A map of the 2020 election results and a map of fully vaccinated areas paint a strikingly similar picture of today’s political landscape — and (surprise, surprise… ) it was largely driven by former President Donald Trump. In the latest episode of The Point, CNN’s Chris Cillizza tries to explains why these two maps are so similar.
The Smitemid-season update featuring the Stranger Things Battle Pass is available now on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S!
Enter the Upside Down with the all-new Smite x “Stranger Things” crossover which pairs four fan-favorite characters from “Stranger Things” with a powerful Smite god, Eleven Scylla, Hopper Apollo, The Mind Flayer Sylvanus, and The Demogorgon Bakasura.
Instantly unlock Hopper Apollo by purchasing the Battle Pass, or buy the Battle Pass Plus to unlock everything up to The Demogorgon Bakasura. Every Smite player earns rewards just for playing Smite. Begin leveling your Battle Pass on day one and unlock free rewards like the Demogorgon Avatar. That’s not all! After completing the Premium Track, unlock the Prestige Track featuring 60 extra levels of goodies and a special ’80s mall-themed Starcourt Eleven Scylla!
This epic crossover doesn’t stop there! “Stranger Things’” trademark Upside Down has seeped into the classic Arena Map. As you roam around the map, you’ll notice the updated skybox – now a dark, gloomy sky with The Mind Flayer looming over the battleground. You’ll also find fun “Stranger Things” callbacks like Christmas lights on the walls. Be sure to take a closer look to see if you can find any secret messages.
To celebrate this release, all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members will get the Smite x Stranger Things Starter Pass free as an Xbox Game Pass Perk (don’t forget to claim it). You’ll unlock all four gods (Scylla, Bakasura, Apollo, and Sylvanus) featured in the Stranger Things Battle Pass, their voice packs, 3000 Battle Pass Points, and a deal of the day token which unlocks a daily deal bundle of your choice. Purchase the Battle Pass to unlock the Stranger Things Skins for your newly unlocked gods.
The mid-season update also includes the Ocean’s Fury conquest map update, significant balance changes to gods and Items like the removal of boots, and the Court of Midnight event featuring Morgan Le Fay’s first skin, Crimson Magus. I hope you all log in to claim your Smite x Stranger Things Starter Pass, and check out all the incredible content. Our team has worked so hard on the mid-season update and I can’t wait for you to try everything! See you in the battleground.
SMITE x Stranger Things Plus Bundle
The heroes and monsters of Netflix’s Stranger Things join the Battleground of the Gods in an all-new Battle Pass.
This crossover features four fan-favorite characters as Skins for community-loved Gods: Eleven Scylla, The Demogorgon Bakasura, Hopper Apollo, and The Mind Flayer Sylvanus.
The Stranger Things Plus Bundle is the best way to get started. Instantly unlock Hopper Apollo, The Demogorgon Bakasura, and all rewards up to level 25. Plus: you’ll get all four Gods featured in the pass, and their Voice Packs!
This bundle includes:
– Stranger Things Battle Pass Plus – instantly unlock Hopper Apollo and The Demogorgon Bakasura
– Scylla, Bakasura, Apollo, Sylvanus and their Voice Packs
Join 35+ million players in SMITE, the world’s most popular action multiplayer online battle arena. Become a legend of myth, enter the Battleground of the Gods, and play FREE now!
Unleash each deity’s unique strategies, legendary weapons, and earth-shattering powers. Rain lightning down upon your foes as Zeus, assassinate from the shadows as Loki, or transform and trick your foes as the Monkey King, Sun Wukong. Which God will you choose?
Unlike other MOBAs, SMITE puts you directly onto the battlefield with a third-person action viewpoint. From blind-side ambushes to aimed shots, a new pantheon of strategic possibilities awaits.
Never played a battle arena before? Don’t worry. Auto-buy, auto-level, and the deathmatch-like Arena mode let you jump right into divine MOBA action. Aspiring pro? Top the ladders, join a competitive team, and you too could be playing at the SMITE World Championship.
Assuming your brain is, well, working, you will notice the remarkable overlap between the two maps; states that voted for Joe Biden have higher vaccination rates while those that went for Donald Trump have far lower ones. And it’s not just that! In most cases, the stronger a state went for Biden, the higher the overall vaccination rate in that state is. That relationship is inversely proportional for Trump: The higher the former President’s winning percentage is in a state, the lower, generally speaking, the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated.
So, for example, Biden won 66% of the vote in Vermont in 2020. That same number — 66% — of Vermonters are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19. In Minnesota, Biden won with 52% of the vote. And, yup, you guessed it, 52% of the population has been fully vaccinated. In New Mexico, Biden took 54% of the vote in 2020; as of now, 55% of New Mexicans are vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The flip side is also true. In Idaho, Trump won 64% of the vote. Just 36% of the state is fully vaccinated. Trump won 65% in Oklahoma; less than 4 in 10 (39%) residents of the state are fully vaccinated.
The first three are obvious. The revealing part is this: EVERYTHING — including public health — is now best understood through a partisan lens.
In theory, there is absolutely no reason why states that voted heavily for Trump should be any less willing to take a vaccine to fight a virus that has killed more than 600,000 Americans than states that went strongly for Biden. After all, Covid-19 doesn’t check who you voted for in 2020 before infecting you. The virus is remarkably nonpartisan.
Unfortunately for all of us — but most especially for people in Trump states who are still not vaccinated — that’s not how lots and lots of people see it. Refusing the vaccine is regarded by some decent-sized chunk of Trump voters as a badge of honor — a statement of their freedom from government oppression, or something.
That’s true despite the fact that Trump himself has not only been infected with the virus but has also received the vaccination. And has even advocated for others to get it too! “I would recommend it and I would recommend it to a lot of people that don’t want to get it and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly,” he said back in March.
The problem, of course, is that the Trump/freedom train had long left the station by then. Trump spent so long downplaying the virus, brazenly flouting public health guidelines to prevent the spread and openly questioning the need to wear masks that anything and everything to do with Covid-19 became political. And that very much includes whether or not you should get a vaccine with an unbelievably high efficacy rate against a virus that has killed more than 4 million people globally.
Like I said above: Stupid. And a reflection that our partisan political moment is dangerous — in more ways than one.
Google Maps is still one of the most popular ways of getting from A to B, but Apple is fiercely fighting back with a blockbuster new release to its Apple Maps app. Apple Maps first launched back in 2012 to a huge backlash that led CEO Tim Cook to publicly apologise for the release, which replaced Google Maps as the default maps option on all iPhones worldwide. At launch, users complained about the significant lack of detail, no public transport directions, and a number of missing locations and errors within the map itself.
Since that initial release, Apple has been working to right all the wrongs of its Maps app and it seems what’s coming next could finally have Google looking over their shoulder.
The huge upgrade has just been revealed as part of Apple’s new iOS 15 operating system and it comes packed with a swathe of new features that could convince some to ditch Google for good.
The whole service has been given a massive lick of paint which not only makes it far more useful but also more fun to use. Head into some of the world’s biggest cities and you’ll now find a highly detailed view with roads that show every traffic light and pedestrian crossing.
Buildings have also been preciously mapped and iconic landmarks now appear in the most intricate detail. For example, if you head to San Francisco you’ll see the Golden Gate Bridge in all of its glory or you can take a tour around the infamous Alcatraz prison.
You can even visit Union Square and see a fully rendered version of the stunning Apple Store complete with iPhones and the big screen where Today at Apple sessions take place. Parks show the exact position of trees and there’s now the option to view the exact elevation of every part of the city.
Another useful featuring coming to Maps is a three-dimensional city-driving experience. This birds-eye view gives a much clearer picture of the road ahead and should help to make sure you never miss a turn or junction on the motorway.
If you prefer hopping on the bus rather than your car then Apple is improving its public transport directions with maps now showing you when your stop is approaching and when to hop off.
This feature even works on Apple Watch meaning you shouldn’t need to reach for your phone.
Other features include an improved world map view with the earth now appearing as a globe rather than a flat one-dimensional image.
And, with iOS 15, users can simply hold up iPhone, and Maps generates a highly accurate position to deliver detailed walking directions in augmented reality.
It’s a big update from Apple and, having seen a preview, it certainly looks impressive. iOS 15 will launch on iPhones in the autumn.
Google Maps Street View is a tool used to help people navigate their way and discover locations around the world. However, and thanks to 3D cameras, many use it to uncover rare moments that happen across the globe.
Recently, one user made an unexpected discovery: a plane crash.
He was so shocked by his finding that he decided to share a picture on a Reddit forum.
He wrote: “A crashed airplane on Big Diomede Island, between Alaska and Russia,” and he shared the exact location.
In the image, you can see what seems like a big plane in the middle of a deserted field.
Some snow can be spotted in the photo too, as the user found this while navigating across cold Alaska and northern Russia territory.
The plane seems to be intact, or at least, without severe damage.
Some users were shocked by the discovery and seemed very interested to find out what exact plane it was.
“Neat! Do we know what plane it is specifically?” one viewer said.
“I’m guessing it’s a Douglas C-47 Skytrain,” another answered.
Luckily, a third person unveiled the mystery: “Good guess but digging I found that actually it’s a Russian plane that crashed in 1970.”
Another agreed: “Yeah, the LI-2 is a Russian built C-47.
“Between 5000-6200 were built.
A Lisunov Li-2 belonging to the Soviet Border Troops crashed in the centre of the island. (Image: Getty)
“I’ve read that some were fitted with small stoves for internal heating during flights and on ground!”
The exact location of this particular finding is the remote Big Diomede Island, in Rusia, which is located in the border between Russia and the United States.
The island has a current population of 0, meaning that there are no permanent inhabitants living there.
One of the only significant events that have taken place in Big Diomede Island is actually the Lisunov Li-2 crash.
The island has a current population of 0, meaning that there are no permanent inhabitants. (Image: Getty)
Although there are no airfields on the island, some flights were carried out in order to transport supplies back in the 70s.
On June 13, a Lisunov Li-2 belonging to the Soviet Border Troops crashed in the centre of the island.
All crew members were injured and the green hull remains are still visible.
Why the plane is still there and hasn’t been removed is still a mystery.
Google is constantly improving and updating Google Maps – with camera-laden cars driving around city centres to update Streetview images, to user suggestions of new developments being added to the maps, to restaurant reviews, integration with Uber, and more. However, the latest upgrade is currently limited to those living in Sydney, Australia. So, unless you’re currently based in the city, you’re going to have to read about the new feature… and then do your best not to get too jealous. And that’s as soon as it’s going to get, unfortunately.
Google teamed-up with Transport for New South Wales to bring its useful Streetview technology, which lets you look around in a first-person perspective, to the inside of dozens of train stations. So, if you’re planning a journey ahead of time and want to know what the inside of the train station is going to look like – now you can.
You’ll be able to look around the inside of the station as if you were already there. Keen to know if there’s a certain shop in the station you’re heading to? Now you’ll be able to check. Want to know if your transfer from one train terminal to another is going to be obviously signposted or whether it’s going to be a nightmare in the midst of rush hour crowds? Now you’ll be able to check.
Just like you use Streetview now to check what your destination looks like – so you know what to expect, bringing the feature from outside into train terminals means you’ll be able to better familiarise yourself with every step of your journey before you set off.
In total, Streetview imagery will be available for 130 train stations and a dozen metro stops across Sydney. Using Streetview indoors, “you’ll be able to virtually navigate interactive, panoramic imagery inside Sydney stations, so you’ll know your way when you get there,” Google promises.
With any luck, Google will work with other local authorities and transport companies across the globe to allow its 360-degree cameras into more stations, bus stops, tube platforms in the coming years.
Not only that, but the partnership with Transport for New South Wales has also resulted in a new accessibility feature. Google Maps will now offer detailed turn-by-turn directions for accessible routes across 70 train and metro stations across Sydney. So, if you need to plan a route that takes into account your mobility needs.
Google says, “these tools allow people to find the best and most accessible entrances, exits, signage, and paths within the station and better anticipate in-transit travel times along these pathways.”
To take advantage of the feature, you’ll need to tap the Directions menu after typing in a destination. This is all pretty standard. Google Maps will then load a number of options – from walking directions, driving, public transport, cycling, and more. Tap on the public transport icon and then tap on route options that include “wheelchair accessible,” “fewer transfers,” and “less walking.”
That’ll tell Google Maps that you want an accessible route, so it’ll plot directions based on stations with step-free access and more.
Satellite images showing the expansion of large detention camps in Xinjiang, China, between 2016 and 2018 provided some of the strongest evidence of a government crackdown on more than a million Muslims, triggering international condemnation and sanctions.
Other aerial images—of nuclear installations in Iran and missile sites in North Korea, for example—have had a similar impact on world events. Now, image-manipulation tools made possible by artificial intelligence may make it harder to accept such images at face value.
In a paper published online last month, University of Washington professor Bo Zhao employed AI techniques similar to those used to create so-called deepfakes to alter satellite images of several cities. Zhao and colleagues swapped features between images of Seattle and Beijing to show buildings where there are none in Seattle and to remove structures and replace them with greenery in Beijing.
Zhao used an algorithm called CycleGAN to manipulate satellite photos. The algorithm, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley, has been widely used for all sorts of image trickery. It trains an artificial neural network to recognize the key characteristics of certain images, such as a style of painting or the features on a particular type of map. Another algorithm then helps refine the performance of the first by trying to detect when an image has been manipulated.
As with deepfake video clips that purport to show people in compromising situations, such imagery could mislead governments or spread on social media, sowing misinformation or doubt about real visual information.
“I absolutely think this is a big problem that may not impact the average citizen tomorrow but will play a much larger role behind the scenes in the next decade,” says Grant McKenzie, an assistant professor of spatial data science at McGill University in Canada, who was not involved with the work.
“Imagine a world where a state government, or other actor, can realistically manipulate images to show either nothing there or a different layout,” McKenzie says. “I am not entirely sure what can be done to stop it at this point.”
A few crudely manipulated satellite images have already spread virally on social media, including a photograph purporting to show India lit up during the Hindu festival of Diwali that was apparently touched up by hand. It may be just a matter of time before far more sophisticated “deepfake” satellite images are used to, for instance, hide weapons installations or wrongly justify military action.
Gabrielle Lim, a researcher at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center who focuses on media manipulation, says maps can be used to mislead without AI. She points to images circulated online suggesting that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was not where she claimed to be during the Capitol insurrection on January 6, as well as Chinese passports showing a disputed region of the South China Sea as part of China. “No fancy technology, but it can achieve similar objectives,” Lim says.
Google Maps Street View was developed as a tool to help people discover locations around the world. Increasingly, though, users are beginning to notice it also has a habit of uncovering some jaw-dropping moments unfolding in all corners of the globe.
What’s more, it appears the tortoise has a clump of grass in its mouth, obviously enjoying a snack.
The creature is surrounded by ferns, which are also native to the island.
In fact, around 100 fern species call the Galapagos home.
Galapagos tortoises are named after their homeland and are native to the region.
They are the largest living species of tortoise, with some modern Galapagos tortoises weighing as much as 417kg (919lb).
Galapagos tortoise numbers declined from over 250,000 in the 16th century to a low of around 3,000 in the 1970s.
Today four species are extinct and only 10 percent of the original number remain.
However, it is thought that there are currently 20,000–25,000 wild tortoises living on the islands today.
There are also a number of initiatives working to help restore tortoise populations throughout the archipelago.
Google Maps Street View is traditionally used to help people navigate their way around the world. However, thanks to its use of 3D cameras, the online application often uncovered some rather unexpected moments taking place in all corners of the globe.
Of course, while it may be fun to imagine this gardener has suddenly acquired magical talents, there is an alternative explanation.
It is much more likely he is jumping in the air.
One Reddit user suggested he is “celebrating”.
His outstretched arms could be a sign he is punching the air for joy.
Another commended the man’s ability to jump so high.
“Our boy has some serious ups,” they wrote.
Sadly, the actual back story of the scene may forever remain a mystery.
The man has a pair of dark sunglasses on which conceal most of his face, making him unrecognisable.