Virgin Galactic has unveiled the design of its proposed supersonic jet. The company claims the final version of the vehicle could carry between nine and 19 passengers and reach Mach 3, or three times faster than the speed of sound. The concept entails using suborbital rockets to get people from one point on Earth to the other in much less time than a typical airplane. Virgin Galactic is a partnering with Rolls-Royce, to develop the propulsion needed for the aircraft. Virgin Galactic outlined a few details for the vehicle, noting that it will travel at 60,000 feet and that it will “help lead the way toward use of state-of-the-art sustainable aviation fuel.”
Google will invest $450 million in security firm ADT, forming a partnership that will allow ADT to sell and install Google’s Nest family of products. The initial goal of Google’s investment, which gives it a 6.6 percent share of ADT, will be to get its products into the hands of more consumers. “Over time, Nest’s devices, powered by Google’s machine learning capabilities, will enhance ADT’s security monitoring.” The AI capabilities will also provide more helpful notifications for things like package delivery detection. With ADT, it would get a professional sales and installation network, while ADT will gain access to Google’s product lineup and deep learning expertise.
Children who suffer trauma from abuse or violence early in life show biological signs of aging faster than children who have never experienced adversity. The study examined three different signs of biological aging—early puberty, cellular aging and changes in brain structure—and found that trauma exposure was associated with all three. They found that children who suffered threat-related trauma such as violence or abuse were more likely to enter puberty early and also showed signs of accelerated aging on a cellular level–including shortened telomeres, the protective caps at the ends of our strands of DNA that wear down as we age.
A new fMRI brain imaging study of dogs shows that their brains process spoken words in hierarchical ways that are surprisingly similar to how the human brain uses a two-tiered hierarchy to process spoken words. First, subcortical regions in a dog’s brain pick up the intonation of speech and infer if the tone is positive, negative, or neutral. Second, cortical areas of the dog’s auditory cortex interpret the denotation and meaning of a spoken word or command, such as “sit.” “Although speech processing in humans is unique in many aspects, this study revealed exciting similarities between us and a speechless species.”
The company announced a new “responsibly sourced” clothing and goods line, and all of the T-shirts, sweatshirts and tote bags will be dyed with the food chain’s used avocado pits that would otherwise go to waste. After using avocados to make guacamole, Chipotle is left with nearly 300 million avocado pits that go to waste in its restaurants every year. Each item in the clothing and goods line will require five avocado pits, which is roughly equivalent to five orders of guacamole. The catalog of goods will include leggings, jean jackets, blankets, hats, onesies, gym bags and sweatshirts. The line will focus on “size inclusivity” and gender-neutral garb.
Ferrari trimmed its full-year earnings forecast after second-quarter income fell 60% due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but said orders were “very strong,” sending the luxury carmaker’s shares up nearly 4%. Chief Executive Louis Camilleri told analysts that last quarter’s order book was up double digits (percentage) in absolute terms, versus the same period of last year. The carmaker now expects revenue to top 3.4 billion euros in 2020. Ferrari is also pushing ahead with its strategy of new model roll-out to support growth and profitability, confirming that two new supercars would be unveiled by the end of this year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two American astronauts have splashed down, as the first commercial crewed mission to the International Space Station returned to Earth. A recovery vessel moved in to pick up the vehicle and extricate the men. The touchdown marks the first crewed US water landing since the final outing of an Apollo command module 45 years ago. NASA says contracting out to service providers in this way will save it billions of dollars that can be diverted to getting astronauts to the Moon, as part of its Artemis programme, and afterwards to Mars.
As international travel is reduced by the coronavirus pandemic, a private company has launched a new train service connecting Prague, Vienna and Budapest in the hopes it can compete with air travel. RegioJet has already made its name as a low-cost bus company in the Czech Republic, serving destinations across Europe. The service has proved popular with students. Company owner Radim Jančura believes the new environmentally-friendly route across Central Europe will be marketable.