Record internet speed 📡 Nasal vaccine 👃 Signs of recovery 🏘️!

Technology News

UCL engineers set new world record internet speed

The research team achieved a data transmission rate of 178 terabits a second (178,000,000 megabits a second) – a speed at which it would be possible to download the entire Netflix library in less than a second. The record, which is double the capacity of any system currently deployed in the world, was achieved by transmitting data through a much wider range of colours of light, or wavelengths, than is typically used in optical fibre. The benefit of the technique is that it can be deployed on already existing infrastructure cost-effectively, by upgrading the amplifiers that are located on optical fibre routes at 40-100km intervals.

Tesla is working on a sensor that can detect a child left behind in a hot car

Tesla is working on a new motion-detection sensor that could detect a child left behind in a hot car. The company is seeking approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to market the technology, which would use unlicensed millimeter-wave radar sensors designed to operate at higher power levels than allowed under existing rules. Tesla envisions using radar imaging to measure body size so it can tell the difference between adults and children. This can help the car “optimize airbag deployment in a crash – more effectively than existing weight based, in-seat sensor systems,” the company explains.

Science News

Nasal vaccine against COVID-19 prevents infection in mice

Scientists have developed a vaccine that targets the SARS-CoV-2 virus, can be given in one dose via the nose and is effective in preventing infection in mice. Unlike other COVID-19 vaccines in development, this one is delivered via the nose, often the initial site of infection. The researchers found that the nasal delivery route created a strong immune response throughout the body, but it was particularly effective in the nose and respiratory tract, preventing the infection from taking hold in the body. “In some of the mice, we saw evidence of sterilizing immunity, where there is no sign of infection whatsoever after the mouse is challenged with the virus.”

Long-acting, Injectable Drug Could Strengthen Efforts to Prevent, Treat HIV

Scientists have developed an injectable drug (CPT31) that blocks HIV from entering cells. The new drug potentially offers long-lasting protection from the infection with fewer side effects. The drug could eventually replace or supplement components of combination drug “cocktail” therapies currently used to prevent or treat the virus. The drug was injected into healthy macaque monkeys starting several days prior to exposure to a hybrid simian-human form of HIV called SHIV. The monkeys were completely protected from this very high SHIV exposure, much higher than what humans typically encounter, and never developed signs of infection.

Business News

Signs of recovery? U.S. business activity and home sales surge

U.S. home sales rose at a record rate for a second straight month in July, and purchasing managers in both the manufacturing and services sectors report business activity has accelerated at a brisker-than-expected pace this month. Sales of existing homes rose 24.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.86 million units last month from 4.7 million in June. Home prices also shot to a record $304,100, and a shortage of inventory is making competition for houses fierce. The average time on the market fell to 22 days in July, a record low, from 24 in June, and nearly 70% sold in less than a month.

A possible successor to Jeff Bezos is leaving Amazon

Jeff Wilke, a veteran Amazon executive, is retiring from the company early next year. Wilke has headed Amazon’s worldwide consumer division since 2016 and was widely seen as a likely successor to Bezos. He will be replaced in his role by Dave Clark, Amazon’s current senior vice president for worldwide operations. Wilke’s surprise departure comes as demand for Amazon deliveries has surged during the pandemic. The online retail giant reported $88.9 billion in revenue, up 40% from the same period a year earlier. Net income doubled to $5.2 billion, despite the company’s more-than $4 billion investment in managing the pandemic in the period.

Miscellaneous News

Northern California wildfire now 2nd-largest ever as total blazes scorch nearly 1M acres

A wildfire in Northern California has grown to become the second-largest in state history as it and hundreds of other blazes have now scorched nearly one million acres. “California is battling two of the largest fires in our history and has seen nearly 600 new fires in the last week caused by dry lightning strikes.” Many of the fires raging in the state were sparked by a large number of lightning strikes as California is in the grip of a heatwave. Over 13,700 firefighters are battling nearly two dozen major fires or complexes.

Britain to get first commercial refinery for extracting precious metals from e-waste

The UK is to get its first commercial refinery for extracting precious metals from electronic waste, which will also be the world’s first to use bacteria rather than cyanide-based processes. The UK’s impending exit from the EU has provided an urgent economic need for such a facility – a UN report last month found at least $10bn (£7.9bn) of gold, platinum and other precious metals were dumped every year in a growing mountain of e-waste. The UK refinery will initially be able to process 20 tonnes of e-waste per day and, if the demand is there, this can be scaled up.

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