The ESO and Microsoft recently announced a new joint three-pronged project to leverage AI and potentially revolutionize astronomy. The first project is called Turbulence Nowcasting, which will make real-time weather and atmospheric forecasts. Second is Anomaly Detection, which will assist in calibrating images taken with ESO’s instruments using machine learning algorithms to carry out automatic inspection. Third is Adaptive/Predictive Control on adaptive optics — an applied technique enabling astronomers to make real-time corrections on distortions stemming from turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere.
A new report reveals that Toyota plans to unveil an electric vehicle with a new solid-state battery by 2021. It promises a 310 miles (500 km) range in a single charge and a rather rapid recharge from zero to full in 10 minutes. “Toyota plans to be the first company to sell an electric vehicle equipped with a solid-state battery in the early 2020s. The world’s largest automaker will unveil a prototype next year,” states the report. Solid-state batteries are believed to be a lot safer than the more common lithium-ion ones. They also have more potential for higher energy density — the energy a battery can deliver compared to its weight.
Using animal models, scientists discovered that a change to the gut microbiota brought about by chronic stress can lead to depressive-like behaviors, in particular by causing a reduction in lipid metabolites in the blood and the brain. The scientists discovered that an absence of endocannabinoids in the hippocampus, a key brain region involved in the formation of memories and emotions, resulted in depressive-like behaviors. The scientists identified some bacterial species that are significantly reduced in animals with mood disorders. They then demonstrated that an oral treatment with the same bacteria restored normal levels of lipid derivatives, thereby alleviating the depressive-like behaviors.
In a new study in mice, researchers have discovered that obesity allows cancer cells to outcompete tumor-killing immune cells in a battle for fuel. The findings reveal that a high-fat diet reduces the numbers and antitumor activity of CD8+ T cells, a critical type of immune cell, inside tumors. This occurs because cancer cells reprogram their metabolism in response to increased fat availability to better gobble up energy-rich fat molecules, depriving T cells of fuel and accelerating tumor growth. The team found that blocking this fat-related metabolic reprogramming significantly reduced tumor volume in mice on high-fat diets.
The Swedish government is progressing with its central bank digital currency, or CBDC, by launching a formal review of a potential transition to the digital currency. Sweden has emerged as one of the major CBDC technology pioneers and features one of the most cashless economies in the world, announcing a pilot platform for a digital currency known as e-krona in late 2019. The review will explore the feasibility of moving the country’s payments infrastructure to a digital currency. Sweden’s financial markets minister, Per Bolund, said the government expects to complete the digital currency review by the end of November 2022.
A £14bn class action against Mastercard for allegedly overcharging 46 million British consumers during a 15-year period has been given the green light to proceed. Almost every adult in the UK – even if they never had a Mastercard – could receive a payout of up to £300 from the credit card company after a supreme court ruling paved the way for the class action lawsuit. The legal action claims that consumers paid higher prices in shops because of allegedly excessive transaction fees charged by the company. The credit card company said it fundamentally disagreed with a claim that it said was being driven by “hit and hope” US lawyers.
Brexit stockpiling is causing 10-mile lorry queues and delays of up to five hours in Calais as hopes of a trade deal fade. “Normally we have about 6,000 trucks, but now it is about 9,000.” The tailbacks give a glimpse of things to come next year when customs, standards and immigration checks will kick in on both sides of the channel. The UK is hoping to mitigate the impact by phasing in checks over six months, but businesses have voiced concerns that the customs software and the special electronic Brexit passports will not be ready in time for Brexit day.
A major leak containing a register with the details of nearly two million CCP members has occurred – exposing members who are now working all over the world, while also lifting the lid on how the party operates under Xi Jinping. The leak demonstrates party branches are embedded in some of the world’s biggest companies and even inside government agencies. “Along with the personal identifying details of 1.95 million communist party members, mostly from Shanghai, there are also the details of 79,000 communist party branches, many of them inside companies”.