5.23.2023

 

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Good morning. It's Tuesday, May 23, and we're covering a record EU privacy fine against a social media giant, a continued streak for the world's No. 1 supercomputer, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Meta's Data Privacy Fine

Facebook's parent company, Meta, has been fined a record $1.3B by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission for violating EU privacy regulations and was ordered to stop transferring user data to US servers. Ireland’s DPC ruled Meta, whose European headquarters are in Dublin, violated the EU General Data Protection Regulation specifically pertaining to user data utilized for targeted online advertising.

 

The ruling stems from a 2013 lawsuit in Austria, which argued US law failed to provide adequate protection against surveillance of data transferred to the US. The US, which has a relatively relaxed privacy system, and the EU have long held contrasting views over data privacy (see 101). A previous agreement covering EU-US data transfers, known as the Privacy Shield, was struck down in 2020. The US and the EU reached an agreement on a reworked Privacy Shield framework last year, which is still pending approval.

 

Under the ruling, Meta has five months to stop transferring user data to the US and six months to ensure future data storage and processing comply with regulations. Meta said it will appeal the decision.

 

Colorado River Deal

The three lower basin states of the Colorado River—California, Nevada, and Arizona—agreed to cut their water usage by 3 million acre-feet through 2026 in a boost to the system's historically low levels (see chart). The proposal, which comes after a historic winter of precipitation provided some relief, caps a year of negotiations between a federal agency and the impacted states.

 

The Colorado River supports roughly 40 million people across seven states, including the upper basin's Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico (see map). A century of overallocation has depleted the river, with reservoirs Lake Mead and Lake Powell edging toward "dead pool" status, where reduced flows can't pass through dams. Some experts claim system stabilization requires an annual reduction of 4 million acre-feet, or a 25% cut overall.

 

All seven states approved the latest agreement ahead of a May 30 deadline triggering federal mandatory cuts, the first ever. Negotiations are expected to begin later this year on a longer-term deal to reach system stability. See a timeline of the Colorado River's history here.

 

World's Fastest Supercomputer

The US continues to be home to the world's top supercomputer for the second consecutive year, with Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Frontier facility ranking No. 1 in the semiannual list of the world's 500 most powerful systems. Japan's Fugaku system, which held the top spot in the past, remains at No. 2.  

 

Beyond leading the list, the Frontier system, powered by Intel-rival chipmaker AMD, continues to qualify as the first and only true exascale computing platform, capable of performing a billion billion operations per second (see overview, w/video). The computing power of the system is also believed to be comparable to that of the human brain. The Frontier system has improved by 17% in performance since first entering the list, now reaching 1.194 exaflops, up from 1.02 exaflops—a measure of performance for supercomputers (see 101). AMD currently powers four of the top 10 supercomputers, while Intel and IBM power two apiece.

 

Intel has been working on a two-exaflop Aurora supercomputer, designed for the Argonne National Laboratory, which it aims to be on par with the Frontier system. 

In partnership with LiquidPiston

Father and Son Reinvent the Engine

 

Nikolay and Alec Shkolnik founded LiquidPiston with a simple idea: rethink the way we power our world. 

 

Using their patented thermodynamic cycle, they reimagined the rotary engine to create the XTS-210, a supercharged, liquid-cooled engine that runs on fuels ranging from diesel to hydrogen (which emits near zero emissions). It delivers up to 5X more power and 30% more efficiency than traditional engines and marks the first major innovation to the combustion engine in nearly 150 years. 

 

LiquidPiston’s innovations have earned them over $30M in grants and awards from the US government along with 10,000+ investors. For a limited time you have the opportunity to become an early shareholder in LiquidPiston. Learn more about investing in LiquidPiston today.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with CARIUMA

> Carmelo Anthony, 10-time All-Star and three-time Olympic gold medalist, retires from the NBA after 19 seasons (More) | Denver Nuggets sweep Los Angeles Lakers to advance to NBA Finals (More)

> HBO Max and Discovery Plus to merge into new Max streaming service beginning today (More) | Paramount Plus with Showtime to launch in the US June 27 (More)

> TikTok files lawsuit against the state of Montana over the state's newly enacted law banning the app (More) | Ray Stevenson, actor known for roles in "RRR" and "Thor," dies at 58 (More)

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Science & Technology

 > Meta (Facebook) releases open-source AI platform capable of recognizing more than 4,000 languages and producing speech-to-text and text-to-speech in around 1,100 of them (More)

> Scientists produce the most comprehensive map of how cells repair damaged DNA, a process involving more than 600 proteins; errors in the repair process can give rise to a range of diseases, including cancer (More)

> Earliest known evidence of wine drinking in the Americas discovered on the Caribbean's Isla de Mona, dating to the 15th century (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 +0.02%, Dow -0.4%, Nasdaq +0.5%) amid ongoing debt ceiling discussions (More)

> China bans major Chinese companies from purchasing products of US-based chipmaker Micron, citing national security risks (More)

> Chevron to acquire PDC Energy—oil and gas drilling giant in numerous US states—in all-stock deal valued at $6.3B (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> At least 19 children are dead in central Guyana after a fire broke out overnight Monday at a secondary school dormitory, which serves mostly Indigenous children aged 12 through 18; an initial probe suggests the fire was maliciously set (More

> Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) won't seek reelection in 2024, will retire at the end of his fourth term (More) | Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) officially launches 2024 presidential bid (More) | See all presidential candidates so far (More) | Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen (R) signs 12-week abortion ban, restrictions on gender-affirming care for youth (More

> Judge enters not guilty pleas for man who faces murder charges for fatally stabbing four University of Idaho students in November; trial tentatively set to begin Oct. 2 (More) | E. Jean Carroll seeks new damages from former President Donald Trump over comments made on May 10 CNN town hall forum (More)

 

In-Depth

> Examining Canine Love

Newsweek | Adam Piore. Dogs possess unique intelligence that makes them excellent companions for humans, and the latest research in dog science is answering a question for dog owners: Does my dog genuinely love me? (Read)

 

> The Evolution of the Baseball Hat

MLB | Michael Clair. The origin of the baseball hat and how it has evolved to become both an essential part of a ballplayer's uniform and a popular wardrobe accessory for everyday people. (Read)

In partnership with LiquidPiston

Reinventing the Engine

 

LiquidPiston is changing the engine game with their latest invention, the supercharged, liquid-cooled XTS-210 and the numbers don’t lie. 

 

It delivers 5X the power density of a traditional diesel engine and is optimized for hybrid-electric uses from cars and drones to generators and beyond. With $30M in grants and awards from the US government and 10,000+ investors already onboard, LiquidPiston is racing to the top of investors’ 2023 watchlist. Check out LiquidPiston's investment opportunity here.

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Etcetera
 

First female Arab astronaut reaches space station

 

Why thunder has different sounds.

 

Climate activists turn Italy's Trevi Fountain black.

 

Massive 1,200-pound great white shark returns to the US coast.  

 

Guitar smashed by Kurt Cobain sells for $600K.

 

Lego releases 2,650-piece Pac-Man arcade cabinet.

 

Watch a time-lapse of growing mushrooms.

 

UFOs halt airport traffic in Taiwan and Turkey.

 

Clickbait: Can't get Taylor Swift tickets? Apply to be a security guard

 

Historybook: Infamous bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde are killed by police (1934); John D. Rockefeller dies (1937); German Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann revealed to have been captured in Argentina (1960); Musician Jewel born (1974); James Bond actor Roger Moore dies (2017).

"Try to turn every disaster into an opportunity."

- John D. Rockefeller

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