Blackhole with a mass of 142 times bigger than the Sun is discovered as India bans more than 100 Chinese apps

Image: Mark Myers, ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav)

The first Intermediate sized Blackhole discovered which is believed to have formed 7 billion years ago. India bans 118 Chinese apps over security concerns. Samsung and Microsoft release folding smartphones. A new type of boat, floating above the water, debuted in Switzerland. Scientists say 550 species will go extinct this century due to humans. Here are this week’s top stories.

1. The first Intermediate sized Blackhole discovered which is believed to have formed 7 billion years ago.

Credit: Carol & Mike Werner/Visuals Unlimited, INC./Science Photo Library

This week, astronomers have detected the biggest merging of two black holes yet in the history of the universe. The two black holes combined and created an intermediate-mass black hole. One of the black holes is estimated to have a mass 66 times bigger than the sun and the other one 85 times bigger than the sun. The black holes combined and created a black hole with a mass 142 times bigger than the sun. It also released a huge “bang” of leftover energy, equivalent to about eight solar masses, in the form of gravitational waves able to be detected on Earth. Scientists believe the event happened 7 billion years ago, 3 billion years before the earth existed, making it most distant gravitational wave sources ever detected. Until now, scientists have only identified small black holes which are 5 to 100 times the mass of our sun, or very large black holes that are in the center of our galaxy that are millions and billions of times our Sun’s mass. Scientists believed that there was an intermediate class of black holes that have a mass between 100 to 1000 times bigger than our sun, but there has been no proof until now. This discovery could help explain a lot of mysteries in the universe.

2. India bans more than 100 apps from China over security concerns

Photo by SCREEN POST on Unsplash

India has banned another 118 Chinese apps, as tensions between India and China rise. The apps were banned over security concerns as the Chinese government has access to all the data associated with the apps. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) was by far the most popular app banned with over 175 million downloads in India. WeChat Work and Alibaba’s Alipay payment app were among the few that were also banned. In a press release, the Indian government said the applications are engaged in activities “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order.” There have been concerns about data security and safeguarding the privacy of 1.3 billion Indians, which lead to this decision. The Indian government had previously banned 59 popular Chinese apps including Tik Tok and WeChat over security concerns. It puts enormous economic pressure on China as these apps were heavily reliant on the Indian market for valuations. It could also lead to more countries following India’s footsteps and acting against these apps. The US is also threatening to ban some of the Chinese apps like Tik Tok and WeChat.

3. Samsung and Microsoft compete for the new folding phone market

Source: Samsung, Microsoft, PCmag

Both Samsung and Microsoft have created a top-level smartphone, that also transforms into a tablet by unfolding the device. These companies are trying to revolutionize the smartphone and turn it into a new form factor. The Samsung Z Fold 2 has 1 screen in the front and 2 screens inside that turn into a tablet. It has a 180-degree hinge with top of the line specs. It has two selfie cameras, one in the front display and one in the tablet display, and the camera setup from the new Note 20. Everything in this phone is flagship level and it starts at $2,000. This is Samsung’s third folding smartphone so they have learned and improved from their past experiences. Microsoft also released its first folding device, Surface Duo. The Surface Duo has two screens unlike the Samsung device, but it has a 360-degree hinge which allows it to become a smartphone display. It has last year's chip and the specs are lower than Samsung’s powerhouse. It only has one mediocre camera that is used as the selfie camera and the main camera. The hardware is exceptional but the display has big bezels and it also has a tiny battery. The Surface Duo is the first-gen experiment by Microsoft, and it is also expected to improve in the next releases. The Surface Duo starts at $1,400.

4. A new type of boat, floating above the water, debuted in Switzerland

Source: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann

The world’s first electric-powered hydrofoil speedboat was showed off in one of Switzerland’s lakes. A hydrofoil is a lifting surface, or foil, that operates in water. As a hydrofoil craft gains speed, the hydrofoils lift the boat’s hull out of the water, decreasing drag and allowing greater speeds. The boat uses less energy, makes less noise, and reduces seasickness by ‘floating’ above the water. The boat can hit speeds of 55 km per hour when it's above the water. This also reduces water friction and cuts energy consumption by 80% giving it a range of 56 miles or 90 km. The boat is made from carbon fiber which helps reduce the weight of the boat. The boat also has a computer onboard to reduce seasickness by adjusting the positions 100 times every second. Electric boats usually have to sacrifice speed or range but this boat solves that problem. As of now, 16 boats have been delivered since last year at a price of 250,000 euros or $296,000.

5. Scientists say 550 species will go extinct this century

Photo by Rajiv Bajaj on Unsplash

Scientists and researchers have calculated the number of mammals that will go extinct this century, based on fossil evidence of past extinctions. They predict 550 species will be lost this century if we don't act. New research in the journal Science Advances suggests that humans were entirely responsible for all species that went extinct in the past couple of decades. The main reasons being the degradation of habitat, hunting, fishing, climate change, and population. The only way to stop this alarming scenario is to step up our conservation efforts. We must increase our awareness of the biodiversity crisis. Computer simulations predict large increases in extinction rates by the year 2100. Extinctions will become more common in the next decades and will grow at steady rates according to these simulations. Over one million species are threatened with extinction, according to an intergovernmental panel of scientists. They are also warning us that we are entering the sixth mass extinction.

Above were my top stories for the week ending September 5, 2020, hope you liked it. Please leave your feedback or point of view in the form of a comment.

Thanks, see you next week!

Curious High Schooler, who loves to share new and exciting stories. Email: lakshya5jain@gmail.com