The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Wednesday February 28th

Nation & World



Neuralink, a company co-founded by Musk in 2016, aspires to produce significant advances in the realm of what neuroscientists and engineers term “the brain-computer interface.” (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / “Elon Musk and the Neuralink Future” by Steve Jurvetson. CC-BY-2.0. August 28, 2020).

Neuralink’s human trial begins: Elon Musk’s first steps in building the brain-computer interface

Elon Musk has made a prolific name for himself in the past decade, not only through the accumulation of wealth, but also as through his innovative and often divisive technological endeavors to which he has pledged his backing and resources. One such endeavor is Neuralink, a company co-founded by Musk in 2016, which aspires to produce significant advances in the realm of what neuroscientists and engineers term “the brain-computer interface.” 

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New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill on Jan. 30 that expands the legal definition of rape to include a broader range of sexual assault in an effort to hold perpetrators accountable and protect survivors (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / “Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks during the Maimonides Visit” by Marc A. Hermann / MTA. CC-BY-2.0. April 12, 2022). 

New York legislation expands legal definition of rape

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill on Jan. 30 that expands the legal definition of rape to include a broader range of sexual assault in an effort to hold perpetrators accountable and protect survivors. The new legislation will be implemented this year and will apply to sex crimes that are committed on or after Sept. 1. 

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The Republican party moved to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas early last week (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / “Alejandro Mayorkas (2021)” by DHSgov. PD US DHS. June 14, 2021). 

Republican party fails to impeach homeland security secretary

The Republican party failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas earlier this week. On Feb. 6, the impeachment charges moved to the House floor for a vote. Not only did this impeachment fail, but it failed narrowly, in a final vote of 214 to 216. The division present in the Republican party has become potentially problematic with some of its own representatives voicing their disagreements with the actions of other members

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Alabama delivered the nation’s first nitrogen hypoxia execution (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / “Julia Tutwiler Prison Wetumpka Alabama” by Rivers A. Langley. CC-BY-SA-3.0. March 16, 2011).

Controversy surrounds recent Alabama death penalty case

Alabama carried out the nation’s first ever execution by nitrogen hypoxia on Jan. 25. Kenneth Smith was sentenced to death in 1988, after he was one of two people convicted in the murder of Elizabeth Sennett. Smith had previously survived an execution attempt in 2022 by lethal injection, according to NBC. As a result, Smith’s legal team decided to push for a different method of execution; in this case the previously untested nitrogen hypoxia method. His team also submitted multiple appeals to save his life, but all were denied by the U.S. Supreme Court as a result of his past violent crime, according to CNN. 

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A recent discovery has shown that the moon is shrinking - and the effects are unpredictable (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / “Full moon partially obscured by atmosphere” by NASA. PD NASA. December 21, 1999). 

Shrinking moon leads to instability and unpredictability for future missions

According to the Weather Channel, the moon has lost around 150 feet in its circumference over the past hundred million years. This is due to its core cooling down over time. The moon’s crust is forming more canyons as it shrinks, which has caused tremors that are referred to as moonquakes. As seen in ITV, the moonquakes are quite powerful and can last for hours. The strongest has registered as the equivalent of a 5.0 magnitude earthquake. 

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Three U.S. soldiers were killed and more than 50 others were injured, including some Arizona National Guard service members, in an overnight drone attack on Jan. 28 in northeast Jordan, near the Syrian border (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / “Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) launches from an Air Force B-1B Lancer” by DARPA Photo. CC-PD-Mark. September 5, 2013). 

Deadly attack on Jordan base leads to U.S. launching retaliatory strikes in Iraq and Syria

Three U.S. soldiers were killed and more than 50 others were injured, including some Arizona National Guard service members, in an overnight attack on Jan. 28 in northeast Jordan, near the Syrian border. At least one service member is in critical condition after a drone bypassed the American base Tower 22’s defenses and struck while soldiers were sleeping, according to the Washington Post. 

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Just one month into the new year, people are already experiencing intense flooding and destruction across California as homes and schools are left as debris (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / “Flood under the Old Route 49 bridge crossing over the South Yuba River in Nevada City, California” by Kelly M. Grow/ California Department of Water Resources. PD California. January 9, 2017). 

Record floods in California destroy homes and cause irreparable damage

Just one month into the new year, people are already experiencing intense flooding and destruction across California as homes and schools are left as debris. San Diego, California experienced the heaviest rainfall during January in its history with half an inch every hour coming down in the span of one day, as reported by Reuters. These floods destroyed homes, parked cars and closed highways. It was also reported that one elementary school had up to three inches of flood water in its classrooms.

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Mediation efforts led by Qatar, the U.S. and Egypt are zeroing in on a ceasefire with the possibility of an exchange of Israeli hostages — starting with civilians and ending with soldiers — for a cessation of hostilities, the release of Palestinian prisoners and the allowance of more aid into Gaza (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / “Damage in Gaza Strip during the October 2023 - 29” by Palestinian News & Information Agency (Wafa) in contract with APAimages. CC-BY-SA-3.0 October 10, 2023). 

Ceasefire underway during Israel-Hamas war negotiations

Mediation efforts led by Qatar, the U.S. and Egypt are zeroing in on a ceasefire with the possibility of an exchange of Israeli hostages — starting with civilians and ending with soldiers — for a cessation of hostilities, the release of Palestinian prisoners and the allowance of more aid into Gaza. However, due to the two sides’ opposing viewpoints on how to bring a permanent end to the Gaza war, the framework agreement is being delayed, according to CNBC and Reuters.

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2/16/2024