stevegsltsz

My blog, my thoughts and my musings!


Blue Whales Make Startling Recovery

The California blue whale, the largest creature that has ever existed in the history of our planet, has finally recovered from centuries of whaling.

According to recent figures, the majestic creatures’ numbers are returning to historic levels, with an estimated 2,200 individuals currently living on the eastern side of the Pacific Ocean.

The figures, reported in the journal Marine Mammal Science, suggest that California blue whales are now at 97% of their original levels.

It is incredible that the species even survived in the area, considering that between 1905 and 1971, an estimated 3,400 whales were killed in the Pacific. Sadly, in Antarctica, where whaling was far more severe, blue whales only number at about 1% of their original population.

For thousands of years, whales of all kinds have been hunted and killed by Humans, usually for food. However, in the 17th century and into the 19th century, whale oil became a greatly valued commodity and let to an enormous amount of overhunting.

In the early part of the 20th century, whale harvesting emerged as a concept, which caused whale numbers around the world to plummet.

Despite bans on commercial whaling taking effect throughout the latter half of the 20th century, the countries of Japan, Norway and Iceland still slaughter 2000 whales a year between them. Since the first ban on commercial whaling was introduced in 1986, countries exploiting loopholes in the ban have killed over 30,000 whales. These include endangered species such as humpbacks and fin whales.

An adult blue whale can grow up to 33 metres in length and weigh up to 190 tonnes, but, despite their great size and strength, they are largely docile creatures that feed on plankton.

It is encouraging to know that whales, the majority of which are slow to mature and reproduce, can, if left alone, bounce back from Human predation. Clearly, it is not too late to save other whale species from extinction.

The news of the blue whale’s incredible resurgence comes in the same month as several countries agreed to ban the trade of certain shark and manta ray species that are threatened by overfishing.

Many of these species are used for traditional medicine or shark fin soup. Sharks, of course, pre-date dinosaurs and play such a large role in the ecosystems of our oceans that the natural world would be in a great deal of trouble without them.

The recent ban represents a landmark in shark protection, despite the shortsighted refusal of several nations (Canada, Greenland, Guyana, Japan and Iceland) to adhere to its rules. The new laws now protect five of the shark species that are most at risk from overfishing, along with manta rays. These laws will be supported across 180 countries, which is a monumental result.

As encouraging as these results are, it is still worth remembering that today there are only 3% of the whales that existed 200 years ago, when commercial whaling began in earnest.

To donate to the charity WDC (Whale Dolphin Conservation) go to this website

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Nedaa and Hytera Provide World-Class TETRA Radios for Dubai Tour 2015

Nedaa, the sole and largest TETRA operator in Dubai proudly teamed up with Hytera Communications, a world’s leading Professional Mobile Radio communications solution provider, which offered reliable and smooth communications support to the grand cycling event Dubai Tour 2015, which kicked off on Feb. 4th and is to complete on Feb. 7th.

The inaugural Dubai Tour was held in 2014, and the race expanded and hosted 16 World Tour teams in 2015. From the very beginning, Nedaa was officially chosen as the communications solution provider by the organizing committee for its excellence in technical planning and service.

For the 2nd Dubai Tour, Nedaa integrated Z1p, Hytera’s latest handheld TETRA two-way radio, into its network, which offers full coverage of the 4 tracks measuring nearly 700km in total. Hytera Z1p was developed in complete correspondence with the open ETSI standard TETRA. Its military-standard ruggedness and public-safety level functionalities come with an ultra-slim full-keypad body as thin as 23mm. The site survey executed by Nedaa shows that its system and Hytera Z1p synergize very well in skyscraper-crowded downtown, open terrain and hills.

During the Tour, the radios were intensely used by the staff from the organizer and Dubai Sports Council to ensure smooth collaboration among different work groups. Nedaa’s network also offered cross-department communication to the police and other institutions. “Nedaa is very proud to be the official communications provider for such a powerful event. Hytera Z1p TETRA radios are well designed for mission critical communication during events like Dubai Tour in terms of both functionality and usability. It has great potential of serving our customers. We look to provide services according to the highest international standards and the best practices in the field of public safety and telecommunications security in order for Dubai to rank amongst the most prominent countries in the world in this field,” commented Mr. Mansoor Bu Osaiba, Deputy Chief Executive Director of Nedaa.

About Nedaa

Nedaa is a Dubai Government-Owned and Controlled Corporation (GOCC). Established in June of 2008, the company made significant waves as it became the first in the Middle East to implement the Terrestrial Trunked Radio Network (TETRA). To date, Nedaa’s services are tied up with Dubai Government’s Strategic Plan, which aims at setting plenary plans and potential scenarios for crises and catastrophes. The company’s list of clients include RTA, Dubai Police, Dubai Municipality, MAF Group, Dubai Investment Park, The Address Hotel, G4S, Dubai Health Authority and Dubai Aluminum, to name a few.

http://www.nedaa.ae

About Hytera

Hytera, a world’s leading Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) communications solution provider, promotes major open standard technologies, including TETRA, DMR and PDT, and endeavors to ensure smooth technology migration to LTE broadband for its customers. Founded in 1993 in Shenzhen, China, Hytera became a public company in 2011 at Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

http://www.hytera.com


What Is an Earpiece?

This was originally posted on http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-an-earpiece.htm, credit should go them as this is a interesting article.

Broadly speaking, an earpiece refers to anything that functions by either covering the ear, or hanging near the ear. In this broad category are the parts of an eyeglass frame that extend over the ear, and any material specifically designed to fit into the ear and block off the entry of sound or water. The most common meaning of an “earpiece” however is an electronic device that converts electronic signals into sound waves, and directs them into the ear. In this context, the earpiece can also be called an electronic-acoustic transducer.

Originally, the earpiece was the only way of listening to electronically-generated audio signals. Thereafter, amplifiers were developed, and the role of earpieces became more a matter of personal preference than necessity. Nowadays, earpieces are used for convenience — where privacy is desired, or where mobility is important. Depending on its design, an earpiece can also be variously known as headphones, ear buds, stereo phones or headsets.

what is an earpieceEarpieces can be organized broadly into two categories — wired earpieces and cordless or wireless earpieces. The wireless types use either radio waves or infrared signals to connect to the signal sources. Earpieces for CD players, computers or mobile phones are some examples. A signal transmission link is used, like Bluetooth® or Wi-Fi.

The wired earpiece has to be physically attached to a signal source. To facilitate this, jacks at the end of the cords are inserted into the signal source. Jack sizes have been standardized, and the most common size is the 3.5 millimeter (about 0.2 inches) that was brought into the market by the Sony Company in 1979. The much older, 1/4 inch (about 6.4 mm) jack is now used only in professional equipment. When wiring up the stereo jacks, the tip is always the left channel, the portion in between is the right channel, and the outer sleeve is the ground.

The use of ear buds has a profound impact on how one perceives sound. This is because an earpiece feeds the sound directly into the eardrums, without the normal acoustic contouring by the listener’s head and outer ear that normal loudspeakers give scope for. Lacking these spatial references, the brain then imagines the sound to be in a straight line within the head and between the ears. This strips the sound of its 3 dimensional effect, otherwise produced by the normal loudspeakers.

From their shapes and sizes, earpieces can be placed into four categories. The circum-aural types have large pads that surround the outer ear. They are most commonly used in recording studios. The supra-aural headphones fit just over the ear, without fully surrounding it. Ear buds are designed to fit inside outer ear’s canal. However, they don’t fully cover the canal, and exterior sounds can still be heard around them. In contrast, canal phones, the fourth category, fit snugly into the ear’s canal, and effectively block off the external sounds.


Who invented the walkie talkie?

The original inventor of that walkie-talkie is actually the focus of some disputes. A similar 3 names come up again and again, but how many of those names deserves the foremost credit? I’ve to confess, I had a tough time deciding.

The first name to emerge is Canadian inventor Donald L. Hings. Reported by his blog,

“The “walkie-talkie” is Don Hings’ most well-known invention. The earliest versions of this device were designed as portable field radios for the bush pilots of Consolidated Mining and Smelting (now Cominco), who had to fly their planes between remote sites in the far north of Canada. The first true walkie-talkie was built by Hings in 1937, but it was not called a walkie-talkie at the time. In Hings’ notes, it was simply a two-way field radio. They were also called wireless sets, or “pack sets”. The term “walkie-talkie” (sometimes “talkie-walkie”) was coined by journalists reporting on these new inventions during the war”.

The site maintains (fittingly, I think) that walkie-talkies were not particularly recognized until the occurrence of the 2nd World War in 1939.

An additional name which is frequently mentioned is United states inventor Al Gross. Gross seemingly patented the term ‘walkie talkie’ in 1938, after which, the term was actually used by the media as a ‘catch all’ name for just about any/all lightweight 2 way radios. Undoubtedly, Gross worked on the technology and was instrumental in its plan, but did he devise the walkie-talkie? Lemelson-MIT appears to think so, as their blog says of Gross:

“The pioneer nonpareil of wireless telecommunications is Al Gross. In 1938, he invented the walkie-talkie. In 1948, he pioneered Citizens’ Band (CB) radio. In 1949, he invented the telephone pager. His other inventions include the basics of cordless and cellular telephony. (…) Determined to exploit the unexplored frequencies above 100 MHz, Gross set about inventing a mobile, lightweight, hand-held two-way radio. In two years, Gross had invented and patented the “walkie-talkie” (1938)”.

If Hings invented the walkie talkie back in 1937, then that signifies that Gross basically re-invented the identical device in 1938. If that is undeniably true, then certainly Hings is the chap most responsible, right?

Well, before you make your minds up, let Wiki Replies present some more names; their account of that walkie-talkie’s creation states that,

“The first radio receiver/transmitter to be nicknamed “Walkie-Talkie” was the backpacked Motorola SCR-300, created by an engineering team in 1940 at the Galvin Manufacturing Company (forerunner of Motorola). The team consisted of Dan Noble, who conceived of the design using FM technology, Henryk Magnuski who was the principal RF engineer, Bill Vogel, Lloyd Morris, and Marion Bond”. 

This Motorola team, headed up by Dan Noble, actually made the walkie-talkie in 1940, a full three years after Hings allegedly created it and 2 years after Gross apparently patented it. Ugh. This is giving me a headache!

So, perhaps we can clear this up a little now. The name ‘walkie-talkie’ was commonly applied to WW2-era Motorola radio, which led to Dan Noble’s staff being accredited with its creation. That is true, Noble and co DID create that particular model, however the technology itself had clearly existed before.

Now, Hings’ model was noticeably more portable, and pretty different to the Motorola model. Hings named his invention a ‘packset’ so it was consequently entirely probable for Gross to have patented the same invention (under the term ‘walkie-talkie’) in 1938 and for that name to migrate over to the Motorola adaptation, via the wartime press (1939 – 1945 was not a well-known era of journalistic accuracy, lest we forget).

Reported by Wikipedia, Hings’ model did not get used by the forces until 1942, the results of which would be Don Noble and co being credited with the invention, with Hings being relegated to the spot of just another engineer (Hings was employed by the allies during WW2) who was working on armed forces gear.

Largely, I’d say that Hings is likely the likeliest inventor of the initial technology and definitely of the portable system we understand today. Still, with so many talented inventors functioning at around the same time, this indicates as possible to claim Gross as inventor of the walkie-talkie as well. Hings pioneered it, Gross patented it and Noble’s team brought it into mass manufacture and normal usage. There. Simple, right?


Stick this thing in your ear to lose weight

Say hello to the BitBite, a wearable health coach that you stick in your ear to help you improve your eating habits. Oh, and it’s a fully functional Bluetooth headset too.

Today’s entrant in the world of weird wearables is BitBite, a new device that monitors how much you eat, as well as the type of food you consume. Did we mention that you stick it in your ear?

BitBite has a small, contoured design that its creators claim is built to perfectly fit your ear for maximum comfort. To use BitBite, just put the patent-pending earpiece in your ear at mealtime, and the gadget will, using a built-in microphone and sensors, automatically track how quickly or slowly you chew your food and how much food you’re taking in. It then sends that information via Bluetooth to an app that analyzes the data.

You can even talk to BitBite, via the mic, to tell it what you’re eating (no lying now!), which further lets the product assess your habits and coach you in real time to do better.

For example, BitBite can tell you to PUT THE DOUGHUT DOWN, DUDE and opt for a piece of fruit instead, and it can remind you to slow your chewing down so you become more mindful of your body’s cues and stop eating when you’re feeling full.

All this information is managed with a connected app for iOS and Android devices. From what we’ve seen of the app so far, it seems well designed and presents users with a ton of information — from the amount of bites taken to the amount of protein, carbs and fat ingested.

In addition to being able to track your eating habits, BitBite also functions as a Bluetooth headset, though its battery life — three hours on a single charge — will probably have you reaching for the charger often if you plan to use BitBite as a Bluetooth earpiece. The company says the battery life is good enough for three days of monitoring your food intake, however.

BitBite has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to help bring its product to market, and has raised $27,813 of its $60,000 goal as of this writing. The current price for one BitBite unit for early backers is $109 (about £69.39, AU$125.02), and that will jump to $119 (about £75.75, AU$136.51) once the 200 earlybird units have been reserved. Each unit comes with a USB charger and a wristband or clip so you don’t lose the BitBite while it’s not in use, and shipments are expected to begin in June 2015.

BitBite looks to be a compelling product that could help users adopt healthier habits, but you will have to deal with the fact that you’re going to be that person walking around with a weird thing in your ear to help you get there.

http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/bitbite-stick-this-thing-in-your-ear-to-lose-weight/