Drivemode raises $6.5M from Panasonic and others for smartphone car tech

 If you’re an Android device owner and also a driver, you may already be familiar with Drivemode: It’s one of the most popular apps for use in cars on Google Play, with over one million app downloads and active users spread across 180 countries. The app is designed to reduce distractions for drives via an eyes-free interface designed to access smartphone functions like navigation… Read More
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The largest objects in the universe may be these deep-space magnetic fields

vela constellation stars NGC 2547 eso

Galaxies don’t drift freely through the empty void of space. Gravity organizes most of them into groups, called galaxy clusters, which can be tens of millions of light-years wide or larger.

That makes them the biggest structures in the known universe.

However, astronomers now think collisions between galaxy clusters are generating the largest magnetic fields in the cosmos, according to a new study in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

What’s more, such fields might even be larger than the clusters themselves.

When clusters of galaxies collide, their billions of stars and trillions of planets rarely make contact — there’s simply too much empty space for that to happen. (When our Milky Way galaxy smashes into the Andromeda galaxy about 3.75 billion years from now, for example, researchers expect it to form one giant galaxy.)

But colossal amounts of gas, dust, and charged particles that float between galaxies and stars get ejected during these collisions, creating arc-shaped clouds called “relics.” The name comes from the fact that the clouds persist long after a collision is over.

Researchers have detected about 70 such relics since the first one’s discovery in 1970, according to a press release by the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy.

In the new study, an international team of astronomers zeroed in on some of these relics to see if they’re generating any invisible magnetic fields — and they certainly are.

A colossal ‘sausage’ of magnetism

effelsburg 100 meter radio telescope copyright norbert junkes mpifr

To conduct the study, researchers used a stadium-size radio telescope in Germany (above) to photograph four of the best-known collision relics.

The astronomers took images in radio waves, which are invisible to human eyes, since relics tend to glow most brightly in that part of the spectrum. Such images can also reveal any large-scale magnetism, since the movement of particles through big magnetic fields can affect their radio emissions.

The technical names of the galaxy clusters they studied are complex — CIZA J2242+53, 1RXS 06+42, ZwCl 0008+52, and Abell 1612 — but astronomers often name the relics after distinctive shape that they form.

CIZA J2242+53, for example, is called the “Sausage” and located more than 2 billion light-years from Earth. An older image of the relic shows it in radio waves (green) with the galaxy cluster smash-up that made it in X-rays (red). The background is a visible-light image:

sausage cluster astrophysical journal m james jee et al

The researchers’ new radio-wave photos of the “Sausage” and other relics look more esoteric, but they’re perhaps the most detailed images ever taken of such objects.

The images revealed that the three relics are highly organized, and that the motion of their particles is generating immense magnetic fields— much like a coil of wire in a motor.

Here’s one of the new images of the “Sausage” relic — the photo shows the intensity of its radio wave emission (red is greater, blue is weaker):

giant magnetic fields deep space astronomy astrophysics maja kierdorf et al

“We discovered the so far largest ordered magnetic fields in the universe, extending over 5-6 million light-years,” Maja Kierdorf, an astronomer at the Max-Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and leader of the new study, said in the release.

However, the release adds that “such magnetic fields may be even larger than the clusters themselves.”

Such fields are dozens of times wider than the Milky Way, and about half as powerful as the one generated by our galaxy’s motion through space — pretty impressive for a diffuse cloud of gas.

The researchers think such fields are caused by rotation of particle clouds left behind by collisions. The shape and strength of the relics also suggest that galaxy clusters can smash together at speeds of more than 2,000 kilometers per second (4.47 million miles per hour).

Now that the astronomers have shown that radio waves can reveal giant magnetic fields in space, they plan to hunt for more.

SEE ALSO: A ‘red nova’ star collision might occur within 5 years

DON’T MISS: Astronomers just discovered one of the most massive objects in the universe hiding behind the Milky Way

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NOW WATCH: Something amazing happens when you drip water and alcohol onto oil

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Vice announces its first slate of short, scripted videos

Shane Smith Vice Media is moving into scripted video programming, thanks to a partnership with digital media studio Blackpills. Read More

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Apple just bought the app it once crowned 'most innovative' and made it free for everyone (AAPL)

workflow

If you can’t beat it, buy it. That’s what Apple did on Wednesday when it acquired an app called Workflow, an automation app that it had labeled “most innovative” in 2015. 

Apple confirmed the acquisition to Business Insider on Wednesday but did not disclose the price or any other terms of the deal.

Workflow takes a complicated series of tasks, that would normally require opening multiple apps, and lets users press one button to get the job done. For example, if you want to let someone know you’re running late, you can use the “running late” workflow to automatically find your next calendar event, get the travel time, create a text and fire off a message. 

 

It’s so powerful that at the time, Business Insider’s Alex Heath called it the “Swiss Army knife for completing tasks” and said it could potentially replace entire apps on your home screen.

Workflow first caught the eye of Apple first in 2015, and now the company confirmed it acquired it on Wednesday. In a rare move, the company is keeping the app alive in the App Store and setting its price to free. It previously cost $2.99.

As part of the deal, Workflow’s creators — developers Ari Weinstein, Conrad Kramer, and Nick Frey — will be joining Apple, according to TechCrunch, which first reported the deal.

“We are thrilled to be joining Apple,” said Weinstein in a statement to TechCrunch. “We’ve worked closely with Apple from the very beginning, from kickstarting our company as students attending WWDC to developing and launching Workflow and seeing its amazing success on the App Store. We can’t wait to take our work to the next level at Apple and contribute to products that touch people across the world.”

SEE ALSO: Airbnb is hoping to win in China where many companies like Uber have failed

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Revolut is raising another £4 million through crowdfunding — but this time it's going for Seedrs

Revolut Nikolay_CEO & Founder v2

LONDON — Fast-growing fintech startup Revolut has announced plans to raise £4 million through crowdfunding at some point later this year, using the announcement as an opportunity to promote its new “Premium” product.

Revolut announced on Thursday that it plans to raise the sum through the Seedrs crowdfunding platform at some point later this year. It follows a hugely oversubscribed £1 million crowdfund on rival platform Crowdcube last July.

The raise represents a coup for Seedrs, which has a fierce rivalry with Crowdcube. Together the two make up the vast majority of the UK crowdfunding market.

Revolut’s founder and CEO Nikolay Storonsky told Business Insider that he was not involved in the decision to switch between the two rival platforms but said he thought the decision was driven by a better offer from Seedrs. Commenting on last year’s Crowdcube raise, Storonsky said: “They were OK, I can’t complain.”

Thomas Davies, Chief Investment Officer at Seedrs, told BI in an email that the platform was getting more raises over £1 million and said: “We often hear that the reason these later stage businesses are increasingly using us as their platform of choice is because it’s just easier and quicker to raise the funds and execute the deal.

“We are the only platform that offers a full-service nominee, which means that we can take care of all of the administrative work so that the company doesn’t have to, whilst also ensuring that the crowd investors are represented by Seedrs and afforded the same investor protections as other investors in the deal.”

Fintech startup Revolut, founded just over two years ago, offers a pre-paid card linked to an app that lets people spend, send, and exchange 23 currencies at the best rate available, the so-called “interbank” rate. Customers can exchange up to £5,000-worth of currency at this level without incurring fees. The service has proved hugely popular, attracting over half a million customers across Europe in just 24 months.

‘We know that we will do a crowdfunding and we also want to promote premium’

The reason Revolut is announcing the crowdfunding now even though it’s not actually doing it is because it’s using the announcement as a chance to promote a new feature that it is launching, Revolut Premium.

Storonsky told BI: “We know that we will do a crowdfunding and we also want to promote premium. So that’s why we’re telling people we will do crowdfunding for sure but to guarantee yourself a spot you need to get premium.”

Premium is a subscription service that allows people to make unlimited money transfers through the app for a fixed monthly price of £6.99 a month. Subscribers will also get other benefits such as overseas medical insurance and special customer service.

Storonsky, a former currency trader with Credit Suisse, said: “From my side, the reason I would use it is purely because of FX. I can effectively buy and sell currency at any time at the interbank rate without paying any commissions. Nowhere in the world will give you this opportunity because they all charge commission, take a cut etc.”

Revolut cofounders Vlad Yatsenko, left, and Nikolay StoronskyThe first 5,000 Premium subscribers will get guaranteed access to Revolut’s upcoming crowdfunding, meaning the startup is in effect asking customers to pay for the privilege of investing. Over 10,000 people expressed interest in investing in Revolut last year.

Storonsky said: “Last time we did a crowdfunding, we had 10,000 people and only 400 ended up investing. Now we’re saying you want to reserve your spot for the next crowdfunding, which will happen I don’t know when, probably in summer or something.”

Revolut Premium is pitched at heavy users of the app’s currency interchange feature. Storonsky estimated that around 18% of the company’s 550,000 users would benefit from subscribing, rather than incurring the current fees of 0.5% for any monthly transfer volumes above £5,000.

He said: “Some of them are doing quite big volumes, €1 million and above. We also see people who are actively trading and this product is very beneficial for them because you can effectively buy and sell currencies at any volume, all at interbank rate.”

Who is moving over €1 million a month through the app? Storonsky says: “For example, they would sell a house. This kind of thing. Sometimes they sell stocks as well. Sometimes they sell their savings in dollars because they don’t believe in the pound, they want to exchange dollars back to another currency.”

The Premium feature is one of a number of new products and features recently launched by the startup as it “seeks to hit aggressive growth and monetisation targets,” according to a press release.

In January, Revolut launched current account features within the app that allow people to get their salaries on the card and set up standing orders. Earlier this month, Revolut also partnered with property investment platform Bricklane to offer an ISA product and last week the startup announced in-app peer-to-peer loans in partnership with platform Lending Works. A business product is set to be launched shortly.

‘We get constantly inbound requests from VCs’

The £4 million round, which Storonsky said would likely come in the summer, will be alongside a Series B funding round, which Storonsky said could reach as high as £50 million.

App & Revolut CardThe startup has raised already over £10 million to date from investors including Silicon Valley’s Ribbit Capital and well-known UK fund Balderton Capital. City figures such as former JPMorgan star dealmaker Ian Hannam and ex-Merrill Lynch rainmaker Matthew Greenburgh have also backed the startup.

Storonsky told BI: “We get constantly inbound requests from VCs, but because we are not fundraising at the moment we are not really concentrating on them.”

When Revolut does raise money later this year, Storonsky says it will go towards international expansion. He told BI: “Now we’re building a team of international enablers, people who will set up processes in the US, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and hire teams there, approach banks, schemes, regulators to get set up there and issue products outside of Europe.”

Revolut previously operated globally but was forced to limited operations to Europe after one of its partners said it didn’t hold the licenses to operate that broadly. The hiccup led Revolut to briefly suspend issuing new cards and pursue its own licence from MasterCard to issue cards directly.

The MasterCard licensing process has been delayed, but Storonsky told BI he is flying to New York this week and hopes to have an answer shortly.

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NOW WATCH: A penthouse owned by Trump’s trust is on the market for $35 million — here’s a look inside

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A startup selling 'bloody' plant-based burgers has a new factory that can make 4 million burgers a month

impossible foods burger 0403

Impossible Foods, a tech company on a mission to reinvent our definition of meat, is launching its first large-scale production facility to help bring its plant-based “bloody” burgers to the masses.

Based in Oakland, California, the factory will produce at least one million pounds of meatless meat per month — or four million burgers — once the site is up and running later in 2017.

At an event to unveil the factory, CEO and founder Pat Brown called it “the birthplace of a whole new industry.”

Impossible Foods, which has raised $182 million in venture capital from the likes of Bill Gates, Google Ventures, and Khosla Ventures, has been surrounded by buzz since its burger debuted at Chef David Chang’s restaurant Momofuku Nishi last summer. Foodies travel from far-away places to try the burger at the eight (mostly high-end) restaurants that serve it, while others track its whereabouts with the persevere nce of Apple fans scouring for iPhone 8 leaks.

The Oakland factory will increase Impossible Foods’ production capacity by 250 times, allowing the company to supply burgers to more than 1,000 restaurants in the future and introduce its flagship retail product within the next few years.

The facility offers the first evidence that Impossible Foods will not remain a boutique, Silicon Valley-esque obsession and may actually meet demand in a wider market.

impossible foods factory 2951

Impossible Foods was founded on the idea that there’s a better way to satisfy people who enjoy meat. The world’s population could reach nine billion people by 2050, and there aren’t enough resources on the planet to support sustainable animal agriculture at that scale. As it stands, animal agriculture takes up about a third of the world’s land, and is responsible for 15% of greenhouse gas emissions.

Brown, a molecular biologist, left his teaching job at Stanford University in 2009 to make a veggie burger that meat-lovers will actually want to eat. The Impossible Burger is made of wheat and potato protein, coconut oil, additives found in processed foods, and a not-so-secret ingredient called heme a molecule that carries oxygen through the bloodstream in animals and through energy-producing mechanisms in plants. It smells and even bleeds like real meat.

impossible foods burger 0410

Several Business Insider reporters, from the most ardent meat-eaters to vegetarians, have tried the Impossible Burger. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive. Kim Renfro, who stopped eating meat 10 years ago, said it “immediately transported [her] back to meaty memories.”

I tried the Impossible Burger for my second time at the factory’s opening. The patty has crispy, caramelized bits on the outside and a pink, juicy center. For me, this biggest giveaway that I was eating something other than beef was the slightly rubbery, mushroom-like texture.

As the company gains the ability to produce at scale, its new challenge may be convincing average Americans to make the switch from meat to an alternative. Most veggie burgers resemble hockey pucks more than beef, as Brown likes to say. Still, he’s optimistic.

“Being made from animals has never been part of the value proposition of meat. It’s just been inseparable from what consumers do value, which is deliciousness, nutritional profile, and so forth,” Brown tells Business Insider. “As soon as they experience [the burger], they can now disconnect things they value from the way it’s made.” In other words, eating is believing.

impossible foods factory 2963

The company will continue to roll out the burger in restaurants, where Brown says consumers can expect consistently great experiences trying the burger.

Starting this week, Californians can find the Impossible Burger in three new restaurants: KronnerBurger in Oakland, Public House in San Francisco, and Vina Enoteca in Palo Alto. The burger will appear on the menu at 11 restaurants nationwide by the end of the year.

The company fields a huge volume of requests from restaurants that want to serve the burger, according to Brown. Impossible Foods is deliberate in its selections.

“The chefs we work with aren’t just great chefs, they’re great meat-chefs. It’s a very effective way to communicate to consumers that if these people are willing to put their reputations on the line to serve this product, you can have confidence that you’re not going to have a crappy experience,” Brown says.

SEE ALSO: Inside the Bill Gates-backed startup on a mission to reinvent meat

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NOW WATCH: A top New York City chef shows how to make the perfect burger

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LastPass fixes serious password leak vulnerabilities

Developers of the popular LastPass password manager rushed to push out a fix to solve a serious vulnerability that could have allowed attackers to steal users’ passwords or execute malicious code on their computers.

The vulnerability was discovered by Google security researcher Tavis Ormandy and was reported to LastPass on Monday. It affected the browser extensions installed by the service’s users for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge.

According to a description in the Google Project Zero bug tracker, the vulnerability could have given attackers access to internal commands inside the LastPass extension. Those are the commands used by the extension to copy passwords or fill in web forms using information stored in the user’s secure vault.

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It wasn’t the money: Wozniak on robots, design, and Apple’s origins

More than 40 years after founding Apple Computer, Steve Wozniak has a lot to say about the early days of the world’s richest company — and about technology, learning, and being a born engineer. On stage at the IEEE TechIgnite conference in Burlingame, California, on Wednesday, he gave a glimpse into how a tech legend thinks.On open source In the early Seventies, Wozniak read about phone phreaking, in which “phreakers” made free phone calls by using electronics to mimic the tones used for dialing each number. To learn how to do it, he went to the only place he knew that had books and magazines about computers: The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. He went on a Sunday and walked right in. “The smartest people in the world don’t lock doors,” Wozniak said.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
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LinkedIn add news curation with ‘trending storylines’

LinkedIn is taking a more forceful approach to news curation. The company today is releasing a “trending storylines” feed that lives alongside your personally curated feeds to showcase news articles and related posts personalized based on your interests and profession.The experience is like the trending topics Facebook surfaces for its users. The trending storylines are determined by a mix of algorithms and human curation from LinkedIn’s editorial team. When you are in the trending storylines tab, you can also follow new people and topics to improve your primary feed. LinkedIn LinkedIn’s new trending storylines feed is personalized by algorithms as well as editorial curation. (Click for larger image.)To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
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LinkedIn add news curation with ‘trending storylines’

LinkedIn is taking a more forceful approach to news curation. The company today is releasing a “trending storylines” feed that lives alongside your personally curated feeds to showcase news articles and related posts personalized based on your interests and profession.The experience is like the trending topics Facebook surfaces for its users. The trending storylines are determined by a mix of algorithms and human curation from LinkedIn’s editorial team. When you are in the trending storylines tab, you can also follow new people and topics to improve your primary feed. LinkedIn LinkedIn’s new trending storylines feed is personalized by algorithms as well as editorial curation. (Click for larger image.)To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
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