Virtual concert 📱, obesity preventing genes 🧬 and UK Car sales worst since 1946 🚗!

Technology


Virtual Reality Concert In Helsinki Attracts Over 1 Million Spectators

The virtual gig saw a total of 12% of Finland’s population tune in. The locals were then joined by ‘virtual tourists’ from such nations as the US, the UK, Germany and Sweden, increasing the total viewer count to a whopping 1.4 million. Developed as part of a wider Virtual Helsinki tourist initiative, the virtual May Day celebrations provide perhaps the biggest example yet of the potential of virtual reality concerts and virtual tourism. Viewers could watch the virtual concert on their smartphones and computers, while there was also the option to create avatars for themselves in order to simulate a greater sense of ‘really being there.’

Ford shares a year’s worth of self-driving car data

Self-driving vehicles require massive amounts of data, which can be difficult to obtain without vehicles equipped with cameras and LiDAR and miles and miles of testing. To help advance autonomous vehicle research, Ford is releasing a comprehensive self-driving dataset to academics and researchers. It includes LiDAR and camera sensor data, GPS and trajectory information, as well as 3D point cloud and ground reflectivity maps. Ford is even sharing a plug-in with data visualization tools. With varying weather and traffic conditions, the data gives access to the kinds of diverse scenarios self-driving vehicles will find themselves in.

Science


Obesity prevented in mice treated with gene-disabling nanoparticles

Disabling a gene in specific mouse cells has prevented mice from becoming obese, even after the animals had been fed a high-fat diet. The researchers blocked the activity of a gene in immune cells. Because these immune cells — called macrophages — are key inflammatory cells and because obesity is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation, the researchers believe that reducing inflammation may help regulate weight gain and obesity. The treated animals burned 45% more calories than their obese littermates with a functioning gene in macrophages.

“Unprecedented” study reveals sleeping brains replay waking experiences

According to a new study, the brain is busy replaying waking experiences during sleep. This specialized sleep setting, called “offline replay,” may help organize experiences and cement new memories into long-term storage, without overwriting the old. Two participants were asked to take a nap before and after playing a sequence-copying game. This finding indicates that the participants’ brains kept “playing” the game after they were asleep, replaying the same patterns in their brain at a neuronal level. This is the first time scientists have directly seen offline replay occur in human brains.

Business


Tesla comes out on top as UK car sales fall 97% in worst month since 1946

The UK car market suffered its worst month in more than seven decades in April as coronavirus restrictions forced dealerships to close, pushing sales of new vehicles down by more than 97%. Just over 4,320 cars were sold to private buyers, businesses and fleets last month in Britain compared with roughly 161,000 in April 2019. The industry association described the sales decline as “the steepest of modern times.” Tesla’s Model 3 emerged as the top seller with 658 vehicles sold. The Jaguar I-Pace, another battery electric vehicle, ranked second with sales of 367.

Disney 2Q revenue rises, but earnings fall as coronavirus drives ‘significant’ drop for parks

Disney’s fiscal second quarter comprised the first three months of 2020. During that period, the company’s theme parks were shuttered first in Shanghai and Hong Kong — and then throughout the world. Those disruptions contributed to a 58% decline in operating income in Disney’s parks, experiences, and consumer products segment during the quarter, and caused previously announced furloughs of some 100,000 employees. Disney also had to push back the release dates for a number of feature films during the quarter, including including the live-action “Mulan” and Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Black Widow.”

Miscellaneous


German zombie hunters stopped at Swedish border with car full of weapons

Two images released by the Swedish customs agency show that a couple – a man and a woman – arrived into the country in a Hummer vehicle which bore a “Zombie Response Team” logo as well as the rather ominous warning that “infected people will be shot.” Also in their possession – illegal weapons. What has been confirmed is that their arsenal included several crossbows, a taser or some other form of electric shock weapon, several firearms designed to fire tear-gas canisters (and several canisters thereof), a knuckle iron, and at least one truncheon.

Indonesian footage captures monkey on miniature bike in attempted child kidnap

Bizarre footage out of Indonesia has emerged online that shows a monkey appearing to attempt to kidnap a small child…whilst riding a miniature motorcycle. Unbelievably the video shows a monkey riding a tiny bike down an alleyway before launching off the comically-sized vehicle and pulling a toddler from a bench. The young girl tumbles from the seating before the monkey comes back for more, dragging her face down by her cardigan along the cobbled paving. Fortunately the girl emerges on her feet unscathed before returning to her friends.

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