Feline frontier: in space no one can hear you miaow

Image of the week: Cat universe

Soviet dog Laika, the first animal to orbit Earth, died of overheating shortly after being launched into space in 1957. Taters the cat, owned by a Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory employee, has fared somewhat better, not least because he has staked his claim in space history without leaving Earth.

Taters has instead become the star of what is surely a landmark moment in human cultural history: the first cat video in space. For the first time, and hopefully not the last, Nasa has streamed an ultra high-definition video from 18.6 million miles away, or roughly 80 times the distance from Earth to the moon.

The 15-second video, which shows Taters chasing a laser pointer dot, was uploaded to Nasa’s Psyche asteroid probe, which was launched in October, and then streamed back to Earth earlier this month. The experiment is designed to help test the possibility of sending streaming video through deep space for the days when human space travel is such a normal, regular thing. Off-planet access to Netflix is the next logical step.

Psyche, however, isn’t solely an expensive way of beaming pets over long distances. It is also on a mission to a rare, metal-rich asteroid that might hold clues about how the cores of rocky planets like Earth first formed.

In numbers: Seasonal woes


More than a quarter of Irish people have left an event early due to heartburn and/or indigestion, according to a survey commissioned by Gaviscon. This is not ideal, obviously, but worth remembering the next time you need a plausible excuse to leg it.


Two-thirds anticipate suffering from heartburn and/or indigestion over the Christmas season. A glass of milk can aggravate symptoms, says Gaviscon’s medical affairs lead Dr Kay Edokpayi – so maybe hold back from leaving one out for Santa Claus.


Workers in Ireland who expect to respond to work emails over the Christmas break, according to research by Irish tech company Workhuman. So, indigestion of a different kind.

Getting to know: Joe Kiani

Masimo chief executive Joe Kiani isn’t, one imagines, on Apple boss Tim Cook’s Christmas card list. That’s because the medical device maker has put Apple’s smartwatch on the brink of a ban in the US, after the International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that the Apple Watch violates two Masimo patents relating to blood oxygen sensing. The patent dispute means an import ban on the Ultra 2 and Series 9 models, only affecting Apple’s own retail channels, is due to go into effect on December 25th.

“They haven’t called,” Kiani told Bloomberg TV on Tuesday when asked if he would be open to settling with the company. “It takes two to tango.”

Instead, Apple announced plans to pull the devices from its e-commerce site on Thursday and do the same at its physical retail sales on Christmas Eve. This, in Kiani’s view, is a “stunt” intended to pressure the Biden administration to cancel the ITC injunction. The saga hasn’t been completely terrible for Masimo, with Kiani “glad the world can now see we are the true inventors and creators of these technologies”.

The list: Exiting CEOs

Remember the Great Resignation? Chief executives were still at it in 2023, leaving or being forced out of their jobs at elevated rates, for one reason or several. So who gave up their corner offices this year?

1. Susan Wojcicki: One of tech’s leading female bosses, YouTube chief executive Wojcicki, stepped down after a nine-year stint to take an advisory role at parent Google.

2. Kyle Vogt: The CEO of General Motors-owned robotaxi business Cruise could have had a smoother 2023. He quit not long after a series of incidents and accidents triggered a recall of its fleet.

3. Bernard Looney: The Kerryman resigned as BP chief executive in September over what his board called “serious misconduct” – his costly failure to disclose past relationships with colleagues.

4. Paddy Cosgrave: The Web Summit co-founder resigned as chief executive of the tech event not long after apologising for social media posts that prompted the withdrawal of big-name tech companies from this year’s shindig.

5. Richard Arnold: The chief executive of Manchester United transferred out of the club in November after a two-year stint in the role as billionaire Jim Ratcliffe prepared to take a minority stake. But the good news for Arnold this week is that former manager José Mourinho thinks he’s “an amazing person”.

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