Fully Charged: Instagram hits 200 million users, Apple sells half-billion iPhones, scientists creates mini-Mars simulation

Have a nice cuppa and relax with this evening's tech news


Hundreds of millions of selfies!

Well, thanks to selfies and possibly many, many cat photos, Instagram is now 200 million users strong, the service says on its blog. Even more impressive is that 50 million of them joined up in the last six months.

How many photos have been shared of late? Instagram claims at least 20 billion Instagram photos, filtered and unfiltered have been uploaded on the site.

Now, the big question is: how will Instagram find a way to monetise this?

[Source: Instagram]

More after the break...

Halfway to a billion iPhones!

In 2007, Apple said 'surprise!' And the iPhone was born, with the rest of us looking on quizzically. Who knew that years later, by the end of 2013, Apple would have sold 487 million iPhones.

Analysts have estimated that from then until now, another 38 million iPhones have been sold (at least). So likely earlier this month, Apple quietly passed this new milestone of half a billion iPhones or 500 million iPhones.

Puzzling that Apple has as yet to crow about the success as it is quick to celebrate similar sale achievements like oh, a billion apps on the App Store. But perhaps there'll be an aside during the next refresh of the iPhone.

[Source: Forbes]

Hello, mini-Red Planet

Apparently the dust on Mars is so fine and loaded with tiny silicates that could potentially affect machinery not made to withstand all that super-fine Martian dust.

That is why scientists over in Spain have created a simulator of the Mars planet's environment that recreates the conditions on the planet, including pressure, temperature, atmosphere, radiation levels and, oh, the pesky dust.

It is not a very big simulator - it sits on an a platform that is eight-inches square and made primarily of copper. But the 'MARTE Machine' as it is called manages to simulate an atmosphere that has temperatures as low as -129  degrees celsius to 149 degrees celsiusy, with less than 100 times the atmospheric pressure of earth. Then there's the gaseous mix - 95 per cent carbon dioxide, definitely not the kind we can breathe in without help. That is why, kids, science is cool.

[Source: CNet]

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