Stephen Fahey: This Week in World News

It’s been a pretty standard week here on Earth. Sadly, 1.06 million people died, 95,000 of whom starved to death, which dwarfs the 24,900 road traffic deaths, but we did still manage to kidnap 364 of each other for ransom while killing 4.6 million sharks. There were also 2.53 million births, so our numbers are up. And there was approximately 1 volcanic eruption, 2 cargo ships lost at sea and 56 square miles of forest were chopped down. Oh, and there was Halloween.

In Russia, a “glitch” in the new General Administration for Traffic Safety’s computers accidentally caused the “forgiveness” of a backlog of five million parking tickets while the Earth BioGenome Project began sequencing the genomes of every known animal, plant, fungus and protozoan under the sun. Also, after a tussle with a driver, a very angry lady in China sent a busload of innocent people off a bridge, screaming to their deaths.

Also this week, NASA announced the end of the Dawn Mission, making the probe, launched in September of 2007, a $467 million piece of space junk which is now safely on its way to being discovered by an alien race a long time from now, far, far away. Once again, Iran came under cyber-attack, the “violent, advanced and sophisticated” virus, more violent, more advanced and more sophisticated, that is, than Stuxnet, a similar, yet less violent, less advanced and less sophisticated virus which only managed to penetrate and manipulate Iran’s nuclear industry in 2009.

Meanwhile, Imperial College London will begin using holograms of lecturers to teach students “from afar”, former CIA coder, Joshua Schulte used “multiple contraband cellphones” to leak even more sensitive documents while in prison, a Swedish study linked the appendix to Parkinson’s disease, MIT researchers figured out how to make an Artificial Intelligence learn language in the same way that human children do, doctors in Switzerland also used electrical implants to help three paralyzed men walk again and a rectangular iceberg was spotted off Antarctica.

There’s more stuff about a plan to send robots to the planet Mars so that they can create water, oxygen and fuel out of local materials in advance of human arrival and someone said something about the Supreme Court of Hawaii finally giving the go-ahead for the construction of a 30 meter telescope on top of a mountain, but that’s all a bit boring and not really worth mentioning – like I said, it’s been a pretty standard week here on Earth.

Stephen Fahey

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