In the present world, it is hard to imagine a day without using a cellphone unless you are on vacation in the midst of nowhere. The number of cell phone users is mounting each day round the world. According to Statista, by 2019 about 2.7 billion people are estimated to use Smartphone devices globally1. And, the statistics of mobile phone usage is predicted to cross 4.68 billion covering about 67 percentages of the global population in 20191.
The Global data of GSMA Intelligence reveals that the total figures of worldwide mobile users has already climbed the benchmark of five-billion2. In Bangladesh 158,438,000 mobile numbers were registered up to February 2019 - nearly 1 per head of the country’s population.
Certainly mobile phones – especially the Smartphones that rule the roost today – have undeniable benefits like instant communication with family and workplace, building networks, entertainment, camera, GPS, education, storing documents, privacy, diverse apps, etc. However, people are becoming addicted to the multi-dimensional applications of their Smartphones which is leaving diverse side-effects upon their health. Let’s see how your Smartphone is killing you silently.
● Eye Strain
While typing and/or reading any text content, people often tend to stare at the tiny fonts on the small screen of the Smartphone, which is harmful for the eyes. If this practice is continued on a regular basis, it can lead towards blurred vision, dried eyes, eye strain, dizziness, etc.
It is recommended to keep the cell phone screen at a minimum 16-inch distance from the face to minimize the risk of eye-damage. Try to take a little break after every 20 minutes, and shift your sight from the mobile screen to a distant object. If possible, read the long messages or articles on a bigger screen of a laptop or desktop. Whenever you face any kind of eye strain, consult with a doctor in no delay.
●Risk of Brain Cancer
You may know that the mobile devices create electromagnetic fields and release radio frequencies. According to the studies of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, people who use mobile phones excessively run the risk of developing brain tumor or cancer cells – like Glioma and/or Acoustic Neuroma – due to the effect of micro wave radiation. To cut down the risk of brain tumor/cancer you should avoid continuous use of cell phones for long hours.
●Neck & Back Pain
In most of the cases, a Smartphone user tends to browse the internet or social media for consecutive hours drooping over its screen. The wrong postures can harm the muscles of neck and back areas substantially resulting long-lasting strains. To get rid of the risk of neck and back pain due to mobile use, watch your posture while using Smartphone. Learn the right postures to keep your spine strong and healthy.
The doctors recommend keeping the cell phone at your eye-level resting the cervical spine at a neutral position. Another thing to remember is not to float arms ahead of the body. It engages shoulder muscles instead of neck muscles. And, you need to rest the elbows upon a place like desk, knees, ribs or even hand.
Sleep disturbance is another negative side effect of excessive cell phone use. People often engage in browsing social media while lying on the bed which delays their sleep. The beeping and vibrating noise tempt people to check the notifications, messages, and emails when they are supposed to fall asleep.
These ill practices hamper the sleep leading towards the risk of Insomnia, a sleeping disorder. Moreover, many people tend to keep the phone near the head during night hours after setting the alarm. As we have mentioned before that impact of microwave radiation released by the phone can harm the human brain, exposing the brain cells to the risk of cancer/tumor. In addition to these, regular sleep disturbance can lead towards dizziness, depression, mood swings, anxiety and many other physical and emotional problems.
Adequate sleep is one of the prime requirements for maintaining good physical and mental health. So you should stop surfing the web or watching videos/movies on your Smartphone after going to bed. And, don’t forget to keep the cell phone at a distant from the body parts, preferably away from the bed while sleeping.
Some studies show that keeping Smartphones in the pocket can also impair the male fertility5. The mobile phone radiation can shrink the semen volume, sperm count, sperm viability, and sperm concentration. However, no solid evidence is available is found between female fertility and mobile phone use. So, the males should be cautious against storing Smartphone in pockets all day long.
●Risk of Germs Attacks
The screen of a cell phone holds more germs than a toilet seat6. Study shows that the mobile phone screens bear harmful bacteria like E. coli, which can cause diarrhea, fever, infections, vomiting, etc. Especially, the babies tend to suck the Smartphone screen with the mouth area, which might expose them to germ attack leading towards diverse life-threating diseases. Therefore, you should keep the babies away from cell phones. And don’t forget to keep the mobile screen clean regularly.
Not to mention, the more people use their phones these days, they more they submit themselves to the profiteering schemes of corporations mining every bit of information they can get a hold of on us - nearly always, all of it through our phones - to target them with tailored messaging. It is also true that we can’t deny the various benefits of mobile phones in the current world. But we should not forget the fact that health is more precious than work, study, entertainment, or socializing. And, there is no alternative to sound sleep to maintaining a healthy body and mind. Therefore, it behooves us to minimize mobile phone use. Instead, we can get proper sleep and swap ‘screen time‘ for quality time with family and friends.
Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed an artificial intelligence-enabled machine that can beat human players in a tricky online multiplayer game where player roles and motives are kept secret.
The machine called DeepRole is the first gaming bot that can win online multiplayer games in which the participants' team allegiances are initially unclear, according to a news release by MIT on Wednesday.
Previously, several bots have been built to beat professional players but the bot knows its opponents and teammates from the start.
The bot is designed with novel "deductive reasoning" in its AI algorithm, enabling it to reason about partially observable actions to quickly learn whom to ally with and which actions to take to ensure its team's victory.
The researchers pitted DeepRole against human players in more than 4,000 rounds of the online game "The Resistance: Avalon," a game of imperfect information. In this game, players try to deduce their peers' secret roles as the game progresses, while simultaneously hiding their own roles.
The bot is trained by playing against itself as both resistance and spy. When playing an online game, it uses its game tree to estimate what each player is going to do and a high probability for each player's role. Simultaneously, it uses this same technique to estimate how a third-person observer might interpret its own actions.
DeepRole consistently outperformed human players as both a teammate and an opponent, according to MIT.
"Avalon" enables players to chat on a text module during the game, but the bot did not need to communicate with other players. Next, the researchers may enable the bot to communicate during games with simple text, such as saying a player is good or bad.
The work is part of a broader project to better model how humans make socially informed decisions.
Google is making it harder for political advertisers to target specific types of people.
The company said that as of January, advertisers will only be able to target U.S. political ads based on broad categories such as gender, age and postal code. Currently, ads can be tailored for more specific groups — for instance, using information gleaned from public voter logs, such as political affiliation.
The change will take effect in the UK in the next week, before the general election, and in the European Union before the end of 2019. It will apply everywhere else in early January.
Google reiterated that ads making false claims are prohibited, adding that so-called deepfakes — realistic but false video clips — are not allowed. Neither are "demonstrably false" claims that could affect voter trust in an election.
But in a blog post announcing the news, Google Ads vice president Scott Spencer noted that political dialogue is important and "no one can sensibly adjudicate every political claim, counterclaim and insinuation."
"So we expect that the number of political ads on which we take action will be very limited — but we will continue to do so for clear violations," he wrote.
Like all Google ads, political advertisers can also use the broader practice of "contextual targeting," which involves placing ads about, say, climate change on articles about the environment.
The company is also requiring advertiser verification for a broader range of political messages. Previously, only ads mentioning candidates or officeholders for federal positions required verification. Now that will also include ads touching on state officials and candidates as well as ballot measures.
The move follows Twitter's ban on political ads, which goes into effect on Friday.
Twitter also placed restrictions on ads related to social causes such as climate change or abortion.
In these instances, advertisers won't be able to target those ads down to a user's ZIP code or use political categories such as "conservative" or "liberal." Rather, targeting must be kept broad, based on a user's state or province, for instance.
Facebook has not made sweeping changes to any of its ads policies, but thrust the issue into public discussion this fall when it confirmed it would not remove false or misleading ads by politicians.
Critics have harshly condemned Facebook's decision. Twitter also faced a backlash from those who found its ban too far-reaching.
Google has taken a more middling stance, but it's unlikely to please everyone. Earlier Wednesday, President Donald Trump's campaign staff took issue with reports that Facebook might consider limiting its targeting practices.
"Facebook wants to take important tools away from us for 2020," the campaign tweeted from its official account. "Tools that help us reach more great Americans & lift voices the media & big tech choose to ignore!"
Even Google's limited targeting could receive backlash.
Critics and civil rights groups have said targeting specific zip codes or other small geographic zones can allow advertisers to discriminate or sway elections.
The expansion to Google's verification process will take effect December 3.
Google's new game-streaming service Stadia demonstrates the possibilities of gaming from the cloud, but experts say it's hindered by a lack of compelling video games and a convoluted pricing scheme.
Piers Harding-Rolls, head of games research at IHS Markit, called Tuesday's launch more of a public beta test than an actual debut. He said the real test will come next year, when Stadia begins to compete with new video game consoles due out from Sony and Microsoft.
"It is not at the moment a challenger to console companies or PC gaming," he said. "At this stage it is really about getting the product into market and into hands of consumers."
Google can learn from that and fine-tune the service as it grows and competition intensifies, he said.
Much like movies and music, the traditional video-game industry has been shifting from physical hardware and games to digital downloads and streaming. Such an approach lets gamers play from a variety of devices, picking up where they left off as they switch, without having to buy expensive equipment.
Tech companies such as Google are trying to establish a foothold early — even with some kinks — before streaming becomes as established in gaming as Netflix is in video and Spotify in music.
The benefits go beyond subscription revenue. While Stadia itself won't have ads. Google will try to tie Stadia with its other services, like YouTube and its digital assistant. Ultimately, as more people use Google services, the company can collect more data on user habits and show more ads targeted to those interests.
But these tech companies must compete with gaming stalwarts Sony and Microsoft, both of which have streaming ambitions of their own. Unlike Google, they also have decades of experience negotiating with game publishers and navigating the gaming industry.
Microsoft's $10-a-month Xbox Game Pass lets players download more than 100 games on the Xbox console at no additional cost. The company is also working on a streaming service, Project xCloud, though few details are available. Sony's PlayStation Now, also at $10 a month, or $60 a year, lets users stream or download games on its PlayStation 4 console or a personal computer.
Stadia, on the other hand, isn't meant for the console. But it requires a PC with Google's Chrome browser or a Google-made device — a Chromebook laptop, a Chromecast TV streaming device or a Pixel phone. It won't work with other phones using the company's Android operating system, or on iPhones, for now.
The service will eventually cost $10 a month, but it's currently available only to those who bought a $130 bundle that includes a three-month subscription. The service currently offers 22 games — most carrying a separate fee. For example, the adventure game "Red Dead Redemption 2" starts at $60.
Apple is also getting into the game-subscription business with Apple Arcade. The $5-a-month service lets users download a variety of games to play on iPhones and iPads. Games don't cost extra. Apple Arcade lets people download games to play offline, but Stadia does not.
Google is competing on this front, too, with a separate subscription called Google Play Pass. The $5-a-month service gives users access to about 350 games and apps on Android devices.
Video game streaming typically requires a strong connection and more computing power than simply streaming video, as there is real-time interaction between player and game. Google says it is tapping its massive data centers to power the system.
From a technological front, Stadia impresses, said Randy Nelson, head of mobile insights at analytic firm Sensor Tower.
But elsewhere, Stadia falls short. He said there is a disconnect between the hard-core gaming audience that Google appears to be targeting, and the few compelling games actually available.
"Gylt," a fantasy horror adventure game, is the service's only new exclusive title. Other games available at launch include "Shadow of the Tomb Raider," "Mortal Kombat," "Just Dance 2020" and "Destiny 2" — but all of these are available on other game platforms, too.
"It does seem to be a bit of a bare-bones launch to get this service out the door," Nelson said. "Hopefully Google will expand it over time."
Nelson said Google's approach is odd because it targets hard-core gamers who probably already have a console or PC, as well as many of the games on offer, rather than trying to reach more mainstream or casual users who don't want to invest a few hundred dollars in a console.
"There's certainly a missed opportunity here to position Stadia as a gateway to console-style gaming for casual and mobile players," Nelson said.
Also, consumers might be confused about pricing.
Google sold "Founder's Edition" bundles in advance, but is now offering a "Premiere Edition" bundle for the same price and benefits. Besides a three-month subscription, the bundle offers a Chromecast Ultra streaming device and a controller.
A stand-alone monthly subscription won't be available until 2020. A free version will also be available then. And while games are sold separately, the price depends on which level of service the gamer has.
"It all stacks up to being a bit of a confounding offering from Google," Nelson said. "They're likely to struggle a bit initially getting traction due to a bit of misunderstanding part of consumers about what it is offering."
Google hasn't disclosed subscription figures, nor have Microsoft and Apple. Sony said PlayStation Now has 1 million subscribers.
NASA is testing an underwater robotic explorer in Antarctica this month to look for life under the ice, according to a release of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on Monday.
Developed by engineers at the JPL, the Buoyant Rover for Under-Ice Exploration (BRUIE) could one day explore ice-covered lunar oceans like those on Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's moon Enceladus, said the JPL.
The upcoming test of the rover's endurance at Australia's Casey research station is its first trial in Antarctica.
According to the JPL, there are moons throughout the solar system believed to be covered in deep oceans hidden beneath thick, frozen surfaces. Kevin Hand, JPL lead scientist on the BRUIE project, believes that these lunar oceans may be the best places to look for life in the solar system.
"The ice shells covering these distant oceans serve as a window into the oceans below, and the chemistry of the ice could help feed life within those oceans," Hand said.
The Antarctic waters are the closest Earth analog to the seas of an icy moon, which makes them an ideal testing ground for BRUIE technology, said the JPL.
The buoyant rover, one meter long and equipped with two wheels to roll along beneath the ice, can take images and collect data on the important region where water and ice meet.
"BRUIE will carry several science instruments to measure parameters related to life, such as dissolved oxygen, water salinity, pressure and temperature," said Dan Berisford, JPL mechanical engineer.
NASA is already at work constructing the Europa Clipper orbiter, which is scheduled to be launched in 2025 to study Europa, laying the groundwork for a future mission that could search for life beneath ice.