750 million genetically modified mosquitoes to be released in Florida to help reduce the spread of diseases. Home sales are surging resulting in record-breaking prices. Xiaomi reveals the world's first mass-produced transparent TV. Greenland is losing ice at a record pace leading to a rise in sea level. Elephant’s relative is rediscovered in Africa after 50 years. Here are this week’s top stories.
1. 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes to be released in Florida
Local officials have approved the release of 750 million male genetically modified mosquitoes to help reduce the spread of diseases like dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, or the Zika virus. They are going to be released throughout the next two years. The mosquito has been altered to produce female offspring that die in the larval stage, well before hatching and growing large enough to bite and spread disease. Only the female mosquito bites for blood and spreads the disease while the male mosquitoes feed on nectar. The male offsprings will inherit the same gene, creating a rapidly decreasing mosquito population. While this may help reduce the spread of some of the diseases, it may also alter the food chain. Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Center for Technology Assessment and Center for Food Safety, said in a statement, “With all the urgent crises facing our nation and the State of Florida — the Covid-19 pandemic, racial injustice, climate change — the administration has used tax dollars and government resources for a Jurassic Park experiment.” Environmental groups are worried about potentially harming threatened and endangered species of birds, insects, and mammals that feed on the mosquitoes.
2. Home sales are surging resulting in record-breaking prices
Low mortgage rates and remote working are encouraging people to leave big cities and move into the suburbs with more living space at lower costs. This has caused existing-home sales to surge by a record-setting 24.7% month-over-month in July. Home prices also hit an all-time high according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The NAR says the housing market is past the recovery phase and is now booming because of the low-interest rates and the demand for a lifestyle change due to the pandemic. The high demand and the low supply of houses have sent up the median house price in the US to $304,100, which is the highest price ever. Zillow, an American online real estate database company, said there was a severe shortage of homes, especially at lower price points, causing the surge in prices. At the upper-income brackets, buyers are more stable and they are trying to take advantage of lower interest rates. The Market had essentially shut down in the spring due to the pandemic, but it has recovered and is now booming.
3. Xiaomi reveals worlds first mass-produced transparent TV
Xiaomi, a Chinese consumer electronics company, celebrated its 10 year anniversary by launching the first mass-produced transparent TV, leaving what looks like a simple glass screen, allowing viewers to see through to the other side. They were able to do this by firstly moving all the components into the circular base, instead of behind the screen. Secondly, they used transparent OLED technology (TOLED) instead of a normal OLED screen which uses a reflective cathode layer, which prevents you from seeing through it. TOLED screens use transparent components all the way through the stack that makes up the screen. The result is a 55-inch glass panel that works as a TV. The product is initially getting released in China for about $7,200. This technology could help eliminate the notch in modern-day smartphones, which is required for the selfie camera and facial recognition, by placing the camera behind the transparent screen.
4. Greenland is losing ice at a record pace
Greenland is losing more ice every year and it beat its previous record by 15%. Scientists say that Greenland lost an estimated 532 billion tons of ice in 2019, and half of it was lost in July alone. High-pressure systems and extreme heat in the Arctic, due to Global warming had caused the surge in loss of ice. This has caused the global sea level to rise by 1.5mm and was responsible for approximately 40% of the average rise in one year. From coastal US states such as Florida, major global cities like London, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, to low-lying big cities like Bangladesh’s Dhaka or India’s Kolkata and entire Pacific islands are all at risk from rising sea levels. The Arctic has been warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet and the effects of this are already noticeable. Heatwaves, hurricanes, and wildfires are becoming more common. This year is also on track to become the hottest year ever. Death Vally in California recorded a temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit and, multiple places in the Arctic circle recorded a temperature of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This is going to get worse and the only way to stop this is to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gasses.
5. Elephant’s relative is rediscovered in Africa after 50 years
The Elephant shrew was ‘lost to science’ in 1968 but it has recently been rediscovered in Djibouti, a small country north of Somalia and east of Ethiopia. Elephant shrews are native to Africa and have a long nose, large eyes, and a tuft of fur on its tail. The creature can move fast, reaching a speed of up to 28.8 kilometers per hour (17.9mph). Researchers had rediscovered the animal when they went on an expedition in the horn of Africa. They caught the animal by setting up hundreds of traps with peanut butter and yeast as bait. Scientists are planning to have another journey in 2022 to radio tag the species. This is going to help answer basic questions about the species, like when are they most active and how many pairs live together.
Above were my top stories for the week ending August 22, 2020, hope you liked it. Please leave your feedback or point of view in the form of a comment.
Thanks, see you next week!