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What is the Metaverse that Facebook talks so much about?

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Facebook has announced a strong commitment to the ‘metaverse’. So much so that Mark Zuckerberg’s company has changed its name to Meta, referring to the promising world of virtual and augmented reality that awaits us in the coming years. But what does this new environment really look like for the hitherto named Facebook?

Facebook (now Meta) describes the ‘metaverse’ as “a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who are not in the same physical space as you”. In other words, it is a kind of world that will allow you to live an experience very similar to reality, but without being, precisely, the real world. In fact, the company points out that in its metaverse it will be possible to buy products, chat with friends, go to concerts or even work.

Is the ‘metaverse0 the future of the internet? In a way, yes. In fact, that’s how Mark Zuckerberg described it during his ‘Facebook Connect’ presentation. The ‘metaverse’ goes beyond being able to search for anything on Google, or chat with friends or family through multiple messaging apps, or share content on social networks. The goal, after all, is to create a more realistic experience through the Internet.

How will we be able to interact with Facebook’s ‘metaverse’? Probably with devices adapted for this purpose, such as augmented reality glasses, screens or even watches. Facebook, in fact, seems to be developing several products so that its virtual world can start to become a reality soon. But it is likely that other manufacturers will also develop tools, both for Facebook’s ‘metaverse’ and for that of other companies.

Yes, Meta (Facebook) has not invented the ‘metaverse’, although it is one of the companies that is betting most strongly on this new world that, precisely, does not necessarily have to be in 3D or through augmented reality glasses. In fact, the ‘metaverse’ has always been present, but in different forms.

For example, NTFs could also be considered part of the ‘metaverse’. After all, they are digital possessions that can only be interacted with virtually.

Epic Games has also shown a lot of interest in this virtual world with a somewhat different approach to what Mark Zuckerberg proposes. Tim Sweeney, CEO of the developer of games like ‘Fortnite’, commented in an interview to The Washington Post that the ‘metaverse’ could refer to a virtual world where users interact with brands, where they will be able to promote their products based on experiences.

So, can there be more than one ‘metaverse’? Yes, although the goal for companies like Nvidia, which are also interested in a virtual world, is to create an environment similar to the World Wide Web, where companies share resources so that users “can teleport you to different worlds,” said Richard Kerris, vice president Omniverse at Nvidia (Via LA Times).

The still-present pandemic has helped to further reinforce the idea of living in a parallel virtual universe. At a time when most of the population has been locked in their homes, it is not a bad idea to move forward in creating a concept such as the one proposed by Facebook. However, “living in the metaverse” is not something we are going to see in a few months. The company itself, despite its enthusiasm, is realistic.

Wind turbine blades: an ecological problem for clean energy

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Until now, the recycling of windmill blades may have gone unnoticed because it was not a problem that was going to affect immediately and because, in addition, it is not that big if we compare it with other sectors such as the automobile industry. Wind turbines have a useful life of 20 to 25 years (up to 30 in some cases, if some components are replaced) and it has not been necessary to change the structure. However, that date is getting closer every day in many cases.

Thousands of blades in the wind

When a plant is modernized, what do we do with the blades that can be 20 meters high? The ideal is to give them a second life and, although technology is advancing and resources are increasing, it is difficult to know if the world is ready to take on the recycling of windmill blades. Instead, many wind turbine blades that have had to be replaced so far have gone to the second-hand market.

As the number of windmill blades that have to be replaced increases, it will become more difficult for the second-hand market to position itself as a sufficient solution.

Recycling is the best option.

In the European Union, several projects and grants have been approved in this direction: Life-BRIO and Horizon are two of them. The aim is to find the technology that can eliminate the environmental footprint of a blade from wind energy.

One of the challenges is investment. Research investments are smaller and easier to finance. On the other hand, the start-up of industrial equipment resulting from the development of this research is a much higher investment and investors are much more difficult to find. Add to all this the economic situation and the global pandemic.

Economic profit is now scarce and this has limited the emergence of companies. The recycling processes that have a cost, in the case of fiberglass makes the business benefit is considerably lower than when carbon fiber blades are recycled and as the benefit is scarce, the emergence of companies is limited at this time.

The lack of regulations makes this even more difficult. For the recycling of windmill blades there is currently no regulation as there is for other waste such as tires, with an integrated management system.

Wind turbine blades recycling
Compared to plastic, the waste that comes from wind energy is less, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a problem

So far, the windmill blades that have been replaced have been partly absorbed by the second-hand market. The main objective is to sell windmills that are still operating in countries that have less developed wind farms and a less evolved wind energy industry. The other use is to have spare parts of the same models in other wind farms. Selling wind turbines to other countries that are starting to bet on wind energy is a good way to try to give a second life to the most difficult to recycle parts of wind turbines, such as the blades. But it is not the ultimate solution.

First, as the need to replace wind turbines increases, it will be more difficult for the second-hand market to absorb all the demand. Secondly, this is a way of dragging out the problem, which will eventually arrive anyway. Installations have been sold to countries in North Africa, Central Europe and also to some European Union countries. But the time will come when these wind turbines will reach the end of their useful life.

If it has been sold to a European country, it is possible that the technology to recycle the windmill blades and possible future legislation will prevent them from ending up in a landfill. But that is not the case in other countries. For example, if wind turbines are sold to North African or non-EU countries, what guarantees are there that the waste will be managed properly? There aren’t.

The wind turbine is environmentally friendly.

There is a possibility that in one of these countries, windmill blades will not be recycled. The AEE, together with its European counterpart WindEurope, asked the European Council to prohibit the blades from being thrown into the landfill by 2025.

Compared to plastic, the waste that comes from wind energy is less, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a problem. Experts agree that the crux of the matter is not only the environmental issue, but the legislation related to wind energy. As it currently stands, the recycling of these materials is not taken into consideration.

Israel approves construction of another 3,000 housing units in the occupied West Bank

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The construction of new housing in Jewish settlements located in occupied territories in the West Bank has provoked the rejection and condemnation of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and the international community.

A total of 3,130 houses in Jewish settlements will be built, in addition to another 780 approved in January of this year. The buildings, which have been given the green light by the High Planning Council of COGAT (the Israeli coordination office for activities in the Palestinian territories), will be located in 30 different settlements in West Bank territory and far from Israeli territory.

For PNA President Mahmoud Abbas, this is a move that “pushes things towards a state of instability and tension” and added that such unilateral decisions “destroy what is left of the two-state solution”.

For his part, the UN special envoy for the Middle East peace process, Tor Wennesland, assured that “all settlements are illegal under international law, and remain a substantial obstacle to peace and must cease immediately”.

Israel houses West Bank
Israel unilaterally approved the construction of more than 3,000 new homes in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. The announcement comes despite the refusal of the United States, the UN and the European Union, which urged Naftali Bennett’s government to halt construction in this area.

The United States also spoke out on the matter. The government said it was “deeply concerned” about Israel’s plans and opposed the construction of more homes in the occupied territories in the West Bank.

“We strongly oppose settlement expansion, which is completely incompatible with efforts to reduce tensions and restore calm and damages the prospects for a two-state solution,” said Ned Price, spokesman for the U.S. State Department.

On the European side, European Council (EC) President Charles Michel conveyed to Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh the European Union’s (EU) commitment to the two-state solution to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

“We focus on European support for Palestinian state-building efforts and the regional context. I reaffirm the EU’s commitment to the two-state solution,” Michel said via his Twitter account.

But the U.S., U.N. and EU requests in recent days did not stop Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz from issuing the construction permits or Housing Minister Zeev Elkin from announcing the new tender.

Is a major blackout possible in Europe?

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The Austrian government foresees a general blackout for Europe for an indefinite period of time. Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner herself pointed out that the debate should focus on when this blackout would occur, not on whether or not there will be one: “The question is not whether there will be a major blackout, but when,” she said.

A member of the Armed Forces warned during a public event to raise awareness of the danger of a blackout that was held on September 30 in the city of Tulln. Austria is preparing for an indefinite power outage scenario and describes the possibility as a “real risk”.

Austria has launched an information campaign on the possible power blackout in Europe: “What to do when everything stops”. From the Austrian Ministry of Defense, a series of recommendations for what to do have been published on the web.

Europe night satellite
The Austrian government warned of the possibility of a blackout in Europe for several days

The Austrian military reported in 2017 the threat of a possible coronavirus-like pandemic. They insist that the same data analysis process that was used to forecast the pandemic is the one used to forecast this potential blackout.

Experts expect a blackout within the next five years. According to the country’s federal Army, check the power supply, check if neighbors or people close to the house have also been affected. Check the internet connection, telephone lines, if you can make calls.

The devices that would be affected by this blackout are the following: Telephones, Internet, ATMs, payment systems, traffic lights, tunnels, transport, elevators, elevators, elevators, and more elements that are connected.

They recommend from the web, that if this exists, it is advisable to establish a common or meeting point, especially with children. It would also be advisable to know first aid and ensure food and drink, other basic products for a few weeks.

US deploys special forces to Haiti to free kidnapped missionaries

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U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Tuesday that Washington has deployed a “significant number” of resources and specialists to free the 17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries kidnapped in Haiti.

Sullivan said at a press conference that President Joe Biden is directly involved in the effort to rescue the missionaries, including five children, who have been held hostage in Haiti since they were kidnapped eleven days ago, and stressed that “all possible options” are on the table to secure their freedom.

“Personally, every day I update the President on this matter, he has a great interest in making sure that each and every one of these people return home safe and sound,” he added.

He added that the resources deployed in the country “are working closely with the families and the Haitian government to try to coordinate and organize the recovery” of the hostages.

“We are studying all possible options to do so. And I’m going to be sensitive to what is obviously a delicate situation, so I’m not going to say more other than we have put in the assets and resources that we believe can help bring this to a successful conclusion,” he has asserted.

The group was kidnapped on October 16 by the ‘400 Mawozo’ gang in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, after returning from a visit to an orphanage in the east of the city. The gang has demanded a ransom of one million dollars per hostage (850,000 euros).

The missionaries, 16 Americans and one Canadian, are affiliated with the religious organization Christian Aid Ministries.

What are the Facebook Papers?

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Large leaks of private documents, derived from journalistic investigations, have recently been baptized with the name “papers” in the press. A recent example is the Pandora Papers, which a couple of weeks ago revealed a series of tax crimes of public figures from different parts of the world.

Now Facebook has its own episode, the Facebook Papers, which is the result of a series of documents provided by Frances Haugen, former Facebook product manager and now a whistleblower in this case, managed collaboratively by press organizations.

A journalistic team that brought together 17 U.S. news organizations, including small media and large agencies, worked collaboratively to access thousands of internal Facebook documents, originally obtained by Haugen.

In parallel, a similar team of European communicators had access to the same data sources. Since yesterday, in a coordinated manner, each communication platform began to disseminate content with its own analysis of the information gathered.

Since yesterday, all the media involved gradually began to publish the information, facilitating the knowledge of the most relevant aspects of each case and granting the corresponding right of reply to Facebook’s public relations staff.

Facebook
Facebook Papers is the result of a series of documents provided by Frances Haugen, former Facebook product manager and now a whistleblower in this case, managed collaboratively by press organizations

Frances Haugen is already a public figure closely linked to these accusations. Before the publication of the Facebook Papers, the former executive of the company had already declared before the Securities and Exchange Commission that the social network was prioritizing its commercial/economic indicators over the safety of its users, hiding its own investigation from investors and the public, in order to maintain the image they were trying to project, regardless of the consequences.

The issues surrounding this case are varied. Interference in political affairs, with cases of incitement to violence; efforts to grow its active user base; an unknown lawsuit with Apple that almost took Facebook out of the App Store, for being used in the Middle East for the maid trade and even ignored warnings about how its platforms could harm children, are part of the issues addressed by this journalistic investigation, while the same background is collected and investigated by the U.S. Congress.

New background information is expected to continue to emerge. Haugen’s collection of documents is more extensive than what is known today, but her legal team is taking care to censor the names of the Facebook users and employees involved before providing them to Congress or the press.

Frances Haugen was only with the company for two years, but that was long enough to be filled with enough disappointment to motivate her to take action, as she revealed.

The team of reporters and media behind the Facebook Papers will continue to publish information about these documents as more data becomes available in the coming days and weeks. Therefore, news about Facebook will continue to fill not only the technology columns, but also those related to judicial and economic issues.

Camp fire sets off World War II bomb, kills two people

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Two people were killed and two others seriously injured when a World War II bomb accidentally exploded in Honiara, capital of the Solomon Islands, where thousands of active and unexploded explosives from that war period are still buried.

The fatalities, a father and son, were with their family around a campfire when the device, apparently buried underground and triggered by fire, exploded, local broadcaster SIBC reported last night.

In addition to the two injured people, the wife and another of the children, the explosion caused total deafness to two other males, according to the source.

WWII shell
Two people were killed and two others seriously injured when a World War II bomb accidentally exploded in Honiara, capital of the Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands was the scene of important military campaigns in the Pacific during World War II, which began on May 3, 1942 with the landing of the Japanese on Tulagui Island.

That year, the U.S. Marines launched the Guadalcanal campaign against the Japanese Army, which lasted until February 1943, to prevent the Asian country from threatening the supply routes between the United States, Australia and New Zealand with its bases in the Solomon Islands.

Since then, a deadly legacy remains with thousands of active and unexploded bombs and explosives in the Solomon Islands, sometimes exploding and killing locals.

In 2020, an Australian and a British man working to trace abandoned World War II explosive devices died in the Solomon Islands capital as a result of an accidental bomb explosion. The deflagration occurred at the home of the two men, employees of the Norwegian agency Norwegian People’s Aid.

Last May, a group of Solomon Islanders found 101 unexploded wartime bombs while digging a latrine in Honiara, the capital of the Pacific nation. Authorities managed to unearth the 105 mm shells – used by U.S. troops’ light field artillery in the Pacific during World War II – after two days of operations.

Sneaking condoms off during sex will be a crime in California

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Sneaking a condom off, without the partner’s knowledge, during the course of sexual intercourse will from now on be considered another form of sexual assault, also criminalized in the civil code of California, the first U.S. state to take this step in defense of women’s rights. Although this law applies to both female and male victims, figures from different U.S. university studies on this sexual assault reveal that those who suffer from this type of practice are girls and women.
Unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and psychological consequences are some of the consequences for victims of “stealthing”, as this maneuver is known. The road to punish this practice was not easy for California legislator Cristina Garcia, who had to battle for four years for this new law, now in force, to be approved in the Legislature of the golden state.

From now on, victims will be able to denounce what happened and request compensation for the damages caused, whether physical or psychological. In the particular case of this woman, who has experienced this type of episode on two occasions with different men, she asserts that on the second occasion it happened to her she contracted genital herpes, a disease that cannot be cured and that has caused her pain and discomfort for several years.

What prompted legislator Garcia to push for this regulation were hundreds of misogynistic comments in online communities of men who encourage and advise taking off condoms without permission during sex with women to demonstrate “male dominance.”

In those online forums, users provide advice with “explicit descriptions,” according to Garcia, on how to successfully trick their partners into taking off the condom without consent.

Condoms
Sneaking a condom off, without the partner’s knowledge, during the course of sexual intercourse will from now on be considered another form of sexual assault, also criminalized in the civil code of California

Now that California has taken the initiative to penalize this maneuver, the president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), Christian Nunes, hopes that other states or the federal Congress will begin to legislate in this direction.

So far, some legislators in the states of New York and Wisconsin have tried – unsuccessfully – to pass laws similar to the one recently authorized in California. Although Nunes believes the California law “is a great start at the state level,” she is convinced that Washington should be “consistent” with current events and declare that condom removal is another form of sexual abuse of women.

“It’s sexual abuse because you’re acting against the other person’s will,” says Nunes, who heads the largest feminist organization in the U.S. with more than 500,000 members, without hesitation.

Free but really good PC games

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When it comes to deciding which title to play on your PC, you are going to have a hard time with the wide variety of video games you will find. There is something for everyone, whether MMORPG, card games, multiplayer shooters, free to play or even tank simulators (we know you’ve already figured out one from the list).

That’s why we show you what are the best free games to play on PC in 2021. And don’t worry because you won’t have to pay anything to enjoy these options, some exclusive to computers and others that are also on consoles.

Dota 2

The perfect alternative to League of Legends, since it is practically a game with the same characteristics. Developed by IceFrog and Valve, Dota 2 is the sequel to the successful first game launched in 2003 and today has millions of players on Steam.

The theme and gameplay is very similar to that of League of Legends, although with a greater tactical component and learning curve.

There are a multitude of formations, tactics, schemes and skills that make Dota 2 a demanding but very satisfying game to ”learn”, and it has the advantage that you can face any champion without paying money or accumulating energy.

There is an optional monthly subscription that gives you access to a game assistant and a Battle Cup amateur tournament, but it is not necessary to enjoy the title.

Dota 2

Genshin Impact

One of the great phenomena of the past 2020 and one of the best free PC games you can play in 2021. Genshin Impact is a free JRPG that is available on PS4, iOS, Android and of course PC.

MiHoYo’s title allows us to freely explore an exciting world, with an aesthetic that reminds us of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, while we face enemies in a real-time combat system, level up and unlock skills.

Although some microtransactions are included, they are very scarce and are not necessary to enjoy Genshin Impact. However, you will have to “grind” many hours to make your character a legend within the game universe.

You can also play an interesting story mode whose plot will hook you for hours and hours of gameplay. It will come to Nintendo Switch in 2021.

Genshin Impact

Valorant

If you are not convinced by the League of Legends proposal, don’t worry, because Riot Games also offers you an intense online multiplayer shooter, based on Counter Strike, under the name of Valorant.

Influenced by the success of Destiny, this shooter recycles the formula of Bungie’s game to offer us frenetic battles with a strong tactical component and a sense of companionship.

Valorant is one of the great sensations in Esports events, and we assure you that learning to play it is one of the best sensations you can experience on your PC.

You can now play it for free, ideal for those nostalgic for Counter Strike or Team Fortress.

Valorant

World of Tanks

El simulador por excelencia de tanques es una gran opción si quieres jugar en tu PC de forma gratuita, aunque también hay otras alternativas similares como World of Warplanes y World of Warships.

En World of Tanks controlamos a un tanque de guerra, recorriendo escenarios míticos de la Segunda Guerra Mundial y otros conflictos, mientras planeamos nuestra estrategia para derrotar a otros usuarios.

El juego para PC es totalmente gratuito y no es necesario pagar para disfrutar de él, aunque el modelo premium de pago nos da acceso a mejores tanques y algunos modelos personalizados.

Sin embargo, en World of Tanks lo más importante es tu experiencia y tu valía al mando de estos gigantes de la ingeniería bélica, así que la mejor opción es practicar, practicar y practicar.

World of tanks

Paladins

If you do not want to scratch your pocket to buy the popular Blizzard’s Overwatch, Paladins is the best alternative and also totally free for PC.

This online multiplayer shooter inherits the ”hero” formula of the aforementioned title, with a multitude of special abilities for each character, in addition to the different weapons and varied scenarios.

Paladins offers 5 vs. 5 matches, with more than 40 characters to choose from, but keep in mind that each one has its own exclusive abilities, so use them wisely.

It is not necessary to pay to enjoy the game, although the Season Pass adds skins, weapons and allows you to play with the 40 champions from the beginning, without having to unlock them.

Paladins

Star Wars The Old Republic

BioWare is an expert in creating RPG worlds for the Star Wars saga, something they proved with both Knights of the Old Republic.

With The Old Republic we find a proposal more focused on online play, although you can play alone for free and discover the fascinating story that pits the Old Galactic Republic against the Empire of the Sith.

Set many years before Episode I: The Phantom Menace, in The Old Republic we will create our character, choosing our favorite race, and can discover a multitude of planets and systems, some seen in the movie saga, interacting with NPCs, defeating enemies and more.

The only bad thing is that the title is in full English, but it is one of the best options to play for free on PC, especially if you are a Star Wars fan.

Star Wars The Old Republic

Hearthstone

And if cards are your thing, then there is a clear and indisputable choice: Hearthstone. Blizzard’s game with characters from World of Warcraft is still very popular to this day, regardless of whether we play it on PC or mobile. And of course it’s still free to play.

Hearthstone is turn-based in which each player must play the best cards from decks consisting of a total of 30.

Although it is an apparently simple game whose mechanics we can learn in just a few minutes, it stands out for its enormous complexity and great variety of available strategies.

Hearthstone has reached an enormous popularity, and it is one of those games that is common to come across in esports tournaments. Will you give it a chance?

Hearthstone

1 million dollars offered for clues to missing 4-year-old girl in Australia

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Little Cleo, a blonde with hazel eyes, is just over one meter tall. She disappeared five days ago while sleeping at a campsite in Macleod, 900 kilometers from Perth, with her mother and stepfather. At 1.30 a.m. she got up to ask for water. It was the last time Ellie saw her daughter. It was when she woke up, some five hours later, to feed Cleo’s sister that they realized she was not there”. The little girl and her sleeping bag were gone.

“Cleo was on a mattress and the baby was in a crib next to her. There was a separation and then there was us on an inflatable mattress,” explains the mother while holding a recent photo of the little girl in her hands. The tent where Cleo slept was open. This detail worries the police and has set off alarm bells. She is not tall enough to open it.

Missing child Australia
Australian authorities have offered a reward of A$1 million for information leading to the whereabouts of Cleo Smith, a four-year-old girl whose disappearance on Saturday from a campsite in the west of the country is reminiscent of the famous Madeleine McCann case in 2007

More than 100 officers and soldiers are searching for Cleo.

When they realized that the girl was missing, they went out to look for her in the area. More than 100 agents, soldiers and volunteers are searching for Cleo by land, sea and air. “We have the best investigators on the case. We are leaving no stone unturned,” says Inspector Jon Munday.

They are even scouring the countryside and the coast with drones, a search against the clock for the past five days. Officers have already questioned about 20 suspects in the area and are tracking all the people who have been camped out since Saturday. But they have found no trace of the minor. “We are hopeful that we will find Cleo alive, but we are very fearful for her safety,” said Detective Rod Wilde. He believes the minor has been abducted.

Lilac-colored pajama

In the last few hours posters with Cleo’s picture have been hung on the roads in case anyone has seen her and can give clues to the police. Photos have been posted on social networks and details of how she was dressed on the day of her disappearance. “She was sleeping in a red and black sleeping bag and was wearing lilac pajamas with blue and yellow patterns,” her mother says.

Authorities are also not contemplating the possibility that the little girl went missing. “I would say it’s a long shot that she got up, wandered off and took the sleeping bag with her. You would see where she dragged the bag,” explains one of the officers involved in the search.

Concern is growing as the days go by without a trace of Cleo and the whole country is in shock. The government has even offered one million dollars to anyone who provides information to find Cleo. It is the largest reward Australia has ever offered. “All the thoughts of the citizens of the state are with Cleo’s family. Everyone is praying for a positive outcome,” wishes Mark McGowan, Premier Western Australia. “Every hour that passes with a four-year-old girl in this situation is very very worrying,” Munday sentences.

Her mother, in tears, pleads for her daughter to come home. “I miss you, I love you, come home” . Ellie Smith and her partner Jake Gliddon have launched an appeal to find the girl. “Everyone is asking us what we need and what we need is our little girl home.” Her mother describes Cleo as a sweet,delicate person with a big heart. She wants to wear a princess dress every day”.