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3MTB Newsletter - The worst year in human history is NOT 2020, but..
We are just halfway through 2020 and it is easy to assume that this may have been the worst year in human history. But wait, 2020 is not even small part of what homo sapiens suffered in 536 AD.
As per Exodus, the 9th plague of Egypt lasted 3 days with complete darkness. But in 536 AD, the darkness was for full 18 months. Due to an Icelandic Volcanic eruption, most of the world was covered with ash in the air and the sun was just as bright as a moon. Winter was never ending. So crops failed miserably resulting in starvation and extreme economic stagnation from Europe to Middle East to China. Wars only aggravated the situation.
The resulting fog and starvation aggravated the Bubonic plague in 541 AD, which wiped out at least 1/3rd of the Roman population.
Lots of bits today,
ISRO warms up to private sector. Based on the Govt’s promise to open up space to private sector and (may be) inspired from the success of Space X, ISRO has set up two agencies, that will help private companies to make launch vehicles, satellites and certain commercial activities by leveraging the space agency’s expertise.
Earlier, the contribution of private sector was limited to certain satellites and supply of components.
Major cities such as Boston, San Francisco, Oakland & Cambridge have banned government officials from using facial recognition technologies to identify people. This is because most facial recognition technologies have a poor success rates while identifying women and dark skinned people.
The Segway is officially dead. Originally invented by the great inventor Dean Kamen, it was acquired by a Chinese company called Ninebot. This company pivoted into electric scooters and sales of the Segway was just around 1% last year.
Major companies are boycotting their ad placements in Facebook amidst concern about the company is not doing enough to curb hate speech and divisive content. Unilever, Coca-Cola & Starbucks have paused their ads in all social media platforms.
China’s own GPS rival, Beidou (means Great Dipper) is almost ready with the final satellite placed in orbit successfully. This is in a effort to reduce its dependency on GPS owned by US.
Honeywell has claimed that it has built the fastest quantum computer on Earth, besting the previous fastest by IBM. The measure is called the Quantum ‘Volume’. Honeywell’s quantum machine scored 64 compared to IBM machine’s 32.
As if the COVID-19 pandemic is not enough, some countries are also pummeled with other type of disasters as well. Locust problems in India & Pakistan, Russian Arctic pollution and now Saharan dust plume.
Every year, some parts of Saharan dust is blown towards the Atlantic, bringing some air-borne fertilizers to Amazon and diverting hurricanes. This year the dust is so severe that it is causing decreasing air quality across the southern states in US.
Till the next edition of the newsletter, Stay Home, Stay Healthy and Stay Safe.