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SpaceX Successfully Sends World’s Most Powerful Rocket into Space 

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SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful rocket, thundered to life and shot away from FloridaTuesday on the power of 27 engines and nearly 5 million pounds of thrust, kicking off a spectacular maiden flight to send founder Elon Musk’s cherry red Tesla Roadster on a “just for fun” journey beyond the orbit of Mars.

It was easily the loudest and possibly most dramatic launch from Florida’s “Space Coast” since NASA’s space shuttle was retired in 2011 with the Falcon Heavy, made up of three strapped-together core stages powered by nine engines each, putting on a dazzling show for tourists and area residents jamming

nearby roads and beaches. Spectacular as it was, the launching was just the appetizer for a long- awaited test flight.

 

Eight minutes after the rocket took off, two of the three Falcon 9 core stages that helped power the vehicle out of the lower atmosphere made rocket-powered descents to side-by-side touchdowns at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, generating thunderous sonic booms as they slowed for landing.

Recovering rocket stages was impressive in its own right, but it was a secondary test objective.

The primary goal was to prove the rocket’s ability to boost heavy payloads into space. Elon Musk “giddy” ahead of SpaceX’s historic Falcon Heavy launch While the Tesla on board for the rocket’s first test flight tipped the scales at a relatively modest one ton or thereabouts, the Heavy has the ability to boost nearly 140,000 pounds to low-Earth orbit and more than 37,000 pounds to Earth-escape trajectories to Mars.

NASA is currently building an even more powerful rocket known as the Space Launch System, or SLS, that will generate 8.8 million pounds of thrust in its initial configuration and up to 11.9 million pounds in a follow-on cargo variant. The initial version will be able to boost more than 50,000 pounds to Earth-escape velocity.

But the SLS is not expected to fly until late 2019 or later. Until then, the Falcon Heavy will be the world’s most powerful rocket, offering a relatively low-cost option for getting heavy payloads into space for NASA, the Department of Defense and commercial satellite operators.

The business end of the Falcon Heavy: 27 Merlin engines, clustered in groups of nine, developing nearly 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff SpaceX U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who attended the launch at the Kennedy Space Center, said the Heavy offers a promising alternative for heavy weight national security satellites that are too big for the Falcon 9 and currently fly exclusively on more expensive United Launch Alliance Delta 4s.

“The national security people have indicated that assuming this test or a subsequent one goes well they would plan to use this Falcon Heavy for classified missions,” he said. The rocket also could be used to launch astronauts or space tourists to the moon, although plans for such flights are not yet mature.

Made up of three strapped-together Falcon 9 first stages and a single upper stage, carrying the Tesla, the Falcon Heavy’s engines flashed to life at 3:45 p.m. EST (GMT-5), two hours and 15 minutes late because of higher-than-allowable upper-level winds.

After a lightning-fast round of computer checks, the 229-foot-tall rocket was released to climb away from from the pad, shattering the afternoon calm with an ear-splitting roar and an impossible-to-miss rush of fire from all 27 engines, nine at the base of each core stage. Going into the flight, Musk predicted a 50 percent to 70 percent chance of success based in large part on the difficulty predicting how the vehicle would respond to extreme aerodynamic stresses and vibrations from the clustered engines. SpaceX Falcon Heavy launches Tesla into orbit.

As it accelerated skyward, aerodynamic forces quickly ramped up, forming an invisible “bow shock” over the nose of the central core stage, creating complex interactions and, possibly, localized heating as the spacecraft picked up speed plowing through the thick lower atmosphere. But the Heavy endured those stresses, rocketing through the speed of sound and the region of maximum aerodynamic stress about a minute after liftoff.

The 18 engines in the two outboard core stages shut down two-and-a-half minutes after launch. Both stages then separated from the core booster, flipped around, restarted three engines each and began flying back to Florida. The nine center stage engines continued firing for another 30 seconds or so before they, too, shut down and the second stage pulled away on its own, lighting up a single Merlin engine to continue the boost toward a preliminary orbit.

The central core stage then fired three of its engines to set up a landing on an off-shore drone ship stationed several hundred miles east of Cape Canaveral. The two outboard stages, meanwhile, restarted three engines to slow down for atmospheric entry. The burns — brilliant side-by-side jets of flame — were clearly visible across Florida’s east coast as the boosters plunged tail-first toward pads at Landing Zone 1 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Falling like bombs, the rockets each restarted a single engine to slow for touchdown, each one deploying four landing legs.

Falcon Heavy side cores touching down at SpaceX’s Landing Zones 1 and 2, about 8 minutes after launch on Feb. 6, 2018. SpaceX Heralded by dual sonic booms that thundered across Cape Canaveral, both boosters touched down about eight minutes after liftoff. A few moments after that, the second stage engine shut down putting the rocket and Musk’s still-attached Tesla Roadster into a preliminary orbit. A second engine firing 20 minutes later was planned to adjust the orbit as required to set up a trajectory to Mars.

A third rocket firing was planned about six hours later to boost the spacecraft’s velocity to nearly 25,000 mph, fast enough to escape the pull of Earth’s gravity. Again, Musk downplayed expectations. “Once we reach orbit, we’ve got a very long coast, we’ve got a six-hour coast before restart, which is twice as long as we’ve ever coasted a stage,” he said. “So we could see the fuel potentially freeze, because it’s out there in deep space and when it’s not facing the sun it’s at three degrees above absolute zero.

“So it could easily freeze, or the liquid oxygen could boil off, so there’s a lot that could go wrong.”

Assuming it makes it through the high-radiation environment of Earth’s Van Allen belts, and assuming the Falcon Heavy’s second stage propellant doesn’t freeze or boil away, the flight plan called for the Tesla to be released on a trajectory carrying it slightly farther than the orbit of Mars.

The Tesla Roadster mounted atop the Falcon Heavy’s upper stage included a mannequin known as Starman strapped in the driver’s seat, its left arm causually draped over the door. The Tesla took the place of what SpaceX founder Elon Musk called a more “boring” mass simulator for the Heavy’s first flight.

“It’s just for fun,” Musk laughed in an interview. “A lot of people (wondered) what’s the purpose of sending a car to Mars? There’s no point, obviously! It’s just for fun and to get the public excited.” SpaceX posted live streaming video on YouTube showing Starman hurtling ever deeper into space.

 

Cc:CBSNews

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NITDA boss commends AfriOne, promises FG support

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The Director-General, National Information Technology Developmental Agency (NITDA), Isa Ibrahim Pantami has commended AfriOne for its innovation and contribution to technology development in Nigeria.

“I commend you for all that you are doing and I want to use this opportunity to thank you for investing in Nigeria,” Patanmi said during a supervision visit to AfriOne headquarters in Lagos.

“In 2017 through N-Power, you have the highest number of bought product across the country, meaning our citizens are inclined with your brand,” he added

The NITDA boss also said the organisation’s capacity to produce 200000 phones and tablets monthly and its last year sales of over 63000 products has impressed him beyond expectations.

Pantanmi urged AfriOne to consider exportation of hardwares to other countries which will influence Nigeria’s economic growth.

While responding Lekan Akinjide, AfriOne’s director of strategy and government relations, said that the phone manufacturing company has started working towards exporting it products to other countries.

“We have targeted Benin republic, we have a good relationship with their ministry of trade and industry,” Akinjide said.

“We are looking at setting up a second production company in Botswana like the one we have here in Lagos” he added.

Akinjide also mentioned that AfriOne has created job opportunities for many Nigerians and has provided training programme for students of Lagos State polytechnic (Laspotech).

He, however, called on the federal government to consider investing in the growth of the local manufacturing technology company by buying their products for official use.

“We know that the federal entities are spending about $83000 on buying gadgets for ministries and agencies. if they should turn around and say locals should meet the 10 percent of that money it will also influence our country’s economic growth.”

Pantami said the federal government will consider it and he promised they will do their best to promote the local manufacturing company.

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Nigerians spend over four hours on the Internet daily

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On a daily basis, Nigerians spend about four hours and five minutes on the Internet browsing.

Nigeria, which has 105 million Internet users, is third in Africa, after South Africa, and Egypt, whose Internet users spend eight hours and 32 minutes, and eight hours, 10 minutes respectively.

According to a January 2018 survey conducted by Hootsuite, a social media marketing and management dashboard firm, based in Vancouver, BC, Canada, unveiled at the World Economic Forum and made available yesterday, Nigeria is rated above Kenya (3h 50m); Ghana (3h 46m), and Morocco (2h 53m).

Thailand Internet users, according to the survey lead the world with nine hours 38 minutes, followed by the Philippines, nine hours 29 minutes; Brazil is third with nine hours 14 minutes.

Interestingly, the USA is ranked 20th with six hours 30 minutes; Canada is 24th with five hours and 59 minutes, and UK is 27th with five hours 15 minutes.

The study was silent about what a typical Nigerian and other Africans do on the net, because the thrust of the report, titled: ‘The digital south is rising rapidly – and China and India are leading the way’, actually revealed how the global digital economy is changing very fast, with China, and India appeared championing the new direction.

According to the study, the global digital economy crossed an important milestone recently: the number of Internet users in two countries — China, with just over 800 million users, and India, with 500 million users – surpassed the aggregate number of Internet users across 37 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries combined.

The report noted that in both countries, users spend more time on the Internet than the worldwide average of 5.9 hours per day. They also have room to grow; China has just under 60 per cent of its population online, while India, with one of the lowest rates of penetration in the world, has under 25 per cent of its population online.

While it’s tempting to group China and India together as a block of emerging digital markets, they offer several important distinctions, especially for international entities and countries looking to invest.

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Google Boosts Fight Against Piracy

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Google said Wednesday it is making strides in helping internet users legitimately get songs, films and apps while choking off revenue to websites with stolen digital content.

A 64-page report released by Google claimed progress in the war on piracy, but also noted a new battlefront in the form of “add-on” software that can be installed on legitimate open-source media players such as the Kodi box to illicitly stream copyrighted content.

“Combating illegal streaming on open-source media players like the Kodi box shows both the challenge and the importance of a balanced approach in the fight against piracy,” Google said in the report.

“Pirates have created add-ons to enable Kodi boxes to access infringing works.”

Set-top boxes with suspicious add-ons are removed from Google Shopping, while apps with pre-installed “Kodi add-ons” giving access to pirate sites are removed from the Play Store, according to the internet firm.

The report cited a 2018 global study released by The Institute for Information Law that found the percentage of internet users who engage in piracy has been falling, while spending on legal content is rising.

“Successfully decreasing incidents of copyright infringement has required providing more and better legitimate alternatives to infringing content, as well as more effective tools for combating piracy,” Google said.

Google boasted that it has been generating more money for those who create or own digital content while strengthening its arsenal and efforts to fight piracy.

A YouTube “Content ID” tool creates digital fingerprints of sorts of copyrighted content and then automatically detects it online, allowing owners to have it removed or monetized.

Stopping ‘rogue’ operators 

Websites involved in piracy are “demoted” in search results and cut off from Google’s online ad platform, according to the report.

“One of the most effective ways to combat rogue sites that specialize in online piracy is to cut off their money supply,” Google said.

Since 2012, Google has terminated more than 13,000 AdSense accounts and ejected more than 100,000 sites from its AdSense program for violations of policy on copyrighted material, according to the report.

Meanwhile, a “Google Play” online shop for digital content bans apps that “infringe copyright, encourage illegal streaming, or attempt to deceive users by impersonating other apps.”

Google also told of taking aim at copyright-infringing ads with “considerable” resources. The California-based tech giant said that last year it rejected more than 10 million ads suspected of infringing copyrights or linking to websites that did.

According to the report, Google-owned YouTube paid more than $1.8 billion to the music industry from October 2017 to September 2018.

Digital video revenues are expected to soar from $64 billion last year to $119 billion by the year 2022, while global music streaming revenues more than doubled from 2015 to 2017, according to the report.

AFP

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TECNO next Camon smartphone to have 4 cameras with AI-capability [Sneak peek]

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Artificial intelligence is steadily making its way onto our smartphones and may be a key feature in the next one year.

Many devices released in the past few months, from the new Google’s Pixel phones to Apple’s recent releases have included AI-focused hardware and software. These phones use AI in all sorts of clever ways, from imaging and photography, to power efficiency and security.

Those who have not been in the AI game are expected to soon introduce smartphones with special functions and if rumour flying around turns out to be true, Africa’s number one mobile phone brand TECNO Mobile might be preparing to release its first AI-powered smartphone into the market.

While no much details have been so far revealed about the upcoming smartphone with AI-capability, there are indications that the said smartphone will come from the Camon Series and will be available in two variants just like the Camon X/X Pro. Both devices will feature one of a kind AI-Beautification, AI-HDR, AI-Bokeh, AI-Selfie.

The Camon line of devices are primarily focused on photography, though we were not privy to the full specs of both devices, the leaked images we got is pointing in the direction of four cameras, Dual 16-Megapixels at the back and 25-Megapixels + 5-megapixels AI-powered front cameras that will come with the ability to capture clear selfie.

Also, With the integrated AI-algorithm, the cameras will be able to recognize up to 250 different kinds of faces, scenes, Food, nature and animal.

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