Curiosity Makes It Official: Water Can Be Mined From Soil On Mars

MarsIt’s amazing news when it comes to the characteristics of other planets, but doesn’t bolster the idea of life in places besides Earth. It’s confirmed via samples taken from the Mars Curiosity rover under NASA’s control, that water attached to molecules is in the soil — a much more accessible place than the ice caps of Mars, or even closer to the core.

To find out all of this, the Mars Science Laboratory Team used a device known as the Sample Analysis at Mars, or SAM.

As lead author Laurie Leshin, dean of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, puts it, a baby aspirin-sized piece of the sample was fed into a tiny cup in Curiosity’s on-board laboratory, then heated to temperatures of 835 degrees Celsius (over 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit). The gases that came off revealed the discovery.

There are few caveats, however. First of all, this doesn’t confirm life on Mars — it only tells us that water is technically, in abundance, if we mine it from the soil. Secondly, the sample also revealed the presence of perchlorate, which can limit thyroid hormone production — a manageable risk, but one nonetheless.

But overall, this is awesome.


Valve Announced The Steam Machines Beta, Starting This Year

steam-machinesPerhaps it is the most vague hardware announcement ever, but Valve is doing a good job regardless. Starting in 2014, several manufacturers will produce Steam Machines: living room devices using the Steam OS, based off Linux, and will allow the user to play games, watch videos, and play music — but also having access to existing Steam Windows/Mac game libraries.

As Valve puts it:

Beginning in 2014, there will be multiple SteamOS machines to choose from, made by different manufacturers,” and continues, stating that: “This year we’re shipping just 300 of these boxes to Steam users, free of charge, for testing.”

That’s right. Join a Steam Community quest by October 25th, complete a few of the challenges, and become one of 300 beta testers for a device that almost no one knows its appearances or how it functions.

And, that’s all. Valve has made their second announcement this week, out of three — the third is on Friday at 1PM Eastern. This should be interesting.

Via: Steam

Amazon Refreshes: The Kindle HDX Is A Pretty Tablet With A Low Price Tag

kindle-fire-hdxTo be clear, the first bit of new is really only a refreshed Kindle HD: last-gen’s 1.5GHz dual-core processor, the old 1,280 x 800 display, and the abilities of the device remain mostly the same. But, this time it’s priced at $139 and features a new body. Obviously, this is boring. So, move to the next paragraph.

The operating system is where the real inferno begins — Fire OS 3.0, aka “Mojito,” — which aims to to bring several features, like Mayday: tap it within the quick panel and a real human will appear on screen to assist and take full control of your Kindle HDX — the new tablets that take full advantage of the new software. The new Kindles are priced at at $229 for the smaller 7-inch model or $379 for the larger 8.9″. Even the LTE models are inexpensive considering the competition: $329 and $479 respectively and available for Verizon and AT&T.

But Amazon didn’t stop: a 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, double the memory, about 2GB, and the Adreno 330 GPU gives it four times the graphics power, 11 hours of battery life — 17 hours if you’re only reading. Jeff Bezos has done well with this one.

Via: Amazon

YouTube And Google+ Merge To Create The New Comment Section


Let’s be honest: YouTube has some of the best and worst (mostly worst) comments on the internet. In order to rectify that glaring issue for a site that gets a billion views monthly, Google has made a simple one-touch button that will link your Google+ account with that of YouTube.

This way, you can comment with your real name, and this allows for more clarity, a bit less spam, and overall a better experience — theoretically.

Things will always be topsy-turvy on YouTube, but this is a stage of resolving that.

Via: Google Blog

Valve Outs SteamOS: The Living Room Operating System, For Games

download (3)Interestingly, Valve has really come through with their own operating system called SteamOS, obviously named after the PC/Mac app by the name of Steam, the world’s most popular way of playing first-rate PC games. Besides having access to a streamed archive of all the current Windows or Mac games, the Steam OS already has major game developers on board with Linux, and will be building triple-A game titles that will run endemically by 2014.

Valve isn’t only focused on games, but music and video, so the creation of a living room operating system is actually a solid concept, in this instance.

There isn’t much else that Valve talked about with SteamOS: it will be used on some sort of device. Which is actually quite neat, because the gaming company has two more announcements this week, which have not been detailed.

Via: Steam

Microsoft Announces The Surface 2 In NYC: More Power, Same Looks

surface-2Off the bat, Microsoft has come swinging in a New York City press event this morning, with news of the Surface Pro 2 tablet. It runs Windows 8.1, as before, sports quite nearly the same physical look (with the new addition of a 2-position kickstand) and the statement that it is 95% more powerful than most Windows 8 laptops, with twice the graphical power — 4th generation Haswell graphics and processors most likely are responsible.

The pros of those improvements include 75% better battery life, a Surface Docking Station, 3 USB 2.0 ports, 1 USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort, Ethernet, and support for the Surface Power Cover, which assists with conservation of battery life. Microsoft will price the Surface Pro at $449.

All of these improvements also apply to the Surface 2, which will be priced lower than the Pro at $349 and will use Windows RT 8.1 instead of the Windows Pro 8.1 that mostly all PC users will have.

Via: Surface Blog

Apple Has Sold 9 Million New iPhones In 3 Days

Screenshot 2013-09-23 at 10.12.20 AMOnce again, all the thoughts of Apple’s smartphone dominance diminishing have gone out the window: the new iPhone 5s and 5c has sold 9 million total units in 72 hours — which is a new record. Currently, Apple is not distinguishing the difference between the two iPhone models, but has mentioned that the 5s has had its supply exhausted.

Also, 200 million devices are already using iOS 7 — the fastest adoption rate of new software in history. If this isn’t a victory, then i don’t know what is.


Hackers Copy Fingerprint, Beat Apple’s Touch ID System

fingerprint-touchid-hackIn what could only be described as “inevitable”, hackers — namely the The Chaos Computer Club — have figured out how to bypass the Touch ID system for the new iPhone 5s, without fail.

For a quick reminder, Touch ID allows the user to use their fingerprint to sign for app purchases, unlocks, and just about anything Apple-related that previously needed a password entry.

Basically, scanning and printing a high-resolution fingerprint is enough to fool the system, but for entertainment’s sake, check out the video of it in action, after the break.