The world’s first battery-electric freight train was unveiled at an event in Pittsburgh, amid a fresh attempt by some US lawmakers to slash carbon emissions from rail transport in order to address the climate crisis. The new train, known as the FLXdrive battery-electric locomotive, underwent successful trials in California earlier this year where it was found to have cut fuel consumption by 11%, which meant reducing the amount of diesel used by 6,200 gallons. The next iteration of the locomotive, to be rolled out within two years, will be able to cut the consumption of diesel, the fossil fuel traditionally used in freight rail, by nearly a third.
Some technology developed as a part of the shut down Alphabet Loon project remained in development, specifically the Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC) links. FSOC can create a 20Gbps+ broadband link from two points that have a clear line of sight, and Alphabet’s moonshot lab X has built up Project Taara to give it a shot. In 20 days, Project Taara says the link transmitted nearly 700TB of data, augmenting fiber connections used by local telecom partner Econet and its subsidiaries. Despite sending its communications without the protection of a physical fiber, during the test period, its link had 99.9 percent availability.
Researchers have found a way to make ultrathin surface coatings robust enough to survive scratches and dings. The new study found that the rapid evaporative qualities of a specialized polymer containing a network of dynamic bonds in its backbone help form a water-resistant, self-healing coating of nanoscale thicknesses. Called dyn-PDMS, the material can be easily dip-coated onto materials in nanoscale layers on various surfaces like silicon, aluminum, copper or steel. “One of the reasons we can get such thin layers is because the solvents used in the reaction evaporate very quickly, leaving only the polymer.”
New research has found that people experiencing these illnesses are more likely to have gut biomes that are characterised both by a lack of anti-inflammatory producing bacteria, as well as a higher amount of proinflammatory bacteria. The study found that people experiencing depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and psychosis were consistently found to have lower levels of faecalibacterium and coprococcus, two types of bacteria that have an anti-inflammatory effect within the gut. Further analysis found that individuals with these illnesses had higher levels of Eggerthella, a bacterium with pro-inflammatory effects.
Cigarette giant Philip Morris International has taken control of UK inhaler maker Vectura despite objections from health care charities.The producer of Marlboro and Parliament cigarettes said that it had secured nearly 75% of Vectura’s shares, making it the majority shareholder. More than 45% of Vectura shareholders accepted the takeover offer, and Philip Morris international purchased 29% of the company’s shares on the open market. The takeover boosts the tobacco company’s efforts to generate more than half of its net revenue from smoke-free products such as e-cigarettes and respiratory drugs within four years, up from about a quarter today.
AMC Entertainment Holdings boss Adam Aron said the theater chain would accept ether, bitcoin cash and litecoin alongside bitcoin for ticket purchases, as cryptocurrencies gain acceptance among mainstream investors and companies. “Cryptocurrency enthusiasts: you likely know @AMCTheatres has announced we will accept Bitcoin for online ticket and concession payments by year-end 2021. I can confirm today that when we do so, we also expect that we similarly will accept Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash.” The company said in August that it would start accepting bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, by the end of the year.
The hole in the ozone that forms every year over the South Pole is now larger than Antarctica. The ozone depletes and forms a hole over the Antarctic in the Southern Hemisphere’s spring, which is from August to October.It typically reaches its largest size between mid-September and mid-October. After growing “considerably” in the past week, the hole is now larger than 75% of previous years’ ozone holes at the same stage of the season since 1979 and is now bigger than the continent it looms over. Last year’s hole also began unexceptionally in September, but then turned into “one of the longest-lasting ozone holes in our data record.”
Residents of a First Nations community in Canada, who were deprived of clean drinking water for nearly a quarter of a century, can now drink from their taps after a water treatment facility became fully operational earlier this week. Shoal Lake 40, a community on the Manitoba-Ontario border, has been under drinking water advisory since 1997. Residents celebrated the opening of the community’s C$33m (US$26m) water treatment facility. “It’s unacceptable in a country that is financially one of the most wealthy in the world, and water rich, and the reality is that many communities don’t have access to clean water.”