Just a Moment News - 2023-12-30


Hello everyone, this is Erika from ‘Just a Moment News’ and welcome to our podcast for today, December 30, 2023. Let’s dive right into the news stories that are making headlines.

First up, we have an exciting update from the world of space exploration. SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket successfully launched a secretive military spaceplane into orbit recently. The U.S. Space Force’s X-37B space plane, a reusable vehicle that acts as a classified testbed for experiments in space, was the sole payload on this massive rocket. This mission, designated USSF-52, is quite mysterious as many details remain classified. However, we do know that the mission includes operating the spaceplane in new orbital regimes, experimenting with future space domain awareness technologies, and investigating the radiation effects on materials provided by NASA. This marked the fifth time SpaceX has launched a Falcon Heavy rocket this year.

Next, we move on to South Africa where Eskom’s Koeberg Nuclear Power Station’s Unit 1 is undergoing a critical full load rejection test. This test is crucial to verify the unit’s ability to sustain its auxiliary load and return to a steady state after being disconnected from the national grid. The unit was taken offline for refurbishment and refueling in December 2022 and was reconnected to the grid in November 2023. Despite some delays, Eskom is confident about the upcoming test and has contingency plans in place.

In other South African news, the corporate sector faced intense challenges in 2023, primarily due to persistent energy crises and significant leadership shakeups. Eskom, the national electricity public utility, had its worst year for load shedding, with power outages affecting more than 80% of the year. The economy also faced numerous challenges, including a weak Rand and rising interest rates. The year also saw major leadership changes in various sectors, including Eskom, Transnet, and several others.

Moving on to tech news, Microsoft’s Copilot app is now available on iOS. The app gives you access to Microsoft Copilot, formerly Bing Chat, and works similarly to OpenAI’s ChatGPT mobile app. The app allows you to ask questions, draft emails, and summarize text, among other features. Unlike the free version of ChatGPT, Copilot lets you access GPT-4, the latest large language model from OpenAI, without having to pay for a subscription.

In the world of fine dining, Empire Steak House in New York City is introducing a luxurious $20,000 New Year’s Eve feast for two. This extravagant menu features gold-wrapped steaks, unlimited Dom Pérignon, and a variety of lavish dishes. Despite the hefty price, the restaurant justifies the price increase due to inflation and observes a trend of New Yorkers spending more in the recovering economy.

Now let’s talk about conservation efforts. The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation Of Coastal Birds operates a hatchery and nursery for African penguins, a species facing critical decline. Efforts are underway to establish a new penguin colony at the De Hoop Nature Reserve along South Africa’s Eastern Cape. However, challenges such as the ongoing depletion of fish populations due to intense commercial and recreational fishing persist.

Finally, let’s look at the tech that will change your life in 2024. The tech world saw a myriad of surprising and impactful developments in 2023, with artificial intelligence becoming increasingly pervasive across various sectors. Looking ahead to 2024, we can expect even greater integration of AI into our lives. This could profoundly influence our devices, jobs, and daily living, including potential impacts on election processes.

And that’s all for today’s news roundup. Thank you for joining me, Erika, on ‘Just a Moment News’. Stay informed, stay safe, and see you next time.

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