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  • The Know Daily - Thursday 8 February 2024

The Know Daily - Thursday 8 February 2024

🌍 A global warming warning, Apple’s Vision Pro headset + the world’s sexiest accent.

Read in 5m 24s Listening to Dua Lipa ∙ Share us to your socials ☝️

🌍 Global warming: New data has shown that the global mean temperature for the past 12 months exceeded 1.5C for the first time in history. 

🍏 A visionary idea?: Apple’s much-anticipated Vision Pro headset has officially hit the shelves - but will the futuristic tech catch on?

😍 Language of love: The world’s sexiest accent has been revealed - and reports say “the French won’t be happy”. 

Not only are otters seriously adorable, but they’re also doing some very important conservation work in California’s marshland. This is down to their “voracious appetite” for striped shore crabs, which nibble away at the marshland, causing it to erode. Now, thanks to the otters’ constant grazing, scientists feel more hopeful about the future of the landscape.

🌍 A global warming warning

The past year has been the hottest on record, with new data showing that the global mean temperature for the past 12 months exceeded 1.5C for the first time in history. 

Tell me more. 
According to the EU’s climate service, the period from February 2023 to January 2024 experienced 1.52C of warming on average. 

This is in spite of more than 190 countries promising to try to limit the world’s long-term temperature rise to 1.5C above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial average, under the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement.

What is the significance of the 1.5C figure?
Limiting the long-term temperature rise to 1.5C “is seen as crucial to help avoid the most damaging impacts [of climate change]”, said BBC News climate reporter Mark Poynting. A 2018 UN report found that extreme weather and other climate impacts are more likely to occur at 2C of warming than at 1.5C.

Although this first year-long breach doesn’t constitute a breaking of the Paris Agreement (which refers to an average global temperature over a decade, rather than a 12-month period), “it does bring the world closer to doing so in the long-term”, added Poynting.

What are experts suggesting?
Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, has called for “rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions” - describing that as “the only way to stop global temperatures increasing”.

Some scientists have urged governments to act faster to cut CO2 emissions.

Is there any coming back from this?
Yes - there is definitely still reason for hope. As Sky News pointed out, although breaching 1.5C is “alarming”, it doesn’t mean the world has “permanently surpassed the threshold”. “The global average temperature would need to exceed 1.5C many more times before the climate can be said to have permanently warmed to that level,” the site added.

And, according to the BBC’s Poynting, many experts think that global warming will “more or less stop once zero carbon emissions are reached” - meaning that if countries act quickly, we can ultimately “still make a difference to the world’s warming trajectory”.

🙋‍♀️ TRIVIA TIME

In a recent poll, which US city was voted the world’s worst city break destination?

A) Las Vegas
B) Washington DC
C) San Francisco

Scroll to the very bottom for the answer.

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🍏 A visionary idea?

Apple’s much-anticipated Vision Pro headset hit the shelves in the US earlier this month - but will the futuristic tech catch on?

First things first - what is the Vision Pro?!
Good question. Unveiled by Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook eight months ago, the $3,500 “spatial computer” promises to “seamlessly blend the real world and the virtual world”. 

The augmented reality device allows users to “project visual applications in a 3D environment controlled by eye and hand movements”, explained Dezeen magazine, so that apps and web browsers “appear to be floating three-dimensionally wherever the user looks”.

Still confused? “It’s like your phone but right in front of you - big, bright and bold, wherever you are,” the BBC’s technology editor Zoe Kleinman neatly summarised.

Will it catch on?
Now that’s TBD. Apple has certainly carved out a niche, given that similar headsets on the market - such as the Meta Quest - are geared more towards immersive gaming. In comparison, Apple has pitched its device as one which is “very much about being part of your daily life”, said Kleinman. 

But as The Times’ US West Coast correspondent Danny Fortson pointed out, the $3,500 Vision Pro is far pricier than the rival $500 Meta Quest. On top of this, entertainment platforms aren’t rushing to endorse Apple’s new tech, with YouTube, Spotify and Netflix all declining to make their services available on the Vision Pro ahead of its launch.

Got it. So am I likely to see one IRL anytime soon?
Probably not, at least according to Vox. Apple appears to be “gently discouraging” the idea of wearing the Vision Pro outside of the home, with promo material suggesting that it is primarily a productivity device or an entertainment system. “It’s chiefly an indoor toy,” explained Vox.

However, this didn’t deter one eager customer from trying out his Vision Pro on the New York City subway last week👇

😍 Language of love: The world’s sexiest accent has been revealed - and “the French won’t be happy”, said Euronews. 

🥕 Sandwich shakeup: Sandwich chain Pret A Manger has said that it is switching its Veggie Pret stores to normal Prets because the specialist outlets are “no longer needed”. 

🏞️ River rights: The Environment Agency is being taken to court by eco campaigners, who have accused the government body of not stopping chicken poo from polluting the River Wye.

🧑‍🏫 Maths gender gap: More than half of British girls do not feel confident learning maths, a new study on the “gender confidence gap” has found. 

🍫 Breaking away: After 54 years on British supermarket shelves, Nestle has announced that this iconic biscuit bar is being discontinued. Stock up now if you’re a fan.

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Trivia answer: A) Las Vegas came bottom of the list in a recent Which? poll asking travellers to rate their favourite destinations outside Europe. Here’s why.

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