“The United States Will Withdraw” – Trump

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“The United States will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement,” said Trump this week.

Trump said he wants to negotiate for better terms, and that other countries are given an economic edge by the current accord. The U.S., he said, suffers lost jobs, lower wages, closed factories, and diminished economic production because of the agreement.

European countries said that the agreement could not be renegotiated, and China reaffirmed its commitment to the deal.

The U.S. entered the agreement under Obama, who decided to say yes to it without submitting it to the Senate for confirmation — analysts believe it wouldn’t have passed the Senate.

Teens Now Have to Get Business Licences to Mow Lawns

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In a city in Alabama called Gardendale, youths who go out to mow lawns this year have been threatened by officials and landscaping companies that they have to get a business licence before starting, which brings in $110 for the city for each licence.

Adults who also cut lawns over the summer have made complaints about teens making money cutting a few lawns, and the mayor of the town, Stan Hogeland, said that people must have a business licence when operating within the city, and that he would like to have something added to the books that would be more appropriate for teens making summer cash, like “maybe a temporary licence … that targets teenagers.” He said that going after teens was not a priority, and that he wanted to find a way to deal with the situation favorably.

Moody’s Lowers China’s Credit Rating

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China protested when the investors service lowered its credit rating 1 notch because of China’s rising debt load (which could be difficult to service) and slowing growth.

It is the first time in the 30 years since the end of the devastation caused by Mao and the Cultural Revolution that China’s credit rating has been downgraded at all.

However, when the average of the three big ratings is made (the usual practice), the Moody’s rating means less.

Microsoft Obtains Patent to Use for Detecting Pirated Content

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The company was granted a patent for technology that scans items users have stored on the cloud when they are shared.

Microsoft envisions using software based on the patent for services like Google Drive, Dropbox and other storage services, social networks, and pirate sites.

A summary of how the patent is understood: “When objects are shared by one user with another user, prohibited content, if identified as such, can be blocked from being shared, while the remainder of the shared objects can be accessed by the other user.”

Microsoft intends that people who share copyrighted content can be banned.

It is illegal to share copyrighted content, although not illegal to store it on the cloud.

China’s Solar Output Increased 80% in First Quarter

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China, the world’s biggest solar power market, added 21.4b kilowatt-hours in the three months before March 31, compared with a year earlier, according to the NEA.

It’s total installed capacity is now 85gw. Their increase is despite an unused capacity (congested transmission infrastructure) worth 2.3b kilowatt-hours in the first quarter.

Fragment of Massive Diamond Sold for $17.5m

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A piece of the world’s second-largest diamond, found 2 years ago by Vancouver’s Lucara Diamond company, just sold for $17.5m.

The big rock in question is the 1,109-carat “Lesedi La Rona.” They wanted $70m for it at the auction, but no one bid higher than $60m so they still have it.

The $17.5m diamond is a smaller piece that broke off of the “Lesedi.”

Japan: High Sales of Nuclear Shelters as North Korea Tension Mounts

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Nuclear shelters and radiation-blocking and chemical gas air filters have seen higher sales in recent weeks as North Korea continues its nuclear program, including nuclear and missile tests, and America and China take a tougher stance on the nation’s military activities. Some stores have sold out.

Three North Korean missiles landed in Japan’s waters, 300-350 kilometers from shore, last month.

Japan is also urging local governments to hold evacuation drills.

Trump Agrees Not to Terminate NAFTA

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After phone calls with Trudeau and Nieto, the White House said that Trump “Agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time and the leaders agreed to proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures, to enable the renegotiation of the NAFTA deal to the benefit of all three countries.”

Trump also wrote in a statement, “It is my privilege to bring NAFTA up to date through renegotiation. It is an honor to deal with both President Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Trudeau, and I believe that the end result will make all three countries stronger and better.”

During the campaign trail and until very recently, Trump made strong statements against NAFTA and in favor of possibly ending the treaty.

These Tiny New Satellites

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So these tiny satellites being sent up into space in bundles …

The buzz company is called Planet, and they started in 2010 with a team of ex-NASA scientists.

They recently launched 88 new little imaging satellites in one go from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.

Their satellites are called Doves, and they’re shoebox-like machines weighing around 11 pounds. They take a lot of pictures: right now, they can capture 58 million square miles per day, the equivalent of the land on our planet.

The company also recently bought Terra Bella, another imaging company, from Google (for an undisclosed amount, and in a deal that included Google buying data back from Planet). That added 7 better-quality camera satellites to their flock. They can now use their lower-res satellites to build a large picture of Earth and look for changes, and use the 7 Terra Bella units (which have 4 – 6x better resolution) to get details.

They also bought another satellite company that gave them an archive of satellite images dating back to 2008, as well as some more satellites.

Planet doesn’t have a monopoly in the field, though. While they have the lead in whole-Earth imaging, other companies that have better resolution, like DigitalGlobe, provide other services. DigitalGlobe’s resolution exceeds Planet’s: they can make make images from orbit in which they can resolve a laptop screen into a pixel.

Robots for Fruit-Picking Jobs

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Fruit may join the large number of U.S. crops that are harvested by machines.

Robotics companies like FFRobotics and Abundant Robotics are working on building machines to harvest delicate fruits.

FFRobotics is developing a 4- to 12-armed machine that has three-fingered grips to grab fruit and twist or clip it from a branch — at a rate of up to 10,000 apples an hour. The machines would leave about 10 or 15% of the fruit on the trees that humans would have to pick.

Abundant Robotics’ machine uses a vacuum to pull off apples.

The goal is to have these bots working in a couple of years, and analysts think they can do it.