Tech Sightings, December 4, 2013

Posted December 4th, 2013 at 9:17 pm (UTC-4)
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Katy Perry Puts Twitter Army on Standby

Pop queen Katy Perry, who has  a record 48 million followers on Twitter ,  told AFP that she is ready to put her force to good use. The 29-year-old star officially became an envoy for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday.

Volcano Alert: A System to Warn Us About the Next Major Iceland Eruption

With more than 30 active volcanoes, Iceland is one of the most tectonically active spots on Earth, and each eruption has the potential to send all of Europe into an economic tailspin. So a coalition of 100 European and US scientists calling itself Future­Volc has been working to get ahead of the problem.

Africa: Bleep Bleep – an Earthquake is Two Minutes Away

Developers at the University of California, Berkley have spent the last five years developing a system that uses the accelerometer – a sensor that measures the speed of the phone’s movement – and global positioning system (GPS) in smartphones to detect tremors.

How Facebook Contributes to Eating Disorders

In order to figure out how Facebook affects young girls’ sense of body image, researchers from American University in Washington D.C. asked 103 adolescent girls to complete 20-30 minute surveys over the course of a week. The girls were asked about their Facebook usage as well as  about their body image.

Google is Building Robots, These Demos Show Them at Work

Yes, Google is building robots. And not just self-driving cars, which, of course, are technically robots, but humanoids that can walk around and make cow eyes at you. It will probably be a while before anyone sees a Googlebot walking the streets. For now, the plan is to develop behind-the-scenes robots for use in manufacturing, warehouses and the like.

Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates Put $9M Into EducationSuperHighway to Improve School Broadband

EducationSuperHighway, which lets schools test broadband speeds and guides them on how to secure better connections, is announcing a significant funding to help schools get on the fast track. The funding is being led by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Startup: Education fund and also the Gates Foundation, the charitable group led by Microsoft’s Bill Gates and his wife Melinda.

African Mobile Penetration Hits 80% (and is Growing Faster than Anywhere Else)

A new report on the African telecommunications market highlights that mobile penetration in Africa hit 80 percent in the first quarter of this year, and is still growing at 4.2 percent annually.

Teens in Asia Dominate Global Test; US Stagnant

Teens from Asian nations dominated a global exam given to 15-year-olds, while U.S. students showed little improvement and failed to reach the top 20 in math, science or reading, according to test results.


Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

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