Trending December 2023 # You Told Us: Here’S How Likely You Are To Switch From Your Current Brand # Suggested January 2024 # Top 20 Popular

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Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

We buy phones from specific brands for a number of reasons. Some people buy a manufacturer’s phone because they’re loyal to the brand, while some buy a brand’s phone because it fulfilled all their needs on paper. Then there are some people who may have only bought a specific manufacturer’s device because they had no other great choices.

Either way,  we wanted to know what our readers thought about switching from their current phone brand. So we asked how likely they are to switch, and here are the results of that poll.

How likely are you to switch from your current phone brand?


We got a great response to this poll, as just over 2,900 votes were counted. The most popular pick? Well, 19.69% of respondents said it was “very unlikely” that they would switch from their current phone brand. This suggests that these readers would only switch if the current brand greatly disappoints in the future or a rival manufacturer offers something excellent.

The fight for second place was incredibly close, as 17.6% of polled readers chose “I’m staying for sure” versus 17.5% saying “I’m definitely switching.” It’s interesting to see these two diametrically opposed camps achieving almost the same percentage.


moabman: Jumped from LG to Pixel. Would have liked to remain with Pixel but the 6 Pro just had too many problems; primarily with the modem; so tried Samsung. And now after over a month, not sure I would ever leave. Phone has been basically perfect once I learned all the ins and outs. Well worth the 100 more (special offer and military discount). Besides I like that S-pen. No need to jump.

robrrt: I’ve been a loyal Samsung fan since before smartphones, but after my latest trade-in experience, that is likely coming to an end. My new marketing phrase for them is: “Samsung – we’re #1 because you’re just a number”

Brian Fowler: With a one year exception with the Nexus 6, I’ve been using LG phones since 2012, so whenever I do upgrade from my V60, I’ll have to pick a new brand. Not looking forward to it.

veesonic: Didn’t like any of the new Samsung options. I hate the lack of headphone jack, SD card, hole punch, and expensive prices. Switched to a Sony Xperia 1 III. It was still way more than I wanted to spend but at least it felt more worth it.

Pritesh Patel: I switched to Pixel 6 from S10 but there are some bugs that wont get fixed so most likely will switch back to Samsung.

My Galaxy Prime: I’ve been using a Samsung since the S3. I now have Samsung watches, earbuds, tablets, and TV’s. I’m looking forward to the Fold 4 and plan to trade in my Fold 3 to get it. Unless Samsung does something absolutely unforgivable, I’m not switching.

Albin : Ticked “not sure”. All my phones have been different brands. My very good current Moto Z3 Play is Moto Mod compatible, and if the series had continued beyond Z4 I would have committed to it, mainly for the excellent snap-on Mophie battery pack that doubles capacity from 3000mAh to 6000mAh – might have invested in some other Mods as well. Probably a couple or three more years from it but will be back to shopping Boxing Week sales with an open, but not an empty, mind.

Beardednomad: I have favorite brands but I am not brand loyal. If a phone is good enough and interests me I’ll get it.

David Josefsen: Well my Mi 10T Pro 5G is holding up really well so far, especially for mobile gaming! The only other brand here I can realisticly use is Scamsung ,but they curse us Norwegians with Exynos. So I’d rather buy another top model Xiaomi phone again soon!

Leif Shantz: I’ve swapped between brands over the years….. I’ve had 2 Samsung, 2 LG, 1 ZTE, 1 Motorola, 1 Pixel, 2 BLU 1 iPhone over the past decade….. My current phone is a Samsung Galaxy A53 5G (Upgraded from Pixel 3a) and I think it would be between Pixel and Samsung for my next phone just because of update commitments.

Nnaemeka Nwokocha: Using an HUAWEI device while not living in China is just not that practical. Yes, I have access to the Play Store because it’s an old device, but the update commitment was severely cut after the trade wars. So if I can afford one, a Samsung is definitely on my radar for their update comitments

Ben: I don’t think I’ve ever had a “mainstream” phone. From HTCEVO 3D, to Blackberry Priv, Essential PH-1, Essential PH-1 again (they don’t like swimming), LG G8X, and currently on the ASUS Zenfone 7 Pro. I have zero brand loyalty. I’m very instead to see the Nothing Phone

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8 Myths You’ve Been Told About Hemorrhoids

But, hemorrhoids are not as complicated as you imagine them to be. It is because of some myths associated with this health condition. So, let’s check out the top eight myths related to hemorrhoids and the truth behind them −

Surgery is a Must to cure Hemorrhoids

One of the most common myths associated with hemorrhoids is that it’s only curable with surgery, which is not true at all. Different medications can successfully cure this issue. Not everyone requires surgery, and it is the last resort. It can be cured with topical steroid creams or dietary changes.

Spicy Food is the Reason Behind Hemorrhoids

You may have often heard that the spicy food that you eat often is the reason behind your hemorrhoids. A 2014 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine also busted that myth. As per the research, people with hemorrhoids did not suffer from worsened conditions after consuming hot chili peppers. Hence, the spice is not the culprit here.

If you have fiber in your food or consume food without fiber content, you will have an increased chance of getting hemorrhoids. It happens because the fiber content in foods helps to ease bowel movement. If you do not consume enough fiber, your bowel movement will strain your anal region, resulting in inflamed veins. Hence, avoid eating foods like chips, fast food, ice cream, frozen snacks, microwavable foods, and processed foods on a regular basis.

Only Older People Suffer From Hemorrhoids

The myth related to age is totally incorrect. Even younger people in their forties can also get hemorrhoids. The veins in your anus region get inflamed because of constipation. You will get hemorrhoids if the anus gets strained from excessive pressure due to diarrhea or constipation or during pregnancy.

Most people get hemorrhoids during the age group of 45 to 65. Some people even get it during their late thirties as well. Older people generally have a higher risk of developing hemorrhoids because, with age, the muscle and supporting tissues of your anal and rectal region become weaker. But, that does not mean this is an age-related disease.

Changing Your diet Cannot cure Your Hemorrhoids

Many people will tell you that your hemorrhoid will not be cured even after you change your diet. But the truth is quite the opposite. Most doctors recommend changing the diet first for people suffering from hemorrhoids.

Veins in your anal and rectum are getting swollen due to constipation. If there is not enough fiber and water in your food, the bowel movement will strain your anal region, causing the veins to develop inflammation.

If you have hemorrhoids, changing your diet often helps faster recovery. You need to drink more water and consume fiber-rich food like fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. As per most doctors, adding 20 to 35 grams of dietary fiber to your daily diet can offer positive results. If you do not consume fiber through food, your doctors may recommend supplements containing dietary fiber to bridge the gap.

If you have hemorrhoids, do not exercise!

Many people will tell you to stop exercising if you have hemorrhoids. The myth is that exercising puts stains on your anal and rectum region, which is entirely false.

In reality, exercising helps to cut down the chances of constipation and also prevents weight gain. Overweight people often have higher chances of developing hemorrhoids as their extra weight strains their anal and return region.

Those who develop hemorrhoids even after exercising probably use poor exercising techniques, including irregular or wrong breath movement or poor posture.

Don’t Frequently sit or on cold Surfaces if you have Hemorrhoids

Seating on cold surfaces or even seating for a more extended period does not have a direct link to hemorrhoids. Doctors often recommend cold compress to get relief from hemorrhoids. The cold compress reduces swelling and inflammation in your anus region. If you have hemorrhoids, apply an ice compress to your anus region for ten to fifteen minutes.

But, you should not sit on the toilet seat for hours. Since you sit in a semi-squatting position in the toilet, the pressure in your rectum and anal region increases. Hence, you may get mild hemorrhoids if you sit in this position for a long time. Hence, make sure to avoid reading papers or checking your phone while you are inside the toilet.

Hemorrhoids Lead to Cancer

Scientists have not found any direct link between hemorrhoids and anal cancer. Often bleeding during bowel movements indicates cancer in your anal or colon regions. But that does not mean you will have cancer if you have hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoids and cancer are quite different. So you do not need to worry. But, if your family has a history of collateral cancer, you may need to be a little more cautious. Often hemorrhoid and digestive tract cancer tend to have similar symptoms.

It is Painful

Hemorrhoids are not painful in every case. There are two types of hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids happen when the veins above your anus get swollen. On the other hand, external hemorrhoids happen if the external veins develop inflammation.

People suffering from internal hemorrhoids will not feel pain. Instead, they will mostly suffer from bloody stool. On the contrary, external hemorrhoids cause pain and itching.


Hemorrhoids happen when the veins in your anal region develop inflammation due to excessive pressure on that region. It is durable and can be cured with proper medication and lifestyle changes. Most myths associated with hemorrhoids are not true, and you should always consult with the doctor instead of believing in myths.

Everything We Expect From Apple’s ‘Let Us Loop You In’ Event On Monday

As you know, Apple has scheduled a media event on its Cupertino campus on this coming Monday, March 21. Earlier this month, the company sent out its predictably cryptic invites with the “Let us loop you in” tagline to select members of the press.

It looks to be a pretty significant event.

On top of an all-new four-inch iPhone model, we’re expecting other announcements like a smaller 9.7-inch iPad Pro, new Apple Watch bands—including a black edition of the Milanese Loop—and a bunch of enhancements for Apple’s operating systems.

iPhone SE steals the show

Arguably the biggest star of the show, the iPhone SE shall represent Apple’s first major revision to the four-inch iPhone lineup since the iPhone 5s introduction two and a half years ago. The new phone, internally code-named “N69,” is expected to be marketed under ‘iPhone SE’ branding.

Conflicting reports have suggested that, as far as the exterior goes, the iPhone SE might look like a refined iPhone 5s with a 2.5D cover glass curved at the edges like the iPhone 6, or it will adopt Apple’s design language for the iPhone 6/6s series.

While the screen size will stay at four-inches and resolution should be intact versus the iPhone 5s, the rumor-mill and analysts agree on one thing: on the inside, the new phone will use Apple’s latest technologies as the iPhone SE is said to be powered by the A9 processor, Apple’s third-generation 64-bit mobile chip which debuted in the iPhone 6s.

It will also pack in Apple’s M9 motion coprocessor, embedded into the A9 application processor for even lower power consumption than before. The addition of that particular chip likely indicates the phone supports a tetherless ‘Hey Siri’ function.

Moreover, the iPhone SE should have a twelve-megapixel, slightly protruding camera on the back with support 4K video capture and Live Photos. Here’s a fun video of a surprisingly believable iPhone-like device.

The iPhone SE includes NFC for Apple Pay and supports LTE on both GSM and CDMA networks around the world. It’s expected to come in 16 and 64GB variations, each provided in the same Space Gray, Silver and Gold colorways like the current-generation iPhones —with the possibility of a brand new Pink/Rose Gold version.

The only thing missing from the iPhone SE in terms of recent technology is 3D Touch, which will remain an iPhone 6s-exclusive, at least until the iPhone 7 hits.

Smaller iPad Pro: just don’t call it iPad Air 3

First rumors pertaining to Apple’s iPad refresh pointed to a third-generation iPad Air with support for the Apple Pencil. Later on, various credible sources started calling the device basically a smaller 9.7-inch iPad Pro with the same powerful A9X processor, Smart Connector and ultra high-resolution screen.

Leaked designs schematics have suggested a slightly-thicker-than-iPad-Air-2 type of device with quad speakers arounds its sides, like the iPad Pro.

The new tablet should come outfitted with Apple’s most powerful A9X mobile chip with four gigabytes of RAM to drive its sharp screen and enable smooth multitasking in Split View and Slide Over modes—again, just like the iPad Pro.

The gizmo is said to sport a noticeably brighter screen than that of the iPad Air 2, and without 3D Touch. Other rumored internals of the smaller iPad Pro: a twelve-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, 4K video capture and Live Photos support.

By comparison, the iPad Pro has a previous-generation eight-megapixel sensor.

The last unanswered question pertains to the look and feel of the device, with many sources adamant that the device looks just like an iPad Air. According to some people, Apple is preparing to remove the ‘Air’ suffix from iPad branding.

In terms of accessories, there should be a smaller version of the iPad Pro’s Smart Keyboard and possibly other Smart Connector-enabled accessories for the tablet.

The smaller iPad Pro is said to start at $599 for the 32GB Wi-Fi-only version. It’s reportedly going to be offered in the same 32/128GB tiers as the iPad Pro and come in the same Space Gray, Silver and Gold colorways.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro and iPad mini 4 won’t be updated at the event.

Apple Watch: strap on that black Milanese Loop

Apple’s wrist-worn device will not be refreshed before fall, but Monday should see some new Apple-designed accessories, band styles and colors for the spring. For starters, watch buyers will soon be able to purchase a black-clad version of the Milanese Loop, which may wind up costing a tad more than its silver counterpart.

Apple is also expected to expand its portfolio with additional branded straps, such as a new set of NATO-style Nylon bands (as seen in James Bond movies), fresh new strap colors from Hermès and possibly additional band design partnerships, including one with a well-known case maker—Incase.

iOS 9.3: your sleep, improved

A third major revision to Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 9.3 brings an all-new Night Shift Mode that reduces blue light during night to help you fall asleep faster. The companion Watch app in iOS 9.3 supports pairing of multiple Apple Watch devices, and automatically toggles between them as soon as you put one on your wrist.

Furthermore, your notes can now be protected with a passcode or Touch ID.

The Health app now integrates move, exercise and stand data from your Apple Watch along with your goals. The News app gets more personalized and Maps for CarPlay now supports Nearby places. Your data usage numbers are available for the Wi-Fi Assist feature on iOS 9.3 while accessory firmware updates can now be deployed via the iPad Pro’s Smart Connector.

iOS 9.3 also unbricks devices affected by the January 1, 1970 bug and prevents users from moving the time on December 31, 2000 past 7pm to prevent the bug entirely.

Lastly, new 3D Touch shortcuts are available in Settings, App Store, iTunes, Stocks, Weather and Compass. For instance, Settings now provides access to popular toggles like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Battery right in the 3D Touch shortcuts menu.

iOS 9.3 should release for public consumption after Monday’s event has wrapped up.

tvOS 9.2: your Apple TV exits beta

In my personal opinion, this is the software update I’m most excited about.

With tvOS 9.2, Apple has addressed a bunch of pain points that have been plaguing customers since the new Apple TV released in October 2023. You can now organize Home screen apps in folders just like you would on your iPhone and iPad.

tvOS 9.2 improves navigation throughout the user interface because wireless Bluetooth keyboards can now be paired with your fourth-generation Apple TV.

Moreover, user names, passwords and more can be dictated into fields via Siri. There’s even a brand new Remote app in the works, described as a full-on replacement for the Siri Remote with support for tilt-based gaming, microphone input and more.

Next, tvOS 9.2 introduces a revamped app switcher, resembling that on iOS 9.0, and brings out support for Live Photos and iCloud Photo Library in the Photos app, smoother Siri Remote performance, maps in third-party apps and other tidbits.

OS X El Capitan: share Live Photos like a pro

A fourth major revision to OS X El Capitan sports various improvements for Messages, Notes, Photos and other stock apps. The most important headlining new features include sharing of Live Photos via the iMessage platform, full support for Live Photos in Messages, the ability to protect notes in the Notes app with a password and more.

As OS X El Capitan 10.11.4 is needed to allow Mac owners to send and receive Live Photos via iMessage and share them in Photos, we are fully expecting the software update to hit Apple’s update servers soon after the event.

watchOS 2.2: browse Nearby places on your wrist

A minor release, watchOS 2.2for the Apple Watch brings a much-improved Maps application with the Nearby feature to your wrist along with the ability to pair multiple device to a single iPhone. Nearby in Maps lets you browse points of interest in your vicinity and find local business organized by type, powered by Yelp’s database.

The Maps glance is also improved on watchOS 2.2 and the Maps app now has buttons for travel directions from your current location to home/work addresses.

We’re also expecting watchOS 2.2 to release on Monday.

And it’s a wrap-up, boys and girls!

Apple’s event will be held on Monday, March 21, 2023, at 10:00am PT.

The company will live-stream the presser on the web, using HTTP Live Streaming technology, and iDownloadBlog will be covering everything there’s to know about about new products in the hours, days and weeks following the event.

So, which product announcements are you most looking forward to, and why?

Is it the iPhone SE, the iPad Pro in a smaller package, new Apple Watch bands or something entirely different that we haven’t even mentioned?

Ask Us Anything: What Happens To Your Body When You Die In Space?

ON JULY 21, 1969, when the Apollo 11 crew was due to depart the lunar surface after a 22-hour visit, two speeches were placed on President Richard Nixon’s desk. “Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace,” read the contingency speech. Would Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong live out the rest of their days staring at the blue glow of Earth from 250,000 miles away?

We’ve lost only 18 people in space—including 14 NASA astronauts—since humankind first took to strapping ourselves to rockets. That’s relatively low, considering our history of blasting folks into space without quite knowing what would happen. When there have been fatalities, the entire crew has died, leaving no one left to rescue. But as we move closer to a human mission to Mars, there’s a higher likelihood that individuals will die—whether that’s on the way, while living in harsh environments, or some other reason. And any problems that arise on Mars—technical issues or lack of food, for example—could leave an entire crew or colony stranded and fending for themselves.

No settlement plans are being discussed at NASA (leave those to pie-in-the-sky private groups like Mars One for now), but a crewed mission has been on the docket for some time, and could touch down as early as the 2040s. NASA’s “Journey to Mars” quotes an estimated three-year round-trip, leaving plenty of time for any number of things to go wrong.

“The real interesting question is, what happens on a mission to Mars or on the lunar space station if there were [a death],” says Emory University bioethicist Paul Wolpe. “What happens when it may be months or years before a body can get back to Earth—or where it’s impractical to bring the body back at all?”

Today’s astronauts travel to space by way of the Russian Soyuz, then spend a few months on the International Space Station. Because astronauts are in impeccable health at the time of launch, a death in the ISS crew would likely result from an accident during a spacewalk.

“In the worst case scenario, something happens during a spacewalk,” says Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut and former commander of the ISS. “You could suddenly be struck by a micro-meteorite, and there’s nothing you can do about that. It could puncture a hole in your suit, and within a few seconds you’re incapacitated.”

This hypothetical astronaut would only have about 15 seconds before they lost consciousness. Before they froze, they would most likely die from asphyxiation or decompression. 10 seconds of exposure to the vacuum of space would force the water in their skin and blood to vaporize, while their body expanded outward like a balloon being filled with air. Their lungs would collapse, and after 30 seconds they would be paralyzed—if they weren’t already dead by this point.

The likelihood of death on the ISS is low, and it’s never happened before. But what would surviving astronauts do if it did?

Prepare for the Worst

ISS and shuttle astronaut Terry Virts served two expeditions on the space station and one mission on the space shuttle. In total he’s clocked 213 days in space. But the astronaut says he’s never been trained to handle a dead body in space. “I did quite a bit of medical training to save people, but not for this.”

NASA’s official statement to Popular Science on the subject left a lot to be desired:

“NASA does not prepare contingency plans for all remote risks. NASA’s response to any unplanned on-orbit situation will be determined in a real time collaborative process between the Flight Operations Directorate, Human Health and Performance Directorate, NASA leadership, and our International Partners.”

“In my 16 years as an astronaut I don’t remember talking with another astronaut about the possibility of dying,” Virts says. “We all understand it’s a possibility, but the elephant in the room was just not discussed.”

Though they don’t like talking about it, NASA astronauts do prepare for death of a crewmate. NASA

But NASA’s out-of-sight-out-of-mind policy on death may not be the norm. Commander Hadfield tells Popular Science that all international partners who train for missions to the ISS (including JAXA and ESA) do in fact prepare for the death of a crewmember.

“We have these things called ‘contingency simulations’ where we discuss what to do with the body,” he says.

As Hadfield points out, a corpse in space presents some major logistical problems. The fact that a dead body is a biohazard is definitely the biggest concern, and finding the space to store it in is a close second.

Since NASA lacks a protocol for sudden death on the ISS, the station’s commander would probably decide on how to handle the body. “If someone died while on an EVA I would bring them inside the airlock first,” Hadfield says. “I would probably keep them inside their pressurized suit; bodies actually decompose faster in a spacesuit, and we don’t want the smell of rotting meat or off gassing, it’s not sanitary. So we would keep them in their suit and store it somewhere cold on the station.”

If submarines lose a crew member and can’t make it to land right away, they store bodies near the torpedoes—where it’s cold, and separate from the living quarters. The crew of the ISS already stores trash in the coldest spot on the station; it keeps the bacteria away from them and makes smell less of an issue. “I would probably store them in there until a ship was going home, where they would take the third seat on the Soyuz,” Hadfield says. They could also store a body in one of the airlocks.

Freeze-Dried Funerals

NASA may not have specific contingency plans for a sudden death, but the agency is working on it; in 2005 they commissioned a study from Swedish eco-burial company Promessa. The study resulted in a yet-to-be-tested design called “The Body Back.” The creepy-sounding system uses a technique called promession, which essentially freeze-dries a body. Instead of producing the ash of a traditional cremation, it would turn a frozen corpse into a million little pieces of icy flesh.

During the study, Promessa creators Susanne Wiigh-Masak and Peter Masak collaborated with design students to think about what this process might look like while en route to Mars. On Earth, the promession process would use liquid nitrogen to freeze the body, but in space a robotic arm would suspend the body outside of the spaceship enclosed in a bag. The body would stay outside in the freezing void for an hour until it became brittle, then the arm would vibrate, fracturing the body into ash-like remains. This process could theoretically turn a 200-pound astronaut into a suitcase-sized 50-pound lump, which you could store on a spacecraft for years.

The “Body Back” could provide astronauts frosty funerals. Promessa

If freeze-dried cremation isn’t an option, you can always “jettison” the body out on a forever path into the void. While the UN has regulations about littering in space, the rules may not apply to human corpses. “Currently, there are no specific guidelines in planetary protection policy, at either NASA or the international level, that would address ‘burial’ of a deceased astronaut by release into space,” says Catherine Conley at NASA’s Office of Planetary Protection.

But the laws of physics might trump the laws of humankind on this one. Unless we strapped a mini rocket to the deceased, they would end up following the trajectory of the spacecraft from which they were ejected. As the years went on and the bodies accumulated, that would make for a morbid trip to and from Mars.

Martian Burial Rituals

But the risks of dying along the way are nothing compared to the inevitability of dying once you get there. In promoting his own future space settlement plans, SpaceX’s Elon Musk has openly cautioned that, “If you want to go to Mars, prepare to die.” Which begs the question: if someone dies on the Red Planet, where do you put them?

If someone were to perish on the spaceship en route to Mars (or beyond), cold storage or a round of promession could be a fine solution. But there isn’t a morgue on the surface of Mars, and spaceships are usually low on extra space.

So what would Martian explorers do with a body? “I would expect that if a crew member died while on Mars, we would bury them there rather than bring the body all the way home,” Hadfield says.

That makes sense because of the long journey back, but it poses some potential contamination problems. Even the rovers exploring Mars are required by law not to bring Earth microbes to their dusty new planet. Spacecraft are repeatedly cleaned and sanitized before launch to help protect potentially habitable locales from being overtaken by intrepid Earthly microbes. But the bugs on a rover are nothing compared to the bacteria that would hitch a ride on a dead body.

This makes the issue of planetary protection even more nuanced, but a Martian graveyard might not be so far-fetched. “Regarding the disposal of organic material (including bodies) on Mars,” NASA’s Conley says, “we impose no restrictions so long as all Earth microbes have been killed—so cremation would be necessary. Though planetary protection does require documentation of disposal, to ensure that future missions are not surprised.”

But not everyone who dies in space will be treated like inconvenient cargo. Some of those corpses will actually save lives.

Worst Case Scenario

Space may be the final frontier, but it wasn’t always that way. Humans have spent millennia traversing difficult landscapes and putting themselves in bizarre and dangerous situations in the name of discovery. Thousands of lives have been lost in this pursuit, and on occasion the deceased have actually saved the lives of their comrades. Not through acts of deadly heroism, mind you, but through acts of cannibalism.

Don’t think for a second that this couldn’t happen in space. In the book The Martian, author Andy Weir wrote in a scene (spoiler) in which the Ares crew decides to go back to Mars to save a stranded Mark Watney. Johansen, the Ares systems operator and smallest crew-member (requiring the least amount of calories) on the mission tells her father that the crew has a last-ditch plan to make it to Mars if NASA won’t send them supplies for the trip. “Everyone would die but me, they would all take pills and die. They’ll do it right away so they don’t have to use up any food,” she explains. “So how would you survive?” her father asks. “The supplies wouldn’t be the only source of food,” she says.

While extreme, the crew’s plan to commit suicide so one member could save Watney is not totally unheard of. “That’s a time-honored tradition,” says bioethicist Paul Wolpe. “People have committed suicide to save others, and in fact religiously that’s totally acceptable. We can’t draw straws to see who we’re going to kill to eat, but there are many times when we’ve considered people heroes who jump on the grenade to save their buddies.”

Wolpe says the school of thought on cannibalism for survival is split. “There are two kinds of approaches to it. One says even though we owe the body an enormous amount of respect, life is primary, and if the only way one could possibly survive would be to eat a body, it’s acceptable but not desirable.”

Mars boasts a landscape so barren and dead, it would put the frozen mountains that drove the famous Donner party to cannibalism to shame. If anything interrupted the mission’s food supply, they’d quickly run out of alternatives.

But no space agency has an official policy on Martian cannibalism—yet.

A Journey Into the Void

Humans have only been traveling to space for a short time relative to our existence, but we’ve been pushing the boundaries of exploration for thousands of years—and we will no doubt continue to do so despite the risks. Every astronaut or space tourist wishing to embark on a journey to Mars will ultimately be forced to grapple with the reality of deaths both sudden and slow.

NASA may never have officially published a contingency plan for the Apollo moonwalkers, but they were prepared to lose the crew. In his biography, Nixon speechwriter William Safire recalled the tenuous Apollo 11 liftoff. “We knew disaster would not come in the form of a sudden explosion,” he wrote. “It would mean the men would be stranded on the moon in communication with Mission Control as they slowly starved to death, or deliberately ‘closed down communication,’—the euphemism for suicide.”

In fact, NASA had planned to shut down communication with the stranded astronauts and issue them a formal “burial at sea.” But even given that morbid hypothetical turn of events, everyone knew they would keep going to the moon. “Others will follow, and surely find their way home,” Nixon’s back-up speech read. “Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.”

Earth rising. NASA

As we enter an age of space exploration sure to be filled with rocket launches and crewed missions, the thought of death looms over every crew-member and decision maker.

Astronaut Terry Virts may never have casually chatted about dying over coffee with his friends, but he knew what was at stake when he launched into space. “I believe that it is worth it, and that any great endeavor will involve risk,” he says. “We consciously accept the unavoidable hazards that we face.”

Like most explorers, shuttle astronaut Mike Massimino is quick to say that the risk is worthwhile. “It’s about increasing our understanding,” he tells PopSci. “I think it’s worth the risk we take. Exploration has always taken lives and I’m sure it always will.”

The realistic options for a deceased crewmember—cannibalism, cold storage in the trash room, being freeze-dried and shaken into a million frozen flakes—lack the dignity we associate with the majestic endeavor of spaceflight. But Wolpe doesn’t think humankind will have a hard time adjusting to the harsh realities of posthumous treatment in space. We already accept that Earthbound explorers may suffer indignities if they die in the field. Wolpe sees Mount Everest as a perfect Earthly analogue for the future Mars missions: when people die, their bodies just stay there. Forever.

We’re forever chasing that next giant leap NASA

Every year around 800 people attempt to reach the summit of the mountain. Every year, some of those people die. And then another 800 people try the next year. These people want to be first, to be the best, to explore something marvelous and rare. And with this determination comes the risk of paying the ultimate price.

“If you climb Everest, you know that if you die you’re being left there,” says Wolpe. There’s no fancy method of cremation on Everest, no respectfully somber place to stow a body, no way to reasonably pick up a corpse for burial back home. Over 200 bodies lay across the mountain, some of them still visible on days when snow cover is light. Everyone who climbs past them is reminded that they’re risking their lives—and their chance at a proper burial—for a chance at reaching the summit. “You just accept that,” Wolpe says. “That’s part of climbing Everest.”

Mantis Shrimp Vision Is Not As Mindblowing As You’ve Been Told

If you want to pick a favorite animal that will surprise even the quirkiest first date, you can’t go wrong with the mantis shrimp. This foot-long, coral reef-dwelling crustacean has a rainbow tail, and punches its prey so hard and so fast that it creates underwater shockwaves.

Pretty cool, eh?

But for many people, that just isn’t cool enough; instead, they fixate on the mantis shrimp’s vision. Within each large, roving eye, mantis shrimp have twelve types of color-sensitive cells called photoreceptors. That’s four times as many as we humans have, despite our self-assurance that we have the best vision in the animal kingdom.

This seeming contradiction—that a dim-witted, oversized version of the shrimp from last night’s Chinese takeout can see better than we can—has led otherwise smart people into waxing poetic about the world through a shrimp’s eyes. “Where we see a rainbow, the mantis shrimp sees a thermonuclear bomb of light and beauty,” wrote Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal. To Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich of Radiolab, the mantis shrimp sees its surroundings in the richest, most harmonious chorus of colors imaginable.

“But it didn’t really make sense,” according to doctoral research student Hanne Thoen at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, “as you really don’t need that many photoreceptors to see color and discriminate well.”

It’s a lovely thought that a glass-punching, rainbow-colored crustacean could have sensory and aesthetic capabilities beyond our wildest dreams. Yet mathematical models predict that even a so-called “ideal system” for color vision would need no more than seven photoreceptors, tops. Beyond the questionable “need” for twelve photoreceptors, “such a large number of photoreceptors would also require a large amount of processing power” for a shrimp brain to encode color like the rest of the animal kingdom—a brain whose complexity we are only beginning to explore, Thoen said.

To test the romantic theory, Thoen gave mantis shrimp vision tests to see if their extra photoreceptors actually helped them distinguish between extremely similar colors. First, she and her colleagues trained between four and seven individuals of a small species of mantis shrimp (Haptosquilla trispinosa) to recognize ten different colors, such as royal blue, bright green, and true red. These shrimp were then released from their burrows and presented with a choice between two colored lights: the color they knew and another one differing in wavelength by 5 to 100 nanometers. When the colored lights differed by 50 to 100 nanometers—for example, powder blue versus neon green—the mantis shrimp chose the color they had been trained to recognize up to 80 percent of the time. But when the colors differed by less than 25 nanometers—say, powder blue versus light teal—their accuracy dropped to around 50 percent. That’s no better than if they were guessing.

“The fact that they were this bad at discriminating color was quite surprising,” noted Thoen.

We humans, however, are capable of distinguishing between nuances in color as similar as 1 to 4 nanometers—just a hair lighter or darker than powder blue. So how come mantis shrimp eyes, with their twelve photoreceptors, aren’t sensitive enough to detect similarly slight variations in color?

Mantis shrimp must not process color like the rest of us, but instead have a completely different type of color vision, Thoen suggested. She and her team hypothesize that as mantis shrimp scan the sea, their unique eyes take in signals from all twelve photoreceptors at once and, lightning-quick, recognize the telling colors of a competitor or potential meal. This means they still have exceptional color vision. It’s just not exceptional in the way we originally thought.

When I told a friend that mantis shrimp can’t see the extravagantly complex colors we had originally envisioned, she couldn’t hide her disappointment. I can understand why. With their vibrant, tie-dyed appearance and shockingly powerful appendages, these “tiny, colorful badasses” of the sea have serious appeal. Even more so when topped off with a level of color vision we humans would envy. Learning that mantis shrimp color vision isn’t the most incredible ever would be like learning that the blue whale isn’t actually the largest organism on earth—and that it’s just been wearing a fat suit to trick us all this time. We feel a little cheated.

Yet I don’t feel entirely cheated. The role of science—with its incremental process of asking, answering, and asking again—is to show us a more truthful representation of the world. But at any given time, it can’t deliver the full truth: only a snapshot of our current understanding. Sometimes it’s hard for us to let go of our attachment to certain ideas, especially beautiful ones, when we learn something that adjusts the lens and changes our understanding. Yet armed with this new understanding, perhaps we can become more like the mantis shrimp and develop new ways of seeing the world too.

Goodbye, Telegram; Here Comes Secretum

Telegram took the world by storm when it was first released in 2013. The brainchild of the Durov brothers, the founders of VKontakte (known as “Russia’s Facebook”), the cloud-based app soon became a synonym for secure, end-to-end encrypted messages, and a wide range of channels and user-friendly features.

Telegram was an immediate hit and grew exponentially. From only 100,000 active daily users in October 2013, it reached 100 million in January 2023 and 500 million by the end of 2023. 

As of today, Telegram is the fifth-most popular messaging app in the world.

Despite its success and growth, recent events have begun to put into doubt the reputation of Telegram as the go-to safe messaging app.

In June 2023, hackers were able to

break into the Telegram accounts

of thousands of top Brazilian officials, including President Bolsonaro 


March 2023

, Telegram mistakenly exposed the data of 42 million users (user account IDs, phone numbers, and names)

Telegram suffered a massive data leak in August 2023, one that exposed the personal data of

over 500 million users

The cyber unit of the Chinese government claimed in 2023 to be able to

hack into Telegram

These events have led millions of users to openly ask – Is Telegram really that safe?

Telegram’s Weaknesses, Exposed

Telegram has been designed in a way that by default, it exposes its users to a variety of risks.

Telegram needs

access to the user’s phone contacts

for registration and collects IP data (the user’s location). That means users can only message people they know, while the stored contact info jeopardizes data security.

Some end-to-end encryption options are offered using the MTProto 2.0 protocol, but some messaging remains


Having a cloud-based architecture means all messaging histories are stored on Telegram’s cloud – where it is

vulnerable to being hacked

With no other viable competing messaging solutions on the horizon, the only truly safe alternative may come in the form of a technology that is already revolutionizing the global economy – Blockchain.

The Secretum Solution – The Start Of The Secure Messaging Era

In 2023, a team of crypto-technology experts from Lithuania began work on the ultimate Blockchain-powered app, with the aim of creating the safest messaging protocol in the world – Secretum. 

Secretum is the world’s first and only decentralized, encrypted messaging app, one built on innovative Ethereum and Solana blockchains. It offers users an easy, intuitive, and direct messaging platform, based on unique technological innovations.

A completely secure and anonymous sign-up, only needing a crypto-wallet address. No need for names, IDs, or phone numbers (like Telegram). Total user privacy, without compromise.

No cloud storage, no user moderation, and complete end-to-end encryption for all messages between users – completely eliminating the risk of hacks or data leaks.

All messaging history and files are held on anonymous, independent, and non-connected nodes, on the Secretum network. This eliminates all points of failure and, as it grows and expands its nodes, becomes increasingly secure.

Secretum sets a new standard for global messaging apps, making communications more secure, more reliable, and more trustworthy than ever before. With its crypto-trading functions, it positions itself to ride the trend of rising global crypto-asset ownership and trading. 

Thanks to its technology and functions, Secretum has the potential to become a globally known and recognized brand, just like Telegram; Only without its limitations.

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