Tech Roundup: Teixobactin, Windows 10 Technical Preview & More

[A recurring feature on the latest in Science & Technology.]
  • GlaxoSmithKline's Ebola vaccine created using genetically modified chimpanzee cold virus proves to be successful in human trials; first shipment of vaccines sent to Liberia for clinical trials as Mali is declared free of the pandemic.
  • 2014 officially confirmed as the hottest year on record; global average temperatures 1.24F (0.69C) higher than the 20th-century average.
  • HIV evolving into a less threatening "watered down" version as researchers at Oxford University show the virus to be taking a longer time to cause AIDS.
  • Scientists discover a new type of antibiotic Teixobactin by using iChip (isolation chip) that's capable of killing a wide range of drug-resistant bacteria (aka superbugs)
  • Brazil facing its worst water crisis in 80 years due to rising temperatures and diminishing rainfall; more than four million people affected by rationing and rolling power cuts.
  • Scientists "regenerate damaged areas of the cerebral cortex of living animals by transforming a type of support cell (NG2 glia) found in the brain", raising "hopes that brain damage caused by strokes, stab wounds and even bullets could one day be repaired."
  • A new study reveals 5 trillion pieces of plastic weighing over 250,000 tons to be floating in water around the world.
  • Large Hadron Collider experiment yields two new subatomic baryon particles Xi_b’- and Xi_b*- with each six times the mass of proton.
  • World's earliest known engraving by a human ancestor found to be a simple zigzag pattern on a fossilised shell from the Indonesian island of Java; the markings made by Homo erectus dates back at least to 430,000 years.
  • Post traumatic stress disorder existed as far back as 1300 BC amidst warriors in Assyrian dynasty; texts reveal them to have been visited by ghosts of people they had killed in battle.
  • Microsoft unveils Windows 10 operating system with intelligent virtual assistant Cortana and Notification Center for PCs, universal apps, Continuum for cross-device sync, and a new Spartan web browser among others as part of its continuing efforts to integrate desktop and mobile; Windows 10 to be a free upgrade from Windows 7/8/8.1 for the first year.
Windows 10 Technical Preview
  • Ephemeral chat service Snapchat introduces Snapcash in partnership with Square to let you send money to your friends.
  • Microsoft releases a new iOS app Sway as part of its Office suite to create and share interactive multimedia content (sample story here).
  • Nokia's first device post Microsoft buyout, N1 Android tablet running Lollipop, goes on sale in China.
  • Popular messaging service WhatsApp rolls out end-to-end encryption; finally comes to Web (desktop and Android, only accessible from Google Chrome browser) as it touches 700 million monthly active users.
  • Amazon pulls the plug on its mobile wallet service barely six months after launch.
  • Microsoft Bing and Yahoo! follow Google's footsteps; begin to forget search results in European Union so as to comply with Right to be Forgotten ruling.
  • Apple set to launch its much-anticipated smartwatch this March; a 12.9-inch iPad Pro with optional stylus accessory reportedly coming later this year.
  • Consumer Electronics Show ends at Las Vegas with big focus on Internet of Things (smart homes, connected cars, driverless cars, wearables and fitness trackers) and drones.
  • National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) points to bad lithium-ion battery design, citing thermal runaway as the cause of fires aboard Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircrafts in 2013.
  • Music streaming service Rdio comes to India post acquiring Dhingana last March.
  • Apple iOS 8 adoption rate once again stalls; hovers around 69% in latest distribution figures.
  • "123456" surpasses "password" to become the worst password of 2014, but data suggests usage of such weak passwords declining in the wake of recent cyber attacks.
  • Google to become a wireless carrier later this year, reports The Information (paywall); expected to run on Sprint and T-Mobile networks.
  • OnePlus's plans to launch its CyanogenMod-powered One smartphone in India goes belly-up after Indian handset maker Micromax reveals details of its deal with Cyanogen Inc, to exclusively sell Android smartphones running the open-sourced OS in India; OnePlus releases new alpha build of its own forked version of Android following the fallout.
  • Samsung forecasts a 37% drop in quarterly profits as it continues to cede ground to Xiaomi and Apple; plans to make fewer phones this year and denies rumours that it approached BlackBerry for acquisition talks.
  • Travel booking service Expedia buys rival Travelocity for US$ 280 million.
  • Chinese handset maker Xiaomi rakes in a massive US$ 12 billion revenue in 2014 selling 61.1 million smartphones; becomes the world's most valuable tech startup in four years after it receives US$ 1.1 billion in funding from investors.
  • Google axes its ad-free News service in Spain after new law enforces sites publishing links and excerpts of news articles to pay a fee to the Association of Editors of Spanish Dailies (AEDE).