Ed. note: I hope people reading this OND watched the passion with which this woman spoke on behalf of women everywhere.
What's about 16 times wider than the Milky Way, looks like a smoky ring and hides out in deep space? Well, astronomers aren't really sure just yet. But with new images, obtained by a South African radio telescope, they are getting closer to understanding a rare and unusual feature of the cosmos.
A little backstory, first.
In 2019, astronomer Anna Kapinska was trawling through data from the CSIRO's Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder, searching for unusual objects the radio telescope may have stumbled upon. She started pulling together a list of "WTF?" features, and included in her inventory of cosmic oddities was a new, unusual object: a faint, ghostly circle about a billion light-years from Earth. A few days later, another astronomer, Emil Lenc, went looking through the same data -- and found a second circle. The researchers dubbed these objects "odd radio circles," or ORCs.
It was about as meta as it gets. After donning VR headsets, Stanford University Professor Jeremy Bailenson and I "stood" in front of his students in a virtual classroom, our avatars watching theirs discuss the nature of virtual existence. Except his students weren't "there." The discussion was a recording. The professor and I stood as living avatars among ghosts.
Bailenson, who founded Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, then paused the recording and walked through the class. His avatar gliding, he explained how these playbacks will produce insights into what social life will mean in the "metaverse." Of course, he doesn't know what he'll discover, just like the many companies that are now busily touting this much hyped but as-yet-unformed next evolution of the internet.
Bailenson doesn't like the word metaverse. He prefers virtual reality. But irrespective of what it's called, he acknowledges it's here.
"We're at a moment in time where the things that I've been personally talking about for 23 years since I started in VR in 1999, we can do it now," he told me after I put on an Oculus Quest 2 headset and joined his class via Engage, an app for creating virtual worlds.
The Guardian, US Edition
In Washington on Monday, the Texas senator Ted Cruz complained that supreme court confirmation hearings have become increasingly angry and confrontational.
In Bozeman, Montana the previous day, however, the Republican was filmed becoming angry and confrontational with airport staff and an armed police officer.
A short video, appearing to have been shot from behind a check-in desk, was posted to Reddit. It showed the masked senator remonstrating with the two staff members, both women, and the male officer. It was not possible to hear what was said.
A caption said: “Ted Cruz accosting airline employees today at BZN after missing his flight. Law enforcement had to be called when he wouldn’t calm down.”
The Guardian, US Edition
The US’s top financial watchdog proposed on Monday that publicly traded companies report information on their greenhouse-gas emissions and even those of their suppliers and consumers in one of the Biden administration’s most sweeping environmental actions to date.
The new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules faces staunch opposition from some politicians and members of the business community and will be open to public comment for at least two months before final rules are released.
The Guardian, US Edition
has fond memories of his five years working as a dancer at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom near Orlando, Florida.
The Walt Disney Company, one of the world’s biggest media and entertainment empires, prides itself on a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) friendly culture. But today its reputation for inclusivity and tolerance is under scrutiny – as are its deep ties to the political establishment and the lack of LGBTQ representation in its films.
Disney’s workers have been staging walkouts in protest at chief executive Bob Chapek’s lacklustre response to Florida legislation dubbed “don’t say gay”. The controversial bill bars instruction on “sexual orientation or gender identity” in schools from kindergarten through grade 3.
“It was one of the best times of my life because I moved to Orlando to find a place to belong, to find a community, to discover a world where I could be an out queer person of colour and be proud of that,” the 33-year-old says. “I certainly found that in the central Florida community that I have grown to love. I found that in my fellow cast members and I’m very grateful for my time being able to work with them at Disney.”
The Guardian, International Edition
With a vote of no-confidence looming over his government, Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, warned those planning to vote against him that they risk social disgrace, and that “no one will marry your children”.
The no-confidence vote is expected to be tabled on Friday 25 March, backed by a coalition of politicians who accuse Khan of bad governance and economic incompetence. In January inflation reached 13% and the cost of fuel and food rocketed.
The opposition party claims that it has the support of more than 20 lawmakers of Khan’s Tehreek-i-Insaf party (PTI) and its allies. Khan also appeared to have lost the backing of the military establishment credited with bringing him to power. The votes would be enough to oust him.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi hosted Israel’s prime minister and the de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates on Monday, two Egyptian security sources have said, as talks to revive a nuclear deal with Iran remain in limbo.
Egypt’s presidency said el-Sisi and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, held expanded bilateral talks on issues including economic investment when they met at the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.
Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has urged Gulf countries to play their own role in stopping Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by increasing oil and gas production, in order to avert a global food crisis and keep prices stable.
“The Arab world also has a role [to play] because now when we ask for an embargo on Russian oil and gas, all Gulf countries have the opportunity to increase oil and gas supply to the world market, and this is what we are looking for [from them],” Poroshenko told Al Jazeera on Monday, speaking from the capital Kyiv, in full military fatigues.
The Ministry of Public Health is aiming to administer a third booster shot to 70% of the country's elderly population ahead of the Thai New Year holiday next month, as they face a greater risk of infection and death from the coronavirus.
Wicharn Pawan, director of the general communicable diseases division under the Department of Disease Control (DDC), said Covid-19 infections and deaths sharply increased after last year's Songkran festival due to the limited vaccine rollout at the time.
The Russian attacks on Mariupol, a besieged Ukrainian city, amount to a "massive war crime," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday ahead of a meeting with the bloc's foreign ministers.
"It's a destruction of people who are suffering incredibly," he said.
Borrell added that "destroying everything, bombarding and killing everybody in an indiscriminate manner. This is something awful."
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also highlighted the increase in Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and theaters.
The "courts will have to decide, but for me these are clearly war crimes," Baerbock said.
Robert Habeck, former co-leader of the Green Party, now Germany's vice-chancellor and economic affairs and climate action minister, was standing in the scorching heat in front of a huge field of solar panels near Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, on Monday. And he was thinking about the war in faraway Ukraine. "It's not easy to put this together. It's the same for all of us who have come here from Germany," he said. "That one's thoughts are with the people who are dying right now while we're talking here."
The UAE is the second stop on the minister's trip to the Middle East, after Qatar. Habeck planned the visits spontaneously after Russia invaded Ukraine, taking along a large business delegation. There are two purposes: To help him look for alternatives to Russian gas supplies and to move closer to a sustainable energy economy that can avoid future dependencies. To do that, he has to do business with as many partners as possible.
Day 1 of the confirmation hearing of Ketanji Brown Jackson, the federal judge President Biden nominated to fill Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's seat when he retires this summer, has concluded.
It was, as presiding Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., put it "in a way ... the easiest day," as it consisted of opening statements from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Jackson herself.
Jackson faces a marathon of questioning from senators on Tuesday.
Here are some highlights from Monday's hearing:
Republicans previewed criticism they'll lodge at Jackson in the next two days of questioning. Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee both expressed concerns over what they see as Jackson's lenient sentencing of child pornography defendants. The White House and fact-checkers have pushed back at these assertions.
The online job ads seek truck drivers to transport fuel and other items. Some of them promise work along Ukraine's border with Russia and Belarus. But Ukraine's government says the postings are linked to Russia's military — an attempt to hire local truck drivers who know Ukraine's roads.
There's been a sharp rise in online ads for trucker jobs in Ukraine since March 19, according to the Center for Countering Disinformation, part of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council. But anyone who applies could be taken hostage and put into dangerous situations — and possibly be forced to commit crimes against their own country, the agency said.
The crew of the Overnight News Digest consists of founder Magnifico, regular editors side pocket, maggiejean, Chitown Kev, eeff, Magnifico, annetteboardman, Rise above the swamp, Besame and jck. Alumni editors include (but not limited to) Interceptor 7, Man Oh Man, wader, Neon Vincent, palantir, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse (RIP), ek hornbeck (RIP), rfall, ScottyUrb, Doctor RJ, BentLiberal, Oke (RIP) and jlms qkw.