BEIJING: A new study by Chinese and Australian astronomers has developed the world’s first accurate three-dimensional picture of the Milky Way’s warped appearance, showing that the galaxy’s disc is not flat but warped and twisted far away from the center.
The study was published online in the journal Nature Astronomy today. Many people believed the galaxy would look like a flat disc of stars that orbit around its central region, but researchers of the study found that the galaxy’s far outer regions are warped and twisted, forming a three-dimensional structure.
Chen Xiaodian, the lead author of the study and a researcher at the National Astronomical Observatories of Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that accurate distances from the Sun to parts of the Milky Way’s outer disc were key to knowing what that disc actually looked like. Researchers established a robust Galactic disc model based on 1,339 variable stars which are four to 20 times larger than the Sun, and up to 100,000 times more luminous.
These stars providing high distance accuracy were used as primary distance indicators to develop an intuitive and accurate three-dimensional picture of the galaxy. From the 3D distribution map, researchers found that the new derived stellar disc is warped in a progressively twisted spiral pattern, with an S-shape. The further study validated that the stellar warp morphology is in excellent agreement with that of the galaxy’s warp.
“This new finding may help us to know the shape of the Milky Way, and provide a key clue to understanding how galaxies such as the Milky Way form and evolve,” said Deng Licai, co-author of the study.
BMW to recall over 360K vehicles in China
BEIJING: BMW will recall 360,001 vehicles in China to replace defective airbags, according to a State Administration for Market Regulation statement.
The recall, set to begin on Aug. 30, involves 272,880 vehicles produced by BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd. between Jan. 2, 2014 and Oct. 16, 2017, and 87,121 imported models manufactured between 5th April 2000, and 21st Feb. 2018.
A defect could cause the airbags to eject debris at passengers if deployed.
The defective airbags were made by now-defunct Japanese supplier Takata. Founded in 1933, Takata went out of business in 2017 because of the airbag crisis. BMW will replace the defective airbags free of charge.
Facebook says it stored ‘millions’ of unencrypted Instagram passwords
SAN FRANCISCO: “Millions” of Instagram users had their passwords stored in unencrypted form on internal servers, Facebook said Thursday, raising its original estimate of tens of thousands.
“We discovered additional logs of Instagram passwords being stored in a readable format. We now estimate that this issue impacted millions of Instagram users,” Facebook said in a blog post.
“We will be notifying these users as we did the others. Our investigation has determined that these stored passwords were not internally abused or improperly accessed,” the social network said.
Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, revealed last month that the unencrypted passwords of hundreds of millions of users had been stored, putting the number of Instagram users affected in the tens of thousands.
The social network’s handling of user data has been a flashpoint for controversy since it admitted last year that Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy, used an app that may have hijacked the private details of 87 million users.
Facebook has announced a series of moves to tighten handling of data, including eliminating most of its data-sharing partnerships with outside companies.
The California firm reaches an estimated 2.7 billion people with its core social network, Instagram and messaging applications.
Samsung to inspect Galaxy Fold phones after reviewer complaints
SEOUL: Samsung announced Thursday it will inspect units of its highly anticipated folding smartphone after some reviewers reported screen damage.
A handful of US-based reporters were given the flagship Galaxy Fold phones, priced at $1,980, ahead of the model’s official release next week, and they reported screen issues within days of using the devices.
“The screen on my Galaxy Fold review unit is completely broken and unusable just two days in,” Bloomberg’s Mark Gunman tweeted.
And Dieter Bohn of The Verge said: “Something happened to my Galaxy Fold screen and caused a bulge… It’s broken.”
Samsung spent nearly eight years developing the Galaxy Fold, which is part of the South Korean tech giant’s strategy to propel growth with groundbreaking gadgets.
“We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter,” Samsung said in a statement after reports of the screen damage emerged.
The firm suggested some reviewers encountered screen failures because a section of the display was removed.
“The main display on the Galaxy Fold features a top protective layer, which is part of the display structure designed to protect the screen from unintended scratches,” it said.
“Removing the protective layer or adding adhesives to the main display may cause damage. We will ensure this information is clearly delivered to our customers.”
Some of the reviewers, including Bloomberg’s Gunman, had removed this layer.
CNBC’s Steve Kovach said he had not, but still faced major problems with the device.
Samsung is the world’s biggest smartphone maker, and earlier this month launched the 5G version of its top-end Galaxy S10 device.
But despite the recent announcements about its new high-end devices, Samsung has warned of a more than 60 percent plunge in first-quarter operating profit in the face of weakening markets.
The firm is also no stranger to device issues.
Its reputation suffered a major blow after a damaging worldwide recall of its Galaxy Note 7 devices over exploding batteries in 2016, which cost the firm billions of dollars and shattered its global brand image.
Samsung has said it will release the Galaxy Fold as scheduled on April 26.