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Mar 5, 2020

China’s largest private automaker is building a satellite network now, too

Posted by in categories: business, drones, satellites

The largest private automaker in China is getting into the satellite business. Chinese automotive giant Geely has broadened its reach to include everything from trucking, to high-speed trains, to passenger drones, to Volvo over the last decade or so. But its newest effort could tie those things all together, as Geely just announced it’s going to build its own satellite network to enable what it calls a “smart three-dimensional mobility ecosystem.”

Geely announced late Monday that it will erect a satellite production facility and testing center in the port city of Taizhou in the Zhejiang province that the Chinese giant calls home. The facility will be capable of building a “variety of different satellite models,” some of which may be for non-Geely entities.

Geely says it will start launching the satellite network as soon as the end of this year, but did not say how big it will be. Reuters reports that the company is pumping around $326 million into the project, and will eventually make 500 satellites a year.

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Mar 1, 2020

What should macro policymakers do about the coronavirus?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, economics

As coronavirus outbreaks have become more threatening outside China in recent days, attention has turned to the likely damage to global output and to the possible reaction of macroeconomic policymakers. This has become urgent with the catastrophic decline in China’s PMI business surveys yesterday. The question now is whether a global recession can be avoided.


The global economy faces a demand shock focused on services and consumer spending.

Mar 1, 2020

The first U.S. trial for a coronavirus treatment has started

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business

The treatment could hold real promise as coronavirus infections and deaths outside of China continue to swell. “There is only one drug right now that we think may have real efficacy and that’s remdesivir,” said WHO assistant director-general Bruce Aylward during a press conference in Beijing on Monday. The drug is already being enlisted in clinical trials in China.


Gilead’s antiviral remdesivir is being used in the first U.S. clinical trial to treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Feb 29, 2020

Pope to endorse principles on AI ethics with Microsoft, IBM

Posted by in categories: business, ethics, robotics/AI

Feb 28 (Reuters) — Vatican officials on Friday planned to release principles promoting the ethical use of artificial intelligence (AI), with the backing of Microsoft Corp and International Business Machines Corp as the first two technology industry sponsors.

The “Rome Call for AI Ethics” asserts that the technology should respect privacy, work reliably and without bias, consider “the needs of all human beings” and operate transparently — an area of ongoing research because AI systems’ decisions are often inscrutable.

The document reflects growing interest among companies and institutions to set guardrails for the fast-evolving technology. Police have used facial recognition systems to investigate crimes, and Fortune 500 companies have used AI to vet job applicants — both examples of high-stakes tasks where deploying inaccurate or biased software could lead to harm.

Feb 28, 2020

FDA Identified 20 Drugs With Shortage Risks Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, education, health

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Feb 26, 2020

Unmanned Solar Aircraft Aims to Compete Commercially With Satellites and Drones

Posted by in categories: business, drones, robotics/AI, satellites, solar power, sustainability

At 35 meters, the wingspan of the new BAE Systems aircraft equals that of a Boeing 737, yet the plane weighs in at just 150 kilograms, including a 15 kg payload. The unmanned plane, dubbed the PHASA-35 (Persistent High-Altitude Solar Aircraft), made its maiden voyage on 10 February at the Royal Australian Air Force Woomera Test Range in South Australia.

“It flew for just under an hour—enough time to successfully test its aerodynamics, autopilot system, and maneuverability,” says Phil Varty, business development leader of emerging products at BAE Systems. “We’d previously tested other sub-systems such as the flight control system in smaller models of the plane in the U.K. and Australia, so we’d taken much of the risk out of the craft before the test flight.”

The prototype aircraft uses gallium arsenide–based triple-junction solar cell panels manufactured by MicroLink Devices in Niles, Ill. MicroLink claims an energy conversion efficiency of 31 percent for these specialist panels.

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Feb 24, 2020

AI offers new hope in defeating superbugs

Posted by in categories: business, robotics/AI

Machine intelligence is helping to overcome antibiotic resistance.

Feb 24, 2020

This man’s potentially huge medical breakthrough can’t get funding, so he’s trying something desperate

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, business, existential risks

Four years ago, Todd Rider was on top of the world. The MIT-trained bioengineer had developed a radical idea for killing viruses. Initial test results showed that his therapy, called DRACO, could kill every virus he threw it at: 15 viruses were killed in human cells, and two in mice.

It seemed like there was a chance it could be the biggest discovery in medicine since the invention of antibiotics. Enthusiastic headlines praised the potentially world-changing panacea. “Todd Rider Has a Kill Switch for Viruses,” wrote Bloomberg Businessweek. The Verge: “Killing sickness: is DRACO a doomsday device for viruses?” Time magazine declared it one of the top 50 inventions of the year.

Continue reading “This man’s potentially huge medical breakthrough can’t get funding, so he’s trying something desperate” »

Feb 22, 2020

Coronavirus: northern Italian towns close schools and businesses

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, education

Authorities act on cluster of infections in the Lombardy and Veneto regions.

Feb 22, 2020

Israeli mobility app Moovit expands to 100 countries worldwide

Posted by in categories: business, education, employment, transportation

#Israeli-made transportation app Moovit is continuing its global expansion and now provides its #urban mobility service in a total of 100 countries.


Moovit uses up to six billion anonymous data points daily, the company says, “to add to the world’s largest repository of transit and urban mobility data.” In addition to its popular app, the Ness Ziona-headquartered company also provides analytics platforms to cities, transit authorities and businesses, enabling optimized planning and operations for residents and employees.

“Urban mobility is the lifeline to jobs, healthcare, and education, so we are so proud that in just a few years Moovit is now providing service to millions of users in 100 countries, helping them get from A to B with confidence and convenience,” said Moovit co-founder and CEO Nir Erez.

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