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Success! SpaceX Launches Falcon Heavy Rocket on Historic Maiden Voyage

 
 CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The first Falcon Heavy rocket built by the private spaceflight company SpaceX soared on its maiden voyage today (Feb. 6) — a historic test flight that also sent a car toward Mars and included two confirmed booster landings.

“I’m really excited about today,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk told reporters after the launch. “I’m really proud of the SpaceX team. They’ve done an incredible job of creating the most advanced rocket in the world, and the biggest rocket in the world.”

Standing 23 stories tall, the Falcon Heavy rocket is SpaceX’s largest rocket yet. Its first stage is powered by three core boosters based on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets, with 27 engines (nine per booster) firing in unison to produce about 5 million lbs. of thrust (22,819 kilonewtons) at liftoff. While SpaceX hoped all three boosters would return to Earth and land, the center core missed its mark – a minor hiccup in an otherwise successful launch, Musk said. [SpaceX’s 1st Falcon Heavy Rocket Test Flight in Pictures]

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket takes off from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on Feb. 6, 2018.

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket takes off from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on Feb. 6, 2018.

Credit: SpaceX

The rocket will eventually launch payloads of up to 141,000 lbs. (64,000 kilograms) into orbit. That’s about twice the payload capacity of its nearest competitor, the Delta IV Heavy, built by United Launch Alliance.

“This is a test flight,”  Musk said yesterday (Feb. 5). “If the test flight works, I think we’d be ready to put satellites on the next mission.” That mission, Musk added, could occur within the next three to six months.

The Falcon Heavy rocket taking off from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Feb. 6, 2018.

The Falcon Heavy rocket taking off from Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Feb. 6, 2018.

Credit: SpaceX

 SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy test flight was arguably one of the most anticipated rocket launches in years, with an estimated 100,000 spectators expected to visit Florida’s Space Coast to witness the event. Among those in attendance was famed Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who watched as the Falcon Heavy launched from the same pad he used to fly to the moon in 1969.

 

 

Part of that allure is the mission’s novelty: This Falcon Heavy is the first of its kind, a new breed of reusable monster rocket.

The two side boosters of the first stage have flown before. One launched the Thaicom 8 communications satellite in May 2016, and the other lofted a Dragon cargo ship for NASA in July 2016, according to SpaceX. The center core stage was completely new for the Falcon Heavy. [SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Rocket Explained (Infographic)]

The Falcon Heavy's two side boosters returned to Cape Canaveral to stick a historic double landing after SpaceX's new megarocket successfully launched on its first test flight on Feb. 6, 2018.

The Falcon Heavy’s two side boosters returned to Cape Canaveral to stick a historic double landing after SpaceX’s new megarocket successfully launched on its first test flight on Feb. 6, 2018.

Credit: SpaceX

In a sort of cosmic dance, the three first-stage core boosters returned to Earth much like SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets have in the past. Two boosters touched down at SpaceX landing sites at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station near KSC. The third was scheduled to land on SpaceX’s drone-ship landing pad “Of Course I Still Love You,” stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

Musk said the core stage hit the Atlantic Ocean at about 200 mph after two of three engines did not fire during the descent. The crash damaged the nearby drone ship, he added.

SpaceX has now successfully landed Falcon-family rockets 24 times — three on this mission alone. (The rocket family is named after another famously reusable spaceship, the fictional Millennium Falcon from “Star Wars,” Musk has said.)

But perhaps the biggest draw of today’s launch was the Falcon Heavy’s unique payload: a Tesla Roadster riding atop the rocket’s second stage.

A dummy passenger in a Tesla Roadster rode aboard the maiden flight of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy on Feb. 6.

A dummy passenger in a Tesla Roadster rode aboard the maiden flight of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy on Feb. 6.

Credit: SpaceX

Musk announced in December that the “midnight cherry red” convertible, which he owns, would be the first Falcon Heavy payload. Then, on Monday, he revealed another surprise: a spacesuit-clad mannequin called “Starman”(a reference to David Bowie’s song “Starman”) in the driver’s seat, with its right hand on the wheel and left arm resting on the door.

About 28 minutes into today’s test flight, the second stage carrying the Roadster shut down its engine, ending the main phase of the Falcon Heavy test flight. If all goes well, the second stage will coast for 6 hours through Earth’s Van Allen belts, regions of extremely high radiation, and then restart its engine to send the Roadster and Starman toward Mars.

That maneuver will send the Roadster into orbit around the sun and, in turn, eventually carry the car and Starman about 248 million miles (400 million kilometers) from Earth.

“It will essentially be an Earth-Mars cycler,” Musk said, adding that the orbit should bring the Roadster near Mars. There is an “extremely tiny” chance the car could hit the Red Planet, he added.

There are three cameras on the Roadster, Musk said, adding that they should capture “epic views” during the mission.

“I’m not worried about the car,” Musk said. “It’ll be fine.”

The Falcon Heavy outside SpaceX's facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Falcon Heavy outside SpaceX’s facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Credit: Robert Pearlman/collectspace.com

When Musk first announced the Falcon Heavy in April 2011, he predicted that its first flight could occur by 2013. But that year came and went, followed by more, as SpaceX tackled the nuances of building a reusable heavy-lift rocket. Musk estimates SpaceX invested about $500 million of its own funds to develop the new rocket.

Now, with the first test flight in the books, SpaceX is ready to forge ahead with commercial satellite launches. Two missions are scheduled for 2018: the launch of the Arabsat 6A communications satellite, and the Space Test Program 2 mission for the U.S. Air Force, which also includes a solar-sail mission for The Planetary Society.

The Falcon Heavy’s raw power, combined with its reusable design, represents a giant leap forward for SpaceX.

“This would be a major milestone in heavy lift,” Scott Hubbard, editor of the peer-reviewed journal New Space and an adjunct professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University, told Space.com before the launch. “A successful test would really advance, in my view, the potential for planning commercially acquired launch services for deep space.”

SpaceX aims to sell Falcon Heavy launches for about $90 million per flight. (The single-core Falcon 9 launches sell for $62 million per flight.) By reusing the Falcon Heavy boosters, the company hopes to drastically reduce the cost of heavy-lift space missions to near that of its Falcon 9 missions.

“If we are successful in this, it is game over for all other heavy-lift rockets,” Musk said.

The Falcon Heavy is part of a growing list of SpaceX launch services and ongoing projects. The company already provides satellite launch services and Dragon cargo delivery missions for NASA using its Falcon 9 rockets.

SpaceX is also building a crewed version of the Dragon space capsule to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA, with the first flights scheduled for later this year.

Meanwhile, SpaceX is developing a launch system even larger than the Falcon Heavy, called the BFR (or Big Falcon Rocket). That booster, Musk has said, is designed to launch hundreds of people into space at one time and could be used to transport passengers around the world quickly for point-to-point travel.

Musk said he was thinking of the BFR on Monday while visiting the Falcon Heavy at the launchpad ahead of today’s launch.

“I’m looking at Falcon Heavy, and I’m thinking, ‘It’s a bit small,'” he said.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 8 p.m. EST to include details about the Falcon Heavy core stage, which did not survive its landing attempt.

Space.com senior writer Michael Wall contributed to this report from San Francisco. Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

 

 

 

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David Jessop

Consultant says new US security policy raises difficult questions for the Caribbean

LONDON, Dec.24, CMC – A consultant with the London-based Caribbean Council says the Trump administration’s new United States security policy raises difficult questions for the Caribbean.

Writing under the syndicated column, “The View from Europe”, David Jessop says that, by law, every US President must publish a national security strategy.

David Jessop

The objective, he says, is to provide the highest-level guidance on the responses required by the country’s military, diplomatic, and executive branches to real or perceived threats.

Last Tuesday, following a speech by Trump outlining his approach to national security, Jessop noted that the White House released a 53-three-page document setting out how his administration intends putting “America First” in the world.

Jessop says the strategy paper paints a bleak picture, seeing all states as being in a” relentless competition for power and influence.”

The US, the strategy argues, according to Jessop, has been “weak and must now become engaged in a determined struggle to restore the unipolarity it achieved when it won the Cold War.”

The strategy “all but rejects interdependence and multilateralism, suggesting that what happens in the world today is a zero-sum game in which only by advancing US principles will prosperity spread around the globe,” according to Jessop.

He noted that the document has some broad themes: “’America First’ will be the ‘foundation of US leadership in the world through outcomes, not ideology’, a policy described as ‘principled realism’; China and Russia want to ‘shape a world antithetical to our interests and values’, and are perceived to be challenging US power, influence and interests; unless they and others adapt their thinking, the US ‘will compete with all tools of national power’ to ensure ‘that the regions of the world are not dominated by one power’”.

Whether one accepts the underlying philosophy or the interpretation of history or not, Jessop says that the document has “potentially profound implications for any nation or government that sees the world differently.

“Although it contains some positive language, for instance on organized crime, corrupt officials, terrorism, and engaging the private sector in development, it suggests that a divide is likely to emerge between the US and the Caribbean if Washington decides to deploy its world view in a regional context,” he writes.

“Any reading of the whole document suggests numerous points of divergence,” he adds. “The most obvious relates to China, which over the last decade has become for almost all nations in the region an important investor, trade partner, and advocate of issues of vital importance, most notably climate change.”

Jessop says the section of the new US strategy paper on the Western Hemisphere “could not be clearer.”

That section says “competitors have found operating space in the hemisphere.  China seeks to pull the region into its orbit through state-led investments and loans.”

The document criticizes both Cuba and Venezuela, and Russia and China’s relationship with both, noting that the US “will isolate governments that refuse to act as responsible partners in advancing hemispheric peace and prosperity”.

The section, according to Jessop, indicates that, together with Canada, the US will deliver in the Western hemisphere a policy that “limits the malign influence of non-hemispheric forces,” while, as in the past, working to increase economic opportunities for all, improving governance, and reducing the power of criminal organizations.

“Whether Canada sees the region in this way – what this means for example for Grenada’s reported request to China’s Development Bank to help draft a national development strategy; how US policy will in future relate to the Caribbean’s special relationship with Cuba, enshrined in the recent declaration at a CARICOM-Cuba summit in Antigua; or how it might relate to the possible rescue of Venezuela’s mismanaged oil sector by Russia Rosneft – are just some examples of the practical issues the region is going to have to reconcile in its dialogue with Washington,” Jessop writes.

“More importantly still, the region is going to have to take a position on what the document totally fails to mention: the existential issue of climate change,” he adds. “Not only does the strategy paper fail to recognize global warming, vulnerability, or smallness, it suggests that US interests in future, in relation to natural disasters, will solely relate to building resilience at a domestic level while for others placing emphasis on the export of fossil fuels and renewable technology.”

Elsewhere, Jessop says the document introduces new conditionalities.

“When it comes to future US development assistance this ‘must support America’s national interests’, contains potentially contentious language in its qualified support for multilateral institutions, and more generally suggests that the US will respond negatively to those nations that do not support its foreign policy,” he says.

For the Caribbean, this will likely pose a conundrum, Jessop says.

“Smallness, the importance of the US and a trade and investment partner, its physical location, its good relations with neighbors and others that the US now sees as an unwelcome influence, and CARICOM’s renewed drive for a rapid multilateral response to climate change, all suggest that future relations with Washington may become difficult.What now seems to be on offer is far from the approach taken by the Obama administration foreign policy, which had healed many hemispheric rifts,” he adds. “If followed through on, the Trump doctrine will be divisive and significantly less in the interests of the region and its desire for a joined up global approach to its future development.”

The Caribbean Council is a long-established trade and investment consultancy and membership organization, specialized in providing advisory services to companies, trade associations, governments, public sector organizations, and regional organizations.

Through its activities, the Caribbean Council said it supports responsible private-sector led investment and development in the Caribbean, Cuba and Central America.

The former managing director of the Caribbean Council, Jessop says he has worked on Caribbean issues for over 40 years and continues to speak and write on Caribbean issues.

He is the editor of our “Caribbean Insight” and “Cuba Briefing” publications.

Jessop is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Caribbean Central American Action (CCAA) in Washington, D.C. and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).

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cdb

CDB approves US$76 million to boost development results in St. Kitts and Nevis

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados,  CMC – The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has announced a programme of assistance of US$76.2 million for St. Kitts and Nevis over the period 2017 to 2021.

On Thursday, the Bank’s Board of Directors approved the new strategy, which will support economic and social development, environmental protection and infrastructure enhancement.

cdb“This programme will support the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis in maximising its development potential. It is designed to help the country diversify its economy and increase its exports, while addressing challenges related to skills and productivity, competitiveness, social issues, gender and climate change,” said Dr. Justin Ram, the CDB’s Director of Economics.

“The Strategy outlines how CDB will engage with St. Kitts and Nevis over the four-year period, and focuses on delivering sustainable development results for the country and its people,” he added.

The proposed programme of assistance is built on three pillars  – economic development and enhanced livelihoods; inclusive social development and environmental protection and infrastructure enhancement.

The Country Strategy is a joint collaboration between the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and CDB.

The Bank consulted with stakeholders, including Government officials and development partners, emphasising country ownership of the proposed programme of assistance.

Salient issues that emerged during these discussions, including urgent sector priorities and ongoing interventions supported by other development partners, have been taken into account.

The approved Country Strategy for the federation draws on lessons learnt and experiences from the implementation of the previous Strategy (2013 to 2016).

It includes a mix of finance for capital projects and technical assistance. Individual projects will be appraised by CDB and, if deemed to be viable, will then be presented to the Board of Directors for approval, following which disbursements will commence.

CDB providing funds for infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Irma in Antigua and Barbuda

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Dec 15, CMC – The Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) says it has approved US$29 million in funding to the Antigua and Barbuda government to assist with recovery efforts after the passage of Hurricane Irma in September.

The bank said the funds will be used to rehabilitate and reconstruct critical infrastructure in the transportation, education, water and sanitation, and agriculture sectors.

Barbuda hurHurricane Irma impacted the twin-island nation on September 6, 2017, making landfall in Barbuda as a Category 5 hurricane, destroying housing, crops, livestock and fishing vessels, and also severely impacted the island’s water supply.

“The destruction caused by Hurricane Irma adversely impacted the lives of many citizens of Antigua and Barbuda. At CDB, we worked very closely with our in-country counterparts to develop the interventions captured in this project, which will support the Government’s efforts towards a comprehensive and sustainable approach to the redevelopment process, as it aims to ‘build back better.

“We expect the project to significantly contribute to the restoration of livelihoods that were adversely impacted by the passage of the hurricane. The outcome for Antigua and Barbuda will not only be more resilient infrastructure but also more resilient institutions and people,” said Director of Projects at CDB, Daniel Best.

The bank said the project has several components including reconstruction of 11km of road as well as the reconstruction and rehabilitation of education institutions in both Antigua and Barbuda and construction of teacher accommodation in Barbuda.

CDB said it had previously provided a US$200,000 Emergency Relief Grant and an Immediate Response Loan in the amount of US$750,000 in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

In addition, the bank has approved a loan of US$11.8 million to assist the government in meeting its financial obligations to external partners.

CDB announces US$100 million country strategy for Haiti 

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Dec. 14, CMC – The Barbados based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), is supporting the Government of Haiti in reducing poverty, building resilience, and achieving sustained economic growth for all.

HaitiflagA new Country Strategy, approved by CDB’s Board of Directors on Thursday, proposes a programme of assistance of US$100 million for the period 2017 to 2021 to help Haiti meet its development priorities.

This total includes US$45 million in grant resources.

“The Government of Haiti has set an ambitious development agenda to unlock the country’s growth potential and build a dynamic, resilient and competitive economy. This Country Strategy, jointly developed with the Government, is designed to deliver strong development impact, particularly in agriculture, education and training, and sustainable energy,” said Dr. Justin Ram, Director of Economics, CDB.

The five-year Strategy focuses on three main themes – Agriculture and community development;Sustainable energy development and education and training.

Gender equality, regional cooperation and integration, and environmental sustainability considerations will also be mainstreamed across all CDB interventions delivered under the programme of assistance.

CDB consulted with Government officials and stakeholders to ensure the design of the Country Strategy aligns with the strategic development priorities of Haiti, promotes coordination among development partners and donors, and identifies opportunities for collaboration among them.

The Country Strategy is aligned with CDB’s strategic objectives of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth and development, and promoting good governance. The Strategy was crafted within a results management framework that will be the principal tool used to monitor implementation and the achievement of results.

CDB’s previous Country Strategy for Haiti was for the period 2013 to 2016.

The resource envelope of US$42 million in grants supported the Education for All Phase II Project; the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Project II; interventions in agriculture and rural development; the payment of Haiti’s premiums for coverage under CCRIF SPC; environmental projects; and technical assistance for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) development.

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Bevil Wooding, executive director of APEX demonstrates one of the programmes

Caribbean courts embrace technology for improved justice

Bevil Wooding, Executive Director of APEX demonstrates one of the programmes

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has created its own agency to provide technology to reduce caseload backlogs throughout the Caribbean.

APEX’s mandate is to deliver technology-based solutions for Caribbean courts, law offices and justice sector bodies. Since its establishment in 2016, the agency has developed a suite of software tools to address some of the most critical needs of the region’s justice sector.

The solutions developed, known as the Curia suite, were designed by Caribbean jurists and technology experts and developed by Caribbean software engineers. Further, the agency’s governance model includes heads of judiciary, public and private bars, attorneys and leading jurists drawn from across the Caribbean.

Bevil Wooding, Executive Director of APEX with CCJ president Sir Dennis Byron

 “At the Caribbean Court of Justice, our mandate goes beyond simply resolving disputes that come before us. We also have a profound obligation to improve the systems of justice delivery throughout the region, for the greater good of citizens, our beneficiaries, across the entire Caribbean,” said Sir Dennis Byron, president of the CCJ.

Byron pointed out that APEX’s technology solutions can replace slow, unreliable, manual processes with faster, more accurate, automated systems. He cited examples of inefficient, error-prone and time-consuming manual case management and note-taking of court proceedings, which could greatly benefit from modern technology.

“In many of our courts, the judge or the magistrate takes a manual record of proceedings. This slows down proceedings to the speed at which the judge is recording. It does not produce a complete or completely accurate record. Judges’ time and energy is taken up by trying to take those notes,” he said.

“There is no precedence for this level of regional collaboration in the development of justice solutions. APEX, while established by the CCJ, is owned and takes its direction from justice sector stakeholders across the Caribbean,” said Bevil Wooding, executive director of APEX.

“What this means in practical terms is that all of APEX’s technologies, programs and services are determined by the considered priorities and needs of our Caribbean community. In the purest sense, APEX is delivering Caribbean solutions to challenges of Caribbean justice delivery.”

Attendees at the APEX conference in the Bahamas

The APEX non-profit agency is offering its tools, and the support to implement it, to courts and law offices across the region.

“Unlike commercial software solutions, APEX’s technology is designed to become a source of revenue for the justice system in the region, rather than constituting a recurring expense,” stated Wooding.

“APEX revenues are being used to directly improve the functioning our courts and to strengthen human resource capacity in the justice system. Importantly, the decision on the investments in capacity development and institutional strengthening will be directed by APEX institutional members. With APEX, the region has, for the first time, a direct say in how, where and when its resources are applied to the development of justice solutions.”

To bring region wide-awareness to its services, APEX recently staged its first stakeholders’ convention in The Bahamas. More than 50 delegates from 15 Caribbean countries gathered at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in The Bahamas, with another 35 joining the forum online. Among the audience were chief justices, attorneys general, judicial officers, directors of public prosecution, legal professionals, court administrators and leaders of bar associations.

It was the first time that such a diverse group of stakeholders of Caribbean justice fraternity gathered for such a meeting. Wooding described it as “a milestone event” for the Caribbean justice community.

Barbados, Belize, Guyana, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago are among the places where courts and law offices have already adopted technology developed by APEX for electronic case filing, case management and court performance measurement.

 “The dream of having Caribbean courts benefit from Caribbean solutions for the vexing and persistent challenges in the administration and dispensation of justice, is now a reality, said Wooding.

“The next step will be for leaders in the justice sector throughout the region to take full advantage of the technology that is available right now – already tailored to the needs and practices of the region –  to enable Caribbean court and justice sector excellence.”

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Addicted to Your Phone? It Could Throw Off Your Brain Chemistry

Addicted to Your Phone? It Could Throw Off Your Brain Chemistry

Livescience.com
 Credit: baranq/Shutterstock

It’s hard to escape screens; there is a roughly 100 percent chance you are looking at one right now. And though the long-term effects of screen time are still being studied, the effects of excessive internet and smartphone use are well-documented. “Pathological” internet use has been linked to depression in teens, and it may even shrink gray matter.

Now, a small new study suggests that for teens, being hooked on the internet and smartphones may harm brain chemistry, as well.

The research was presented yesterday (Nov. 30) at the Radiological Society of North America’s annual meeting in Chicago.The paper, which was presented by lead study author Dr. Hyung Suk Seo, a professor of neuroradiology at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea, found an imbalance of chemicals in the brain of “internet-addicted” teenagers. This imbalance was similar to that seen in people experiencing anxiety and depression. [9 Odd Ways Your Tech Devices May Injure You]

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But there’s also good news: The imbalance is reversible in several weeks using a type of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioral therapy.

In the study, researchers examined the brains of 19 internet- and smartphone-addicted teenagers and 19 nonaddicted teenagers using magnetic resonance spectroscopy, a form of MRI that can reveal changes in the chemical composition of the brain. (Internet and smartphone addiction were measured using standardized questionnaires.)

Compared with the control group, the teens with internet and smartphone addiction showed a clear overabundance of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in one region of the limbic system, the brain’s emotional control center. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning that it blocks nerve cells from firing.

GABA is found in everyone’s brain, but too much of this neurotransmitter in the wrong areas can have stultifying effects.”When the normal function of the limbic system is disturbed, patients can develop anxiety, depression or addiction,” said Dr. Max Wintermark, a professor of radiology and the chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University. Wintermark was not involved with the new research but said that he was intrigued by it because of the increasing prevalence of phones and web devices in society.

“There have been multiple studies published [that link] addiction to alcohol and other substances with chemical imbalances in different regions of the brain, but this is the first study I’ve read about internet addiction” that shows such a link, Wintermark told Live Science.

For most people, checking email first thing in the morning or spending an hour scrolling though Instagram after work does not signify an internet addiction.

Rather, internet addiction, as defined by the American Psychiatric Association, is an excessive use of the internet that leads to impairment of everyday life, sleep and relationships. Studies from around the world have found that the rates of internet addiction in young people range from less than 1 percent to 18 percent.

The teens who participated in Seo’s study all took standardized tests used to diagnose internet and smartphone addiction. The participants whose scores indicated an addiction  tended to saythat their internet and smartphone use interfered with their daily routines, social lives, sleep and productivity. These teenagers also had significantly higher scores in depression, anxiety, insomnia and impulsivity than the control group (the participants whose scores did not indicate internet addiction).

Due to the small sample size used in the study, Wintermark stressed that it’s too early to say that the chemical imbalances observed in the teens’ brains are linked to clinical problems such as anxiety and depression. Further testing on a larger group of people is needed, he said.

Wintermark noted that 12 teens in the study with addiction went on to participate in cognitive behavioral therapy, and after nine weeks, they all showed decreased or normalized levels of GABA in their brains. According to the researchers, those teens completed a modified form of therapy that’s used to treat video game addiction, involving weekly 75-minute sessions of mindfulness exercises. These include recognizing internet impulses, finding alternative activities and expressing emotions.

“With appropriate intervention, the teens were able to basically correct those chemical changes” in their brains, Wintermark said. “That’s the part of the study I find most interesting. It shows there’s hope.”

The study has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Originally published on Live Science.

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Partner Series

SpaceX to Launch Korean Communications Satellite Today: Watch It Live

Live Science
 
Partner Series
SpaceX to Launch Korean Communications Satellite Today: Watch It Live
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane into orbit on Sept. 7, 2017.

Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX aims to pull off another launch-and-landing double play today (Oct. 30), and you can watch all the spaceflight action live.

A SpaceX two-stage Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch the KoreaSat 5A communications satellite at 3:34 p.m. EDT (1934 GMT) today from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. You can watch the launch live here at Space.com courtesy of SpaceX, or directly via the company at http://www.spacex.com/webcast.

If all goes according to plan, the booster’s first stage will return to Earth for a soft landing less than 10 minutes after liftoff, settling vertically onto a SpaceX “drone ship” stationed off the Florida coast. [Relive a SpaceX Rocket Launch and Landing in Pictures]

 

Such landings are part of SpaceX’s plan to develop fully and rapidly reusable rockets and space vehicles, a key priority for the company and its billionaire founder and CEO, Elon Musk. To date, SpaceX has aced 18 Falcon 9 touchdowns and re-launched landed boosters on three different occasions.

SpaceX has also re-flown a Dragon cargo capsule once and aims to do so again on its next resupply run to the International Space Station for NASA, which will launch no earlier than December.

KoreaSat 5A is owned by the South Korean company KTSat. The satellite will provide TV and other communications services to people in South Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia, according to the company’s website. The satellite will also aid maritime communications from East Africa to East Asia.

KoreaSat 5A will replace KoreaSat 5, which launched in 2006.

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Dominica 8

Caribbean disaster experts to discuss ways to assist region during SOTIC conference

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Oct 4, CMC – Leading experts in disaster preparedness and mitigation, recovery, funding, airport development and maintenance among other stakeholders will meet in Grenada net week to discuss ways on how the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) conference in Jamaica in November can assist Caribbean countries battered by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett Wednesday said that the four hour discussions will be held on October 12 as part of the weeklong Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) to be held in St. George’s.

Dominica 8He said it is the hope that the outcome of the meeting could into the special session of the November 27-29 UNWTO conference in Jamaica “and that a document will emerge from SOTIC which will help to inform that session at the Jamaica/UNWTO summit”.

“Recover & Rebuild will focus on the economic cost of the disasters, including the potential impact on gross domestic product, employment, the cost to rebuild and the recovery time. Key recommendations emerging from Recover & Rebuild will form part of the comprehensive document which we believe will have industry-wide international significance,” Bartlett said.

He said he was urging all stakeholders within the tourism industry to attend both the Grenada and Jamaica meetings adding that “these two crucial events will help set the course for recovery and growth for all of us over the next year and shape the future of tourism for the Caribbean region”.

Several Caribbean countries, notably, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St. Maarten were battered by the hurricanes last month as they made their way through the Lesser Antilles leaving a trail of death and destruction estimated at billions of dollars.

Bartlett said that Jamaica “continues to extend our thoughts and prayers to our Caribbean brothers and sisters” and recognises that the entire Caribbean region will be adversely impacted by the lasting results of two hurricanes.

He said Kingston has recognised the efforts of the Barbados-based CTO, in conjunction with the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) as well as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) in assisting the region and ensuring that timely and accurate information is disseminated.

“We are aware that CTO and CDEMA technical teams have been on the ground in the various islands doing rapid needs assessments and coordinating with the national authorities in managing the various interventions, to mitigate the pain and hardships that are so pervasive at this time.”

He said a meeting held last month in China of the UNWTO and attended by 10 countries from the Caribbean and Latin America agreed on the need “to assist in the Caribbean natural disaster risk management and response initiatives” and to include in the Jamaica conference an opportunity for all interested parties to discuss and implement a plan of action.

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seashore-1783904_1920

World Bank approves funds to support marine resources in Eastern Caribbean

WASHINGTON, Sep. 28, CMC –  A grant amounting to US$6.3 million has been approved by the World Bank to help Eastern Caribbean countries preserve and strengthen the resilience of coastal and marine resources.

Th funds will also be used to implement regional policies to stimulate ‘blue growth’, where sustainable ocean-based industries help deliver jobs, reduce poverty and promote shared prosperity across the region.

According to the World Bank the money will “allow countries to better manage natural infrastructure, which is the first line of defence against storm surges and damage from rising frequency of extreme weather events, such as the recent hurricanes.”

seashore-1783904_1920The international lending agency says the Caribbean Regional Oceanscape project will be implemented through the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)

This project will support the Eastern Caribbean policy-makers in identifying smart policies to harness the ocean and all its natural assets, and prepare for a successful transition to a blue economy and socially equitable ‘blue growth’”, said Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean.

“As the region is greatly affected by recent hurricanes, it is equally important to build the resilience of coastal communities and promote sustainable development of the ocean resources,” she added.

According to World Bank report  – “Toward A Blue Economy, A Promise for Sustainable Growth in the Caribbean”, the Caribbean Sea generated US$407 billion in value added in 2012, including mainland Caribbean coastal countries.

The Caribbean Sea covers an area of 2.75 million square kilometers and is a crucial resource for the 40 million people who live along its shores.

OECS countries play a key role in the regional ocean governance as they rely heavily on coastal ecosystems for their income, employment, health and well-being.  At the same time, poorly planned development poses threats to local communities as it erodes the coastal and marine natural protection and other important natural ocean assets.

“This project supports the implementation of the Eastern Caribbean Regional Ocean Policy, a comprehensive policy endorsed by all OECS Heads of State. This initiative sets forth the long-term vision to ensure the future health of the ocean space while sustainably deriving ocean wealth,” said Sylvia Michele, World Bank Environment Specialist.

The Caribbean Regional Oceanscape project supports Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines to transition towards a ‘blue economy’ model, where sustainable ocean-based industries help deliver jobs, reduce poverty and promote shared prosperity across the region.

The bank says the project will include support for the implementation of regional policies, including mapping ocean assets; collaborating with private sector technology companies and education platforms to advance ocean education; and improving OECS ocean data coverage and access through collaborative public-private platforms.

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Local, News, Regional, Technology0 Comments

CXCC

CXC launches first mobile App

 
 
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jul. 27, CMC  – The Caribbean Examinations Council’s (CXC) has launched its first mobile App – CXC Connect – as the agency continues to incorporate technology to make learning relatively seamless.

CXCCAt the launching ceremony on Wednesday, Education Minister Ronald Jones said CXC is moving at a rapid pace.

“ As Minister, I am trying to stay apace of what you are doing – e-marking and now you are doing submission of e-SBAs in a preliminary way. You now have CXC connect, a mobile app, e-testing, e-books, e-syllabi…This is a dizzying pace but you have to stay current, and CXC as the leading provider of examinations within the Caribbean has to be in concert with what is happening in the wider world…. You have to be on the cutting edge,” he said.

Director of Operations at CXC, Stephen Savoury, said 19 territories in the region dealt directly with CXC daily, and its services were wide and varied.

Stating that the App aimed to provide a new avenue for them to engage the Council, he said: “In addition to the hundreds of thousands of students preparing for exams, CXC also interacts with about 10,000 stakeholders across the region and the world during the year. This App allows us the opportunity to provide what we call a ‘ubiquitous experience’ for these our stakeholders.”

Meanwhile, CXC’s Public Information Officer, Cleveland Sam, noted that in 2011, CXC declared itself as an IT-intelligent organisation and was using modern information and communication to work more effectively and efficiently. He said the launch of its first mobile App was therefore “a logical step in the progression forward” on the ICT journey of the CXC.

The five main features of the App are a news feed, Frequently Asked Questions, live chat, events and examinations results.

It  also has the potential to give information on registration and exam dates, and also offers a chat feature with five categories, namely learning support resources, general examination results, e-testing, transcripts and certificates.

Additionally, persons can send voice notes, attach documents and explore upcoming events.

CXC Connect is designed for Android and iOS devices, including mobile phones and tablets, and can be downloaded from the Apple Store and the Google Play Store.

Posted in Education, Local, News, Regional, Technology0 Comments

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5 ways to test your computer’s security – USA TODAY special

USA Today columnist Kim Komando guides you on how to test your computer’s security.

The moment you log onto the internet, your computer starts its game of Russian Roulette. I know that sounds bleak and frightening, but it’s true. Your personal data stored on the hard drive is a magnet for hackers and cyber-criminals, and they will stop at nothing to break into your system.

These attacks are often overt and frightening. Virtual bandits have committed wave after wave of digital crimes. They have extorted untold Bitcoin dollars from regular users desperate to decrypt their files.

Tip in a Tip: Just a few weeks ago, ransomware affected some 200,000 Windows computers all over the world. Learn how to protect yourself from ransomware attacks.

So how do you know if the security you set up on your computer really works?

Hackers use many different methods to invade your computer, so you’ll want to approach the problem from several angles. Think of it like a rancher leaning on the fence to make sure it’s still sturdy. Here are some ways to keep that fence from falling over.

1. Test your settings

The first tool in your arsenal is Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer. This free tool examines your Windows and Office settings for any potential problems, especially contamination.

First, MBSA will test your user account passwords and let you know if any account has a weak or disabled password, which is easy prey for hackers.

MBSA will also check many of your account settings. Is your computer set up to get automatic updates? Do you have more than one administrator account on the computer? This software will check all of that information for you.

MBSA also has guides to what settings are preferred and why. Just click the “What was scanned” or “Result details” links to read them.

Also, pay attention to your shared folders. MBSA will show you folders set up for sharing. You may have opened up some private folders in the past, so anyone on your network can access files in these folders. Make sure you’re only sharing what you meant to share, and with whom. Learn more about MBSA and download this free tool.

Related:

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Keep your browser updated. Only the latest, safest version will help protect you from infections and attacks.

But an up-to-date browser is just the beginning. You need to make sure your browser plug-ins are up to date, as well. Just like an old browser, an outdated plug-in leaves your browser and your computer vulnerable.

Open up the browsers on your computer, even the ones that you don’t use, and go to Mozilla’s Plugin checker. It will show you every plug-in installed on the browser and whether it’s up to date. Even though it’s the same company that makes Firefox, the Plugin checker works for Internet Explorer, Chrome, and other browsers.

If you want to remove any plug-ins or toolbars you find, follow the instructions I provide here.

3. Test your firewall

One of the most fundamental security setups is a firewall. Windows and Mac have decent firewalls built in, and many third-party security programs include them.

A firewall keeps hackers from seeing your computer online when they’re searching for victims. Even if they know where your computer is, the firewall keeps them out.

But they’re not perfect. A wrong port setting can send up a flare, revealing your computer or giving hackers an opportunity to slip past. If you have a virus, it might have changed your settings without you even knowing.

A port test service like PortTest scans your firewall to make sure your computer is invisible. If it can see you, so can the hackers. Click here to test your computer’s firewall.

4. Permanently delete files

Newsflash: Deleting your files doesn’t actually remove them. They can still hang around your hard drive for days or weeks. Anyone who knows what they’re doing can recover them.

That’s why it’s a good idea to permanently delete any sensitive files that you no longer need. Here are step-by-step instructions.

But even then, you don’t want to just dust your hands and assume the files are gone. To confirm they’ve been deleted, fire up a file-recovery program like Recuva and see what it can even find on your system.

If it doesn’t find the files you permanently deleted, you’re in good shape.

5. Check your Facebook settings

Your computer isn’t the only place you store information. Facebook is packed with personal data that a scammer would love to mine.

That’s why they invented the “View As” tool. It shows you what your profile looks like to the public or specific people. If any of your information has the wrong settings, you’ll be able to spot it immediately.

Go to Facebook and open Settings >> Timeline and Tagging. Next, go to “Who can see my things on my Timeline” and click “View As.”

Consider this the “au naturel” setting of Facebook. You’ll see exactly what your profile looks like to strangers. Click through your Timeline, About, Photos, Friends, and other sections, and see whether vulnerable tidbits have slipped through.

Remember, you can edit every single thing in your profile. To the right of each item, you’ll find an icon with an upside-down triangle. Click this to choose who can see the information. It’s a shortcut that will save you a lot of headaches down the line.

There are plenty more settings you can use to change your Facebook privacy. Click here for a full walk-through of Facebook’s privacy settings and how they work.

How else can you keep your computer secure from trespassers? Be sure to listen or download my podcasts, or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.

MORE KIM KOMANDO:

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Featured, News, Technology1 Comment

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