AI Pet 🐾 Living materials 🦠 Flying cars 🚗!

Technology News

Moflin is the AI emotional support pet we all need right now

Moflin, an AI pet robot, comes with “emotional capabilities” and the ability to learn. According to Vanguard Industries, the grand-sounding maker of Moflin, the creature’s emotional palette evolves like a living animal’s. More specifically, it has the ability to drift between a range of states such as excited, calm and “normal” and everywhere in-between. The critter even appears to be smart enough to tell when different people are interacting with it and respond distinctly with a range of sounds and movements. It comes with an egg-shaped wireless charging “nest” and will even twitch and murmur as it rests and revitalizes.

Researchers Develop World’s Most Powerful Neuromorphic Processor for AI

Researchers have developed the world’s most powerful neuromorphic processor for AI. It operates at a rate of more than 10 trillion operations per second (TeraOps/s). The system can also process ultra-large-scale images, which is important for facial recognition as previous optical processors have failed in this regard. Top electronic processors require tens of thousands of parallel processors, whereas the team’s optical system only relies on a single processor. They achieved this by using a new technique that involved simultaneously interleaving the data in time, wavelength, and spatial dimensions through an integrated micro-comb source.

Science News

Inspired by kombucha tea, engineers create “living materials”

Engineers have developed a new way to generate tough, functional materials using a mixture of bacteria and yeast similar to the “kombucha mother” used to ferment tea. Using this mixture, also called a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), the researchers were able to produce cellulose embedded with enzymes that can perform a variety of functions, such as sensing environmental pollutants. They also showed that they could incorporate yeast directly into the material, creating “living materials” that could be used to purify water or to make “smart” packaging materials that can detect damage.

Plant-based diet may feed key gut microbes

A diet rich in healthy and plant-based foods is linked with the presence and abundance of certain gut microbes that are also associated with a lower risk of developing conditions such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, according to recent results from a large-scale international study. The trends they found were so consistent, the researchers believe that their microbiome data can be used to determine the risk of cardiometabolic disease among people who do not yet have symptoms, and possibly to prescribe a personalized diet designed specifically to improve someone’s health.

Business News

GM shares hit record high as automaker reveals electric van and delves into flying cars

Shares of General Motors hit a record high after unveiling a new electric van and revealed potential plans to delve into futuristic flying cars. A new commercial business unit of GM’s called BrightDrop is planning a full portfolio of electric products, not just vehicles, including a delivery pallet. The potential foray into “personal air mobility” was announced as part of Cadillac’s portfolio of luxury and EV vehicles. The Detroit automaker’s stock was up to $48.95 a share, leading to a roughly $70 billion market cap. It’s a record since the automaker emerged from bankruptcy during the Great Recession and went public in 2010.

The COVID-19 pandemic will cost Europe’s big soccer leagues over $7 billion in lost revenue, and has exposed deep ‘flaws’ in how the game is run

The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to cost Europe’s elite soccer leagues over $7.3 billion in profits and has exposed the “flaws” in how the financial side of the game is run. KPMG conducted an in-depth study into the financial impacts of the pandemic last season, focusing on the winners of Europe’s big six leagues – Real Madrid, Liverpool, Juventus, Paris Saint Germain, Bayern Munich, and Porto. French champion PSG suffered the biggest total fall, finding itself $116 million down on its operating revenues from the previous season, while Portuguese champion Porto recorded the heaviest percentage loss, having seen revenues plummet by 50%.

Miscellaneous News

Russian Swimmer Claims New World Record With Baikal Under-Ice Swim

Moscow swimmer Yekaterina Nekrasova has claimed a new world record for the longest under-ice swim on Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest and oldest lake. Bone-chilling footage showed Nekrasova swimming an 85-meter distance beneath the ice without surfacing for 1.5 minutes. She breaststroked through the 0-degree-Celsius waters wearing neither a wet suit nor flippers. It did not report whether the Russian Book of Records or Guinness World Records were on hand to document Nekrasova’s achievement, which beat the current under-ice swim record of 70 meters.

Insect populations suffering death by 1,000 cuts, say scientists

Insect populations are suffering “death by a thousand cuts”, with many falling at “frightening” rates that are “tearing apart the tapestry of life”. The insects face multiple, overlapping threats including the destruction of wild habitats for farming, urbanisation, pesticides and light pollution. Insects are by far the most varied and abundant animals on Earth, with millions of species and outweighing humans by 17 times. They are essential to the ecosystems that humanity depends upon, pollinating plants, providing food for other creatures and recycling nature’s waste.

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