Brainwave crypto mining 🧠, glowing plants 🌱 and plant based protein rises in meat shortage 🥩!

Technology


Microsoft Patent Describes Tracking Brain Activity to Mine Cryptocurrency

A new patent application by Microsoft details a way to use bodily functions, such as brain activity, to mine cryptocurrency. By tracking brainwaves when someone watches an advert, Microsoft hopes to use the data generated as a “proof-of-work.” This is the validation of a transaction, or the completion of a task, in a blockchain system, and the way in which creation of currency is validated. Microsoft envisages users being rewarded for allowing their bodies to be monitored in this way by paying them in cryptocurrency for performing specific tasks.

Muscle sensors may let you control a drone by clenching your fist

MIT CSAIL researchers have developed a control method, Conduct-A-Bot, that uses muscle sensors and motion detection for more ‘natural’ robot control. Algorithms detect gestures using both your movement as well as the activity in your biceps, forearms and triceps. You can wave your hand, clench your fist or even tense your arm to steer the bot. The system doesn’t need environmental cues, offline calibration or per-person training. A Parrot Bebop 2 drone responded to 82 percent of over 1,500 gestures.

Science


These Stunning Genetically Engineered Plants Glow Bright Green

While plants have been previously tweaked to emit light using bioluminescent bacteria, the new study unveils the brightest genetically engineered plants to date. Tobacco plants, injected with DNA from bioluminescent mushrooms, emitted more than a billion photons per minute, achieving a “self-sustained luminescence that is visible to the naked eye.” The tobacco plants were able to attain such high wattage (metaphorically speaking) thanks to caffeic acid, which was recently identified as a core molecular driver of light emission in the bioluminescent group of Neonothopanus fungus.

Mindfulness linked to heightened interpersonal forgiveness

New research provides evidence that people who are more mindful are more prone to forgiveness and that mindfulness exercises can facilitate a forgiving attitude. The researchers found that people who agreed with statements such as “I perceive my feelings and emotions without having to react to them” and “I am good at findings words to describe my feelings” tended to also agree with statements such as “I tend to get over it quickly when someone hurts my feelings.” More mindful people were also more likely to report being better at adopting the psychological point of view of others.

Business


Meat shortage and China deals send Beyond Meat’s stock spiking

Warnings of potential meat shortages in the United States because of food processing closures have led to a boom for Beyond Meat’s stock. New deals to sell plant-based food in China are helping too. Investors are clearly betting consumers may buy more plant-based proteins like burgers and sausage made by the likes of Beyond Meat and its top rival Impossible Foods if they aren’t able to find real beef, chicken or pork at their local supermarket. Beyond Meat CEO said the country’s entrance into the Chinese market is an “important milestone”.

Microsoft wins five-year deal with Coca-Cola to supply business software

Microsoft has won a five-year deal with Coca-Cola o supply business software, including its Teams chat app and tools for customer service agents. The companies did not disclose the size of the deal but said it will include Dynamics 365, a suite of Microsoft tools that competes directly with Salesforce. Microsoft has a stronghold in general-purpose business software such as email and word processing apps but has been working to win more customers for its specialised software such as apps used by customer service and sales employees.

Miscellaneous


The Hawaii Tourism Authority is now paying for visitors to leave

Hawaii’s state agency that is dedicated to welcoming visitors to the state is temporarily helping those visitors leave. The Hawaii Tourism Authority has set aside $25,000 for the costs of sending tourists away if they refuse to abide by the state’s 14-day quarantine. In some cases, the violators have been prosecuted for misdemeanors and forced to pay a fine. The Visitor Aloha Society arranges for the travel back home, and pays for the ticket if the visitor can’t afford it.

Belgians Asked To Eat Fries Twice A Week To Save 750,000 Tons Of Potatoes

Up to 750,000 tonnes of potatoes may be destroyed this season, meaning a loss of €125 million, as a consequence of COVID-19 lockdown in Belgium. A decreased consumption of the iconic Belgian frites is putting farmers and workers along the entire chain at risk. Companies working for the fresh market (like restaurants and industrial kitchens) have lost nearly their complete sales channels. Secretary general of Belgapom and board member of Belpotato.be, is calling on citizens to eat fries twice instead of once a week and hopefully save the sector.

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