Tech Digest daily roundup: Barbie goes into space ‘to inspire young girls’

Barbie teams up with ESA & astronaut Samantha Cristoferetti for space week (Image: ESA)

Barbie is partnering with the European Space Agency and its only European female astronaut in an effort to inspire young girls to pursue careers in space and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). As part of an initiative called This World Space Week, a special one-of-a-kind Barbie doll modelled on Samantha Cristoforetti will go on sale across the UK and Europe. Ms Cristoforetti, 44, will break new ground next year by becoming the first European to command the International Space Station. Sky News 

A data scientist who was revealed Sunday as the Facebook whistleblower says that whenever there was a conflict between the public good and what benefited the company, the social media giant would choose its own interests. Frances Haugen was identified in a “60 Minutes” interview Sunday as the woman who anonymously filed complaints with federal law enforcement that the company’s own research shows how it magnifies hate and misinformation. Haugen, who worked at Google and Pinterest before joining Facebook in 2019, said she had asked to work in an area of the company that fights misinformation, since she lost a friend to online conspiracy theories. AP News

Lime, the e-bike and scooter-hire company, is modifying its vehicles to stop people peeling off the QR codes. To hire a vehicle, customers must scan the QR code using the Lime app. However, customers in London and New York City have complained that many bikes have had the codes removed, leaving them unusable. Lime said vandals had been peeling the stickers off. It has now started sealing the QR codes behind a plastic layer to thwart trouble-makers. It told the BBC its data showed the codes were not typically being removed by Lime users hoping to keep a bike to themselves, but by antisocial non-riders. BBC 

The Government is to build a new digital warfare centre capable of launching “offensive” cyber attacks against hostile powers such as Russia, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said. The new £5 billion National Cyber Force headquarters will be built in the North West – in Samlesbury, Lancashire – the heart of the so-called “red wall” of traditional Labour seats which the Tories took in the 2019 general election. The Sunday Telegraph said Boris Johnson is expected to cite it in his keynote speech to the Conservative Party conference – which begins this weekend in Manchester – as an example of the Government’s “levelling up” agenda. Yahoo!

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their discoveries of temperature and touch receptors. In a statement, the Nobel jury explained that Julius, 65, a professor at the University of California, used a pungent compound from chilli peppers that induce a burning sensation, to identify a sensor in the nerve endings of the skin that respond to heat. Meanwhile, Patapoutian, a professor at the Scripps Research Institute in California, used pressure-sensitive cells to discover a novel class of sensors that respond to mechanical stimuli in the skin and internal organs. “These breakthrough discoveries launched intense research activities leading to a rapid increase in our understanding of how the nervous system senses heat, cold, and mechanical stimuli,” the statement said. Euronews 

Chris Price
For latest tech stories go to