Top Story: Scientists Find Signs of Water on Mars
On Monday, NASA revealed that water has been detected on the surface of Mars. In a paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience, scientists identified waterlogged molecules — salts known as perchlorates — on the surface in readings from orbit. These perchlorate salts lower the freezing temperature, and the water remains liquid. The average temperature of Mars is about minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but summer days near the Equator can reach almost 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
“This is tremendously exciting,” James L. Green, the director of NASA’s planetary science division, said during a news conference on Monday. “We haven’t been able to answer the question, ‘Does life exist beyond Earth?’ But following the water is a critical element of that. We now have, I think, great opportunities in the right locations on Mars to thoroughly investigate that.”
NASA has named the streaks recurring slope lineae, or R.S.L.s, and now many thousands of them have been spotted. However, even though the recurring slope lineae appears to be some of the most intriguing features on Mars, NASA has no plans to get a close-up look anytime soon. These regions are considered special and NASA’s current robotic explorers are barred from going to because the rovers were not thoroughly sterilized and NASA worries that they might carry microbial hitchhikers from Earth resulting in the contamination of Mars.
In an interview after the news conference, Dr. Green of NASA said that if the streaks in Gale Crater turned out to be recurring slope lineae, the space agency would consider how great a contamination threat Curiosity, irradiated by ultraviolet light for several years, might pose to a potential Martian habitat.
Under the Radar: New Credit Card Chip Rule
Banks and credit card companies have been sending consumers new cards which look like their old cards but are now fitted with a small metallic high-tech chip known as EMV, this stands for Europay, MasterCard, Visa – the three companies that created the standard. The main goal of this chip is to prevent thieves from easily accessing consumers’ personal information. Starting yesterday, retailers and small businesses who have not yet upgraded their credit card networks will be liable for any Visa, Discover or MasterCard credit card transaction that is fraudulent if the card is EMV-equipped. If fraud occurs when a magnetic stripe card is swiped at a chip-enabled terminal, the bank is still responsible for the fraud. American Express will transfer liability to business owners on October 16.
— ABC News (@ABC) October 1, 2015
Here are the four facts that consumers and business owners should know about the shift:
- Consumers can still use magnetic stripe cards if they have them.
- This shift has been done before. The U.K. switched to the EMV standard and since 2005 counterfeit fraud has decreased by 63%, as noted in Nerdwallet’s Consumer Credit Card Report, but that was after peaking in 2008, three years after the roll-out.
- Threats from shopping online are still there. EMV chips can prevent a thief from making a copy of your credit card but it will not stop them from stealing your online payment credentials.
- The burden of liability is shifting.
The EMV liability shift means that any business that has not upgraded to EMV payment terminals today will be liable for fraud that occurs on an EMV ready credit card. Gas stations have until 2017 to replace readers at pumps.
Tool of the Week: Chromecast Audio
Chromecast Audio will connect your existing speakers for the price of $35. Working with Android, iOS, OSX, Windows, and Chromebooks, audio will support a standard 3.5mm auxiliary input, RCA jacks and an optical input. This will mirror the audio of most Android devices, so it is not just for music. The same goes for ‘any’ music streaming site’s output from your computer. Chromecast Audio will support Spotify, Google Play Music, Deezer and the BBC iPlayer. This system will also support multi-room audio.
The setup for Chromecast Audio:
- Download the app
- Plug the device into your speaker and a power source
- Connect your device and Chromecast to the same WiFi network
Around the Hub: Harpoon Brewery Octoberfest
Today and tomorrow is the 26th annual Harpoon Brewery Octoberfest in Boston. The cover charge is $20, including a souvenir pint cup and one beer ticket. Tickets are sold at the door and the entire festival is cash only. The hours for the festival are 5:30pm – 11:00pm tonight with the doors closing at 9:00pm and will be open Saturday 1:00pm – 7:00pm with the doors closing at 5:30pm.
— Harpoon Brewery (@harpoonbrewery) October 1, 2015