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SpaceX found surprising heat-shield wear after NASA astronaut mission – Business Insider – Business Insider

  • SpaceX discovered unexpected erosion on its Crew Dragon spaceship’s heat shield after its first astronaut mission.
  • A SpaceX executive said the crew members — NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley — were never in danger.
  • But as a precaution, SpaceX has updated the heat shield ahead of its next crewed launch in October.

SpaceX discovered unexpected damage to part of its Crew Dragon space capsule after the vessel carried its first astronauts this summer, officials said on Tuesday.

The Demo-2 mission flew NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station on May 30. The two men stayed there for two months, then weathered a fiery fall through Earth’s atmosphere to splash down in the Gulf of Mexico on August 2.

But after the company recovered and studied the toasted space capsule up-close, examiners spotted something unusual: deep erosion on Crew Dragon’s heat shield.Advertisement


That thermal protection system is a collection of heat-resistant tiles that line the spaceship’s vulnerable underbelly. It protects Crew Dragon by deflecting and absorbing heat that can reach 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit while the space capsule plummets through the atmosphere and creates superheated plasma on its return to Earth.

SpaceX expected to find some wear and tear, but not quite this much.

An illustration of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spaceship returning to Earth with a blaze of plasma ahead of its heat shield.SpaceX via YouTube

“We found, on a tile, a little bit more erosion than we wanted to see,” Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX’s vice president of build and flight reliability, told reporters during a briefing on Tuesday.

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Koenigsmann said the affected part of the heat shield is close to “tensions ties” that connect the Crew Dragon to its large cylindrical trunk. (The trunk helps propel the spacecraft in orbit but is thrown away before the spaceship begins reentry.) One of four areas surrounding those tension ties got deeply worn away by searing-hot plasma as Behnken and Hurley returned to Earth.

Still, the spaceship and its crew safely returned home despite the unexpected problem.
“At all times the astronauts were safe and the vehicle was working perfectly,” Koenigsmann said.Advertisement


NASA and SpaceX revamped the heat shield for the next astronaut mission

Before Behnken and Hurley returned to Earth, Elon Musk, SpaceX’s CEO and chief designer, said reentry was the part of the mission that he worried most about.

NASA surveyed the heat shield for damage ahead of that return flight, while the Crew Dragon capsule was still docked to the space station. During its two months attached to the orbiting laboratory, small bits of space debris could have damaged the ship’s heat shield. The inspection relied on a robotic arm on the space station and some onboard cameras but did not turn up any problems.

It was only after Behnken and Hurley were safely back on Earth that SpaceX discovered the weak spot in its heat shield.Advertisement


But these are the types of issues Behnken and Hurley’s flight was meant to find and iron out.

Whereas theirs was considered a demo mission, the Crew Dragon is next set to carry a crew on its first routine mission, called Crew-1. NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi are scheduled to launch aboard the Crew Dragon on October 31.

NASA and SpaceX have already reinforced the vulnerable part of the heat shield ahead of that flight, Koenigsmann said. Advertisement


NASA’s Crew-1 crew members in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon (left to right): NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, and Mike Hopkins, as well as JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi.SpaceX via NASA

“We’ve gone in and changed out a lot of the materials to better materials,” Steve Stich, the program manager for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which oversees the SpaceX astronaut missions, told reporters on Tuesday. “We’ve made the area in between these tiles better.”

NASA tested five samples of the new tile in a simulated environment that mimics reentry — a wind tunnel at its Ames Research Center in California.

“I’m confident that we fixed this particular problem very well,” Koenigsmann said. “Everything has been tested and is ready to go for the next mission.”Advertisement


It’s unclear why the excessive heat-shield erosion didn’t show up on the prior demo mission, an uncrewed test flight in which Crew Dragon launched, docked to the space station, and returned to Earth with no human passengers. Koenigsmann speculated that the capsule may not have experienced the problem because it was lighter and had a slightly different trajectory on that mission.

“At the end of the day, it’s great that we found it on this ride,” he said. “This was not an unsafe situation at all. This is something that we observed and and then, basically, changed to make sure that nothing nothing bad will ever happen.”

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Navalny mocks Putin over reported suggestion he poisoned himself – Business Insider – Business Insider

  • Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny mocked Russian President Vladimir Putin for reportedly suggesting that he poisoned himself.
  • “Good version. I believe that it deserves the most careful study. Cooked ‘Novichok’ in the kitchen. Took a small sip from my flask on the plane. Fell into a coma,” Navalny said in an Instagram post.
  • Navalny, Putin’s most prominent opponent, was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok last month.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told French President Emmanuel Macron in a phone call that his top opponent, Alexei Navalny, may have poisoned himself with the potentially deadly nerve agent Novichok, according to the French newspaper Le Monde.

Navalny mocked Putin over the reported suggestion in an Instagram post.

“Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart: ‘Navalny could have swallowed the poison himself,'” Navalny wrote in the caption.Advertisement


“Good version. I believe that it deserves the most careful study. Cooked ‘Novichok’ in the kitchen. Took a small sip from my flask on the plane. Fell into a coma,” he said.

The anti-corruption campaigner was released from a German hospital on Wednesday after a 32-day stay. Navalny fell ill on a flight from Siberia to Moscow in August. His aides immediately suspected he’d been poisoned.

Russian authorities initially barred Novichok from leaving the country as he received initial treatment at a Siberian hospital. But Navalny was ultimately transferred to a German hospital, where doctors detected the nerve agent Novichok in his system.

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Novichok has been used to poison other Russian dissidents. Putin’s critics and opponents have routinely been poisoned and some have been killed.

World leaders have demanded answers from

Russia

over the incident, but the Kremlin has denied any involvement. President Donald Trump has faced criticism over his relative silence on the matter, and general refusal to stand up to the Russian government.
Navalny is one of Russia’s most prominent critics of Putin, and has faced harassment by the Russian government for years. In spite of this, and the recent poisoning that put him into a coma, Navalny’s aides have indicated he plans to return to Russia.Advertisement


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NASA releases Artemis mission plans to return astronauts to the moon – Business Insider – Business Insider

  • NASA just unveiled its first full plan for its Artemis program, a series of missions to return people to the moon for the first time since 1972.
  • The program would launch an uncrewed mission around the moon in 2021, followed by a crewed moon flyby in 2023, then a lunar landing in 2024.
  • The plan also calls for NASA and other agencies to set up a lunar base.
  • But NASA needs $28 billion over the next four years to make Artemis happen.

NASA has released its first full plan for its Artemis missions, which aim to put the first woman on the moon and the first man since 1972.

The plan calls for a lunar landing in 2024, but before that, NASA intends to launch two other missions to the moon to test its new Orion spacecraft.

“Our plan to land the first woman and next man on the moon in 2024 is on track!” Kathy Lueders, chief of NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, tweeted on Monday.Advertisement


The plan is ambitious, however — a reality NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine knows well.

“2024 is an aggressive timeline,” he told reporters during a briefing on Monday. “Is it possible? Yes. Does everything have to go right? Yes.”

So far, the agency isn’t even sure that it will get enough money to pull off the plan. NASA is asking Congress for nearly $28 billion.

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And even if funding does come through and NASA does land astronauts on the moon within four years, the agency’s goals get even more challenging after that. NASA hopes to subsequently put people on the lunar surface at least once a year from 2024 on and build a permanent lunar outpost by the early 2030s. The agency also hopes to construct and install the Gateway, a space station that’d orbit the moon and support frequent trips to the surface.

That infrastructure might in turn enable trips to Mars after 2030.
Here are the latest details on the planned Artemis missions.Advertisement


2 missions must succeed before people can walk on the moon again

An artist’s depiction of NASA’s Space Launch System rocketing a crew toward orbit.NASA/MSFC

The first mission in the Artemis program, Artemis 1, calls for the launch of an Orion space capsule atop NASA’s forthcoming mega-rocket, the Space Launch System. The spacecraft wouldn’t carry any passengers, but would stay in the moon’s orbit for three days as a test of its ability to fly to the moon and back. NASA’s timeline suggests that mission would launch in November 2021.

After that, Artemis 2 would be the first crewed test of Orion and the SLS rocket. In a lunar flyby, the Orion capsule would carry four astronauts around the moon’s far side, which is almost a quarter of a million miles from Earth. That crew would go farther into deep space than any humans before them.

Once Orion gets that far away, gravity from the moon and Earth would slingshot the spacecraft back home. The entire mission is expected take about 10 days, serving as a test of Orion’s capacity to ferry humans safely to and from the moon. Advertisement


The mission is currently slated to launch in August 2023.

Artemis 3 would land astronauts on the moon’s South Pole

For the Artemis 3 mission in 2024, NASA would launch an Orion spacecraft, fly it into lunar orbit, land astronauts on the lunar surface, then safely return everyone to Earth.

The mission is expected to send people to the moon’s South Pole (despite recent rumors suggesting the missions might land at a site previously visited by Apollo astronauts). Landing at the South Pole is more technically difficult than landing at other sites; no human or robotic mission has ever pulled off the feat.Advertisement


To accomplish this goal, NASA needs a human landing system: a spacecraft to take astronauts from orbit to the moon’s surface. The Artemis plan calls for the system to provide life support for about a week once the astronauts have landed, then get them back to lunar orbit.

The agency is already working with three commercial space companies — Blue Origin, Dynetics, and SpaceX — to develop prototypes for this system.

New spacesuits are in in the works, too. While they look fairly similar to the ones the Apollo astronauts wore (and they still contain diapers), the suits are more flexible, which should make it easier for astronauts to do complex tasks on spacewalks. The designs also include better in-helmet communications systems and other technological upgrades.Advertisement


NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine with NASA spacesuit engineers Amy Ross and Kristine Davis, who wears a prototype of NASA’s new Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit, October 15, 2019, in Washington, DC.Joel Kowsky/NASA

NASA is betting that the moon’s South Pole will offer the most value to human travelers, since it likely contains lots of frozen water hidden in the bottoms of craters never touched by sunlight. Astronauts (or robots) could ostensibly mine that ice, melt it, store it, and use electricity to split the water into liquid oxygen and hydrogen — a key oxidizer and fuel, respectively, for many types of rockets.

NASA scientists hope that fuel mined and produced on the moon could then be used for trips back home or deeper into space.
Harvesting such resources on the moon, Bridenstine said, would allow space explorers to start “living off the land.”Advertisement


After its first mission, NASA hopes to put humans on the moon every year

Artist’s concept of the Artemis Base Camp.NASA

Artemis 3 is only the beginning of NASA’s ambitions. After that, the agency hopes to install the Gateway, an orbiting station similar to the International Space Station, in the moon’s orbit.

Like the ISS, the Gateway is expected to be an international effort: Many other space agencies have agreed to help build it, including the Russia’s Roscomos, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency.

These agencies are also on board to collaborate on a lunar base camp at the moon’s South Pole that could house four people. The base would be equipped with two lunar-terrain vehicles, one of which could enable long, exploratory drives away from the camp.Advertisement


But the budget still hasn’t been worked out

Most immediately, NASA says it needs $3.2 billion in funding to develop a human landing system. So far, the agency has spent about $1 billion on that effort.

Artist’s rendering of a Human Landing System (HLS).NASA

The rest of the funds are far from a sure bet, however. NASA is pinning its hopes on an omnibus appropriations bill at the end of the year, but the House of Representatives has so far only approved about $630 million in additional funds.

Bridenstine said on Monday that he hopes to get a new budget in place to fund Artemis after the November election.Advertisement


“If we can have that done before Christmas, we’re still on track for a 2024

moon landing

,” he said.

Bridenstine is expected to appear before a Senate subcommittee on Wednesday to explain NASA’s budget request, which has come about six months earlier than usual, Space News reported.

Without full funding from Congress, Bridenstine said, the agency would not get to the moon in 2024, though it may still try to get there “at the earliest possible opportunity.”Advertisement


Commercial enterprises like SpaceX could also potentially travel to the moon on their own dime, he added.

“The companies themselves could step up to the plate in a bigger way,” Bridenstine said. “If the money doesn’t materialize, could they do it with their own resources? I’ll leave it to them to make their own determination.”

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World’s biggest banks enabled litany of financial crimes, leaked documents reveal – Business Insider – Business Insider

JP Morgan Chase & Co sign outside headquarters in New YorkReuters

  • Thousands of leaked documents from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network were shared with hundreds of journalists, revealing how big banks have for years engaged with dirty money.
  • The agency, which operates under the Treasury Department, compiles “suspicious activity reports” when it detects potential or evident financial crimes.
  • Banks such as JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, and Deutsche Bank facilitated the movement of criminal money even after getting caught, the agency reported.

Thousands of leaked documents shared with hundreds of journalists reveal how some of the world’s biggest banks have for years facilitated the movement of dirty money.

The documents are part of a collection of files that belongs to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, an agency operating under the Treasury Department to detect and prevent financial crimes, and were first published by Buzzfeed and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The agency is in charge of compiling “suspicious activity reports” when it detects potential or evident financial crimes. The documents are distributed and shared with law enforcement and financial intelligence groups around the world, but the agency does not force banks engaging in financial crimes to stop, BuzzFeed News, which obtained the leaked documents, reported.

The report said banks such as JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, and Deutsche Bank, among others, engaged with and facilitated the movement of criminal money even after getting caught.

The files detail movements and transactions for almost two decades, starting from 2000 and continuing into 2017.

“These documents, compiled by banks, shared with the government, but kept from public view, expose the hollowness of banking safeguards, and the ease with which criminals have exploited them,” Buzzfeed reported. “Profits from deadly drug wars, fortunes embezzled from developing countries, and hard-earned savings stolen in a Ponzi scheme were all allowed to flow into and out of these financial institutions, despite warnings from the banks’ own employees.”

Here are some of the biggest revelations to come out of the bombshell report:

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Russia’s top space official tried to claim that the planet Venus belongs to the Kremlin – Business Insider – Business Insider

  • The director-general of Russian space corporation Roscosmos claimed this week that Venus is a “Russian planet.”
  • “Resuming Venus exploration is on our agenda. We think that Venus is a Russian planet, so we shouldn’t lag behind,” Dmitry Rogozin told reporters on Tuesday.
  • Rogozin also revealed the country’s plans to send its own mission to Venus, on top of an already-proposed joint venture with the United States called “Venera-D.”
  • The top space officials comments come on the back of new research published this week, which found that Venus’ clouds could be harboring microbial life.

The head of the Russian space agency has staked the country’s claim on Venus, saying this week that it is a “Russian planet.”

Dmitry Rogozin, who is the director general of Russian space corporation Roscosmos, revealed that the country plans to send its own mission to Venus.

This would be on top of an already-proposed joint venture with the United States called “Venera-D” that would include sending an uncrewed space mission to the planet in either 2026 or 2031.Advertisement


Speaking to reporters at an international helicopter exhibition in Moscow on Tuesday, Rogozin said: “Our country was the first and only one to successfully land on Venus. The spacecraft gathered information about the planet — it is like hell over there,” according to The Times.

“Resuming Venus exploration is on our agenda. We think that Venus is a Russian planet, so we shouldn’t lag behind,” he added, CNN reported.

Rogozin’s comments come days after new research suggested that a gas on Earth called phosphine had also been detected in the atmosphere of Venus, meaning the planet’s clouds could be harboring microbial life.

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In the study, published in the journal Nature Astronomy on Monday, Cardiff University professor Jane Greaves and her team said that their discovery makes Venus a new area of interest.

“Our hoped-for impact in the planetary

science

community is to stimulate more research on Venus itself, research on the possibilities of life in Venus’ atmosphere, and even space missions focused to find signs of life or even life itself in the Venusian atmosphere,” Seager said, according to CNN.
Venus is the second furthest planet from the Sun and is considered one of the hottest in our solar system.Advertisement


The planet’s atmosphere is made up almost entirely of carbon dioxide and is the second brightest object in the night sky, after the moon.

The Soviet Union became the first country to successfully land a spacecraft on Venus in 1970. The Venera 7 was one of many probes to be sent to the planet and became the first to transmit data from there back to Earth.

Although it made a successful soft landing, it melted within seconds.Advertisement


Its successor Venera 9 — also launched by the Russians — took the first and only image of the Venusian surface from the ground-level perspective in 1975.

The country plans to send its own mission to Venus between 2021 and 2030, Rogozin said, according to CNN.

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Trump again receives poor marks on US response to the coronavirus – Business Insider – Business Insider

  • Only 35% of respondents said they approved of Trump‘s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new poll released by ABC News/Ipsos.
  • The results come on the heels of a bombshell report that said Trump admitted to deliberately downplaying the coronavirus.
  • “I wanted to always play it down,” Trump said in an interview with journalist Bob Woodward in March.

About a third of respondents in a new survey said they approved of President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, a figure that’s remained steady for months as the disease continues to spread.

Sixty-five percent of survey respondents said they disapproved of the way the presidents has responded to the pandemic while 35% approved, according to a new poll released by ABC News/Ipsos.

Among party lines, the divide is even greater: about 80% of Republicans surveyed indicated they approved of Trump’s response to the pandemic, while only 5% of Democrats said the same. Advertisement


The results of the latest poll come amid a controversial report of Trump deliberately downplaying the coronavirus pandemic.

“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump reportedly said in an interview with journalist Bob Woodward in March.

“I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic,” he added, revealing that he knew more about the dangers the

coronavirus

posed than he let on.

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As Business Insider’s Jake Lahut previously reported, Trump has consistently downplayed the pandemic since early this year. The president’s past statements and those of his senior officials have demonstrated a habit of understating the extent of the virus when experts kept warning of its mounting danger.

Still, Woodward’s bombshell reveal appeared not to impact Trump’s support levels, according to an analysis of results by ABC News.
The president’s approval rating for his handling of the pandemic has hovered around the mid-30s mark since July, when it had hit an all-time low of 33%, a stark contrast to the more than half (55%), of respondents who said they approved of the US response to the coronavirus in March. Advertisement


The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

More than 6.4 million people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Of that, more than 193,000 people have died.

There were 533 people who participated in the latest poll from ABC News/Ipsos, which had a margin of error of 4.7 points. Advertisement


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Microsoft Surface Duo: Design and battery life are its best features – Business Insider – Business Insider

The Surface Duo’s versatile design made it a great daily companion.

The Surface Duo's versatile design made it a great daily companion.
Lisa Eadicicco/Business Insider

Whether I was propping it up like a tent to use as a second screen throughout the day, or holding it like a book to read in Amazon’s Kindle app, the Surface Duo’s flexible design is easily its best trait.

That’s all thanks to the Surface Duo’s 360-degree hinge, which enables the two screens to bend all the way back so that the device can assume a variety of poses.

The ability to take on multiple form factors — combined with the extra screen real estate you get from a phone that can bend in half — make the best case yet for why foldable phones should exist in the first place.

It also offers excellent battery life.

It also offers excellent battery life.
Lisa Eadicicco/Business Insider

The Surface Duo never left me scrambling for a charger. After a full day’s worth of use, I still had more than 30% of a charge left the next morning.

It’s common for the batteries in high-end smartphones to last for more than a full day, but based on my experience that’s an unusually high percentage to have left over.

Of course, it’s important to remember that battery life will always vary depending on how you use your device. During my time with the Surface Duo, I primarily used it for checking email, browsing the web, chatting with co-workers on Slack, and streaming video.

It also has promising software features to take advantage of those two screens.

It also has promising software features to take advantage of those two screens.
Lisa Eadicicco/Business Insider

With the Surface Duo, Microsoft didn’t just join two screens together — it ensured that the software was designed to work smoothly across both displays.

Certain apps like Amazon’s Kindle reader and Microsoft’s suite of Office tools and apps have been optimized to work especially well on both screens. Kindle, for example, has been updated with a page-turn animation to recreate the experience of reading a hard-copy book. Microsoft’s news app also lets you browse headlines on one screen while reading a story on the other.

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But unfortunately, the software still has its quirks.

But unfortunately, the software still has its quirks.
Lisa Eadicicco/Business Insider

The Surface Duo’s software is generally good at switching between orientations, but there is some lag. This is especially noticeable when using the camera app. Since the Surface Duo’s camera is located on the inside of the device, you need to physically flip the device around to switch between selfie mode and world-facing mode. There were several instances, however, where the camera simply didn’t know which direction to face, which can be frustrating.

And the Surface Duo’s camera can’t compare to those found on other popular smartphones.

And the Surface Duo's camera can't compare to those found on other popular smartphones.
The iPhone 11 Pro’s camera

Lisa Eadicicco/Business Insider

If you take a lot of photos with your phone, the Surface Duo probably isn’t for you. The 11-megapixel camera on the Surface Duo is decent, but in my experience didn’t take photos that were as sharp, colorful, or crisp as rivals like the iPhone 11 Pro and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2.

And for $1,400, you’d want a camera that’s at least on par with top-of-the-line phones.

Plus, its size and shape can make it difficult to use discreetly or with one hand.

Plus, its size and shape can make it difficult to use discreetly or with one hand.
Lisa Eadicicco/Business Insider

The Surface Duo isn’t meant to look or feel like a regular smartphone. But even so, switching from a standard smartphone to the Surface Duo comes with a notable learning curve, especially when using it in public.

The Surface Duo’s unusual design means it’s much wider than the average phone. It measures 93.3 millimeters across, or 3.7 inches, making it feel daunting at times when you just want to quickly take out your phone, send a quick text, and then put it away. It’s also nearly impossible to use it with one hand.

So should you buy it?

So should you buy it?
Microsoft

There’s a lot of promise in the Surface Duo. After all, we spend most of our days buried in our phones as they’ve become our lifeline to our social life, work, and much more. So it makes sense that a company like Microsoft that’s rooted in productivity would invent a product to help us do more with our phones on the go.

But before a device like the Surface Duo can replace your phone, it needs to do everything equally as well as your phone — including taking photos and offering stable performance when running apps.

The compromises that come with the Surface Duo make it hard to recommend, especially for $1,400. But it certainly makes me excited about where the industry is headed.

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Trump campaign misspells ‘Nobel’ Peace Prize in fundraising ad – Business Insider – Business Insider

The Trump campaign released an ad this week touting President Donald Trump’s Nobel Peace Prize nomination, which was mispelled as “Noble.”

  • The Trump campaign released an ad that incorrectly spelled the “Nobel” Peace Prize as “Noble” to celebrate his second nomination.
  • A far-right Norweigan lawmaker again put forth President Donald Trump’s name for the prestigious award, citing his role in normalizing ties between the United Arab Emirates and Israel.
  • Anyone can be nominated for the prize and hundreds are submitted every year.

The Facebook ad shows a smiling Trump with the text overlay: “President Donald Trump was nominated for the Noble Peace Prize,” and a caption: “President Trump achieved PEACE in the MIDDLE EAST!”

The 2021 nomination came earlier this week from a far-right Norwegian lawmaker, who praised Trump’s role in fostering negotiations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates last month.

Christian Tybring-Gjedde told Fox News that “all efforts that lead to peace in that region should be awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize and also for Donald J. Trump.”Advertisement


Tybring-Gjedde previously threw Trump’s name in the running in 2019 for his diplomatic efforts with North Korea.

To be sure, Trump has not secured widespread peace in the region. The Trump administration’s much touted plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was immediately rejected by Palestinian leaders early this year and US troops are still deployed to Iraq and Syria.

Any head of state or member of national government can submit a candidate, and hundreds are put forth for the prestigious accolade every year. The rules also allow university professors and the directors of foreign policy institutes to submit nominees, the BBC reported.

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Trump celebrated the recognition on Twitter by reposting a slate of congratulatory messages from conservatives on Wednesday morning.

—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2020

The president has long wanted the prize and has previously blasted the choosing committee for having not already awarding him the honor. His reelection team swiftly moved to celebrate the nomination news through ads, as well as campaign emails and texts to supporters for donations.Advertisement


Four US presidents have won the Nobel Peace Prize, with the most recent being former President Barack Obama in 2009, which Trump has also criticized.

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Epic Games’ CEO has secretly played over 1,600 ‘Fortnite’ matches – Business Insider – Business Insider

  • Fortnite” is one of the most popular games all over the world, with hundreds of millions of players.
  • One of those hundreds of millions of players, it turns out, is Epic Games‘ billionaire CEO Tim Sweeney. He has logged over 1,600 games of the Battle Royale giant, he told NPR.
  • “I just go play randomly with groups of people and they have no idea who I am and we just have a good time together,” Sweeney said.

The next time you clutch a victory royale from the jaws of defeat, it could be a win stolen from the billionaire who runs “Fortnite” maker Epic Games.

Tim Sweeney, who founded and runs Epic Games, has logged over 1,600 matches of “Fortnite,” he said in a new interview with NPR.

“I have a name that nobody knows,” he said. “I just go play randomly with groups of people and they have no idea who I am and we just have a good time together.”Advertisement


Sweeney’s work at Epic has made him extremely wealthy over the last several decades, to the tune of around $5.3 billion, according to Forbes estimates.

That’s due in part to the blockbuster success of “Fortnite,” which rakes in billions annually, but also due to the company’s long history of success in the video game business. Epic Games has created a variety of major game franchises, including “Unreal Tournament” and “Gears of War,” in addition to the production and oversight of the widely used Unreal Engine game creation software suite.

But “Fortnite” has been the company’s biggest hit by far, and its success even spurred the creation of a new digital storefront: the Epic Games Store.

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That storefront, and Epic’s massive success with “Fortnite,” have been at the forefront of an ongoing legal spat with Apple.

The game was outright kicked off the

iPhone

and

iPad

App Store on August 13, and it’s not coming back anytime soon — a judge partially sided with Apple in an initial hearing, which keeps the games off iPhones and iPads for the foreseeable future.
Worse, the game can’t be updated. Anyone playing “Fortnite” on iPhone or iPad isn’t able to play the game’s current season, which started on August 27, nor are they able to play with friends on other platforms.Advertisement


And that’s all because, also on August 13, Epic added a new payment option to the game.

The new option said “Epic direct payment.” Instead of paying Apple, then Apple paying “Fortnite” maker Epic Games, you could pay Epic directly and it cost less for the same thing.

By doing this, Epic intentionally circumvented paying Apple and Google their respective cut of goods sold through their digital storefronts: 30%, an industry standard for digital platform holders like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and others.Advertisement


In response, Epic sued Apple and Google. During the interview with NPR, Sweeney characterized the 30% cut Apple and Google take as exploitation, and referred to them both as monopolies.

“It’s not just Epic being exploited by Apple,” he said, “but it’s every developer who goes along with that scheme colluding with Apple and Google to further their monopoly. These stores are making a lot more money from creative works than the creators.”

Epic’s own digital storefront, the Epic Games Store, takes a 12% cut from digital sales on both Mac and PC. Advertisement


Got a tip? Contact Business Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@businessinsider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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Video: SD governor dismisses Sturgis COVID outbreak as ‘napkin math’ – Business Insider – Business Insider

  • South Dakota’s governor dismissed a study connecting 19% of the total COVID-19 cases in the US last month to a motorcycle rally in her state as “back-of-the-napkin math” in a Fox News appearance Wednesday.
  • A new study found 260,000 new cases stemming from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, where around 360,000 bikers descended upon the Mount Rushmore State from August 7 to 16.
  • “What they did is, they took a snapshot in time, and they did a lot of speculation, did some back-of-the-napkin math, made up some numbers and published them,” Noem said of the research from San Diego State University.
  • Despite issuing a confident rebuttal of the study, which as yet to be peer reviewed, Noem did not offer any empirical evidence to debunk it.

On the heels of a new study tying the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to more than 260,000 COVID-19 cases — amounting to 19% of total cases in the US last month — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem took to Fox News to dismiss the data.

Noem, a Republican in her first term who did not mandate masks at the rally of around 360,000 bikers in her state from August 7 to 16, quipped that the research from San Diego State University’s Center for Health Economics & Policy Studies amounted to nothing more than “back-of-the-napkin math.”

—Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) September 9, 2020

“Well, that’s actually not factual whatsoever,” Noem said of the study. Advertisement


“What they did is, they took a snapshot in time, and they did a lot of speculation, did some back-of-the-napkin math, made up some numbers and published them.”

Noem, a former South Dakota Snow Queen champion and a staunch ally of President Trump, tried to discredit the research because it came from a social science program and not a medical one.

Researchers used cell phone location data and modeled how the virus spread in certain counties where the bikers went upon leaving the Mount Rushmore State.

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However, Noem did not offer any empirical evidence to refute the study, which has yet to undergo peer review.

—Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) September 8, 2020

Noem also blamed “the media” for painting her as “the governor that made all the wrong decisions by letting my people have freedom.”The most notable COVID-19 outbreak in South Dakota prior to the Sturgis rally was at a meatpacking plant in Sioux Falls, where Noem similarly decried health experts and the media for criticizing her laissez faire approach to the pandemic.Advertisement


Noem’s profile has risen significantly in 2020, with the governor hosting Trump at his Mount Rushmore Rally and landing a speaking slot at the GOP convention.

Noem is also featured in a tourism ad for South Dakota as a place to “safely explore” that “makes America great” airing frequently on Fox News.

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