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Alphabet pulls the pin on its Project Loon internet balloons

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Google’s parent company Alphabet has decided to ground a venture aimed at bringing internet connectivity to remote corners of the globe through stratospheric balloons. The firm announced today that its Project Loon will be winding down, with the costs of developing and deploying this type of technology proving unsustainable for the long-term.

Project Loon first popped up as a Google side project way back in 2013, with the company hoping to use internet-beaming balloons drifting through the stratosphere to offer broadband connectivity in rural areas.

In the years since, we’ve seen the team advance it navigation software to enable clusters of balloons to target very specific regions, while the technology has been tested out in New Zealand and Brazil. The technology has also helped fill gaps in communications in storm ravaged Puerto Rico and served remote parts of Kenya.

While these were promising steps forward for the Project Loon team, it seems that the financial burden of developing this technology and using it in the real world was ultimately too much to bear, which reflected in the end cost for the users.

“While we’ve found a number of willing partners along the way, we haven’t found a way to get the costs low enough to build a long-term, sustainable business,” Loon CEO Alastair Westgarth writes in a blog post announcing the news.

The post also mentions that the idea of connecting “the last billion users” is the hardest problem of all in connectivity, and that in those difficult-to-reach communities, the service was just too expensive for everyday people.

Source: Medium

Source: https://newatlas.com/telecommunications/alphabet-pulls-pin-project-loon-internet-balloons/

NEWATLAS

Hidden Egyptian handbook reveals secrets of mummification

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A recently discovered text written around 1450 BCE contains previously unknown details about Egyptian mummification process

A 3,500-year-old Egyptian medical text is shedding new light on the ancient practice of mummification. Recently discovered inside a much larger work, the papyrus document being studied by University of Copenhagen Egyptologist Sofie Schiødt is the oldest known mummification manual.

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Category: Science

Tags: University of Copenhagen, Mummies, Archaeology

Source: https://newatlas.com/science/egypt-mummification-manual-louvre-carlsberg-copenhagen/

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Lasers and plasma shockwaves used to measure ripeness of fruit

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Researchers in Japan have developed a contactless way to measure the ripeness of soft fruit like mangoes

Judging how ripe a piece of fruit is can be a frustrating process for everyone from farmers to shoppers. Now, researchers at Shibaura Institute of Technology (SIT) in Japan have developed a new high-tech way to check, without touching or damaging soft fruit like mangoes. All it takes is a laser and some plasma shockwaves.

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Category: Science

Tags: Food, Fruit, Laser, Food technology

Source: https://newatlas.com/science/fruit-ripe-lasers-plasma-shockwaves/

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Broadcasting tech swaps stadium ads for regional advertising

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Examples of the system showing two different ads (A,B) along with the magenta screen (C) which neither stadium audiences nor TV viewers see

When viewing sports coverage from other countries, it’s common to see sideline advertising boards that are promoting products you’ve never even heard of. This new TV system is capable of digitally replacing the content of those boards, so they’re advertising region-specific products.

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Category: Good Thinking, Lifestyle

Tags: Fraunhofer, Sports, Advertising, Broadcast, Television

Source: https://newatlas.com/good-thinking/fraunhofer-vibotec-sports-advertising/

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Scientists calculate life expectancy of Earth’s atmospheric oxygen

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An artist's interpretation of the atmosphere of Archean Earth, prior to 2.4 billion years ago. A new study suggests it may return to this oxygen-poor, methane-rich atmosphere in about 1 billion years' time

The Earth has an expiry date – in about five billion years, the Sun will expand and swallow up our home world. But it turns out life on Earth could have a much earlier end point. A new study has found that in about a billion years’ time, the atmosphere will lose most of its oxygen rapidly, which may have important implications in the search for life on other planets.

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Category: Environment, Science

Tags: Oxygen, Atmosphere, Earth, Geology, Exoplanet, Extraterrestrial

Source: https://newatlas.com/environment/earth-atmosphere-oxygen-life-expectancy/

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