FDA staff outline shortcomings of Lykos data for MDMA therapy

Food and Drug Administration scientists have reservations about a potential new treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder that’s currently up for approval.

Developed by an unusual company called Lykos Therapeutics, the ecstasy-based treatment has been tested across a handful of clinical trials, including two late-stage, placebo-controlled studies that are serving as the main evidence to support approval. In those experiments, all participants received a certain kind of psychological intervention. But those also given midomafetamine — better known to some as MDMA — experienced significant reductions in the severity of their PTSD symptoms.

While Lykos believes these results are enough to bring its therapy to market, FDA staff don’t appear as convinced. The agency will next week convene an outside group of experts to appraise the available evidence and vote on two central questions: whether the therapy seems effective at treating PTSD, and whether its benefits outweigh the possible risks.

In documents released ahead of the meeting, FDA staff questioned the strength of Lykos’ data. They argued the results are “challenging to interpret” due to several factors, chief among them the “nature of the treatment itself.” MDMA alters mood and cognition, and can produce psychedelic effects like distorting time or sensations. It’s therefore “nearly impossible” to test drugs like Lykos’ without study participants and investigators figuring out which treatment is which.

FDA staff noted that approximately 90% of those assigned to Lykos’ drug and 75% of those assigned to placebo were able to correctly guess their treatment assignment. Such “functional unblinding” can sway trial results. Participants who think they’re taking the drug may report better-than-expected outcomes, while those who believe they’ve been given a placebo might do the opposite.

Given the potential for unblinding, the FDA said data from other sources may help to affirm that the results seen in Lykos’ studies were indeed driven by the MDMA. The company did conduct follow-up assessments at least six months after the initial treatment period, so as to measure how long-lasting the therapy’s effects are. Again, it found the severity of symptoms had declined significantly more in patients given MDMA versus a placebo.

Still, those results weren’t flawless. The FDA highlighted how roughly 1 in 4 participants dropped out between the main study period and the follow-up visits. Some also received therapeutic interventions during that intermission. Altogether, the issues “limit the interpretability of these results,” according to agency staff.

Meanwhile, assessing the safety of Lykos’ therapy “presents numerous challenges.”

The so-called safety database that Lykos assembled includes 426 participants exposed to MDMA in the company’s own trials, plus another 50 participants from studies conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. FDA staff acknowledged that a database of this size “may be adequate” for a serious and life-threatening condition like PTSD.

However, they knocked Lykos for not collecting sufficient data on the potential risks of its drug to cardiovascular and liver health.

Lykos was also advised to document any adverse events associated with the abuse of MDMA. But, according to the FDA, the company didn’t do this for effects considered positive, favorable or neutral, like euphoria or elevated mood.

“The lack of information on abuse-related terms limits the assessment of abuse potential in the context of this program,” FDA staff wrote, adding that, if Lykos’ therapy were to be approved, the agency would likely require the company to collect additional post-marketing safety data, including liver function tests.

Despite these sticking points, FDA staff recognized multiple times how Lykos generated positive results across a series of studies, in a condition that’s both prominent and difficult to treat. Estimates cited by the agency hold that, in any given year, about 5% of people in the U.S. have PTSD. So-called SSRI drugs can be effective for these patients, though their full effects usually don’t kick in until several months of dosing. Even then, research indicates that response rates rarely exceed 60%.

7 Things to Know Before Buying an Investment Property

The statistics say it all-around 92% of Australians who invest in property never make it past their first or second investment.

This is in spite of the fact that one property will never make you rich…it will never even make for a comfortable retirement when you consider that this stage of your life could represent around twenty to thirty years.

So why do so many investors never make it beyond that initial property?

Quite simply, many of them make the mistake of buying with their heart rather than their head.

They abandon the research required to purchase a property that has the capacity to generate strong long-term capital growth, in favour of a very short-term view.

However, to create a wealth-building property portfolio you must take a long-term perspective, plan to succeed and keep the big picture in mind.

Buying property without first understanding certain key elements of investing is like starting a journey to a new destination without a roadmap.

Property investment should always be approached with a sound strategy in place even before you start looking for the best buy.

Let’s consider the key elements of property investing that you need to know inside and out and the type of investment strategy you should implement in order to ensure success.

1. Why are you investing?

Many people like the idea of investing in property to make money, but this really isn’t a good enough reason to go out there and do it.

You need to consider your long-term goals; do you want to secure your retirement income?

Leave a legacy for your children?

Have the funds to enjoy a certain lifestyle?

Once you determine what your long-term goals are, it is then time to think about how property investment can help you to reach them.

You need to create a timeline for your goals and review your progress on a regular basis to make sure you are on the right track.

2. Buying right

At Metropole, we always aim to secure property as an “investment grade” property for our clients – one that will outperform the averages with regards to capital growth.

And we recognise that 80% of the heavy lifting of a property’s performance comes down to its location.

And then we make sure we buy the right property for that location.

Yet many investors make their main focus on price.

I’ve found many novices and even some experienced investors feel they’ve nabbed a bargain when they negotiate a vendor down by $20,000 off the advertised sale price.

But do they really know the true value of the property?

Only extensive research and sound knowledge of the area, as well as the type of property you’re buying, ensures you will buy right.

Sure, a $20,000 discount might seem like a great outcome, but what if the true value of the property is actually $40,000 less than the asking price?

3. The importance of capital growth

The basis of a good investment strategy is to build a portfolio of properties that will generate good long-term capital growth above and beyond all else.

This is because as your property grows in value, you can then leverage into more property by using that growing equity.

In other words, you can build your portfolio much quicker and add more and more properties over the years.

Since your finance serviceability will only allow you to buy a certain number of properties, meaning you may only ever own three or four properties, it’s important to own the best properties you can – they all have to be working hard for you.

Nelly Korda’s disastrous U.S. Women’s Open round was shockingly relatable

LANCASTER, Pa. — Standing on the fringe of Lancaster Country Club’s 9th green, moments after stroking her final putt of the day, Nelly Korda opened her purple scorecard holder, looked down, and sighed so deeply that the expansion of her ribcage was visible from steps away.

Her shoulders lifted. Then they sank. A big, fat first-round 80 at the U.S. Women’s Open stared back up at her, the sight of her septuple bogey 10 early in the round likely sending shivers up her spine once again.

The world No.1 did not look like herself Thursday. She’s won six tournaments in seven starts on the LPGA Tour this season, including the first major, the Chevron Championship. She managed to raise trophies with her B game. But Korda still crumbled in the face of this U.S. Open test. She didn’t have it. It’ll take an all-time second round on a tough setup to even think about making the cut.

“I’m human,” Korda said after signing for her 10-over-par score. “I’m going to have bad days. I played some really solid golf up to this point. Today was just a bad day. That’s all I can say.”

There wasn’t much more to it than that. Korda’s game escaped her on a golf course that demands precision and control. It started after her third tee shot of the day, on the downhill 161-yard par-3 12th, which one player described as a hole that gives you “nowhere to miss.” Korda learned that the hard way.

After waiting on the tee box for more than 25 minutes, Korda’s group had seen it all. Ingrid Lindblad, the No. 1 amateur in the world, dumped one into the creek short of the green. Gaby Lopez caught a gust of wind so strong that her ball ended up short of the same hazard. Once the green had finally cleared, Korda decided to use the information she’d collected during the excruciatingly long delay. She clubbed up, even making sure to tee her ball a club length behind the markers for good measure, and blasted a 6-iron into the back bunker. The ball was safe. But not for long.

With a leaf inconveniently nestled beneath her ball in the sand, Korda’s shot never had a chance of coming to a halt on the slick back-to-front sloping putting surface. Her ball plunged into the water. She took a drop on the opposite side of the meandering creek. One penalty shot. She chipped, and her ball rolled back into the water — again. Two penalty shots. Another drop. Another chip in the creek. Three penalty shots. With her third chip, she finally went long of the cup.

Two putts. A 10 on the scorecard.

Korda was gasping for air the rest of the day. Pars felt like small victories. The sloppy mistakes continued to sting, and her pace of play was noticeably quicker.

“I just didn’t want to shoot 80, and I just kept making bogeys,” Korda said, suddenly remembering her recent history at this championship. “My last two rounds in the U.S. Women’s Open have not been good. I ended Sunday at Pebble I think shooting 81, and then today I shot 80.”

Korda’s front-nine total climbed so high that the standard bearer walking with her group struggled to find the right number cards to represent her score next to her name, momentarily leaving the spot blank, to the confusion of many spectators. She finished her first nine with a 10-over 45.

Albeit puzzled by Korda’s play — and sometimes silent as she let her driver plummet to the ground after off-line tee shots — those same spectators never left. They came out in droves Thursday morning to watch the world No. 1 walk the narrow fairways at Lancaster, a crowd befitting her new status in the game but one that hasn’t always been the case because of venue or other external factors. After getting wind of her septuple bogey, one local mother and daughter rushed to the course, hoping to get a glimpse of Korda before she potentially missed the weekend.

Korda’s robust gallery was by far the largest of the morning wave, and its members were just as content clapping in awe of her brilliance as they were offering her words of encouragement as she somehow salvaged a back-nine 35 with three birdies.

Nelly Korda’s first-round 80 takes her out of contention at the U.S. Women’s Open. (John Jones / USA Today Sports)

The world No. 1’s battle at Lancaster on Thursday was as relatable as it gets. This game is fickle. It’s maddening. Sometimes it makes no sense. Sometimes it can feel like a breeze. And no one has understood the latter better than Korda, who’s been living at the top of the leaderboard for the better part of three months. But she’s also aware that in this sport, that feeling doesn’t last forever — not even for the best player in the world.

Tuesday, Korda spoke of the phenomenon, almost foreshadowing the carnage that would ensue two days later. “I think that’s what makes this game so great. You can be on top of the world the first two days, and then you wake up and you’re like, what am I doing right now? Why am I hitting it sideways? And you have no idea what’s going on,” Korda said. “It’s funny, golf is such a hard game.”

After signing her scorecard, answering exactly three questions about her round in the interview room, and congregating with her team behind the clubhouse, Korda headed back to the range. When she got to her spot at the leftmost edge of the hitting area, she didn’t rush to grab a club or pause to scroll through missed messages on her phone. She sat on the turf, legs crossed over one another. Korda remained still for several moments, alone.

She just needed a second.

(Top photo: Patrick Smith / Getty Images)

The Best Smart Lights of 2024

Smart lights make it easy to illuminate your home with a dazzling display of colors. From bulbs and light strips to string lights and light bars, here are the best smart lights for every home.

Nanoleaf Essentials Matter A19 installed on a desk lamp.

Nanoleaf is known for producing robust and reliable smart lights, and the Essentials Matter A19 is arguably their best creation yet. The powerful light bulbs can create a wide range of colors beyond white, making it easy for you to fill your home with millions of different colors depending on the occasion.

The Nanoleaf Essentials Matter A19 smart bulbs are reliable and easy to control thanks to support for Apple Home, Google Home, and Samsung SmartThings. You’ll even benefit from Matter support, allowing you to sync them with any other products with Matter, regardless of the smart home platform. They’re a bit expensive for smart bulbs, but most shoppers will find them to be a great addition to their home.

Nanoleaf Bulbs

Nanoleaf Essentials Matter A19

Best Smart Light Bulb

$42 $50 Save $8

They’re not cheap, but the Nanoleaf Essentials Matter A19 light bulbs are reliable, support millions of colors, and work with most smart home platforms.


  • Supports Matter
  • Access over 16 million colors
  • Tons of customization options

Philips Hue Bluetooth Lightstrip installed on shelving.

Light strips are a great choice if you want to install vibrant lights on the underside of cabinets, the back of a computer monitor, or any other piece of furniture. Few options are as compelling as the Philips Hue Bluetooth Lightstrip, as it’s built to the high standards of Philips and is available in a gigantic 80-inch bundle (which should be more than enough for most applications).

Part of the appeal of this light strip is that it works via Bluetooth—an uncommon feature in a marketplace dominated by Wi-Fi. You can also trim the strips down to size depending on your needs or check out prebuilt scenes, the latter of which makes it easy to quickly enjoy the lights without tinkering with dozens of settings.

However, you’ll need to bundle in a Hue Bridge for more automation and out-of-home controls. That shouldn’t be a dealbreaker, but will inflate your budget if you want to access everything the Hue Bluetooth Lightstrip has to offer.

TV Lights

Philips Hue Bluetooth Lightstrip

Best Smart Light Strip

You’ll need a Hue Bridge for some features, but the Philips Hue Bluetooth Lightstrip is easy to operate and reliable, making it a great choice for all your lighting needs.


  • Reliable Philips construction
  • Easy installation
  • Powerful companion app

  • Hue Bridge required for some features

Nanoleaf Essentials Matter String Lights along a staircase.

Whether you want to decorate your home’s exterior or light up an entire room, the Nanoleaf Essentials Matter String Lights are up to the task. They are IP44-rated for weatherproofing and offer Matter support so you can easily sync them with the rest of your smart home.

You can use the mobile companion app to dive into prebuilt scenes, create custom lighting effects, or set up a schedule for your lights to toggle on and off. You’ll also have plenty of string to work with, as the lights are 20 meters long and feature 250 addressable lights. They’re expensive when not on sale, but that’s about the only fault you’ll find with these premium LEDs.

Nanoleaf Essentials Matter String Lights

Nanoleaf Essentials Matter String Lights

Best Smart String Lights

$60 $120 Save $60

The Nanoleaf Essentials Matter String Lights can be used indoors or outdoors and work with all Matter products. Thanks to the intuitive Nanoleaf mobile app, you can also easily create your own scenes.


  • Includes 250 addressable LEDs
  • Easy to create your own scenes
  • IP44-rated for outdoor use

Govee RGBIC Floor Lamp in a living room.

The majority of light bars are designed to be placed horizontally in your home, but the Govee RGBIC Floor Lamp is different. This product features vertical construction and is best placed near walls or the corner of a room. While it may not be as versatile as horizontal light bars, this vertical light bar is great at lighting up large spaces with its comforting glow.

Like any good smart light, this Floor Lamp gets you access to thousands of colors, is highly customizable, and works with Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Home, and Matter. Most shoppers will also love its design, which features a sleek base attached to a slim rod, both of which can be programmed to glow in different colors. If it fits with your space, this is a great option for any smart home.

Govee Lamp Light

Govee RGBIC Floor Lamp

Best Smart Light Bar

$120 $150 Save $30

As long as you don’t mind its vertical orientation, the Govee RGBIC Floor Lamp is an ideal companion for a stylish living room.


  • Unique design
  • Easy to install and customize
  • Matter support

  • Not a traditional light bar

Govee TV Backlight 3 Lite installed behind a TV.

The Govee TV Backlight 3 Lite is an ideal companion for your home theater. It is easy to install and uses a camera to track what’s happening on screen and customize its backlights on the fly. The lights are quite expensive (and grow more expensive if you have a TV over 65 inches), but that’s a minor knock on an otherwise well-rounded device.

Beyond adding an alluring glow to the back of your TV, the Govee TV Blacklight 3 Lite can sync with up to seven other devices. So, if you want to make your home theater pop, consider adding a few other Govee lights. And because the lights use a camera to mimic onscreen content, it’s compatible with movies, TV shows, video games, or anything else running on your display. The TV Backlight 3 Lite is particularly enticing to Google Home and Alexa users, as it works flawlessly with both assistants.

govee tv backlight

Govee TV Backlight 3 Lite

Best Smart TV Backlight

Using a camera that sits on top of your TV, the Govee TV Backlight 3 Lite offers an affordable and easy way to add ambient lighting to your TV viewing experience. It’s bright and responsive, and with DreamView mode, you can expand your system with other Govee lighting. 


  • Works with Google Home and Alexa
  • Innovative design for easy install
  • Supports all TV content

  • Larger TVs require more expensive model


Q: Do smart lights need Wi-Fi to work?

Most smart lights require Wi-Fi to communicate with your smartphone. You might be able to find models that work with other communication methods, but Wi-Fi is by far the most common way to interact with your smart lights.

Q: Do I need a smart home hub to have smart lights work?

No, many smart lights can be controlled without any other devices. The vast majority let you customize their performance with a mobile app without the need for a hub.

Q: Do I need a smart light switch to make a smart light work?

No, a smart light switch isn’t required to use smart lights. Smart lights can be paired with a smart light switch for additional functionality, but most users will find pairing them together is excessive.

The novel ‘Old King’ explores the meaning of ‘Unabomber’ Ted Kaczynski today

Book Review

Old King

By Maxim Loskutoff
Norton: 304 pages, $27.99
If you buy books linked on our site, The Times may earn a commission from Bookshop.org, whose fees support independent bookstores.

When Ted Kaczynski killed himself in a federal prison last June, it closed a confounding chapter in the history of American domestic terrorism. Unlike fascists, white supremacists and antigovernment conspiracists, Kacyzinski espoused righteous principles: protecting the environment and facing the destructive role of technology. “[T]hreats to the modern individual tend to be MAN-MADE,” he wrote in a 35,000-word manifesto that ran in the New York Times and Washington Post in 1995. “They are not the result of chance but are IMPOSED on him by other persons whose decisions he, as an individual, is unable to influence.”

He wasn’t wrong. But the papers only published his words on the recommendation of the FBI and U.S. attorney general to prevent him from doing more harm — beyond the three people he’d murdered and nearly two dozen he’d injured with mail bombs.

Maxim Loskutoff’s second novel, “Old King,” is an attempt to sort through Kaczynski’s contradictions, to acknowledge the manifesto’s prophetic elements while stressing it’s the product of a sociopath. That’s fine fodder for a novel — the stuff of Dostoyevsky, even — though Loskutoff isn’t trying to deliver a “Karamazov”-grade philosophical tale. Rather, “Old King” is a more modest blend of police procedural and great-outdoors yarn.

Set largely in the Montana wilderness where Kaczynski holed up, the novel explores the line where independence becomes so distant from empathy that it’s toxic. Loskutoff writes beautifully about nature — “Old King” refers to a massive tree towering over the Montana landscape. But nature on its own, he observes, can be menacing and brain-scrambling as well.

Before Kaczynski claims the novel’s stage, Loskutoff introduces a set of characters who evoke his crisis in miniature. In 1976, Duane is a young father who has just left his marriage and home in Utah to move to Lincoln, Mont., for work. He’s not especially skilled, and nature alienates him at first. (“Branches rustled, reaching toward him, offering up his failures.”) But he soon lands a logging job and gets to know the locals: Mason, a forest ranger; Hutch, owner of an ad hoc animal rescue; the Carter family, a clan of cranky separatists; and Jackie, Mason’s ex and a diner waitress. Settling in, Duane gifts Jackie with a microwave he liberated from his broken marriage, a small symbol of both warm domesticity and cold technology.

Indeed, it’s likely no other microwave in the history of American literature has been asked to carry so much metaphorical weight. Even without dwelling on the device, it’s clear that everybody in the area is trying to figure out to what degree they can balance the wilderness’ capacities for wonder and alienation. Mason, the ranger, is the most sophisticated thinker on the matter, questioning whether his job is preserving the environment or helping to accelerate a land rush: “By arresting poachers and running old trappers out of business, he’d clear the way for rich tourists to build second homes… Their contracting crews killed animals by the score with bulldozers, and the cement they poured left no way for the trees to grow back.”

Portrait of long-haired man looking away from camera

Maxim Loskutoff, author of “Old King.”

(Cinna Cuddie)

As the narrative moves into the ’80s, Mason is increasingly troubled by the irony of his work. Duane, meanwhile, acknowledges the healthy fear the environment puts in him: Seeing a grizzly, he falls into a “wild, plunging panic, as if he’d come here to be eaten, having finally crossed the line between civilization and his dreams.” Both responses qualify as a kind of wilderness intelligence. By contrast, Kaczynski, a brilliant mathematician before becoming the Unabomber, is rendered as a more crazed, lunkheaded type: “The bear was the first real killer he’d ever encountered. He wanted to be a killer.”

There’s an unwritten law that literary fiction set in the high plains be sturdy and simple — sentences firm as fence posts, commas hammered in as clean as barn nails. Kent Haruf’s novels are the exemplar of the form, but the sensibility runs through books by Thomas McGuane, Marilynne Robinson, Peter Heller, Ivan Doig and more. Loskutoff, who set both his novel “Ruthie Fear” and story collection “Come West and See” at least partly in Montana, has mastered his own take on the form. He deftly captures how the environment is both enchanting and fearsome, and though his set pieces have a familiar ring — bar fights! dangerous animals! — he focuses more on what’s troubling his characters than overselling some myth of rough-and-ready swagger.

Still, the plainspoken approach means some characters lack depth. Jackie, the waitress, rarely rises above the trope of the straight-talking done-wrong Western woman who can’t find a good man. The trouble is more acute in Kaczynski’s case. Luskatoff introduces a postal inspector, Nep, who’s trying to chase down the Unabomber and grasps the threat he poses to America’s sense of self, then and now. (“Race riots, serial killers, assassinations, superfund sites. The great ship of America going down with all the lights blazing.”) But Nep is basically a stock detective, and Kaczynski little more than an angry narcissist who derides everyone around him as fools. His contempt for humanity is clear. But then why was he concerned for it?

For Loskutoff’s purposes, Kaczynski serves less as a character than a warning. The Unabomber was more than a ’90s headline; his past is closer to our present than we think. When a Montana local tells Mason about a brutal act of violence that happened in the ’20s, Mason brushes it off: “That was fifty years ago.” The man scoffs: “You think that’s a long time?”

Mark Athitakis is a writer in Phoenix and author of “The New Midwest.”

The Daylight Tablet Returns Computing to Its Hippie Ideals

“Do you mind if I hug you?” asks Anjan Katta. This is not the usual way to wrap up a product demo, but given the product and its creator, I wasn’t really surprised. Katta, a shaggy-haired, bearded fellow, he’d shown up to the WIRED office in San Francisco dressed like he was embarking on a summertime mountaintop trek. He had immediately began rhapsodizing about the idealistic early days of personal computers and the amazing figures who produced that magic, knowledge he gathered in part through my writings. And he seemed like the hugging type.

The device Katta pulls out of his backpack—an electronic-ink-style tablet called the Daylight DC1—is very much a reflection of its creator, a spiritual object driven more by ideals than commerce. “It’s almost trying to bring back the hippie into personal computing,” he says, bemoaning the loss of that spirit. “It’s been replaced by shareholders—what’s happened to that bicycle-for-the-mind idealism?” Katta’s device wants to put us back in that saddle, pulling us out of the mire of unsatisfying empty interactions with our phones and junky apps. All he has to conquer is Apple, Amazon, Google, Meta, Microsoft, TikTok, and a public unlikely to take a monochrome gadget that costs more than $700 out for a spin. No wonder he needs a hug.

Alan Kay, the visionary who imagined the way we’d use portable digital devices, once said that Apple’s Macintosh was the first computer worth criticizing. I think Katta wants to make the first computer worth meditating with. He hopes to join the ranks of early tech heroes by stipulating what Daylight doesn’t do—multitasking, mind-numbing eye candy, or distracting floods of notifications.

Courtesy of Daylight Computer Co.

Instead, the sharp “Live Paper” display quietly refreshes, a page at a time. (Katta’s team worked up its own PDF rending scheme.) The accompanying Wacom pencil lets users scrawl comments and doodles on its surface as easily as they do on their latest Field Notes memo book. Web browsing in monochrome may not have pizzazz, but it seems to lower one’s blood pressure. Daylight strives to be the Criterion Collection of computer hardware, making everything else look like The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

To fully understand the Daylight device, look to Katta’s own origin story. He describes himself as “a very ADHD person who’s been a dilettante his entire life.” He was born in Ireland, where his parents had emigrated from India, and then the family moved to a small mining town in Canada. Katta couldn’t speak English well, so he learned about the world from books his father read to him. Even after the family moved to Vancouver and Katta became more socially deft—and discovered an entrepreneurial streak—he retained that wonder. He loved science, games, and books about early computer history. The only college he applied to was Stanford, because it symbolized to him the creativity of Silicon Valley people like Atari cofounder Nolan Bushnell. “It was the place where mischief makers were doing cool stuff,” he says. “Stanford was the place where I’d finally be accepted.”

But during the years Katta attended Stanford—2012 to 2016—he became disillusioned. “I expected irreverence and innovation, but it felt like McKinsey-Goldman Sachs banker energy, because you could get rich that way,” he says. While his peers did internships at Google and Facebook, Katta spent summers climbing Kilimanjaro and trekking to Everest base camp. He loved to hang out at the Computer History Museum in nearby Mountain View, soaking up the tales of the early PC pioneers and being appalled by how the narrative of tech had shifted from charming geeks to rapacious bros.

“What happened to everything I read in those books?” he says. “After graduation I was like, Fuck this, and went backpacking for two years.” He wound up back in his parents’ Vancouver basement, massively depressed. Katta stewed for months, reading about science—and fixating on how our devices had turned into what he saw as engines of misery. “They are dopamine slot machines and make us the worst versions of ourselves,” he says.

RBI Data Shows CBDC Wholesale Circulation Dropped, Retail Usage Sees Massive Jump: Report

The Reserve Bank of Indi’s (RBI) eRupee or central bank digital currency (CBDC) is currently in an advanced trial phase with multiple national banks assisting the RBI in rolling out the digital currency. The usage of eRupee in the retail sector reportedly increased over the past year, according to data from the RBI. On the other hand, the use of eRupee in the wholesale sector has seen a notable decline. As for now, the exact reason behind this observation remains unclear.

eRupee CBDC Circulations Details Revealed by RBI

An Economic Times report citing RBI data states that as of FY 2024, about Rs. 234 crore worth of eRupee has reportedly been utilised. Around the same month last year, this figure was at Rs. 6 crore. In the wholesale sector, CBDCs worth Rs. 8 lakh have been used as of March, which is notably lower than last year’s expenditure of Rs. 10.6 crore.

A CBDC is a digital representation of a fiat currency, supported on blockchain networks instead of traditional servers. The digital currency has several elements resembling cryptocurrencies like quick transactional speed, enhanced privacy, and maintaining permanent transactional records. Unlike cryptocurrencies, however, CBDCs are issued and regulated by central banks.

In a recent announcement, the RBI said it was planning to start circulating the digital rupee through payment system operators who are not part of the banking system. Until now, India’s CBDC distribution has entirely relied on banks. Moving forward, however, the RBI is likely to allow platforms like Google Pay and PhonePe to distribute the digital rupee in the retail ecosystem.

RBI Working on Offline Payments for eRupee CBDC

The RBI is also looking to add an offline payments feature to make it usable for those in areas of low Internet connectivity.

Currently, Indians are making use of the UPI payment method to process instant peer-to-peer transactions by simply scanning QR codes. The use of QR codes has eliminated the need for merchants and customers to share their numbers with each other, prioritising privacy.

Meanwhile, the central bank is working on making the eRupee CBDC compatible with the already existing QR codes in India. This would open the options for people to use the eRupee without having to go through additional steps to access the CBDC.

Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.
Google News and Discover not loading for many searchers

Google is having some technical difficulties this morning with its news engine. Google News, the news tab in Google Search, Google Discover, Google Trends and other Google services that use news publications, are currently not returning results for many searchers.

The issue I believe started a couple of hours ago but is now getting worse and happening for more and more Google searchers.

What it looks like. Here are some screenshots of Google News taking down parts of Google Search, the Google News homepage, Google Discover feeds and more.

Google News Homepage Not Loading
Google Discover Broken

The last screenshot is from @Rakesh0522.

Why we care. This may result in less traffic to news publishers, while Google works to address these issues. Google News, the news tab in Google Search, Google Discover and Google Trends all send a significant amount of traffic to publishers.

If you notice a decline in traffic this morning – this may be why.

Goa Statehood Day 2024, Celebrating the Birth of a State

Goa Statehood Day is celebrated annually on May 30 to commemorate the day when Goa attained statehood in 1987. This occasion marks the recognition of Goa as a separate state within the Indian union, distinct from the Union Territory it was previously part of.

Historical Background

Goa has a rich and diverse history, shaped by Portuguese colonization that lasted for over four centuries. The state was a part of the Union Territory of Goa, Daman, and Diu until May 30, 1987, when it was officially granted statehood by the Indian government.

The journey towards statehood was a long and arduous one, with the people of Goa campaigning tirelessly for their distinct identity and autonomy. The granting of statehood was a momentous occasion, celebrated with great fervor and pride by the people of Goa.

Significance of Statehood

The attainment of statehood for Goa was a significant milestone, as it provided the state with greater autonomy and control over its own affairs. As a state, Goa gained the power to formulate its own policies and programs, catering to the unique needs and aspirations of its people.

Statehood also paved the way for better representation and a stronger voice for Goa in the national political arena, ensuring that the interests and concerns of the state were given due consideration at the highest levels of governance.

Celebrations and Events

On Goa Statehood Day, various cultural programs, parades, and festivities are organized across the state to commemorate this important occasion. Government buildings, public spaces, and homes are adorned with flags and decorations, creating an atmosphere of celebration and pride.

Educational institutions often organize debates, essay competitions, and other activities to raise awareness about the significance of Goa’s statehood and its impact on the state’s development and progress.

Local communities come together to showcase their rich cultural heritage through folk dances, music performances, and culinary delights, reflecting the vibrant and diverse tapestry of Goan culture.

Fostering Unity and Progress

Goa Statehood Day serves as a reminder of the state’s rich history and the struggles endured by its people to achieve autonomy and self-governance. It is a day that celebrates the unity, resilience, and determination of the Goan people, who have worked tirelessly to shape the state’s identity and progress.

As Goa continues to thrive and prosper, this occasion serves as a catalyst for fostering a sense of unity, pride, and commitment towards the state’s continued growth and development, ensuring that the aspirations of its people are fulfilled.

Static Gk:

  • Goa CM: Shri Pramod Sawant
  • Goa Governor: Shri P.S. Sreedharan Pillai
  • Goa Capital: Panaji (Executive Branch)
  • Goa Admission to union: 19 December 1961
  • Goa Before was: Goa, Daman and Diu
  • Goa Bird: Flame-throated bulbul
You Can Help This Zelda Korok Plushie Reach Its Friend (You)

If you’re looking to pad out your video game plushie collection, you can grab an adorable stuffed Korok figure at Amazon for just $30. The description on Amazon notes “limited availability,” so you may want to grab it soon if interested.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – Korok Plushie

Little Buddy’s official Korok plush stands seven inches tall and features an oversized backpack just like the Koroks found in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. While there’s no shortage of official (and unofficial) Legend of Zelda merch out there, it’s always fun to discover a new Korok plush. There’s also a Korok plushie with a red backpack, but it’s temporarily out of stock.

More Nintendo Plushies

Little Buddy Korok isn’t the only official Korok plush available at Amazon. Club Mocchi-Mocchi also has a 15-inch stuffed figure of Makar, the friendly Korok sage from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, which is part of a line of other Zelda-themed plushes.

Club Mocchi-Mocchi Zelda Plushies
Club Mocchi-Mocchi Zelda Plushies

Alongside the Zelda figures, Club Mocchi-Mocchi has a bunch more official Nintendo plushies based on games like Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, Splatoon, and Kirby. They also make collectible plushies themed after non-Nintendo gaming franchises like Sonic the Hedgehog, Halo, and Cuphead, as well as popular anime and cartoon series. You can check out Club Mocchi-Mocchi’s entire catalog at Amazon.

Speaking of video game plushies, you can also grab plushie bundles that include digital codes for games like Ori and the Blind Forest, Shantae, and Super Meat Boy at Best Buy right now. Meanwhile, two new Dave the Diver plushies just went up for preorder this week alongside the game’s free Godzilla-themed DLC expansion.