All posts tagged: weaker

There are hints that dark energy may be getting weaker

There are hints that dark energy may be getting weaker

A slice of the largest 3D map of the universe showing the underlying structure of matter laire Lamman/DESI collaboration; custom colormap package by cmastro The largest 3D map of the universe ever created is providing hints about the evolution of the cosmos, and they suggest that we may be wrong about the behaviour of dark energy, which makes up most of the universe. It seems that this mysterious force may be weakening over time. “If it holds up, this is a very big deal,” says Adam Riess at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, who found the first evidence for dark energy 25 years ago. That is because the standard model of cosmology, called lambda-CDM, suggests that the strength of dark energy should be static over time. Dark energy is thought to cause the accelerating expansion of the cosmos – if it is not static, that could also have huge implications for our ideas about the beginning of the universe, its size and its ultimate fate. Reiss, who was not involved in the new work, says …

Putin’s lethally negligent failure can’t be covered up. The Moscow attack leaves him weaker than ever | Simon Tisdall

Putin’s lethally negligent failure can’t be covered up. The Moscow attack leaves him weaker than ever | Simon Tisdall

Each time Vladimir Putin messes up, the same question is asked: will it make any difference? Last week’s terrorist attack on the Crocus City concert hall near Moscow, which killed 137 people, is one of the bigger crises Putin has faced in his 25-year rule. There is no doubt that he, as Russia’s head of state and overall chief of its security forces, bears ultimate responsibility for what was by any measure a catastrophic failure. In any normal political system, his resignation would be expected. The fact this is more or less unimaginable is not necessarily a sign of Putin’s strength. His dictatorship has eviscerated checks and balances within Russian society, eliminating means of independent scrutiny. Any call for him to take personal responsibility would barely be heard, let alone acted on. Yet the Russian people, while chronically misled and serially misinformed, are not stupid. With blood on the streets and a nation in mourning, there’s no hiding that the Putin superman myth just took a serious, bubble-bursting beating. The Kremlin is estimated to have …

Hester row and Anderson defection have left Sunak weaker than ever | Conservatives

Hester row and Anderson defection have left Sunak weaker than ever | Conservatives

On the fringes of cabinet last Tuesday ministers chatted in hushed tones about the Tory mega-donor Frank Hester’s “clearly racist” remarks about Diane Abbott, revealed by the Guardian the previous night, but concluded that “we’ve got to get the money in”. It took No 10 until the end of the day to condemn his words as “racist and wrong” – 24 hours after the original story broke – while Sunak himself didn’t comment until prime minister’s questions the next day. “It went on too long,” admits one cabinet minister. Downing Street’s handling of the row had uncomfortable echoes of the dying days of Boris Johnson’s premiership for some Tory MPs, with the instinctive reaction to double down and tough it out rather than facing up to the inevitable consequences. It was not the only difficult moment for Sunak, in what was one of the most troubled weeks since he become prime minister, and which followed a budget that failed to deliver any shift in the polls. The former Tory deputy chair Lee Anderson defected to …

Children of anxious mothers have weaker prefrontal connectivity as adults, study finds

Children of anxious mothers have weaker prefrontal connectivity as adults, study finds

A neuroimaging study involving 28-year-olds in Belgium discovered that individuals with mothers who experienced higher levels of anxiety during pregnancy exhibited weaker functional connectivity between the medial prefrontal cortex and the left inferior frontal gyrus regions of the brain. This diminished connectivity could lead to challenges in emotional regulation, decision-making, and stress management. The findings were published in the journal Brain Imaging and Behavior. During the previous decade, many studies utilizing neuroimaging techniques reported links between maternal psychological distress or mental health issues during pregnancy and the characteristics of the brain of their children. Scientists propose that this might mean that mental health issues of mothers affect the development of the fetal brain, creating changes that last into adulthood. Of these mental health issues, anxiety and depression are the most common. A study in the UK estimated that treating anxiety and depression of mothers at the time of pregnancy costs the society around 8500 GBP per woman giving birth. Anxiety is a mental health condition characterized by persistent feelings of worry, fear, or tension, often …

Japanese shares hit near 34-year high on tech gain, weaker yen

Japanese shares hit near 34-year high on tech gain, weaker yen

TOKYO : Japanese shares jumped on Wednesday to their highest level in nearly 34 years, as chip-related shares tracked gains in U.S. technology stocks, while a weaker yen boosted exporters. By 0151 GMT, the Nikkei index had risen 1.6 per cent to 34,316.66, crossing the 34,000 level for the first time since March 1990. The broader Topix climbed 1.12 per cent to 2,440.03, also hitting its highest since March 1990. “The Nikkei rallied to the 34,000 level and that prompted investors to buy more stocks,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management. The S&P 500 and Dow closed lower overnight, but the technology-heavy Nasdaq edged higher. “The weaker yen was also a tailwind for Japanese stocks. This came after the yen’s gain against the dollar weighed on sentiment and limited the Nikkei’s gains at the end of last year,” said Shuutarou Yasuda, a market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute. The dollar rose against the yen overnight as investors awaited U.S. inflation data due on Thursday for clues on the …

Putin looks weaker than ever but his opponents should expect vengeance | Russia

Four days after Vladimir Putin faced the most serious challenge to his 23-year leadership, the Russian president called in the country’s top media figures for a briefing in the Kremlin. The panic of last weekend, as the troops of renegade warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin seemed set to march into Moscow, was still fresh in people’s minds. Putin, who had disappeared from public view for nearly two days as the crisis came to a head, was now holding meetings with various key players, including the editors of loyal media outlets, to project an image of calm control. “The main message was that he is dealing with the situation,” said Konstantin Remchukov, editor-in-chief of Nezavisimaya Gazeta, a newspaper with Kremlin connections, who was present at the meeting. “He is starting to investigate and will ask every question, find everything out, and draw the necessary conclusions.” Nonetheless, as the shock of last weekend’s drama starts to wear off and those in the political elite begin to digest the import of events, which Putin himself claimed almost spilled into “civil …