1. Stephen Hawking
Yesterday, Social media was filled with quotes and tributes to Stephen Hawking, passed away yesterday at the age of 76 in Cambridge, U.K. He has long considered a visionary and one of the greatest physicists of all time, helping us understand things like black holes and how they emit radiation. His book, A Brief History of Time inspired academics and students. Stephen Hawking became a cultural icon, making appearances on the Simpsons, The Big Bang Theory, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. He had a great sense of humour and demonstrated the possibilities for someone who has access to assistive and communications devices.
Not only was he known for his brilliance but also for living decades longer than the average person diagnosed with ALS. He brought awareness to ALS and was an inspiration for others living with the degenerative disease. It was also noted that his death fell on the same say as Albert Einstein’s birthday and Pi Day, celebrating the mathematical constant equal to 3.14.
2. Theresa May
Theresa May visited the scene of the poisoning of a former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. The two were found slumped on a bench in central Salisbury on Sunday 4 March. They are currently in critical condition after being exposed to a nerve agent, known as Novichok and developed in Russia. Theresa May spoke to members of the emergency services and the military who had responded to the nerve agent attack, as well as local business owners.
May announced yesterday that 23 Russian diplomats are to be expelled from the UK as she placed the blame for the chemical weapons attack squarely on Moscow. This move marks a serious escalation of hostilities between London and Moscow and is the single biggest expulsion of Russian diplomats in more than 30 years. The Russian Embassy in London condemned the expulsion of its diplomats as a “hostile action” that is “totally unacceptable, unjustified and short-sighted.” Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of his security council on Thursday as Russia prepared its response to the sanctions.
3. #NeverAgain Movement
Thousands of students across the US walked out of school yesterday in protest to gun violence and to demand stricter gun laws. The walkout was 17 minutes long, one minute for every student that died in the Florida school shooting one month ago. In Parkland, Florida, Stoneman Douglas students rose before sunrise to place hundreds of pinwheels around campus to mark the anniversary. Some students read the names of each victim; others stood in silence around sets of empty chairs. At Granada Hills Charter High School in Los Angeles, students lay down on a football field to spell out the walkout’s rallying cry: “Enough.” Cate Whitman, a junior at LaGuardia High School in New York said, “We’re all working together, which is something we haven’t seen from the adults in a very long time.”
4. World Happiness Report
Canada is ranked number 7 on the list of happiest countries in the world, following behind the Nordic countries – Finland bringing home the top spot. The top 10 countries are the same as the last two years with some exchanging of spots. Canada has moved between 4th and 7th within the 6 years that the list has been published. The list is based on six key variables that support well-being: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity. There was also a focus on the happiness of immigrants this year – those that move to happier countries tend to be happier in general. John F. Helliwell, a Canadian economist who co-edited the list says it might not be a coincidence that the happiest countries have colder climates. Occasional harsh weather builds a co-operative spirit and people are happy working together to protect and make life work. How good do you feel after you help someone push their car out of the snow? Or appreciative when someone does the same for you?
5. March Madness
Let the madness begin. The annual NCAA tournament has kicked off and everyone has one eye on their emails and the other on their brackets, waiting to see which of the 64 teams will take home the big W. Villanova and Duke are sitting at seed 1 and seed 2, but you never know what might happen with the next couple weeks. With the upsets and underdogs, the chances of guessing a perfect bracket are slim. If you work for Warren Buffett, he is offering his company employees $1 million if their brackets are still perfect by Sweet 16, something that he offers every year.