Google has announced a new “Verified Calls” feature for its phone app. Compatible calls will show a company’s name, branding, a small verified badge and a reason for the call. Verified calls work by having a business ping Google’s server with its phone number, your phone number, and the reason for its call before it rings you. The app then compares the incoming call with the information it receives from Google, and if the two match, it shows the call as verified. The verified calls feature could be helpful, not just to let you know who’s calling (helping avoid spam calls), but also to make it clear when it might be necessary to drop everything to pick up their call.
Researchers have developed a Game Boy, officially called Engage, powered by solar panels attached to the front of the device with your button presses helping to generate additional power. It’s not a perfect system and there are some major drawbacks. You can get about 10 seconds of uninterrupted gameplay before it needs to shut down and it can’t play any sounds. But thanks to an innovative framework, storing system state data to memory allows you to pick up where you left off. The team wanted to show that it was possible to create an interactive device that doesn’t need batteries. It’s a significant step forward for the field of intermittent computing.
Eight genetically engineered “mighty mice” launched with double the muscle maintained their bulk. Their muscles appeared to be comparable to similar “mighty mice” that stayed behind at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. In addition, eight normal mice that received “mighty mouse” treatment in space returned to Earth with dramatically bigger muscles. The treatment involves blocking a pair of proteins that typically limit muscle mass. The findings hold promise for preventing muscle and bone loss in astronauts on prolonged space trips like Mars missions, as well as people on Earth who are confined to bed or need wheelchairs.
People who took acetaminophen rated activities like “bungee jumping off a tall bridge” and “speaking your mind about an unpopular issue in a meeting at work” as less risky than people who took a placebo. The drug also led people to take more risks in an experiment where they could earn rewards by inflating a virtual balloon on a computer: Sometimes they went too far and the balloon popped. “Acetaminophen seems to make people feel less negative emotion when they consider risky activities – they just don’t feel as scared.” Everyday activities like driving involving risk perception and assessment that could be altered by use of the painkiller.
U.S. stocks dropped for a third straight session as a sell-off in high-flying technology names continued from the prior week, while Tesla was poised for its worst day in nearly six months after the stock was passed over for inclusion in the S&P 500. Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with only the defensive utilities group edging higher. News that SoftBank made significant option purchases during the run-up in U.S. stocks added to investor nervousness. “Valuations were stretched and now that it is starting to sell off a little bit, they are shaking the branches and some of that weaker money is falling out.”
General Motors and Nikola are teaming up to work on the Nikola Badger, a fully electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric pickup truck.The partnership gives General Motors an 11% stake in the startup, receiving $2 billion in equity. GM will also get the right to nominate one director to Nikola’s board. General Motors will be the exclusive supplier of fuel cells to Nikola’s Class 7/8 trucks in all areas besides Europe. The partnership is the latest move by GM to expand its electric vehicle alliances. Last week, GM announced that it was teaming up with Honda to to develop a range of electric and petroleum-powered vehicles.
A French government official’s attempts to ban an essay entitled I Hate Men over its “incitement to hatred on the grounds of gender” have backfired, sending sales of the feminist pamphlet skyrocketing. Pauline Harmange’s Moi les hommes, je les déteste explores whether women “have good reason to hate men”, and whether “anger towards men is actually a joyful and emancipatory path, if it is allowed to be expressed”. Initially set out to print just 400 copies, the first three editions of the book have sold out, with almost 2,500 copies sold just two weeks after its release.
Disney is under fire for shooting its new film Mulan in parts of China where the government is accused of serious human rights abuses. Fans in some Asian countries called for a boycott after Chinese-born actress Liu Yifei made comments supporting Hong Kong’s police who have been accused of violence against pro-democracy protesters in recent months. Then social media users noticed that the final credits thank a government security agency in Xinjiang province, where about 1m people – mostly Muslim Uighurs – are thought to be detained.