Robot graduation 🎓, bacteria transport 🦠 and crypto surge incoming 🤑!

Technology


Robots replace students at Japan graduation ceremony amid Covid-19 outbreak – video

A university in Japan has held a graduation ceremony for students using avatar robots remotely controlled by graduating students from their homes. The avatar robots, dubbed ‘Newme,’ by developer ANA Holdings, were dressed in graduation caps and gowns for the ceremony, complete with tablets projecting the graduates’ faces. Business Breakthrough (BBT) University in Tokyo said it hoped the approach could be used as a model for other schools wishing to avoid large gatherings amid the pandemic.

California allows startup Nuro to test driverless delivery vehicles

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has authorized autonomous technology startup Nuro to test two driverless delivery vehicles in nine cities. Nuro, the second firm after Alphabet Inc’s Waymo to receive the state’s permit, has been allowed to test its low-speed R2 vehicle, about half the width of a regular car, without drivers. Nuro was permitted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to deploy up to 5,000 low-speed electric delivery vehicles in Houston without human controls such as mirrors and steering wheels. Walmart Inc and Domino’s Pizza last year launched pilot delivery projects with Nuro in Houston.

Science


Researchers Have Found a Way to Control Bacteria to Transport Microscopic Cargo

Researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute have found a way to control bacteria to transport microscopic cargo. Bacteria form the largest biomass in the world, and they are constantly moving, but their movement is chaotic. The researchers used a liquid crystal to dictate the direction of the bacterial movement, and added a microscopic cargo for the bacteria to carry more than 5 times the size of the bacteria. “It doesn’t restrict the bacterial movement, it just orientates them in the direction we want them.”

Stanford researchers devise treatment that relieved depression in 90% of participants in small study

Stanford Medicine researchers used high doses of magnetic stimulation, delivered on an accelerated timeline and targeted to individual neurocircuitry, to treat patients with severe depression. The treatment is called Stanford Accelerated Intelligent Neuromodulation Therapy, or SAINT. All of the participants had suicidal thoughts before the therapy, none of them reported having suicidal thoughts after treatment. The only side effects of the new therapy were fatigue and some discomfort during treatment.

Business


Wealth Advisor Says Bitcoin and Crypto Assets Poised to Surge As New Economic Era Emerges

Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of the international financial consultancy giant deVere Group, says Bitcoin’s upcoming halving and global macro factors are set to catalyze a new crypto bull run. “We’re moving towards an era of zero-interest rates. This reduces the incentive to keep fiat currency. In addition, rate cuts typically lead to higher inflation, which reduces the purchasing power of traditional currencies.Therefore, Bitcoin, and other decentralized cryptocurrencies, become more attractive and the price will adjust upwards accordingly.”

Coca-Cola is again rated as the most polluted brand in the world

According to a recent global survey audit, Coca-Cola, Nestlé and Pepsi have once again become the world’s most polluted plastic companies. This marks the second consecutive year that Coca-Cola has become the most polluted brand in the world. In the United States, Nestlé is the most polluted company, followed by Solo Cup and Starbucks. Volunteers recorded 11,732 plastics from 37 different countries, and Coca-Cola alone accounted for 2.5% of the total plastic waste collected. Many companies design plastics that are either too low-quality to be recycled.

Miscellaneous


Lady Gaga has raised $35 million in 7 days for the WHO’s global coronavirus response fund, and is spearheading a virtual festival

Lady Gaga has helped raise $35 million in seven days for the World Health Organization’s Solidarity Response Fund by calling on corporate leaders and philanthropists. The money will go toward global PPE supplies, testing kits and help “improve lab capacity” to process the tests. Gaga also announced her partnership with the music festival organization Global Citizen to spearhead a streamed musical festival called “One World Together at Home.” It will not be a fundraiser but rather a celebration of “the power of the human” that the pandemic has brought to light.

Himalayas visible for first time in 30 years as pollution levels in India drop

Some residents in northern India say they can see the snow-capped Himalayas 200 kilometres away for the first time in 30 years. According to the India Today Data Intelligence Unit (DIU) from March 16-27, the air quality index improved by 33 per cent on an average in the country. The World Health Organisation says the safe limit for air quality is to keep the particulate matter PM2.5 below 20mg/m3. India, during most of the year, records five times higher (PM 2.5 higher than 100mg/m3) than the global safe limit.

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