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UPI NewsTrack Science and Technology News

Dec. 27, 2012 at 6:54 PM   |   Comments

Apple rumored to be considering an iWatch

CUPERTINO, Calif., Dec. 27 (UPI) -- The Apple rumor universe is speculating the iPhone, iPod and iPad maker wants to add another device to its arsenal in the form of an iWatch, tech websites say.

A report cited by Business Insider says Apple has partnered with Intel to develop an iOS watch.

Sources in Apple's supply chain have told Chinese blog site Tech163.com the watch would be Bluetooth-enabled and sport a 1.5-inch OLED display screen, CNET reported Thursday.

Apple devices are no strangers to people's wrists; previous versions of the iPod Nano have done double-duty as watches with a number of manufacturers offering watchbands allowing the smallest iPod to be worn as a timepiece.

But the iPod Nano was enlarged this year, too big to do duty as a watch, giving credence to rumors of a possible dedicated time-keeper from the Cupertino, Calif., company.

The so-called smart wearable watch could reportedly debut in the first half of 2013 -- if rumors are to be believed.


Ancient 'Megapiranha' had strongest bite

SEATTLE, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- An ancient "Megapiranha" weighing around 20 pounds delivered a bite with a force more fierce than even the toothy Tyrannosaurus rex, a U.S. researcher says.

Based on bite strength versus body size as found in modern piranhas, the Megapiranha of 10 million years ago could have had a bite force from 280 to 1,070 pounds -- 30 times its body weight -- and possibly more, University of Washington biology doctoral student Stephanie Crofts said.

"If our calculations are correct, Megapiranha was probably a bone-crushing predator taking bites of anything and everything," she said in a university release.

T. rex is thought to have been able to bite with 3,000 pounds of force but that's nowhere near 30 times its body weight.

Pound for pound, Megapiranha and its modern cousins black piranha have the most powerful bites among carnivorous fishes, living or extinct, the study published in the journal Scientific Reports said.

"We were surprised that in spite of their long history and infamous reputations that no one had ever measured their bite forces," study lead author Justin Grubich of the American University in Cairo, Egypt, said of piranha. "When we finally started to get the data, we were blown away at how tremendously strong the bites were for these relatively little fish."


China opens its version of GPS to public

BEIJING, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- China has opened its domestic satellite navigation network -- previously restricted to the military and government -- to commercial use, officials say.

Beidou, named for the Chinese word for the Big Dipper constellation, is a competitor to the United States' Global Positioning System and aims to have a 70 percent to 80 percent share of the Chinese location services market by 2020, a Beidou spokesman told the BBC.

The China Satellite Navigation Office said the service, now opened to commercial use in the Asia-Pacific region, would be available across the globe by 2020.

Beidou can pinpoint a user's location to within 33 feet, officials said.

The system has six satellites already in orbit, with 40 more planned during the next decade.

Beidou is one of a number of alternatives to GPS. Russia is developing its Glonass system for both civilian and military use while the European Union is working on its own Galileo network.


Antarctic science drill project called off

BRISTOL, England, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- British scientists say they've abandoned an attempt to drill through 1.8 miles of Antarctic ice to a lake sealed off for thousands of years.

The British Antarctic Survey project had intended drill through the ice using near-boiling water to reach the lake, believed to have been sealed off from contact with the surface for as much as half a million years.

Scientists say they had to call off the attempt after failing to connect the main borehole with a parallel hole intended to recover the hot drilling water, the BBC reported Thursday.

"We kept trying for over 24 hours to reach that connection but we couldn't do it," said principal project investigator Martin Siegert from the University of Bristol.

"All that time we were losing fuel and water from the ice sheet surface and we got to a critical condition where our calculations showed us we simply didn't have enough fuel to continue any further down into the ice sheet to hit the top of the lake."

The research team said it was "weatherizing" the equipment while considering when they might resume the $13 million project.

"It will take a season or two to get all of our equipment out of Antarctica and back to the United Kingdom, so at a minimum we're looking at three to four, maybe five years I would have thought," Siegert said.

The scientific goal of the project was to seek evidence of simple life forms existing in the extreme conditions of pressure and temperature in the sub-glacial Lake Ellsworth.

The project first experienced problems last week when the main boiler used to heat drilling water suffered a failure and a replacement part hard to be flown to the site from Britain.

Topics: Ed Smart, T. Rex
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