AI Microgrid ⚡ Gene switch 🧬 Biscuit takeover 🍪!

Technology News


Port of Rotterdam’s AI Microgrid Pilot Lowers User Costs and Increases Producer Returns

The AI trading agent switches renewable energy from solar and battery storage to manage the amount of power that’s consumed for its users. The system is able to predict within 48 hours when locally produced power is at its lowest cost, and then allows users to operate machinery at these costs — something that’s not currently available on a fixed tariff system. They have found that consumer costs have been lowered by 11%, and producer returns have increased by 14%. If the pilot manages to reach a commercially viable scale, the microgrid could deliver as much as 30 million tons of carbon emission cuts.

Nvidia says its AI can fix some of the biggest problems in video calls

Nvidia has announced a new videoconferencing platform for developers named Nvidia Maxine that it claims can fix some of the most common problems in video calls. Using AI, Maxine can realign callers’ faces and gazes so that they’re always looking directly at their camera, reduce the bandwidth requirement for video “down to one-tenth of the requirements of the H.264 streaming video compression standard” by only transmitting “key facial points,” and upscale the resolution of videos. The real test, though, will be to see if any established videoconferencing companies actually adopt Nvidia’s technology.

Science News


Nanoparticles can turn off genes in bone marrow cells

Using specialised nanoparticles, engineers have developed a way to turn off specific genes in cells of the bone marrow, which play an important role in producing blood cells. The RNA interference genetic therapy is usually difficult to target to organs other than the liver, where nanoparticles would tend to accumulate. The researchers were able to modify their particles so they would accumulate in the cells found in the bone marrow. In a study of mice, the researchers used this approach to improve recovery after a heart attack by inhibiting the release of bone marrow blood cells that promote inflammation and contribute to heart disease.

Fly larvae extract will replace antibiotics in fighting plant pathogens

Biotechnologists have developed a method for extracting the active constituents from the fat of black soldier fly larvae. Using water, methanol, and hydrochloric acid, it enabled the extraction of more than 4% of the active fatty acids contained in the larvae fat. These compounds possess unique antimicrobial properties and can destroy bacteria that cause farm crop diseases and are resistant to antibiotics. The researchers tested the antibacterial effect of their extract on five strains of pathogenic bacteria affecting plants. The experiments revealed that harmful bacteria died in the presence of the fly fat extract.

Business News


Ferrero close to swallowing Fox’s Biscuits in £250m deal

Ferrero Group, the owner of some of the world’s best-known confectionery brands, is close to striking a £250m deal to swallow Britain’s Fox’s Biscuits. Ferrero, which counts Kinder chocolate and Nutella among its flagship products, could unveil the takeover later this week. Sources close to the talks said a deal was expected to involve only the branded biscuits business that accounts for the majority of Fox’s sales. Roughly 1500 Fox’s employees are expected to transfer to the new owner. If completed, the transaction would represent Ferrero’s second substantial foray into the European biscuit market, following its takeover of Denmark’s Kelsen Group last year.

Companies just did $1 trillion in deals despite the pandemic. Here’s why

Thirty-seven deals worth $5 billion or more, totaling $496 billion, were announced between July and September. September was by far the busiest month of the period, logging a 107% increase over the same month in 2019. By both deal count and value, that’s the best third quarter since records began in the 1970s. Including smaller deals, the total value was above $1 trillion. “Companies feel there is going to be limited growth in the coming period, and a number of their weaknesses have been exposed.” This is encouraging a wave of consolidation in industries like banking, telecommunications and energy.

Miscellaneous News


Activists Fear ‘Ecological Catastrophe’ in Russia’s Far East Kamchatka

Fears are mounting in Russia’s Far East after locals reported finding dozens of dead sea animals washed onto a beach from the Pacific Ocean. Greenpeace said tests conducted on water samples taken from around Khalaktyrsky beach in Russia’s Kamchatka region showed petroleum levels four times higher than usual, and phenol levels were also 2.5 times higher. The cause of the disaster is unknown. No industrial accidents or oil spills have been officially reported in the area. Environmentalists fear possible pesticide contamination from a nearby highly-secretive plant.

Israel moves to ban ‘immoral’ animal fur trade

Israel says it intends to ban the buying and selling of animal furs, apart from in specially approved cases, making it the first country to do so. Announcing plans for new regulations, environmental protection minister Gila Gamliel said the use of skin and fur for the fashion industry was “immoral”. At present, anyone in Israel wishing to buy or sell fur must apply for a permit, but under the new rules this will only be allowed in cases of “scientific research, education or for instruction and for religious purposes or tradition”.

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