25 Most Amazing And Unusual Animals On Earth

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Apple’s rare earth recycling steps up environmental response

Apple said Tuesday its newest iPhones would be produced using recycled rare earth materials, as part of a stepped up environmental initiative which also has geopolitical implications.

Announced as part of a series of sustainability actions, Apple said the move builds on prior initiatives including its pledge to become “100 percent carbon neutral” in all aspects of its business.

Apple’s environment policy chief Lisa Jackson said during an online event announcing the new iPhone 12 handsets that “for the first time, we are using 100 percent recycled rare earth elements in all magnets including the camera, haptics and MagSafe (connectors).”

The announcement comes amid growing concerns about e-waste from billions of smartphones as consumers upgrade to new models, and with growing political tensions over rare earth materials needed for many electronics.

Activists have expressed concerns about the environmental impact of rare earth mining, and some of the materials come from countries cited for labor and human rights violations.

China, the scene of fatal mining accidents, has been in the spotlight for its dumping of toxic waste in Baotou, Inner Mongolia, as Beijing drives global production of rare earth elements.

Amid Sino-US trade tensions, China has threatened to cut off the supply of some elements, raising fears of shortages.

According to the US Geological Survey, China has the world’s largest rare earth deposits, with 44 million tonnes of reserves. Vietnam and Brazil have 22 million tonnes each.

Difficulties with US deposits twice forced the closure of the only US mine, in Mountain Pass, California. And refining capacity is limited outside China, according to analysts.

Apple also said it won’t be including earbuds or power adaptors with the newest iPhones, since most customers already have these. That will reduce manufacturing and make boxes lighter to ship.

Jackson said the move was part

Elon Musk has ‘seen no evidence of an advanced civilization visiting Earth’

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Elon Musk tweeted this scenic view of the Starship SN5 prototype in mid-air in August. This is an identified flying object.


Elon Musk/SpaceX

The truth is out there, and Elon Musk is sure it has nothing to do with aliens visiting Earth. 

The SpaceX founder chimed in on the idea of UFO sightings through a couple of tweets on Sunday. “I have seen no evidence of an advanced civilization visiting Earth,” he tweeted. “Fuzzy pics that are worse than a 7/11 security cam frame grab don’t count!”

Musk was responding to a tweet from Fox television anchor Maria Bartiromo. She shared a clip from Sunday in which she asked President Donald Trump why earlier this year the Department of Defense set up a UFO group called the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force.

Bartiromo asked whether UFOs exist. Trump told the anchor he would “have to check on that” and would “take a good strong look at that.”

Musk followed up with a strong piece of anecdotal evidence for his UFO doubt, tweeting: “There are literally >1000% more cameras than 10 years ago, but still zero clear photos.” (That’s what I’ve been saying for years.)  

It’s no wonder people care what Musk has to say about aliens and UFOs. He’s one of the most prominent space proponents on the planet. There was a minor kerfuffle back in July when he cryptically tweeted: “Aliens built the pyramids obv.” This prompted a response from Egypt inviting him to learn more

Software predicts the rise and fall of every river on Earth

Software predicts the rise and fall of every river on Earth
BYU civil and environmental engineering professor Jim Nelson at the Provo River. Credit: Jaren Wilkey/BYU

In July heavy rains triggered landslides and floods in Nepal that ultimately killed more than 130 people. As soon as the rain started falling, BYU professor Jim Nelson knew things could get bad.


That’s because the water-modeling software created by Nelson and colleagues from NASA under the Group on Earth Observations Global Water Sustainability (GEOGloWS) Partnership can predict the rise and fall of every river on the face of the planet. And in the case of Nepal, the streamflow forecasts were warning of severe flooding throughout the country.

Fortunately, the predictive models, accessible through the BYU software, made it into the hands of emergency agencies in Nepal, saving many lives in what could have been a catastrophic loss of life.

Nepali officials being able to access this vital information through Nelson’s large-scale visualization hydrologic data services was not a lucky break—it was by design. The models are a key tool in a rapidly expanding initiative from NASA and the U.S. Agency for International Development called NASA SERVIR, whose vision is to bring “Space to Village,” by leveraging satellite-based Earth monitoring, imaging and mapping systems that help people worldwide assess ecological threats and rapidly respond to natural disasters.

“Our tools help directly assess both flood risk and drought risk,” said Nelson, professor of civil and environmental engineering at BYU and principal investigator with the NASA SERVIR Applied Sciences Team. “Most communities around the world live around rivers, so having advanced notice becomes really important. We are providing the information so local governments and agencies can make intelligent, informed decisions.”

SERVIR is up and running in more than 30 countries and includes more than 40 custom tools for local agencies to use in decision making. Web-based satellite

Elon Musk says humans must leave Earth “because sun will engulf our planet”

Elon Musk has said that humans have to become a "multi-planet species". (Getty)
Elon Musk has said that humans have to become a “multi-planet species”. (Getty)

When Elon Musk launched a Tesla into space, it carried a sign saying “Don’t panic” on the dashboard – but the billionaire was in a more doom-laden form this week.

The SpaceX and Tesla pioneer warned, in an interview with The New York Times podcast Sway, that travel to other planets was necessary as Earth would be engulfed by the Sun.

Speaking to host Kara Swisher, Musk said: “I think this is fundamentally important for ensuring the long-term survival of life as we know it, to be a multi-planet species.

“Eventually the Sun is going to expand and engulf Earth. It will expand and incinerate Earth. It is for sure going to happen – but not any time soon.”

Read More: Starlink, everything you need to know about the satellite network

This is something of an understatement, as the Sun’s expansion is not predicted to happen for at least seven billion years.

Musk said that becoming a multi-planet species would allow human civilisation to dodge extinction events that had affected other species.

He said: “The fossil record does show many extinction events over the millennia, from meteors, from super-volcanos, from natural climate variation.”

Watch: Elon Musk says Tesla will offer an affordable driverless car within 3 years

The billionaire also touched on one of his favourite topics when he warned of the threat of artificial intelligence (AI).

He said: “AI does not need to hate us to destroy us. If it decides that it needs to go in a particular direction, no hard feelings it would roll over us, like we would do with an anthill if we were building a road.

Read more: Elon Musk dismisses astronomy concerns over Starlink network

“We need to think of