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Forget the flashy humanoids with their gymnastics skills: at the World Robot Summit in Tokyo, the focus was on down-to-earth robots that can deliver post, do the shopping and build a house. Introducing CarriRo, a delivery robot shaped a bit like a toy London bus with bright, friendly "eyes" on its front that can zip around the streets delivering packages at 6km/h (4 miles per hour). CarriRo "is designed to roll along the pavements and direct itself via GPS to an address within a two-kilometre radius," explained Chio Ishikawa, from Sumitomo Corp, which is promoting the robot.
Japan said Thursday it was facing a growing sea of plastic waste with limited capacity to process it after China stopped accepting foreign waste imports. The environment ministry said about a quarter of major regional and municipal governments surveyed reported seeing accumulating plastic waste, sometimes going beyond sanitary standards. The costs of processing waste plastic were rising, according to more than 100 local governments and 175 waste processing firms that responded to a ministry survey.
The last polar bear kept in South Korea has died of old age only weeks before his planned departure to better living conditions in Britain, zoo officials said Thursday. The zoo had planned to move him to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park next month to allow him to enjoy his final days in more appropriate surroundings -- the facility in northern England has a 40,000 square metre polar reserve -- and had thrown him a farewell party in June. The average life span of polar bears is around 25 years and Tongki was the equivalent of around 80 in human terms.
China has finally announced the opening ceremony for the world's longest sea bridge, which will connect Hong Kong, Macau and the mainland, but critics hit back Thursday over the secrecy surrounding the project. Construction started in 2009 on the 55-kilometre (34-mile) crossing, which includes a snaking road bridge and underwater tunnel, linking Hong Kong's Lantau island to the southern mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai and the gambling enclave of Macau, across the waters of the Pearl River Estuary. While supporters promote it as an engineering marvel, others see the multi-billion dollar project as a costly white elephant designed to further integrate Hong Kong into the mainland at a time when Beijing is tightening its grip on the semi-autonomous city.
Renowned neuroscientist Dr Tara Swart has revealed her top strategy for surviving a stressful work environment during an interview on Yahoo Finance Presents: It’s A Jungle Out There. The Jungle podcast is a new 10-part series that unpacks productivity lessons from nature, with Dr Swart explaining crab mentality in episode one. Crab mentality is the term from a pattern of behaviour that has been observed in crabs when they’re trapped in a bucket.
Hunting for fossils is a difficult business in the first place, but the challenge is multiplied the farther back in time you're searching. Finding bones from a dinosaur that lived 50 million years ago is a cake walk compared to hunting for evidence of life from billions of years back.
A new analysis of supposed 3.7 billion-year-old fossils in Greenland reveals that the researchers who first announced the discovery may have gotten it all wrong. In truth, it seems the strange deposits found in ancient ground may have just been rock all along.
The features, which were touted as potentially being the oldest evidence of life on Earth, look a lot like the pyramid-shaped remains that hinted at the presence of microbial life in other rock samples. In a new letter published in Nature, it seems there are also some very important differences that throw the conclusions of prior research into question.
The strange shapes certainly look like they may have been created by life, but as NPR reports, this new round of research points to the alleged cone-shaped features in the rock being elongated and stretched. Three-dimensional examination of the shapes hints at the features having been created by intense pressure between rocks, squeezing and twisting stone into bizarre forms.
"They're stretched-out ridges that extend deeply into the rock," Joel Hurowitz, co-author of the work, told NPR. "That shape is hard to explain as a biological structure, and much easier to explain as something that resulted from rocks being squeezed and deformed under tectonic pressures."
As for the researchers involved in the original study that claimed evidence of ancient microbial life, they are sticking with their findings. Those scientists have weighed in by saying that this new research is "disappointing" and that their original work holds up despite being challenged.
M.J. Akbar, India’s junior external affairs minister, resigned Wednesday amid accusations by 20 women of sexual harassment during his previous career as one of the country’s most prominent news editors
Automated alerts from the fledgling West Coast earthquake early warning system are ready to be used broadly by businesses, utilities, schools and other entities but not for mass public notification, officials said Wednesday. "We're making a large change from a production prototype in pilot mode to an open-for-business operational mode," Doug Given, earthquake early warning coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey, told a press conference at the California Institute of Technology. The system being built for California, Oregon and Washington detects that an earthquake is occurring, quickly analyzes the data and sends out alerts that may give warnings of several seconds to a minute before strong shaking arrives at locations away from the epicenter.
Hyperion has a mass 1 million billion times greater than the sun and is so distant that it is viewed from earth as it looked billions of years ago. "Hyperion is like 5,000 galaxies of the Milky Way", astronomer Steffen Miefke, the chief of operations for the European Southern Observatory, told Reuters. The ESO operates the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, which detected Hyperion.
It is a simple strategy for staying healthy, but a new study has found that allowing sunlight to stream in through windows could kill bacteria that live in dust. Researchers at the University of Oregon found that in dark rooms 12 per cent of bacteria on average were alive and able to reproduce. In comparison only 6.8 per cent of bacteria exposed to daylight and 6.1 per cent of bacteria exposed to UV light were able to replicate. Lead author Dr Ashkaan Fahimipour said: “Humans spend most of their time indoors, where exposure to dust particles that carry a variety of bacteria, including pathogens that can make us sick, is unavoidable. “Therefore, it is important to understand how features of the buildings we occupy influence dust ecosystems and how this could affect our health.” The researchers made eleven identical climate-controlled miniature rooms that mimicked real buildings and seeded them with dust collected in residential homes. Sunlight may stop bacteria being able to replicate Credit: HO Reuters The authors applied one of three glazing treatments to the windows of the rooms, so that they transmitted visible, ultraviolet or no light. After 90 days, the authors collected dust from each environment and analysed the composition, abundance, and viability of the bacteria present. Dust kept in the dark contained organisms closely related to species associated with respiratory diseases, which were largely absent in dust exposed to daylight. The authors also found that a smaller proportion of human skin-derived bacteria and a larger proportion of outdoor air-derived bacteria lived in dust exposed to light that in than in dust not exposed to light. They believe it may suggest that daylight causes the microbiome of indoor dust to more strongly resemble bacterial communities found outdoors. Dr Fahimipour said: “Our study supports a century-old folk wisdom, that daylight has the potential to kill microbes on dust particles, but we need more research to understand the underlying causes of shifts in the dust microbiome following light exposure. “We hope that with further understanding, we could design access to daylight in buildings such as schools, offices, hospitals and homes in ways that reduce the risk of dust-borne infections.” The researchers warn that homes and offices may contain architectural and geographical features that produce lower or higher dosages of light which would produce different results.
President Donald Trump presented the nation’s highest military honor Wednesday to an 80-year-old retired Marine sergeant major who five decades ago “fought with unmatched bravery” at the beginning of one of the Vietnam War’s battles.
Energy sector carbon emissions will rise in 2018 after hitting record levels the year before, dimming prospects for meeting Paris climate treaty goals, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Wednesday. The energy sector accounts for 80 percent of global CO2 emissions, with most of the rest caused by deforestation and agriculture, so its performance is key to efforts to rein in rising world temperatures. "I'm sorry, I have very bad news for you," IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol told guests at a diplomatic function hosted by the Polish embassy in Paris.
The near-extinct vaquita marina, the world's smallest porpoise, has not yet disappeared from its habitat off the coast of Mexico, a research team said Wednesday after spotting six of them. The vaquita has been nearly wiped out by illegal fishing in its native habitat, the Gulf of California, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) warned in May that it could go extinct this year. The team emphasized that the study was not a full population estimate, which they will present in January after further research.
NIH Funding Opportunities
- Notice of Availability of Administrative Supplements for Microphysiological Systems Developers : Development of Tissue Chips to Model Nociception, Opioid Addiction and Overdose
- Expert Panel Meeting to Discuss Study Design for a Longitudinal Study of the Impact of Prenatal Opioid and other Substance Exposure on Brain and Behavioral Development
- Administrative Supplements for Complementary Health Practitioner Research Experience (Admin Supp Clinical Trial Optional)
- Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for the Development, Implementation, and Management of a Funding System to support the Grade A Milk Safety Program and National Shellfish Sanitation Program
- BRAIN Initiative: Research on the Ethical Implications of Advancements in Neurotechnology and Brain Science (R01 Clinical Trial Optional)