Robot perception 🤖 Metal diet 🔧 Global debt surges 📈!

Technology News


New model aims to give robots human-like perception of their physical environments

The new model, called 3D Dynamic Scene Graphs, enables a robot to quickly generate a 3D map of its surroundings that also includes objects and their semantic labels (a chair versus a table, for instance), as well as people, rooms, walls and other structures that the robot is likely seeing in its environment. The model also allows the robot to extract relevant information from the 3D map, to query the location of objects and rooms, or the movement of people in its path. Robots that adopt this new mental model of the environment may also be suited for other high-level jobs, such as working side by side with people on a factory floor or exploring a disaster site for survivors.

GitHub Has Stored Its Code in an Arctic Vault It Hopes Will Last 1,000 Years

The world’s largest source code repository announced that it enshrined its archive below hundreds of meters of permafrost in an Arctic vault, inside a chamber inside an abandoned mine inside a mountain, on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. A snapshot of every active public repository and “significant” dormant ones, taken 2 February 2020, has been printed on 186 3,500-foot digital archival film reels, which are expected to last 1,000 years. GitHub eventually plans to laser-engrave all active repositories onto quartz glass platters, to last over 10,000 years. The 21TB of repository data have been packaged into TAR files and will be QR-coded.

Science News


Bacteria with Metal Diet Discovered in Dirty Glassware

Microbiologists have discovered bacteria that feed on manganese and use the metal as their source of calories. Such microbes were predicted to exist over a century ago, but none had been found or described until now. The study also reveals that the bacteria can use manganese to convert carbon dioxide into biomass, a process called chemosynthesis. Previously, researchers knew of bacteria and fungi that could oxidize manganese, or strip it of electrons, but they had only speculated that yet-to-be-identified microbes might be able to harness the process to drive growth.

Avoiding food contamination with a durable coating for hard surfaces

A new study demonstrates that a coating – made from titanium dioxide – is capable of eliminating foodborne germs, such as salmonella and E. coli, and provides a preventative layer of protection against future cross-contamination on stainless steel food-contact surfaces. “In the presence of ultraviolet light, oxygen and water, the titanium dioxide will activate to kill bacteria from the food contact surfaces on which it is applied…We picked this material knowing it would have good antimicrobial behavior, and we strengthened its mechanical stability to withstand normal wear and tear in a typical food processing environment.”

Business News


Global debt hits record high of 331% of GDP in first quarter

Global debt surged to a record $258 trillion in the first quarter of 2020 as economies around the world shut down to contain the coronavirus pandemic, and debt levels are continuing to rise. The IIF said the first-quarter debt-to-GDP ratio jumped by over 10 percentage points, the largest quarterly surge on record, to reach a record 331%. Overall gross debt issuance hit an “eye-watering” record of $12.5 trillion in the second quarter, compared with a quarterly average of $5.5 trillion in 2019. “While increasing debt levels raise concerns about debt sustainability, over 92% of government debt is investment-grade.”

KFC will sell Beyond Fried Chicken at 50+ California restaurants

KFC will sell Beyond Fried Chicken at over 50 restaurants in Southern California, the chain announced. The plant-based chicken will be sold in greater Los Angeles and San Diego, as well as Orange County. It will be available in six-piece or 12-piece packs or as part of a combo meal, while supplies last. KFC’s announcement comes after several successful test launches of Beyond Fried Chicken in other markets in 2019 and early 2020. Beyond Meat is one of the biggest alternative protein brands in the world. In 2019, UBS predicted that the plant-based meat industry could be worth $85 billion by 2030 up from around $4.6 billion in 2018.

Miscellaneous News


Mike Tyson is set to fight a Great White Shark on August 9 for Discovery Channel

The Discovery Channel have announced that the former two-time heavyweight champion will take on a Great White shark as part of ‘Shark Week’. The fight has been dubbed ‘Tyson vs Jaws: Rumble on the Reef.’ “With famed ring announcer Michael Buffer calling the shots, these two heavyweights will square off underwater, where Mike Tyson will try to score a TKO over the massive shark … all in the name of research.” Tyson is using the unusual match-up as an opportunity to build his confidence ahead of stepping into the ring once more.

Cocaine Coffee Beans Intercepted by Police in Italy

According to police, they became suspicious of the package containing the coffee beans when someone noticed the name on it was Santino D’Antonio … a mafia boss villain in “John Wick: Chapter 2” as well as the third film in the franchise. The coked-up beans were shipped from Medellin in Colombia to Milan’s Malpensa airport, and all in all … the 2kg package contained 150g of cocaine powder via about 500 beans. The package was addressed to a tobacco shop in Florence, and cops busted the 50-year-old man who came to collect it.

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