Elon Musk says Neuralink has implanted first brain chip in human

Neuralink, the neurotechnology company co-founded by Elon Musk in 2016, has finally put its first brain chip in human to test its implants in people, after receiving an approval from regulators in 2023. Musk took to X (formerly Twitter) to confirm that initial results show promising neuron spike detection.

The entrepreneur further added, the first product is Telepathy, aptly called so as it enables control of the user’s phone or computer, and through them almost any device, just by thinking. “Imagine if Stephen Hawking could communicate faster than a speed typist or auctioneer. That is the goal,” wrote Musk.

The startup aims to create a direct connection between the human brain and computers. It uses a device called the Link, which is implanted in the brain through surgery. The Link can record and stimulate neural activity, and send information to a Neuralink app, which can translate it into actions and intentions. The technology could help people with paralysis, neurological disorders, or enhance human capabilities.

KnowALLedge Plus:

>The Link is a coin-sized device that is placed inside the skull, with thin wires or threads that connect to the brain tissue. It can communicate wirelessly with a smartphone or computer, and can be charged without wires.

>The company has demonstrated the Link device in pigs and monkeys, showing that they can control a computer or a video game with their minds.

>It also faces many challenges and risks, some of which include, the safety and ethics of brain surgery and implantation, the reliability and durability of the device and the threads, the compatibility and security of the wireless communication and the app, the potential side effects or complications of brain stimulation or manipulation, the social and psychological impact of having a brain-computer interface, to mention a few.

Sir Elton John joins the rare EGOT Club

Sir Elton John, the legendary singer-songwriter, has achieved the rare feat of winning an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony award (collectively known as the EGOT), becoming the 19th person overall and the first British musician to attain this status. These awards honour exceptional achievements in television, recording, film, and Broadway theatre, respectively, and achieving the EGOT has been referred to as the “grand slam” of American showbiz.

He completed his EGOT collection by winning the Emmy for outstanding variety special (live) for his show Elton John Live: Farewell from Dodger Stadium. He had previously won five Grammys, including a Grammy Legend Award, two Oscars for best original song, and a Tony for best original score. Elton John is widely regarded as one of the most influential and successful artists of all time, with more than 300 million records sold worldwide.

KnowALLedge Plus:

>In 1962, Richard Rodgers became the first person to win all four awards.

>In 1977, Helen Hayes became the second person and first woman to win all four awards.

>In 1977, Rita Moreno became the third person and first Hispanic American to win all four awards.

>In 1991, John Gielgud became the fourth person to win all four awards, the oldest (at age 87), the first LGBTQIA+ person, and the first non-American.

>In 1994, Audrey Hepburn became the fifth person to win all four awards, and the first to do so posthumously.

Here’s a complete list of all 19 EGOT winners:

Elton John, Whoopi Goldberg, John Gielgud, Audrey Hepburn, Viola Davis, Jennifer Hudson, Alan Menken, Mel Brooks, Mike Nichols, Richard Rodgers, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Robert Lopez, Scott Rudin, Tim Rice, Rita Moreno, Jonathan Tunick, Marvin Hamlisch, John Legend, Helen Hayes.

Bengaluru’s beloved Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR) turns 100

Mavalli Tiffin Rooms, or MTR, is a legendary restaurant chain that has come to represent authentic vegetarian South Indian cuisine. Founded in 1924 by Parampalli Yagnanarayana Maiya and his brothers as a small eatery near Lalbagh Fort Road, it has become a gastronomical icon, continuing to be a favourite among Bengalureans and food lovers across the world even after a good hundred years.

KnowALLedge Plus:

>During WWII, when rice was scarce, Rava Idli was cooked in the kitchens of MTR, using semolina instead of rice. It became a staple in South Indian cuisine.

>MTR also introduced the drive-in service in the city (arguably among the earliest such service in the world), allowing customers to enjoy its food from their jatkas (horse-driven carts) and cars.

>In 1951, Yagnanaryana Maiya, the youngest brother, travelled to Europe and studied how restaurants functioned abroad. He incorporated the hygiene standards, the service and presentation, and so on – into the new restaurant – at the current location on Lal Bagh Road, which came into existence in 1960.

>In 1975, during Emergency when the Food Control Act mandated low prices for food items, MTR, facing a crippling loss, decided to close its restaurant while diversifying to selling masala and instant mixes from a building next door. The restaurant reopened in 1981. In 2007, the packaged foods business was acquired by a Norwegian conglomerate, Orkla Brands, for an estimated Rs. 384 crore.

Uranus and Neptune reveal their true colours

In a recent study, a team at Oxford University found that the true colours of Uranus and Neptune are very similar and not starkly different as was believed earlier. Scientists used data from the Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope to reveal that the ice planets are the same shade of greenish blue.

KnowALLedge Plus:

>Uranus was discovered by William Herschel in 1781, when he noticed a star-like object that moved with respect to the background stars. It was the first planet to be discovered since ancient times and was only possible with the invention of telescope.

>Neptune was discovered by Johann Gottfried Galle in 1846, following the calculations of Urbain Le Verrier and John Couch Adams, who predicted its location based on the perturbations in the orbit of Uranus. Neptune was the first planet to be discovered by mathematical prediction rather than observation.

>The well-known depictions of the difference in shades of blue as seen in Uranus and Neptune stem from the images sent by Voyager 2 in the previous century. The blue colour is caused by the absorption of red light by methane in its upper atmosphere.

Government of West Bengal declares Poila Boisakh as State Day and Banglar Mati Banglar Jal as State Song

The West Bengal government has declared ‘Poila Boisakh‘, the first day of the Bengali New Year, as the State Day and ‘Banglar Mati Banglar Jal‘ penned by Rabindranath Tagore as the State Song. This notification after September last year, when West Bengal Assembly passed a resolution declaring the same.

The State Day will be named ‘Bangla Divas‘. The State Song, 1 minute and 59 seconds long, shall compulsorily be played in all state government functions at the start of the function and the National Anthem shall be played compulsorily at the conclusion of it.

KnowALLedge Plus:

>Poila Boisakh, also known as Bengali New Year, marks the traditional New Year’s Day for the Bengali community. It is celebrated in mid-April. Many shopkeepers practice the inauguration of a new ‘haal-khata‘, an accounts copy, and distribute sweets.

>In 1905, when Lord Curzon decided to partition undivided Bengal, Tagore’s Banglar Mati, Banglar Jal  became a hymn for Bengali unity and harmony. Amar Sonar Bangla, which later became the national anthem of Bangladesh, too was written at this time.

ISRO’s new year begins with XPoSat, India’s first ever mission to study black holes

On 1st January 2024, ISRO announced the successful launch of XPoSat (X-ray Polarimeter Satellite), India’s first dedicated polarimetry mission to study various dynamics of bright astronomical X-ray sources in extreme conditions. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), in its 60th mission, lifted off at 9.10 a.m. from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

KnowALLedge Plus:

>The XPoSat carries two payloads, namely POLIX (Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays) and XSPECT (X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing). While POLIX has been developed by Raman Research Institute (RRI), XSPECT is a product of Space Astronomy Group of U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), both located in Bengaluru.

>India became the second nation (after the USA) to send an observatory to study celestial sources, such as black holes, neutron stars, among others. In 2021,  NASA launched its Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE).

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