But, there are strong signals of changing wind. Probably, malls are entering the proverbial maturity phase of product lifecycle. The convenience of online shopping and the poverty of time are propelling shoppers away from the malls and towards the screen. The rapidly developing technologies are making the screen smaller, smarter and faster. The trend has become global, the death of High Street in UK and that of downtown in USA is not confined to America and Europe. Even in Asian countries, malls are vacant: some malls have no shoppers, and others do not have even occupants (retail stores).While Flipkart and snapdeal have made Indian malls empty, Alibaba in China has made hundreds of international brands shutting down their stores in Beijing, Shanghai and other cities. Korea has the same story. In UAE, world famous malls of Dubai are facing the intense heat of competition and owners of physical stores have a lot of apprehensions about the future. What are the prominent reasons of this shift? And how will it unfold further in future? A lot of studies have been done and many others are in the progress to understand the dynamics and to infer the future trends. A few of the major reasons identified are as following:- Shopping by smartphones and apps have provide far more wider choices than shopping in physical stores Comparisons of products, features and prices are so instant and professional, which can never be matched by physical stores Changing lifestyle factors like both partners working and poverty of time make online shopping Hobson's choice for millions Disintermediation (absence of marketing middlemen like retailers & distributors) bring down the prices substantially, Privacy in shopping, avoidance of crowd etc. are other factors which motivate many to shop online. The future seems to be in favor of online shopping and it may bring more bad news to physical stores and malls. There are obvious reasons for this conjecture. First of all, the emergence of better technologies like augmented reality will make online shopping far more better and convenient than today. Secondly, the smarter logistics will reduce the time for delivery in any part of the world. Thirdly, expansion and betterment of online payments will help online shopping to grow further .Last but not the least, newer generations will not have any psychological barrier to shop online, no old habits need to be broken, and they will be much more comfortable in using IT apps than older ones present today. Hence, writing on the wall for retailers and mall owners is act before it's too late, explore the new ways for businesses, new ways to reaching the changing customers. ​

Vision impairment of over 100 million people correctable: Study

New York, Feb 27 (IANS) Nearly 108 million people in the world - one out of every 90 of the world population -- are suffering from correctable vision impairment, a global study has estimated.
Uncorrected refractive error (URE) - nearsightedness, farsightedness, and other focusing problems correctable by prescription lenses - is responsible for moderate to severe vision impairment in 101 million people and blindness in seven million people worldwide, the study said.The findings appeared in Optometry and Vision Science, official journal of the American Academy of Optometry. "Uncorrected refractive error continues as the leading cause of vision impairment and the second leading cause of blindness worldwide," said one of the study authors Kovin Naidoo from Brien Holden Vision Institute, Durban, South Africa.
Refractive error refers to any of the common vision problems causing decreased sharpness of vision, including myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia, (farsightedness), or astigmatism. In developed countries, eyeglasses or contact lenses are routinely prescribed to correct these causes of impaired vision.But millions of people around the world still have impaired vision or even blindness caused by URE. In the study, a group of leading optometrists and ophthalmologists specialising in world blindness analysed the best available research on URE. Pooled data from nearly 250 studies performed between 1990 and 2010 were analysed to estimate the number of people affected by blindness and visual impairment due to URE, including trends in prevalence and differences by region.Uncorrected refractive error was found to be the leading cause of moderate to severe visual impairment, affecting an estimated 101.2 million people.It was also the second leading cause of blindness (after cataracts), affecting another 6.8 million. 
"In 2010, URE contributed 20.9 percent of all blindness and 52.9 percent of all moderate to severe vision impairment," Naidoo said

Obese? You may become more forgetful

London, Feb 27 (IANS) If you are obese, you are at risk of physical and psychological health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, depression and anxiety.
But, your high body mass index (BMI) is also likely to affect your episodic memory -- the ability to recall past events, warns a new study.A higher BMI was previously found to affect the structural and functional changes in the brain. But, it may also be accompanied by a reduced ability to form and/or retrieve episodic memories and also affect brain's ability to perform certain cognitive tasks optimally, suggested the researchers.The results showed that obesity might also impair an individual's ability to use memory to help regulate consumption. 
In other words, it is possible that becoming overweight may make it harder for an individual to keep track of what and how much he or she has eaten, potentially making one more likely to overeat."The possibility that there may be episodic memory deficits in overweight individuals is of concern, especially given the growing evidence that episodic memory may have a considerable influence on feeding behaviour and appetite regulation," said Lucy Cheke, lecturer at the University.However, she cautioned that not all overweight people are necessarily forgetful.But if the results are generalised to memory in everyday life, then it could be that overweight people are less able to vividly relive details of past events -- such as their past meals, the researchers explained in the study published in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.
Obesity has been previously, linked with dysfunction of the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in memory and learning, and of the frontal lobe, the part of the brain involved in decision-making, problem solving and emotions.Around 60 percent of adults in Britain are overweight or obese: this number is predicted to rise to approximately 70 percent by 2034, the researchers noted. "Understanding what drives our consumption and how we instinctively regulate our eating behaviour is becoming more and more important given the rise of obesity in society," Cheke added. 
The researchers tested 50 participants aged 18-35, with body mass indexes (BMIs) ranging from 18 through to 51 -- a BMI of 18-25 is considered healthy, 25-30 overweight, and over 30 obese. The participants took part in a memory test known as the 'Treasure-Hunt Task', where they were asked to hide items around complex scenes (for example, a desert with palm trees) across two 'days'.They were then asked to remember which items they had hidden, where they had hidden them, and when they were hidden.
Overall, the team found an association between higher BMI and poor performance on the tasks.​