17th August 2018

Other Stories - 17th August 2018

Photo: Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research

The gender age gap is closing. Historically, the toils of war, industry and smoking have kept men’s life expectancy behind that of women, but it might not be the case for much longer. Statistical analysis shows that the gap is closing and if the current trend continues, women will no longer outlive men by 2032. By then, both sexes will be expected to reach 87.5 years of age, thanks to advances in tackling diseases like heart disease as well as a general fall in alcohol consumption and smoking. The Guardian

A new battery could charge cars in seconds. Chemists from the University of Glasgow have developed a type of flow batter that uses a nano-molecule to store electric power or hydrogen gas in a new system. A concentrated liquid containing nano-molecules can store ten times the amount of energy, which can be released as electricity. If the development goes as planned, the liquid could replace the current battery liquid in electric cars, enabling them to be charged in the same time as it takes to fill a petrol car. SKY News

AI could soon be used to detect eye problems. Thanks to an algorithm created by DeepMind, a Google-owned company, a computer can analyse scans of the back of the eye. During a study at Moorfields Hospital in London, the machine was found to be as accurate as two of the world’s leading retina specialists, and it didn’t miss a single urgent case. It’s hoped the new technology could help clinicians to prioritise patients by identifying those in need of the most urgent treatment. BBC News

Sainsbury’s is trialling a till-free store. Rather than taking a basket of shopping to the till to pay, customers of Clapham North Sainsbury’s Local can use the SmartShop app to scan goods as they go. Although the app is already being used in 68 stores, this is the first one to enable payments. The only items that aren’t available to buy via the app are alcohol, some medications and others with an age limit. BBC News

Listening to the radio saved a girl’s life. When a young girl from Burkina Faso fell ill, her parents thought she was suffering from the effects of a curse. Burkina fell into a coma after six days and luckily, her father heard a message on the radio about the symptoms of malaria, which enabled him to diagnose his daughter’s illness and get the necessary treatment. The message was part of a trial by Development Media International, which produced 150 messages educating people about the signs and symptoms of three of the biggest killers in the country. BBC News

Poldark fans urged to avoid two of the series’ most famous beaches. Porthcurno and Kynance Cove are both beautiful Cornish beaches, but they’ve gained unsolicited levels of attention after being featured on BBC’s Poldark – so much so that Cornwall’s tourism board has tried to divert people from visiting them. It’s after huge numbers of people flocked to them during the weekends, causing colossal traffic jams along the county’s winding roads. Not to put people off completely, it has encouraged them to visit one of the other 400 beaches the county boasts. ITV News

One out of five teens spends seven hours a day online. New data from Ofcom has revealed that a fifth of people aged 16 and 24 are glued to their smartphones and other devices for seven hours a day. Experts are concerned that this level of online time could have a negative impact on relationships, mental health and productivity. The new figure comes just weeks after the UK communications regulator revealed that Brits check their phone every 12 minutes on average. The Telegraph

A killer whale mother may have set a new record. After her newborn calf died in unexplained circumstances, she was seen carrying the body for 17 days before finally letting it go. Orcas are known to carry dead calves for a week, but scientists have never seen one carry their calf for this long. She is believed to have carried the baby carcass on her nose for over 1,000 miles. Digital photos taken of the mother show that she is in good physical condition. BBC News

A man called the police because he was being chased by a baby squirrel. Unable to free himself from the squirrel’s attention and getting increasingly scared, he decided to call the emergency services as a last resort. The police arrived at the scene and managed to catch the squirrel after it fell asleep from exhaustion. A spokeswoman for the police explained that orphaned squirrels often focus on one person when they are looking to replace their mothers and it can become quite terrifying. The Guardian

Quote of the week

“Being the Queen is not all about singing, and being a diva is not all about singing. It has much to do with your service to people. And your social contributions to your community and your civic contributions as well.”

Aretha Franklin on being the Queen of Soul. The 76-year-old singer sadly passed away on 16 August 2018.

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