Week in Review – Stephen Hawking died, Merkel Chancellor and Modified Blackberrys

Stephen Hawking died at Age 76

The world renowned scientist, cosmologist, astronomer, mathematician and author died at the age of 76 in the early hours of Wednesday, earlier this week. According to his family he died peacefully at his home in Cambridge. Hawking wrote several books and was famous for his work with black holes and relativity. He discovered that black holes leak energy and fade to nothing which came to be known as Hawking radiation. Furthermore, he was the first one to set out a theory of cosmology as a union of relativity and quantum mechanics.

Hawking was born on 8 January 1942 in Oxford, Cambridge and was married twice. He was diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease at the age of 22. Despite being given only two more years he went on to live for another fifty years. He was confined to a wheelchair, unable to speak except through a voice synthesiser. Still he held the position of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, a position that Sir Isaac Newton once held as well.

His children expressed their love and grief for Hawking and said his courage and persistence will live on in the many people he inspired all over the world. A book of condolence is due to be opened at Gouville and Caius College in Cambridge. Tributes to his person poured in via Social Media since the announcement of his death. Actors, fellow scientists, colleagues and people he inspired expressed their grief and shared stories about Hawking.

He was portrayed in both, TV and film, first by actor Benedict Cumberbatch and later Eddie Redmanye. What is more, he had a few guest appearances in TV shows such as Star Trek, The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory. Hawking is considered one of world´s greatest scientists. His book “A Brief History of Time” sold more than 10 million copies. According to Hawking “the long-term future of the human race must be in space.” He is also the one who stated that space and time begin with the big band and end with the black holes.

renowned (rɪˈnaʊnd) – berühmt bekannt sein für etw
scientist (ˈsaɪəntɪst) – der/die Wissenschaftler/in
peacefully (ˈpi:sfəli) – friedlich
several (ˈsevərəl) – einige, verschiedene
famous (ˈfeɪməs) – berühmt
to discover (dɪˈskʌvəʳ) – etw entdcken, feststellen
to leak (li:k) – auslaufen, lecken, undicht sein
to fade (feɪd) – nachlassen, verblassen
twice (twaɪs) – zweimal
rare (reəʳ) – selten, rar
disease (dɪˈzi:z) – die Krankheit, Leiden
despite (dɪˈspaɪt) – trotzm ungeachtet der Tatsache
confined (kənˈfaɪnd) – gebunden an
wheelchair (wi:ltʃeəʳ) – der Rollstuhl
unable (ʌnˈeɪbl̩) – unfähig, außerstande
except (ɪkˈsept) – außer, bis auf
to express (ɪkˈspres) – etw ausdrücken, aussprechen
grief (gri:f) – tiefe Trauer, Kummer
courage (ˈkʌrɪʤ) – der Mut, Tapferkeit
persistence (pəˈsɪstən(t)s) – die Beharrlichkeit, Hartnäckigkeit
condolence (kənˈdəʊlən(t)s) – Beileid, Kondolenz
due (dju:) – hier: fällig, steht bevor
to pour in (pɔ:ʳ in) – hereinströmen
fellow scientists (ˈfeləʊ) – Kollegen, andere Wissenschaftler
to share (ʃeəʳ) – etw teilen
to portray (pɔ:ˈtreɪ) – jdn darstellen
guest appearance (gest əˈpɪərən(t)s) – der Gastauftritt
such as (sʌtʃ æz) – wie zum Beispiel, wie etwa, beispielsweise
brief (bri:f) – kurz, knapp
long-term (lɒŋ-tɜ:m) – langfristig

Angela Merkel re-elected as German chancellor 

On the fourteenth of March 2018 Angela Merkel has been re-elected for the office of the German chancellor for the fourth time and accepted the vote. She made it clear she intends to get back to business immediately. She was accompanied by her husband and her mother and wore a necklace in the colours of the German flag.

The lawmakers voted 364 to 315 for the leader of the CDU (Christian Democratic Union), with nine abstentions, which are more dissenting votes than expected. The parliament in Germany has been without a government for five months now since the election in September – which makes it the longest term of a country without governance in the post-war of Europe. This period of uncertainty and doubt left many people in the party nervous.

Merkel has been the German chancellor since 2005 and therefore gained a lot of experience and mostly good relationships with Heads of State all over the world as well as respect from many people. Nevertheless many German citizens think she’s been in the office for too long and that it’s time for a change now. Merkel will travel to Paris on Friday for talks with President Emmanuel Macron.

re-elected (riː-ɪˈlɛktɪd) – wiedergewählt
chancellor (ˈʧɑːnsələ) – Kanzler/Kanzlerin
vote (vəʊt) – Abstimmung
to accompany (əˈkʌmpəni) – jdn begleiten
lawmakers (ˈlɔːˌmeɪkəz) – Abgeordnete
astentions (əbˈstɛnʃ(ə)nz) – Enthaltung
dissenting votes (dɪˈsɛntɪŋ vəʊts) – Gegenstimmen
government (ˈgʌvnmənt) – Regierung
governance (ˈgʌvənəns) – Regierungsführung
uncertainty (ʌnˈsɜ:tənti) – die Unsicherheit
doubt (daʊt) – die Zweifel
gained (geɪnd) – erlangte/erreichte
Heads of State (hɛdz ɒv steɪt) – Staatsoberhäupter
nevertheless (ˌnɛvəðəˈlɛs) – dennoch

Modified Blackberries Help Drug Cartels

Phantom Secure a Canadian based company has made millions of dollars by selling modified Blackberry smartphones to drug cartels, the company has made encrypted technology specifically for criminals which has made them a target point by the US government.

Last week The Department of Justice arrested Vincent Ramos in Seattle along four of his associates, they were charged with racketeering and conspiracy to aid the distribution of drugs, both of which have a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Phantom Secure sold their devices based on subscription, at a cost of $2,000-$3,000 for around six months of use. In order for the company to make sure that no law enforcement member gets a hold of the devices, new users would only be accepted if old users vouch for them.

There are an estimated 20000 Phantom Secure modified devices being used all around the world, but the communications made through these devices are routed back to servers in Panama and Hong Kong which is making the data more difficult to trace.

One of Phantom Secure’s services is to also remove the key functions from the devices to lock them down, such as voice communication, microphone, GPS, camera, internet and messaging apps, leaving just the text functionality.

modified (ˈmɑdəˌfaɪd) – verändert
drug cartels (drʌg kɑrˈtɛlz) – das Drogenkartell
encrypted technology (ɛnˈkrɪptɪd tɛkˈnɑləʤi) – die verschlüsselter Technologie
target (ˈtɑrgət) – das Ziel
arrested (əˈrɛstəd) – verhaftet
associates (əˈsoʊsiəts) – die Geschäftspartnerinnen
racketeering (ˌrækɪˈtɪrɪŋ) – die illegale Geschäfte
conspiracy (kənˈspɪrəsi) – die Verschwörung
distribution (ˌdɪstrəˈbjuʃən) – die Verteilung
penalty (ˈpɛnəlti) – die Strafe
devices (dɪˈvaɪsəz) – die Geräte
subscription (səbˈskrɪpʃən) – das Abonnement
law enforcement (lɔ ɛnˈfɔrsmənt) – der Gesetzesvollzug
vouch (vaʊʧ) – für jdn./etw bürgen
estimated (ˈɛstəˌmeɪtəd) – geschätzt
routed (ˈrutɪd) – senden
trace (treɪs) – verfolgen
key functions (kfʌŋkʃənz) – die Hauptfunktionen