Photonic qubits 🖥️, womb gene editing 🤰 & lending failures 👎!

Technology


Microsoft backs $215M round for photonic quantum computer startup PsiQuantum

Microsoft Corp.’s M12 venture capital arm and a number of other prominent investors have bet $215 million on PsiQuantum Corp., a startup aiming to build a million-qubit photonic quantum computer. It comes on top of a $230 million round PsiQuantum raised last year, making it one of the most well-funded startups in the quantum computing ecosystem. PsiQuantum is a developing quantum computer that uses photons as qubits. It’s an approach that differs fundamentally from the implementations of the current leading players in the field using trapped ions as qubits.

NASA sees an “exponential” jump in malware attacks as personnel work from home

NASA has experienced an exponential increase in malware attacks and a doubling of agency devices trying to access malicious sites in the past few days as personnel work from home. The number of mitigation-blocking of NASA systems trying to access malicious sites has also doubled which suggests that NASA employees and contractors are clicking on malicious links sent in email and text messages at twice the normal rate. Researchers have reported a torrent of coronavirus-themed phishing emails in recent weeks. Some emails posing as communication from university officials. Others masqueraded as World Health Organization communications.

Science


Scientists have created a method for editing baby genes right in the womb

Scientists introduced a specially designed synthetic molecule into the developing inner ear of embryonic mice 12 days after fertilization. As a result, scientists managed to correct the expression of the mutated gene in the mouse embryo that causes Asher syndrome – a disorder characterized by deafness and progressive loss of vision. A new study, combined with previous results, suggests that drug therapy can be administered through amniotic fluid in the uterus for the fetus. This method has not yet been tested on humans.

A single high dose of psilocybin alters brain function up to one month later

New research provides evidence that the active ingredient in magic mushrooms can affect brain processes related to emotional functioning long after the substance has left one’s body. The researchers found that self-reported emotional distress was reduced one week after psilocybin administration, but returned to baseline levels after one month. In addition, the researchers found increases in resting-state functional connectivity, which measures how blood oxygen level-dependent signals are coordinated across the brain, at both one week and one month after psilocybin administration.

Business


Thousands of applicants, zero loans: Trump’s small businesses lending program is a failure to launch

After the launch of a $350 billion loan program designed to rescue millions of small businesses pummelled by the coronavirus pandemic, technical glitches continued to cripple the ability of the lenders to begin processing the loans. With banks reporting tens of thousands of applications just in the first day, the system is already overwhelmed. The lending program is a much-needed lifeline for the 30 million small businesses across the country. It offers loans of up to $10 million to companies who employ fewer than 500 people. Those loans are forgiven as long as the businesses meet certain conditions.

New Data Shows U.S. Companies Are Definitely Leaving China

The Kearney’s seventh annual Reshoring Index shows what they called a “dramatic reversal” of a five-year trend as domestic U.S. manufacturing in 2019 commanded a significantly greater share versus 14 Asian exporters tracked in the study. Manufacturing imports from China were the hardest hit. Last year saw companies actively rethinking their supply chain, either convincing their Chinese partners to relocate to southeast Asia to avoid tariffs, or by opting out of sourcing from China altogether. The coronavirus has now literally closed the economies of the Western world and created a public relations nightmare for China.

Miscellaneous


Hong Kong’s pandas mate for first time in decade in privacy of coronavirus lockdown

After finally enjoying a period of privacy thanks to the coronavirus lockdown, a middle-aged couple of giant pandas in a Hong Kong theme park have mated for the first time in more than 10 years. Chinese scientists extracted sperm from Le Le after losing patience with natural breeding, and artificially inseminated Ying Ying, but this resulted in miscarriages. After more than two months of being alone together, the couple have recently shown signs they were in the mood for love. Reports say Ying Ying – in her oestrogen cycle – spent more time in the water and Le Le left more scent markings around the enclosure.

Design for cleaner, quieter snowmobile wins Yukon Innovation Prize

A Whitehorse aeronautical engineer has designed an innovative hydrogen fuel cell snowmobile to win this year’s Yukon Innovation Prize. “I am developing a new patent-pending engine that will sort of combine a hydrogen fuel cell with something like a jet engine. It will make it a lot more powerful, and lower-weight.” His idea is to retrofit older gas engine snowmobiles because older machines are more readily available and would give them a new life. Weissenberg says his hydrogen engine will have longer range, and perform better in cold climates than gas engines.

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