TRADE WAR PUTS HUAWEI IN BIG TROUBLE

Trade war between the USA and China has just found its next victim, Huawei. The company’s problems originate from an official statement made by Donald Trump in which he added it to the list of firms restricted from trading with the US. Following this order Google said it would comply and in turn restricted Huawei’s access to the Android system. You can only imagine the consequences. It means future users of Huawei smartphones will not have access to such apps like Gmail, YouTube or Maps. The only way the Chinese giant can survive is to use the open source version of Android and create its own, entirely new environment. No matter how fast they do it they still have to persuade users to it and users will have to like it more than the well-established products of the competition. Over the last years Huawei has grown into one of key players on the market and keeping that pace of development it could soon be number 1 smartphone producer in the world. The current turbulence will surely have impact on this.

FIRST POLISH SEXTUPLETS

Filip, Kaja, Nela, Malwina, Tymon, Zosia – these are the names of the first sextuplets ever born in Poland. Pregnancy like this is extremely rare, it happens once in 4.7 billion cases. The happy parents come from Tylmanowa in Lesser Poland and the kids were born in a hospital in Cracow. The kids were born early, in 29th week of pregnancy, on May 20, 2019. The smallest one weighed just 890 grams, the biggest one 1300 grams. Four of them breathe on their own, two need a life-support machine. The newly-borns have a 2.5 year old brother. The family whose life changed beyond recognition overnight receives a lot of help from many sides. To enable them to travel together PKO BP Foundation and PFR bought them a new car (a 9 seat Volkswagen Transporter), authorities of Cracow rented a flat for them so that they can easily visit their kids, companies and institutions offer furniture, beds, cosmetics, diapers and many more. The sextuplets will have to stay in the hospital for at least 2-3 months.

A SURFACE AND UNDERWATER DUO GETS TO THE BOTTOM OF THINGS

With today’s level of technology sophistication our planet has no more new places or  resources to discover, right? Well, it turns out there is one area that is still a mystery to us: so far only 20% of the ocean floor has been mapped to a satisfying level of detail. Naturally, seafloor maps are important for navigation, laying cables and pipelines, fisheries (fish gather around underwater mountains), as well as predicting climate change (oceans move heat around the planet). Therefore the UNESCO-founded non-profit organization called GEBCO (General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans) came up with the „Seabed 2030” challenge, which hopes „to bring together all available data to produce the definitive map of the world ocean floor by 2030 and make it available to all.” In order to meet the challenge a competition was set up ($7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE) and on Friday, May 31 2019 its winners were announced. The winner (behind a 14-member scientist team) was an extraordinary robotic duo: an AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) and a USV (uncrewed surface vessel). The USV (obviously) deployed and recovered the AUV. In the competition final on the Mediterranean (in just 24 hours) they both managed to cover an area of 278 sq km, produce a depth map and take more than 10 high-res images of geological features of the seabed. Actually, that very same USV became famous already three weeks ago when it carried oysters and beer between Belgium and England – the first water robot to complete a commercial cargo run across the North Sea.

THE DEADLIEST EVEREST YET

Mt. Everest, at 8848 metres above sea level the world’s highest mountain, never really leaves the headlines. It was named (within the English-speaking world) after Sir George Everest, a British surveyor who mapped India, and was climbed (Everest, not Sir George) for the first time by Sir Edmund Hillary and the Nepali-Indian Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953. Since then several hundred thousand people have climbed it and several hundred have died on it. So far this season (which is only a couple weeks old) 11 climbers lost their lives the mountain, which makes it the deadliest stretch ever in such a short timespan. That number, along with some incredible photographs of people queuing for hundreds of metres just short of the summit, brought the media spotlight back to the issue of safety. The Nepalese government issued a record number of permits this (and last) year and experienced climbers complain that the locals only care about profits and are letting too many inexperienced people near the death zone, where oxygen levels are the third of what they are at sea level. The Nepalese are happy to play the blame game, claiming that the expedition companies for whom they issue permits take too many inexperienced clients to Everest.

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