Weekly round-up of newspaper articles that may be of iinterest.
Vegan-friendly salmon could become the newest staple on menus after an Israeli startup said it had invented the world’s first fish steak made entirely from legume proteins and algae extracts. The company, Plantish, announced the product this week, saying that it had developed a system for 3D printing that would allow it to make plant-based fish alternatives. The boneless “fish” fillets are made by reverse engineering salmon and its key components — such as protein, fat, water, omega 3 and 6 — before swapping them for plant alternatives. Ofek Ron, the company’s co-founder and chief executive, said: “A fish is the most hunted animal in the world.
Virgin Orbit has conducted its third successful commercial launch using a rocket strapped to the left wing of a modified 747 aircraft. The flight took off on 13 January from the Mojave Air and Space Port, California, at 1339 PST (0939 GMT). It then flew to the launch site above the Pacific, about 50 miles (80km) south of California’s Channel Islands. Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket weighs about 26 tonnes. The satellites are mostly experimental devices to test novel communication, navigation and propulsion techniques, detect space debris and monitor agriculture on the Earth. Four have been flown as part of the US military’s Space Test Program.
It has been 80 years since the first Japanese warship was sunk by the Australian navy during World War Two. The I-124 had been on a secret mission laying mines off the coast of Darwin when it suffered irreparable damage from dozens of depth charges detonated by the HMAS Deloraine. All 80 crew members died in the dramatic battle on January 20, 1942, just one month before the Japanese bombing of Darwin, and the wreck has lain on the sea bed ever since. Exploring the site as a member of the public is impossible because of its protected status and shared heritage between Australia and Japan — until now that is.
A firm planning mass production of electric car batteries in the UK has secured government funding for its proposed factory in Northumberland. Britishvolt announced plans for the so-called gigafactory in Cambois two years ago, saying it would create 3,000 jobs. The BBC understands the government has committed about £100m through its Automotive Transformation Fund. Britishvolt also announced backing from investors Tritax and Abrdn, that should unlock about £1.7bn in private funding. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng described the support as "reindustrialisation".
The loss of its chief scientific officer to a Silicon Valley start-up has come at an unfortunate time for GlaxoSmithKline. Hal Barron is swapping his executive responsibilities at one of the world’s biggest listed drugmakers to run Altos Labs, a project funded by billionaires, reportedly including Jeff Bezos, hoping to explore how cells age and reverse the processes that lead to illness and death.
A record number of students applied to study nursing last year, official figures show, as the pandemic inspired a rise in applications. In 2021, 45,235 students applied to study nursing, up from 39,365 the previous year and 33,105 in 2019, data from Ucas revealed. There was also a 38 per cent rise in the number of 18-year-olds choosing to study nursing compared to before the pandemic.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has been the victim of a cyber-attack in which hackers seized the data of more than 515,000 extremely vulnerable people, some of whom had fled conflicts. “A sophisticated cybersecurity attack against computer servers hosting information held by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was detected this week,” it said in a statement. “The attack compromised personal data and confidential information on more than 515,000 highly vulnerable people, including those separated from their families due to conflict, migration and disaster, missing persons and their families, and people in detention.”
Meta aims to make realistic avatars for its metaverse and plans to do so by tacking users' every move with customized technologies. The company recently filed a trove of patents for these innovations that monitor facial expressions, eye movements and body poses of players. The patents describe a device that sits around user's waist to track their body poses, sensor-packed gloves to monitor hand gestures and glasses to immerse players in the digital world.
Aldi has opened its first checkout-free supermarket where people can shop without having to scan a product. The grocer is operating a "trial" store in Greenwich, London, which allows customers to complete their shop and pay without going to a till. Instead, customers can download the Aldi Shop&Go app, and will then be automatically charged for their purchases once they leave the store.
Getting an electrocardiogram (ECG) is traditionally quite a big deal: a cardiac problem is suspected; a hospital appointment made; sensors stuck to your chest by a hovering medic, detecting the electrical signals your heart produces when it beats; results read by a proper professional. It feels like serious business — it’s how major heart conditions are often diagnosed. So it seems unnervingly futuristic that you can now do this at home, yourself, unsupervised, with an app. Can you trust it? Can you be trusted with it? The one I try, Kardia, last week became the first ECG app to be approved for use in the NHS by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), and can take a reading from just your fingertips.
US airline chiefs have warned that the introduction of a new 5G service could cause US commerce to “grind to a halt” due to possibly grounding a significant number of aircraft and might “strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas”. Warnings of an impending “catastrophic” crisis in aviation came in a letter sent to the White House national economic council director, Brian Deese, transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) administrator, Steve Dickson, and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairwoman, Jessica Rosenworcel, Reuters reported on Monday.
An Iron Man-style robot is designed to help out during natural disasters by wading through rubble and using its propulsion backpack to fly over difficult terrain. The robot, called iCub, has been developed by experts at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) in Genoa, Italy. Robotic systems in iCub's palms will allow it to control power and direction as it zooms through the air using propulsion rockets. iCub's modest size – just 3.4 feet – and propulsion abilities will allow it to reach spots humans or drones cannot get to in search of human survivors. The reminiscent of the Iron Man armour worn by Marvel Comics character Tony Stark, played on the big screen by Robert Downey Jr.
Aldi has opened its first checkout-free supermarket where people can shop without having to scan a product. The grocer is operating a "trial" store in Greenwich, London, which allows customers to complete their shop and pay without going to a till. Instead, customers can download the Aldi Shop&Go app, and will then be automatically charged for their purchases once they leave the store. Aldi's new store follows similar moves by Tesco, Sainsbury's and Amazon. The supermarket's new site will also allow customers to buy alcohol, using facial-age estimation technology, to check whether they appear to be over the age of 25. People who cannot or choose not to use this system can have their age verified by a member of staff. A series of hi-tech cameras will track customers as they do their shopping, and then bill them when they leave.
A flying car which can reach speeds of 160mph and fit into a small parking space has completed its first untethered flight. Zeva, a company in Washington, has released a video of the flight of its Zero aircraft, which produces no emissions and is being hailed a big step towards developing flying cars. On January 9 the aircraft undertook four flights, totalling more than four minutes of controlled hovering. The vehicle, which uses electric propellers, reached heights of about 40-50 feet and completed several 360-degree turns.
A British start-up is preparing to make driverless food deliveries for Ocado and Asda this year after raising $200m (£147m) from investors including Sir Richard Branson. Alex Kendall, the company’s 29-year-old founder, said Wayve planned to start deploying self-driving electric delivery vans around London under tests with Ocado and Asda. The company said it would later expand outside of London and had tested its technology in five other UK cities. The company eventually plans to use its technology for passenger journeys.
US airline chiefs have warned that the introduction of a new 5G service could cause US commerce to “grind to a halt” due to possibly grounding a significant number of aircraft and might “strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas”. The concern is that introduction of the new technology near airports could interfere with critical airplane instruments such as radio altimeters.
NASA engineers have fixed a glitch in the 'brain' of the SLS megarocket, that will eventually take the first woman and next man to land on the surface of the moon. The $20 billion Space Launch System (SLS) has been in development since 2011, and has been hit by multiple delays and problems over the past decade. Its first launch recently slipped from the end of last year to no earlier than March this year due to a problem with the onboard engine controller, which acts as the brain for each of the powerful RS-25 engines that propel the rocket into orbit.
Sales of electric cars in Europe overtook diesel models for the first time in December, preliminary estimates have shown, as drivers continued to choose subsidised emissions-free vehicles over those reliant on a fuel that was tarnished by the 2015 Volkswagen emissions scandal. More than a fifth of new cars sold across 18 European markets, including the UK, were powered exclusively by batteries, according to data compiled for the Financial Times by independent auto analyst Matthias Schmidt
Facemasks are likely to remain a legal requirement on public transport and indoors but work from home guidance and vaccine passports are expected to be scrapped at the end of the month. Oliver Dowden, the Conservative Party chairman, said yesterday that “signs are encouraging” for lifting coronavirus restrictions on January 26, adding that he was optimistic after “some very promising data” on infections and hospital admissions.
Google is backing a return to the office with an investment that will expand its UK capacity by 50% and "reinvigorate" the work environment. The search giant is spending £730m ($1bn) and expects headcount to rise from 6,400 to 10,000. It is buying one of the London sites, Central Saint Giles, in which it is currently a tenant. Google's UK boss Ronan Harris told the BBC the investment reflected the firm's faith in the office as a place of work.
Nasa has embarked on the months-long, painstaking process of bringing its newly launched James Webb space telescope into focus, a task due for completion in time for the revolutionary eye in the sky to begin peering into the cosmos by early summer. Mission control engineers at Nasa’s Goddard space flight centre in Greenbelt, Maryland, began by sending their initial commands to tiny motors called actuators that slowly position and fine-tune the telescope’s principal mirror.
The most detailed 3D map of the universe is currently under construction, with astrophysicists unveiling details of the first 7.5 million galaxies out of 35 million. The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) has completed its first seven months of a survey that is expected to take a total of five years. An international collaboration of scientists, led by the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, are using the survey to create a 'phenomenally detailed 3D map' that will help explain dark energy.