Plastic pollution: ‘Stop flushing contact lenses down the loo’

Researchers in the US have been investigating the final journeys taken by disposable contact lenses. They found 15-20% of US users simply flick these fiddly lenses down the drain via the bathroom sink or toilet. The Arizona State University study suggests that much of the plastic material then ends up in waste water treatment plants. The lenses are consequently spread on farmland as sewage sludge, increasing plastic pollution in the environment. Around 45m people wear contacts in the US, while rates in other countries vary, with between 5 and 15% of the population in Europe using them. Over the last decade, the use of softer plastic contact lenses has grown rapidly with people using daily, weekly or monthly disposables in greater numbers than ever before. The woman who found a new threat in plastic Beach checks tackle plastic 'scourge' This new study suggests that in the US at least, around 14 billion lenses are thrown away, amounting to around 200,000kg (441,000lb) of ..

Saudi Arabia tests Japan-inspired ‘nap pods’ for hajj

Mansour al-Amer swipes a card to reveal a narrow sleep pod, reminiscent of Japan’s famed capsule hotels. But this pod is in Saudi Arabia, where the Muslim hajj pilgrimage begins Sunday. The kingdom has plans to introduce capsule rooms in the western city of Mina in the coming days, as an estimated two million Muslim faithful gather for the six-day hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam. The free nap pods are part of new measures Saudi Arabia is rolling out this year in a bid to modernise the centuries-old practice of hajj. The government has also introduced apps for on-the-spot translation and emergency medical care. Amer is the head of a Saudi charity, the Haji and Mutamer Gift Charitable Association, which is offering between 18 and 24 capsule for pilgrims to nap in for free in the coming days. Each fibreglass pod less than three metres long and just over one metre high features a mattress, clean sheets, air conditioning and a large, well-lit mirror. The pods can be lined up hor..

NASA detects hydrogen ‘wall’ surrounding solar system

NASA s spacecraft New Horizons has found new evidence of a "wall" of hydrogen at the edge of the solar system, encircling all the planets and objects orbiting the Sun. The "wall" is actually a vast amount of trapped hydrogen atoms caught up in the solar wind, which produce waves of ultraviolet (UV) light and have been detected by the sensors aboard New Horizons, according to NASA. The phenomenon was first glimpsed by astronomers around 30 years ago, and was called helisphere. However, evidence supporting the theory has remained murky. New Horizons has been using its on-board detector, known as "Alice", to look for traces of the celestial interaction. It picked up UV rays with "Alice" seven times from 2007 to 2017, and finally found evidence to verify earlier observations.

Google employees sign protest letter over China search engine

WASHINGTON: Hundreds of Google employees have signed a protest letter over the company's reported work on a censor-friendly search engine to get back into China. The employees are demanding more transparency so they can understand the moral implications of their work, said the Times, which obtained a copy of the letter. It has been signed by 1,400 employees and is circulating on the company's internal communications system, the newspaper said, quoting three people who are familiar with the document. The letter argues that the search engine project and Google's apparent willingness to accept China's censorship requirements "raise urgent moral and ethical issues." "Currently we do not have the information required to make ethically-informed decisions about our work, our projects, and our employment," they say in the letter, according to the Times. Employee anger flared with a report this month in The Intercept that Google is secretly building a search engine that ..

Hottest Planet Discovered And Its Not Solar System

One day in the distant future, a team of intrepid humans might board a starship and set out for a world beyond our solar system — may be one of the exoplanets of Alpha Centauri, the nearby star system. One place we’ll never set foot on is Kelt-9b. In addition to being a gas giant without a solid surface, Kelt-9b lies hundreds of light-years away and is the hottest planet ever observed. Temperatures on its outer layer can exceed 4,000 degrees Celsius (7,000 degrees Fahrenheit) — hotter than some stars — and a new study shows that its superheated atmosphere contains vaporized heavy metals. “Metals have been thought to be an important ingredient in forming exoplanets, but they were never directly directed,” study co-author Kevin Heng, a professor of astrophysics at the University of Bern in Switzerland, told NBC News MACH in an email. “Our result is the first robust, direct detection.”For the research, published Aug. 15 in the journal Nature, an international team of scientists used co..

Teenage fan hacks into Apple network

A teenager has said he hacked into Apple's main computer network because he was a fan of the company and had hoped to work for them. The 16-year-old, from the Australian city of Melbourne, downloaded large internal files and accessed customer accounts, according to statements from his lawyer. He saved them in a folder named "hacky hack hack", according to reports, and later told police that he had "dreamed of" working for the technology firm. The boy, who cannot be identified because of his age, appeared at the Children's Court to plead guilty to the hacking. The court heard that he had broken into the company's mainframe a number of times last year and downloaded around 90 gigabytes of files before the hack was traced and he was blocked. Apple contacted the FBI after becoming aware of the hack and the matter was then referred to the Australian Federal Police. The AFP raided the boy's family home last year and found two Apple laptops with serial numbers that ma..

Tesla ‘issued with subpoenas as regulators ramp up probe’ into privatisation plans

Tesla's stock fell as much as 4% after reports that US regulators had sent the company subpoenas as they ramp up investigations into its plans to go private. Elon Musk, the billionaire chief executive of Tesla, stunned investors with his announcement on Twitter that he had he "secured" funding and would take the company private at $420 a share, valuing it at $72bn. That tweet may have violated US securities law if he misled investors. On Wednesday, Fox Business Network senior correspondent Charles Gasparino reported that subpoenas had been issued, saying it showed the "investigation has reached 'formal' stage". Elon Musk is being sued by two Tesla shareholders Image: Elon Musk is being sued by two Tesla shareholders Mr Musk claims Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund has been pushing to take the electric car maker private for the past two years and is still interested. Shares in Tesla fell back slightly, down 3.1% to $336.63, in New York trading after investmen..

Don't Miss