New Educational App Rewards Users With Real Cash

South Korea-based educational startup BeNative has launched CashEnglish, an app that rewards users with real cash for playing educational games.

The app is available in Hindi, English, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese and Korean, with more languages coming up soon, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

New Educational App Rewards Users With Real Cash

After making more than one million fans on its Facebook page, CashEnglish launched a beta version on bothAndroid and iOS platforms for free this month.

Since then, it has already become the top downloaded educational game in several countries around the world.

Users of CashEnglish have the chance to win cash prizes awarded weekly as they solve puzzles and climb the leaderboard.

Over $1,000 (roughly Rs. 68,000) in prizes was awarded in the first week alone, with the grand prize winner taking in $500 (roughly Rs. 36,000).

“People used to have to pay for education and since then, we’ve seen a huge push in the industry towards free online service. But we’re looking to take it one step further where people all over the world will actually get paid to learn,” said Alan Moonsoo Kim, CEO, BeNative, in a statement.

“We intend to disrupt the industry so that others have no choice but to follow,” he added.

Female Pet Owners May Be Less Likely to Die of Stroke

U.S. women over age 50 and generally healthy were less likely to die of cardiovascular events like stroke if they had a cat or dog, the researchers found.

After accounting for the increase in physical activity required of dog owners, owning a cat instead of a dog was still tied to a lower risk of death from stroke.

Female Pet Owners May Be Less Likely to Die of Stroke

The researchers studied almost 4,000 adults age 50 and older without major illnesses who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in 1988 to 1994 and who reported their pet ownership.

Participants also answered questions about physical activity, weight and height, cigarette smoking and other health risk factors. More than half were overweight or obese.

About 35 percent of people owned a pet, most often a dog. Pet owners tended to be younger, more often were married, and more often were white.

According to the National Death Index, as of 2006, 11 of every 1,000 non-pet owners had died of cardiovascular disease, compared to about 7 of every 1,000 pet owners.

Specifically for stroke, male pet owners were just as likely to have died, but female pet owners were about 40 percent less likely to have died of stroke.

Most of this association was driven by cat ownership, according to results in High Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Prevention.

“Anecdotally, we believe that walking a dog is good for heart, reducing life pressure andblood pressure as well,” said senior author Jian Zhang of the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University in the U.S.

“I strongly believe that putative benefits of keeping a dog have not yet fully translated into reality, and we found that pet owners did not walk pets, certainly, dogs, more often than others,” Zhang said. “This explains why owning a dog did not reduce CVD mortality among dog owners.”

Cat owners may have a personality that protects their hearts, rather than cats actually having a concrete effect on heart health, he said.

“We are short of overall assessment of the associations of companion animals with human health, and our study should not be interpreted to encourage more people to own pets, either dog or cat,” Zhang said. “Pets are good, but have to be kept responsibly.”

“In my study, there was a tendency for pet owners to have a higher risk of dying,” said Dr. Richard F. Gillum of Howard University College of Medicine in Washington D.C., who was not part of the new study but did study the same NHANES surveys.

Most findings show no association between pets and survival, he said.

“Data from NHANES are really inadequate to settle the question, since one can only determine there was a pet in the household, but not the number of pets or whether the study participant was the owner, cared for it or interacted with it,” Gillum said. “So we need to wait for better studies before making any firm conclusions about pets and survival among their owners.”

“Even if there were a reduction of death from stroke among women with cats, of what importance is that in public health terms if they are just as likely to die as other women, just from another cause,” he said.

Capsule Full of Space Station Junk Makes Fiery Re-Entry

A capsule filled with space station trash bit the cosmic dust Wednesday with a keenly interested scientific audience.

The cargo carrier broke apart and burned up while re-entering Earth’s atmosphere high above the Pacific. Researchers gathered information on the breakup from sensors it carried, in hopes that the data will improve future spacecraft.

Capsule Full of Space Station Junk Makes Fiery Re-Entry

Built by Virginia-based Orbital ATK Inc., the capsule had been cut loose from the International Space Station last week. It followed its own orbit until it was steered into the atmosphere, where it was consumed by the heat of re-entry.

The vessel had been the scene of another fiery experiment shortly after it left the space station. A large blaze deliberately was ignited in it so Nasa could study the spread of flames in weightlessness. Like the re-entry test, this, too, was aimed at enhancing spacecraft safety.

The so-called “Cygnus” vessel was named the S.S. Rick Husband, after the commander of the doomed space shuttle Columbia. Husband and six other astronauts were killed as Columbia broke apart during re-entry in 2003, the result of launch damage.

Nasa is paying Orbital ATK, as well as SpaceX, to stockpile the space station. SpaceX has another station supply run coming up next month, while Orbital ATK plans to resume launches from Wallops Island, Virginia, in August. Orbital ATK temporarily moved its Cygnus flights to Cape Canaveral, Florida, after its Antares rocket exploded during liftoff from Wallops Island in 2014.

This latest Cygnus was launched to the space station from Florida back in March, using another company’s rocket. Once the supplies were unloaded, the capsule was filled with more than 4,000 pounds of garbage and discarded equipment for disposal. It had delivered twice that much.

iPhone 7 Said to Come in 3 Variants; 256GB Model Tipped Again

Apple unveiled iOS 10 at WWDC 2016 this month, and the commercial release is expected to be rolled out with the release of the iPhone 7 in September. The leaks surrounding the upcoming smartphone are in full force, and the latest one testifies to previous rumours of a 256GB storage variant and a possible third variant of the iPhone 7 this year.

The iPhone 7 has been rumoured previously to come in three variants, the third one being called either the iPhone 7 Pro or the iPhone 7 Plus Premium. A leak out of Weibo (spotted first by PocketNow) also claims that Apple is looking to introduce a third model, and is most likely going to call it the iPhone 7 Pro.

The tipster also attests to the 256GB rumour. Apparently, the iPhone 7 will come in new storage options namely – 32GB, 64GB, and 256GB. However, the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 7 Pro will come with – 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB storage options.

The report also reveals the pricing of the iPhone 7 Pro. The price of the new variant is expected to begin from CNY 7,088 (roughly Rs. 72,900) for the 32GB model, and go up to CNY 8,888 (roughly Rs. 91,200) for the 256GB model. Apple is known to keep the pricing of its iPhone 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch variants the same every year, and the Weibo leak says that will be the case this year as well.

The iPhone 7 is expected to come with minor iterations, and Apple is apparently keeping the big changes for the 2017 iPhone. There is an expected dual camera setup on the larger variant, and aSmart Connector at the back. The 3.5mm audio jack is on the see-saw, and may or may not be removed.

Oppo A37 With 4G Support, 7.6mm Thickness

Oppo has unveiled its new A-series smartphone, the A37, in China. Priced at CNY 1,299 (approximately Rs. 13,300), the Oppo A37 is now available to buy in China via the company’s official store. The company has so far not revealed plans to launch the Oppo A37 in more markets.

Oppo A37 With 4G Support, 7.6mm Thickness Launched

The Oppo A37 features a 5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) IPS display and comes with a pixel density of 293ppi. The smartphone runs ColorOS 3.0 based on Android 5.1 Lollipop and comes with dual-SIM support (Micro-SIM + Nano-SIM). It will be available in China in Gold, Grey, and Rose Gold colours.

Under the hood, the Oppo A37 is powered by an octa-core MediaTek MT6750 processor clocked at 1.5GHz paired with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. The handset supports expandable storage via microSD card (up to 128GB). Connectivity options include GPRS/ EDGE, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi, GPS/ A-GPS, USB-OTG, and Micro-USB. The Oppo listing confirms that the A37 smartphone will support India LTE bands.

The Oppo A37 sports an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, BSI sensor, f/2.2 aperture, and full-HD (1080p) video recording capability. There is a 5-megapixel front camera on board as well. It is backed by a 2630mAh non-removable battery. It measures 143.1x71x7.68mm and weighs 136 grams.

The Chinese company earlier this month unveiled its new A59 smartphone in China. Priced at CNY 1,799 (approximately Rs. 18,500), the Oppo A59 was available in Gold and Rose Gold colour options. One of the highlight features of the Oppo A37 was it supported VoLTE (voice over LTE).

Chinese Economic Cyber-Espionage Plummets in the US

The Chinese government appears to be abiding by its September pledge to stop supporting the hacking of American trade secrets to help companies there compete, private US security executives and government advisors said on Monday.

Chinese Economic Cyber-Espionage Plummets in the US: FireEye

FireEye Inc, the US network security company best known for fighting sophisticated Chinese hacking, said in a report released late Monday that breaches attributed to China-based groups had plunged by 90 percent in the past two years. The most dramatic drop came during last summer’s run-up to the bilateral agreement, it added.

FireEye’s Mandiant unit in 2013 famously blamed a specific unit of China’s Peoples Liberation Army for a major campaign of economic espionage.

Kevin Mandia, the Mandiant founder who took over last week as FireEye chief executive, said in an interview that several factors seemed to be behind the shift. He cited embarrassment from Mandiant’s 2013 report and the following year’s indictment of five PLA officers from the same unitMandiant uncovered.

Prosecutors said the victims included US Steel, Alcoa Inc and Westinghouse Electric. Mandia also cited the threat just before the agreement that the United States could impose sanctions on Chinese officials and companies.

“They all contributed to a positive result,” Mandia said.

A senior Obama administration official said the government was not yet ready to proclaim that China was fully complying with the agreement but said the new report would factor into its monitoring. “We are still doing an assessment,” said the official, speaking on condition he not be named.

The official added that a just-concluded second round of talks with China on the finer points of the agreement had gone well. He noted that China had sent senior leaders even after the US Secretary of Homeland Security pulled out because of the Orlando shootings.

FireEye said that Chinese intrusions into some US firms have continued, with at least two hacked in 2016. But while the hackers installed “back doors” to enable future spying, FireEye said it had seen no evidence that data was stolen.

Both hacked companies had government contracts, said FireEye analyst Laura Galante, noting that it was plausible that the intrusions were stepping stones toward gathering information on government or military people or projects, which remain fair game under the September accord.

FireEye and other security companies said that as the Chinese government-backed hackers dropped wholesale theft of US intellectual property, they increased spying on political and military targets in other countries and regions, including Russia, the Middle East, Japan and South Korea.

Another security firm, CrowdStrike, has observed more Chinese state-supported hackers spying outside of the United States over the past year, company Vice President Adam Meyers said in an interview.

Targets include Russian and Ukrainian military targets, Indian political groups and the Mongolian mining industry, Meyers said.

FireEye and CrowdStrike said they were confident that the attacks are being carried out either directly by the Chinese government or on its behalf by hired contractors.

Since late last year there has been a flurry of new espionage activity against Russian government agencies and technology firms, as well as other targets in India, Japan and South Korea, said Kurt Baumgartner, a researcher with Russian security software maker Kaspersky Lab.

He said those groups use tools and infrastructure that depend on Chinese-language characters.

One of those groups, known as Mirage or APT 15, appears to have ended a spree of attacks on the US energy sector and is now focusing on government and diplomatic targets in Russia and former Soviet republics, Baumgartner said.

New 3D-Printed Polymer Can Convert Methane Into Methanol

Scientists have combined 3D printed polymers with methane-eating bacteria to create the first reactor that can produce methanol from the greenhouse gas, an advance that may lead to a more efficient energy production.

The researchers removed enzymes from methanotrophs, bacteria that eat methane, and mixed them with polymers that they printed or molded into innovative reactors.

New 3D-Printed Polymer Can Convert Methane Into Methanol: Study

“Remarkably, the enzymes retain up to 100 percent activity in the polymer,” said Sarah Baker, from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the US.

“The printed enzyme-embedded polymer is highly flexible for future development and should be useful in a wide range of applications, especially those involving gas-liquid reactions,” Baker said.

Advances in oil and gas extraction techniques have made vast new stores of natural gas, composed primarily of methane, available.

A large volume of methane is leaked, vented or flared during these operations, partly because the gas is difficult to store and transport compared to more-valuable liquid fuels.

Methane emissions also contribute about one-third of current net global warming potential, primarily from these and other distributed sources such as agriculture and landfills.

Current industrial technologies to convert methane to more valuable products, like steam reformation, operate at high temperature and pressure, require a large number of unit operations and yield a range of products.

The only known catalyst to convert methane to methanol under ambient conditions with high efficiency is the enzyme methane monooxygenase (MMO), researchers said.

The reaction can be carried out by methanotrophs that contain the enzyme, but this approach inevitably requires energy for upkeep and metabolism of the organisms.

Instead, the team separated the enzymes from the organism and used the enzymes directly.

The team found that isolated enzymes offer the promise of highly controlled reactions at ambient conditions with higher conversion efficiency and greater flexibility.

“Up to now, most industrial bioreactors are stirred tanks, which are inefficient for gas-liquid reactions,” said Joshuah Stolaroff, an environmental scientist on the team.

“The concept of printing enzymes into a robust polymer structure opens the door for new kinds of reactors with much higher throughput and lower energy use,” said Stolaroff.

The team found that the 3D-printed polymer could be reused over many cycles and used in higher concentrations than possible with the conventional approach of the enzyme dispersed in solution.

The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.

International Yoga Day: Embrace Yoga to Age Gracefully, Say Experts

Yoga won’t give you immortality but this ancient discipline of bringing union between the body, mind and spirit can definitely help you fight age – both physical and mental, say health and wellness experts.

International Yoga Day: Embrace Yoga to Age Gracefully, Say Experts

“In my practice in India and abroad I have seen several cases where my clients have gotten better by regular yoga, pranayam and meditation,” Preeti Rao, Health, Lifestyle and Wellness Consultant at Max Healthcare.

Regular yoga practice can help fight chronic lifestyle diseases like hypertension, hormonal imbalances, diabetes, reproductive disorders, and respiratory and cardiovascular related health concerns. Besides people with obesity, anxiety, constipation and digestive disorders can benefit significantly from practising yoga, according to the experts.

“From diabetes to high blood pressure, high cholesterol to heart problems, yoga can help you combat many such health issues that usually develop over the years. Also, arthritis is one of the most common problems among elderly people and yoga is a great way to tone it down and help the body become more active and flexible,” said Nidhi Arora, physiotherapist at AktivOrtho, an orthopaedic, neurological and gynaecological rehabilitation centre.

“Individuals prone to osteoporosis or are already suffering from the problem can gain a lot from yoga as a daily life discipline which increases bone density and growth. To keep a watch over increase in weight as well, yoga proves to be very helpful,” Arora noted.

Yoga can improve blood flow in the body and increase oxygen supply to body cells. It helps improve balance which tends to become weak as one ages, acclaimed fitness expert and nutritionist Sonia Bajaj said. What’s more, the benefits of yoga transcends physical fitness alone.

“Yoga is not limited to yoga or physical exercise,” Rao said.

Scholarly studies and research in this area have strongly documented how yoga helps in improving cognitive abilities.

“Pranayama helps one to attain a better balance between the right and left-brain bringing more balance between emotional and rational thinking. Meditation facilitates a process of introspection, and brings more clarity and focus in one’s life. Regular yoga also improves memory,” Rao noted.

“A regular yoga practice even for just 20-30 minutes daily that is simple and involves varied breathing exercises and mediation is what I would recommend to remain sharp, alert and for a balanced life,” she added.

A recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that a three-month course of Kundalini yoga and Kirtan Kriya meditation practice helped minimise the cognitive and emotional problems that often precede Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, brain disorders that impair the memory.

Kirtan Kriya, which involves chanting, hand movements and visualisation of light, has been practiced for hundreds of years in India as a way to prevent cognitive decline in older adults. Yoga and meditation was even more effective than the memory enhancement exercises that have been considered the gold standard for managing mild cognitive impairment, the findings showed.

“Historically and anecdotally, yoga has been thought to be beneficial in ageing well, but this is the scientific demonstration of that benefit,” lead author of the study Harris Eyre, doctoral candidate at the University of Adelaide in Australia, said.

“If you or your relatives are trying to improve your memory or offset the risk for developing memory loss or dementia, a regular practice of yoga and meditation could be a simple, safe and low-cost solution to improving your brain fitness,” Helen Lavretsky, the study’s senior author and professor in residence in the department of psychiatry, University of California-Los Angeles, suggested.

“Yoga forms like asana, pranayama and a regular devotion towards meditation are such strong tools that they are bound to invigorate the brain, help enhance the power of the mind and stimulate the nervous system as well. Yoga should be taken seriously as results from it are long-lasting and life-changing for sure,” Arora noted.

However, with many different types of yoga being practiced today, it is important for you to find out with the help of experts which type of yoga meets your needs, she said.

‘We’re Horrified’: At Stanford, The Impact Of A Sexual Assault Is Searing

It could have been mistaken for any other late afternoon in the expectant days before graduation. Seniors shuttled four years of possessions from the Kappa Alpha fraternity into waiting U-Hauls that would carry them away from Stanford for the last time.

But the students weren’t talking just about commencement, or summer, or jobs ahead. Their conversations this week, like so many on this elite campus these days, kept turning to sexual assault.

'We're Horrified': At Stanford, The Impact Of A Sexual Assault Is Searing

It was inescapable on their phones and laptops, what happened just a few hundred feet away and its lingering impact: A woman left one of their parties drunk, passed out behind a dumpster and was attacked by a Stanford swimmer.

“We’re horrified that this happened here,” said Dominick Francks, 22, a Kappa Alpha brother majoring in atmosphere/energy and computer science. “Everyone is pretty blown away.”

As the nation was riveted this week by the victim’s account of the January 2015 assault and its effects on her, this community has continued to cope with — and learn from — what has become a prime example of the problem of college sexual violence. Here, at Stanford, it overshadowed everything else.

Within an hour of the victim’s letter being posted online, Kappa Alpha fraternity brothers’ phones lit up: “You need to read this.”

Fraternity members said they were deeply shaken by the letter, describing it as eloquent, eye-opening and brave. One said he hoped the letter would become required reading at Stanford.

The case resonated nationally because it encapsulated the problem of sexual assault on campus, with all its complexities and jarring headlines, from the Baylor football team’s assaults that led to the ouster of the school’s football coach and president to high-profile cases at Vanderbilt, Florida State and so many others.

People argued over whether binge drinking was to blame, or fraternity culture or the entitlement of privilege. Some saw it as proof that sexual assault is treated differently when the accused is an athlete, a campus leader, an outstanding student. A statement from Turner’s father — arguing against jail time because the life his son had worked so hard to achieve would never happen and saying “That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life” — went viral.

Here in Palo Alto, the impact is visceral. Inboxes and social media are full of links to petitions: People demanding better support from the university for sexual assault victims, calling on Stanford officials to apologize and pay for the victim’s therapy, and asking the judge in the case to step down. A protest is planned for Sunday at an annual commencement event.

“Everyone on campus is talking about it,” said Dulcie Davies, a graduating sorority member who plays field hockey. “Everyone is sharing everything on Facebook.”

The reaction to the victim’s letter was the culmination of many months of soul-searching, said Victor Xu, a rising senior who is managing editor of The Stanford Daily. It’s a constant topic of conversation online and on campus, over dinner, in random conversations with friends and within families, he said.

It was just outside the Kappa Alpha house last year that a freshman left the party drunk and sexually assaulted an unconscious woman. Brock Turner, a varsity swimmer and Olympic hopeful, withdrew from the school, was banned from campus and was convicted of three felony counts of sexual assault.

When the 20-year-old from Ohio was sentenced last week — to six months in jail, three years of probation and a life as a registered sex offender — many people were shocked. The prosecutor had asked for six years in prison.

When the letter the victim read in court, 12 pages of eloquent agony, was published on Buzzfeed, it ignited: More than a million people signed online petitions demanding that Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky be removed from the bench, and a formal recall effort was launched. Persky got death threats.

The events prompted difficult questions within the university’s Greek system. Although Turner was never a member of Kappa Alpha, the fact that he met the victim at one of their parties, and assaulted her nearby, was troubling to many at Stanford.

In recent months, fraternities have hosted women’s groups to talk about sexual assault. Kappa Alpha had events on sexual health and masculinity. Members said they saw brothers break down in tears as they shared stories about pressure to succeed — academically, athletically and with women — and not show vulnerability.

Fraternities had been on notice since July 2014, when sexist jokes at a toga party at Sigma Alpha Epsilon led to harassment complaints. The students later permanently lost their house.

News of the Turner assault made women on campus feel less safe, Davies said. But the victim’s letter, released last week, and the campus discussions in recent months, also had some positive effects, she said.

“It just brought to light the smaller situations that happen,” Davies said. “Now people are coming to terms with saying things like sexist comments are not okay. In the past, it would have been played off. Now people are willing to speak out against it.”

Students and faculty were divided about whether Stanford had done enough.

Stanford has taken aggressive action in recent years to combat campus sexual assault, university officials say, including establishing a “yes means yes” affirmative consent standard in 2012 — before it became California law — in an attempt to avoid confusion about whether sexual contact is welcome. The school requires students to learn about prevention and changed how sexual assault cases are judged, with an expectation of expulsion when a student is found responsible for sexual assault. Next year’s budget includes $2.7 million to counter sexual violence.

A Washington Post analysis of federal data put Stanford among the top 10 schools with the highest number of rapes reported in 2014, with 26.

“I think what [the case] boils down to is that there’s a real disconnect between how people perceive rape that happens on campus and rape that happens off-campus. And, really, you know, rape is rape,” said Matthew Cohen, a sophomore and member of the student senate. “It should be treated the same way whether it happens on university campus or not.”

Michele Dauber, a Stanford law professor who is friends with the victim, said that the university had yet to apologize. The woman was not a Stanford student.

“They’ve never shown any remorse that this happened on Stanford property,” Dauber said. “You create this culture, not of alcohol but of toxic masculinity, in which misogyny is really deep and it’s always somebody else’s fault.”

Dauber introduced a new course last year for sophomores on sexual assault at universities because she had “a line of girls” outside her door who said they had been assaulted. The students in the course later formed a group that advocates for sexual assault prevention.

“Stanford looks at sexual assault cases from the lens of protecting its brand,” said the group’s organizer, Stephanie Pham. “Maybe it’s this need to forge an image of a perfect university where sexual assault doesn’t happen.”

Francks, the Kappa Alpha member, said he was home the night of the party in January 2015 but went to sleep early ahead of a morning golf event. He said more needs to be done.

“Why are we training girls how not to get raped but not teaching boys not to rape?” Francks said. “A lot of changes need to be made. But some are happening already.”

ISIS Releases Longest ‘Kill List’, Over 8,000 Americans Are Its Targets

A pro-ISIS hacker group has placed nearly 8,000 Americans on its longest ‘kill list’ that also includes names of Canadians, Australians and Europeans, a British media report said today.

The pro-ISIS United Cyber Caliphate hacker group released a list of 8,318 people, including their addresses and email contact details, on a secretive messaging app service.

ISIS Releases Longest 'Kill List', Over 8,000 Americans Are Its Targets

It urged its supporters to “follow” those listed – and “kill them strongly to take revenge for Muslims”, Daily Mirror reported.

It is one of the longest kill lists any ISIS-affiliated group has distributed to date and reportedly includes the names of 7,848 Americans, 312 Canadians, 39 Britons and 69 Australians.

The rest of the targets listed are reported to be from a variety of nations including Belgium, Brazil, China, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago, South Korea and Sweden.

They are mostly military or government workers or people in the public eye, like royalty or celebrities.

The list, written in both English and Arabic, was uncovered by the media group Vocativ, which specialises in investigating the hidden side of the web.

It discovered it on a messaging app service called Telegram earlier this week.

Vocativ has refused to share further details of those named on the list.

According to a report by US intelligence firm Flashpoint, the United Cyber Caliphate was formed in April 2015 after a merger of several radical Islamic hacking groups.