FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
August 26, 2014

Scientists at China's Harbin Institute of Technology are "a step closer to creating a supersonic submarine that could travel from Shanghai to San Francisco in less than two hours," reports The South China Morning Post. The scientists have reportedly succeeded in replicating an air bubble that would allow vehicles and projectiles — such as a torpedo — to travel more quickly through water, which produces much more drag than air.

In theory, a supercavitating vessel could reach the speed of sound underwater, or about 5,800km/h, which would reduce the journey time for a transatlantic underwater cruise to less than an hour, and for a transpacific journey to about 100 minutes, according to a report by California Institute of Technology in 2001. [SCMP]

Of course, there are some significant obstacles to the dream of traveling frictionlessly across the Pacific. For one, such a vessel would need an immensely powerful rocket to reach supersonic speeds, which in turn would create problems with steering. However, this new technology could prove useful in other ways. "[T]here's plenty of reason to believe a submarine could be built that would significantly exceed the speed of today's fastest models, which lumber along at a speed of 40 knots (about 46 mph)," writes Terence McCoy at The Washington Post. Take a look at the design below. --Ryu Spaeth

(South China Morning Post)
10:01 a.m. ET

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine topped the Orlando Magic's Aaron Gordon in Saturday's Verizon Slam Dunk Contest. It's the second year in a row LaVine has won the All-Star weekend event, a feat only three other players in history — including Michael Jordan — have managed.

"There was some stuff that's never been done before. I don't want to get into the greats — Mike, they're in a different breath," LaVine said. "If you really look at it as a whole, we were doing dunks that professional dunkers take four or five tries to do, and we were doing it on the first try. It was ridiculous, man."

In the second tiebreaker, LaVine sealed his victory with a between-the-legs dunk from the free-throw line. Watch below. Julie Kliegman

9:25 a.m. ET

After years of delay, Twitter feuds, and technical difficulties, Kanye West has finally bestowed upon us his seventh album, The Life of Pablo. You can stream it through Tidal, buy it from his website, or just watch a couple of his Saturday Night Live performances below. Here's "Highlights":

And this is "Ultralight Beam." Enjoy. Julie Kliegman

8:07 a.m. ET
Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images

In his first full day in Mexico, Pope Francis spoke directly to the issues facing the nation Saturday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"I beg that you not underestimate the moral and antisocial challenge which the drug trade represents for Mexican society as a whole, as well as for the church," he told church leaders at a Mexico City cathedral.

The pope also delivered a speech to politicians alongside President Enrique Peña Nieto. Francis stressed the need to care about the common good, not just those who are privileged.

"Each time we seek the path of privileges or benefits for a few, to the detriment of the good of all, the life of society becomes a fertile soil for corruption, drug trade, exclusion of different cultures, violence, and also human trafficking, kidnapping, and death, bringing suffering and slowing down development," Francis said. Julie Kliegman

7:39 a.m. ET
Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty Images

In 2015, 3,545 civilians were killed due to war in Afghanistan, while 7,457 were injured, the United Nations said in a report released Sunday, The Associated Press reports.

That's a 4-percent decrease in deaths, but a 9-percent increase in injuries. The majority of the violence can be attributed to civilians caught in the ongoing crossfire between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Julie Kliegman

February 13, 2016
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Donald Trump is backed into a corner in South Carolina, where he has been routinely booed by the debate audience for everything from insulting Jeb Bush to insinuating 9/11 was George W. Bush's fault. Perhaps as a result, when Ted Cruz turned his criticism on Trump, Trump came back swinging with a particular vengeance.

"You are the single biggest liar, you're probably worse than Jeb Bush," Trump said — a mighty insult in his book. Trump added that Cruz is a "nasty guy."

"This guy lied about Ben Carson…and he just continues," Trump went on.

However, Trump was met with what is becoming a familiar sound this Saturday: Boos. Watch below. Jeva Lange

February 13, 2016
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are the only Cuban-Americans on the South Carolina Republican debate stage, and things got especially heated and personal when Cruz criticized a time Rubio went on Univision to speak in Spanish about his immigration policy.

When Rubio was given the chance to respond, he snapped, "I don't know how [Cruz] knows what I said on Univision because he doesn't speak Spanish."

Cruz countered by shouting in Spanish at Rubio. "We can do this in Spanish, if you want," he roughly said.

Some Spanish speakers took issue with Cruz's reply, however:

Nevertheless, Rubio didn't take Cruz up on the challenge, continuing on in English — but it was a moment for the books. Watch below. Jeva Lange

February 13, 2016

Jeb Bush and Donald Trump locked horns for the second time in the South Carolina Republican debate when Trump took a swing at one of his favorite subjects of ridicule — the Bush family.

"I am sick and tired of him going after my family," Bush began in response, going on to say that, "While Donald Trump was building a reality TV show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe."

Trump interrupted, pointing out that 9/11 happened while George W. Bush was in office — and was greeted with a round of angry boos.

"He had the gall to go after my mother," Bush went on. "My mom is the strongest person I know."

But Trump, never one to cede the last word, quipped, "She should be running." Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads