Hydrogen power 🔌 Squid protein 🦑 Toy sales plummet 🧸!

Technology News

Microsoft tests hydrogen fuel cells for backup power at datacenters

In a worldwide first, hydrogen fuel cells have powered a row of datacenter servers for 48 consecutive hours, Microsoft announced. The feat is the latest milestone in the company’s commitment to be carbon negative by 2030. “It is the largest computer backup power system that we know that is running on hydrogen and it has run the longest continuous test.” For 48 hours of backup power, each datacenter would require up to 100,000 kilograms of hydrogen to fuel the backup generators. The next step for the team is to procure and test a 3-megawatt fuel cell system, which is on par with the size of diesel-powered backup generators at Azure datacenters.

Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 5 can power phones 0-50% in 5 minutes

Qualcomm says that Quick Charge 5 is the “first commercially viable” fast charging solution that supports over 100W and is available for phone makers to use today. It’s emphasizing broader availability for many manufacturers over competing, single-OEM offerings. The key, touted capability is charging a 4,500mAh battery from 0 to 50% in five minutes, with a full top-up in 15 minutes. Quick Charge 5 incorporates 12 separate voltage, current and temperature protections, including USB-input overvoltage protection at 25V and external power controls beyond 30V. It also runs 10 degrees Celsius cooler than Quick Charge 4.

Science News

This squid-inspired protein is the future of PPE

A team of material scientists were able to transform unique squid proteins into a soft, biodegradable material that could be used to develop soft robots — and tear-resistant personal protective equipment (PPE). Existing self-healing materials can take up to 24-hours to heal and have a much lower overall resilience to damage. Their new squid-inspired material, on the other hand, can withstand tears and cuts and heal damage in just one second — while maintaining 100 percent of its previous strength. In addition to creating resilient PPE, the authors say that this material could also be used to create wear-resistant soft robots or even prosthetic limbs.

Meet Cosmo, a Bull Calf Designed to Produce 75% Male Offspring

Scientists have successfully produced a bull calf who was genome-edited as an embryo so that he’ll produce more male offspring. Part of the motivation is that male cattle are about 15 percent more efficient at converting feed into weight gain. Scientists successfully inserted the cattle SRY gene, the gene that is responsible for initiating male development, into a bovine embryo. It’s the first demonstration of a targeted gene knock-in for large sequences of DNA via embryo-mediated genome editing in cattle. “We anticipate Cosmo’s offspring that inherit this SRY gene will grow and look like males, regardless of whether they inherit a Y chromosome.”

Business News

Hasbro’s stock plunges as toy factory shutdowns hurt sales

Hasbro reported a bigger-than-expected drop in revenue and adjusted earnings for the second quarter. Shares fell 8% on the news. Hasbro which makes toys tied to popular Disney franchises as well as Nerf, Monopoly and Peppa Pig, said that overall sales were down 29% in the quarter. The company blamed the rash of temporary store closures in March and April and factory shutdowns across the globe due to Covid-19 for the weak results. Hasbro said that Chinese factories, which make up about 55% of the company’s production, are now operating at normal levels and trying to catch up to meet demand for the holidays.

Amazon may invest in Reliance Retail, a key backer of JioMart

Amazon is in the early stages of potentially acquiring a 9.9% stake in Reliance Retail, which operates over 10,000 stores. Amazon may be looking to strengthen its e-commerce operations in India by partnering with Reliance Retail and using its stores to bolster its product selection and enhance its omnichannel capabilities. Reliance Retail is also tied to e-commerce upstart JioMart, which is increasingly becoming a threat to Amazon and other Indian e-commerce players. If Amazon invests in Reliance Retail, it may lead to a collaboration with JioMart that could help both firms capture sales in India’s increasingly valuable e-commerce market.

Miscellaneous News

Millions of animals trafficked in Brazil annually – report

Millions of wild animals are trafficked domestically and out of Brazil every year, a new report has found, with its authors warning that a lack of good quality data means the country’s illegal wildlife trade is not taken seriously enough, with grave consequences for biodiversity. Brazil is home to 60% of the Amazon biome and 13% of the world’s animal and plant life, with 117,000 animal species and 46,000 species of plants. It also had 1,173 endangered species as of 2018, the report said, and one of the biggest threats is illegal take and trade.

Families have lost millions of dollars in a virtual kidnapping scam targeting Chinese students in Australia

In the elaborate global extortion, a fraudster convinces the victim they face legal action in China, and arrest or deportation. Victims are coerced into transferring money to offshore bank accounts or even persuaded to fake their own kidnapping with photo “evidence” sent to their family in China. The families are then tricked into paying ransoms to ensure the safe “release” of the student, whom police say is never actually in any physical danger. Fraudsters have obtained $3.2 million in ransom payments this year alone, police said.

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