Made in Israel: First AI-designed Antibody Could Lead to Eradication of Tumors 

A computer may design the perfect antibody to fight cancer in a breakthrough for medicine. Prof. Yanay Ofran explains why testing it on mice can be misleading, and what limits creativity in biotech companies: ‘They’re searching for a new biology and trying to treat it using old technology. We do the opposite.

In recent weeks certain doctors and patients with terminal cancer in Australia have been participating in a highly important experiment. The doctors are injecting the patients with an antibody that they hope will activate a molecule familiarly known as IL-2, which is naturally produced in the human body and can eradicate tumors.

What makes the experiment unusual is that the antibody they’re injecting wasn’t produced by living tissue, but rather by computers in the laboratory of Biolojic Design in Rehovot. The antibody, known as AU-007, is the first to be designed by computer and reach the stage of clinical trials. It evokes keen hopes because if it works, it paves the way for the development of a new kind of drug based on computational biology and big data.

Like practically every drug that enters clinical trials on humans, Biolojic Design’s antibody was first tested on mice. All evinced positive reactions to the treatment. In the 17-day trial period of the study, the antibody led to the complete elimination of the tumors in ten of 19 mice, and significantly inhibited the development of tumors in the nine other mice.

Prof. Yanay Ofran, founder and CEO of Biolojic Design, is keeping his enthusiasm strictly curbed. “We have a joke we tell at conferences. ‘We have great news for all the mice in the audience. We’ve managed to infect and sicken them with 1001 diseases and cure them.’ The lingua franca of the drug development world, the empiric language it uses, is animal studies. You have to show success with an animal trial or you won’t be able to raise money, the regulator won’t let you test it on people, and doctors won’t refer their patients to the trial.”

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AMAZON WILL LAUNCH DRONE DELIVERY FOR CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS WITH PRIME AIR ELIGIBLE ITEMS

By Cortney Drakeford

Some California residents will begin receiving their Amazon deliveries from drones later this year.

On Monday, Amazon announced it plans to use drones for customer deliveries in Lockeford, California. The move will mark the first time the e-commerce company will use drones to deliver packages to customers in the United States.

The Amazon drones will deliver packages to the backyard of  Lockeford, California residents. The area is located around 40 miles south of Sacramento.

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World First Room Temperature Quantum Computer Installed in Australia

A quantum-HPC integration serving more than 4,000 researchers.

By Francisco Pires 

The world’s first on-premises, room-temperature quantum computer has just been installed in Pawsey’s Supercomputing Research Centre, in Australia. Developed by Australian start-up Quantum Brilliance, the quantum accelerator doesn’t require any exotic cooling methods to maintain quantum coherence, and has even been developed for installation in a typical rack system. The new quantum accelerator will thus be taken for a spin in tandem with Pawsey’s new, state-of-the-art Setonix, its HPE Cray Ex supercomputer.

The room-temperature achievement was unlocked due to Quantum Brilliance’s approach to quantum computing; instead of the more common ion chains, silicon quantum dots, or superconducting transmon qubits, Quantum Brilliance took advantage of specifically implanted nitrogen-vacancy centers in synthetic diamonds (where a carbon atom is replaced by a nitrogen one).

These vacancy centers amount to defects in the diamond’s structure, which feature a photoluminescence capability that allows for the qubits’ spin states to be read based on the emitted light’s characteristics, without directly interacting with the qubits. A number of techniques, such as magnetic or electric fields, microwave radiation, or light (Quantum Brilliance uses a green laser technology for this purpose) can be used to directly manipulate the nitrogen-vacancy center’s qubits. Quantum Brilliance’s qubits are described by the company as being in the “middle of the pack” for coherence times and performance, being slower than superconducting qubits, but faster than the trapped-ion approach of some other providers.

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Ep. 88 with Matt Pines

Watch our interview with Matt Pines on Youtube or listen on the Futurati Podcast website. 

In recent months there has been a flurry of activity in the government related to cryptoassets, how to regulate them, and what their implications for national security will be. Though it’s common to endorse a simplistic narrative in which Bitcoin and the government are flatly opposed to each other, the truth is more nuanced. We’ve invited Matthew Pines to the Futurati Podcast to talk to us about these issues.

Matthew is a Managing Consultant at the Krebs Stamos Group, a cybersecurity and geopolitical risk advisory firm. He has over ten years of experience helping the government and private sector firms address pressing security and resilience challenges. As a National Security Fellow at the Bitcoin Policy Institute, he applies rigorous analytical methodologies to help policy-makers understand the implications of Bitcoin as an emerging technology for the benefit of the nation. He holds a master’s degree in Philosophy and Public Policy (with Distinction) from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a bachelor’s degree in Physics and Philosophy (with Honors) from Johns Hopkins University.

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Elon Musk: SpaceX will build over 1,000 Starships to move 1 million humans to Mars

Starship | First test vehicle.

By  Chris Young

They’re basically very ‘modern Noah’s Arks.’

It’s not so long ago, in the grand scheme of things, that SpaceX was struggling to make it to orbit.

Last week, May 31, marked the 10-year anniversary of the completion of SpaceX’s first Dragon mission, COTS 2, to and from the International Space Station. 

Only a few years before, on September 28, 2008, the company reached orbit on its fourth attempt with Falcon 1.

Despite his PR inelegance and all his deadline exaggerations, it’s hard to argue against SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s impressive track record when it comes to spaceflight — his most far-out statements are known to cause even skeptical space enthusiasts to froth at the mouth. 

Still, Musk’s latest claim shared on Twitter, alongside a slide deck for a presentation he recently gave at SpaceX, will likely prove divisive.

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PRACTICAL POWER BEAMING GETS REAL

A power-beaming system developed by PowerLight Technologies conveyed hundreds of watts of power during a 2019 demonstration at the Port of Seattle. 

By PAUL JAFFE

A century later, Nikola Tesla’s dream comes true,

WIRES HAVE A LOT going for them when it comes to moving electric power around, but they have their drawbacks too. Who, after all, hasn’t tired of having to plug in and unplug their phone and other rechargeable gizmos? I

t’s a nuisance.Wires also challenge electric utilities: These companies must take pains to boost the voltage they apply to their transmission cables to very high values to avoid dissipating most of the power along the way.

And when it comes to powering public transportation, including electric trains and trams, wires need to be used in tandem with rolling or sliding contacts, which are troublesome to maintain, can spark, and in some settings will generate problematic contaminants.Many people are hungry for solutions to these issues—witness the widespread adoption over the past decade of wireless charging, mostly for portable consumer electronics but also for vehicles.

While a wireless charger saves you from having to connect and disconnect cables repeatedly, the distance over which energy can be delivered this way is quite short. Indeed, it’s hard to recharge or power a device when the air gap is just a few centimeters, much less a few meters. Is there really no practical way to send power over greater distances without wires?

To some, the whole notion of wireless power transmission evokes images of Nikola Tesla with high-voltage coils spewing miniature bolts of lightning. This wouldn’t be such a silly connection to make. Tesla had indeed pursued the idea of somehow using the ground and atmosphere as a conduit for long-distance power transmission, a plan that went nowhere.

But his dream of sending electric power over great distances without wires has persisted.To underscore how safe the system was, the host of the BBC science program “Bang Goes the Theory” stuck his face fully into a power beam.Guglielmo Marconi, who was Tesla’s contemporary, figured out how to use “Hertzian waves,” or electromagnetic waves, as we call them today, to send signals over long distances.

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Putting the metal to the pedal! Robotic taxi service gets green light to begin charging passengers for DRIVERLESS rides in San Francisco

By FIONA JACKSON

  • Regulators in California have approved the state’s first ever autonomous taxis
  • Robot cab company Cruise can now charge for driverless rides in San Francisco
  • They are confined to offer trips between 10pm and 6am in less congested areas
  • Previously it could only offer free rides to passengers without a backup driver 

We are one step closer to never having to parallel park again — as regulators in the US have given the green light to the first commercial fleet of driverless taxis in California. 

Robotic taxi service Cruise received approval to offer rides in San Francisco. 

It will be the first time an autonomous ride-hailing service in the state has been allowed to charge for rides that will have nobody else in them besides the passengers.

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Ep. 88 with Jeremy Clark

Watch our interview with Jeremy Clark on Youtube or listen at the Futurati Podcast website.

If you’re like me, you’ve watched the blockchain space with growing interest in recent years. But you can be forgiven for not really understanding what exactly the technology is good for outside of cryptocurrency. If so, you’ll want to tune in to this episode. Tonight we’re joined on the Futurati Podcast by Jeremy Clark. Jeremy is an associate professor at the Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering, where he holds the Catallaxy Industrial Research Chair in Blockchain Technologies. He obtained his PhD from the University of Waterloo, where his gold medal dissertation was on designing and deploying secure voting systems including Scantegrity—the first cryptographically verifiable system used in a public sector election. He wrote one of the earliest academic papers on Bitcoin, completed several research projects in the area, and contributed to the first textbook. Beyond research, he has worked with several municipalities on voting technology and testified to both the Canadian Senate and House finance committees on Bitcoin.

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Inside the Government Fiasco That Nearly Closed the U.S. Air System

THE UPGRADE TO 5G WAS SUPPOSED TO BRING A PARADISE OF SPEEDY WIRELESS. BUT A CHAOTIC PROCESS UNDER THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION, ALLOWED TO FESTER BY THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION, TURNED IT INTO AN EPIC DISASTER. THE PROBLEMS HAVEN’T BEEN SOLVED.

by Peter Elkind

The prospect sounded terrifying. A nationwide rollout of new wireless technology was set for January, but the aviation industry was warning it would cause mass calamity: 5G signals over new C-band networks could interfere with aircraft safety equipment, causing jetliners to tumble from the sky or speed off the end of runways. Aviation experts warned of “catastrophic failures leading to multiple fatalities.”

To stave off potential disaster, the Federal Aviation Administration prepared drastic preventive measures that would cancel thousands of flights, stranding passengers from coast to coast and grounding cargo shipments. “The nation’s commerce will grind to a halt,” the airlines’ trade group predicted.

On Jan. 18, following nail-biting negotiations involving CEOs, a Cabinet secretary and White House aides, an eleventh-hour agreement averted these threats of aviation armageddon. Verizon and AT&T agreed not to turn on more than 600 5G transmission towers near the runways of 87 airports and to reduce the power of others.

Disaster was averted. But the fact that it was such a close call was shocking nonetheless. How did a long-planned technology upgrade result in a standoff that seemed to threaten public safety and one of the nation’s largest industries? The reasons are numerous, but it’s undeniable that the new 5G deployment represents an epic debacle by multiple federal agencies, the regulatory equivalent of a series of 300-pound football players awkwardly fumbling the ball as it bounces crazily into and out of their arms.

More than anything, a deep examination of the fiasco reveals profound failures in two federal agencies — the Federal Communications Commission and the FAA — that are supposed to serve the public. In the case of the FCC, the agency not only advocated for the interests of the telecommunications industry but adopted its worldview, scorning evidence of risk and making cooperation and compromise nearly impossible. In the case of the FAA, the agency inexplicably stayed silent and passively watched preparations for 5G proceed over a period of years even as the aviation industry sounded ever more dire warnings that the new networks could put air safety at risk.

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Cheap gel film pulls buckets of drinking water per day from thin air

A sample of the new gel film, which can pull huge amounts of drinking water out of thin air

By Michael Irving

Water scarcity is a major problem for much of the world’s population, but with the right equipment drinking water can be wrung out of thin air. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have now demonstrated a low-cost gel film that can pull many liters of water per day out of even very dry air.

The gel is made up of two main ingredients that are cheap and common – cellulose, which comes from the cell walls of plants, and konjac gum, a widely used food additive. Those two components work together to make a gel film that can absorb water from the air and then release it on demand, without requiring much energy.

First, the porous structure of the gum attracts water to condense out of the air around it. The cellulose, meanwhile, is designed to respond to a gentle heat by turning hydrophobic, releasing the captured water.

Making the gel is also fairly simple, the team says. The basic ingredients are mixed together then poured into a mold, where it sets in two minutes. After that it’s freeze-dried, then peeled out of the mold and ready to get to work. It can be made into basically any shape needed, and scaled up fairly easily and at low-cost.

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Israel tests AI-powered Floating Solar Panels

he new project is being carried out in collaboration with Israel’s national water provider, Mekorot.

By Dipayan Mitra

Israel announces that it plans to test a new artificial intelligence (AI)-powered floating solar panels system to generate clean energy, reports Nocamels. 

Developed by Israeli startup Xfloat, the solar photovoltaic (PV) system is meant to move and monitor the sun while floating on reservoir water. The company has developed an intelligent water management system that accurately tilts and tracks water loads and pumps. 

The data acquired from sensors is subsequently refined and directed to a knowledge-based machine learning process for PV performance prediction, and O&M. Countries across the globe are launching new initiatives to generate clean energy as a step to control global warming. 

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Gene-edited super tomato may provide the vitamin punch to fight Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and cancer

NORWICH, United Kingdom — A genetically engineered “super” tomato that may have the power to fight Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and cancer has been created by British scientists. The modified fruit is packed with vitamin D — which also boosts bones, teeth, and muscles.

Estimates show more than four in 10 Americans may have a vitamin D deficiency, which can increase their risk of developing a host of illnesses. Now, a team at the John Innes Centre in Norwich has engineered a variety of tomato that produces more.

They used a gene editing technique known as CRISPR, enabling them to make precise changes in DNA at specific locations. The procedure blocked the action of an enzyme that normally converts the vitamin to cholesterol.

“We’ve shown that you can biofortify tomatoes with provitamin D3 using gene editing, which means tomatoes could be developed as a plant-based, sustainable source of vitamin D3,” says corresponding author Professor Cathie Martin in a media release.

“Forty percent of Europeans have vitamin D insufficiency and so do one billion people world-wide. We are not only addressing a huge health problem, but are helping producers, because tomato leaves which currently go to waste, could be used to make supplements from the gene-edited lines.”

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