Army goggles 🪖 Social distancing 🐁 Virus recovery 📈!

Technology News

Microsoft wins 10-year contract supplying AR tech to the US Army

America’s ground-pounders of tomorrow will soon be equipped with custom-built HoloLens headsets as part of a decade-long contract struck between the Department of Defense and Microsoft. Per the $21.88 billion deal, Microsoft will supply some 120,000 of its AR units to the US Army. Effectively, they’ll enable commanders to share tactical data and targets with soldiers in the field as well provide night vision capabilities. “Microsoft has worked closely with the U.S. Army over the past two years, and together we pioneered Soldier Centered Design to enable rapid prototyping for a product to provide Soldiers with the tools and capabilities necessary to achieve their mission.”

Mercedes-AMG shows off its new F1-based road car hybrid system

The first of Mercedes-AMG’s plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs) will debut later this year. Unlike the PHEVs you can already buy from Mercedes-Benz, these will be optimized for performance, not efficiency. Mercedes-AMG will use a version of the same electric turbocharger as the F1 race car. Known as an MGU-H (Motor Generator Unit Heat), the turbine can be spun up electrically, as opposed to just using exhaust gases. That makes it much more responsive than a traditional turbocharged engine, and Mercedes-AMG says that the system will maintain boost pressure electrically even when you take your foot off the accelerator or when you brake.

Science News

Mice naturally engage in physical distancing, study finds

In a study that explores how otherwise powerful instincts can be overridden in some situations, researchers found that when male mice encountered a female mouse showing signs of illness, the males interacted very little with the females and made no attempts to mate with them as they normally would. The vomeronasal organ, which processes pheromones, feeds into a part of the amygdala called the COApm. Experiments revealed that activity in the COApm is necessary to suppress the males’ mating behavior in the presence of sick females. When COApm activity was turned off, males would try to mate with sick females.

Scientists Uncover Why Chronic Stress Can Lead to Hair Loss

A new study has now shown in detail the molecular events leading to stress-induced hair loss in mice. Without any adrenal glands, levels of the key mouse stress hormone corticosterone had plummeted. When these mice were shaved, their hair follicles hopped into the growth phase roughly three times as often as the cells of normal mice. The authors then used gene editing techniques to reveal the mechanism controlling it. The effect was mediated through fibroblasts called dermal papillae. When corticosterone signaling through these cells was halted, hair growth started running wild in the mice affected.

Business News

The S&P 500 shoots above 4,000 points for the first time ever

The S&P 500 has topped 4,000 points for the first time ever as investors kick off the second quarter with optimism about the coronavirus recovery. The advances come after the Institute for Supply Management said that US manufacturing activity grew for the 10th straight month in March. Growing demand helped offset the impact of snarled supply chains and rising commodity prices. “Consumers have become more optimistic in recent months, as expanding vaccine distribution and a marked decline in new Covid-19 cases have provided tangible evidence of progress and a growing sense that better days are coming, perhaps sooner than expected.”

Biden unveils ‘once-in-a generation’ $2tn infrastructure investment plan

Joe Biden unveiled what he called a “once-in-a-generation” investment in American infrastructure, promising that his $2tn plan would create the “strongest, most resilient, innovative economy in the world”. The expansive proposal, called the American Jobs Plan, would rebuild 20,000 miles of roads and highways and repair the 10 most economically significant bridges in the country among a sprawling list of other projects that Biden said would confront the climate crisis, curb wealth inequality and strengthen US competitiveness. To pay for the package, he proposed a substantial increase on corporate taxes that would offset the spending over the course of 15 years

Miscellaneous News

Philippines says illegal structures found on reefs near where Chinese boats swarmed

The Philippine military said it has discovered illegally built structures on features in the Union Banks, a series of reefs in the South China Sea near where Manila says Chinese maritime militia boats have been swarming in recent weeks. “The Laws of the Sea gives the Philippines indisputable and exclusive rights over the area. These constructions and other activities, economic or otherwise, are prejudicial to peace, good order, and security of our territorial waters.” A 2016 ruling by a United Nations tribunal dismissed China’s claim to virtually all of the South China Sea, although Beijing has refused to recognize the decision.

Gang of international Lego thieves arrested in Paris heist

Toy shops in France have been targeted by a gang of international Lego thieves who attempted to steal valuable collectible sets, police allege. Rare series such as “Lego Ultimate Collector’s Series Millennium Falcon” have reached $15,000, while a “Taj Mahal” first edition had a value of around $3,864. An officer quoted in Le Parisien newspaper confirmed the arrests, saying: “They come to France, set up in a hotel in the Paris region, then set about raiding toy stores before returning to Poland to sell off their haul. Lego has long been considered a valuable asset by thieves because it is small, light and portable.

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