Washington, Mar 8 (AP/UNB) — For decades, there were tales from fishermen and tourists, even lots of photos, of a mysterious killer whale that just didn't look like all the others, but scientists had never seen one.
Now they have.
An international team of researchers says they found a couple dozen of these distinctly different orcas roaming in the oceans off southern Chile in January. Scientists are waiting for DNA tests from a tissue sample but think it may be a distinct species.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration felt confident enough to trumpet the discovery of the long rumored killer whale on Thursday. Some outside experts were more cautious, acknowledging the whales are different, but saying they'd wait for the test results to answer the species question.
"This is the most different looking killer whale I've ever seen," said Robert Pitman, a NOAA marine ecologist in San Diego. He was part of the team that spotted the orcas off Cape Horn at the tip of South America.
How different? The whale's signature large white eye patch is tiny on these new guys, barely noticeable. Their heads are a bit more rounded and less sleek than normal killer whales and their dorsal fins are narrower and pointed.
They likely mostly eat fish, not marine mammals like seals, as other killer whales do, Pitman said. Fishermen have complained about how good they are at poaching off fishing lines, snatching 200-pound fish away.
Pitman said they are so different they probably can't breed with other killer whales and are likely a new species. At 20 to 25 feet long (6 to 7.5 meters), they are slightly smaller than most killer whales. In the Southern Hemisphere, killer whales are considered all one species, classified in types A through C. This one is called type D or subantarctic killer whales.
Michael McGowen, marine mammal curator at the Smithsonian, said calling it a new species without genetic data may be premature. Still, he said, "I think it's pretty remarkable that there are still many things out there in the ocean like a huge killer whale that we don't know about."
Scientists have heard about these distinctive whales ever since a mass stranding in New Zealand in 1955. Scientists initially thought it could be one family of killer whales that had a specific mutation, but the January discovery and all the photos in between point to a different type, Pitman said.
He said they are hard to find because they live far south and away from shore, unlike most killer whales.
"The type D killer whale lives in the most inhospitable waters on the planet. It's a good place to hide."
Pitman got interested in this mysterious killer whale when he was shown a photograph in 2005. When he and others decided to go find them, they followed the advice and directions of South American fishermen, who had seen the whales poaching their fish.
After weeks of waiting, about 25 of the whales came up to the scientist's boat, looking like they expected to be fed. Equipment problems prevented the scientists from recording enough of the whale songs, but they used a crossbow to get a tissue sample. Pitman said the whales are so big and their skin so tough that it didn't hurt them, saying the arrow "is like a soda straw bouncing off a truck tire."
Pitman said he'll never forget Jan. 21 when he finally saw his first and then a bunch of the type D orcas.
"For 14 years I was looking for these guys. I finally got to see them," Pitman said.
He acknowledged that he did sound like the revenge-seeking captain in the classic novel "Moby-Dick."
"I guess I know how Ahab felt, but for a good reason," Pitman said.
San Francisco, Mar 8(AP/UNB) — To President Donald Trump, it was an awkward slip of the lip. To Apple CEO Tim Cook, it was an opportunity to poke some sly fun at a president who has often clashed with the tech industry.
A day after Trump mistakenly referred to Cook at a White House meeting as "Tim Apple" — an understandable slip, perhaps, coming from the owner of the Trump Organization — Cook quietly altered his Twitter profile , replacing his last name with the Apple logo.
Cook didn't publicly acknowledge the change, but it didn't take long for Apple fans to notice and spread the word.
Non-Apple fans, though, may not get the joke. Cook's Apple-logo icon is only visible on iPhones and Mac computers. On Windows, it's a blank square; on Android, it renders variously as an X-ed out or blank gray rectangle. ("Tim Square" was probably not the connotation the Apple CEO was going for.)
That's not wholly surprising for Apple, which famously prefers its own devices and software over others. Apple didn't respond to a query about the logo misstep (if indeed it was a misstep).
The White House, meanwhile, appears to be engaged in some damage control. In the official transcript of the meeting , the words "Tim" and "Apple" are separated by a dash as if Trump had paused, possibly to thank both the executive and the company.
Dhaka, Mar 7 (UNB) – Robi’s high value customers will be able to enjoy up to 15 percent special discounts from Ezzyr Technologies Limited while availing nationwide long route service in transport, helicopter, regular ambulance, air ambulance etc.
Robi’s Dhonnobad Platinum ACE & Platinum users will be able to enjoy 15 percent discount and Diamond, Gold & Bronze users will be able to enjoy 10 percent discount from Ezzyr Technologies Ltd. The unique offer comes as part of Robi’s Dhonnobad program.
In this regard, Robi’s Vice President, Customer Lifecycle Management & International Business, Biplav Majumder and Ezzyr Technologies Ltd.’s Managing Director, Mohammad Mehedi Hasan signed an agreement on behalf of their respective organisations recently at Robi corporate office.
Robi’s General Manager, Loyalty & Winback, Tawfique Imam, Manager, Loyalty & Winback, Shahadat Mazumder & Ahmed Chowdhury and Ezzyr Technologies Ltd.’s General Manager, Md Shamsul Alam (Shams), Deputy General Manager, SM Ahbabur Rahman were also present on the occasion.
Ezzyr is a transport communication & booking service provider which connects drivers and passengers through mobile application, allowing them to experience a fast, convenient and safe ride sharing service.
San Francisco, Mar 7 (AP/UNB) — Facebook, which grew into a colossus by vacuuming up your information in every possible way and using it to target ads back at you, now says its future lies in privacy-oriented messaging that Facebook itself can't read.
Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO, announced the shift in a Wednesday blog post apparently intended to blunt both criticism of the company's data handling and potential antitrust action. Going forward, he said, Facebook will emphasize giving people ways to communicate in truly private fashion, with their intimate thoughts and pictures shielded by encryption in ways that Facebook itself can't read.
But Zuckerberg didn't suggest any changes to Facebook's core newsfeed-and-groups-based service, or to Instagram's social network, currently the fastest growing part of the company. Facebook pulls in gargantuan profits by selling ads targeted using the information it amasses on its users and others they know.
"All indications are that Facebook and Instagram will continue growing and be increasingly important," Zuckerberg said in an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press.
Critics aren't convinced Zuckerberg is committed to meaningful change.
"This does nothing to address the ad targeting and information collection about individuals," said Jen King, director of consumer privacy at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society. "It's great for your relationship with other people. It doesn't do anything for your relationship with Facebook itself."
Facebook's new orientation follows a rocky two-year battering over revelations about its leaky privacy controls. That included the sharing of personal information from as many as 87 million users with a political data-mining firm that worked for the 2016 Trump campaign.
Since the 2016 election, Facebook has also taken flak for the way Russian agents used its service to target U.S. voters with divisive messages and being a conduit for political misinformation. Zuckerberg faced two days of congressional interrogation over these and other subjects last April; he acknowledged and apologized for Facebook's privacy breakdowns in the past.
Since then, Facebook has suffered other privacy lapses that have amplified the calls for regulations that would hold companies more accountable when they improperly expose their users' information.
As part of his effort to make amends, Zuckerberg plans to stitch together its Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram messaging services so users will be able to contact each other across all of the apps.
The multiyear plan calls for all of these apps to be encrypted so no one but senders and recipients can see the contents of messages. WhatsApp already has that security feature, but Facebook's other messaging apps don't.
Zuckerberg likened it to being able to be in a living room behind a closed front door, and not having to worry about anyone eavesdropping. Meanwhile, Facebook and the Instagram photo app would still operate more like a town square where people can openly share whatever they want.
While Zuckerberg positions the messaging integration as a privacy move, Facebook also sees commercial opportunity in the shift. "If you think about your life, you probably spend more time communicating privately than publicly," he told the AP. "The overall opportunity here is a lot larger than what we have built in terms of Facebook and Instagram."
Critics have raised another possible motive — the threat of antitrust crackdowns. Integration could make it much more difficult, if not impossible, to later separate out and spin off Instagram and WhatsApp as separate companies.
"I see that as the goal of this entire thing," said Blake Reid, a University of Colorado law professor who specializes in technology and policy. He said Facebook could tell antitrust authorities that WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger are tied so tightly together that it couldn't unwind them.
Combining the three services also lets Facebook build more complete data profiles on all of its users. Already, businesses can already target Facebook and Instagram users with the same ad campaign, and ads are likely coming to WhatsApp eventually.
And users are more likely to stay within Facebook's properties if they can easily message their friends across different services, rather than having to switch between Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. That could help Facebook compete with messaging services from Apple, Google and others.
As part of the process, Zuckerberg said Facebook will meet with privacy experts, law enforcement officials concerned about the new encryption making it impossible to uncover illegal activity being discussed on the messaging service and government officials.
Creating more ways for Facebook's more than 2 billion users to keep things private could undermine the company's business model, which depends on the ability to learn about the things people like and then sell ads tied to those interests.
In his interview with the AP, Zuckerberg said he isn't currently worried about denting Facebook's profits with the increased emphasis on privacy.
"How this affects the business down the line, we'll see," Zuckerberg said. "But if we do a good job in serving the need that people have, then there will certainly be an opportunity" to make even more money.
Redmond, Mar 7(AP/UNB) — Microsoft has detected cyberattacks linked to Iranian hackers that targeted thousands of people at more than 200 companies over the past two years.
That's according to a Wall Street Journal report Wednesday that the hacking campaign stole corporate secrets and wiped data from computers.
Microsoft told the Journal the cyberattacks affected oil-and-gas companies and makers of heavy machinery in several countries, including Saudi Arabia, Germany, the United Kingdom, India and the U.S., and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.
Microsoft attributed the attacks to a group it calls Holmium, and which other security researchers call APT33. Microsoft says it detected Holmium targeting more than 2,200 people with phishing emails that can install malicious code.
A call seeking comment from Iran's mission to the UN wasn't immediately returned Wednesday.