Deepfake identification 👾 Honeybee venom 🐝 Drone airlines 🚁!

Technology News

Microsoft will identify manipulated media with a confidence score

Microsoft is rolling out new tools to combat misinformation, specifically deepfakes. The new Microsoft Video Authenticator will analyze still photo and video images and share how likely it is that the media is artificially manipulated. Users will see a confidence score, or percentage chance, that the media is manipulated, and in videos, that score will show in real-time on each frame. Microsoft says the tool works by detecting subtle elements that might not be detectable by the human eye. The company will also allow content producers to add digital hashes and certificates to content they produce and a reader will check that the certificates match the hashes.

New electronic skin can react to pain like human skin

Researchers have developed electronic artificial skin that reacts to pain just like real skin, opening the way to better prosthetics, smarter robotics and non-invasive alternatives to skin grafts. The device mimics the body’s near-instant feedback response and can react to painful sensations with the same lighting speed that nerve signals travel to the brain. The research team has also developed devices using stretchable electronics that can sense and respond to changes in temperature and pressure. With further development, the stretchable artificial skin could also be a future option for non-invasive skin grafts, where the traditional approach is not viable.

Science News

Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research study finds honeybee venom rapidly kills aggressive breast cancer cells

Venom from honeybees has been found to rapidly kill aggressive and hard-to-treat breast cancer cells. The research showed a specific concentration of the venom killed 100 per cent of triple-negative breast cancer and HER2-enriched breast cancer cells within 60 minutes, while having minimal effects on normal cells. “What melittin does is it actually enters the surface, or the plasma membrane and forms holes or pores and it just causes the cell to die.” The researchers also discovered within 20 minutes, it effectively shut down the signalling pathways for the reproduction of triple-negative and HER2 cancer cells.

Brain study reveals one type of exercise increases stress resilience

Researchers have discovered that exercise actually strengthens the brain’s resilience to stress by enabling an uptick in a crucial neural protein called galanin. Mice which had exercised showed less anxious behavior after a stressful event compared to mice that didn’t exercise. Exercising mice also had elevated galanin levels in the locus coeruleus, a cluster of neurons in the brainstem involved in the stress response. The team then genetically increased galanin in the locus coeruleus in sedentary mice. This gave these inactive mice exercise’s beneficial stress resilience effects, without changing their physical activity patterns.

Business News

Amazon’s Drone Delivery Fleet Hits Milestone With FAA Clearance

Amazon has become one of only a handful of companies certified by the U.S. government to operate as a drone airline. The Federal Aviation Administration designated Amazon Prime Air an “air carrier,” which allows Amazon to begin its first commercial deliveries in the U.S. under a trial program. Amazon said last year it plans for its devices to make deliveries within 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) of a warehouse, reach customers within 30 minutes, and carry packages weighing as much as five pounds. The FAA is preparing to finalize a set of regulations that will serve as a framework to expand drone flights over crowds, a building block necessary for deliveries.

Coffee, ketchup and Nike Air Max: it’s the COVID consumer economy

Almost overnight, a consumer-driven economy with clearly delineated work and home spending, changed profoundly. Americans are now shelling out significantly more than a year before for coffee, eggs, sliced ham, ketchup and cheese, for example. Demand and prices have also increased for more expensive, or “splurge”, items like $106 men’s Nike Air Max sneakers, $105 Lululemon yoga pants and even a $1,500 Louis Vuitton handbag. Economists put this down to the fact that many people, unable to spend outside, have more cash in hand. Even many workers on furlough are receiving jobless benefits that match their wages under a federal stimulus plan.

Miscellaneous News

Marcus Rashford launches taskforce to continue fight against UK child poverty

Manchester United star Marcus Rashford has joined forces with some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets and food brands as he continues his campaign against child food poverty. The new scheme, set up with the likes of Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Kellogg’s, Waitrose, Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Deliveroo, FareShare, Food Foundation, Iceland and Lidl, could provide a new sustainable solution. The taskforce has supported three proposals put forward by the National Food Strategy, the first major independent review of the UK’s food system for 75 years.

Australian man shocked after massive serpents crash through kitchen ceiling

Retiree David Tait received a bit of a shock when he found two carpet snakes had tumbled on to the kitchen floor before slithering away. the two snakes were male, and appeared to be fighting over a third, female snake. Measuring 2.8m and 2.5m long, and reportedly weighing 22kg between them, Brown said the snakes were “some of the biggest and fattest” he’d ever seen. The third snake has still not been located, sparking fears it was still somewhere in the house. The other two snakes were relocated to a state forest close by.

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