First News
Volume:7, Number:39
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Beijing to Open First Driverless Subway Line

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Beijing will open its first domestically developed automated subway line with self-driving trains this year. The 16.6-kilometer Yanfang Line, which is being debugged, will improve convenience of transportation for residents living in the city's southwestern suburb of Fangshan, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted an official as saying. The facility is the first fully domestically developed automated subway line on the Chinese mainland, a spokesperson with the Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development. In addition, construction is expected to be completed in 2017 on two new rail lines, the city's first modern tram line and first medium-low speed maglev line. Currently Beijing has 19 lines covering 574 kilometers in operation. Twenty subway lines or sections, spanning over 350 kilometers will be built this year.

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More Americans are Drinking Coffee Every Day This Year

More Americans are drinking a daily cup of coffee in 2017, a reversal of four years of declines, as gourmet brews gain in popularity, according to an industry group's report released on March 25. Gourmet coffee is brewed from what survey participants view to be premium beans and includes espresso-based drinks like cappuccinos. The National Coffee Drinking Trends report showed that 62 percent of more than 3,000 people who participated in the online survey said they had drunk coffee the previous day, which is interpreted as daily consumption. This was up from 57 percent in 2016, said the report, which was released at the coffee association's conference in Austin, Texas.

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Oil-soaking Sponge Could Help Cleanup Serious Spills

A sponge that can quickly soak up oil in water has been devised by scientists in the United States. The Oleo Sponge material, developed at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), could eventually be used to help clean up oil spills, like the Deepwater Horizon disaster seven years ago that spewed millions of barrels of oil onto the shorelines of several American states for nearly three months. The sponge is made of a polyurethane foam, like that used in mattresses. The foam's interior surfaces are covered with oleophilic (oil-attracted) molecules that draw oil from the water. The Oleo Sponge could be scaled-up for use in large-scale oil leaks like what occurred at Deepwater Horizon in April 2010. The sponge could also potentially be used on a regular basis to clean harbors and ports.

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Over 100 Genes Linked to Memory in Humans Identified

Researchers have identified more than 100 genes that can help them understand correlations between these genes and human brain activity during memory processing, said Genevieve Konopka of University of Texas Southwestern in the US. The genes identified as important for human memory are distinct from genes previously correlated with other types of cognitive processing and resting state MRI activity. In the study, presented at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS) annual conference in San Francisco, the memory genes were found to overlap with several genes associated with autism, which means “we have identified a window into the molecular pathways important for normal memory function that are at risk from a genetic perspective in autism”, Konopka noted.

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Facebook Live Available to Desktop Users Now

Facebook users can now go live directly from their desktops using their webcams and also broadcast gameplay from their computers. According to a Facebook blog post on March 22, Facebook live on desktops was earlier available for pages only, but now the status update composer will feature a Live button also. Facebook also added a new feature that makes it easy to use streaming software or external hardware when going live from a computer. With this update, people can seamlessly share their screens, insert graphics, switch cameras, or use professional equipment in Facebook Live videos, the social media giant said. Facebook also said that desktop streaming could be useful for activities like Q&As and vlogging where holding a phon

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