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News Burst 16 May 2024 - Get The News!

News Burst 16 May 2024

  • The Slovak PM Robert Fico was shot on Wednesday, during a visit to the town of Handlova, and was rushed to hospital for surgery in a serious condition. His attacker has been arrested but his identity and motives have not yet been revealed.
    Robert Fico’s Quote:
    – “In fact, Ukraine is used only for geopolitical purposes, to weaken Russia economically and internationally. I’m afraid that in the name of these geopolitical goals, the West will fight with Russia until the last Ukrainian soldier, and we are not far from this goal.”
    – “I am against Ukraine’s membership in NATO and will veto it. This would simply be the basis for World War III, nothing more.”
    – “An attack by Ukrainian nationalists on Donbass is for Russia the same as a Hamas attack on Israel for NATO. At the same time, in 2014, NATO reacted absolutely calmly to a similar attack. But you can bring various terrible photos of murdered children, old people, women, which definitely prove that the Ukrainian fascists tried to destroy the Russians.”
    – “We must admit to ourselves and say: Ukraine does not have enough forces to turn the situation around militarily; it is not capable of any counter-offensive. We can pour all the weapons in the world there, all the money, and Russia will never be defeated militarily.”
    – “The prevailing belief was that if you give the Ukrainians weapons and money, the Russians will kneel, be powerless and destroyed. This strategy didn’t work. Russia is not on its knees. She will be the one who will speak when the negotiations take place.”

 

  • Researchers have mapped a tiny piece of the human brain in astonishing detail. The resulting cell atlas, which was described in Science1 and is available online, reveals new patterns of connections between brain cells called neurons, as well as cells that wrap around themselves to form knots, and pairs of neurons that are almost mirror images of each other. The 3D map covers a volume of about one cubic millimetre, one-millionth of a whole brain, and contains roughly 57,000 cells and 150 million synapses — the connections between neurons. It incorporates a colossal 1.4 petabytes of data. “It’s a little bit humbling,” says Viren Jain, a neuroscientist at Google in Mountain View, California, and a co-author of the paper. “How are we ever going to really come to terms with all this complexity?” 

 

  • One of the perks of being a digital nomad is swapping a dreary office for a rotation of trendy cafes in destinations around the world. But in some places in Spain, remote workers and their laptops are becoming undesirable customers. Bars and cafes in Valencia, Santiago and Barcelona are cracking down on digital nomads who overstay their welcome. Owners say teleworkers hog tables for hours, sometimes for the price of a single coffee. Fed up, they are now taking action. And they are not the only ones in Europe. Coffee shops and snack bars from Paris to Berlin have already established rules for so-called “laptop squatters”.

 

  • The United Kingdom has conducted flight trials of quantum-based technology that it hopes will allow for navigation independent of traditional satellite systems that use GPS, the Department for Science said on Monday. The tests were conducted by quantum tech firm Infleqtion together with air defense industry company BAE Systems and defense tech company QinetiQ on May 9. The technology tested during a series of flights aboard a modified RJ100 jet included a compact atomic clock and an ultra-cold atom-based quantum system.

 

  • Four years ago, India was TikTok’s biggest market. The app boasted a growing base of 200 million users, thriving subcultures and sometimes life-changing opportunities for creators and influencers. TikTok seemed unstoppable – until simmering tensions on the border between India and China erupted into deadly violence. After the border skirmish, the Indian government banned the app on 29 June 2020. Almost overnight, TikTok was gone. But the accounts and videos of Indian TikTok are still online, frozen in time when the app had just emerged as a cultural giant. When TikTok went offline in India, the government banned 58 other Chinese apps along with it. And when a popular app is removed, others can attempt to fill the gap. “As soon as TikTok was banned it opened up a multibillion-dollar opportunity,” says Nikhil Pahwa, an Indian tech policy analyst and founder of the news site MediaNama. “Multiple Indian start-ups launched or pivoted to fill the gap.”

 

  • On 24 April, President Joe Biden signed a bill into law that could ban TikTok from the US, marking a new chapter after years of threats and failed legislation. The law requires the company that owns TikTok, Bytedance, to sell its stake in the app within the next nine months, with a further three-month grace period, or face a potential ban in the country. Bytedance says it has no intention of selling the social media platform and has vowed to challenge the legislation in court. Banning a massive social media app would be an unprecedented moment in American tech history, though the looming court battle currently leaves TikTok’s fate uncertain. But the Indian experience shows what can happen when a major country wipes TikTok from its citizen’s smartphones. India is not the only country to have taken the step either – in November 2023, Nepal also announced a decision to ban TikTok and Pakistan has implemented a number of temporary bans since 2020. As the app’s 150 million US users swipe through videos in limbo, the story of India’s TikTok ban shows that users are quick to adapt, but also that when TikTok dies, much of its culture dies with it.

 

  • American real estate mogul Frank McCourt revealed on Wednesday that he plans to build a consortium to buy social media app TikTok’s US business from its Chinese owner. Over the past few years, a number of US lawmakers have made claims regarding supposed security breaches and violations by TikTok, which has staunchly denied the allegations. McCourt, the executive chairman of a family real estate giant, McCourt Global, and the former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, said he plans to buy and rebuild TikTok as “a new and better version of the internet.”

 

  • Dashrath Manjhi so loved his wife that he was willing to move mountains for her. The Indian man, who has come to be known as Mountain Man, lost his wife due to lack of medical treatment. The nearest town with a doctor was forty-three miles away from their home in the Gahlour village near Bihar, India, and after she became ill the distance was too far to travel through the mountains. Manjhi was determined to create a more direct travel route to medical care so no one else would die due to lack of treatment. In 1960, he set out to carve away at the mountain that was blocking the path of so many. He left his wage-earning job, and using only a hammer or chisel, Manjhi worked day and night for 22 years breaking down the mountain. By 1982 he had carved out a 360 foot long through-cut to form a road. The cut was 25 feet deep in places and 30 feet wide through the Gahlour hills.

 

  • I/O 2024 Google presents AI capable of doing everything: Ask Photos, Project Astra, Veo. The company typically uses the Google I/O keynote to announce an array of new software updates and the occasional hunk of hardware. Google aims to assert dominance over the generative AI boom of the past couple years. Here are the biggest announcements from I/O 2024. Gemini Nano, Google’s on-device mobile large language model, which lets it “turn any input into any output.” A new feature called Ask Photos, you can ask Gemini to search your photos and deliver more granular results than before. Google is also infusing AI into its Workplace suite of office tools. The Gemini helper can answer questions, help you craft emails or documents, or provide summaries of long docs or email threads. AI chatbots that can help students with their homework or provide a summary of the PTA meetings you may have missed. Google’s Circle to Search, which debuted earlier this year, is also getting an upgrade and will soon be used to help students with schoolwork, like detailing how to solve math problems. Google is also infusing AI into its Workplace suite of office tools. The Gemini helper can answer questions, help you craft emails or documents, or provide summaries of long docs or email threads. AI chatbots that can help students with their homework or provide a summary of the PTA meetings you may have missed. Google’s Circle to Search, which debuted earlier this year, is also getting an upgrade and will soon be used to help students with schoolwork, like detailing how to solve math problems. The new thing is VideoFX, a generative video model based off Google DeepMind video generator Veo. It creates 1080p videos based on text prompts and allows for more flexibility within the production process than before. Google has also improved ImageFX, a high-resolution image generator that Google says has fewer issues with creating unwanted digital artifacts in pictures than its previous image generation. It is also better at analyzing a user’s prompts and generating text.

 

  • The US Treasury has threatened to curb the access of Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) to the American financial system because of its continued activity in Russia, Reuters reported on Wednesday. The Austrian lender is one of the few foreign banks to have stayed in Russia amid sanctions imposed by Western countries since the start of the Ukraine conflict in 2022. The lender enables euro and dollar payments to and from the country. It is listed by Russia’s central bank as one of 13 systemically important credit institutions.

 

  • Staff at the Vatican museums have filed the first-ever collective complaint demanding better working conditions and threatened to go to court if their demands are not met, Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported on Sunday. “The Pope talks about rights, but here we are just commodities,” the workers wrote in the complaint quoted by the newspaper. As many as 49 employees, including curators, a conservation officer and a bookstore worker, have signed the statement denouncing the Vatican City governor’s office for impairment of their rights, the report read.

 

  • Researchers with the University of New Mexico (UNM) have discovered where a new species of hummingbird travels after breeding by placing miniature backpacks with tracking devices on the giant hummingbird, solving a mystery swirling since the 19th century, according to the university. The recently published eight-year study was conducted with the help of team leader Dr. Jessie Williamson, along the Pacific Coast of Chile. The study uncovered that the migratory giant hummingbirds, which are eight times the size of a black-chinned hummingbird, “ascend over 13,000 feet in elevation to the high Andes, flying as far north as the mountains of Peru,” according to a release from the university. The university also says that the migration of these hummingbirds covers more than 5,200 miles, nearly the distance from New York City to Buenos Aires.In efforts to observe the migration, Williamson attached mini backpack tracking devices that were light in weight and small, designed to not impede the flight style of the hummingbird, the release noted. “It took a lot of trial and error to come up with a suitable harness design,” Williamson said. “Hummingbirds are challenging to work with because they are lightweight with long wings and short legs. They’re nature’s tiny acrobats.”

 

  • After more than twenty years of blocks, a new generation of biotech (but not transgenic) plants will take its first steps in Italy. With the last and definitive green light from the Ministry of the Environment, experimental sowing of a variety of rice in the open field was obtained thanks to the new genomic techniques, known in Italy as TEA, assisted evolution techniques. It is a rice capable of resisting, without the use of fungicides, the attacks of the Pyricularia oryzae fungus which causes the disease commonly known as “brusone” [in Italian, or rice blast fungus in English], the most serious fungal pathology of rice which in some years can lead to production losses even of the 50%. The request for authorization for the tests was presented by the University of Milan, where the first research group in the country coordinated by the biotechnologist Vittoria Brambilla, rules for field trials of plants developed with genome editing or cisgenesis.

 

  • Changes will be made to the way the visual art installation linking Dublin to New York is operated due to some individuals having previously engaged in “inappropriate behaviour” near the portal, Dublin City Council said on Monday. The 24/7 livestream is on a big, circular screen erected just off the junction where North Earl Street runs onto the city’s main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street. A similar screen and webcam in the Big Apple also means people there can see what is happening in Dublin, around the clock. However on Monday, Irish and US media reported inappropriate behaviour over the weekend at the Dublin portal. Videos circulating online included clips of a man “mooning” and others apparently pretending to take drugs. A caller to RTÉ told of a woman suspected of being under the influence of alcohol being led away by gardaí (Irish police) after dancing provocatively against the portal screen.

 

  • Brazen thieves face fines of almost a quarter of a million dollars after taking a sacred body part from a beached whale washed up on a remote beach. Power tools are believed to have been used to cut a massive jaw from the 15-metre-long sperm whale on the New Zealand beach. The bone is a highly prized item, referred to by the local Maori as a taonga and used in traditional carving. “Someone has come along with a chainsaw and taken the jawbone,” Department of Conservation ranger Rosalind Cole said of the bone that was taken last week from Oreti Beach on the country’s far south coast. Pictures supplied show the massive creature washed up on the rugged landscape, near chilly Invercargill where the temperature can drop to -9 degrees. Rangers in heavy coats can be seen examining the rotting animal, and a large hole can be seen on its underside where it’s believed the chainsaw was used to mutilate it. Surprisingly it’s not the first time a whale jawbone has been stolen from the beach.

 

  • An unknown number of orcas have sunk a sailing yacht after ramming it in Moroccan waters in the Strait of Gibraltar, Spain’s maritime rescue service said on Monday, a new attack in what has become a trend in the past four years. The vessel Alboran Cognac, which measured 15 meters (49 feet) in length and carried two people, encountered the highly social apex predators, also known as killer whales, at 9 a.m. local time on Sunday, the service said. The passengers reported feeling sudden blows to the hull and rudder before water started seeping into the ship. After alerting the rescue services, a nearby oil tanker took them onboard and transported them to Gibraltar. The yacht was left adrift and eventually sank. The incident is the latest example of recurring orca rammings around the Gibraltar Strait that separates Europe from Africa and off the Atlantic coast of Portugal and northwestern Spain.

 

  • The human brain filters through a flood of experiences to create specific memories. Why do some of the experiences in this deluge of sensory information become “memorable,” while most are discarded by the brain? A computational model and behavioral study developed by Yale scientists suggests a new clue to this age-old question, they report in the journal Nature Human Behavior. “The mind prioritizes remembering things that it is not able to explain very well,” said Ilker Yildirim, an assistant professor of psychology in Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences and senior author of the paper. For the study, which was led by Yildirim and John Lafferty, the John C. Malone Professor of Statistics and Data Science at Yale, the researchers developed a computational model that addressed two steps in memory formation — the compression of visual signals and their reconstruction.

 

  • On Tuesday, May 14, 2024, at approximately 12:51 PM ET, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported widespread radio blackouts across North America due to a powerful solar flare. This particular solar flare, classified as an X8.8, is the strongest recorded in the current solar cycle, which began in December of 2019. The solar flare originated from sunspot AR 3664, which has been actively bombarding Earth with energized particles over the past few days. This sunspot has grown immensely and is now bigger than the diameter of 17 Earths — a size comparable to the one responsible for the historic 1859 Carrington event, which caused telegraph stations to catch fire and disrupted global communications. The Sun is currently in the solar maximum phase of Solar Cycle 25, which started in mid-December 2019. Dr. Skov suggests that this cycle may have two peaks, similar to the previous one, and only time will tell if we have passed the peak of the solar maximum.

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News Burst 16 May 2024

Astronomical Events in 2024

Astronomical Events in 2024

Welcome to 2024! There are plenty of events stargazers can add to their calendars.

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News Burst 16 May 2024 – Bonus Image

News Burst 16 May 2024 - Moon Amalthea

Mysterious Moon Amalthea

NASA’s Juno spacecraft has spotted the elusive fifth moon of Jupiter transiting the giant planet’s Great Red Spot, giving astronomers a rare view of this small but intriguing natural satellite. Jupiter’s most famous moons are its four Galilean satellites: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, each of which is several thousand kilometers wide. Jupiter’s fifth moon to be discovered, and the fifth-largest of the planet’s 95 known moons, is Amalthea. It was found in 1892 by Edward Emerson Barnard, an American astronomer who was an outstanding visual observer. He also discovered Barnard’s Star, as well as a host of dark nebulae. Despite being Jupiter’s fifth-largest moon, Amalthea has fairly modest dimensions. Irregularly shaped like a potato, its long axis stretches just 155 miles (250 kilometers), and its narrowest point spans a mere 79 miles (128 km). Gravity measurements by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in the early 2000s deduced that Amalthea is little more than a loosely held together rubble pile rather than solid rock.

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News Burst 16 May 2024 – Bonus Image

News Burst 16 May 2024 - St. Anne Chapel - Normandy

France

St. Anne Chapel in Normandy lies within the hollow trunk of a 1300-1000 year-old Yew tree in the cemetery at La Haye-de-Routot village in the Brotonne Regional Park in France. #drthehistories

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News Burst 16 May 2024 – Bonus Video

American Air Space

News Burst 16 May 2024 – Bonus Video

Don’t be suspicious, don’t be suspicious…

News Burst 16 May 2024 – Earthquake Video

Earthquakes Above M4 In The Last 36 Hours

News Burst 15 June 2024 – Get The News!

News Burst 15 June 2024 – Get The News!

News Burst 15 June 2024 ​In the era of hybrid work, with employees splitting their time between two days in the office and three days working remotely, employers have ramped up using productivity monitoring software. However, employees have outsmarted some of these...

News Burst 14 June 2024 – Get The News!

News Burst 14 June 2024 – Get The News!

News Burst 14 June 2024 Saudi Arabia will not renew its 50-year petrodollar agreement with the United States, which expired on Sunday, June 9, 2024. This will allow the Saudis to sell oil in any currency, and not just in US dollars, as was previously the case.  ...

News Burst 13 June 2024 – Get The News!

News Burst 13 June 2024 – Get The News!

News Burst 13 June 2024 Johnson & Johnson opens new tab has agreed to pay $700 million to settle an investigation by 42 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. into its marketing of baby powder and other talc-based products blamed for allegedly causing cancer. The...

News Burst 12 June 2024 – Get The News!

News Burst 12 June 2024 – Get The News!

News Burst 12 June 2024 Tesla and SpaceX tycoon Elon Musk lashed out Monday at a partnership between OpenAI and Apple, saying the threat to data security will make him ban iPhones at his companies. "Apple has no clue what's actually going on once they hand your data...

News Burst 11 June 2024 – Get The News!

News Burst 11 June 2024 – Get The News!

News Burst 11 June 2024 A military plane carrying Malawi's vice president and nine others has gone missing, sparking a massive search operation. Vice President Saulos Chilima's plane left the capital, Lilongwe, and failed to land at Mzuzu International Airport - about...

News Burst 9 June 2024 – Get The News!

News Burst 9 June 2024 – Get The News!

News Burst 9 June 2024 ​"It's cruel to state this, but the right to have a different opinion has ceased to exist in the European Union." Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico in his first public remarks since May 15, when he was shot multiple times.   Police in Spain...

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