from the world's big
Researchers find an unusual property of a bacteria that can breathe in metal.
- Scientists discover Shewanella oneidensis bacterium can "breathe in" certain metals and compounds.
- The bacteria produces a material that can be used to transfer electrons.
- Applications of the finding range from medical devices to new generation of sensors.
Here's how the world's technology conversations are changing.
COVID is changing the world and our technology conversations are changing with it.
Image: World Economic Forum, Boston Consulting Group<p>The first priority during this pandemic has been the protection of individuals, and rightly so. As a result, topics such as biotech/medtech have gained prominence as researchers seek out new treatments and a potential vaccine. This shift has fueled a new interest in telemedicine as well. This technology was slow in adoption for outpatient care pre-COVID, but has seen enormous growth in the past 6 months, <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/18/coronavirus-how-covid-19-accelerated-the-rise-of-telemedicine.html" target="_blank">as lockdowns and the virus forced patients and doctors to seek new solutions for care.</a></p><p>The coronavirus has also brought new uncertainties. With this, data analytics has risen 35% from pre-COVID levels, as individuals and companies use emerging data from medical research and emerging habits to forecast everything from the path of the pandemic to potential supply chain disruptions.</p><p>Talk regarding delivery drones has increased by 57% in topic share, thanks in part to new uses of drones to deliver much-needed supplies such as groceries and PPE in areas hard to reach after COVID-19 lockdowns.<br></p><p>COVID-19 boosted the number of articles written about 5G, though the context for these conversations has shifted. Articles pre-COVID focused on potential capabilities from a 5G rollout. As the virus spread, however, fear sparked by conspiracy theorists linked 5G technology to misinformation campaigns.</p>
Image: World Economic Forum, Boston Consulting Group<p>As part of this research, analysis dug into top discussion topics in 4 of the world's key regions: India, China, the European Union and the US. Here contextual AI studied more than 2,500 publications between January and May 2020. To be sure, a number of factors determine the types of media coverage that emerges in different regions. Still, this exercise is another window into how technology conversations differed across contexts as countries faced the virus in different ways, leveraging different tools and resources.</p>
Proteus could someday be used to create extremely strong and lightweight armor and locks.
- The material's strength comes from the unique arrangement of the ceramic spheres and aluminum of which it's composed.
- This arrangement is found in some biological structures, such as fish scales.
- Proteus is currently awaiting a patent.
Stefan Szyniszewski et al.<p>The team created Proteus by arranging microscopic ceramic spheres in a highly compressible aluminum matrix of foam. When something like an angle grinder cuts into Proteus, the structure promotes a series of forward- and backward-moving vibrations. This movement excites the ceramic spheres, causing them to break down into particles. Then, these particles fill gaps in the foam matrix, making it even harder to cut through the material.</p>
Stefan Szyniszewski et al.<p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Essentially cutting our material is like cutting through a jelly filled with nuggets" lead author Stefan Szyniszewski, assistant professor of applied mechanics in Durham's Department of Engineering, told <a href="https://newatlas.com/materials/proteus-non-cuttable-bike-lock-armor/" target="_blank">New Atlas</a>. "If you get through the jelly you hit the nuggets and the material will vibrate in such a way that it destroys the cutting disc or drill bit."</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The ceramics embedded in this flexible material are also made of very fine particles which stiffen and resist the angle grinder or drill when you're cutting at speed in the same way that a sandbag would resist and stop a bullet at high speed."</p><p>A video demonstration shows an angle grinder making a slight cut into the surface of the material, but not penetrating much farther. In a study published in <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-65976-0" target="_blank">Nature Scientific Reports</a>, the researchers said that's because the blade didn't make enough contact with the ceramic spheres to produce vibrations strong enough to stop the cutting.</p>
Even non-academic experiences can inspire meaningful moments of learning and self-reflection.
- Jiang Xueqin, an educator and researcher at Harvard Graduate School of Education, endorses learning journals as a good method to promote meta-learning for students during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Learning journals can be kept for any activity and have three components: defining a goal "concretely and precisely," writing down the process, and writing down observations and reflecting on the experience.
- While learning journals are primarily a personal exercise, Xueqin says that teachers can play a crucial role as coaches who motivate the student and find ways for them to improve with new learning strategies.
Helping students get better at learning prepares them for life, not just higher education.
- What does it mean to prepare students for college and why is that the goal? Bena Kallick, co-director of the Institute for Habits of Mind and program director for Eduplanet21, argues that a shift has to be made. Schools should instead be helping learners by preparing them for life, not just higher education.
- Developed by Kallick and Arthur Costa, habits of mind are 16 problem-solving life skills designed to help people navigate real-life situations. College is not the best fit for everyone, which means that teaching college readiness is not in the best interest of all learners.
- In order for meaningful changes to higher education to work, it has to start at the K-12 level. Students have to be "certified as human beings who are good at learning, who know enough about themselves to know what interests them and how to step out of K-12 and walk into a world of options."