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UPI NewsTrack Science and Technology News

Feb. 12, 2013 at 7:05 PM   |   Comments

Intel to offer Internet TV, set-top box

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Intel has confirmed it will introduce a streaming Internet-based television service this year and is creating a set-top box for it.

Erik Huggers, head of Intel Media, told AllThingsD Intel would offer the hardware and services directly to consumers.

"For the first time, we will deliver ... a new consumer-electronics product that people will buy from Intel through a new brand," he said.

While Huggers chose not to divulge the service's name or its programming partners, he said the service would offer live TV, on-demand programming and other offerings, CNET reported Tuesday.

Users won't be able to pick and choose individual channels but will likely have to subscribe to bundles or tiers offered by Intel, similar to what cable TV offers, CNET said.

"What consumers want is choice, control, and convenience," Huggers said. "If bundles are bundled right, there's real value in that ... I don't believe the industry is ready for pure a la carte."

"Ultimately we think there's an all-in-one solution."


62-year-old bird hatches another chick

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- One of the world's oldest wild birds, believed to be at least 62 years old, has successfully hatched a chick on Midway Island, scientists said.

A Laysan albatross known as "Wisdom" hatched the chick in the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

It was the sixth consecutive year Wisdom and her mate hatched a chick, scientists said.

Wisdom, first banded in 1956 when she was incubating an egg in the same area of the refuge, was at least 5 years old at the time, they said.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists 19 of the world's 21 species of albatross as threatened with extinction.

"Everyone continues to be inspired by Wisdom as a symbol of hope for her species," said Doug Staller, the Fish and Wildlife Service superintendent for the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, which includes Midway Atoll NWR.

Wisdom has likely raised at least 30 to 35 chicks during her breeding life, USGS scientists said.

"If she were human, she would be eligible for Medicare in a couple years yet she is still regularly raising young and annually circumnavigating the Pacific Ocean," Bruce Peterjohn, chief of the USGS's North American Bird Banding Program, said. "Simply incredible."


System improves GPS in city locations

MADRID, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Spanish researchers say a new sensor system can improve the ability of GPS to determine a vehicle's position by up to 90 percent.

The system of sensors to work with a vehicle's existing GPS can be installed in any vehicle at low cost, they said.

Researchers at Universidad Carlos III in Madrid said a commercial GPS in a car can locate the vehicle to within about 50 feet in an open field but in an urban setting it can be off by more than 160 feet due to the GPS satellite signals bouncing off obstacles like buildings, trees or narrow streets.

Their prototype system combines a conventional GPS signal with those of other sensors, including accelerometers and gyroscopes, to reduce the margin of error in establishing a location, a university release reported Tuesday.

Using the prototype the researchers have been able to determine the position of a vehicle to within 3 to 6 feet in urban settings.

"Future applications that will benefit from the technology that we are currently working on will include cooperative driving, automatic maneuvers for the safety of pedestrians, autonomous vehicles or cooperative collision warning systems," the researchers wrote in the journal SENSORS.

With further development, they said, it could be possible to incorporate the entire system within a smartphone, since many phones already include GPS, accelerometers and gyroscopes.

"We are now starting to work on the integration of this data fusion system into a mobile telephone," researcher Enrique Marti said, "so that it can integrate all of the measurements that come from its sensors in order to obtain the same result that we have now, but at an even much lower cost, since it is something that almost everyone can carry around in his pocket."


Ancient migrants brought farming to Europe

MADISON, Wis., Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Farming spread to Stone Age Europe, sparking the rise of Western civilization, from the Near East by colonizers who brought it with them, U.S. researchers say.

"One of the big questions in European archaeology has been whether farming was brought or borrowed from the Near East," University of Wisconsin-Madison archaeologist T. Douglas Price said.

Price, along with Dusan Boric of Cardiff University in Wales, measured strontium isotopes in the teeth of 153 humans from Neolithic burials in an area known as the Danube Gorges in modern Romania and Serbia.

Strontium and other chemicals found in the teeth and bones of Neolithic humans help archaeologists track the movement of ancient peoples from region to region by determining if an individual was local or foreign to the place where their remains were discovered.

The data from the teeth of prehistoric farmers and the hunter-gatherers with whom they briefly overlapped shows agriculture was introduced to Central Europe by migrants from the Near East who brought farming technology with them, Price and Boric said.

"The evidence from the Danube Gorges shows clearly that new people came in bringing farming and replaced the earlier Mesolithic hunter-gatherers," Price said in a UWM release Tuesday.

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