Solid fluid 🧪 Exercise Enhancement 🏃 Vacant Manhattan 🏚️!

Technology News

High-speed camera captures a fluid behaving like a solid

Researchers have used a camera recording at 1,000 frames per second to spot a fluid behaving like a solid. The team put a liquid mixture of corn starch and water into a narrow cell, and subjected it to pressurized air that resulted in Discontinuous Shear Thickening — that is, the fluid thickened and produced solid-style “fractures.” This kind of stress experiment hadn’t been performed on a DST fluid until now. You could turn the friction (and thus the fluid state) “on and off like a switch” just by varying the pressure. Scientists are already hoping to use DST for soft body armor, dynamic speed bumps and other products that could change properties on demand.

‘Road of the future’ to link Detroit and Ann Arbor with 40 miles of driverless cars and shuttles

An ambitious new project in Michigan will connect two of the state’s key cities—Detroit and Ann Arbor—with a new corridor dedicated just to autonomous vehicles. A press release describing the project hailed it as “the world’s most sophisticated roadway.” The plan is being led by Cavnue, an infrastructure startup, and with the support of traditional car companies like Ford and GM as well as Alphabet’s driverless car subsidiary, Waymo. A key feature of the plan is the development of a common software standard that will let autonomous vehicles of all sorts—from cars to transport trucks to passenger shuttles—access the road.

Science News

Exercise Enhancement

Researchers have identified a critical role of the enzyme, prolyl hydroxylase 3 (PHD3), in sensing nutrient availability and regulating the ability of muscle cells to break down fats. When nutrients are abundant, PHD3 acts as a brake that inhibits unnecessary fat metabolism. This brake is released when fuel is low and more energy is needed, such as during exercise. Blocking PHD3 production in mice leads to dramatic improvements in certain measures of fitness. Mice lacking the PHD3 enzyme ran 40 percent longer and 50 percent farther on treadmills and had higher VO2 max, a marker of aerobic endurance that measures maximum oxygen uptake during exercise.

Psychedelic drugs reduce depressive symptoms by helping individuals accept their emotions, study suggests

New research provides preliminary evidence that psychedelic drugs can improve mental health by making individuals more accepting of distressing experiences. The use of psychedelics in both ceremonial and non-ceremonial settings was associated with decreases in experiential avoidance, which in turn was associated with decreases in depression severity and suicidal ideation 4-weeks after psychedelic use. “More broadly, our results provide further support for the negative mental health effects associated with avoidance. This can be summed up with a saying that is often used in the context of psychedelic therapy, that ‘The only way out is through.’”

Business News

There’s a record number of vacant rental apartments in Manhattan

A record 4.33% of Manhattan apartments were empty in July, up from the previous record of 3.67% reached just a month earlier, according to a new report. “In the beginning of March, April, we saw a tremendous outbound migration. About over 400,000 people left Manhattan, 40% of the occupants, essentially.” Low demand has driven rent prices down 7.6%, compared to last year in July. As landlords scrambled to recover losses, empty apartment listings poured on real estate sites. In July, there were 21.6% more apartments on the market from only a month prior in June — and 121% more compared to July 2019.

Fed says it is developing an experimental digital currency

The Federal Reserve announced it is building and testing a hypothetical digital currency, equivalent of cash with the goal of the program is to enhance the Fed’s understanding of digital currencies. “Given the dollar’s important role” as a global reserve currency, it is essential the Fed remain on the frontier of research and policy development of digital currencies. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, prominent economists have noted that a digital currency would have made it easier for the government to send stimulus checks to workers. A “separate policy process” involving thorny legal questions would be needed if the Fed ever wanted to use a digital currency.

Miscellaneous News

Rescue pet shelters emptied by surge in demand during pandemic

Dog shelters across Australia have been emptied after a huge surge in demand for a rescued companion during the Covid-19 pandemic, forcing some desperate prospective dog owners to wait months. “We are certainly still seeing strong demand for pets,” she said. “From the start of the pandemic we have seen over 20,000 online applications to adopt our pets.” Animals are leaving the shelter in half the time this year; the average stay in the RSPCA Victoria’s adoption shelters is down to less than four days.

Trump Says He’ll Look Into a Pardon for Edward Snowden

President Trump said that he would consider pardoning Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who faced criminal charges after leaking classified documents about vast government surveillance. In 2013, he was charged with violating the Espionage Act, which carries a prison sentence. As long as he faces those charges, Mr. Snowden has said he will not return to the United States. Human rights groups previously urged President Barack Obama to pardon Mr. Snowden, but they had no success.

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