Predictive touch 🔮 artificial protein 🧬 Ransomware attack 💢!

Technology News

Jaguar Land Rover shows off AI-powered ‘no-touch touchscreen’ for cars

Jaguar Land Rover and Cambridge University have developed a touchscreen system for cars that you don’t actually have to touch at all. A gesture tracker (which uses either vision-based or radio frequency-based sensors) works in concert with other factors, like eye tracking and other contextual information, to figure out which button you want to tap. The “predictive touch” system could come in handy, for instance, when you’re on a bumpy road and it’s hard to tap the correct part of the screen. Tests and trials showed the technology could reduce the time and effort it takes a driver to interact with a touchscreen by up to half.

These $26 million robotic dolphins are coming to a Chinese aquarium soon and they look exactly like the real thing

Aquariums could soon be home to animatronic dolphins, and visitors might not even know the difference right away. Edge Innovations, is combining artificial intelligence and animatronics to foster a human zoo or aquarium experience. Edge Innovation claims that they will last longer, and they don’t have the same maintenance requirements as large ocean mammals. The animatronics will be “sustainable, safe, and profitable”. Edge Innovation’s website suggests hotels, cruises, malls, and museums as other potential venues. The website also mentions great white sharks and sea dragons as other options in the future.

Science News

Machine learning reveals recipe for building artificial proteins

A group of researchers have developed an artificial intelligence-led process that uses big data to design new proteins. By developing machine-learning models that can review protein information culled from genome databases, the researchers found relatively simple design rules for building artificial proteins. “We found that genome data contains enormous amounts of information about the basic rules of protein structure and function, and now we’ve been able to bottle nature’s rules to create proteins ourselves.” When the team constructed these artificial proteins in the lab, they found that they performed chemical processes so well that they rivaled those found in nature.

Neandertals may have had a lower threshold for pain

People who inherited the Neandertal variant of this ion channel experience more pain. They found that some people, especially from central and south America but also in Europe, have inherited a Neandertal variant of a gene that encodes an ion channel that initiates the sensation of pain. “The biggest factor for how much pain people report is their age. But carrying the Neandertal variant of the ion channel makes you experience more pain similar to if you were eight years older.” On a molecular level, the Neandertal ion channel is more easily activated which may explain why people who inherited it have a lowered pain threshold.

Business News

Will Garmin Pay $10m Ransom To End Two-Day Outage?

Garmin is reportedly being asked to pay a $10 million ransom to free its systems from a cyberattack that has taken down many of its services for two days. The navigation company was hit by a ransomware attack, leaving customers unable to log fitness sessions in Garmin apps and pilots unable to download flight plans for aircraft navigation systems, among other problems. The company’s communication systems have also been taken offline, leaving it unable to respond to disgruntled customers. Reports claim that Garmin’s IT department shut down all of the company’s computers to halt the spread of the ransomware across its network.

British Airways-owner IAG boosted by 750 million pounds deal with American Express

British Airways-owner International Airlines Group said American Express would pay it 750 million pounds ($955 million) to renew their partnership, providing a welcome boost to the airline’s finances at a time when it is burning through cash. Since lockdowns have eased, flying has restarted, but pressure remains on airline companies like IAG because travel is still at less than half of pre-pandemic levels. IAG’s finances have been strained by the pandemic, leading to media speculation that it could need to raise new equity. It said at the end of April that it had 10 billion euros ($11.6 billion) of liquidity and it was burning through 200 million euros a week.

Miscellaneous News

U.S. eyes building nuclear power plants for moon and Mars

The U.S. wants to build nuclear power plants that will work on the moon and Mars, and put out a request for ideas from the private sector on how to do that. The U.S. Department of Energy put out the formal request to build what it calls a fission surface power system that could allow humans to live for long periods in harsh space environments. The Idaho National Laboratory, a nuclear research facility in eastern Idaho, the Energy Department and NASA will evaluate the ideas for developing the reactor.

France drugs: PM Castex to impose on-the-spot fines nationwide

France will introduce on-the-spot fines nationwide for drug users, particularly targeting cannabis, from September. The move comes amid concerns about drug-related violence and was announced by PM Jean Castex on a trip to Nice, which has seen weeks of unrest. The roll-out of fines follows tests in cities such as Rennes and Marseilles. The €200 ($233; £182) fixed fine will reduce to €150 if paid within 15 days. France does already have laws, dating back to 1970, seldom lead to prison sentences, with magistrates preferring alternative punishments, often warnings.

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