Hologram machine 👻 World’s brightest material 🔆 Billionaire tax 🧾!

Technology News

Tired of Zoom calls? Company offers at-home hologram machines

The device made by PORTL lets users talk in real time with a life-sized hologram of another person. Anyone with a camera and a white background can send a hologram to the machine in what Chief Executive David Nussbaum calls “holoportation.” The devices can be equipped with artificial intelligence from Los Angeles-based company StoryFile to produce hologram recordings that can be archived. The companies are promoting to museums, which could let visitors question a hologram of a historical figure, and to families to record information for future generations. The company also plans a smaller tabletop device with a lower price tag early next year.

In-ear nerve-stimulating device helps people learning a new language

An in-ear device that stimulates a major nerve leading to the brain can help people learn unfamiliar sounds in a new language. Matthew Leonard and his colleagues have developed an earbud-like electrode that can stimulate the part of the vagus nerve that extends into the ear without the need for an implant. Because the nerve stimulation is imperceptible, the volunteers didn’t know whether or when they received it. The participants who received nerve stimulation were 13 per cent better, on average, at classifying tones in Mandarin and achieved peak performance twice as quickly as those who wore the device but didn’t receive stimulation.

Science News

Chemists solve a 150-year-old mystery; create the brightest material ever

Chemists report that a newly discovered class of materials called SMILES (small-molecule ionic isolation lattices), along with a specialized scaffolding molecule. The finding focuses on solving a familiar and resilient problem facing fluorescents called “quenching.” The trick to achieving this was using a colorless molecule called a cyanostar which kept the dyes from mixing as they set. This maintained their precious optical qualities and enabled them to transform into a lattice of separated molecules which the team dubbed SMILES. This process could give new life to over 100,000 dyes for applications in biomedical imaging, solar energy, and more.

Tasmanian devil research offers new insights for tackling cancer in humans

The study found a single genetic mutation that leads to reduced growth of a transmissible cancer in Tasmanian devils in the wild. The research team studied the genomes of cases of devil facial tumor disease (DFTD), that regressed spontaneously — that is, the cancer began disappearing on its own. They were surprised to find the mutation contributing to tumor regression doesn’t change the gene function but instead, turns on a gene that slows cell growth in the tumor. “While the findings hold the most immediate promise to help save the world’s few remaining Tasmanian devils, these results could also someday translate to human health.”

Business News

Bernie Sanders wants to tax billionaires’ pandemic gains to fund health care

A new bill introduced by Sens. Bernie Sanders would implement a one-time 60% tax on billionaires to cover the health care costs of every American for a year. The Make Billionaires Pay Act would tax the $731 billion in wealth accumulated by the richest 0.001% of America between March 18 through August 5. This would apply to 467 individuals. The money generated from this 60% tax would go towards covering out-of-pocket expenses for the uninsured and underinsured for one year. The top five richest Americans Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett and Larry Ellison — would pay a combined $87.1 billion under the bill.

SpaceX and ULA win military launch competition worth $653 million — and that’s just the start

SpaceX and Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture United Launch Alliance are the big winners in a stiff competition to secure military launch contracts. The initial awards will give $316 million to SpaceX for one launch and $337 million to ULA for two launches. But the total value of the deal could be worth far more, as the military will ask one or the other company to launch additional missions. SpaceX is expected to handle 40% of all national security satellites slated to go up over the next five to seven years, while ULA will handle the other 60%. Exactly what the companies will launch will remain secret.

Miscellaneous News

More grocer recalls of prepared foods for onions tied to salmonella outbreak

Giant Eagle is adding its name to the list of major grocery chains, including Walmart and Kroger, warning consumers against eating prepared foods that could contain recalled onions tied to an outbreak of salmonella that’s now sickened more than 600 people. Giant Eagle is recalling almost 50 ready-to-eat products it purchased since July 25 — including dozens of varieties of salads, pizzas and hoagies — that include onion as an ingredient. Giant Eagle’s recall also involves all bulk and bagged red, yellow and white onions sold in its produce departments since June 6.

More than a million people in the UK have quit smoking since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, new study shows

A recent survey by the UK charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), conducted between April 15 to June 20, more than one million people in Britain have given up smoking. Almost half (41%) said it was a direct response to heightened health concerns during the coronavirus pandemic. The study found that older people are quitting at slower rates than younger people, despite being categorized in the more vulnerable group. The study by ASH found that of the 1 million people who quit between April and June, 400,000 were aged between 16 and 25.

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