The old excuse "I've left my wallet at home" will soon no longer hold when it's your round. A British nightclub is about to offer its regulars the option of having a microchip implanted in their arm that will obviate the need to carry cash or plastic. \nLining up for entry or a drink at the bar would also become a thing of the past when the "digital wallet" is introduced by Bar Soba in Glasgow. The chip is already proving popular with VIP members at two nightclubs in Barcelona and Rotterdam. \nAlthough the concept strikes critics as Orwellian, others believe it is only a matter of time before the chip becomes a method of fraud-proof common currency. \nBrad Stevens, owner of Bar Soba, said his motivation was to be cutting-edge and to reward loyal customers. He said he had received a surprisingly enthusiastic response from regulars. \n"There are a number of advantages from instant access to one of our many exclusive DJ and VIP nights and not having to carry money or credit cards to letting bar staff know a customer's name and favorite drink. By the time you walk through the door to the bar, your favorite drink is waiting for you and the bar staff can greet you by name," Stevens said. \nHe also recognized the risks. \n"There is a danger that if a person's not carrying cash, they could just keep on drinking. But we're looking at ways of setting a limit on how much can be spent," he said. \nThe VeriChip is the size of a grain of rice, does not set off airport scanners and contains no power supply. It is encased inside a glass and silicone cylinder and implanted by a medical professional, under local anaesthetic, between the layer of fat and skin on the upper arm. It has a life span of around 20 years, lies dormant until a scanner is passed over it, and sends out a low-range radio frequency. It responds to the signal and supplies the scanner with its unique ID number. How that number is used depends on the database the scanner is hooked up to. In the case of Soba, it will be the balance on a person's bar account.
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500
KEEN INTEREST: India is trying to procure medical gear from domestic producers and abroad, and China has emerged as a possible supplier as its factories reopen India is to buy ventilators and masks from China to help it deal with COVID-19, a government official said yesterday, even though some countries in Europe had complained about the quality of the equipment. India has recorded 1,251 cases of the coronavirus, with 32 deaths, but health experts said the country of 1.3 billion people could see a major surge in cases that could overwhelm its weak public health system. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said that it was trying to procure medical gear, including masks and body coveralls, both from domestic firms and from countries such as South Korea and