>Electric air taxis to make debut in Brazil
The skies over Latin America's largest city are set to witness a futuristic aerospace revolution after the Brazilian airline Gol struck a deal that could see it ferry commuters around Sao Paulo in hundreds of low-cost zero-emission electric air taxis.
Domhnal Slattery, chief executive of the Dublin-based firm Avolon, which will provide the aircraft to Gol and recently placed an order for 500 of the aircraft from their British manufacturer, admitted helicopters were the "domain of the ultra wealthy".
But the Avolon boss said the introduction of VA-X4 eVTOLs (electric vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft to Sao Paulo would be a game changer for commuters once the taxis, which look like a futuristic cross between a helicopter and a glider, are delivered in late 2024 or 2025.
"Our basic estimate at the moment is that the operating cost here for this aircraft will be the equivalent of $1 per passenger over a 25-mile trip," Slattery told the Financial Times. "We think we can get the cost of this down to the equivalent of an Uber ride, equivalent to downtown Manhattan to JFK."
>Arc de Triomphe wrapped in fabric
After three months of construction work at Paris' famed Arc de Triomphe, the 160-foot-tall war monument has been completely concealed. The landmark, built during Napoleon's reign, has been outfitted in 270,000 square feet of silver-blue polypropylene fabric bound with red ropes.
Encasing the Arc de Triomphe in cloth was a longstanding vision of the late artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude -- one that finally came into focus this summer.
It began with 400 tons of steel beams erected like a metal jacket around the structure, followed by the wrapping, which was conducted by a team of climbers over the course of a few days.
Following the project's completion on Thursday, the arch will remain transformed for just 16 days.
Originally scheduled for spring 2020, the project was first delayed out of concern for nesting kestrel falcons in the arch, and then because of the ongoing pandemic.
Vladimir Yavachev, Christo's nephew and the project's director of operations who worked with the artist for 30 years, explained that the shimmering color of the fabric and vivid ropes are Christo's "poetic interpretation" of the blue, white and red of the French flag.
>1 in every 500 US residents have died of Covid-19
As of Tuesday night, 663,913 people in the US have died of Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
According to the US Census Bureau, the US population as of April 2020 was 331.4 million.
The US averaged 1,805 new Covid-19 deaths each day over a week as of Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins.
With only 54% of the population fully vaccinated, the rate of people initiating vaccinations each day (more than 341,900) is a 4% drop from last week and 28% drop from a month earlier, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health experts have hailed vaccinations as the best source of protection against the virus, noting that the majority of people hospitalized with and killed by Covid-19 are unvaccinated.
In Pennsylvania, from Jan 1 to Sept 7, 97% of the state's Covid-19 deaths were among unvaccinated people, Pennsylvania's acting secretary of health said Tuesday.
>Scientists want to resurrect the woolly mammoth
Geneticists, led by Harvard Medical School's George Church, aim to bring the woolly mammoth, which disappeared 4,000 years ago, back to life, imagining a future where the tusked ice age giant is restored to its natural habitat.
The efforts got a major boost on Monday, with the announcement of a $15 million investment.
Proponents say bringing back the mammoth could help restore the fragile Arctic tundra ecosystem, combat the climate crisis, and preserve the endangered Asian elephant.
However, it's a bold plan fraught with ethical issues.
The goal isn't to clone a mammoth -- the DNA that scientists have managed to extract from the woolly mammoth remains frozen in permafrost is far too fragmented and degraded -- but to create, through genetic engineering, an elephant-mammoth hybrid that would be visually indistinguishable from its extinct forerunner.
Others say it's unethical to use living elephants as surrogates to give birth to a genetically engineered animal.
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