Standalone 5g 📡 Brain power 🧠 Virtual house hunting 🏠!

Technology News

T-Mobile launches world’s first nationwide standalone 5G network

T-Mobile announced it has taken the second step by launching the “world’s first nationwide standalone 5G network,” a change it says will improve 5G performance, as well as substantially expanding its U.S. 5G coverage. Unlike “non-standalone 5G,” which combines new 5G radios with an older 4G network core, standalone 5G is next-generation through and through, enabling carriers to deliver even faster data speeds alongside a wider array of 5G-specific network features. Standalone 5G will deliver up to 40% lower latency — higher network responsiveness — as well as additional 20-30% improvements in download and upload speeds.

Google finally launches Nearby Share to rival Apple’s AirDrop

Google is finally officially unveiling its tool called Nearby Share that’s basically Android’s version of Apple’s AirDrop sharing feature. It’s rolling out today to select Pixel and Samsung phones, with Google saying it’s continuing to “work with our partners to bring Nearby Share to more smartphones in the Android ecosystem over the next few weeks.” It’ll show you a list of devices near you, and once you select your recipient, they’ll get an alert to accept or decline your file. The system will then pick the best protocol for the transfer — whether it’s Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, WebRTC or peer-to-peer WiFi.”

Science News

Energy demands limit our brains’ information processing capacity

The study found that paying attention can change how the brain allocates energy; as the brain uses more energy in processing what we attend to, less energy is supplied to processing outside our attention focus. “Our findings suggest that the brain does indeed allocate less energy to the neurons that respond to information outside the focus of our attention when our task becomes harder. This explains why we experience inattentional blindness and deafness even to critical information that we really want to be aware of.” This push-pull pattern was closely synchronised, showing a trade-off of limited energy supply between attended and unattended processing.

Humans and flies employ very similar mechanisms for brain development and function

A new study has shown that humans, mice and flies share the same fundamental genetic mechanisms that regulate the formation and function of brain areas involved in attention and movement control. They demonstrated that when these regulatory mechanisms are inhibited or impaired in insects and mammals they experience very similar behavioural problems. This indicates that the same building blocks that control the activity of genes are essential to both the formation of brain circuits and the behaviour-related functions they perform. This provides evidence that these mechanisms have been established in one common ancestor.

Business News

Virtual house hunting gets a pandemic boost

“Developers are often selling off-plan, and it’s hard to sell a product just on a 2D floor plan…So developers these days have virtual tours budgeted in from the start.” It’s still a fairly limited option, at the moment just 8% of Zoopla’s listings have an option for a virtual tour. There was a surge of activity during the first month of lockdown, when virtual reality (VR) viewings of new-build properties tripled. Much of the technology has existed for three to four years but there hasn’t been much incentive to use it. But during lockdown buyers were unable to visit properties, which gave the technology a big push.

Sony’s first quarter operating profit falls just 1.1%, beats analyst estimates

Sony reported a 1.1% decline in first-quarter operating profit, much milder than market estimates as its gaming business thrived while consumers locked down at home looked for entertainment and downloaded more games. The electronics and entertainment firm posted April-June profit of 228.4 billion yen ($2.15 billion), versus 230.9 billion yen a year prior. The impact of the coronavirus on Sony has been limited compared with Japanese electronics peers such as Panasonic due to its pursuit of recurring revenue such as subscription fees on gaming content. The firm is scheduled to launch its PlayStation 5 console during the year-end holiday shopping season.

Miscellaneous News

Tanzanian miner earns millions after second rare find

A Tanzanian miner, who became an overnight millionaire in June for selling two rough Tanzanite stones valued at $3.4m (£2.6m), has sold another gem for $2m. The third discovery by Saniniu Laizer weighed 6.3kg (14lb). Tanzanite is only found in northern Tanzania and is used to make ornaments. It is one of the rarest gemstones on Earth, and one local geologist estimates its supply may be entirely depleted within the next 20 years. Mr Laizer said the money will be used to build a school and a health facility in his community in Simanjiro district in northern Manyara region.

Mumbai green lights women figures on traffic signals

Mumbai has become the first Indian city to introduce female figures on its traffic lights, a move welcomed by women’s rights campaigners as a step towards greater inclusivity. Authorities are swapping the green and red male stick figures on more than 100 pedestrian crossings to female figures as part of a broader plan to make roads more pedestrian-friendly. India’s financial capital has for some time operated women’s coaches on suburban trains and reserved seating on buses, and is widely regarded as one of the country’s safest cities for women.”

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