Sleep tracker 😴 Human emissions 🏋️ GDP Decline 🔻!

Technology News

Amazon reportedly developing radar-equipped sleep apnea tracker

Amazon is developing a new Alexa-powered device that can track and monitor for signs of sleep apnea using radar,. The palm-sized device is reportedly designed to sit on a bedside table and use millimeter-wave radar to sense your breathing, keeping an eye out for interruptions associated with the apnea sleeping disorder. In its current form, the device reportedly resembles a “standing hexagonal pad connected to a metal wire base.” Along with sleep apnea, Amazon reportedly plans to use its machine-learning and cloud technology to understand other sleeping disorders beyond sleep apnea.

This robot dog learned how to get up after being knocked down

Researchers detailed an AI reinforcement approach they used to allow their dog-like robot, Jueying, to learn how to walk and recover from falls on its own. The team first trained software that could guide a virtual version of the robot consisting of eight AI “experts” that they trained to master a specific skill. For instance, one became fluent in walking, while another learned how to balance. They then developed an additional network to act as a kind of head coach which was then ported over to one of their prototypes. It would manage the inputs of the eight other algorithms, prioritizing one or more as needed in a given situation.

Science News

Sweat, Bleach & Gym Air Quality

One sweaty, huffing, exercising person emits as many chemicals from their body as up to five sedentary people, according to a new study. And notably, those human emissions, including amino acids from sweat or acetone from breath, chemically combine with bleach cleaners to form new airborne chemicals with unknown impacts to indoor air quality. Many gym facilities frequently use chlorine bleach-based products to sanitize sweaty equipment. And while these cleaning products work to kill surface bacteria—they also combine with emissions from sweat—mixing to form a new cocktail of chemicals.

Heat treatment may make chemotherapy more effective

A study found that “loading” a chemotherapy drug onto tiny magnetic particles that can heat up cancer cells at the same time as delivering the drug was up to 34% more effective at destroying cancer cells than without the added heat. The magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles shed heat when exposed to an alternating magnetic field. Once the nanoparticles have accumulated in the tumour area, an alternating magnetic field can be applied from outside the body, allowing heat and chemotherapy to be delivered simultaneously. The nanoparticles also have a polymer coating that prevents the chemotherapy drug from leaching out into healthy tissue.

Business News

World Bank warns global economy could be heading for a ‘lost decade’ of growth after the coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic will cause “lasting damage” to the world economy and could even lead to a “lost decade” of growth, according to the World Bank. Although the global economy is set to recover sharply this year, it will still be around $4.7 trillion smaller than pre-pandemic projections. Global GDP contracted by 4.3% last year, as COVID-19 led governments to shut down economies. Weaker levels of investment, slower improvements in education and health, and lower increases in female labor force participation are all set to hold back potential growth to 1.9% a year over the 2020-2029 period. That is down from around 2.4% in 2010-2019.

AmerisourceBergen to buy Walgreens’ distribution unit in $6.5 billion Europe push

U.S. drug wholesaler AmerisourceBergen Corp said it would buy Walgreens Boots Alliance’s distribution business for $6.5 billion to expand in Europe as well as to compete better in the U.S. healthcare sector. The deal will help Walgreens focus more on core pharmacy unit and its retail business, where sales have tanked due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a nearly 30% slump in shares in 2020. AmerisourceBergen will get access to Alliance Healthcare, one of the largest distributors in Europe that has weathered the impact of the global health crisis. The deal does not include operations in China, Italy and Germany.

Miscellaneous News

US doctor forgives $650,000 in medical bills for cancer patients

A US oncologist has wiped out nearly $650,000 worth of debts for 200 cancer patients after realising that many of them were struggling to pay. Dr Omar Atiq closed his cancer treatment centre in Arkansas last year after nearly 30 years in business.He worked with a debt collection firm to gather outstanding payments, but then realised many families had been hit hard financially by the pandemic. “We thought there was not a better time to do this than during a pandemic that has decimated homes, people’s lives and businesses and all sorts of stuff.”

India to hold national ‘cow science’ exam

India will hold a mass nationwide online “cow science” exam next month, in the latest push by the Hindu nationalist government to promote and protect the sacred animal. The hour-long test on February 25 comprises 100 multiple-choice questions in Hindi, English, and 12 regional languages. “The cow is full of science and economics. People are not aware of the true economic and scientific value of the animal.” Accompanying study material released by the RKA includes information on different breeds of cows as well as the theory that slaughtering animals causes earthquakes.

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