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Oct 29, 2020

Moderna says it’s preparing global launch of Covid vaccine as it takes in $1.1 billion in deposits

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Moderna is prepping for the global launch of its potential coronavirus vaccine, already taking in $1.1 billion in deposits from governments awaiting the potentially lifesaving drug, the biotech firm said Thursday in its third-quarter earnings report.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company said it was in ongoing talks with the World Health Organization-backed COVAX initiative on a tiered pricing proposal for its potential vaccine, which it’s tentatively calling mRNA-1273. It already has supply agreements in North America, the Middle East and in other regions of the world.

“We are actively preparing for the launch of mRNA-1273 and we have signed a number of supply agreements with governments around the world,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in a press release. “Moderna is committed to the highest data quality standards and rigorous scientific research as we continue to work with regulators to advance mRNA-1273.”

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Oct 29, 2020

Q&A: This entrepreneur is turning waste plastic bottles into boats

Posted by in categories: economics, employment, sustainability

Madiba & Nature’s ‘ecoboats’ — made out of discarded plastic bottles — are creating jobs, promoting ecotourism and raising awareness of the circular economy.

Africa, like most other parts of the world, is battling a spiraling plastic pollution crisis. In Cameroon, one non-profit company is helping to keep waste plastic out of the ocean while also improving livelihoods and inspiring entrepreneurs in communities across the country.

Madiba & Nature’s ‘ecoboats’ — made out of discarded plastic bottles — are helping fishermen while also creating jobs in the recycling industry, promoting ecotourism and raising awareness of the circular economy.

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Oct 29, 2020

Picturing Earth: Astronaut Photography In Focus

Posted by in category: space

📸 🌍 For 20 years, humans have lived and worked in Earth orbit on the International Space Station. Astronauts photograph our home planet from space almost daily, contributing to a growing archive of over 3 million Earth observations. How these images benefit science: # SpaceStation20th.

Oct 29, 2020

DeepMind Introduces Algorithms for Causal Reasoning in Probability Trees

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI

Are you a cutting-edge AI researcher looking for models with clean semantics that can represent the context-specific causal dependencies necessary for causal induction? If so, maybe you should take a look at good old-fashioned probability trees.

Probability trees may have been around for decades, but they have received little attention from the AI and ML community. Until now. “Probability trees are one of the simplest models of causal generative processes,” explains the new DeepMind paper Algorithms for Causal Reasoning in Probability Trees, which the authors say is the first to propose concrete algorithms for causal reasoning in discrete probability trees.

Humans naturally learn to reason in large part through inducing causal relationships from our observations, and we do this remarkably well, cognitive scientists say. Even when the data we perceive is sparse and limited, humans can quickly learn causal structures such as interactions between physical objects, observations of the co-occurrence frequencies between causes and effects, etc.

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Oct 29, 2020

Team finds path to nanodiamond from graphene

Posted by in categories: chemistry, nanotechnology

Marrying two layers of graphene is an easy route to the blissful formation of nanoscale diamond, but sometimes thicker is better.

While it may only take a bit of heat to turn a treated bilayer of the ultrathin material into a cubic lattice of diamane, a bit of in just the right place can convert few-layer graphene as well.

The otherwise chemically driven process is theoretically possible according to scientists at Rice University, who published their most recent thoughts on making high-quality diamane—the 2-D form of diamond—in the journal Small.

Oct 29, 2020

A groundbreaking genetic screening tool for human organoids

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, neuroscience

Many of the fundamental principles in biology and essentially all pathways regulating development were identified in so-called genetics screens. Originally pioneered in the fruit fly Drosophila and the nematode C. elegans, genetic screens involve inactivation of many genes one by one. By analyzing the consequences of gene loss, scientists can draw conclusions about its function. This way, for example, all genes required for formation of a brain can be identified.

Genetic screens can routinely be carried out in flies and worms. In humans, a wealth of knowledge exists about genetic disorders and the consequences of disease-relevant mutations, but their systematic analysis was impossible. Now, the Knoblich lab at IMBA has developed a groundbreaking technique allowing hundreds of to be analyzed in parallel in . They named the new technology CRISPR-LICHT and published their findings in the journal Science.

By using cerebral organoids, a 3D cell culture model for the human developed in Jürgen Knoblich’s group at IMBA, hundreds of mutations can now be analyzed for their role in the using CRISPR-LICHT.

Oct 29, 2020

Ford will unveil its electric Transit delivery van on November 12th

Posted by in category: transportation

Ford is making an electric version of its popular Transit delivery van. The vehicle, which is called “E-Transit,” will be revealed on November 12th.

Oct 29, 2020

Japan’s Unicharm to sell recycled diapers in 2022

Posted by in category: sustainability

TOKYO — Unicharm, the world’s third largest diaper maker, will turn used diapers into new ones which will come onto the market in 2022.

The Japanese company plans to introduce more than 10 facilities for diaper-to-diaper recycling by 2030, as it bolsters efforts to reduce waste.

Unicharm will begin demonstration experiments and collect used diapers initially in Tokyo. The pulp will be taken out of the diapers at its recycling facilities and turned into recycled pulp via an ozone sterilization system.

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Oct 29, 2020

How immunotherapy is revolutionizing cancer care

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

More than a century ago, in 1910, President William Howard Taft made what then seemed a bold but reasonable prediction: “Within five years,” he said.

Oct 29, 2020

Chevrolet readies an electric crate motor for homebuilt EV hotrods

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

I don’t know about you, but I am totally here for the growing trend of putting electric propulsion in classic cars. Much of the pioneering work has been done by small aftermarket shops: Zelectric and EV West in California, Electric Classic Cars in the UK, and so on. But increasingly, OEMs are giving it a go as well. For a while, Jaguar was preparing to sell a (very expensive) conversion kit for its XKE-engined cars, although sadly that has been cancelled. Volkswagen has been working with eClassics on an electric conversion of the Type 1 bus. And here in the US, the annual SEMA show has featured some factory-blessed high voltage hot rods for the last couple of years.

SEMA is going virtual this year, and one of the cars that Chevrolet will show off will be a 1977 K5 Blazer—called the Blazer-E—that previews the company’s new eCrate aftermarket powertrain. The build team traded the Blazer’s huge 6.6L V8, with its meagre 175hp (130kW), for the 200hp (150kW) motor from the Bolt EV, which connects to the Blazer’s four-wheel drive system via a four-speed auto that replaces the original three-speed transmission.

The fuel tank and exhaust also went in the recycling bin, and a 60kWh lithium-ion battery pack was mounted in the Blazer’s cargo area. This is also from the Bolt EV and includes all the wiring and power electronics one needs to manage a modern battery EV powertrain.

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