Here's a weekly recap of what made news in the world of science and technology this week.
On 16 May, Apple announced that new software features for cognitive, speech, and vision accessibility will arrive on iOS and iPadOS later this year. One of these features includes Assistive Access which will offer a distinct interface with high contrast buttons and large text labels across the Camera, Photos, Music, Calls, and Messages apps on iPhone. With Live Speech -- on iPhone, iPad, and Mac -- users will be able to type what they want to say to have it be spoken out loud during phone and FaceTime calls as well as in-person conversations, the tech company said in a news release. Another speech assistance feature is Personal Voice, which allows users at risk of losing their ability to speak to create a voice that sounds like them. This voice integrates seamlessly with Live Speech, Apple said, so that users can speak using their Personal Voice when connecting with others.
Astronomers said in a study on Wednesday that the James Webb Space Telescope has helped them detect the first “chemical signs” of supermassive stars in the early universe. So far, the largest stars observed anywhere have a mass of around 300 times that of our Sun. But the supermassive star described in this new study has an estimated mass of 5,000 to 10,000 Suns, an AFP report said. The researchers used observations from the galaxy GN-z11 -- which is more than 13 billion light years away and was discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2015. According to the AFP report, Webb offered up two new clues: the incredible density of stars in globular clusters and -- more crucially -- the presence of lots of nitrogen. It takes truly extreme temperatures to make nitrogen, which the researchers believe could only be produced by a supermassive star, the report adds.
On 17 May, the United Nations’ (UN) the UN's World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said there’s a two-thirds chance that at least one of the next five years will see global temperatures exceed the more ambitious target of 1.5 C set out in the Paris accords on limiting climate change. The WMO said "there is a 98-percent likelihood” that at least one of the next five years (from 2023-27), and the five-year period as a whole, will be the warmest on record, as greenhouse gases and El Nino combine to send global temperatures soaring, an AFP report said. The global mean temperature in 2022 was 1.15C above the 1850-1900 average. The WMO said there was a 66 percent chance that annual global surface temperatures will exceed 1.5C above pre-industrial levels for at least one of the years 2023-2027, with a range of 1.1C to 1.8C forecasted for each of those five years, the report added.
(With inputs from agencies)