AI fish grading 🍣 Good bacteria 🦠 Rolls Royce cash flow 📉!

Technology News

Japanese app Tuna Scope uses AI to grade the quality of fish

A Japanese chain of sushi restaurants is using an AI-powered app to assess the quality of tuna — a key step in the preparation of sushi that traditionally requires years of training from experienced human buyers. It uses machine learning algorithms trained on thousands of images of the cross-sections of tuna tails, a cut of the meat that can reveal much about a fish’s constitution. Dentsu claims that its AI has captured the “unexplainable nuances of the tuna examination craft,” and in tests comparing the app with human buyers, the app issued the same grade more than four times out of five.

Noise-cancelling windows halve traffic sounds even when they’re open

Researchers in Singapore have created a device that can halve the noisiness of urban traffic, reducing the sound coming through an open window by up to 10 decibels. The researchers used 24 small loudspeakers and fixed these to the security grilles of a typical window in Singapore in an 8×3 grid. The spacing of the speakers was dependent on the frequency of the noise that they wanted to cancel out. The device was most successful at cancelling noise between frequencies of 300 and 1000 Hz, with up to a 50 per cent reduction in loudness for sounds within this range. It isn’t optimised for the noise from human voices, which have higher frequencies.

Science News

How good gut bacteria help reduce the risk for heart disease

Scientists have discovered that one of the good bacteria found in the human gut has the potential to reduce the risk for heart disease. The bacteria’s activity in the intestines reduces production of a chemical that has been linked to the development of clogged arteries. Researchers have traced the bacteria’s behavior to a family of proteins that they suspect could explain other ways that good gut organisms can contribute to human health. The microbe, Eubacterium limosum could be used for therapeutic purposes in the future. Previous research has already shown the bacterium is “good” because it calms inflammation in the gut.

Placebo effect ‘could treat pain’

Placebo pain-relief is reproducible in patients with chronic pain compared to healthy volunteers according to a unique study. In a research first, patients with high levels of psychological distress such as depression and anxiety experienced pain relief in a placebo experiment with inert cream they thought might help them. This could encourage clinicians to think about using alternative strategies other than pain medication. “Understanding the neural mechanisms of placebo response enables us to tap in to this more to modulate pain perception and enhance the analgesic effect of other novel step-change treatments, such as our Smart Neurotherapies Platform.”

Business News

Rolls-Royce burns through 3 billion pounds, expects more cash outflows

Aerospace engineer Rolls-Royce burned through 3 billion pounds ($3.8 billion) in the first half as the hours flown by its engines halved due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and said it expected a further 1 billion pound outflow in the second half. The British company, which makes engines for the Boeing 787 and Airbus 350, said flying hours fell 75% in April, May and June, and it had only seen a marginal improvement since. Chief Executive Warren East said Rolls had started reviewing options for strengthening its balance sheet, and it had 8.1 billion pounds at hand even after the first-half outflow. Rolls has announced at least 9,000 job cuts, mainly in civil aviation.

Walgreens to cut 4,000 jobs at its UK Boots division

Walgreens is laying off 4,000 employees at Boots, its United Kingdom drugstore division. Although the layoffs make up 7% of its Boots workforce, it’s a tiny fraction of the 440,000 Walgreens employees worldwide. Still, it’s a sign of the financial challenges Walgreens faces during the Covid-19 pandemic. Walgreens announced the layoffs alongside downbeat quarterly results. Adjusted earnings fell more than 43% – worse than analysts expected – and the company posted an operating loss of $1.6 billion. Shares of Walgreens fell 8% and have plunged nearly 35% this year, making it one of the worst performers in the Dow.

Miscellaneous News

First pictures of world’s rarest gorilla with babies captured

The first ever images of the world’s rarest gorilla with multiple offspring has been captured in Nigeria’s Mbe mountains. There are only 300 Cross River gorillas believed to be left in existence, but new camera trap images of several babies has rekindled hope that the subspecies is reproducing. Once believed to be extinct, numbers of the subspecies have been dwindling for decades. Conservationists have been working alongside the Wildlife Conservation Society since the 1990s to help protect Cross River gorillas from threats to their habitat.

Theme parks in Japan are discouraging screaming on roller coasters to slow coronavirus spread, with one park urging riders to ‘Please scream inside your heart’

To demonstrate proper roller-coaster etiquette, one park, Fuji-Q Highland, recently released a video in which two high-ranking executives stoically ride the park’s Fujiyama roller coaster in complete silence. “We received complaints that the theme park association’s request to not make loud noises was impossible and too strict, that’s why we decided to release the video.” The video ends with a message to would-be roller-coaster riders: “Please scream inside your heart.” The rules, have been adopted by most of Japan’s theme parks.

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