Smart fabric 🤓 Moon water 💧 Tax avoidance 🧾!

Technology News

Smart fabric can recognize the food you put on the table

Researchers have developed Capacitivo, a smart fabric system that can detect food, drinks, and other objects based solely on touch. The cloth uses a combination of a capacitive electrode grid and machine learning to gauge both the material and shape of a given item. The researchers initially wove the technology into a tablecloth, and envisioned it as particularly helpful for cooking. An app could suggest a meal based on what’s sitting on the table, while a diet app would know what you’ve had to drink. The team hopes to detect metal, deal with less-than-ideal placement and enable touch input, among other upgrades.

Facebook takes its first small steps into the world of cloud gaming

Unlike Amazon or Google, which both offer standalone cloud gaming services for a fee, Facebook is introducing cloud games to its existing app. Free-to-play cloud games are launching on Facebook in beta, and the initial crop of titles includes mostly Android ports, like the 3D racer Asphalt 9 and the idle role playing game Mobile Legends: Adventure. The rollout comes with some useful features, including a new cross-progression system tied to your Facebook login. If you start playing Asphalt 9 through Facebook, for instance, and then decide to download the mobile app, all of your progression will carry over as it’s tied to your login.

Science News

NASA’s SOFIA Discovers Water on Sunlit Surface of Moon

NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has confirmed, for the first time, water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. SOFIA has detected water molecules in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth, located in the Moon’s southern hemisphere. Data from this location reveal water in concentrations of 100 to 412 parts per million – equivalent to a 12-ounce bottle of water. The discovery raises new questions about how water is created and how it persists on the harsh, airless lunar surface.“If we can use the resources at the Moon, then we can carry less water and more equipment to help enable new scientific discoveries.”

Study shows how exercise stalls cancer growth through the immune system

Researchers have found a likely explanation of why exercise helps slow down cancer growth in mice: Physical activity changes the metabolism of the immune system’s cytotoxic T cells and thereby improves their ability to attack cancer cells. The researchers also transferred cytotoxic T cells from trained to untrained mice with tumors, which improved their prospects compared with those who got cells from untrained animals. “We hope these results may contribute to a deeper understanding of how our lifestyle impacts our immune system and inform the development of new immunotherapies against cancer.”

Business News

Facebook, Google and Microsoft ‘avoiding $3bn in tax in poorer nations’

Google, Facebook and Microsoft should be paying more corporation tax in developing nations, says ActionAid. The aid charity estimates that poorer countries are missing out on up to $2.8bn in tax revenue that could be used to tackle the pandemic. Multinational corporations are currently not required by law to publicly disclose how much tax they pay in some developing countries. The aid charity wants to see a new global tax system created, preferably by the United Nations, whereby large corporations are required to pay a global minimum rate of corporate tax reflective of their “real economic presence”.

Miss airline food? Finnair selling business class meals in supermarket

Finnair has started selling its business class meals in a supermarket to prevent job cuts at its catering unit due to COVID-19. The airplane meals have quickly turned into a hit with 1,600 meals sold within days at the supermarket located near Finnair’s main hub the Helsinki-Vantaa airport. Finnair Kitchen head of product development Juha Stenholm said the food’s high quality justified the relatively high price for a packed take-away meal. “Our unit is focusing on business class food so … premium raw materials”. Finnair plans to introduce new dishes, including reindeer meat from Finnish Lapland and Japanese-style pork shoulder, for supermarkets.

Miscellaneous News

Pakistan’s first metro line opens to passengers in Lahore

Pakistan’s first metro line has begun commercial operations built with Chinese backing in the eastern city of Lahore. The 27km Orange Line will drastically cut travel time across the notoriously congested city, reducing a two-and-a-half-hour bus journey to 45 minutes by metro. Officials expect about a quarter of a million people will use the system each day once it is fully operating. China has invested tens of billions of dollars in Pakistan as part of its Belt and Road Initiative which aims to link the economies of Asia, Africa and Europe via huge infrastructure projects.

Oreo builds asteroid-proof bunker above permafrost line, fills it with cookies and powdered milk

The threat of asteroids striking the Earth and causing a global catastrophe has inspired some groups to build bunkers to not only protect survivors, but also to ensure the safety of certain plants and animals. Now, the makers of Oreo have ensured that the popular snack will live past any possible asteroid strikes. “Each cookie pack is wrapped in protective Mylar which can keep our cookies safe from temperatures of -80°F to 300°F.” The vault also contains vials of powdered milk, which reportedly only need to have powdered snow added before being ready to have Oreos dunked in it.

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