Amazon turns ‘Echo’ speaker into smart security system

Amazon has added a new feature called “Alexa Guard” to its smart speakers “Echo” to turn it into a smart security system.

The announcement came as part of the surprise event that the company hosted in Seattle on Thursday to introduce several other Echo-branded smart home devices.

“Since Echo speakers are always listening, with the new feature they would be able to detect the sound of broken glass or for a smoke alarm to go off and send a notification on the user’s phone,” The Verge reported.

The feature would have to be enabled by informing Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa that users are leaving their houses and only then it would start monitoring and be ready to send alerts.Along with sound monitoring, Alexa would also be able to randomise smart lights set-up to make it appear that someone is in the house and moving around.

“Alexa Guard” would also integrate with the many smart security products that Amazon now sells through its READ MORE


Quitting junk food cause withdrawals as drug addiction: Study

If you are planning to deprive your taste buds of junk food such as pastries, french fries and pizza, expect to suffer withdrawal symptoms similar to what drugs addicts experience, said a study.

The study led by researchers from the University of Michigan (U-M), found that reduced amount of highly processed foods led to sadness, irritability, tiredness and cravings.

The effects peaked, especially during the initial two to five days after they quit eating junk food, then the negative side effects tapered off, which parallels the time course of drug withdrawal symptoms, the researchers said.

The study implications suggest that withdrawal symptoms may challenge first-week dietary interventions, which may contribute to people reverting back to bad eating habits, said Ashley Gearhardt, assistant professor at the U-M.

In the study appearing in the journal Appetite, the team included 231 adults to report what happened when they reduced the amount of highly processed foods they ate in the READ MORE

Here’s why people fall for fake profiles online, and how you can spot one

The first step in conducting online propaganda efforts and misinformation campaigns is almost always a fake social media profile. Phony profiles for nonexistent people worm their way into the social networks of real people, where they can spread their falsehoods. But neither social media companies nor technological innovations offer reliable ways to identify and remove social media profiles that don’t represent actual authentic people.

It might sound positive that over six months in late 2017 and early 2018, Facebook detected and suspended some 1.3 billion fake accounts. But an estimated 3 to 4 percent of accounts that remain, or approximately 66 million to 88 million profiles, are also fake but haven’t yet been detected. Likewise, estimates are that 9 to 15 per cent of Twitter’s 336 million accounts are fake.

Fake profiles aren’t just on Facebook and Twitter, and they’re not only targeting people in the U. S. In December 2017, German intelligence officials warned that Chinese agents using fake LinkedIn profiles were targeting more than 10,000 German government employees. And in mid-August, the Israeli military reported that Hamas was using fake profiles on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp to entrap Israeli soldiers into downloading malicious software.

Although social media companies have begun hiring more people and using artificial intelligence to detect fake profiles, that won’t be enough to READ MORE

Here’s why open prisons are the solution to India’s overcrowded prisons

Kalu Tulsiram*, 35, a bespectacled, serious-looking man, was brewing tea at a stall near the Udaipur central bus depot on a recent monsoon day. It was close to noon, a busy time for the tea stalls lining the main road. A few metres away, Deepak Lalaprasad*, 33, heavier built and more relaxed in demeanour, was helming another stall, waiting for a customer.

Casual passersby or customers could never guess that these two men were convicts serving life sentences under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code of 1860–for murder.

Since 2014, Kalu and Deepak have been living in an open prison in Udaipur, having conducted themselves well for 10 years in conventional prisons. Inmates at this prison are permitted to stay with their families and go out during the day to earn a living. As many as 1,127 prisoners in 29 open jails in Rajasthan work as accountants, school teachers, domestic help and security guards, even those serving time for murder.

Not only do these prisons present an early opportunity for prisoners’ reform and rehabilitation back into society, they also cost less in terms of money and staff, a 2017 report on Rajasthan’s open prisons said, based on which the Supreme Court in May 2018 ordered state governments to fully utilise and READ MORE

Why the prestigious Nobel prizes should be cancelled, at least for a year

If you ever meet someone who claims to have nearly won the Nobel Prize in mathematics, walk away: You’re dealing with a deeply delusional individual. While there isn’t, and has never been, a Nobel in mathematics, the desire to claim Nobel-worthiness is sensible, for no matter the field, it is the world’s most prestigious accolade.

The annual prizes are Sweden’s most sacred holiday, bringing out royalty in the arts and sciences and a worldwide audience of millions to witness an event featuring the pomp and circumstance typically associated with the naming of a new pope. Indeed, the prizes are so important to Sweden’s national identity that the king of Sweden recently took the unprecedented step of cancelling the Nobel Prize in literature for 2018. What would cause King Gustaf to take such an extraordinary step? Simply put, he did so for the same reason that Alfred Nobel founded the awards, to begin with: public relations.

Chemist and inventor Alfred Nobel was once called “the merchant of death” for his arms dealership’s role in “killing more people faster than ever before.” To rehabilitate the Nobel name, Alfred created the eponymous prizes with READ MORE

This Alibaba robot will serve in China’s hotels soon

China’s e-tail giant Alibaba on Thursday unveiled a robot that will serve guests in the country’s hotels soon.

“The robotics industry is revolutionising the world and Alibaba Artificial Intelligence (AI) Labs is raising the stakes in this industry with the launch of service robots for hospitality sector starting October,” the company said at its annual Cloud Computing Conference 2018 being held here.

The robot was unveiled by Alibaba AI Labs, the AI product development arm, at the four-day tech summit in this scenic city where Alibaba is headquartered, about 180 km southwest of Shanghai.

“This robot will help bridge the gap between the guest needs and the response time they expect. It is the next step in the evolution towards smart hotels,” said the General Manager of Alibaba AI Labs, Lijuan Chen.

Guests staying in hotels will be able to communicate with the robot via voice command, touch and hand gestures. The robot will in turn respond to them through AliGenie, the READ MORE

Walking just 35 minutes daily can reduce stroke risk in elderly

Older adults can prevent their risk of strokes by taking a daily stroll for just 35 minutes a day or four hours a week, say researchers.

Indulging in moderate physical activity, such as swimming, brisk walking, or running two to three hours a week may also reduce the severity of strokes than people who are physically inactive.

“Stroke is a major cause of serious disability, so finding ways to prevent stroke or reduce the disability caused by stroke are important,” said Katharina S. Sunnerhagen, from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

“While exercise benefits health in many ways, our research suggests that even simply getting in a small amount of physical activity each week may have a big impact later by possibly reducing the severity of a stroke,” she added.

For the study, published in the journal Neurology, the READ FULL ARTICLE HERE. .