TECH NEWS REVIEW Week 13-20 April 2020

By Stelios Iordanis

Biotech

COVID-19 ‘Immunity Passports’ Stoke ‘Grave Concerns’ | Zero Hedge

https://www.zerohedge.com/health/covid-19-immunity-passports-stoke-grave-concerns

“There may be cross-reactivity between the antibodies for SARS-CoV-2 [Covid-19] and other circulating coronaviruses – including those that cause common colds – meaning a positive result might not indicate past exposure to SARS-CoV-2 but maybe another coronavirus instead.”

Immunity passports would also create a perverse incentive to contract the disease.

“In an effort to return to work, or allow their children back to school, will the promise of an immunity passport make people behave less responsibly, and risk infection, in order to end up with a positive antibody test?” Therefore “The scheme would potentially punish those citizens who have behaved responsibly and tried their best to reduce their own risk of exposure and that of transmission within their communities.”

 

Microsoft: Our Plasma Bot will help recruit donors to create coronavirus treatment | ZDNet

https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-our-plasma-bot-will-help-recruit-donors-to-create-coronavirus-treatment/

Blood Is the Next Critical Tool In the Coronavirus Fight. Here’s Why

https://singularityhub.com/2020/04/07/blood-is-the-next-critical-tool-in-the-coronavirus-fight-heres-why/

Microsoft’s Plasma Bot will be available on the alliance’s homepage but it will also be available on the web, as well as social and search channels to help raise awareness.

The bot isn’t designed to collect personal information, but it will ask details such as whether a person has tested positive for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, which is required by the FDA for plasma donation, as well as the donor’s zip or postal code. The bot will provide instructions to the nearest plasma donation center.

Convalescent Plasma donation seems to be the best available covid-19 cure at the moment, but given its scarcity at the moment, there could be multiple discrimination issues as to who will have access to this privilege.

 

QC

The Largest Roadblock In Quantum Computing Has Been Passed [Infographic]

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinanderton/2020/04/20/the-largest-roadblock-in-quantum-computing-has-been-passed-infographic/#27c7d50d5a08

Researchers just took a big step toward making quantum computing viable | PC Gamer

https://www.pcgamer.com/quantum-computing-breakthrough-could-finally-make-it-viable/

 

Hotter running qubits is the key to reducing quantum computing cooling costs from millions to thousands of dollars.

Making quantum computing hardware systems more affordable will lead to faster evolution in this field and lower barriers to entry.

 

Energy

Our Most Abundant Chemical Is The Future Of Fuel | OilPrice.com

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Our-Most-Abundant-Chemical-Is-The-Future-Of-Fuel.html

 

The most abundant chemical element in the universe can be stored either as a compressed gas or as a liquid. Both methods are costly and, more importantly, they carry risks because of the immense pressure of a hydrogen tank due to its high flammability.

A new material, called metal-organic framework, or MOF, that could store a lot more hydrogen than other adsorbent materials much more cheaply, and much more safely.

Hydrogen is truly revolutionary, but poor safety had rendered it almost unusable up to now; this solution could be a game changer.

 

Genetic Engineering

Chinese Scientists Successfully Put Human Genes Into Monkey Brains

https://allthatsinteresting.com/human-genes-monkey-brains

Of the 11 rhesus monkeys given the gene found in the human brain via a virus, only five survived, but those five had improved memories — better than those of normal rhesus monkeys.

The possibilities for psychoactive drug testing are endless if we ignore the obvious moral dillemas.

 

Neural Engineering

A New Neural Interface Could Last up to 6 Years Inside the Human Brain

https://singularityhub.com/2020/04/13/this-new-neural-interface-could-last-up-to-6-years-inside-the-human-brain/

Neural implants and the merger of man and computers is becoming more feasible due to this development, although questions remain over their biocompatibility and durability.

The researchers in this study have already identified some modifications to their encapsulation scheme that they think could slow the rate at which the material dissolves enough to last a human lifetime.

Nevertheless, controversial applications of neural implants are quite visible even at this early stage.