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Weekly Snapshot: Japan’s Gift

Weekly news you can use.

By:  |  April 6, 2022  |    685 Words
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A group of japanese people under cherry trees at blossom time, in Japan, with view of Mount Fuji in the distance. Engraving by Hokusai Katsushika. (Photo by APIC/Getty Images)

Welcome to LNGenZ’s round up of the week’s top news stories.

Washington, DC Celebrates 110 Years of Cherry Blossoms in the City

A gift from Japan that has been cherished for over a century.

It’s spring again, and with the season comes the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC. As a token of friendship, Japan gifted the United States 6,000 Yoshino cherry blossom trees in 1912. As a result, the beautiful plants can be found in both DC and New York. Every year, around 1.5 million people head to the capital to view the beautiful trees in full bloom. This year marks the 110th anniversary of the planting.

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(Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)

The vivaciously colored blossoms represent the beginning of spring along with hope and renewal. The trees were planted in a circle surrounding the Tidal Basin, which is a is a man-made reservoir. The trees are in the company of the Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

In 1927, school children re-enacted the initial planting, holding the first unofficial “festival.” Later, civic groups helped expand the annual practice, and in 1935, the first official National Cherry Blossom Festival was held. It became a huge hit. Not only are these flowers a gorgeous sight to see, but the celebration includes art and cultural events. Read more…

 

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(Photo by Raychel Brightman/Newsday RM via Getty Images)

Gas Prices Rise Dramatically Across America

What has caused the drastic increase in the cost of gasoline?

The price of gasoline in America has been rising fast. A year ago, the average price was $2.89 per gallon, but now it’s $4.23.

A couple of dollars per gallon may not seem like much of a difference, but it adds up when you have to fill a whole tank with fuel. Not only is it getting more expensive to drive a car, but the rising price of fuel could impact other areas of life, as it gets more costly to transport food and other items.

Why has the price of gas risen so suddenly? Gasoline is made from refining crude oil that comes out of the ground, so the price of gas depends on what’s going on with oil.

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(Photo by Karol Serewis/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

One of the reasons fuel has gotten so expensive over the last few weeks is the war between Russia and Ukraine. Russia mines lots of fossil fuel, including natural gas, coal, and oil. It sells these to other countries, especially in Europe.  The United States only buys about one-tenth of its oil from Russia. Or it did, until recently. Read more…

 

The Rise of Deepfakes

AI-generated videos are getting more common, and they could influence world events.

Have you seen a photo or watched a video online that you weren’t totally sure was real? Your doubts will only grow over time as computer experts are getting better at creating “deepfakes.”A fake video of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made the news recently. The footage was soon exposed as false, but it raised questions about how these phony images and videos may be used to fool people in the future.

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(Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

A “deepfake” is a video, image, or text that has been created by an artificial intelligence. A human can make a phony picture by using Photoshop, for example, but a deepfake goes a step further. It is created not by a human, but by a machine. Since artificial intelligence programs are getting more advanced, the deepfakes they produce are also getting more convincing. Many predict that, eventually, we will reach a point when it is almost impossible to pick out the difference between a real video and an artificial one.

Russia and Ukraine are currently at war, which made the Zelensky video an important one. The one-minute clip portrayed the Ukrainian president telling his citizens to surrender to Russian forces. Read more…

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