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Wally Funk: the female trailblazer who’s the oldest person to go to space



Earlier today, Wally Funk became the oldest person to ever go to space, aboard the historic New Shepard space flight. But who is Wally Funk?

Earlier today, Wally Funk was among the crew that blasted into space aboard Jeff Bezos’ New Shepard. The Amazon founder was also onboard, alongside his brother Mark and the 18-year old son of Somerset Capital Partner’s CEO. At 82, Funk is the oldest person to ever go to space.

While the focus of the historic flight has mainly been on Bezos as the second billionaire to go to space, it was also a momentous occasion in space travel. More specifically, who is allowed to venture beyond earth.

The much-anticipated trip marked a number of milestones, including the first un-piloted suborbital flight with an all-civilian crew. It was also the first crewed launch for Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket. As well as the oldest, the crew also included the youngest person to ever reach space.

After landing Funk said, “I’ve been waiting a long time to finally getting up there.”

I loved it,” she said. “I want to go again, fast!”

Wally Funk is the oldest person to ever go to space at 82 years old. She missed out on going to space during the 60s because she’s a woman.

A long-delayed dream

After the flight, Funk described feelings of gratitude for finally seeing her long-delayed dream come true. However, she said that the aircraft didn’t quite go high enough to see the world.

“I saw darkness, I thought I was going to see the world, but we weren’t quite high enough,” she said. However, she didn’t seem too phased by this, saying the flight was “great”.

“I felt like I was just lying down, just lying down — and I was going into space.”

“I’ve done a lot of astronaut training through the world, Russia, America, and I could always beat the guys on what they were doing because I was always stronger, and I have always done everything on my own,” she said.

A lifetime of achievements

By the age of 22, Funk had earned top grades in aviation college and was a certified pilot. She was the first female civilian flight instructor at a US military base at a time when it systematically excluded women.

Funk’s lifetime goal was to become one of the first female astronauts. She was actually one of the was one of the 13 female pilots who trained to go to space in the 60s’, but she missed the chance back then due to her gender. At 24, she was the youngest of these ‘Mercury 13 women’.

She excelled across the board during her training with NASA, sometimes even surpassing the men who were selected. During one test, Funk was placed in a sensory deprivation tank. She remained there for more than 10 hours before the researchers finally brought her out, because they wanted to go home.

Natasha is an Associate Producer at ticker NEWS with a Bachelor of arts from Monash University. She has previously worked at Sky News Australia and Monash University as an Online Content Producer.

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Tech layoffs reach their highest point in over 20 years



There have been over 130,000 layoffs across the technology sector in the last five months

The technology sector was billed as the most exciting industry to work in.

Big offices, big dreams, big money were all part of the parcel for many companies attracting staff.

As many organisations caught onto the momentum of the pandemic, the same energy has not been particularly met on the other side.

Thousands of workers have since been laid off as the good times stopped rolling.

In fact, the technology sector’s layoffs are the highest since the dotcom bubble burst 22 years ago.

The BT Group is one of the latest companies cutting staff.

Fifty-five thousand have lost their jobs as part of a corporate restructure.

CEO Philip Jansen will freeze his £1.1 million salary until he retires, according to reports from Sky News.

The ground is also shifting as artificial intelligence takes hold and the economy worsens.

BT Group said it is laying off 11,000 staff because of the increased capacity for artificial intelligence in the workplace.

At the same time, companies like Apple and Goldman Sachs are among those restricting or banning the use of tools like ChatGPT amid privacy or data concerns.

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Big tech crackdown on employees using ChatGPT



Apple and Samsung are among companies restricting or banning the use of ChatGPT

Some of the world’s largest technology companies, including Apple and Amazon have banned or restricted OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

The tool relies on artificial intelligence to produce responses to prompts entered by users.

However, major brands remain concerned around the privacy risks because of the data ChatGPT uses to improve its accuracy.

Samsung has previously reported employees unintentionally leaking confidential internal source code and meeting recordings through ChatGPT.

Meanwhile, Apple has banned the web-platform over concerns surrounding data leaks.

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Can Linda Yaccarino save Twitter’s falling ad sales?



Linda Yaccarino has officially taken over as Chief Executive Officer at Twitter

Linda Yaccarino was once the head of NBC Universal’s advertising and partnerships team.

Her appointment follows a Twitter poll where Musk asked users to vote on whether he should resign.

At the time, 57.5 per cent voted ‘yes’.

Twitter is undergoing a transformation, including addressing concerns around rising hate speech and disinformation on the platform.

Mr Musk said Yaccarino is the perfect person for the job.

“I think Linda’s going to do a great job running Twitter. I’ll provide guidance on technology development.

“Twitter has released more changes in the last six months than it has in the last six years.”

Twitter said it has taken down over 6 million pieces of content in the first half of 2022, before the platform was acquired over by billionaire Elon Musk.

Benjamin Powers is a technology reporter at The Messenger, who said the platform has some issues to address.

“It’s unclear how much he’ll [Musk] be stepping back.”

The New York Times reports advertising revenue attracted US$88 million from 1 April to the first week of May—a decrease of 59 per cent from a year earlier.

“I think the big problem is revenue. The pullback is that they’ve lost about 58 per cent of advertising revenue, which is huge for a company like Twitter.

“The subscription business, which involves getting a blue check, you pay $8 a month, really hasn’t kept up with that dynamic,” he said.

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