Sept. date for new iPhone, iPad reported
CUPERTINO, Calif., July 30 (UPI) -- Apple will announce the new iPhone and an iPad Mini in the middle of September with the phone to go on sale Sept. 21, blog site iMore is reporting.
Based on "sources who have proven accurate in the past," iMore said, the two devices would be unveiled at a special event Sept. 12.
French site App4Phone.fr said information from Chinese manufacturing sources also put Sept. 21 as the release date for the iPhone, CNET reported Monday.
Although not reporting a launch date for the 7-inch screen iPad Mini, iMore said it could be available the same day as the iPhone.
Most Apple-watching sites are reporting the new iPhone would offer a 4-inch, 16:9 screen, and that all new Apple iOS devices would come with a smaller dock connector.
The spacing between the announcement and the on-sale date would mirror last year's schedule when Apple unveiled the iPhone 4S on October 4 and then released it for sale 10 days later, CNET said.
North America may face 'megadrought'
CORVALLIS, Ore., July 30 (UPI) -- The drought in western North America from 2000 to 2004 was the strongest in 800 years but may be a "new normal" for most of the coming century, scientists say.
Such climatic extremes as the extended drought that left dying forests and depleted river basins in its wake have increased as a result of global warming, a group of 10 researchers reported in Nature Geoscience.
The drought also decreased carbon sequestration by an average of 51 percent in a massive region of the western United States, Canada and Mexico, they reported.
"Climatic extremes such as this will cause more large-scale droughts and forest mortality, and the ability of vegetation to sequester carbon is going to decline," study co-author Beverly Law of Oregon State University said.
Tree-ring data showed the multiyear drought was unlike anything seen since the Middle Ages, from 977-981 and from 1146-1151, the researchers said.
But it may get even worse, they said.
"Areas that are already dry in the West are expected to get drier," Law said. "We expect more extremes. And it's these extreme periods that can really cause ecosystem damage, lead to climate-induced mortality of forests, and may cause some areas to convert from forest into shrublands or grassland."
These long-term trends are consistent with a 21st century "megadrought," the researchers said.
Ancient human figure unearthed in Turkey
ANTAKYA, Turkey, July 30 (UPI) -- An international archaeological team says it's unearthed a large, extraordinary human sculpture at an excavation site in southeast Turkey.
The figure was part of a monumental gate complex giving access to the upper citadel of Kunulua, the capital of the Neo-Hittite Kingdom of Patina, researchers said.
A large semi-circular column base, ornately decorated on one side, was also discovered at the Tayinat site and dated with the human figure to around 1000-738 B.C., they said.
"These newly discovered Tayinat sculptures are the product of a vibrant local Neo-Hittite sculptural tradition," project leader Tim Harrison of the University of Toronto said.
"They provide a vivid glimpse into the innovative character and sophistication of the Iron Age cultures that emerged in the eastern Mediterranean following the collapse of the great imperial powers of the Bronze Age at the end of the second millennium B.C."
The head and torso of the human figure, intact to its waist, stands about 5 feet tall, suggesting a total body length about 12 feet.
The column base is about 3 feet high and and 3 feet in diameter, the researchers said.
"The two pieces appear to have been ritually buried in the paved stone surface of the central passageway through the Tayinat gate complex," Harrison said in a University of Toronto release Monday.
The complex would have provided a monumental ceremonial approach to the upper citadel of the royal city, he said.
Insect-like robot can walk, leap on water
WATERLOO, Ontario, July 30 (UPI) -- Canadian scientists say they've made a robot that not just walks on water like the water strider insect but leaps over the surface like its living counterpart.
A number of tiny robots that can walk on water have been developed that could skim across lakes and other bodies of water to monitor water quality or conduct surveillance operations, but none have been able to make leaps across the water as a water strider does.
Now researcher Qinmin Pan of the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and his colleagues say they've build a true water-striding robot that can both walk and leap on water.
Their robot, with porous, super water-repellent nickel on its three supporting and two jumping legs, can leap more than 5.5 inches, despite weighing as much as 1,100 water striders.
In tests the robot has jumped nearly 14 inches forward -- more than twice its own length -- leaving the water at about 3.6 miles per hour, the researchers said.
The ability to leap as well as walk will make the bio-inspired microrobot more agile and better able to avoid obstacles it encounters on the water's surface, they said.
The research has been published in the American Chemical Society's journal Applied Material & Interfaces.
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LAUSANNE, Switzerland, June 18 (UPI) --A new computer algorithm that can give humans the ability to map their environments with sound could lead to an app to aid blind people, Swiss researchers say.