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.
Biden oil move aims to cut gas prices ‘fairly significantly’:
On Thursday, President Joe Biden ordered that 1 million barrels of oil be released from the country’s strategic petroleum reserve each day for the next six months. This is in an attempt to control energy prices which have risen rapidly since the Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted sanctions from the US on its allies. Biden has also ordered Congress to penalize oil and gas companies that lease public lands without producing. He has announced his intention to invoke the Defense Production Act to encourage the mining of minerals needed for batteries in electric vehicles so as to pull the US further away from its reliance on fossil fuels. These actions show the vulnerability oil poses to the US as higher gas prices continue to hurt Biden’s approval rating. Tapping into the US’s stockpile could create the pressure necessary to reduce prices while oil companies increase their production, though the President has already ordered this twice without creating a significant shift in the market. The oil market has reacted well to this latest release, leading crude oil prices to drop by 6% per barrel though it is still up by more than $60 from last year.
How China’s TikTok, Facebook influencers push propaganda:
Alongside its economic might, China is using the global reach offered by social media to expand its already extensive influence. The country has quietly built a network of social media personalities who parrot the government’s perspective in posts that hundreds of thousands of people see every day. These influencers operate in virtual lockstep with the Chinese Communist Party as they promote its virtues, deflect criticism of its human rights abuses, and advance the country’s talking points on issues such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine. One example of this is Vica Li who calls herself a “life blogger” and “food lover” and has 1.4 million followers across TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. The lens into China she offers is likely controlled by the Chinese-state-run TV network where she has made numerous appearances and is listed as a digital reporter. Another such influencer, Journalist Li Jingjing, has used her channel to broadcast Russian propaganda over the war in Ukraine including claims that Ukraine is committing genocide against the Russian people. Most of China’s influencers use pitches similar to this to attract audiences from across the world. The AP has discovered dozens of these accounts with more than 10 million followers collectively, nearly all of them running ads on Facebook targeting users outside of China.
The Newest Cadbury Bunny is… a Therapy Dog Named Annie Rose!:
The votes are in, and America has chosen an adorable dog as the winner of the fourth-annual Cadbury Bunny Tryouts. After receiving thousands of votes from fans across the country, Annie Rose is putting her bunny ears back on and joining the Cadbury Hall of Fame. An English Doodle, Annie Rose is used to being in the spotlight. She loves bringing smiles to the faces of seniors so much so that not even a global pandemic can stop her. When COVID-19 restrictions meant no visitors to nursing homes, Annie Rose didn’t give up. Instead, she dressed up strutting her stuff outside the nursing home windows. Annie Rose will star in this year’s Cadbury Clucking Bunny commercial and will take home a $5,000 cash prize, along with plenty of bragging rights for when she visits local nursing homes in her home state of Ohio.
EV Charging Answer: Quantum Technology Will Cut Time it Takes to Charge Electric Cars to Just 9 Seconds:
Institute for Basic Science
Scientists in South Korea have proven that a new technology model will cut the time it takes to charge electric cars to just nine seconds, allowing EV owners to ‘fill up’ as fast as their gasoline counterparts. Even those plugging in at home will have the time slashed from 10 hours to three minutes. The new device uses the laws of quantum physics to power all of a battery’s cells at once instead of one at a time, so recharging takes no longer than filling up at the pump. Scientists at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) in South Korea have come up with the model for the super-fast charging station and have found through research that it allows a common electric car with 200 cells to charge 200 times faster than a conventional charging station. Though this model has yet to be applied to a physical charging station prototype, it has the potential to revolutionize the car market and save more time in our fast-paced world.