SciTech Briefs

Verizon plans faster wireless

Verizon Wireless won rights to airwaves in a government auction and plans to use them to create high-speed wireless services which are expected to start in 2010. The new 700 megahertz spectrum was worth $9.36 billion. These airwaves are considered important as they can travel large distances and move through thick walls.

Verizon claims that this additional spectrum will allow the number-two national cellphone service to have a better and faster network.

Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam said that the spectrum will be used to create a network based on a new technology called “Long Term Evolution.” McAdam expects this new network to increase the company’s revenue by adding stronger and better connections to the present network.

Source: Reuters

Bats feeding on insects help plants

Recent studies published in Science magazine show that insect-eating bats in tropical areas significantly reduce the amount of insects feeding on plants. The bats are thus extremely useful for farmers in such regions.

Two separate studies were conducted at a coffee plantation in Mexico and in a natural forest in Panama to test the effects of bats’ insect consumption as opposed to that of birds. The results showed that bats contribute in reducing the number of insects crawling on plants.

Insect consumption by bats increases to a large extent in wet summers, when bats reproduce most. In the dry winter seasons, the consumption of insects is mostly due to birds.

Source: The New York Times

Cargo ship reaches space station

The new European cargo ship, called Jules Verne, docked at the International Space Station last week.

The unmanned cargo ship was controlled by flight controllers at a European Space Agency center in Toulouse, France.

Jules Verne was launched on March 9 from French Guiana. The main purpose of its trip was to supply the space station with necessary fuel, water, oxygen, and other supplies.

Source: CNN

Bill Gates projects Windows 7

Bill Gates announced that the next version of the Windows operating system, Windows 7, will be released next year.

Latest versions of Windows will be highly futuristic in terms of their design and function, Gates said in a seminar on corporate philanthropy held during an annual meeting in Miami of the Inter-American Development Bank.

Microsoft had previously stated that it expected to release the new version three years after Vista’s 2007 release. However, as the company releases test versions of the software earlier than its official launch, Gates’ comments are in line with Microsoft’s claim.

Source: MSNBC