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A faster and more sustainable way to extract rare earths

A team of Chinese scientists has developed a new process that could ignificantly reduce the time needed to extract rare earths from ore, and it could also cut industry pollution. Extracting the trace metal elements is difficult and takes days to complete, but researchers have found a way to shorten the process to minutes. The 17 trace metal elements in rare earths are critical to the manufacture of nearly all hi-tech products, from semiconductors to smartphones and stealth fighter jets. https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3012641/chinese-scientists-find-faster-way-extract-rare-earths-may-also

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The world’s first mango picking robot

The world’s first mango picking robot

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Lung Cancer Detection AI Outperforms Human Radiologists

In partnership with Northwestern Medicine, Google researchers created an AI system that detects lung cancer from CT scans better than well-trained humans. The model was trained using more than 42,000 CT scans taken from 15,000 patients during the National Institutes of Health (NIH) study conducted in 2002. Compared to six expert radiologists, when analyzing these CT scans, the model proved to detect cancer five percent more often, with an eleven percent reduction in false positives. https://venturebeat.com/2019/05/20/googles-lung-cancer-detection-ai-outperforms-6-human-radiologists/

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A theatre company that unites people

Midnight Feast is a bold initiative that enables artists who experience significant physical and intellectual challenges to participate in the performing arts. They celebrate abilities not limitations. Their goal is to enable talented performers to reach their full potential as people and artists; participating and performing alongside their able bodied colleagues to audiences all around Australia. www.midnightfeast.com.au/

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Informing Air Pollution Levels Through Lighting

As we all know, South Korea has a severe problem with air pollution. The Hanwha Galleria, one of the South Korean malls, cares for its customer’s wellbeing by installing the mall’s exterior lighting that changes according to the level of fine dust pollution. The lighting will be red if the fine-dust concentration is at elevated levels and it will be green when the levels of air pollution are low. https://www.hanwhagalleria.co.kr/en/index.jsp

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A better process for Governments to make major decisions

Independent research has found common ground on what is good policy making in Australia. There was clear agreement that there is most scope for improvement in government decision-making by using cost/benefit analysis, designing a rollout plan in conjunction with a policy statement and issuing a Green Paper to elicit public feedback before announcing a major policy decision in a White Paper. Major political parties are being asked to publicly commit to this process. https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/half-baked-policies-push-for-public-input-on-contentious-nsw-laws-20190527-p51rm3.html

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A fake city that’s used to test self-driving cars

Uber is testing its self-driving cars in a fake city it built in Pittsburgh, called Almono. The fake city has a giant roundabout, fake cars, and roaming mannequins that jump out into the street without warning. Uber also uses Almono to train vehicle operators before allowing them to monitor the cars in the real world. www.businessinsider.com/ubers-fake-city-pittsburgh-self-driving-cars-2017-10

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A Cinema in Your Pocket

A “cinema in your pocket” revolutionises how we use projectors. Previous small projectors were low quality in design and display, and only worked in very dark rooms. Invented in Sydney by James Bailey, this projector offers professional and home users a unique opportunity to project video anywhere – even on a campsite! Weighing just 100 grams and smaller than a smartphone, Pocket.Graphics incorporates a totally new type of projection method producing the most vibrant colour possible. It connects to any phone or laptop in less than 5 seconds and can make a screen from 50cm to 4m in size (diagonal).

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A “no jab no school” policy

Researchers in Italy have said a “no jab no school” policy should be introduced after finding that current immunisation rates will not keep measles outbreaks at bay. Italy brought in mandatory vaccination before primary school in 2017 because of low immunisation rates and measles outbreaks. France did the same in 2018. In their paper, published in the journal BMC Medicine, the rearearchers say that vaccine rates in Australia, Ireland, Italy, the UK and the US could drop to levels where measles outbreaks will happen. Coverage needs to be 95% to prevent outbreaks. www.theguardian.com/society/2019/may/17/uk-should-consider-no-jab-no-school-policy-italian-study-says

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A Twist on Fundraising for Causes You Care About

WeThinkItMatters is a clever “philanthropic web app” designed to raise funding for nonprofits that you wish to support. With the tap of your finger, you direct the donations of campaign sponsors (companies who actually make the donations). There’s also a way for you to have the chance to win cash prizes. More details are at https://wtim.co.

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