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This week in science (April 5 – April 12)

Graphic Illustration by Claire Roth

By Claire Roth

Technology – Samsung steps up

Bixby

Graphic Illustration by Claire Roth

In the age of technological personal helpers, such as the voice-controlled Alexa and the iPhone-dwelling Siri, the electronic appliance and smart technology company Samsung has stepped up to the plate with their own virtual assistant: Bixby.

According to Samsung’s website, Bixby learns through actions. The major difference between Bixby and initial virtual assistants is Samsung’s referral to Bixby as an agent, not an assistant. Bixby helps to fast-track tasks having to do with commands that aren’t readily available in devices, such as sending photos to a contact without opening up multiple apps to do it.

Bixby also learns the phone user’s cellular routine, such as what time they check the weather in the morning or at what time a daily reminder occurs. This self-education allows Bixby to have apps ready for the user without the user exerting extra effort.

Sources: The Verge, Samsung

Wildlife – Penguins vs. Volcanoes

Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 6.50.21 PM

Graphic Illustration by Claire Roth

The British Antarctic Survey led a team of scientists from all over the world on an Antarctic expedition to study a population of gentoo penguins that has been at odds with survival for thousands of years. Through the study of ancient samples of gentoo guano (seabird feces) and volcanic ash in sediment core samples, the researchers concluded that the population of gentoo penguins had been all but obliterated by volcanic activity several times over the last 7,000 years. The volcano to blame resides on nearby Deception Island. The sediment cores produced data telling the research team when the volcano erupted and how that eruption affected the gentoo population being studied in Antarctica.

Source: Phys.org

 

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