July 20 – July 26 Weekly News


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July 26, 2020


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Scientists attach a camera to a bug 

Scientists made a tiny camera that can be put on a bug. It records where bugs go. It gives a bug's-eye view of the world. Researchers can see places never seen before. A researcher said: "Insects can cross rocky environments, which is really challenging for robots to do. So this system can also help us out by letting us see hard-to-navigate spaces." He added: "It is the first time that we've had a first-person view from the back of a beetle."

The scientists say their camera is light enough for bugs to wear. It weighs just 250 grams. A researcher said: "We have created a low-power, low-weight, wireless camera system." He said a big challenge was making the battery. It had to be small and light, with enough power to last a few hours. The researchers said no beetles were hurt in their tests. They said all the beetles "lived for at least a year" after the experiments finished.




UAE's historic mission to Mars underway

The UAE space agency launched a historic mission to Mars. Its Hope probe went into space on a 500-million-km journey to study the climate on Mars. Hope should arrive in Mars' orbit in February 2021. This coincides with the UAE's 50th anniversary. The Emirates Mars Mission will stay in the Martian orbit for 687 days. It will collect samples of the Martian atmosphere. Scientists hope this will help us understand how Mars lost a lot of its air and water.

The UAE joined the ranks of space giants such as the USA and Russia. Entering the field of space exploration proves how ambitious the UAE is. A newspaper explained how momentous the Hope probe is. It wrote: "The UAE has catapulted itself into the future - a future of insight and intelligence, beyond mere imagination. For more than 400 million Arabs in the World, the launch was a moment that was like an eternity."




Basic income for poor could slow COVID-19 spread

The United Nations has a plan for COVID-19. It said the world's poorest people should get a basic income. This could slow down the number of coronavirus cases. The money would let 2.7 billion people in 132 developing countries stay at home. This would cut the risk of them spreading the virus. This would cost about $199 billion per month. The UN said the world had to take special action because it is in an unprecedented time not experienced before.

The basic income would go to people and not economies or big businesses. The UN said a basic income would give people in lockdown a financial lifeline, put cash back into local economies and help small businesses. It would also slow the spread of COVID-19. There are many people without insurance and many workers with no contract. There are also many low-paid people. The UN said refugees, migrants, and people with disabilities also need help.




Man proposes beneath the once-in-6,800-year comet

A man proposed to his fiancée during an event that occurs just once every 6,800 years. John Nicotera, 33, popped the question to Erica Pendrak, 26, while the Neowise comet passed over their heads. It will be 7,000 years before anyone else can get down on one knee and do the same. Mr. Nicotera loves space. He knew the rare comet would fly by for a short time. He planned his proposal to coincide with the comet being in the night sky.

Ms. Pendrak immediately accepted the proposal. She told reporters she was going to see the once-in-a-lifetime event. She got the surprise of her life when John proposed. She said: "I was just completely shocked - tears and everything. I felt instant chills and pure happiness." A friend photographed the proposal as the comet whizzed by across the heavens. John and Erica like seeing historical events together. John said: "I'm massively in love with this girl."




A Wave of Good Results in COVID-19 Vaccine Studies

Researchers are reporting progress in the race to develop a safe and effective vaccine against the new coronavirus. The disease it causes, COVID-19, has killed at least 610,000 people worldwide. More than 14.7 million people have been infected. Two different experimental vaccines have produced strong immune reactions in people involved in the studies. And neither produced serious unwanted effects.

The most promising of the two preventative medicines comes from a partnership between Oxford University in Britain and drugmaker AstraZeneca. The New York Times newspaper reports that the vaccine has been given to more than 10,000 volunteers in Britain, Brazil, and South Africa. The drug company CanSinoBiologics Incorporated and the Chinese military is developing the other vaccine. It was tested on 508 healthy volunteers who received one treatment each, the researchers reported. Most of those tested showed a good immune reaction. Both the AstraZeneca and CanSino vaccines use a harmless adenovirus to carry genetic material from the new coronavirus into the body.




Top Oil Companies Set Carbon Target Goals

For the first time, a group of the world’s top oil companies has set goals to cut carbon gas emissions as a percentage of their total production. Among the businesses agreeing to the effort were Saudi Aramco, China’s CNPC, and the American company ExxonMobil. The targets are the idea of an industry-led group, called the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, or OGCI. Its 12 member companies are responsible for over 30 percent of the world’s oil and gas production.

The goals are based on what the OGCI members call “upstream carbon intensity.” The target represents a reduction in the production of between 36 and 52 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2025, the OGCI said in a press release. The organization estimates the reduction would be equal to the carbon dioxide emissions resulting from energy use in 4 to 6 million homes. The OGCI members agreed on a common methodology to measure carbon intensity. OGCI said the group’s collective carbon intensity would be reported once a year and the data would be examined by an independent group.




Wearable Health Technology Could Find Early Signs of COVID-19

Researchers are studying the effectiveness of wearable devices to identify early signs of disease, including COVID-19. Many people already use devices such as the Fitbit or Apple Watch to measure their heart rate and other physical activity. Researchers are now studying whether this kind of technology could be used to watch for early warning signs of COVID-19.

One such device is being tested at West Virginia University in the United States. Researchers there reported in May that it can identify COVID-19 symptoms up to three days before people start to experience them. The researchers are performing tests with a device called the Oura Ring. The ring was designed to monitor physical activity, sleep effectiveness, and heart health. The ring sends the information it collects to an app, which rates the quality of the user’s activities. The app uses artificial intelligence, AI, tools to predict the start of COVID-19 related symptoms, such as high body temperature, and breathing problems. The researchers reported a success rate of over 90 percent.




Despite Coronavirus, K-pop Theater Show Seeks Performers

Most theaters in America may be closed, but one musical theater show is not letting that stop it from preparing. “KPOP” is a musical exploring the world of Korean pop music. The producers are doing a video-based casting call worldwide in hopes of being ready when live performances restart. Jason Kim is the playwright, or writer, of the musical. “We really hope as soon as possible to get into a room with all these people and see them in person,” he told the Associated Press.

Producers are looking for Korean, Korean American, and Asian American men and women in their 20s. They “must be excellent singers” with a strong pop sound and great dancers. Knowing K-pop music is, of course, helpful. Claire Burke is a casting director at Tara Rubin Casting in New York. She said she and her team have a “very tall ask.” They are looking for performers who have all the energy and lovability of pop stars and also serious acting skills. Kim said he strongly believes the right performers are out there and have been “for a really long time."




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