Music videos 🥁 Jet lag ⌛ Machine takeover 🦾!

Technology News

Facebook publicly launches its collaborative music video app, Collab

A “collab” is a selection of three 15-second independent videos, stacked on top of each other, that play in sync. This could consist of a guitarist, drummer and a singer, each playing alongside each other in their respective videos. As you discover musicians you like to play along with, you can favorite them in the app. The app itself will handle the complexities of audio and video syncing by offering in-app tools that can nudge your clip back into alignment when you’re off. Users can now even use external audio interfaces to bring music from electronic instruments, like keyboard, guitars and drum kits into their recordings.

Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo unite on new set of safety principles for online gaming

Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, who among them effectively control the entirety of the console gaming market, have announced a shared set of safety guidelines for how they’ll moderate and police their online platforms. The principles have been published as increasing numbers of games are offering crossplay among the different platforms. The principles come under three main categories; prevention, partnership, and responsibility. The announcement doesn’t contain any details about specific policy changes, but the solidarity is notable in an industry where competition among them is often characterized as a “war.”

Science News

What the NBA bubble taught scientists about jet lag

In a recent study, researchers unwound the biological mechanisms behind a home-court advantage. “When we travel quickly to new time zones, and a subsequent new light/dark cycle, our internal body clock can’t adapt quickly enough.” Players were significantly less likely to win when traveling across time zones, especially traveling westward. These teams experiencing jet lag had worse shooting accuracy and decreased effort overall. “This study highlights the fact that we should prioritize sleep when possible and attempt to do activities when our internal body clock is optimally promoting those activities to be done.”

Losing Money Multiple Times Causes Plastic Changes in the Brain

Researchers have shown experimentally that economic activity can actively change the brain. The study showed that participating in an economic game leads to plastic changes in the auditory cortex of the brain, which begins to more accurately distinguish sounds that are associated with large financial losses. Moreover, scientists have demonstrated a link of this plastic change of the brain with the ‘learning signal’ generated by the human brain during performance of the monetary incentive delay (MID) Task. Subjects with a more pronounced neural ‘learning signal’ demonstrated stronger plastic changes in the nervous system.

Business News

More than half of UK’s furloughed jobs at risk of automation – report

The two-year commission on workers and technology found that workers in sectors hit hardest by the pandemic – such as hospitality, leisure and retail – face a “double whammy” as their jobs are at the most risk of being replaced by machines. The findings show that as many as 61% of jobs furloughed in the first half of this year were in sectors where automation is most likely to lead to job losses. Physical-distancing requirements, remote working and online shopping have driven consumers and firms to make permanent changes to the way they use technology this year, with the pandemic likely to have a lasting impact on business and society.

JD Sports buys Shoe Palace for $325 million to expand U.S. footprint

Britain’s biggest sportswear retailer JD Sports said it has bought retailer Shoe Palace for $325 million in a move that would expand its footprint in the US. JD Sports, which entered the U.S. market with the acquisition of Finish Line, said the deal would increase its appeal among Hispanic and Latino consumers, who form a significant proportion of Shoe Palace’s customer base. Shoe Palace is operated by four brothers who will be issued equity in JD’s U.S. unit where the brothers would own 20%. “It’s a great fit for JD: Finish Line has a weakness on the West coast and doesn’t really connect with the shoppers SP is close to.”

Miscellaneous News

Record number of journalists jailed in 2020, says watchdog

A record number of journalists were behind bars this year, a US-based watchdog said, accusing governments worldwide of suppressing the media and fueling misinformation amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The annual report by the Committee to Protect Journalists found that 274 journalists were imprisoned in 2020 — the highest number since the non-profit organisation began its survey in the 1990s. The report also found that 26 journalists and media workers had been murdered this year, with Mexico listed as the world’s most dangerous country for the press.

Scotland’s drug deaths rise to new record

More than 1,200 people in Scotland died of drug misuse last year, new figures show. The figures show a record number of deaths for the sixth year in a row and the highest total since records began in 1996. It is the worst rate recorded in Europe and about three and a half times the rate for England and Wales. The Scottish government argues that it needs more control over the law to trial initiatives such as safer injecting facilities; the UK government argues the opposite, and that instead there needs to be more investment in rehab beds.

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