Llama flu, foldable phones and electric Harley Davidsons

What happens when you combine bird flu, swine flu and llama flu?

A long and healthy life, free from flu – potentially.

It turns out that Llama antibodies are particularly suited to killing all known flu strains. And what’s more, they can be cultured and made into a nasal spray.

From Science magazine:

The spray, containing a virus engineered to make a protein derived from the llama antibodies, has passed its first animal test, protecting mice from every known flu strain that infects humans, a research team reports.

Although the strategy must go through more testing before human trials can begin, researchers who have struggled to develop a “universal” vaccine against the highly mutable flu virus say it merits serious attention.

The nasal spray could prove a boon to the elderly, who typically suffer most from flu and get only weak protection from existing vaccines.

The nasal spray also has a major advantage over current vaccines. Right now vaccines have to be tailor-made each year to combat the latest flu strain. This spray can treat all flus. So it can be made in bulk and stockpiled.

Foldable phones coming next year

For the last eight years, Samsung has been promising us roll-up and foldable phones.

As shown in this awful, awful concept advert from 2013.

Seriously, that has to be the worst advert I have ever seen. It’s just horrendous on so many levels. But if you can get past the advert (I know, it’s difficult) and just look at the phones, well, that’s what’s coming in 2019.

Basically, Samsung and a few other manufacturers will be releasing phones that can fold out into tablets. Although there is no word yet on the roll-up phone you can see at the end of that terrible advert.

Here’s what the new phone looks like:

The price won’t be cheap, however. Sources are stating the new Samsung F (presumable for foldable) will start at $1,770. But this is par for the course with cutting-edge technology.

Android is urging app makers to take this new format seriously and start updating their apps to be compatible with it.

Personally, I think it’s a great idea. Over the last few years I have ended up doing more and more things on my phone I would usually have used my laptop for. From emailing, to internet browsing, online shopping and even photo and video editing.

Being able to have a normal size phone that you can open out into a tablet when you need more screen space is a brilliant concept. It was a brilliant concept back when it was first publicised in 2013. And it’s great to see it finally coming to fruition.

Of course the first generation will be frustrating, buggy and overpriced. But give it a year or so and I imagine foldable phones will be slick, cheap and commonplace.

I guess the question is, how will Apple respond?

Harley Davidson launching electric motorbike

Harley Davidson, perhaps the most recognisable and loudest name in motorbikes, is going electric.

Next year it is releasing the LiveWire, an all-electric motorbike.

From Tech Crunch:

Harley is placing a big bet on electrification in hopes that it will revive the brand, which has struggled in recent years. LiveWire is supposed to be the first in what will be a portfolio of electric Harley-Davidson motorcycles that will be available by 2022.

But how will it sound? Well, Harley says the noise it makes will increase with speed and “represents the smooth, electric power of the LiveWire motorcycle.”

Given that motorbikes don’t have the space or weight capacity for huge batteries, you would think their range would be poor.

However, since they are so much smaller and lighter than their car equivalents, those small batteries can take them a long way.

There is no word on LiveWire’s range yet. But rival electric motorbike company Zero boasts a range of 223 miles in the city or 112 miles on the motorway on a single charge, which it calculates will cost you $2.02.

Electric motorbikes are also newbie friendly, as Business Insider notes, as they only have one gear:

Electric motorcycles, unlike most gas-powered bikes, don’t have a clutch or gearshift — they effectively have one gear. This makes learning to ride much easier, and for experienced bikers like Paschel, it offers the chance to simply take to the road without having to deal with the cognitive demands they’ve grown accustomed to.

I thought you might be able to get away with a normal driving licence or CBT for riding one of these bikes. But it turns out that for anything over 11Kw/14.6bhp you need a full motorbike licence.

For reference, that Zero bike is rated at 45Kw/60bhp, so it’s way over the limit. The LiveWire will be even faster with a rating of 55kw/74bhp and will do 0-60 in 4 seconds flat.

It’s hard to know if electric motorbikes will catch on or not. Owning a motorbike is not a logical decision. They are incredibly dangerous, but like most dangerous things, they are also incredibly fun.

I’m not sure that your average biker will be too enamoured with a slick, quiet electric bike. But time will tell.

Until next time,

Harry Hamburg
Editor, Exponential Investor

Category: Technology

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