Chinese scientists have built what they claim is a revolutionary plane engine for Mach (the speed of sound) 16 flight. To put this in perspective, an aircraft powered by the engine could reach anywhere in the world within two hours. A wind tunnel capable of simulating such a flight is being built in Beijing. The research was conducted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Mechanics.
A baby, Molly, has been born more than 27 years after the embryo that led to her creation was first frozen, setting a new known record for the longest-frozen embryo to ever come to birth. The embryo was first created by another couple for IVF, then frozen on Oct. 14, 1992 and thawed 27 years later, on Feb. 10. Two days later, the embryo was transferred to Molly’s mother’s uterus.
A new AI-powered navigation system has been built and deployed by Alphabet’s Loon. The system leverages reinforcement learning, which helps steer balloons more accurately and efficiently through the stratosphere. It has been developed in Montreal in cooperation with the Google AI team. It is better than the original balloon navigation system that has been built by human engineers.
A police reform bill prohibiting police departments and other public agencies from using facial recognition has been approved by lawmakers of the House and Senate in Massachusetts. But, the signature of the governor is still required for the bill to become a law. If passed, the state could become the first to issue a ban on facial recognition usage by law enforcement.
The 2020 Wrapped personal experience has been unveiled by Spotify, where it shows a year-end review of the favorite artists, songs, genres of the user. However, a few changes have been made by Spotify with the entire experience made in a stories format. It also includes in-app quizzes, new Wrapped badges, personalized playlists as well as customization options for sharing on social media.
Rights group Amnesty has said that tech giants Facebook and Google aided the Vietnamese government in censoring criticism and repressing dissent. ’These platforms have become hunting grounds for censors, military cyber-troops and state-sponsored trolls. The platforms themselves are not merely letting it happen - they’re increasingly complicit,’ the report says.
With its latest AI program, AlphaFold, DeepMind has solved a serious scientific problem that has stumped researchers for half a century. The AI showed it can predict how proteins fold into 3D shapes, a process fundamental to understanding the biological machinery of life. The finding would help researchers breakdown the mechanisms that drive some diseases including malaria and sleeping sickness.
China said a robotic probe launched to collect 4 pounds of lunar rocks and soil and return to Earth has landed on Moon. Without giving details, the official China News Service said the Chang’e 5 ’successfully landed on the moon in the pre-selected area.’ If successful, it will make China only the third nation, after the United States and the former Soviet Union, to bring Moon rocks back to Earth.
Critical neurological complications could be developed in the brain of COVID-19 patients having high blood pressure or diabetes. People with high blood pressure and diabetes are more likely to suffer from problems like bleeding in the brain and stroke. Between January and April, 81 of the 1,357 COVID-19 patients in a study had gotten a brain scan done after the infection.
For the first time, the daily active user numbers have been revealed by Reddit, the self-proclaimed ’front page of the internet’, with an average of around 52 million daily active users seen in October. This is an increase of 33% from the same period back in 2019. In comparison to this, during the most recent quarter, 187 million of monetizable daily active users were reported by Twitter.
A new telescope in Australia has mapped vast areas of the universe in record-breaking time. The radio telescope, dubbed the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder, was able to map about 3M galaxies in just 300 hours. Comparable surveys have previously taken as long as 10 years. Data gathered is expected to aid understanding of star formation and how galaxies and black holes evolve.
Even though no physical event can happen due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Qualcomm has not stopped its tradition of announcing its flagship processor for the next generation of smartphones at the end of the year. This year, the Snapdragon 888 has been unveiled by Qualcomm with almost every flagship Android phone next year set to equip this chipset. The chipset is up to 35% faster.
’Wonder Woman 1984’ director Patty Jenkins said the film is going to be HBO Max’s first movie in 4K. WarnerMedia said the devices that would allow you to see it in 4K are: Apple TV 4K, Amazon Fire Stick 4K, Amazon Fire TV Cube, 4K Fire TV Edition smart TVs, Chromecast Ultra, AT&T TV and select Android TV devices. Although HBO Max is available in consoles, they would get 4K support only next year.
The New York City Council is considering a bill that would require employers to notify job candidates about the use of tools called ’automated decision systems.’ The bill would also require an annual audit guard against bias. Delta, Dunkin, Ikea, Unilever and many other companies use AI to assess job applicants. Separately, the LAPD has banned the use of commercial facial recognition systems.
Samsung could be planning to kill the iconic Galaxy Note line according to a report by Reuters. The original Galaxy Note is the phone which is responsible for popularizing large screen smartphones. Samsung will shift its focus on foldable phones instead. Reports have also suggested that in order to make up for the loss, the stylus could be incorporated in other devices instead.
Microsoft has released the first Windows Feature Experience Pack update for those signed up for the Microsoft Insiders program. The new pack would be a curated collection of beta features, which won’t be from the Windows 10 modules. The WFEP will officially be released as part of the Beta Channel. Microsoft said, as of now, only a ’limited set of features’ were being delivered via the WFEP.
BlackBerry and Amazon Web Services said they have developed a cloud-based software platform aimed at helping automakers and suppliers standardize vehicle data and speed up incorporating new features and services. The two companies said the new intelligent platform, called ’IVY’, will cut the time to build, deploy and monetize in-vehicle apps and online services across multiple brands and models.