Bomb sniffing sensors 💣, Malaria stopping microbes 🦠 and Amazon VP resigns 👨‍💻!

Technology


Airbus to deploy ‘game-changing’ bomb-sniffing sensors at airports

Airbus plans to test an “electronic nose” device that uses biological cells to mimic what bomb-sniffing dogs can do. The company will deploy jellyfish-shaped sensors, developed by Silicon Valley startup Koniku, in several airport screening tunnels later in 2020. The technology uses silicon processors bolstered by living cells. “What we do is we take biological cells, either Hek cells or astrocytes – brain cells – and we genetically modify them to have olfactory receptors.” Devices that can supposedly test travellers for traces of dangerous chemicals have met with very limited success, however, the fact that it’s being tested by Airbus is a good sign for Koniku.

Copy and paste the real world with your phone using augmented reality

AR can be the perfect tool to quickly grab visuals from the real world and paste them into digital documents. Just point your phone at what you want to copy, and drag it over to your desktop. No fiddling around emailing images to yourself or cutting out objects in Photoshop. This is only a research prototype right now, but it looks like a few companies are already working on similar software. An AR application that seems to have much practical use: seeing what clothes, furniture, and makeup look like pasted onto your face and / or house. Instead of projecting digital images into the physical world, it brings the physical into the digital.

Science


Malaria ‘completely stopped’ by microbe

Scientists have discovered a microbe that completely protects mosquitoes from being infected with malaria. The team in Kenya and the UK say the finding has “enormous potential” to control the disease. Microsporidia MB, was discovered by studying mosquitoes on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya. It lives in the gut and genitals of the insects. Microsporidias are fungi, or at least closely related to them, and most are parasites. The researchers could not find a single mosquito carrying the Microsporidia that was harbouring the malaria parasite. And lab experiments confirmed the microbe gave the mosquitoes protection.

New Insight on Maternal Infections and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

According to researchers, the immune responses of a female mouse before pregnancy can predict how likely her offspring are to have behavioural deficits if the immune system is activated during pregnancy. Both genetics and a variety of environmental risk factors are thought to play a role in mental illness. The findings could help resolve what role serious infections during pregnancy play in the later development of conditions in offspring. Although the risk from maternal immune activation is low, it could provide a way in to the underlying problems that lead to schizophrenia or autism.

Business


Amazon VP Resigns, Calls Company ‘Chickenshit’ for Firing Protesting Workers

Tim Bray, a well known senior engineer and Vice President at Amazon has “quit in dismay” because Amazon has been “firing whistleblowers who were making noise about warehouse employees frightened of Covid-19.” Amazon’s strategy throughout the coronavirus crisis has been to fire dissenters and disparage them both in the press and behind closed doors. There have been dozens of confirmed coronavirus cases at warehouses around the country, and workers have repeatedly said the company isn’t doing enough to protect them.

BAE completes purchase of Raytheon airborne radios business

BAE describes the newly acquired unit as “a strong strategic fit, adding complementary positions in the airborne communications domain”. It also points to its “state of the art anti-jamming, [and] multi-band, multi-channel and encryption capabilities”. The purchase values $275 million, and has been funded using BAE’s existing cash resources. The new business will report into BAE’s US-based Electronic Systems operating unit. BAE also early this year announced its intention to purchase the military GPS business Collins Aerospace, for more than $1.9 billion.

Miscellaneous


The French are Being Urged to Eat More Cheese as an Act of ‘Patriotism’ amid Covid-19 Crisis

Days after Belgium asked its residents to eat fried potatoes twice a week to support potato farmers amid the coronavirus crisis, citizens of France are now being asked to increase their intake of cheese. To save the country’s famous fromage, dairy producers have asked French citizens to show their patriotism for the country by eating more cheese. In a press release by the French dairy industry, France Terre de Lait, said that in the wake of coronavirus, consumption of cheese in the country has dropped by 60 percent.

Dubai’s Burj Khalifa to be transformed into world’s tallest donation box

One pixel at a time, Dubai will light up the facade of the world’s tallest building to represent each donation made to relieve coronavirus-hit communities across the United Arab Emirates. The Burj Khalifa, which stands 828 metres (2,717 feet) tall, will be transformed into the “world’s tallest donation box” as part of a campaign to provide 10 million meals to low-income people. For each 10-dirham ($2.7) donation, one of the building’s 1.2 million LED lights will be illuminated – each representing a meal. Within 24 hours, a live count on the website indicated that more than 176,000 meals had been donated.

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