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Technology News

New Virtual Obstacle Courses Are Teaching Real Robots How to Walk

A virtual army of 4,000 doglike robots was used to train an algorithm capable of enhancing the legwork of real-world robots. They used meandering bots in a simulation called ANYMals to overcome difficult obstacles for robots, like steps, slopes, and sharp drops carved into a virtual landscape. Every time a robot solves a navigational problem, the researchers give it a harder one, nudging the algorithm in a maddeningly unforgiving puzzle whose sole purpose is to teach its digital guest how to surmount the insurmountable, achieving a level of sophistication never seen in AI mobility.

ESA to Test 3D Printing in Space Using Scrap Metals From the Moon

The European Space Agency (ESA) has recently partnered with Incus, OHB System AG, and Lithoz GmbH in a joint project to develop and test 3D printing in a micro-gravity environment reminiscent of the moon. The new technology uses recycled powders from scrap metals that are readily available on the Moon to produce new materials. The project will last a total of 18 months and will be used to assess the feasibility of processing scrap metals available on the Moon’s surface to produce a high-quality final product using an eco-friendly zero-waste process. If successful, future missions on the moon will significantly reduce their dependence on Earth for everything from creating habitats to research material.

Science News

Hydrogel Tablet Can Purify a Liter of River Water in an Hour

Scientists and engineers have created a hydrogel tablet that can rapidly purify contaminated water. One tablet can disinfect a liter of river water and make it suitable for drinking in an hour or less. The special hydrogels generate hydrogen peroxide to neutralize bacteria at an efficiency rate of more than 99.999%. The hydrogen peroxide works with activated carbon particles to attack essential cell components of bacteria and disrupt their metabolism.The process requires zero energy input and doesn’t create harmful byproducts. The hydrogels can easily be removed, and they don’t leave any residue.

Serotonin stabilizes social memories

Researchers were able to observe how a mouse brain forms a memory of a new acquaintance and demonstrated the ability to selectively dampen or enhance these social memories with targeted drugs. They used a drug to selectively inhibit medial septum neurons just before introducing a new animal, preventing the formation of these social memories. The meeting went normally, but when the animals met again even just minutes later, the affected mouse acted as if it had never seen the other animal before. On the flip side, using a different drug to enhance medial septum activity during the animals’ first meeting triggered super-powered social memory.

Business News

Walmart and Netflix open a new online store with Stranger Things, Cocomelon, Nailed It merchandise

Walmart has launched the Netflix Hub, which it says will be the “biggest online retail destination for Netflix consumer products in the US.” The hub will soon include a crowd-sourcing feature called “Netflix Fan Select” that will allow fans the opportunity to vote for merchandise they’d like to see from their favorite Netflix titles that Walmart merchants will bring to life. “Walmart gave us the opportunity to deliver a shopping experience that sets a new level of innovation for the entertainment consumer products space.” “Walmart gave us the opportunity to deliver a shopping experience that sets a new level of innovation for the entertainment consumer products space.”

Nations agree to 15% minimum corporate tax rate

Some 136 countries have agreed to enforce a corporate tax rate of at least 15%, as well a fairer system of taxing profits where they are earned. It follows concern that multinational companies are re-routing their profits through low tax jurisdictions. Countries including Ireland had opposed the deal but have now agreed to the policy. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organisation, has led talks on a minimum rate for a decade. It said the deal could bring in an extra $150bn of tax a year, bolstering economies as they recover from Covid.

Miscellaneous News

Tens of thousands take part in pro-European demonstrations across Poland

Politicians across Europe voiced dismay at the ruling by Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal, which they saw as undercutting the legal pillar on which the 27-nation EU stands. Protests took place in over 100 towns and cities across Poland and several cities abroad, with 80,000-100,000 people gathering in the capital Warsaw alone, waving Polish and EU flags and shouting “We are staying”. “We know why they want to leave (the EU) … so that they can violate democratic rules with impunity.” Speakers at the demonstrations included politicians from across the opposition, artists and activists.

A real-life ‘Squid Game’ is being organized in Abu Dhabi

Fans of the wildly popular “Squid Game” series on Netflix in Abu Dhabi will be given a chance to experience a real-life “Squid Game,” sans the murder and bloodshed. The Korean Cultural Center in the United Arab Emirates is organizing a re-enactment of the games seen in the Netflix series for two teams of 15 participants. The event is slated to be held this Tuesday, October 12, in two sessions at the Center’s Abu Dhabi office. The Center’s games will be held in two-hour, tournament-style sessions, and the eliminated players will get to watch the rest of the games from the sidelines. Sadly, there’s no prize money.

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