>Glacier covered with tarpaulins
A team of conservationists has begun the process of laying vast tarpaulin sheets to cover over 100,000 sq metres of the Presena glacier in Northern Italy to prevent it from melting due to global warming.
The sheets, which measure 70m x 5m, are sewn together and bags of sand are placed on them to weigh them down.
The six-week process is repeated every year once the ski season is over and summer begins in full force.
The conservation project was first undertaken by Italian firm Carosello-Tonale in 2008 - at which time only 30,000 sq metres of the glacier was covered.
The process of removing the protective tarps will begin in September, and will take another six weeks. Since 1993, the Presena glacier has lost more than one third of its volume.
>Top brands boost value
The world's most valuable brands have seen their total brand value increase by 5.9% despite the economic, social and personal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, a report released on Tuesday has found.
The total brand value of the top 100 brands has reached $5 trillion, equivalent to the annual GDP of Japan, according to the 2020 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands report, which was released by global communication services provider WPP and Kantar.
These brands have been more resilient and less volatile during the pandemic than they were in the global economic crisis of 2008-09, adding $277 billion of brand value growth over the past year, the report said.
US brands represented more than half of the top 100, with Amazon maintaining its position as the world's most valuable, followed by fellow technology giants Apple and Microsoft.
Asian brands represented a quarter of the top 100, with 17 from China, including Alibaba and Tencent in the top 10.
>Self-cleaning mask debuts
Israeli researchers say they have invented a reusable face mask that can kill the coronavirus with heat by drawing power from a mobile phone charger.
The new mask has a USB port that connects to a power source such as a standard cellphone charger that heats an inner layer of carbon fibers to 70 degrees Celsius, high enough to kill viruses.
Disposable masks, in high demand globally during the health crisis, were not economically or environmentally friendly, said Professor Yair Ein-Eli, who led the research team at Technion University in Haifa.
"You have to make it reusable and friendly, and this is our solution," he said. It will likely sell at a $1 premium over the price of a typical disposable face mask, the researchers say.
>China leads in superfast computers
Chinese manufacturers continue to dominate the list of makers of the world's fastest supercomputers in terms of the number of systems, according to Top500, an authoritative ranking on supercomputers globally.
Supercomputers installed by three Chinese vendors, Lenovo, Sugon and Inspur, account for 312 of the top 500 systems on the 55th edition of the Top500 supercomputer list. Lenovo provided 180 of the systems, Sugon 68 and Inspur 64.
The new fastest supercomputer is the Japanese system "Fugaku", followed by the second-place "Summit" system of the US. At No 3 is "Sierra," a system at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the US state of California.
Chinese supercomputers "Sunway TaihuLight" and "Tianhe-2A" were fourth and fifth on the Top500 list.
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