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26th Sept - 11th Oct: Plastic solutions, flying paramedics, reducing food waste & Covid hope

A new super-enzyme that degrades plastic six-times faster than before. In 2016 plastic-eating bugs were discovered in a Japanese waste site. Since then, scientists engineered a version of this in 2018, which began breaking down plastic in a few days. But this new super-enzyme will enable plastic to be fully recycled six times faster and could be used for recycling within a year or two. (The Guardian)

Flying to the rescue: A flying jet suit has been tried and tested by the Great North Air Ambulance Service for paramedics to be able to reach people in need of medical attention in hills and hard to reach places. The suit gets lift from the mini engine on the back and with two mini engines on their arm, it can be controlled by just moving the paramedics hands.

"The biggest advantage is its speed," Mr Mawson, director of operations at GNAAS, said."In a jet pack, what might have taken up to an hour to reach the patient may only take a few minutes, and that could mean the difference between life and death." (BBC)

Breakthrough in growing human red blood cells Scientists in Singapore have created a way to create red blood cells twice as fast as existing methods. Blood transfusions save millions of lives each year but over half the world’s countries do not have sufficient supplies to meet their needs. This breakthrough could reduce our dependence on blood donors and make the process of blood transfusions safer, faster and more accessible. It would also be a huge benefit for research, giving scientists cheaper and faster access to blood cells for lab testing. (Science Daily)

Researchers, orthopaedics, industrial designers and patients in Italy have created a prosthetic hand called Hannes which is able to restore over 90% of functionality to people with upper-limb amputations. (Techxplore)

The UK's first "social supermarket" has opened, with its aim to tackle food waste. There are a total of six stores currently, that serve local people on low incomes food and household items at 70% discount to retail price. This model could tackle two issues in the UK: food waste and food poverty. According to the food redistribution charity FareShare, 4.2 million people live in “severely food insecure” homes in the UK, while 1.9 million tonnes of food is wasted by the food industry each year. (Posibl)

Electric cars of the future, here today Despite collapsing car sales, electric vehicles are on the rise. Battery powered cars account for 2% in the US and 5% in Europe but as electric cars are becoming much more affordable at a much faster rate, it is well positioned to dominate the car industry. With technology a

dvancing faster than predicted, we could see this tipping point as early as 2024. (New York Times)

India's promising paper Covid-19 test could be a breakthrough for slowing the spread of the virus. The paper test could give results in under an hour using the same mechanisms as a pregnancy test. It could make testing "simple, precise, reliable and scalable". (BBC)

France Doubles Paid Paternity Leave to 28 Days This change represents one of the more generous paternity packages in Europe. It comes in response to a growing body of research that shows the presence of the father is an important one in the early days of a child's life (New York Times)

Covid-19 tests that give results in minutes to be rolled out across world Tests for Covid-19 that show on-the-spot results in 15 to 30 minutes are about to be rolled out across the world, potentially saving many thousands of lives and slowing the pandemic in both poor and rich countries.The tests, which look like a pregnancy test, with two blue lines displayed for positive, are read by a health worker. The quick and easy but high-quality tests will allow mass screening of health workers. (The Guardian)

Dreading a dark winter lockdown? Think like a Norwegian Studies show people living in the Arctic Circle are armed with a mindset that helps combat the long ‘polar night’. It might come in handy for us all. The mindset crafted is not about denying problems or challenges that lay ahead but is about helping us see the opportunities and hope that lies within them (The Guardian).

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