From new space missions to enormous dinosaurs – Here’s your August 29 news briefing

From new space missions to enormous dinosaurs – Here’s your August 29 news briefing
A woman stands near Algerian and French flags ahead of the arrival of French President Emmanuel Macron in Algiers, Algeria August 25, 2022. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina

To start off, we’re looking into:

France and Algeria make a new pact

As a former French colony, Algeria has been independent since 1962. Under French rule for 132 years, Algeria liberated itself through a brutal eight-year war. With this shared history, it’s no wonder that their relationship has been somewhat … rough. But, diplomatic relations between the two have become especially important as Europe seeks oil from northern Africa as it tries to cut its energy reliance on Russia.

Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron visited Algeria. During this trip, Macron and Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune worked on fixing their countries’ relations. They made agreements on energy, security and amending their collective history. Though most specifics haven’t been released, France still officially apologized for its colonial activities.

Russia and China challenge NATO in the Arctic

NATO Arctic
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg near a Canadian Forces CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft during their visit to CFB Cold Lake in Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada August 26, 2022. Adam Scotti/Prime Minister’s Office/Handout via REUTERS

As a NATO member, Canada has been criticized for its relative lack of military spending. But, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Canada’s started stepping up, pledging to invest C$4.9 billion (US$3.8 billion) to improve the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). NORAD is an organization that’s been around since the 80s, but some of its defense systems haven’t been upgraded in a while and could use some renewal.

During a visit to northern Canada last week, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg brought up new threats in the Arctic, including Russia and China. He explained that Russia’s shortest path to North America is over the North Pole, and the country also recently set up an Arctic Command and opened hundreds of new and past Soviet-era Arctic military sites. On top of this new development, China has declared itself a “near-Arctic state” and plans to spend billions on energy, infrastructure and research projects in the north.

NASA will launch its SLS toward the moon

FILE PHOTO: A full moon, known as the “Strawberry Moon" is shown with NASA?s next-generation moon rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS) Artemis 1, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. June 15, 2022. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo

On Monday, NASA is launching its new space launch system (SLS) rocket on what is essentially a dress rehearsal for future trips to the moon and Mars. You can think of the SLS as a new-and-improved version of the Saturn V rocket that carried astronauts to the moon during the Apollo missions.

The SLS system can carry about 27 metric tons to the general vicinity of the moon, but that’s not why it’s so cool. See, this rocket has some customizability, and the idea is that with different configurations, NASA can use it for a few different things – some of the configurations might be better for taking humans to the moon or Mars, while others might be better for hauling cargo.

For this mission, it’s mostly a proof of concept: the rocket will blast off from Earth at about 17,000 miles per hour, make a loop around the moon and come back about 41 days later.

To end, we’ll look into:

Heightism in the workplace

When you think of equality in the workplace, what comes to mind? Probably making sure women get paid the same as their male counterparts or maybe ensuring that racial minorities are represented among the staff. It may also mean making sure that LGBTQ+ folks are included and given equal opportunities in the workplace.

But in addition to all of those, did you know that height discrimination is also an issue?

Research shows a correlation between taller people (both men and women) and higher income, and it suggests that height also influences the chances of getting a promotion. See, it turns out that we tend to perceive taller people as being more leaderlike, which might explain why particularly taller men are more likely to receive managerial positions over their peers.

Still, most of this bias is implicit, meaning that no one is really thinking, “Oh, John is taller than Lee, so he deserves that raise more.” The whole thing runs mostly on vibes, and, according to some scientists, we get those vibes from our more evolutionary instincts.

“If you’re bigger, you’re the head of the group,” said Dr. Omer Kimhi, an associate professor at the University of Haifa in Israel. “Some of that remains engrained … and we perceive height as connected to authority, strength and a higher position.”

There’s also the language aspect of it. Think about it, if you hear the phrase, “drew the short straw” or “came up short,” it means to fail or to have been unsuccessful. But, on the flip side, “standing tall” and “being head and shoulders above the rest” mean that you’re confident or superior.

Challenging heightism is hard, though, since it’s so subliminal and very hard to prove. In the few places with protections for people based on height, no one seems to file cases around it since it’s so challenging to show that someone was discriminated against because of their height and not some other thing.

So, at the end of the day, heightism is going to be something we all have to work on collectively, and experts say there’s no quick fix, and this will be an ongoing process to solve.

In other news …

💣Violent clashes in Libya: A violent conflict between rival militias in the Libyan capital of Tripoli happened this weekend. Both gunfire and explosions were involved, killing 32 people and injuring 159 so far.

💹Powell’s comments: Asian stocks are expected to take a hit after US Fed Chair Jerome Powell spoke at Jackson Hole and rejected the idea that the central bank would settle in its fight against inflation, signaling higher interest rates to come. With this, Bitcoin dipped below US$20,000 again – right now, it’s about US$19,905.

😷Hong Kong COVID cases: On Sunday, Hong Kong saw over 9,700 COVID cases, the highest in about five months. It’s expected to surpass 10,000 daily cases, with officials thinking that the dominant strain will be BA.4 or BA.5.

🚢The US sends warships through Taiwan Strait: For the first time since Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan a few weeks ago, the US sent warships through the Taiwan Strait. Two missile cruises went through on Sunday in routine transit, accompanied by the PLA military close behind.

🤑Japan pledges US$30 billion in African aid: At the Japan-Africa summit in Tunisia on Saturday, Japan pledged US$30 billion for development in Africa. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also said Japan plans to ensure grain shipments to Africa during the global shortage. In addition to the US$30 billion given over three years, Japan will provide smaller amounts for food security while working with the African Development Bank.

🛢Germany’s gas storage filling up quickly: Germany and greater Europe feared a gas shortage this winter due to an embargo on Russian oil. But now, Germany’s oil storage is filling up faster than expected, giving Europe a little more hope. Now, the storage levels are already at 82.2%.

🤝New Germany-Canada hydrogen pact: Canada and Germany have entered a new renewable energy agreement amid issues with oil accessibility. They plan to begin shipping hydrogen across the Atlantic as early as 2025, speeding up the transition to greener energy sources.

🎨Singapore’s thriving art scene: Art sales have increased this year, with investors looking to physical assets amid the economic downturn. With that, at Sotheby’s first auction in Singapore in 15 years, it said it sold around US$17.5 million worth of art work.

🍏Apple’s trademark filing: It’s been about seven years since Apple dipped its toes into the hardware world with its Apple watches. Now, rivaling Meta, trademark filings through law firms that the company has previously used are making some think that the tech giant may be trying to lock down the names “Reality One,” “Reality Pro” and “Reality Processor” for its new AR and VR gear.

🦴Europe’s largest dinosaur found?: In 2017, a homeowner in Portugal noticed bone fossils in their garden and contacted the University of Lisbon. Now, after years of excavation, paleontologists think they’ve unearthed a brachiosaurid sauropod, the biggest dinosaur of all and the largest land animal ever. This could be the largest dinosaur ever discovered in Europe.

Written and put together by Jake Shropshire, Vanessa Wolosz, Christine Dulion and Krystal Lai