What Happened in June 2024?


Sports News in June 2024

a hockey player, a soccer match, and a basketball player

The Florida Panthers beat the Edmonton Oilers to win the Stanley Cup. The LA Lakers drafted LeBron James’ son, making them the first father and son to play on the same NBA team. Jayson Tatum signed the largest contract in NBA history with the Boston Celtics, a five-year, $313.9 million supermax deal​. TV viewership in the US of Euro 2024 and Copa America 2024 soccer matches reached over a million viewers each, marking a dramatic increase over previous years.

AI News in June 2024

AI inside a laptop and smartphone

Microsoft is Going All In on AI

Microsoft is making Windows 11 an AI-first operating system by integrating Copilot AI deeply into the Windows experience to enhance productivity and streamline user interactions with the operating system. Microsoft also introduced Copilot+ PCs, which come with built-in AI capabilities designed to leverage the full potential of the Copilot features. These PCs are optimized for tasks such as generating content, automating workflows, and providing intelligent assistance across various applications.

Nvidia Hits Record $13.5 Billion Revenue in Q2 2024 Amid AI Chip Boom

Driven by the wildfire sales of chips used in machine learning, Nvidia briefly eclipsed Microsoft as the most valuable company in the world. Nvidia’s sales hit $13.5 billion in the second quarter of its fiscal year 2024, and its AI chip sales also spurred a 168% rise in its stock value this year. Its newest chip integrates advanced AI capabilities into PCs and laptops.

Freelance Jobs in Writing, Software, Programming, and Translation Dropped 21% Since ChatGPT

Gigs in writing, high-tech, photo editing, and others have disappeared from job boards since November 2022 when ChatGPT was released.

Apple AI and ChatGPT Integration

AI built into an apple

Apple announced their AI to make iPhone, Macs, iPads, and Siri smarter, plus its partnership with OpenAI ChatGPT via the cloud for questions Siri can’t answer. Apple Intelligence is only available in US English and is exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max, plus iPad devices and Macs running the M1 chipset and newer. However, AI upgrades to Siri are available on any iPhone running iOS 18.

Apple’s AI capabilities are focused on three areas: Language, Images, and Action. Language features help rewrite and summarize emails and recorded calls, manage email, and reduce interruptions. Image AI capabilities let users generate images based on a description or from people in your Photos library, create an emoji maker, and automatically make a movie. Users can use a magic wand to erase objects in images, and even search through images and videos. AI Action capabilities make Siri smarter and more context-aware. And when Apple Intelligence can’t get the job done, it will ask a user if they’d like to use ChatGPT 4o. But Microsoft, who invested billions into OpenAI, wants a cut of the profits.

Drugs, Guns, and Abortion

drugs, guns, and abortion pills

Supreme Court Sides with the FDA, Keeping Mifepristone Legal

The same Supreme Court that overruled Roe v. Wade ruled that the anti-abortion doctor group who sued the FDA over approval of mifepristone, the medication used for majority of abortions, did not have standing to sue. The pregnancy-ending drug will remain widely available, although 13 states prohibit it and other states prohibit the prescription of the drug via telemedicine. In states with restrictions, women must travel out of state, see a prescription via telehealth, order the drug from outside the United States, or rely on support networks organized to help women access mifepristone.

Over-the-Counter Birth Control Pill Projected to Prevent Thousands of Abortions

Opill, the first over-the-counter birth control pill approved by the FDA, is available in stores and online since early 2024. Within the first few months, it sold 1.2 million units, reflecting strong consumer demand. Opill is priced at $19.99 for a one-month supply and $49.99 for a three-month supply. With nearly 5 million women expected to use Opill within its first year, it is estimated that this could prevent tens of thousands of unintended pregnancies. Studies show that increased access to birth control can reduce abortion rates by 62-78%​.

Southern Baptists Condemn IVF

preacher with sperm sitting in the pews

In the wake of the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that embryos are people, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution condemning in vitro fertilization (IVF) reflecting the denomination’s concerns over the creation and destruction of embryos, which they view as people with full rights.

Supreme Court Overrules Trump-era Bump Stocks Ban

redneck shooting a rifle with a bump stock wildly

The court ruled a semiautomatic rifle equipped with a bump stock is not a machinegun under federal law because it does not fire more than one shot by a single function of the trigger. The 6-3 opinion was authored by Justice Clarence Thomas. The court’s three liberal justices dissented. The ban was enacted in the wake of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history when a gunman opened fire at Las Vegas music festival in 2017 killing 58 people and wounding 413 others.

The Supreme Court Prohibits Gun Possession for Those Under Restraining Orders for Domestic Violence

The Supreme Court overturned a previous ruling, now prohibiting individuals under domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms, tightening restrictions to enhance victim protection and reduce gun-related domestic violence incidents. The case originated in Arlington, TX when Zackey Rahimi, under a domestic violence restraining order, engaged in multiple acts of violence, including firing a gun at a police officer, shooting at his girlfriend, and threatening others with firearms. A lower court ruled that prohibiting firearms while he was subject to a restraining order for domestic violence violated his second amendment rights.

New ATF Rules to Close the So-Called Gun Show Loophole Blocked in Texas

man selling guns from the back of a pickup truck

By expanding the definition of a dealer, the law would require tens of thousands of unlicensed dealers to obtain a federal firearms license to continue selling online, at gun shows or from the trunk of their cars. There’s no minimum number of firearms, but rather several business-like actions like advertising and renting space at a gun show that require licensing and therefore background checks of buyers. The law took effect last month, but four states challenged the law, and this month a judge blocked it in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Utah.

Maryland Pardons Thousands for Marijuana Offenses

Maryland Governor Wes Moore recently issued over 175,000 pardons for marijuana-related convictions, marking one of the largest acts of cannabis clemency in U.S. history. This move comes as a follow-up to Maryland’s legalization of recreational marijuana in July 2023. The pardons won’t release anyone currently incarcerated, but clears the record of those previously convicted and removes barriers to housing, education, and employment opportunities.

US Politics and the Culture War

Biden Falters at the First Presidential Debate

During the first presidential debate, Joe Biden faced frequent interruptions from Donald Trump, struggled to convey his points clearly, and at times appeared flustered. The aftermath saw a growing call for President Joe Biden to step aside from the 2024 election, driven by concerns over his age, stamina, and ability to lead. Prominent newspapers such as the New York Times published editorials urging Biden to step aside, and in a poll a majority of Democrats prefer Biden to step aside, with 56% favoring a new candidate.

Biden Issues Executive Orders to Address Immigration at the Mexican Border

a politician stopping migrants from crossing a river

President Biden implemented several new restrictions on asylum seekers to address the surge of crossings at the U.S. southern border. The measures include suspending asylum eligibility for those who cross the border illegally, a new rule heightening the screening standard for those who claim persecution or torture, and expediting the removal process of those who do not qualify for asylum. These new restrictions take effect when the average number of daily encounters exceeds 2,500 over a seven-day period. At the urging of Donald Trump, Republicans blocked immigration reforms proposed by the Biden administration, preferring to use the issue as a political tool rather than finding legislative solutions​.

New Biden Policy Shields Undocumented Spouses of U.S. Citizens from Deportation

President Biden executive order gives illegal aliens in the country for at least 10 years and married to US citizens a path to citizenship. The main goal of this executive action is to keep families together and offer stability to mixed-status families who have been contributing to the country. This executive order is expected to benefit 500,000 undocumented immigrants who are married to U.S. citizens, as well as about 50,000 noncitizen children whose parent is married to a U.S. citizen.

President Biden‘s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan Halted by Federal Judges

President Biden’s student debt forgiveness plan has been temporarily halted by federal judges in Kansas and Missouri. These rulings were in response to lawsuits filed by Republican-led states, which argue that the Biden administration is overstepping its legal authority. The program was designed to cap monthly payments at 5% of discretionary income for undergraduate loans, down from the current 10%, and to forgive remaining balances after 10 years for those who initially borrowed $12,000 or less.

Louisiana Requires the Ten Commandments in Every Classroom

teacher reading the ten commandments to students

Louisiana has enacted a new law that mandates the display of the Ten Commandments in every public school classroom, including elementary, middle, high schools, and public colleges. The law requires the commandments to be displayed on posters that are at least 11 by 14 inches.

Oklahoma Requires Bible Teaching in Public Schools

In Oklahoma, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction issued a directive requiring all public schools in the state to incorporate the Bible and the Ten Commandments into their curriculum. This mandate applies to grades 5 through 12 and is effective immediately. The Superintendent emphasized the Bible’s significance as a historical and cultural document essential for understanding the history of the United States, Western civilization, and the basis of the legal system.

Climate Change News

the earth is burning hot

An Ironic Twist of Burning Fossil Fuels Has Tempered Global Warming – Until Now

For more than 100 years burning coal, gas, and oil has pumped massive amounts of CO2 into our thin atmosphere, warning the planet with the greenhouse effect. But the sulfur content in oil and gas had the opposite effect by reflecting sunlight and enhancing cloud cover. However, in the past decades the sulfur content in gas and oil has decreased in large part thanks to China’s efforts to combat its air pollution and cleaner ocean shipping fuels. The image below from 2009 shows how ships in the northern Pacific Ocean enhance clouds by spewing pollution into the atmosphere. Yet global fossil fuel use has doubled since 1980. The net effect is allowing more sunlight in, only to be trapped by greenhouse gasses. The extent that SO2 has tempered global warming is estimated from less than 1/2 to one degree Celsius, which could soon put the world over the 2.5 degree Celsius target from the Paris climate agreement. The 2.5 degree limit is considered the maximum global warming after which ice sheets melt, coral reefs die, and the earth could face runaway warming.

ships leave brighter cloud trails in the northern  Pacific
As ships travel across the ocean, pollution in the ships’ exhaust create more cloud drops that are smaller in size, resulting in even brighter clouds.

Europe Bakes in Excessive Heat

Europe has experienced unusually early and intense heatwaves this summer, with temperatures soaring up to 10°C above the seasonal average in countries like Greece, Cyprus, Türkiye, and Italy. The continent is bracing for potentially the hottest summer ever recorded

Temperatures Continue to Rise Globally

The world is experiencing a streak of record-breaking temperatures, with 11 consecutive months of unprecedented heat. This trend is expected to continue, with scientists expressing concern over the potential long-term impacts on global climate patterns​.