1Missiles in the sky of Kyiv
For two nights this week, an unprecedented battle raged over the skies of Kyiv. Military historians may consider it the opening chapter of the next great war.
It was a battle between two of the most advanced ballistic systems on earth. During it, Russia launched six ‘Kingal’ hypersonic missiles. According to the Russians, the speed of the ‘Kingal’ is ten times greater than the speed of sound. When Vladimir Putin introduced it to the world, five years ago, he boasted that this missile was capable of breaching any defense system thanks to its speed and maneuverability.
● Zelensky in Berlin: weapons worth billions, political support and ignoring the Nord Stream explosion
But US-made Patriot missiles shot down most of the Kinjals for two consecutive nights. One of them seems to have dodged, and managed to hit the Patriot battery. The Russians claim they destroyed it, the Ukrainians deny it, the Americans are “checking”.
Annihilation is of course an undesirable outcome for the Ukrainians, but the success in bringing down almost all Kinjals is amazing in itself. It changes the context of the hypersonic arms race. It’s been several years that the Americans themselves admit that they lag significantly, and dangerously, behind Russia and China. The success in downing Kinzhals in Kiev seemingly shows that, contrary to Putin’s boast, his hypersonics are not omnipotent, and the US has the ability to defend against them.
2No, it’s not the economy
Expectations for a historic change in Turkey were dashed at the beginning of the week. Almost all polls were wrong, when they predicted victory for the secular opposition candidate in the first round. A fairly simple calculation shows that the opposition has no real chance in the second round.
● The Turkish, Indian and Israeli lesson: why the seculars lose Interpretation
This is not a landslide victory. Almost half of Turks oppose President Erdogan. But it seems that the Turkish opposition has discovered the ceiling of its progress. The election map shows how it happened: the vast land mass of Anatolia overwhelmingly supported the Islamist president while the big cities and the southern coast (favored by Israelis) supported his opponent Kemal Kilicdarulu.
The biggest surprise of the results concerns the lack of connection between them and between the severity of the economic situation and the rampant inflation. In Turkish you probably can’t say “this is the economy, idiot”, even though “idiot” is actually a Turkish word.
3 Will the credit limit fall?
In the past week, efforts have increased in Washington to raise the US credit ceiling. If it is not raised by the end of the month, the US will fall into default. This has never happened, and the potential arising from such an event is unpredictable.
● The fear of US defaults shakes those who trusted the bonds
This week, 150 senior CEOs implored the White House and Republicans in the House of Representatives to hurry up and reach an agreement. Usually it’s a technical matter. But the increased presence of the extreme right in the Republican majority faction makes an agreement difficult. They want drastic budget cuts in exchange for a raise. The White House refuses.
As usual in such cases, serious negotiations began only under pressure. The president cuts short a trip to Asia to bargain. Mind allows that there will be a compromise at the very last minute. No one would want to be blamed for a multi-continental financial meltdown. But the clock is ticking, and June 1st is Judgment Day.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell / Photo: Associated Press, Kevin Dietsch
4 The scary artificial intelligence
Sam Altman surprised. He didn’t attack, he didn’t defend, he didn’t dodge. The name of the 38-year-old university dropout is associated with the most promising scientific development of our generation: ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence (AI) system, which threatens all the orders of our lives, and evokes a mixture of bewilderment and fear.
● High-tech’s best-kept secret: the companies that give their employees a Chat-GPT subscription, and those that don’t
● This is how I defrauded my bank using artificial intelligence | WSJ
Altman testified this week in the Senate in Washington. If this technology goes off the rails, he said, it could fall a considerable distance. “We want to warn loudly. We want to cooperate with the government to prevent this.”
One senator asked: What is artificial intelligence like, “Is it equivalent to the invention of the printing press, or the invention of the atomic bomb?” The question remains unanswered for now.
5 And the last forecast
The week ended with the gloomiest weather forecast in 150 years. The World Meteorological Organization (public.wmo.int) announced that during the next five years there is a considerable chance (66%) that the average temperature on earth will be one and a half degrees higher than the average of the end of the 19th century, when hydrocarbon gas emissions began to accelerate The warming of the earth. Particularly chilling is the fact that only seven years ago such a possibility was more or less valued at zero. Even in 2021 the probability was only 10%.
Dr. Leon Hermanson, an expert at the WMO, predicts a continued rise which will “take us further and further away from the climate we are used to”.
good news? More rain than average will fall in the countries bordering the Sahara desert, which are always prone to deadly drought. It can also improve your chances of finding water if you get lost in the middle of the desert in the middle of a camel trek.
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