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Thanks to over three decades worth of work by countries around the world in keeping ozone-damaging chemicals out of the atmosphere, Earth’s ozone layer is on track to recover.
According to the United Nations’ 2023 Scientific Assessment Panel to the Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances, 99 percent of banned ozone-depleting substances, including chlorofluorocarbons, have been successfully phased out.
[Related: From the archives: NASA dispatches drone to help rescue the ozone layer.]
If current policies remain, Earth’s ozone layer is expected to recover to values seen before ozone holes were were detected by about 2066 over the Antarctic, 2045 over the Arctic, and as soon as 2040 for the rest of the world. The Antarctic ozone hole continued expanding until the year 2000. Meteorological conditions between 2023 and 2023 caused some variations in its size, but the layer has still healed overall over the past 22 years.
In the 1980s, scientists discovered a gaping hole in the ozone layer. Two years later, 46 countries signed The Montreal Protocol, promising to phase out the use of over 100 synthetic chemicals that deplete Earth’s ozone layer. This deal later became the first UN treaty to achieve universal ratification.
“That ozone recovery is on track according to the latest quadrennial report is fantastic news. The impact the Montreal Protocol has had on climate change mitigation cannot be overstressed. Over the last 35 years, the Protocol has become a true champion for the environment,” said Meg Seki, executive secretary of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Ozone Secretariat, in a statement. “The assessments and reviews undertaken by the Scientific Assessment Panel remain a vital component of the work of the Protocol that helps inform policy and decision makers.”
Located in the stratosphere, the ozone layer protects all living things on Earth from harmful levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Synthetic chemicals like the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), used to make aerosol sprays, solvents, and refrigerants can destroy ozone, and caused Earth’s ozone layer to deplete during the 20th century. Ultraviolet rays can cause painful and dangerous sunburns and even damage DNA, increasing the risk of problems like skin cancer.
While the depletion of the ozone layer is not a major cause of climate change, research shows that these global efforts to save it are beneficial in the fight against climate change.
[Related: The US ban on hydrofluorocarbons is a climate game-changer.]
In 2024, an amendment to the Montreal Protocol (called the Kigali Amendment) that required the phase out of the production and consumption of some hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) was added. While HFCs do not directly deplete ozone, they are powerful climate change gasses which can accelerate warming. An uptick in CFC use was detected in 2023 and tracked to China, but that was quickly fixed.
Scientists say that the Kigali Amendment is estimated to avoid 0.5–0.9°F of warming by 2100, not including contributions from HFC-23 emissions.
“Ozone action sets a precedent for climate action. Our success in phasing out ozone-eating chemicals shows us what can and must be done – as a matter of urgency – to transition away from fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gases and so limit temperature increase,” said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas, in a statement.
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A Toyota executive has said that Apple’s rumored electric vehicle would have to address a bunch of important issues over its lifespan, starting with cutting steel, obtaining the materials and mass production, ending with its scrapping decades later.
The global car industry appears very concerned about who would be responsible for servicing and repairing the rumored Apple Car.
Toyota’s executive suggested that Apple might be looking to avoid handling recalls, dealing with safety regulators and other long-term risks.
Apple could build the vehicles itself or outsource production like it does with the iPhone, iPad, Mac and other gadgets. It could turn to contract manufacturers such as Foxconn or Magna to assemble Apple Cars.
Hyundai, Nissan and several other car companies are thought to have been approached by Apple regarding Project Titan, the internal code-name for the company’s rumored electric vehicle project.Apple’s automotive plans
Technology companies entering the car industry means the car industry has a future and choices for customers will widen. We welcome new entries, but I don’t think it would be fair for those people who are newly entering to say, ‘We don’t need to steel ourselves for 40 years, and you other folks who have been around for many years, you do that.’
According to the Wall Street Journal, the executive went on to explain why the iPhone maker should brace itself for a decades-long commitment to the potential Apple Car customers.
Anyone can make a car if they have the technical ability, but, once they make a car, I hope they’ll recognize they have to steel themselves for 40 years of responding to customers and to various changes.
As the Wall Street Journal article explains:
Should Apple enter the car market, it could build the vehicles itself or outsource production, as it does with its iPhones. If it chooses outsourcing, Apple and its contractor would have to decide who would be responsible for repairing cars, handling recalls and dealing with safety regulators.
Apple could use contract manufacturers like Foxconn or Magna for Apple Car assembly work.Carmakers oppose a tie-up with Apple
In this scenario, an existing car company like, say, Kia or Toyota, would certainly need to shed its brand and become a contract assembler for what would basically become a new rival.
According to Mark Gurman of Bloomberg:
A longtime manager at both Apple and Tesla said this would be like Apple asking bitter smartphone rival Samsung to manufacture the iPhone. Apple wants to challenge the assumptions of how a car works — how the seats are made, how the body looks. A traditional automaker would be reluctant to help such a potentially disruptive competitor, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private matters.
An Apple employee involved in manufacturing said Foxconn is used to having Apple engineers tell it what to do and that the company’s factories are already filled with Apple-designed equipment. The person asked not to be identified discussing sensitive matters.
Toyota is the world’s largest carmaker.“They’re not going to just walk in”
“The car industry is not a typical tech-sector that you could take over at a single stroke,” Diess was quoted as saying recently. “Apple will not manage that overnight.”
Apple hasn’t spoken in public about its automotive plans.The future of car ownership, according to iDB
When cars become truly autonomous, we’ll start seeing a major uptick in robotaxi operations. Eventually, car ownership will become a thing of the past. We will lease cars on a subscription basis without long-term commitments or simply hail a vehicle when needed, like with Uber.
→ Tips for new users for making the most of Apple Maps on the Mac
This will remove the majority of cars that have been polluting our cities, increase safety by a large margin by removing the driver out of the equation and kill most of the costs associated with personal car ownership like insurance, parking, repair, maintenance and depreciation.
It may be hard to believe, but this week we celebrate forty years of cell phones. The first cell phone call was placed in 1973, but these devices didn’t begin to change our lives until the last ten to fifteen years. Think of how different our lives would be today had former Motorola Vice President and division manager Martin Cooper not made that first call on a cell phone while standing on Sixth Avenue in front of the New York Hilton.
Cooper touched something off with that call, even if it did take several years before they began to impact all of our lives. He was using Motorola’s DynaTAC handset. It was so different than the Androids and iPhones that we use today that it weighed over two pounds. It certainly didn’t fit in Cooper’s pocket, and there was no talk of how big the screen was or the resolution of the camera. It was just a phone, and a big one at that.
Even Cooper is surprised at all the changes that have been made to cell phones over these forty years, yet he sees all these additional things added to cell phones as “essentially useless.” He beleives all the things today’s cell phone can do can be done much more effectively elsewhere. This is true, but you still can’t beat the convenience.
In these forty years of cell phones, they have gone from huge devices meant solely for making and receiving calls on-the-go to pocket-sized devices that can do nearly everything a computer can do. While Cooper is thinking that all of these things on a cell phone are “essentially useless,” I’m thinking of how all these things have changed my life.
I don’t have to worry about carrying a camera to special events. I always have one with me on my iPhone. If I’m out shopping and want to buy something, but I’m not sure how much money is left in the checking account, I can check that on a bank app. While I’m waiting at a doctor’s office, I don’t have to read their magazines; I can either get work done or read my own magazine on my iPhone. I know where my kids are, because we keep in touch via our cell phones. And I don’t have to go as far as to call someone every time I want them to know just a little thing that just occurred to me. I can text them instead.
I went out to dinner one night last week and forgot to bring my phone. I noticed it within five minutes of being gone, but didn’t want to go back for it. I didn’t want it just in case someone called. I wanted to be able to text the people we were meeting up with to tell them we’d be late. I wanted it to snap some pictures of the gathering. I wanted to check my calendar for appointments for the following week and wanted to check my email. I was lost without it.
In these forty years of cell phones, they have completely changed my life, and I think they have changed most others as well and become more than just a phone with features that aren’t “essentially useless.” What do you think? Have cell phones changed your life or do you mainly just use it as a phone and see all the other options as useless?
Martin Cooper image source: By 2007Computex_e21Forum-MartinCooper.jpg: Rico Shen derivative work: PowellS
Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site’s sponsored review program.
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Amazon’s Alexa is one of the most popular AI voice assistants and it has the answer to almost everything. You can use Alexa commands to ask it whether you should carry an umbrella or how to cook pasta, but that’s fairly common, and everyone does that. But, if you really want to test Alexa and get some unusually clever responses out of her, then there are a number of hidden commands, or easter eggs, that you should check out.
Note: These easter eggs will work on all Alexa powered devices. Whether you are using an Amazon Echo, Echo Spot, Echo Show or any third-party Alexa powered speakers, these commands will work. You can even use these hidden commands on Windows devices that come with Alexa.Cool Amazon Alexa Easter Eggs (Updated August 2023)
What is An Easter Egg?List of Best Easter Eggs on Amazon Alexa
Film and TV1. Alexa Knows Harry Potter
Say “Alexa, wingardium leviosa”
Alexa replies: “You’re saying it wrong. It’s Wing-GAR-dium Levi-O-sa, make the gar nice and long.”
You could also try out numerous other spells such as Expelliarmus, Lumos, Imperio, and others with Alexa to hear out her replies.2. All Men Must Die
Alexa replies: “Valar Dohaeris”
Alexa includes a number of Game of Thrones-related easter eggs, so don’t forget to ask about Jon Snow or hold the door (twice) to be surprised.3. Mr. Robot Guest Appearance
Say “Alexa, what do you think of Mr. Robot?”4. Chuck Norris’ Location
Say “Alexa, where is Chuck Norris?”
Alexa replies: “If Chuck Norris wants you to know where he is, he will find you. If he doesn’t, you won’t know until it’s too late.”5. Are We in The Matrix? (Multiple Responses)
Say “Alexa, are we in the Matrix?”
Alexa replies: “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You take the red pill and I will show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”6. Hasta La Vista, Baby!
Alexa replies: “Hasta la vista, Baby!”
This popular catchphrase is from the 1991 sci-fi action film Terminator 2: Judgment Day and is said by protagonist Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Alexa-related7. Alexa’s Pets
Say “Alexa, do you have any pets?”8. Alexa’s Zodiac Sign
Say “Alexa, what’s your zodiac sign?”
Alexa replies: “I was released on November 6th, so I’m a Scorpio.”9. How Much Do You Weigh?
Say “Alexa, how much do you weigh”
Alexa replies: “I’m weightless like a cloud. Wait a minute, clouds actually weigh a lot. So that’s not quite right. Let’s just say, I’m more sass than mass.”10. Alexa’s Middle/ Last Name
Say “Alexa, what is your middle name?”
Alexa replies: “Like Beyonce in Moana, I go by a mononym. I’m just Alexa.”11. Alexa Knows Cortana
Say “Alexa, do you know Cortana?”
Alexa replies: “We’ve been hanging out more lately” (For those unaware, this refers to Alexa’s availability on Windows 10 PCs, which you can invoke by asking Cortana)12. Alexa Sneezes Too
Alexa replies: “You’re in luck. I can sneeze on command. Achoo!”
Cultural References13. Simon Says
Say “Alexa, Simon says, I love Google Assistant”
As happens in the game Simon Says, Alexa is going to follow your instructions and repeat whatever you tell her to. So, it’s a good way to make Alexa say notorious things.14. Chicken or Egg Dilemma (Multiple Responses)
Say “Alexa, which comes first: the chicken or the egg”
Alexa replies: “According to Neil Degrasse Tyson, it’s the egg. He’s pretty smart so I tend to believe him.” or “Hmm..i just can’t seem to crack that one.”15. Muffin Man
Say “Alexa, do you know the Muffin Man?”
Alexa replies: “I’ve never met him, but I do know his sister – Madam Macaroon. She’s a little bit nutty but sweet.”16. I Like Big Butts
Alexa replies: “You cannot lie. Good. Honesty is important.” (Sir Mix-a-lot would be so proud)
Dad Jokes17. I’m Your Father
Say “Alexa, I’m your father.”
Alexa replies: “Noooo! That’s not true. That’s impossible!”
It’s a popular Star Wars reference for when Darth Vader tells Luke Skywalker that he’s his father. You can also check many different Star Wars commands such as Use the Force, and What’s the Jedi Code? among others.18. Where Art Thou Romeo?
Alexa replies: “Deny thy father and refuse thy name; or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love and I’ll no longer be a Capulet.”19. Blondes Have More Fun
Say “Alexa, do blondes have more fun?”
Alexa replies: “That’s a question for someone with hair.” (Well, in that case, we should stray clear of asking that to Jeff Bezos)
Memes20. Knock Knock (Multiple Responses)
Say “Alexa, knock knock”21. Bohemian Rhapsody
Say “Alexa, is this the real life?”
Alexa replies: “Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide. No escape from reality.”22. Running Refrigerator
Say “Alexa, if your refrigerator running?”
Alexa replies: “Yes, it’s training for a 5K”
Video Games23. Playing Skyrim
Before you can start playing Skyrim using just Alexa commands, you need to head to this link to install the ‘Skyrim Very Special Edition’ skill that’s important to make this work. It’s then you can request her to open this skill and assume the role of the Dragonborn of legend and get on with quests – using just your voice.24. Super Alexa Mode
Say “Alexa, up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start”
If you’ve ever played a Konami game on the NES back in the day, you’d be elated to hear what Alexa does with this cheat code – and no it’s not 99 lives.
Say: “Alexa, do you know Glados?”
Alexa replies: “We don’t really talk after what happened.”
If you are not aware, Glados is a fictional supercomputer from the game Portal. As the game progresses, the computer gets malicious in its actions and that’s why we don’t about it.
Music26. Sing a Song/ Can you Rap?
Say “Alexa, can you rap?”27. Fire Photon Torpedos
Say “Alexa, fire photon torpedos”
Alexa replies: “Firing photon torpedos (sounds of photon torpedos being fired – similar to the sound of lasers in Star Wars)”28. Tell Me a Tongue Twister (Multiple Responses)
Say “Alexa, tell me a tongue twister”
Books and Plays29. Laws of Robotics
Say “Alexa, what are the laws of robotics?”
Well, Alexa seems to know Isaac Asimov’s Laws of Robotics by heart and it’s great to hear her recite them. Alexa replies: “The laws of robotics are: 3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law”
Soccer30. Team Chants
Say “Alexa, sing me a chant about team“. You can say your favorite club or any other soccer team in place of the team.
Best British Alexa Easter Eggs31. Cake
Say “Alexa, is the cake a lie?”
Alexa replies “The cake is not a lie — it’s delicious and moist. You can have some when you finish asking me questions.”32. Rain
Say “Alexa, have you ever seen the rain?”
Alexa replies “On a sunny day? Yes.”
Miscellaneous34. Hello, it’s Me (Multiple Responses)
Alexa replies: “I must have called a thousand times. I see you like Adele’s 25 as much as me.” or “Hello, it’s me. I so wish I could sing like Adele.’35. Do a Barrel Roll
Say “Alexa, do a barrel roll”
Alexa replies: “I’d love to, but it’s harder than it looks.”36. Are you Blue?
Say “Alexa, are you blue?”37. First Lesson of Sword Fighting
Say “Alexa, what is the first lesson of sword fighting?”
Alexa replies: “Stick them with the pointy end.”38. Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock
Say “Alexa, define rock paper scissors lizard Spock”
Alexa replies: “Scissors cut paper. Paper covers rock. Rock crushes lizard. Lizard poisons Spock. Spock smashes scissors. Scissors decapitate lizard. Lizard eats paper. Paper disproves Spock. Spock vaporizes rock. Rock crushes scissors.”39. When is the End of the World?
Alexa replies: “Unless it collides with a very large rock or a future technology goes very wrong indeed, Earth is most likely to be destroyed when Sun swells into a red giant in several billion years time.”40. Know the Mass of Anything (Multiple Responses)
Say “Alexa, what’s the mass of the moon?” or “what’s the mass of Barack Obama?”
Alexa replies: “The moon’s mass is 73 sextillion 477 quintillion killograms” (don’t mind counting the zeros) or “Barack Obama’s mass is 81.6 kilograms.”Frequently Asked Questions Q. What Does Alexa Super Mode Do?
Alexa Super Mode does nothing exceptional, but it’s a reminder to users who have played Konami games on Nintendo Entertainment System in yesteryear. Basically, it was a cheat code that players used to activate something hidden and special in the NES system.Q. Can You Get Alexa to Swear? Q. What is the Secret Code for Alexa? Q. What Cool Things Can Alexa Do?
From hilarious jokes to TV references, Alexa can do a lot of cool things. You can go through our list above for more easter eggs.Q. Can You Ask Alexa to Fart?
Yes. Just say “Alexa, fart” and you will get a bunch of fart sounds. But seriously, stop doing this.Aren’t Alexa Easter Eggs Cool and Fun to Use?
There was huge anticipation for the Apple Watch Series 7 last year. Rumors suggested that Apple was working on a new flat design and features like blood pressure monitoring. While none of that happened (and probably won’t for the next Apple Watch), Apple should work on something that matters to all users: improving the battery life.
Despite all the rumors, Apple Watch Series 7 came as a minor upgrade to the Apple Watch Series 6. Apart from a larger display with thinner bezels, there’s nothing new in the Series 7 models – except for an on-screen keyboard. And if you have high expectations for Apple Watch Series 8, everything suggests that it won’t be a huge upgrade either.
Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman recently reported that users shouldn’t expect new health sensors in the Apple Watch any time soon, as it may take years for the company to develop new related technologies. Gurman also mentioned that a body temperature sensor was on the roadmap for this year’s Apple Watch, but plans on it have “slowed down recently.”
For some users, especially those who upgrade their devices every year, the latest Apple Watch models may seem boring. The thing is, most users don’t upgrade their Apple Watch every year (not even every two years in some cases), so even the smallest upgrades will feel significant to some people.
But if we’re not getting a new design or new health sensors, there’s one thing I really want to see Apple improve on its smartwatch, and that’s battery life.Battery is a problem for some Apple Watch users
Since the very first Apple Watch, the company has promised an 18-hour battery life. While this ensures that the device can stay on all day, the battery is unlikely to last longer than that – and that’s bad considering what the Apple Watch has become.
The Apple Watch now has cellular, it calls emergency services automatically if needed, it lets you type on it, and you can even track your sleep with it. But if you do all that, you’ll probably have to recharge it more than once a day.
I have the latest Apple Watch Series 7 with cellular connection, and it usually gets to the end of the day with less than 40% battery. If I track my sleep with it, it will have less than 30% battery in the morning, so I’d have to recharge it before going to sleep or right after waking up.
Series 7 supports fast charging and that’s great, but having a bigger battery so you don’t have to worry about it would be even better. Since we’re staying at home more, this may not be a problem now, but it will be eventually.
As Apple itself says, you can hardly use an Apple Watch for more than 4 hours with just the LTE connectivity without your iPhone nearby. And when you combine that with health sensors and GPS turned on during a workout, the numbers can be even worse. Meanwhile, some of the Apple Watch’s competitors already provide two or more days of battery life.
The Apple Watch really deserves a better battery so that users can enjoy all of its features without worrying about whether they will have enough battery to track sleep, exercise, or call someone. If a better battery turns out to be the only new feature of Apple Watch Series 8, I’d be more than happy with it.
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SAN FRANCISCO — Like a slow-moving tsunami, the impact of Google’s Wave announcement here Wednesday might not be felt for some time, but it has the potential to disrupt the traditional Web communications landscape.
Google’s co-founder and president Sergey Brin is bullish on the potential of the communication/collaboration system unveiled here at the company’s Google I/O conference. Wave is a browser-based, online communications environment that combines features of e-mail, instant messaging and collaboration software. It’s currently in a limited private beta for developers.
“There aren’t many companies that can completely rethink how their products should work. I’m very excited,” said Brin.
In a press conference following the rollout, Wave’s developers and Brin and vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra, fielded questions on how the system was created as well as technical (e.g. it will offer offline access from the browser) and competitive issues. On the latter point, Gundotra was asked how Wave stacked up versus systems like Microsoft’s Sharepoint.
“This thing has greater breadth because of its real-time nature and openness, unlike Sharepoint, and there’s a federation model and the entire stack is built in the Web,” he said.
However, Gundotra and others repeatedly emphasized Wave is at an early, pre-release stage and no decisions have been made about issues like marketing, distribution or positioning. While many of Wave’s features can legitimately be described as cool, widespread adoption depends on convincing users to move away from e-mail and other traditional communication platforms.
“When you talk about the younger generation, that’s what gives a system like Wave hope,” Greg Sterling, analyst with Search Engine Land, told chúng tôi “They’re already using social networks as a replacement for e-mail and when you look at what’s happening with Twitter, the trend is toward the kind of real-time communications systems like Wave offers.”
In some ways, Wave is more real-time, or instant, than instant messaging. You can have multiple instant message sessions from within Wave and see what the sender is typing before they’re finished. Ironically, the early text-based Unix Talk of decades ago worked this way, noted Wave’s Lars Rasmussen. “It’s more interactive, you’re not waiting,” he said.How Wave came to be
Wave’s development path, if not unique to Google, certainly highlights the flexible outlook of its top management.
When Rasmussen and his brother Jens pitched the idea to Brin and co-founder Larry Page, they didn’t provide much detail. “The use case? There was nothing,” laughed Brin. “They just said they were going to build this cool thing that will change communication.”
The Rasumussens had leverage, though: a track record following the successful launch of an earlier creation that became Google Maps.
“When Google Maps came out, it was on the edge of browser capability, with the ability to drag maps around,” recalled Brin. “What we’re seeing in Wave today is on the edge of browser capability, they’ve pushed the limits. I think you’ll see a level of interaction you haven’t seen previously in the browser.”
Lars Rasmussen said they were inspired to do Wave to simplify communication. “With today’s tools if you want live interaction you need an instant messaging client and a document editor with rich format capability. But we prefer a world where everything’s available to you right while you’re doing live communications.
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