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US opts to not rebuild renowned Puerto Rico telescope

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FILE - This July 13, 2016 photo shows the world's largest single-dish radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The National Science Foundation announced Oct. 13, 2022 that it will not rebuild the renowned radio telescope, which was one of the world’s largest until it collapsed in August 2020. (AP Photo/Danica Coto, File)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The National Science Foundation announced Thursday that it will not rebuild a renowned radio telescope in Puerto Rico, which was one of the world’s largest until it collapsed nearly two years ago.

Instead, the agency issued a solicitation for the creation of a $5 million education center at the site that would promote programs and partnerships related to science, technology, engineering and math. It also seeks the implementation of a research and workforce development program, with the center slated to open next year in the northern mountain town of Arecibo where the telescope was once located.

The solicitation does not include operational support for current infrastructure at the site that is still in use, including a 12-meter radio telescope or the Lidar facility, which is used to study the upper atmosphere and ionosphere to analyze cloud cover and precipitation data.

The reflector dish and the 900-ton platform hanging 450 feet above it previously allowed scientists to track asteroids headed to Earth, conduct research that led to a Nobel Prize and determine if a planet is potentially habitable.

“We understand how much the site has meant to the community,” said Sean Jones, assistant director for directorate of mathematical and physical sciences at NSF. “If you’re a radio astronomer, you’ve probably spent some time of your career at Arecibo.”

But all research abruptly ended when an auxiliary cable snapped in August 2020, tearing a 100-foot hole in the dish and damaging the dome above it. A main cable broke three months later, prompting the NSF to announce in November 2020 that it was closing the telescope because the structure was too unstable.

Experts suspect that a possible manufacturing error caused the cable to snap, but NSF officials said Thursday that the investigation is still ongoing.

Jones said in a phone interview that the decision to not rebuild the telescope comes in part because the U.S. government has other radar facilities that can do part of the mission that Arecibo once did. He added that the NSF also envisions a five-year maintenance contract to keep the site open, which would cost at least $1 million a year.

“This is a pivotal time. The education component is very important,” said James Moore, assistant director for education and human resource directorate at NSF.

He said by phone that one of the agency’s priorities is to make STEM more accessible and inclusive and that the proposed education center would fill that need.

“It’s a way to augment some of the things that young people are getting in their schools or not getting,” he said.

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The Hague hearing held as South Africa accuses Israel of ‘genocide’ in war with Hamas

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THE HAGUE — Seventeen black-robed judges filed into the Palace of Peace at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague, Netherlands, on Thursday as the court opened hearings initiated by South Africa against Israel on charges of “genocide” against Palestinians during the ongoing war in Gaza.

The bench comprises 15 permanent judges and the two ad hoc judges from Israel and South Africa — former Israeli Supreme Court president Aharon Barak and South Africa’s former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke, who were sworn in by ICJ President Judge Joan Donoghue.

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Korea Tourism Organization Announces 225 Million Views for Korea Tourism Promotional Clips

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NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Launched on October 24th, 2023, by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in collaboration with the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), these promotional clips have achieved an outstanding milestone. With an estimated 225.3 million views recorded as of December 4th, 2023 at 5:00 p.m., these clips have become a global sensation, drawing widespread attention to Korea’s rich cultural and offerings.

“What if [Vincent Van Gogh] visited Korea”

 

The standout among the five clips is “What if [Vincent Van Gogh] visited Korea,” marking a groundbreaking achievement as the first Korea tourism promotional clip created using generative AI. This innovative video has garnered the highest number of views, reaching an impressive 59.88 million. Viewers were captivated by its imaginative approach, showcasing Korea’s iconic tourist destinations through the distinctive styles of 11 world-class painters such as Van Gogh, Munch, Monet, and others.

It took six months to make the clip, using cutting-edge digital technologies. This involved training the generative AI over 80,000 times for each piece, ensuring a seamless and natural representation within the distinct style of each featured painter.

Moreover, three regional tourism promotional clips draw inspiration from popular global K-contents: “Live Squid Game” showcases a squid-catching game set on Ulleungdo Island; “Queendom: Korean Archery” unfolds as a chase game within the historic Suwon Hwaseong Fortress; and “Guardian’s Fireworks” captures the enchanting and romantic ambiance of Haman Nakhwanori. These clips are designed to immerse visitors in the distinctive and appealing tourism offerings of each respective region.

The final clip, “Korea Never Forgets,” was produced based on the heartwarming true story of the Campagna couple, who went above and beyond to assist Korean tourists stranded in a snowstorm in the United States last winter. It captures the Campagna couple’s trip to Korea in a documentary format, and conveys the touching message that “Korea never forgets gratitude.”

The five Korea tourism promotional clips are available for viewing on KTO’s official YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/@imagineyourkorea). The remarkable success of these promotional clips has resulted in a substantial increase in KTO’s YouTube subscribers. The current count has surged by over 150,000 from the previous year, reaching an impressive 820,000 subscribers. This accomplishment solidifies KTO’s position with the highest number of subscribers among all national tourism organization YouTube channels.

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Watch Miss Universe 2023 Crowning Moment

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Watch Miss Universe 2023 Crowning Moment.

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