NASA has discovered the eighth planet of a star system, similar to our solar system. The star, Kepler-90 is over 2,500 light years away and larger and hotter than our sun. It is the first star known to have as many planets as our solar system.
The Kepler-90 star system is much more compact than our solar system. The outermost planet orbits the star at about the same distance as the earth orbits the sun. its inner planets are small and rocky while the outer ones are larger and made up of gas
The newly discovered planet, Kepler -90i, is the third celestial object in the star system. It is probably rocky and similar to our earth, but because of its closeness to its home star has an averagesurface temperature of about 400° C. It moves around the star once every 14.4 days.
The discovery was made based ondataprovided by the Kepler space telescope. Launched in March 2009, the telescope has constantly been scanning certain sections of the universe in search of new stars and planetary systems. Up to now, over 2,000 new worlds have been discovered.
To help analyse the data NASA has been relying on artificial intelligence software supplied by Google. This software examines weak signals of light when objects pass in front of a star. The new way of examining data is expected to reveal even more new planets in the future.
artificial intelligence = when computers do intelligent things that only people can do, such as think and make their own decisions
average = normal, usual
based on = use
celestial = about the sky
closeness = being close to something
compact = here: the planets are closer together and near to the star
constantly = always
data = information
discover = to find something for the first time
distance = the amount of space between two objects
examine = look at something closely
launch = to send an object into space
light year = the distance light travels in one year = 9,460,000,000,000 km
orbit = to go around
outermost = the farthest away from something
planetary system = star with planets moving around it
provide = give
rely = depend on; need
reveal = to show something that was not known before
rocky = covered with or made of rocks; here: a hard surface
scan = when a machine looks at things carefully but quickly
similar = like
solar system = our sun and the eight planets that move around it
surface temperature = temperature you get when you stand on the planet
Short Message Service (SMS), also called texting, is celebrating its 25th birthday. The first text message was sent in Great Britain shortly before Christmas in 1992 in Great Britain. It was British engineer Neil Papworth who sent the first message from a computer to a mobile phone on the Vodaphone network. At that time mobile phones could only receive messages, not send them.
In 1994, Nokia presented its first mobile phone that could actually send and receive messages. It was the first phone that could produce more than an audio signal. Shortly afterwards the first commercial SMS service started in Finland. Text messages were limited to 160 characters.
25 years later text messaging is widelypopular. 97% of all smartphone users send some type of text message regularly. About 25 billion are sent every day. Today there are more complex messaging services like WhatsApp, Facebook Messanger and iMessage.
Media experts regard texting as the first step towards today’s smartphones, which are basically pocket computers with countless apps.
Texting has changed the way we communicate. For the first time, you could send the same text to different contacts at the same time andit didn’tmatter if the recipient was reachable or not. A new language has also emerged with abbreviations and short sentences.
abbreviation = short form of a word or phrase
actually = really, in fact
basically = practically
celebrate = to show that an event is important
commercial = here: something that you can make money with
communicate = exchange information or get into contact with each other
complex = advanced; with many different parts
countless = very many
emerge = develop, appear
engineer = person who designs and builds machines and other objects
limit = only allow
network = here: system of telephone lines that are connected to each other
For the first time in history, China has overtaken the United States in the number of supercomputers. Currently, China has a total of 202 of the world’s 500 fastest computers, up from 159 half a year ago. The number of US supercomputers has dropped to 144.
The world’s most powerful computer is located in China. The Sunway TaihuLight , at Wuxi can do 93 quadrillioncalculations per second. The fastest UScomputer,the Titan, is ranked fifth while Europe’s speediest computer is Switzerland’s Piz Daint, ranked third.
Supercomputers are machines that occupyentire buildings and use the combined power of thousands of processors. They are used to carry out special tasks that involve a huge number of calculations. Among them are weather forecasts and climate studies, as well as strategic tasks like nuclear weapons simulations.
Chinese supremacy in the world of supercomputing reflects the country’s investment in research and development. One-fifth of the money used on research and development around the world is spent in China.
On the other side, many Chinese systems have been created to earn money. Processing power is rented to other national and international companies.
For years the speed of supercomputers has steadily increased although since 2012 this increase has slowed down.
although = while
calculation = here: a single task
combined = everything put together
create = make
currently = at the moment, now
drop = go down
entire = whole
huge = very big; very many
investment = to use money for special things
involve = need
located = can be found
nuclear weapons simulation = here: software that tries to find out how nuclear bombs will affect the world and its population if they are used
occupy = use up; need
overtake = to be better than
processor = central part fo a computer that deals with commands and the information you give it
quadrillion= the number one followed by 24 zeros
ranked = position in a list
reflect = show, demonstrate
rent = let someone use something for money
research and development = to study special fields and use new ideas to create new things
speediest = fastest
steadily = slowly
strategic = here: about the military
supremacy = being number one or the best in the world
task = piece of work
weather forecast = a description of what the weather will be like in the next few days
The social networking service Twitter has increased the number of characters that can be used for a single tweet to 280. The new limit will apply to English and other languages that use a Roman alphabet. Languages, such as Chinese, Japanese or Korean, are not affected by the change because users can say more with fewer characters.
Twitter says that the change has been made to give people more opportunity to say what they think and express their opinions without making texts shorter or using bad grammar. More space makes it easier to put your thoughts in writing.
Twitter decided to implement the change after a month of intensive testing .Those who tested the new character limit said it was good because they were able to express themselves in a better way.
In the first few days after the new rule took effect, many people used up the full 280 character limit. A spokesperson said that, after a few days, everything had become normal again. Only five percent of all tweets exceeded the old 140 character limit, probably because most users were used to it.
Twitter’s 140-character limit goes back to the days when the company was founded in 2006. Back then, the limit for sending SMS text messages was 140 characters and Twitter based the new service on that limit. Texting today is considered out of date and not used that much anymore.
affect = here: to do something that produces a change
apply = affect; to be used for
character = letter, number or sign used in an alphabet
considered = thought to be …
exceed = to be more than …
express = tell or show what you think or feel
found – founded = here: to start a new company
implement = here: to make changes
increase = to go up
intensive = here: a lot of
limit = here: the number of characters you are allowed to use
opinion = what you think about something
opportunity = chance
out of date = not useful, because something more modern has taken its place
Roman alphabet = alphabet used in English and other European languages
spokesperson = someone who speaks for a company and makes announcements in public
take effect = to start to produce results after something has changed
The American video streaming service Netflix has 100 million subscribers around the world. This year alone the company has gained almost 5 million new viewers. Its content can now be seen used in 190 countries. Almost half of Netflix’s subscribers live in the United States.
The company expects to expand even more quickly as services in Asia, Africa and Latin America have just been started. Almost 75% of the world’s population live here.
A major part of Netflix’s success comes from producing its own shows. “House of Cards” or “Stranger Things” have won many awards become worldwide hits.
The success of the video streaming giant is also reflected at the stock markets. At the moment, Netflix has a market value of $63 billion and its stock price continues to rise.
In the past decade, Netflix has changed the way we watch television. More and more people are turning away from traditional TV, where you have to watch a film when it is aired or wait a week to watch the next episode of your favourite show. With video on demand viewers tend to watch whatever they want when they want to.
Competitors of Netflix have started to gain ground and are trying to make life tough for the streaming giant. Amazon Prime has launched its own streaming service and the big US networks are streaming their own shows as well.
air = broadcast on television
award = prize
content = here: films and movies it offers
continue = to go on
decade = ten years
expand = to make bigger
gain = to become more ; get
gain ground = catch up with; to become better
launch = start
reflect = show
rise = go up
stock market = place where parts of companies and businesses are bought and sold
streaming service = when you can watch a video while it is being broadcast over the Internet
subscriber = person who pays money every month to use something
success = to achieve what you wanted; to become very good at what you do
tend = have a habit of doing something; to do something regularly
tough = hard
value = what something is worth
video on demand = you can watch something whenever you want to
viewer = a person who watches something on TV or the Internet