Ultra Safe Nuclear Technologies (USNC-Tech) has delivered a concept to NASA that it believes can reduce travel time to Mars by about half — to three months. The Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) engine concept is safer than other similar proposed models. The concept uses a Fully Ceramic Micro-encapsulated (FCM) fuel, based on High-Assay Low Enriched Uranium (HALEU), to power the engine’s reactor. The company says this fuel can operate at higher temperatures, allowing for safer reactor designs and a high thrust and specific impulse that was only previously obtainable with highly-enriched uranium.
Artificial intelligence model detects asymptomatic Covid-19 infections through cellphone-recorded coughs
Researchers have now found that people who are asymptomatic may differ from healthy individuals in the way that they cough. These differences are not decipherable to the human ear. But it turns out that they can be picked up by artificial intelligence. The researchers trained the model on tens of thousands of samples of coughs, as well as spoken words. When they fed the model new cough recordings, it accurately identified 98.5 percent of coughs from people who were confirmed to have Covid-19, including 100 percent of coughs from asymptomatics – who reported they did not have symptoms but had tested positive for the virus.
A tiny device the size of a small paperclip, called Stentrode, has been shown to help patients with upper limb paralysis to text, email and even shop online in the first human trial. The device in implanted next to the brains motor cortex which requires a ‘keyhole’ incision in the neck. The patients used the Stentrode to control the computer-based operating system, in combination with an eye-tracker for cursor navigation. They also undertook machine learning-assisted training to control multiple mouse click actions, including zoom and left click. The patients achieved an average click accuracy of 92.5 per cent and typing speeds of 17 characters per minute.
Research suggests sugar consumption can disrupt the gut microbiome, make animals vulnerable to colon inflammation, and may lead to inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease. Mice on the sugar treatment suffered from aggressive colon inflammation with severe diarrhea and a rapid loss of nearly 20 percent of their body weight. Consuming sugar markedly altered the composition of the gut microbiome, the “good bacteria” in the gut that keeps the digestive system and metabolism operating smoothly. Short-term intake of large amounts of sugar didn’t trigger severe acute inflammatory responses.
The US economy in the summer recovered much of the historically enormous ground it lost in the spring, expanding at the fastest rate on record in the third quarter. The third quarter was one for the record books. Gross domestic product — the broadest measure of economic activity — grew at an annualized and seasonally adjusted rate of 33.1% between July and September. It was also the fastest growth rate since the government began to track quarterly GDP data in 1947. It represented a sharp, albeit partial, recovery from the prior three months, when the economy contracted at an annualized, seasonally adjusted rate of 31.4%.
Two years’ worth of e-commerce growth is about to be packed into one holiday season, according to a new forecast. Online sales this November and December are forecast to surge 33% year over year to a record $189 billion based on web transactions of 80 of the top 100 U.S. internet retailers. The e-commerce gains could go even higher if consumers receive another round of government stimulus checks or if brick-and-mortar stores are forced to shut down again to curb the spread of Covid-19. Should those two things occur, Adobe expects consumers could spend an extra $11 billion online, pushing total holiday spending past $200 billion.
Record numbers of an endangered species of turtle have hatched on a beach in northern Mexico, believed to be the result of reduced human activity during the coronavirus pandemic. The indigenous Seri community in Sonora state said it released more than 2,250 baby olive ridley sea turtles into the Gulf of California. The community usually releases about 500 of the small creatures every year. Fishing and tourism limits mean their beach nests have not been as disturbed. The species is considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a rare, heavy and immensely valuable asteroid called “16 Psyche” in the Solar System’s main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Psyche is made almost entirely of metals, just like the core of Earth. Given the asteroid’s size, its metal content could be worth $10,000 quadrillion, or about 10,000 times the global economy as of 2019. The asteroid is believed to be the dead core left by a planet that failed during its formation early in the Solar System’s life or the result of many violent collisions in its distant past.