Shadow Facebook 👤, spider venom pain killers 🕷️ and Fintechs take on banks 🏦!

Technology


Facebook is building a hidden, bot-only platform to learn about trolls and scammers

Facebook wants to stop people from abusing its system, so it’s making a world of bots that can imitate them. Researchers have released a paper on a “Web Enabled Simulation” (WES) for testing the platform – basically a shadow Facebook where non-existent users can like, share, and friend (or harass, abuse, and scam) away from human eyes. While bots aren’t clicking around a literal app or webpage, they send actions like friend requests through Facebook code, triggering the same kinds of processes a real user would. This could also help Facebook detect bugs and no real users would be affected.

Aarogya Setu has 50 million users in 13 days, beats ‘Pokémon GO’ record

India’s coronavirus disease contact-tracing app Aarogya Setu, became the world’s fastest growing mobile app with 50 million users in 13 days. 11 million were in a single day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to download the application in his third televised address to the nation. The downloads surged from 39 million to a peak of 100,000 per minute on Tuesday morning following the Prime Ministers 10am address. Aarogya Setu overtook Nintendo’s popular augmented reality game ‘Pokémon GO’s’ record of 50 million downloads on Google Play in 19 days in 2016.

Science


Spider venom holds key to addiction-free pain killers

The current opioid crisis around the world means urgent alternatives to morphine and morphine-like drugs, such as fentanyl and oxycodone are desperately needed. Molecules in tarantula venom could be used as an alternative to opioid pain killers for people seeking chronic pain relief. Institute for Molecular Bioscience researchers have designed a new tarantula venom mini-protein that can potentially relieve severe pain without addiction. “Our study found that a mini-protein in tarantula venom from the Chinese bird spider, known as Huwentoxin-IV, binds to pain receptors in the body.”

CRISPR is using urine to treat this extremely common disease

Treatment options for chronic kidney disease are largely limited to invasive procedures like dialysis or kidney transplants, but even then patients are still at risk of transplant rejection or infection. To improve early detection of these kinds of negative outcomes, a team of international researchers has developed a diagnostic test,using CRISPR to easily detect early signs of infection using only a patient’s urine. The innovation could have huge implications for how scientists deal with weakened immune systems.

Business


Square and PayPal finally have a chance to prove they can beat the banks

With many small businesses in crisis mode as the COVID-19 outbreak rocks the U.S. economy, PayPal, Square and Intuit have been approved by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to distribute Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. The designation gives the companies a big opportunity to prove that they’re better equipped for lending than traditional banks because of their quickness and reach. The SBA gives lenders 5% for loans under $350,000 and offers a smaller percentage for larger loans.

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos adds $24bn to fortune

Jeff Bezos now has a fortune of $138bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, cementing his position as the world’s richest man. Amazon has benefited from surging internet shopping by people forced to stay home during the Covid-19 outbreak. Mr Bezos who owns an 11% stake in Amazon saw a 5.3% rise in shares. The family behind retail giant Wal-Mart, which owns Asda in the UK, have also gained during the lockdown. The Waltons saw their net worth rise 5% this year to $169bn, making them the world’s richest family, according to Bloomberg.

Miscellaneous


The Average Household’s Internet Data Usage Has Jumped 38x in 10 Years

With services like Netflix and YouTube offering millions of HD video, or every household having a half-dozen devices constantly using data over home connections, it should surprise no one that the amount of content downloaded or streamed in a given month is rapidly growing. In a matter of years, the average household usage total is likely to exceed 1 TB of data per month. This is important because most major ISPs have data caps set at 1 TB, where if exceeded, can drastically increase your monthly bill.

Romanian fruit pickers flown to UK amid crisis in farming sector

Romanian workers are being flown in to help feed Britain amid a continuing recruitment crisis in the agriculture sector. Special charter flights have started flying into the UK from Bucharest with desperately needed workers for British farms that risk losing their crop of early summer fruit and vegetables because of the coronavirus lockdown. “All passengers will be temperature checked, will have to fill in a questionnaire for a health declaration and will be given hand sanitiser and masks on the flight. They will also be socially distanced in the seating.”

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