>Folded hands emoji in vogue
At a time when in-person conversations are harder to come by, many people are choosing to express their thoughts about the pandemic with emojis.
But perhaps no emoji has come to embody the hopes and fears of this unthinkable moment as much as the folded hands emoji.
The folded hands emoji has popped up in more tweets than ever before to help express our feelings about seemingly every aspect of a health crisis that can sometimes defy words.
It's used to give thanks to frontline workers, send prayers to loved ones and express gratitude for finding toilet paper on supermarket shelves.
The emoji, sometimes called “prayer hands”, was used 25% more often in April than in August, the last time that particular character was analyzed by Emojipedia, which tracks trends and the frequency of emoji use on Twitter.
That spike made it the eighth most popular emoji for the month - and cemented its position as a visual emblem for how we feel during the pandemic.
Icons such as the face with a medical mask, the microbe and a bar of soap have also spiked in messages specifically associated with the coronavirus.
>Italians and French gain weight
The pasta, pizza and Peroni have finally taken their toll, with Italians emerging from two months of lockdown an average 2 kg heavier.
Their cousins across the Alps have also piled on the pounds, with the average French person gaining 2.5kg.
With people exercising a lot less and eating more out of boredom or as a source of comfort, the weight gain was inevitable.
Families consumed 18% more food during the lockdown than usual, Coldiretti, the Italian food and farmers' association, found.
"There was a real boom in so-called comfort food rich in calories, full of sugars, fats and carbohydrates," the organization said.
In France, the main culprit for the extra love handles singled out as the extended evening aperitif.
According to the study by Darwin Nutrition, a healthy eating site, some 42% of those interviewed said they had "more (aperitifs) than before" - including drinks and a range of snacks from saucisson to vol-au-vent.
>Belgians urged to eat more fries
The potato industry in Belgium has been hit hard by COVID-19.
When the virus began shutting down Italy, Spain and eventually Belgium, the crisis was in full swing, according to Romain Cools, the Secretary-General of Belgapom, which oversees Belgium's potato trade and processing industry.
He said the country has a giant surplus of potatoes, caused by the shutdown of the food service sector, since about 70% of the potatoes in Belgium are consumed out of the home.
"We are not only facing problems for our potato growers, but also our processing industry. "
"They are processing these potatoes, which they promised to take from the farmers, but they have a lack of freezing capacity at this moment," said Cools.
He has been thinking of ways to increase the consumption of potatoes, one of the main staples of Belgian food, including eating more fries.
"I just said from the heart, 'You could help us by just buying, and eating, extra time frozen potato products during the coronavirus crisis,'" Cools said.
>Cars to use 5G to 'talk'
Cars could soon be communicating with each other using 5G to make drivers aware of upcoming hazards, scientists claim.
The ultra-fast mobile internet would allow for rapid information transmission and could make drivers aware of black ice, pot holes or other dangers up ahead.
Several car manufacturers are already integrating 5G into their vehicles, including as a tool to help usher in the generation of self-driving vehicles.
Experts at Glasgow Caledonian University believe the high-speed connection will also improve the reliability and capability of automated vehicles to the point where they will be safer than the manual cars being driven today.
They predict the number of road traffic accidents - which according to the World Health Organization account for more than 1.3 million deaths and up to 50 million people injured worldwide every year - will drop drastically as a result.
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