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World's smallest transistor just a nanometer in size

Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have made the world's smallest transistor that is just a nanometer wide, pushing past the 5-nanometer limit of silicon transistors. The transistor also has a tiny 1-nanometer gate made of a carbon nanotube and molybdenum disulfide material. Current gates in silicon transistors have the length of 10 nanometers at the smallest. This development could lead to performance improvements in laptops, desktop PCs, mobile devices and other electronics. However, it will not be available for commercial production yet as researchers still have to figure out how to pack a number of such transistors into a chip.

Key Takeaway: 

Berkeley Lab researchers have created the world's smallest transistor that is just a nanometer across, breaking past the 5-nanometer limit of silicon transistors, and could enable faster electronics and smaller devices. 

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 10, 2016

Facebook demonstrates social chats in virtual reality

In a demonstration Thursday, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed off the new live virtual reality chat for Oculus Rift which allows people to connect with friends and family in a virtual environment. With Oculus Avatar, users will be able to create digital avatars of themselves, and the Oculus Touch controller can enable them to display facial expressions such as being surprised, happy or confused. While that feature is pulled off with a controller for now, the vision is to use gestural tracking and voice analysis in the future. The VR environment can also change backgrounds to real world locations like the home or the office. With Parties and Rooms, avatars can play cards, chess and fence as well as watch videos together, listen to music or hang out. Facebook's demonstration shows that advancements in VR can also transform the social experience, in addition to gaming.

Key Takeaway: 

Facebook live demoed a new software on Oculus platform, with features such as Avatar, Parties and Rooms that enable people to create avatars and play activities with friends through virtual reality, which could transform the way people interact with each other.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 6, 2016

Verily plans to inhibit mosquito population to counter Zika

Verily, a spin-off company from Alphabet focused on life sciences, is working on automated mosquito farms that will propagate sterile mosquitoes, which the company hopes can contain the spread of dengue and the Zika virus. Verily thinks its technique, which involves infecting male mosquitoes with a bacteria Wolbachia, inhibiting the normal fertilization of eggs when they mate, could be effective. Releasing a million of such sterile male mosquitoes can control mosquito populations in communities. Verily did not mention which communities they will initially conduct trials in. The company is looking to automate the process of rearing the mosquitoes. It also plans to use geospatial software to track said mosquitoes and release them from trucks into urban cities.

Key Takeaway: 

Verily, an Alphabet spin-off company, plans to automate the rearing of sterile mosquitoes and release them into communities to keep viruses such as dengue and Zika from spreading.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 6, 2016

Facebook launches new online marketplace

Facebook unveiled a new mobile app called Marketplace which enables users to discover, buy and sell products to one another. The interface includes a display of photos of items for sale within a geographic area, the ability to click an item to see a description and profile picture of the seller, save items, message the seller, and more. The service is currently free but Facebook may decide to monetize on it in the future. The company may also use its data to enhance existing services to users and advertisers. Marketplace will compete with Craigslist, which offers a free service to buy and sell used items, and eBay, an online marketplace for consumers and businesses to buy and sell products. The service will initially be available in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Key Takeaway: 

Facebook has a new mobile app that lets users discover, buy and sell items to each other, competes with online marketplaces like Craigslist and eBay, and could provide the social media giant with a new source of revenue and vast amount of consumer data that can be used to enhance its services.

Market Disruptions: 
Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 4, 2016

Paris Agreement expected to take effect after EU's approval

EU member states gave their approval to officially join the Paris Agreement, the new climate deal wherein countries pledge to reduce their emissions to counteract climate change. Once the EU ratification papers are submitted to the UN on Wednesday, the deal is expected to take into effect. So far, seven EU members have ratified the Paris Agreement with others expected to follow. This brings the total to 68 nations, representing 57% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, embracing the new climate deal. Europe has pledged to reduce its carbon output by 40% of 1990 levels by 2030. US, China and India have already formalized their participation. Other countries that could also submit their formal approval of the new climate deal include Canada and Japan.

Key Takeaway: 

With the 28 member states of the European Union informally approving the new climate deal, the Paris Agreement is expected to take effect soon on Wednesday; 68 nations have so far ratified the agreement, representing 57% of the world's emissions.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 3, 2016

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