Internet hijack 🌐, smart toilets 🚽 and milk pandemic 🥛!

Technology


Russian telco ‘hijacked internet traffic’

Traffic intended for more than 200 of the world’s largest content delivery networks (CDNs) and cloud hosting providers was recently redirected through Russia’s state-owned telecoms provider Rostelecom. While the incident only lasted for about an hour, it affected more than 8,800 internet traffic routes from over 200 networks. The companies impacted by the BGP hijack include Google, Amazon, Facebook, Cloudflare and GoDaddy. Experts have pointed out that it is possible to make an intentional BGP hijack appear as an accident which could be the case here.

IBM shares AI tools to better understand and treat COVID-19

IBM has released a series of new tools to aggregate data, help researchers explore potential therapies, advance the study of newly sequenced SARS-CoV-2 genomes and make the latest info available to healthcare professionals. IBM is also making its Functional Genomics Platform available for free for the duration of the pandemic. The tool is a repository of genes, proteins and other molecules from sequenced viral and bacterial organisms, and it’s meant to help researchers identify molecular targets necessary for drug design, test development and treatment.

Science


‘Smart toilet’ monitors for signs of disease

The toilet is fitted with technology that can detect a range of disease markers in stool and urine, including those of some cancers, such as colorectal or urologic cancers. Urine samples undergo physical and molecular analysis; stool assessment is based on physical characteristics. The toilet automatically sends data extracted from any sample to a secure, cloud-based system for safekeeping. In the future, the system could be integrated into any health care provider’s record-keeping system for quick and easy access.

Blue dye from red beets – chemists devise a new pigment option

Beets produce chemical compounds called betalains, which are natural pigments and antioxidants. The chemical structure of betalains can be modified to produce almost any hue. We realized that if we increased the number of alternating single-double bonds in betalain molecules, we could change their colour from orange or magenta to blue. BeetBlue dissolves easily in water and other solvents, maintains its colour in acidic and neutral solutions, and may provide an alternative to expensive blue colourants that often contain toxic metals.

Business


U.S. dairy farmers dump milk as pandemic upends food markets

The milk supply chain has seen a host of disruptions that are preventing dairy farmers from getting their products to market. Mass closures of restaurants and schools have forced a sudden shift from those wholesale food-service markets to retail grocery stores, creating logistical and packaging nightmares for plants processing milk, butter and cheese. The dairy business has been hit harder and earlier than other agricultural commodities because the products are highly perishable – milk can’t be frozen, like meat, or stuck in a silo, like grain.

VW installed ‘defeat devices’ to subvert emissions tests, high court finds

Car manufacturer Volkswagen subverted key air pollution tests by using special software to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides under test conditions. “A software function which enables a vehicle to pass the test because (artificially) it operates the vehicle in a way which is bound to pass the test and in which it does not operate on the road is a fundamental subversion of the test”. The high court finding is a boost to attempts by campaigners to force the company to address the impact of its cars in producing lung-damaging pollutants at far higher levels than were legally permissible.

Miscellaneous


Ban wildlife markets to prevent future pandemics, says UN biodiversity chief

An international ban on wildlife markets could help stop future pandemics like coronavirus from breaking out, according to the United Nations biodiversity chief. The Covid-19 outbreak is believed to have originated in a seafood market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where it is thought stallholders were infected during contact with animals on sale. Previous epidemics have also begun with animal-to-human transmission, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which infected more than 8,000 people between 2002 and 2003.

LGBT charity tells young people to ‘hit pause’ on coming out while in lockdown with parents

The advice comes as LGBT+ helplines see a surge in calls from people who are stuck self-isolating with abusive family and partners. He expressed concern for how families may react to their child coming out in this particularly stressful time, and warned of the dangers of being made homeless during the pandemic.”You can’t predict at these completely unprecedented times how your parents will react. They, like you, are under a lot of stress and they may not react in a positive way.”

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