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Would you really die for your country? | International

BELLY DOWN in a muddy Dutch forest, Sabrina van den Goorbergh fires blanks from a Colt C7 assault rifle. The third-year medical student is taking part in the Dienjaar (service-year), a new programme that lets young Dutch sign up for a year-long trial in the armed forces rather than the regular four-year enlistment term. The programme is a success, drawing...

Fri Apr 19, 2024 15:32
Large language models are getting bigger and better | Science & technology

In AI-land, technologies move from remarkable to old hat at the speed of light. Only 18 months ago the release of ChatGPT, OpenAI’s chatbot, launched an AI frenzy. Today its powers have become commonplace. Several firms (such as Anthropic, Google and Meta) have since unveiled versions of their own models (Claude, Gemini and Llama), improving upon ChatGPT...

Fri Apr 19, 2024 15:32
America’s interest rates are unlikely to fall this year | Leaders

For most of the year everyone from stockpickers and homebuyers to President Joe Biden has banked on the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates soon. Over the past two weeks those hopes have been dashed. Annual consumer price inflation in March, at 3.5%, was higher than expected for the third month in a row; retail sales grew by a boomy 0.7% on the previous...

Fri Apr 19, 2024 14:32
Where are all the British robots? | Britain

Sarnies and precision engineering may seem to be worlds apart. But Greencore, Britain’s largest sandwich-maker, spends £20m ($25m) on industrial robots annually. They peel, slice and stone avocados. They cut wraps and baguettes in half using ultrasonic knives. They place slices of bread above fillings. They also help make sushi.Listen to this story....

Fri Apr 19, 2024 11:07
What is screen time doing to children? | Science & technology

Two months ago Daisy Greenwell and Clare Fernyhough set up a WhatsApp group to discuss how to stave off their young children’s demands for smartphones. After they posted about their plans on Instagram, other parents wanted in. Now their group, Smartphone-Free Childhood, has more than 60,000 followers debating how to keep their children away from the...

Fri Apr 19, 2024 11:07
Local British politics is a mix of the good, the bad and the mad | Britain

“Buildings of England”, the Bible of architectural historians, is effusive about the Grand Hotel in Scarborough, a chilly, rather tired seaside resort on the coast of Yorkshire. It is “a High Victorian gesture of assertion and confidence: of denial of frivolity and insistence on substance, than which none more telling can be found in the land”.Listen...

Fri Apr 19, 2024 04:03

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