Saturday, July 20

Recent News

The Dark Charm of Russian Nihilistic Entertainment
Recent News

The Dark Charm of Russian Nihilistic Entertainment

The leader of the Universe gang, Vova, brother of Marat, has just returned from the harrowing Soviet-Afghan war. Despite the horrors he has witnessed, he seems unfazed, and his peers show no curiosity about his experiences. This sets the tone for the series: a world so devoid of meaning that it becomes impenetrable. Director Zhora Kryzhovnikov confines the camera to the stark, rectilinear apartment blocks, never venturing beyond. While the period details are surprisingly accurate, the true essence of Kazan remains elusive. The plot oscillates between frenetic activity and inertia. The play takes place at a crucial moment in history. Everyone senses the impending collapse of the Soviet Union, but the future remains uncertain. In a rare moment of effective irony, Vova reflects on w...
Investors Plough $27.1 Billion Into AI Startups Despite Economic Struggles
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Investors Plough $27.1 Billion Into AI Startups Despite Economic Struggles

In May, CoreWeave, a provider of cloud computing services for AI companies, raised $1.1 billion, followed by $7.5 billion in debt, reaching a valuation of $19 billion. Scale AI, a data provider for AI companies, secured $1 billion, at a valuation of $13.8 billion. Additionally, xAI, founded by Elon Musk, raised $6 billion, reaching a valuation of $24 billion. According to Kyle Stanford, research analyst at PitchBook, these funding rounds have increased overall deal volume in the industry, both in terms of dollar amounts and number of deals. "It's not declining anymore," he said. "The bottom has already fallen out." The surge in activity has prompted some venture capitalists to revise their outlook. Last year, IVP investor Tom Loverro predicted a “mass extinction event” for startu...
Kim Jong-un’s new pin symbolizes his noble personality cult
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Kim Jong-un’s new pin symbolizes his noble personality cult

At a recent meeting with the Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un announced a promising harvest and a new defense treaty with Russia. However, what attracted the most attention was the introduction of a new accessory: breast pins with the image of Kim Jong-un, as shown in photos by state media. The Kim family, in power in North Korea since 1948, has long been revered as a godlike figure. Portraits of Kim Jong Un's grandfather, Kim Il Sung, and his father, Kim Jong Il, adorn every home and office, and citizens are required to wear pins depicting these leaders. Kim Jong Un's new pin marks a significant elevation in his personal cult, previously reserved only for his grandfather and father. Now, North Koreans have three images to choose from for their pins. “This is p...
French far right scores big win in first round of election, polls show
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French far right scores big win in first round of election, polls show

Early projections indicate that the Rassemblement National party has won a landslide victory in the first round of elections for the French National Assembly, bringing the nationalist, anti-immigration party to power for the first time. Polling projections suggest the party won about 34% of the vote, far ahead of President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Renaissance party and its allies, who won about 21%. The scores do not reliably predict how many parliamentary seats each party will win, but National Rally is likely to be the largest force in the lower house, though not necessarily with an overall majority. A coalition of left-wing parties, the New Popular Front, won about 29% of the vote. Voter turnout was very high, over 65%, compared to 47.51% in the first round of the last parliamentary ...
Robots Have Chubby Faces (and Smiles), According to New Research
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Robots Have Chubby Faces (and Smiles), According to New Research

In Japan, engineers are working to create robots that can mimic human expressions, particularly smiles. They developed a face mask using human skin cells, which they attached to robots using a new technique that hides the bond and is flexible enough to form expressions such as a grimace or a slight smile. The look is a mix between the disturbing Hannibal Lecter mask and the claymation character Gumby. However, scientists believe that these prototypes could lead to more advanced robots. These robots would have a durable, elastic outer layer that protects the machine while making it more human-like. The “skin equivalent,” as researchers call it, is made in the lab from living skin cells. This skin can scar, burn, and even heal itself, according to a study published June 25 in the journal Ce...
Palestinian Fighters in West Bank Draw Inspiration from Hamas in Gaza
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Palestinian Fighters in West Bank Draw Inspiration from Hamas in Gaza

The narrow alleys of West Bank refugee camps are covered with black tarps to hide Palestinian fighters from Israeli drones. Green Hamas flags and “martyrs” banners adorn buildings damaged by Israeli raids and airstrikes aimed at curbing the growing militancy fueled by the Gaza conflict. This scene, however, does not take place in Gaza or a traditional Hamas stronghold, but in a refugee camp in Tulkarem, a city in the Israeli-occupied West Bank where the moderate Palestinian faction Fatah has long held sway. Recently, I met Muhammad Jaber, a local commander, in one of these dusty, war-torn alleys. At 25, Jaber is one of Israel’s most wanted individuals. He and other fighters say they shifted their allegiance from Fatah to more radical groups like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad after H...
How architecture became one of Ukraine’s essential defenses
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How architecture became one of Ukraine’s essential defenses

The Ukrainian government and army have already started major reconstruction projects. Bucha and Irpin, the devastated suburbs of Kiev, have become important construction sites. Architect Norman Foster has been hired for a new master plan for Kharkiv, whose extraordinary density of modern architecture is exposed to almost daily bombing. But this exhibition continues to focus on informal, grassroots efforts in Ukrainian architecture. It features the work of architects inside and outside the country, but also of some of Ukraine's best-known artists, not to mention the ravers and DJs of Kiev's world-leading electronic music scene, who have aided reconstruction efforts while records they were spinning. Vladimir V. Putin began a full-scale war against Ukraine in February 2022, but Russia ha...
Nvidia, with a market cap of $3.34 trillion, becomes the most valuable company
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Nvidia, with a market cap of $3.34 trillion, becomes the most valuable company

On Tuesday, Nvidia leapfrogged two of the tech industry's best-known names to become the world's most valuable public company, according to data from S&P Global. Its rise has been fueled by the boom in generative artificial intelligence and growing demand for the company's chips, known as graphics processing units or GPUs, which have made it possible to create artificial intelligence systems. Nvidia's rise is among the fastest in the history of the market. Just two years ago, the company's market valuation exceeded $400 billion. Now, in the space of a year, it has gone from $1 trillion to more than $3 trillion. Nvidia’s stock price rose 3.6% on Tuesday, bringing its value to $3.34 trillion. Both Microsoft and Apple fell, finishing the day behind the Silicon Valley chipmaker. Nvidia’s ri...
Saudi Arabia’s Next Billion-Dollar Sports Play: A Boxing Takeover
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Saudi Arabia’s Next Billion-Dollar Sports Play: A Boxing Takeover

Each class would include around 15 fighters each, allowing top talent to face off against each other regularly. The move would effectively create a single boxing entity that would replace the sometimes chaotic and frustrating system of warring fight promoters and sanctioning bodies. The new entity would have the resources and fighters to stage high-profile bouts around the world. And unlike many of the sports Saudi Arabia has previously attempted to revolutionize, professional boxing may be ripe for a reinvention. The sport has lost some of its luster and glamour in recent decades and is now run by a tangled web of rival promoters and disparate sanctioning bodies that stage their own fights and award their own titles. That leaves fans to sift through a confusing system that often hinder...
Shahjahan Bhuiya, executioner who became famous on TikTok, dies in Bangladesh
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Shahjahan Bhuiya, executioner who became famous on TikTok, dies in Bangladesh

Shahjahan Bhuiya, who became famous for executing some of Bangladesh's most infamous criminals in exchange for reduced sentences for his crimes and later achieved brief fame on TikTok, died on Monday in Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka. The National Police announced on Tuesday that the cause of his death, which occurred in hospital, had not yet been confirmed. Abul Kashem, Bhuiya's landlord, said he took Bhuiya to hospital on Sunday after Bhuiya felt chest pains. Last year, Bhuiya told local media that he was 74, but his national identity card, provided by Kashem, indicated that he was 66 at the time of his death. Bhuiya was originally sentenced to 42 years in prison for robbery and murder in 1991. However, thanks to good behavior and his role in the execution of other prisoners, he managed t...