Mars helicopter 🚁 Smelling temperature 🌡️ Fed bailout 💰!

Technology News


NASA’s Next Mars Rover Will Carry a Tiny Helicopter


Bolted to the Perseverance rover’s undercarriage is a small autonomous helicopter called Ingenuity. If all goes as planned, it will become the first aircraft to make a powered flight on another planet. The drone is just 1.8 kg with a fuselage the size of a box of tissues. Ingenuity’s twin carbon-fiber rotors sit on top of one another and spin in opposite directions at about 2,400 rpm, five times as fast as most helicopter rotors on Earth. Ingenuity is intended as a technology demonstration. Mission managers say they hope to make up to five flights over a 30-day period.

New radar allows cars to spot hazards around corners

Researchers have developed an automated system that will allow cars to peer around corners and spot oncoming traffic and pedestrians. The system, easily integrated into today’s vehicles, uses Doppler radar to bounce radio waves off surfaces such as buildings and parked automobiles. The radar signal hits the surface at an angle, so its reflection rebounds off like a cue ball hitting the wall of a pool table. “The proposed approach allows for collision warning for pedestrians and cyclists in real-world autonomous driving scenarios — before seeing them with existing direct line-of-sight sensors.”

Science News


VR System Hacks Your Nose to Turn Smells Into Temperatures

By using very specific chemicals to access the trigeminal nerve in your nose, they can make you feel hot and cold through smells without realizing you’re smelling anything. Pure capsaicin will trigger the TRPV1 receptor in your trigeminal nerve, triggering a hot sensation in your face. Cold is trickier, because menthol has a very powerful and distinctive smell, researchers tried eucalyptol to activate the TRPM8 receptor. Eucalyptol also has a detectable odour, but it’s much less distinctive. “Both the warm/cool sensations we were able to elicit in VR were surprisingly immersive, but definitely not as intense as directly heating/cooling the air or skin.”

A ‘Cure for Heart Disease’? A Single Shot Succeeds in Monkeys

Scientists have disabled two genes in monkeys that raise the risk for heart disease: PCSK9, which helps regulate levels of LDL cholesterol; and ANGPTL3, part of the system regulating triglyceride, a type of blood fat. The medicine they developed consists of two pieces of RNA which is shrouded in tiny lipid spheres to protect the medicine from being instantly degraded in the blood. The contents of the spheres are released, and once the editor lands on its target, it changes a single letter of the sequence to another. Not only did the system work in 13 monkeys, but every liver cell was edited.

Business News


Big tobacco, big oil and Buffett join Fed’s portfolio

The U.S. Federal Reserve bought $428 million in bonds of individual companies through mid-June, making investments in household names like Walmart and AT&T as well as in major oil firms, tobacco giant Philip Morris International Inc, and a utility subsidiary of billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway holding company. The transactions are the first individual company bond purchases made by the Fed under new programs set up to nurse the economy through the coronavirus pandemic. The largest purchases were of bonds issued by AT&T and the United Health Group, with the Fed buying around $16.4 million of bonds from each.

Mark Zuckerberg has $7 billion wiped off his fortune as Coca-Cola halts all social media advertising for 30 days

A boycott of Facebook by major advertisers is hammering the social media giant’s stock price and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s personal fortune. Zuckerberg’s net wealth is down by $7.21 billion, while Facebook’s share price dropped more than 8% as the ad boycott snowballs. The #StopHateforProfit campaign launched on June 19 in the wake of George Floyd’s death triggered by Facebook’s refusal to remove a post by President Donald Trump, which threatened the protesters with violence. The campaign pressures major advertisers to rethink their ad spend on Facebook until it brings in stricter moderation policies.

Miscellaneous News


NASA is offering $35,000 in prizes to design a toilet that will work on the moon

NASA wants you to help put the loo in lunar, so it’s offering $35,000 in prizes to design a toilet that can be used on the moon. The space agency has set an ambitious goal of sending astronauts back to the moon by 2024 and the crew will obviously have to go to the bathroom during the mission. The toilet designs should also conserve water and “help maintain a pristine environment inside the lander that is free of odors and other contaminants.” “Bonus points will be awarded to designs that can capture vomit without requiring the crew member to put his/her head in the toilet.”

New South Wales creates national park for rare species

The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) has announced the creation of a new national park to protect threatened species. The Narriearra station covers an area of 1,534 sq km (592 sq miles) in an area in the far north-west of the state. Its acquisition by authorities marks the largest purchase of private land for conservation in NSW’s history. The new national park extends across floodplains, wetlands and landscapes “currently not found anywhere in NSW national park.” The decision was praised by charities and conservation groups.

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