The most intimate areas of your vacation will be deep-cleaned by a freaky robot

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Hotels, planes, and restaurants want your dollars back. Here are some of their plans to make it safe.

It’s something we look forward to all year: summer vacation. This time-honored tradition is an opportunity to get away from the stress of our daily lives and see new places, dip our toes in cool waters, or simply tune out the rest of the world for a few days. But this year, the continuing threat of Covid-19 has thrown that grand tradition for a loop, threatening to cancel it like a pool with bad pH levels.

And it’s not just wannabe-tourists who are suffering the loss of their vacations. As a result of Covid-19, 4 million people in the hospitality industry have lost their jobs. More than $21 billion in revenue has also been lost.

The question of “Is it safe to travel this summer?” is on the minds of many, and while there isn’t a clear answer yet, freaky googly-eyed robots are here to help us whenever we arrive.

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CRISPR enzyme programmed to kill viruses in human cells

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Researchers harness Cas13 as an antiviral and diagnostic for RNA-based viruses

Researchers have now turned a CRISPR RNA-cutting enzyme into an antiviral that can be programmed to detect and destroy RNA-based viruses in human cells.

Many of the world’s most common or deadly human pathogens are RNA-based viruses — Ebola, Zika and flu, for example — and most have no FDA-approved treatments. A team led by researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard has now turned a CRISPR RNA-cutting enzyme into an antiviral that can be programmed to detect and destroy RNA-based viruses in human cells.

Researchers have previously adapted the Cas13 enzyme as a tool to cut and edit human RNA and as a diagnostic to detect the presence of viruses, bacteria, or other targets. This study is one of the first to harness Cas13, or any CRISPR system, as an antiviral in cultured human cells.

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Two-thirds of all Android antivirus apps are frauds

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Only 23 Android antivirus apps had a 100 percent detection rate with no false positives.

An organization specialized in testing antivirus products concluded in a report published this week that roughly two-thirds of all Android antivirus apps are a sham and don’t work as advertised.

The report, published by Austrian antivirus testing outfit AV-Comparatives, was the result of a grueling testing process that took place in January this year and during which the organization’s staff looked at 250 Android antivirus apps available on the official Google Play Store.

The report’s results are tragicomical –with antivirus apps detecting themselves as malware– and come to show the sorry state of Android antivirus industry, which appears to be filled with more snake-oilers than actual cyber-security vendors.

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