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A blast in Lahore, Jinping in Europe, how to break the internet

  • Olivia Goldhill
By Olivia Goldhill

Science reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Chinese President Xi Jinping visits the Czech Republic. He and Czech president Miloš Zeman will likely discuss Jinping’s “One Belt, One Road,” a modern update on the Silk Road trade routes linking China to Europe. The state visit will be the first by a Chinese president to the Czech Republic since the two nations established diplomatic ties 67 years ago.

Oculus Rift delivers its first virtual-reality headset to consumers. It’s a day VR fans and gamers have been waiting for since the company launched its Kickstarter campaign in 2012. It also marks the start of a wave of VR headsets hitting the consumer market. CEO Palmer Luckey delivered the first unit himself a few days ago, flying out to Alaska to do it.

Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich could get a US Supreme Court hearing. Blagojevich, who tried to sell an appointment to president Barack Obama’s former seat in the senate, is serving a 14-year jail sentence. The highest US court might announce a decision to hear Blagojevich’s last-chance appeal.

Over the weekend

A terrorist bombing in Pakistan killed at least 65, including children. The explosion occurred at Lahore’s Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park, a popular destination for families that was crowded on Easter. A Taliban splinter group claimed credit, saying the attack targeted celebrating Christians. News of the bombing spread around the world because of a geo-tagging error in Facebook’s Safety Check feature.

Syrian government forces pushed ISIL fighters out of the ancient city of Palmyra. Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad’s forces closed on the city days ago and finally captured it with the aid of Russian air support, in a setback for ISIL’s battle to control Syria and Iraq. After taking the city in 2015, ISIL destroyed iconic sections of Roman ruins that had been declared a world heritage site.

Senator Bernie Sanders challenged Hillary Clinton to another debate. Bolstered by his three caucus victories on Saturday, the presidential contender said he wanted to debate former Secretary of State Clinton in New York state ahead of the Democratic presidential primary election there on April 19, where he needs a win to narrow Clinton’s sizable lead.

Japan lost contact with its innovative new space satellite. The satellite, named “Hitomi” and launched on on Feb. 17, was equipped with X-ray telescopes to study black holes. Japan’s space agency announced that it lost touch with the satellite on March 26 and is working to recover it. A gas leak or battery explosion could have sent it tumbling end-over-end, so the antenna wouldn’t be pointing in the right direction to communicate.

The World Bank gave Jordan a cheap $100 million loan. The long-term, almost-interest-free loan is meant to help create 100,000 jobs in Jordan for Syrian refugees and its own citizens. Such loans by the World Bank are among the newest tools used to finance education and job creation for refugees.

Quartz obsession interlude

Keith Collins on how one man broke the internet by deleting 11 lines of code: ”The story of how 28-year-old Azer Koçulu briefly broke the internet shows how writing software for the web has become dependent on a patchwork of code that itself relies on the benevolence of fellow programmers. When that system breaks down, as it did last week, the consequences can be vast and unpredictable. ‘I think I have the right of deleting all my stuff,’ Koçulu wrote on March 20 in an email that was later made public. And then he did it.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

An implant is the next step towards ending heroin addiction. The medicine has been taken orally for years, but an implant removes the human error that comes with relying on addicts to take a daily pill.

Europe needs to grow up about intelligence and forge better links with Muslim communities. If Europe can’t fix itself, it risks being destroyed.

Obama is the most merciless president in history when it comes to pardons. He’s granted the least pardons for any full-term president since John Adams, and it’s too late to show he’s committed to clemency now.

Surprising discoveries

Shakespeare’s skull is not with the rest of his skeleton. Radar scans of his grave suggest the playwright’s skull was stolen several centuries ago.

Research suggests Saturn’s rings are younger than the dinosaurs. They look like they were formed just 100 million years ago.

Syrian militias backed by the US military are fighting militias armed by US spies. Clashes among different US-backed groups underscore the challenges of intervening in Syria’s chaotic civil war.

Japanese ships killed 333 whales in the name of research. Conservationists say the hunt was called “scientific” simply to skirt international rules.

A woman lived in the Plaza for $500 a month for 35 years. The New York City luxury hotel once had monthly tenants and she ended up with a rent-controlled unit.

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