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Top News: (11/14-11/20)

Updated: Mar 5, 2023

Here are the top stories for this week all summarized so you can stay informed and save time!

All sources are at the end of the post.

US and China work to manage differences to avoid conflict:

U.S. President Joe Biden shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping before their meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit meeting, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, in Nusa Dua, in Bali, Indonesia.

On Monday, US President Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and said in their first in-person meeting since taking office that the two leaders should manage their differences. Biden opened their Indonesia meeting by saying, “As the leaders of our two nations, we share a responsibility, in my view, to show that China and the United States can manage our differences, prevent competition from becoming anything ever near conflict and to find ways to work together on urgent global issues that require our mutual cooperation.” In a press conference last week, Biden announced his intention to address his views on US commitments to defending Taiwan in his bilateral meeting with Xi. Biden has said that he believes the US should come to Taiwan’s defense if China invades, but will not pursue American military intervention. Xi, in his opening remarks on Monday, said that lessons can be learned from the US and China’s over-50-year relationship. Reporters traveling with Biden listened to the opening remarks at the top of the meeting. Monday’s meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 follows better-than-expected midterm elections for Biden, with Democrats holding on to control of the Senate.

Ukraine grain export deal extended for four months:

The Black Sea grain deal has seen more than 11 million tons of agricultural products shipped from three Ukrainian ports since July [File: Khalil Hamra/AP]

A deal allowing vital grain exports to continue from Ukraine’s southern Black Sea ports has been extended by four months, calming worries over the world’s food supply. Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, hailed the extension as an “important step in the global fight against the food crisis” and Maria Zakharova, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, said Moscow agreed to stick with the deal “without changes in terms or scope.” The deal between the two warring sides, brokered in July by Turkey and the UN, has seen more than 11 million tons of agricultural products shipped from three of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, including 4.5 million tonnes of corn and 3.2 million tonnes of wheat. Though less than the one-year extension sought by the UN, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed Russia and Ukraine’s consensus on continuing the deal. Russia previously said its approval to extend the deal depended on support for its grain and fertilizer exports. Russia is a major agricultural producer and the world’s largest wheat exporter. Russia reportedly wants the West to ease restrictions on state agriculture lender Rosselkhozbank, a move that should help facilitate more of its exports.

Heinz Spent 185,000 Hours Redesigning Their Ketchup Bottle Cap to Be 100% Recyclable:

Heinz recyclable Ketchup cap

After 185,000 hours, 8 years, and 45 iterations, Heinz has redesigned their plastic tops to be completely recyclable. Heinz created 45 different designs in total on the mission to create the new cap, which were printed in-house using a state-of-the-art 3D printer. They eventually settled on a polypropylene design that performs just as before but also can be recycled immediately. The top was not easily recyclable before, which resulted in as many as 1 billion of them every year going into landfills. This was due to the original silicone valve that made it “very difficult to recycle” since companies had to separate the valve from the rest of the top, too much to ask in many cases. The move will mean a potential one billion plastic caps, enough to fill 35 Olympic swimming pools, can be recycled instead of finding their way into landfill.

Physics study shows that sheep flocks alternate their leader and achieve collective intelligence:

Credit: Luis Gómez-Nava, Richard Bon and Fernando Peruani.

Fernando Peruani and two other researchers from the Université Côte d'Azur, Université de Toulouse, and CY Cergy Paris Université have recently used physics theory to examine the collective behavior of small flocks of sheep. Their findings, published in Nature Physics, show that by alternating between the role of leader and follower, the flock achieves a form of "collective intelligence." The key objective of their recent work was to investigate the collective motion of an animal system to see if collective motion phases have a beginning and an end. In their experiment, Peruani and his colleagues closely studied the spontaneous behavior of small groups of sheep over varying time intervals. The researchers then looked at the ordering of the sheep, their positions, and their movement speed to find any collective correlations in their movements. Interestingly, Peruani and his colleagues found that there was a consistent interaction network representing the behavior of the flocks which they observed was highly hierarchical. However, leaders of sheep groups are recycled regularly with current leaders being replaced by another at regular intervals.


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