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Sunday, 12 March 2023

Norse mythology’s god of gods goes way back + Cook’s legacy at Apple is riding on its new mixed-reality headset

Nordic god Odin was worshiped 150 years earlier than scientists once thought: Scientists in Denmark have discovered inscriptions on a gold pendant that trace belief in the Nordic deity back to the 5th century, not the second half of the 6th century as was previously thought, according to the Associated Press. The discovery, which is part of an archaeological treasure the scientists unearthed in 2020, is dubbed the Vindelev Hoard after the village where it was discovered, includes nearly one kilogram of gold, roman coins, and jewelry. Inscriptions on gold pendants reading “He is Odin’s man” in the native runic alphabet reference a mysterious leader or king. Not only are they “one of the best executed runic inscriptions,” according to expert Lisbeth Imer, they are also rare to come by. These inscriptions are therefore particularly valuable because they shed light on the Nordic people’s religious beliefs, how they honored their gods, and the historical timelines through which they did so.

Who is Odin, exactly? In Norse mythology, Odin is the god of gods — venerated but not without controversy. Full of contradictions, he is the god of poetry, but also the god of war who bears no particular interest in principles of fairness and justice. An interesting feature when considering the importance of conquest in Nordic history: A topic that gained a lot of interest lately thanks to a plethora of shows about Vikings.

New innovation at Apple puts Cook’s legacy at the forefront of the company: Tim Cook’s legacy at Apple may depend on the success or failure of the tech giant’s first wholly new computing platform developed under his leadership, reports the Financial Times. Apple has seen spectacular growth under Cook, with its market capitalization ballooning to around USD 2.4 tn today from around USD 350 bn in 2011, but the company has been criticized for “iterating on new ground” rather than breaking new ground with its products.

Enter Cook’s legacy product — a mixed-reality headset: Shaped like giant ski goggles, the headset allows users to watch 3D immersive video, perform interactive workouts or chat with realistic avatars on a revamped FaceTime. Coming in at USD 3k apiece, only around 1 mn units are expected to sell in the device’s first year. Apple’s industrial design team have cautioned Cook to practice patience with the launch of the headset, wanting to delay until a more lightweight version is technically feasible. Cook, however, is pressing ahead with the debut, expected for June — an indicator of changing power dynamics at Apple, with the once all-powerful design team coming up short.

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