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Opera Acquires VPN Service SurfEasy

VPN Keys Mean Virtual Private Network

UTP network cablesSurfEasy, a VPN service provider, has been acquired by Opera for an undisclosed amount of money. The Norway-based web browser made the announcement in a statement on Thursday.

The acquisition reaffirms Opera’s stance on privacy and security. SurfEasy offers a VPN service that encrypts Internet traffic sent to and from the user’s device. The encryption protects personal and sensitive data – even when using public networks.

Lars Boilesen, Opera’s CEO, said security and privacy are growing concerns, and more users are searching for solutions to keep their computers and mobile devices secure. Boilesen went on to state that security and privacy have always been a top priority for Opera users, and called SurfEasy a “seamless fit”.

Opera plans to work with SurfEasy to develop new projects, although no details on those projects have been announced. Boilesen pointed to statistics from 2015 that show 90% of internet users in the U.S. are concerned about privacy, and 86% have taken steps to protect it.

SurfEasy CEO Chris Houston stated that online privacy issues have increased substantially in recent years. With more than 350 million users, Opera hopes the collaboration with SurfEasy will go a long way in giving users control over their privacy, security and freedom online.


Financial, Tech

Angry Birds Maker Hopes Animated Movie Will Ease Profit Woes

Angry Birds on iPad

Angry Bird on iPhoneAngry Birds maker Rovio hopes a new animated movie will ease profit woes and restore growth. The Finnish mobile game developer saw a 73% drop in profit, a sign that the brand is losing its appeal with consumers.

Licensing of the Angry Birds brand on toys, sweets and clothing has caused problems for Rovio. The company has failed to repeat the success of the Angry Birds game in 2009, which became the number one paid app of all time.

Total sales dropped to 158.3 million euros, down 9%, last year. Revenue from Rovio’s mobile games, on the other hand, is up 16% to 110.7 million euros thanks to new offerings. Operating profit dropped from 36.5 million to 10 million euros.

Rovio hopes that its new animated movie will help restore growth and generate interest in the Angry Birds brand. The new movie is expected to premiere in May 2016, and production costs are estimated to be $80 million.  Marketing costs are expected to be higher than production costs.

For the time being, Rovio is developing new characters for new games, animations and consumer products. The company has been slow to shift to the dominant free-to-play market where revenue is generated through advertisements and in-game purchases.



Is Diet Soda Making You Fatter?

Pouring of cola in the glass with ice

soda chasing kidDiet soda is marketed as a healthier alternative to regular soda. But a new study suggests diet soda may be to blame for increased belly fat in the elderly. The study links zero-calorie sodas to higher rates of abdominal obesity in people aged 65 years and older.

Published by the Journal of American Geriatrics, the study is the first of its kind to study the effects of artificial sweeteners on the elderly. In addition to abdominal obesity, the study also found that daily consumption of diet soda could also increase the risk of metabolic syndrome, which has been linked to cardiovascular disease.

The study followed 749 individuals aged 65 or older who were of European-American and Mexican-American descent. Researchers began the study in the mid-1990s and collected data for more than 9 years. The team measured waist circumference, tracked diet soda intake and also measured the height and weight of participants four times during the study.

The results showed that those who abstained from drinking diet soda only added 0.8 inches to their waist, while those who drank diet soda on a daily basis saw an increase of 3.16 inches in their waist.

The World Health Organization estimates that 1.9 billion adults were overweight (BMI of 25 or more) in 2014, and 600 million were classified as obese. That’s more than double the number of obesity cases counted by WHO in 1980.

Why is diet soda linked to higher rates of obesity? Experts are blaming artificial sweeteners, like aspartame, saccharin and sucralose. Recent studies suggest that the consumption of artificial sweeteners has increased exponentially over the last 30 years as well as the number of obesity cases.


Bussines, Forex

Stocks Tumble Ahead of Wednesday’s Fed Meeting

Federal Reserve Building Washington

Federal Reserve Building Washington DCStocks dropped in early afternoon trading on Wednesday ahead of the Federal Reserve’s meeting on interest rate policy. Oil prices dropped even further.

The Federal Reserve will conclude its two-day meeting at 2pm ET. Experts are expecting the Fed to ask for patience as it weighs interest rate increases. An increase may come as early as June. Experts say the Fed wants to maintain flexibility as it makes an attempt to increase rates.

A six-paragraph statement will be released after the meeting. Revised economic forecasts will also be released as well as the interest rate “dot plot” path. Janet Yellen, Fed Chairwoman, will be speaking at a news conference at 2:30pm ET.

Since the financial crisis in 2008, the Fed’s benchmark rate has remained close to zero and has helped drive the bull market we’ve seen over the last six years.

Just prior to the Fed announcement, the Dow Jones was down more than 100 points (0.7%). Nasdaq is down 0.4% and the Standard & Poor 500 dropped 0.3%. Oil also fell below $43 a barrel while U.S. benchmark crude tumbled to $42.56, down 2.1%. The decline came ahead of the Energy Information Administration’s weekly information release on petroleum inventories.



Starving Sea Lions in California are Washing Ashore in Record Numbers

Seals in california

baby sea lion

Baby sea lion resting on rocks by the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk – Santa Cruz, CA

More than 1,450 starving sea lions have washed up on California’s shores this year, in what wildlife experts are calling a crisis for the species.

What’s causing the pups to travel so far from their mothers? Experts believe that abnormally warm waters are to blame. As fish and other food are driven away from coastal islands, mothers are forced to spend time away from their pups to hunt for food. Meanwhile, the starving sea lions are swimming away from their home and wash up on Southern California’s shores.

The Channel Islands, off the Southern California coast, is where many sea lions call home. But pups are leaving the islands in droves, desperately searching for food. Most are too young to travel far, hunt on their own, or dive deep.

Animal rescuers are reporting five times more rescues than normal this year, with 1,100 sea lion rescues in just the last month. Pups are washing up in backyards, under fishing piers and on rocky cliffs. One resident found a pup curled up in a flower pot.

To help with rescue efforts, San Diego’s SeaWorld shut down its sea lion and otter show for two weeks so its specialists could lend a hand with the recovery effort. But death rates are still high among the washed up pups. Of the 1,450 pups who were rescued, only 720 are still being treated.



Are Oil Bulls Going to Crash the Price of Oil?

Oil barrel with up and sown arrows

Oil barrel with up and sown arrowsUsually, when somebody’s bullish on a commodity or stock, they are betting that the price of that commodity or stock would go up. Long investment is all about appreciation. The problem is a huge amount of long investment can actually crash the price of a stock or commodity if the bulls behind these long investments change their minds.

According to some oil analysts, this is precisely what’s at play with the global price of oil. Due to the huge supply in oil, the current glut hasn’t been completely translated into a “realistic” oil price. According to these analysts, if the oil glut was fully reflected in oil’s price, oil would be around $30 to $35 per barrel. This is obviously not the case.

What would account for the seemingly inflated price of oil? Oil bulls. These are oil speculators that are predicting that the price of oil will spike back up. They are looking for a V-shaped recovery. It’s only a matter of time according to oil bears, traders speculating that the price will continue to crash, until the bulls throw in the towel.

The main trend the bulls are butting their heads against is the fact that there is just too much oil being produced. You only need to look at the US market where for every oil rig decommissioned, the total price of oil continues to spike up. It flies against logic, but this is precisely what’s happening.

Since oil bulls can only maintain their position for so long in the face of continued oil price erosion, if and when they finally give up, expect the price of oil to almost totally collapse. We’re talking about a huge amount of market support evaporating overnight leading to a tremendous erosion in pricing.



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PocketLab Opens a Kickstarter Campaign to Fund Their Wireless Sensor

Pocket Lab

Pocket LabPocketLab hopes to replace educational hardware as we know it. The company launched their Kickstarter campaign with an initial goal of $25,000. So far, backers have pledged over $30,000 to the company.

PocketLab will allow users, predominantly students, to be able to explore the world around them. Once plugged into a device, Android or iOS, the wireless sensor will be able to measure acceleration, force, magnetic field, temperature, altitude, pressure and velocity. All of this will be measured and displayed within the accompanying software.

The software will allow users to analyze data, create graphs and even integrate their data into other software applications.

Durable, the sensor can fall 6 feet without breaking and uses a one cell battery that holds an 80-hour charge. The sensor also features a 100 feet wireless range to be able to connect to your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth.

Real-time measurements are presented to allow learners to see what’s occurring in real-time. The PocketLab, for example, can be strapped to a soccer ball that’s kicked across the field to measure angular velocity.

Backers that have pledged money to the campaign can expect their device to be shipped in June. The company behind PocketLab has teamed up with high schools to test their product, as well as other professional institutions, such as NASA.



TheFind Purchased by, and Shut Down by, Facebook

the find logo

the find logo

TheFind, a personalized shopping search engine, was acquired by Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) on Friday for an undisclosed amount. Founded in 2005, TheFind raised over $26 million in capital from Redpoint and LightSpeed.

Shortly after the acquisition was announced, TheFind displayed a message to users stating that the site would be closed in the coming weeks. Initial reports indicate that most of the company’s employees will join the Facebook team. TheFind allowed customized searches and recommendations to users. Users were able to compare prices and even find local shopping centers where they could buy their desired product.

Facebook launched a new ad unit last month that will highlight merchandise being sold. While Facebook has not divulged their plans for TheFind, analysts expect that the acquisition will allow the company to better target ads. This was something TheFind hinted at in their message to users.

Facebook, and many social networks, are attempting to keep users on their site as long as possible. Integrating TheFind’s database and technology into Facebook will allow for further personalization of targeted ads shown to users.

Facebook is currently down on the day, dropping 0.54 percent. The company recently announced new takedown guidelines for content that is not allowed on the company’s service


Tech, World

NASA REPORT : NASA Crawler Transporters


According to the Guinness Book of Records, the coal from the creators TAKRAF SRs-8000 series (.pdf) the largest land vehicles in the world. The monster that may carry the record, however, listening to the name Bagger 293 and creates lignite. A mud figure to the lowest type of coal with excavation for the goorste combustion. The series is also powered externally. In contrast to the approximately 2800-ton NASA Crawler-Transporters CT-1 and CT-2. Their load speed is 1.6 km / h (empty 3.2 km / h) indeed crawl, but they do so on their own. With two thick hp 2750 Fairbanks Morse Alco V16 diesels as main power sources.

Initially to provide three-stage Saturn V rockets (the largest) to the launch site. Here’s Apollo went to the moon to get their crews with small steps giant leaps, where she greats were with. But steps that are repeated ad nauseam, but that’s another story.

Who is the “greatest”? A dirty coal thing? Or that huge jumps mega-enabling platform? Admittedly, the question is somewhat suggestive, but the answer seems clear. NASA’s Crawler-Transporters are the largest. Built by the Marion Power Shovel Company. A company that mainly constructed coal creators, but never mind.