Researchers are presenting world’s first industrial installation to use iron powder as a new, circular fuel. By successfully connecting the installation to the brewing process of brewery Bavaria, they have proven that iron fuel can be used as a sustainable substitute for heat-intensive industries and power plants. Until now, there have been few CO2-free and scalable alternatives for these sectors. “No CO2 is produced during combustion and only rust remains. It’s a circular process: you capture this rust powder and sustainably convert it back into iron powder.” Furthermore, iron fuel is safe and loses virtually no energy during storage.
In a new paper, researchers present a recommendation algorithm that predicts the probability that a patient’s UTI can be treated by first or second-line antibiotics. With this information, the model then makes a recommendation for a specific treatment that selects a first-line agent as frequently as possible, without leading to an excess of treatment failures. The team showed that the model would allow clinicians to reduce the use of second-line antibiotics 67 percent. For patients where clinicians chose a second-line drug but the algorithm chose a first-line drug, the first-line drug ended up working more than 90 percent of the time.
Researchers have used dehydrated strands of synthetic DNA for a new DNA-based tagging method, dubbed Porcupine. The tagging method uses distinct DNA strands called molecular bits, also known as ‘molbits’. The molecular tags can be programmed and read within seconds via a portable nanopore device. “DNA tags can’t be detected by sight or touch. Practically speaking, this means they are difficult to tamper with. This makes them ideal for tracking high-value items and separating legitimate goods from forgeries…For example, you could envision molecular tagging being used to track voters’ ballots and prevent tampering in future elections.”
On April 28, space observatories detected a burst of activity from the center of the Milky Way. Although fast radio bursts are frequently detected coming from outside our own galaxy, their sources remain a mystery. Scientists found that the burst appeared to erupt from a source 30,000 light-years away from Earth produced by a magnetar, a dense, spinning and hyper-magnetized star. These strange stars are the remnants left after a supernova and are wrapped in intense magnetic fields. The next cosmic mystery to crack is to figure out exactly how these bursts of emissions are produced by the strange stars.
Finance minister Rishi Sunak ploughed more money into Britain’s £200 billion economic rescue in a coordinated move with the Bank of England, which will buy more of the bonds being sold to fund it. The announcement is Sunak’s fourth major revision to his economic plans in six weeks. Critics said he had failed to plan far enough ahead and was plunging businesses into confusion. Britain is heading for a budget deficit of around 20% of GDP in the current financial year, its widest since World War Two. The BoE expects that Britain’s unemployment rate would peak at nearly 8% in the second quarter of next year.
Japanese gaming giant Nintendo’s profits are soaring as a coronavirus boom in video games continues. Sales of Nintendo’s Switch console helped profits to more than triple in the half year to end of September. Nintendo is one of the firms riding the crest of this wave, and its games have capitalised on different lockdown trends. Its Animal Crossing games lets users interact in a virtual world, which appeals to people who cannot meet up face-to-face. “You can visit people in the game, and it’s become a way to socialise.” Nintendo profit before tax jumped to almost 300bn yen (£2.2bn) in the six months to 30 September, up from 85bn yen in the same period a year ago.
Oregon will become the first state in the country to legalize psilocybin with the passage of Measure 109. Multiple cities have decriminalized the substance, but Oregon will become the first to permit supervised use statewide if that majority holds. The new law will allow anyone age 21 or older who passes a screening to access the services for “personal development.” But the law won’t mean that “magic” mushrooms have the same legal status as cannabis. Instead, it will allow psilocybin to be stored and administered at licensed facilities.
A billion dollars worth of bitcoins linked to the shuttered darknet market Silk Road has changed hands for the first time in seven years, prompting renewed speculation about the fate of the illicit fortune. Almost 70,000 bitcoins stored in the account which are visible to the public, had been untouched since 2013. However, the full amount less a $12 (£9) transaction fee was transferred to a new bitcoin address, records show. “The movement of these bitcoins today, now worth around $955m, may represent Ulbricht or a Silk Road vendor moving their funds.”