From Nvidia-Arm-based CPUs to Uber hot air balloon rides – Here are today's Headlines

Nvidia is a tech powerhouse mostly known for its graphics processing units (GPUs).

From Nvidia-Arm-based CPUs to Uber hot air balloon rides – Here are today's Headlines
A computer keyboard button with the Microsoft Windows 10 logo is seen on a motherboard in this picture illustration taken July 22, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

To start off, we're looking into:

Nvidia takes on Intel

The backstory: Nvidia is a tech powerhouse mostly known for its graphics processing units (GPUs). Essentially, GPUs break down complex tasks into manageable bits, supercharging a computer's performance. Nvidia has over 80% market share in the GPU arena, leaving competitors like Intel and AMD far behind.

On the other hand, central processing units (CPUs) are the brains of your computer that handle the heavy lifting, allowing the computer's software to run correctly. Intel is still majorly in the lead with its market share for CPUs, followed by AMD. Then there's Arm, which is important in the semiconductor market because it licenses its chip designs to big firms like Nvidia, Apple and Amazon.

The development: Nvidia is now reportedly gearing up to design new CPUs using Arm's technology, challenging Intel's dominance in the world of personal computers (PCs). Its CPUs are expected to be Microsoft Windows-compatible. We might see these Nvidia-Arm-based CPUs hit the market as early as 2025. Click the link here for more.

China's hypersonic breakthrough

China hypersonic flight
Artist's impression of the Chinese National Science and Technology Major Project 0901 Flying Vehicle. Source: Wikimedia Commons

The backstory: In the world of hypersonic vehicles, there's been fierce competition brewing. Imagine super-fast flying machines that go way faster (five times) than the speed of sound, which is around 1,225 kph (761 mph) at sea level. This is known as hypersonic tech.

Competition for hypersonic tech has been tough between the US, Russia, China and India. But these objects usually can't travel very far or for very long. The main problem is finding a material that can handle the extreme heat and stress during those super-fast flights. We're talking temperatures that can soar to a scorching 1,650 C (3,000 F).

The development: Chinese scientists have achieved something groundbreaking in hypersonic tech, according to a paper published last month in Physics of Gases. They tested a next-generation hypersonic aircraft using a new surface material that stays intact and maintains communication during a long flight. Click the link here for more.

Iceland strike

Iceland strike gender equality
Demonstrators take part in a rally for equal rights, as Icelandic women strike for equality, in Reykjavik, Iceland, October 24, 2023. REUTERS TV/via REUTERS

The backstory: In 1975, women across Iceland made history with a national strike for gender equality, causing schools and theaters to close and the national airline to cancel flights. Iceland is considered a model for gender equality, making it to the top of the World Economic Forum's (WEF) gender gap index for the past 14 years. But, just because Iceland has been deemed the most equal, that doesn't make it entirely equal.

More recently: It's reportedly closed 91.2% of its gender gap. Still, according to Statistics Iceland, women in the country earn about 21% less than men on average. Also, based on a 2018 study, about a quarter of women reported having experienced violence at some point in their lives.

The development: On Tuesday, women and nonbinary Icelanders went on strike from paying and non-paying jobs under the slogan "Do you call this equality?" This is the first full-day strike for Icelandic women in almost five decades, with tens of thousands participating. Click the link here for more.

To end, we'll look into:

The male hunter myth

hunter gatherers
Prehistoric rock art site in northeast Zimbabwe showing group "hunt" scene, probably metaphorical depiction of trance or myth, both essential elements of their socio-religious system. Source: Wikimedia Commons/Robert Stewart Burrett

When you went to school as a kid, you probably learned that early humans divided their duties based on sex or gender – that men hunted, and women gathered. You probably were taught that the male anatomy was better suited for this kind of physical task. Well, that might not actually be the case.

According to new anthropology research published in Scientific American and American Anthropologist, women hunted, too.

University of Delaware anthropology professor Sarah Lacy and Cara Ocobock from the University of Notre Dame collaborated on research in this area, exploring how labor was divided based on sex during the Paleolithic era ( around 2.5 million to 12,000 years ago). And they didn’t really find a whole lot supporting the idea that duties like hunting and gathering were assigned based on sex. In fact, their study team found evidence of gender equality in art, burial practices, nutrition and tools from this time period. Click the link here for more on their findings.

In other news ...


📉Market snapshot and key quotes:

  • In the US: US stocks climbed on Tuesday, driven by a focus on corporate earnings and Treasury yields.
  • In Hong Kong: Hong Kong stocks started the week with a decline following an extended break, partly due to concerns about US Treasury yields and the Middle East conflict.

📊Top gainers/losers and company news:

  • In the US: Spotify surged by over 10% after the streaming company reported a surprise profit in the Q3.
  • Coca-Cola rose by 2.9% after beating analyst expectations for the quarter. On the other hand, McDonald’s is looking like it will end down this month for the fourth-straight month, the longest down streak since 2016.
  • Hong Kong: Alibaba dropped 1.7%, Tencent lost 2.1% and fell by 2.9%.

👀The numbers everyone is watching:

  • In the US: The week ahead marks the start of earnings season, with major tech companies like Alphabet, Amazon, Meta and Microsoft set to release their financial results. 
  • In Hong Kong: China is set to release its industrial profits on Friday. 

📅To check out our economic calendar for this week, click here.

More headlines ...

🎤Freed Israeli hostage speaks out: On Monday, Hamas released two elderly captives it was holding hostage. One of them, an 85-year-old woman named Yocheved Lifshitz, told her story on Tuesday. Lifshitz said that she was beaten when captured but treated humanely in captivity, saying that this was why she shook the hand of one of the militants as she was released. Her husband was also taken hostage, but he is still missing. Hamas is still holding over 200 people.

Yocheved Lifshitz Israeli hostage
Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, an Israeli grandmother who was held hostage in Gaza, smiles after being released by Hamas militants, at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, Israel October 24, 2023. REUTERS/Janis Laizans TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

🤝Macron visits Israel: Last week, US President Biden visited Israel to show support for Israel's military campaign in Gaza against Hamas. This week, French President Emmanuel Macron is on a trip to Israel. On Tuesday, he proposed that an existing international group (including France, the US and dozens of other countries) fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria start fighting Hamas in Gaza, too.

Macron France Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French President Emmanuel Macron hold a joint press conference, amid the Israeli-Hamas conflict, in Jerusalem, October 24, 2023. Christophe Ena/Pool via REUTERS

💣Israel intensifies Gaza strikes: This week, airstrikes have continued to rain on Gaza as Israel tries to erase Hamas entirely. It looks like these campaigns are becoming more intense. On Tuesday, a series of airstrikes flattened several apartment buildings, killing hundreds of people. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry says Israeli airstrikes killed at least 704 people since Monday, mostly women and children, but these numbers haven't been independently verified. On Tuesday, the UN, the US and Canada were calling again for a humanitarian pause so that aid could reach Gazan citizens.

☮UN chief calls for ceasefire again: The conflict between Israel and Palestine has led to thousands of deaths on both sides, including people in the West Bank. Addressing the UN Security Council on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Israel and Hamas to establish an immediate ceasefire, saying that both parties are killing and hurting civilians to the point of violating international law. Guterres told the Council, "Excellencies, even war has rules."

💬Putin health rumors: There have been rumors swirling that Russian President Vladimir Putin isn't doing so well lately and that he's been experiencing health problems. But, on Tuesday, the government denied these claims, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying, "Everything is fine with him." He also denied that the government uses a body double to sometimes stand in for Putin, calling it a hoax.

🔫A US politician gets HK gun charge: Last Friday, a state senator from Washington, Jeff Wilson, was arrested after arriving in Hong Kong with an unloaded revolver in his carry-on. He was released on Sunday and faces a hearing for possession of an unregistered firearm on October 30. Wilson said bringing the gun into Hong Kong was "an honest mistake."

🕵️‍♀️Finland gas pipeline damage discoveries: Earlier this month, an underwater gas pipeline and communications cable in the Baltic Sea were damaged in what seemed to be an intentional incident. After conducting an investigation, Finland officials are now saying that the damage was likely caused by a ship dragging a large anchor along the bottom of the sea. They're not sure if this was purposeful or accidental yet, though, and they are investigating. Finnish authorities also said the ship responsible is believed to have been a Hong Kong-flagged vessel named Newnew Polar Bear. 

🤑Germany to bump Japan: Japan's currency, the yen, hasn't been doing so well lately. Because of this, Germany is expected to take Japan's spot as the third-largest economy in the world this year. It would be in the ranking after the US and China, respectively.

⚡"Unstoppable" energy transition: As clean energy becomes more and more accessible and many organizations and companies are working on switching to sustainable power, fossil fuels will eventually lose popularity. According to a new report from the International Energy Agency, global demand for oil, natural gas and coal will most likely peak by 2030. Slowing growth in China and the country's transition to clean energy will also affect this demand.

👩‍⚖️Meta lawsuit: Social media has been shown to be addictive and even harmful to mental health. On Tuesday, a group of 42 US attorneys general announced that they're suing Meta for features on its Facebook and Instagram platforms that are allegedly addictive and aimed at kids and teenagers.

📄HK policy address: Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee is set to give his second policy address later on Wednesday. He's said it will focus on increasing happiness in the city and boosting the economy. We'll have more details on the address tomorrow. 

💻A new tool helps artists fight AI: Since generative AI tools became widely available to the public last year, artists have been experiencing problems with image generators ripping off their work and ideas. Now, they can fight back with a tool called "Nightshade," which lets them add undetectable pixels into their work to mess with an AI's training data. The tool is currently being peer reviewed but might give creatives a leg up.

🧊Antarctica's hidden river landscape: Under the ice in parts of Antarctica lies a landscape carved out by its former rivers that's been hidden by ice for millions of years. According to a new study published in Nature Communications, the river landscape could be revealed if ice melts away due to global warming. One author of the study, Stewart Jamieson, told ABC News they've found evidence that at one time there was tropical vegetation, including palm trees, in Antarctica.

👰🤵Frances and Riley: The daughter of 90s grunge legend the late Kurt Cobain (frontman of Nirvana) and Courtney Love (frontwoman of Hole) has reportedly married skate legend Tony Hawk's son. Frances Bean Cobain and Riley Hawk (also a pro skater) reportedly tied the knot earlier this month at a service officiated by R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe, who is Cobain's godfather. 

🎈Uber hot air balloon rides: Ride-hailing service Uber has been making moves to branch out into the tourism industry. Now, the company will let users book hot air balloon rides over Turkey's Cappadocia region. A €150 (US$159) fee will reserve a spot on a 1.5-hour sunrise flight 914.4 meters (3,000 feet) above the UNESCO-registered landscape, famous for its cave cities and ancient churches dating back to the 10th century.

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Written and put together by Joey Fung, Vanessa Wolosz and Christine Dulion