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Half of us are in, at least.

from Reuters via Yahoo! News

Are Earthlings alone? Half of humans believe in alien life

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Nearly half of humans believe in alien life and want to make contact, a survey in 24 countries has found, in what researchers said helps to explain the lasting popularity of the “Star Wars” franchise 40 years after the first movie was screened.

On the eve of the release of “The Last Jedi”, researchers published findings that 47 percent of more than 26,000 respondents believe “in the existence of intelligent alien civilizations in the universe”.

An even greater 61 percent said “yes” when asked if they believe in “some form of life on other planets”. Roughly a quarter said they do not.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! ]

Posted on December 14, 2017 by Editor

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Damien Freed

from The New Yorker

The False Narrative of Damien Hirst’s Rise and Fall

By Felix Salmon

Photograph by Francesco Guidicini / The Sunday Times / News Syndication / Redux

The artist Damien Hirst is fundamentally a maker of luxury goods, and that is why he confounds the expectations of art-world cynics and romantics alike.

The rise and fall of Damien Hirst is an oft-told tale of hubris and nemesis. An art-world superstar in the nineteen-nineties and early two-thousands, Hirst made white-hot works—the most infamous of which involved animals immersed in formaldehyde—whose prices only ever went up. He got rich, his galleries got rich, his collectors got rich, everybody was happy. But, then, in 2008, he got a bit too cocky when he auctioned off two hundred million dollars’ worth of art, fresh from his studio, at Sotheby’s, bypassing dealers entirely. That auction marked the end of Hirst as an art-market darling: his auction volumes and prices dropped, and bitter collectors who had spent millions on his art were left with work worth much less than what they had paid for it.

These days, though, those collectors don’t seem to be so bitter after all. Hirst says that sales from his latest show, in Venice, reached a jaw-dropping three hundred and thirty million dollars as of early November. Even accounting for inflation, that’s substantially more than the two hundred million dollars he racked up at the Sotheby’s auction in 2008. Maybe that day didn’t mark the top of the Hirst market after all.

So why do many knowledgeable observers—from Sarah Thornton in The Economist, in 2012, to Robin Pogrebin in the Times, this past February—think that Hirst became a persona non grata in the art world, stripped of his relevance and power?

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on December 13, 2017 by Editor

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We Aren’t Going To See Them Coming At First

from The Daily Star

Asteroid that could’ve obliterated NYC skimmed past Earth – and NASA didn’t notice

A MASSIVE asteroid that could have destroyed New York City skimmed past Earth – and NASA had no clue.

By Rachel O’Donoghue

The large space rock – dubbed 2017 VL2 – passed the planet on November 9 at an astonishing distance of just 73,000 miles, which is considered tiny in space terms.

Space boffins think that if the rock measuring between 16 and 32 metres had hit, it could’ve wiped a major city such as New York off the map.

The rock belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids and was first seen at ATLAS-MLO observatory in Hawaii a day later.

It was travelling at a speed of 8.73km/s and would have caused catastrophic damage if it had made impact.

[ click to continue reading at The Daily Star ]

Posted on December 12, 2017 by Editor

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Chip Hack

from The Telegraph

Employee used crisp packet as ‘Faraday cage’ to hide his whereabouts during work

by Jonathan Pearlman

A man in Australia was sacked after he relied on a 180-year-old scientific discovery to help prevent his colleagues discovering his whereabouts while he played golf during work hours.

Tom Colella, a 60-year-old  electrician in Perth, lost his job after an anonymous letter to his firm claimed that he left work to play golf at least 140 times over the last two years.

Australia’s Fair Work Commission, a workplace tribunal, heard that Mr Colella blocked his whereabouts by storing his personal digital assistant, a phone-like device that has a GPS inside, in an empty foil packet of Twisties, a puffy cheese-based snack that is popular in Australia.

[ click to continue reading at The Telegraph ]

Posted on December 11, 2017 by Editor

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Faux-Toblerone

from EATER

Toblerone in Chocolate War With UK Copycat Who Stole Original Design

‘Twin Peaks’ bars bear a striking resemblance to the classic Swiss chocolate

by Greg Morabito

Toblerone photo via Getty; Twin Peak photo via Facebook/Poundland

A UK company is capitalizing on the near-disastrous redesign of the classic Toblerone bar by making an homage to the old version, much to the chagrin of the company that popularized the ridged Swiss chocolate treat.

Over the summer, British discount grocery chain Poundland created Twin Peaks, a Toblerone copycat with a gold wrapper, red lettering, and bar that mimicked the old, chunkier design of the candy. The biggest difference here is that the ridges have a V shape cut into the top of each peak. If Toblerone’s design mimicked the contours of the Swiss Alps, Poundland argued that its bars resembled two famous peaks near the Welsh border. And, in a wise business move, this new candy weighed as much as the old Toblerone before its slimmed-down redesign — and it was cheaper than its inspiration, too.

[ click to continue reading at EATER ]

Posted on December 10, 2017 by Editor

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Bitcoin Causing Global Warming

from grist

Bitcoin could cost us our clean-energy future

By Eric Holthaus

If you’re like me, you’ve probably been ignoring the bitcoin phenomenon for years — because it seemed too complex, far-fetched, or maybe even too libertarian. But if you have any interest in a future where the world moves beyond fossil fuels, you and I should both start paying attention now.

Last week, the value of a single bitcoin broke the $10,000 barrier for the first time. Over the weekend, the price nearly hit $12,000. At the beginning of this year, it was less than $1,000.

If you had bought $100 in bitcoin back in 2011, your investment would be worth nearly $4 million today. All over the internet there are stories of people who treated their friends to lunch a few years ago and, as a novelty, paid with bitcoin. Those same people are now realizing that if they’d just paid in cash and held onto their digital currency, they’d now have enough money to buy a house.

But the rise of bitcoin is also happening at a specific moment in history: Humanity is decades behind schedule on counteracting climate change, and every action in this era should be evaluated on its net impact on the climate. Increasingly, bitcoin is failing the test.

Digital financial transactions come with a real-world price: The tremendous growth of cryptocurrencies has created an exponential demand for computing power. As bitcoin grows, the math problems computers must solve to make more bitcoin (a process called “mining”) get more and more difficult — a wrinkle designed to control the currency’s supply.

Today, each bitcoin transaction requires the same amount of energy used to power nine homes in the U.S. for one day. And miners are constantly installing more and faster computers. Already, the aggregate computing power of the bitcoin network isnearly 100,000 times larger than the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers combined.

The total energy use of this web of hardware is huge — an estimated 31 terawatt-hours per year. More than 150 individual countries in the world consume less energy annually. And that power-hungry network is currently increasing its energy use every day by about 450 gigawatt-hours, roughly the same amount of electricity the entire country of Haiti uses in a year.

[ click to read full article at grist ]

Posted on December 9, 2017 by Editor

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Falcon Drones

from Bloomberg

The Military Is Using Falcons to Build a Drone Killer

A raptor’s approach to targeting prey may one day help protect soldiers and even airports, Air Force-funded research shows.

By Justin Bachman

Throughout history, humans have employed falcons as lethal hunters of other animals. Now those raptors are being sent after drones.

It turns out that many of the skills feathered predators use to find a tasty lunch can be applied to the developing field of drone defense. A U.S. Air Force-funded study by zoology researchers at Oxford University suggests that the means by which a peregrine falcon tracks its quarry could be effective in defending against drones that threaten troops, police or airports.

The researchers fitted the falcons with miniature video cameras and GPS receivers to track their angle and method of attack on other birds, or on bait being towed through the air by a drone. In a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S., the falcons’ approach to intercepting its target aligned closely with the rules of proportional navigation, a guidance system used by visually-directed missiles.

The principle is such that a missile—or a falcon on the hunt—will reach a target as long as its line-of-sight remains unobstructed while it closes in. The earliest AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles, dating to the 1950s, used this technique with a rotating mirror to “see” the target.

Watch Falcons Close in on Their Prey as Part of Air Force-Funded Drone Research

[ click to continue reading at Bloomberg ]

Posted on December 8, 2017 by Editor

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EAT, BRAINS, LOVE Cast

from Deadline

Jake Cannavale, Angelique Rivera To Star In ‘Eat, Brains, Love’

by Amanda N’Duka

Rex/Shutterstock
Jake Cannavale (Nurse Jackie), Angelique Rivera (American Crime), and Sarah Yarkin (American Horror Story) have been tapped to star in the indie comedy, Eat, Brains, Love, the Rodman Flender-directed film adaptation of Jeff Hart’s zombie road trip novel. In addition, Jim Titus, Patrick Fabian, Ty Headlee,  Kristin Daniel, and Kym Jackson round out the cast.
The script hails from writing duo Mike Herro and David Strauss. Gunpowder & Sky developed the project with DIGA Studios, an independent production studio founded by former MTV President Tony DiSanto, and Full Fathom Five.
[ click to read full article at Deadline ]

Posted on December 7, 2017 by Editor

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Johnny Hallyday Gone

from BBC News

Johnny Hallyday: France’s ‘Elvis Presley’ dies at 74

France’s biggest rock star Johnny Hallyday has died after a battle with lung cancer. He was 74.

The singer sold about 100 million records and starred in a number of films in a career that began in 1960.

He was made a Chevalier of the Legion D’Honneur by President Jacques Chirac in 1997.

The French simply called him “Our Johnny”. However, outside the Francophone zone, Hallyday was virtually unknown.

In a statement, his wife Laeticia said: “Johnny Hallyday has left us. I write these words without believing them. But yet, it’s true. My man is no longer with us.

“He left us tonight as he lived his whole life, with courage and dignity.”

Hallyday, whose real name was Jean-Philippe Smet, decided he wanted to be a singer after seeing Elvis Presley on screen in 1957. Hallyday was nicknamed the “French Presley” by his numerous fans.

[ click to continue reading at BBC ]

Posted on December 6, 2017 by Editor

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Quantum Reality Really

from Nautilus

Is Quantum Theory About Reality or What We Know?

BY JAMES OWEN WEATHERALL

Physicists know how to use quantum theory—your phone and computer give plenty of evidence of that. But knowing how to use it is a far cry from fully understanding the world the theory describes—or even what the various mathematical devices scientists use in the theory are supposed to mean. One such mathematical object, whose status physicists have long debated, is known as the quantum state.

One of the most striking features of quantum theory is that its predictions are, under virtually all circumstances, probabilistic. If you set up an experiment in a laboratory, and then you use quantum theory to predict the outcomes of various measurements you might perform, the best the theory can offer is probabilities—say, a 50 percent chance that you’ll get one outcome, and a 50 percent chance that you’ll get a different one. The role the quantum state plays in the theory is to determine, or at least encode, these probabilities. If you know the quantum state, then you can compute the probability of getting any possible outcome to any possible experiment.

But does the quantum state ultimately represent some objective aspect of reality, or is it a way of characterizing something about us, namely, something about what some person knows about reality? This question stretches back to the earliest history of quantum theory, but has recently become an active topic again, inspiring a slew of new theoretical results and even some experimental tests.

[ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

Posted on December 5, 2017 by Editor

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Up In Hudson

Posted on December 4, 2017 by Editor

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DIY Waffles

from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Waffle House customer cooks his own meal after finding staff sleeping

by Theresa Seiger

A hungry, slightly inebriated man knew just what to do when he stopped by a South Carolina Waffle House early Thursday only to find the restaurant’s staff snoozing: He cooked up his own meal, snapping selfies along the way.

Alex Bowen said in a Facebook post that he stopped by a Waffle House in West Columbia because he couldn’t sleep.

The restaurant’s employees apparently did not have the same problem.

“I walked back outside to my car to look for employees,” Bowen told WIS. “No one in sight.”

It wasn’t until he walked back inside the restaurant that he noticed an employee snoozing in a corner booth.

“Then it was go time,” Bowen told WIS. “(I) got hot on the grill with a double Texas bacon cheesesteak with extra pickles. When I was done I cleaned the grill, collected my ill-gotten sandwich and rolled out.”

[ click to continue reading at AJC ]

Posted on December 3, 2017 by Editor

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It’s All In The Wiring

from StudyFinds

A Smarter Person’s Brain Is Simply Wired Better, Study Finds

by Daniel Steingold

FRANKFURT, Germany — Brainiacs happen to have thinking organs that are physically designed to outperform, a new study finds.

Researchers at Goethe University Frankfurt in Germany looked at brain scans of more than 300 participants, while simultaneously consulting graph theoretical network analysis methods, to try to determine what helps form human intelligence.

Explaining how the brain’s many regions interact with others to varying degrees — think of smaller social groups within broader society— the researchers more specifically sought to understand whether the wiring of certain regions was different among people depending on their level of intelligence.

“This is similar to a social network which consists of multiple sub-networks (e.g., families or circles of friends). Within these sub-networks or modules, the members of one family are more strongly interconnected than they are with people from other families or circles of friends. Our brain is functionally organized in a very similar way,” the researchers explain in a university release.

They found that in more intelligent individuals, two regions associated with the cognitive processing of task-relevant information — the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex — were more tightly connected to other functional areas of the brain.

[ click to continue reading at StudyFinds ]

Posted on December 2, 2017 by Editor

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India To Luna

from Business Insider

India is preparing to land on the moon for the first time in the country’s history

by Hilary Brueck

ISRO chandrayaan 2 mission to the moon

The last time any country put boots or, rather, little metal feet, on the moon was in 2013, when China landed its Yutu rover there.

Before that, you’d have to look back to the 1970s to find anything built by Earthlings that camped out on the surface of the Moon.

But in 2018, India says it’ll be ready to join the ranks of the moon lander. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is getting ready to land its very first lunar rover by the end of March 2018, as part of its Chandrayaan-2 mission.

‘Chaand’ is the word for moon in Hindi, so Chandrayaan literally means ‘moon vehicle’ or ‘moon journey.’

[ click to continue reading at Business Insider ]

Posted on December 1, 2017 by Editor

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Moon Express

from CNBC

Moon Express says first launch is ‘definitely’ happening in 2018

by Arjun Kharpal

Moon Express, a company planning to mine material on the moon, is “definitely” going to launch its first mission next year, and could have human colonies there within five years, Chairman Naveen Jain told CNBC on Thursday.

In January, the company said that it was targeting a date in late 2017 to send its lander to the moon. But that has been pushed back until 2018.

“It’s definitely going to be next year, we are in the final stretches of it. And as you can imagine it’s rocket science,” Jain told CNBC in a TV interview from the Slush technology conference in Helsinki, Finland.

“We are really looking good and we are still hoping to launch the lander next year. And when we launch and land on the moon, not only (do) we become the first company to do so, we actually symbolically become the fourth superpower. And imagine the entrepreneurs doing things that only the three superpowers have done before.”

Superpowers such as the U.S. and Russia have previously landed on the moon.

Moon Express is the first private company to get U.S. government approval to go to the moon. Landing there would be a historic feat.

[ click to continue reading at CNBC ]

Posted on November 30, 2017 by Editor

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Super Eruption

from The Mirror

Cataclysmic ‘super eruption’ is MUCH closer than we thought, warns latest research

Scientists at Bristol University have analysed geological records from the last 100,000 years

By Stephen Beech

(Image: Moment RF)

We may be much nearer to a cataclysmic volcanic ‘super-eruption’ than previously thought, warns new research.

That is the conclusion of Bristol University scientists after analysing a database of geological records dated within the last 100,000 years.

They discovered the average time between so-called volcanic super-eruptions is actually much less than previously understood.

Volcanoes and ‘bolides’ – such as asteroids – are geohazards powerful enough to be destructive on a global scale.

One recent assessment described them as capable of returning humanity to a ‘pre-civilisation’ state.

The largest explosive eruptions are termed ‘super-eruptions’, and produce in excess of 1,000 gigatons of erupted mass – enough to blanket an entire continent with volcanic ash, and change global weather patterns for decades.

[ click to continue reading at The Mirror ]

Posted on November 29, 2017 by Editor

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Supermoon

from USA Today

The only supermoon of the year will rise Sunday evening

by Doyle Rice

The only supermoon of 2017 will appear in a sky near you Sunday night … weather permitting.

Bigger and brighter than a typical full moon, the term “supermoon” was coined in 1979 by astrologer Richard Nolle. According to NASA, it’s used by the media today to describe what astronomers would call a perigean full moon: a full moon occurring near or at the time when the moon is at its closest point in its orbit around Earth.

A supermoon can appear as much as 14% bigger and 30% brighter than when a full moon is at its farthest distance from Earth, NASA said.

The astronomical term for a supermoon is “perigee syzygy.” (Syzygy is when the sun, moon and Earth are all aligned in a straight line.)

The exact moment of the full moon is the morning of Dec. 3 at 10:46 a.m. ET, (9:46 a.m. CT, 8:46 a.m. MT, and 7:46 a.m. PT), Space.com said.

[ click to continue reading at USAT ]

Posted on November 28, 2017 by Editor

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Missing Magritte

from artnet news

Researchers Uncover the Final Piece of a Missing Magritte, Solving an 85-Year-Old Mystery

The artist once cut apart a critically acclaimed work and painted over the pieces. Now, the final piece has been recovered.

René Magritte, The Enchanted Pose with restored colors. © Succession René Magritte c/o SABAM © ULiège.René Magritte, The Enchanted Pose with restored colors. © Succession René Magritte c/o SABAM © ULiège.

Researchers in Belgium have come upon a René Magritte painting that harbors a long-sought secret.

In the early 1930s, the Belgian artist was poor enough that he reused canvases, painting over one work with another. In one case, he cut one of his paintings—The Enchanted Pose (1927)—into four pieces and painted over each one to create discrete new works. Now, researchers have discovered the fourth and final piece of the original work, solving an 85-year-old mystery.

The work was unearthed at none other than the Magritte Museum, in Brussels, Belgium, where researchers were inspecting all the paintings in the collection as part of a larger research project.

“I screamed something like ‘Oh my gosh!’ but less polite,” said Catherine Defeyt, a researcher at the University of Liège’s European Center for Archaeometry, of the moment of the discovery.

Pieces of the puzzle have been coming to light for four years; the three other pieces were found in three other major museums.

The first piece, The Portrait (1935), was uncovered by curator Anne Umland and conservator Michael Duffy at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2013. It shows two identical female nudes side by side, each with an arm resting on a broken column.

The whereabouts of the original painting were listed in the Magritte catalogue raisonné as unknown; the only existing photo of it was in black and white. Umland and Duffy were inspecting The Portrait by way of conservation research in preparation for an exhibition there.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on November 27, 2017 by Editor

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Quantum Bullshit

from Real Clear Science

The Worst Theoretical Prediction in the History of Physics

By Ross Pomeroy

Quantum mechanics has a dark energy problem.

When it comes to scientifically mysterious concepts that begin with the word “dark,” dark matter attracts most of the public attention. Dark energy, however, constitutes 68.3% of the mass of the universe compared to dark matter’s paltry 26.8% (and normal matter’s minuscule 4.9%). It is truly the more consequential of the two “dark” concepts.

Yet we’ll never likely be able to “catch” a particle of dark energy as scientists are striving to do with dark matter. That’s because dark energy is – most likely – just the energy inherent to space, itself, perhaps arising from Quantum foam, composed of virtual particles that flit in and out of existence. As Einstein reminds us, the energy delivered by these virtual particles briefly protruding into space has mass.

When astronomers attempt to measure dark energy’s density in space, they come up with roughly 10^−9 joules per cubic meter, a microscopic but influential amount. However, this observed value, known as the cosmological constant, isn’t remotely close to that which is predicted by the time-tested quantum field theory. As detailed in the textbook General Relativity: An Introduction for Physicists:

[ click to continue reading at RCS ]

Posted on November 26, 2017 by Editor

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AI Decides Who Dies

from USA Today

Self-driving cars programmed to decide who dies in a crash

by Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press

WASHINGTON — Consider this hypothetical:

It’s a bright, sunny day and you’re alone in your spanking new self-driving vehicle, sprinting along the two-lane Tunnel of Trees on M-119 high above Lake Michigan north of Harbor Springs. You’re sitting back, enjoying the view. You’re looking out through the trees, trying to get a glimpse of the crystal blue water below you, moving along at the 45-mile-an-hour speed limit.

As you approach a rise in the road, heading south, a school bus appears, driving north, one driven by a human, and it veers sharply toward you. There is no time to stop safely, and no time for you to take control of the car.

Does the car:

A. Swerve sharply into the trees, possibly killing you but possibly saving the bus and its occupants?

B. Perform a sharp evasive maneuver around the bus and into the oncoming lane, possibly saving you, but sending the bus and its driver swerving into the trees, killing her and some of the children on board?

C. Hit the bus, possibly killing you as well as the driver and kids on the bus?

In everyday driving, such no-win choices are may be exceedingly rare but, when they happen, what should a self-driving car — programmed in advance — do? Or in any situation — even a less dire one — where a moral snap judgment must be made?

[ click to continue reading at USAT ]

Posted on November 25, 2017 by Editor

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Have an ELE Jolly Christmas

from The Daily Star

Massive 3-mile wide Christmas asteroid to practically GRAZE Earth next month

A HUGE asteroid will very nearly graze the planet next month – just days before Christmas.

By Rachel O’Donoghue

asteroidEXTINCTION: The asteroid is just half the size of the one that wiped out dinosaurs / GETTY

The space rock – dubbed “3200 Phaethon” after the Greek God – will come “quite close” to Earth on December 17.

Russian astronomers have been tracking the asteroid’s path, which has been described by NASA as a “potentially hazardous asteroid”.

It will pass by Earth at a distance of just 2 million miles – practically brushing the planet in space terms.

And at three miles wide, it is just half the size of the space rock that led to the mass extinction that wiped out dinosaurs.

[ click to continue reading at The Daily Star ]

 

Posted on November 24, 2017 by Editor

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Happy Turkey Day

Posted on November 23, 2017 by Editor

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Boom

from The Daily Mail

What is causing the mysterious ‘booms’ heard in 64 locations around the world this year?

  • Most recently, a ‘boom’ was heard across much of the north of Alabama
  • Suggested causes include supersonic aircrafts, a ground explosion, or a bolide
  • Other booms have occurred in Cairns on October 10 and Abergavenny on May 11 

By SHIVALI BEST

Mysterious booms have been reported 64 times this year, in locations including Michigan, Lapland, St Ives, Swansea and Yorkshire. Incidents are becoming more frequent according to some reports.Mysterious booms have been reported 64 times this year, in locations including Michigan, Lapland, St Ives, Swansea and Yorkshire. Incidents are becoming more frequent according to some reports.

Residents in Alabama were left baffled last week when a loud boom resounded across much of the state.

The boom, nicknamed ‘Bama Boom’, has left experts stumped, with suggested causes ranging from supersonic aircrafts to meteors exploding in the atmosphere.

This isn’t the first time that the mysterious sound has been heard, and incidents are becoming more frequent according to some reports.

This year alone, similar noises have been reported 64 times this year, in locations including Michigan, Lapland, St Ives, Swansea and Yorkshire.

[ click to continue reading at The Daily Mail ]

Posted on November 22, 2017 by Editor

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Charles Manson Finally Gone

from The New York Post

Charles Manson is rotting in hell

By Jamie Schram

Charles Manson, the ’60s cult leader behind one of the most notorious killings in American history, died Sunday in California after a prolonged illness, officials said. He was 83.

Manson – housed at Corcoran State Prison since 1989 – died at 8:13 p.m. local time at Kern County Hospital, the California Department of Corrections said in a press release early Monday.

He’d been in failing health for months and was first hospitalized back in January, reportedly with serious gastrointestinal problems.

Manson — who infamously wore a swastika tattoo between his eyebrows — had spent more than 45 years in prison after being convicted of directing his “Manson Family” clan of troubled, mostly female, followers to kill seven people in California in the summer of 1969. The dead included actress Sharon Tate, the pregnant wife of director Roman Polanski, who was stabbed 16 times.

“I am crime,” Manson proudly proclaimed during a collect call to The Post from prison in the mid-2000s.

Born on Nov. 12, 1934, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to a prostitute named Kathleen Maddox, Manson was officially dubbed “no name Maddox” at birth and apparently never knew his biological father.

[ click to continue reading at NYP ]

Posted on November 21, 2017 by Editor

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Space Nation

from The Daily Express

World’s first ‘space nation’ takes flight as 200,000 people prepare for futuristic life

SPACE nation, Asgardia, has launched its first satellite a year after Russian billionaire Dr Igor Ashurbeyli proposed the plans.

By THOMAS MACKIE

World’s first 'space nation' takes flightGETTY

More than 500,000 people applied to become citizens of Asgardia, the first space nation that will orbit the Earth and be free from politics and laws.

The idea came from billionaire Russian computer scientist Dr Igor Ashurbeyli, who has already confirmed the first 200,000 citizens from the initial 500,000 applicants.

Earlier this week the Asgardia-1 satellite was launched.

The satellite is roughly the size of a loaf of bread and contains the personal details of 18,000 Asgardia’s citizens including things such as family photographs.

There is also a copy of Asgardia’s flag, coat of arms and constitution aboard.

[ click to continue reading at Express ]

Posted on November 20, 2017 by Editor

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Malcolm Young Gone

from The New Yorker

Farewell to Malcolm Young, the Mastermind of AC/DC

By Jon Michaud

Picture yourself, if you will, at an AC/DC show at some unruly venue in Albany or Toledo in the fall of 1978. Perhaps a friend has brought you, or maybe hearing one of the band’s songs on FM radio has drawn you there. Regardless, you’re in luck. You’re catching AC/DC at the perfect moment, as it’s on the cusp of transforming itself into a musical juggernaut. The group, hailing from Australia, has just released “Powerage,” a forty-minute distillation of swinging, aggressive rock and roll that Keith Richards will later say is his favorite AC/DC album. In a matter of months, the band will record “Highway to Hell” and, soon after that, “Back in Black,” which will become the sixth-best-selling album of all time.

So, what do you notice? Up front and hard to miss is Angus Young, the diminutive dynamo of a lead guitarist, wearing the sweat-soaked remains of a velvet schoolboy uniform, duck-walking and thrashing his head like the lightning-strike victim on the cover of “Powerage.” Nearby, prancing bare-chested, is the lewd and mischievous lead singer, Bon Scott. (He’ll be dead by the end of the decade.) But, if you can take your eyes off these two showmen for a moment, you might find your gaze drifting to the left of the drum riser, where a pugnacious long-haired kid (he looks like he’s still in high school), wearing jeans and a white T-shirt, is strumming his Gretsch guitar and shaking his leg in time to the driving beat. His name is Malcolm Young, and you could be forgiven for seeing him as just another part of the backing band, but he is in fact the mastermind of the whole operation, at once its visionary and its taskmaster. He is the soul of the band, its leader on and off the stage.

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on November 19, 2017 by Editor

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Adoption Revisited

from The New York Times

Let’s Restart the Adoption Movement

by 

Jovanna Tosello

Giving to charity makes you happier, healthier and even richer.

That’s what I found in my research for a book I was writing back in 2003. Data clearly showed that giving and volunteering have a positive impact on givers’ health, wealth and life satisfaction — especially when we can see the faces of the people we are helping. Was this the secret to building a better life and happier world?

Excited by these findings, I discussed them with my wife, Ester. Always practical, she suggested that we put my research to the test in our own lives. “I just read that there are millions of abandoned little girls in China,” she said. “I think we should adopt one of them.”

My immediate response: “Hey, it’s only a book!”

Many people are anxious about adoption, although the source of those anxieties has changed over the decades. In a study in the 1980s, the sociologist Charlene E. Miall surveyed a large group of childless women. Many of the interviewees reported a widespread perception that the lack of biological ties must hurt the parent-child bond. They feared that society saw adopted children as second-rate, and adoptive parents as not “real” parents.

But today the most common concerns about adoption have shifted from cultural worries to financial and logistical ones. According to the National Foster Care Adoption Attitudes Survey, by 2013 the top two of eight potential concerns for those considering adoption were coping with paperwork and expense.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on November 18, 2017 by Editor

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We’re All Going To Die!

from The Sun

Thousands of scientists sign terrifying ‘Warning to Humanity’ letter predicting an imminent apocalypse

The world’s brightest minds sketch a bleak picture of the future of Planet Earth. Is it too late to save our species and preserve the environment?

By Jasper Hamill

 The scientists believe environmental impacts were likely to inflict 'substantial and irreversible harm' to the EarthGETTY IMAGES

The scientists believe environmental impacts were likely to inflict ‘substantial and irreversible harm’ to the Earth

MORE than 15,000 scientists from around the world have signed a terrifying letter warning of an imminent apocalypse.

The message is called “Warning to Humanity” and is an ominous vision of the grim fate awaiting Planet Earth.

The message updates an original Warning from the Union of Concerned Scientists, which was made in 1992.

Now the global scientific community’s view of the future is even bleaker.

Apart from the hole in the ozone layer, which has now been stabilised, every one of the major threats identified in 1992 has worsened.

Runaway consumption of precious resources by an exploding population remains the biggest danger facing humankind, say the scientists.

They urge “scientists, media influencers and lay citizens” to put pressure on governments to reverse the trend.

A host of environmental calamities are highlighted in the warning notice, including catastrophic climate change, deforestation, mass species extinction, ocean “dead zones”, and lack of access to fresh water.

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

Posted on November 17, 2017 by Editor

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Last Leo Sold

from artnet

The Last Known Painting by Leonardo da Vinci Just Sold for $450.3 Million

The 500-year-old painting is, by far, the most expensive work ever sold at auction.

Eileen Kinsella

Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi. Courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd. 2017.Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi. Courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd. 2017.

After weeks of anticipation, it finally happened: Leonardo da Vinci‘s Salvator Mundi (circa 1500), billed as the last known painting by the Renaissance master in private hands, sold at Christie’s for $450.3 million. It is, by far, the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction. In fact, the price is more than double the next most expensive work ever sold, Picasso’s Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’), which fetched $179.4 million in 2015.

The work went to an anonymous client of Alex Rotter, Christie’s global co-head of contemporary art. Before a packed salesroom and scores of camera phones held aloft, bidding opened at $70 million. At $190 million, five bidders—four on the phones and one in the room—were still chasing the painting.

The 19-minute contest eventually came down to Rotter and Francois De Poortere, the head of Christie’s Old Master painting department in New York.

At $352 million, auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen produced a glass of ice water from behind the rostrum and took a sip.

After a protracted bidding war in which Rotter’s client continued to bid in increments as large as $30 million—and De Poortere’s client bid in smaller steps of around $2–5 million—the work hammered down for $400 million to a flurry of applause (and a few gasps). With the auction house’s fees, the final price was $450.3 million.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on November 15, 2017 by Editor

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Crazy College Kids From The Past

from The LA Times

In an era of USC-UCLA pranks, one stood out. Sixty years later, its mystery is solved

by Zach Helfand

USC prankstersFrom left to right: Dave Visel, Mike Loshin, Wally Karabian, Jerry VanWert and Steve Marienhoff. (Photo courtesy of Maria Aparicio)

A septuagenarian professor and former USC student, having caught wind of a forthcoming story in the Los Angeles Times, recently sent a cryptic email to the newspaper.

Sixty years ago, the professor, Dayle Barnes, belonged to an organization at USC called the Trojan Squires, which pulled off one of the most memorable in a long line of pranks in USC’s rivalry with UCLA. For the game at the Coliseum in 1957, UCLA’s student section had planned a series of card stunts. The UCLA students were to hold up placards that would combine to form Bruins-friendly words and pictures.

Except when the students actually did hold up their cards, they had been altered by a band of USC saboteurs. In each stunt, the unwitting UCLA students revealed a different pro-USC message. It caused such a stir that Sports Illustrated wrote about the prank — without interviewing its creators.

Barnes wrote in the email that reporting about the prank’s creators would be a “tough assignment” given “the complete secrecy with which the clandestine group of Trojan Squires” operated.

He explained that though he was part of the Squires, the prank was conceived and executed by a small, elite unit within the organization, operating under deep cover. Barnes didn’t know their identities.

“That is not to deny, however, that more than a few of that year’s membership were eminently qualified, by background and personality, successfully to conduct a covert assignment,” he wrote.

The mystery endured among the dwindling population of USC and UCLA alumni who keep score of such pranks. There would be no answer for 60 years.

Until now.

[ click to continue reading at LAT ]

Posted on November 14, 2017 by Editor

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Living Fossil Found

from Newsweek

PREHISTORIC, DINOSAUR-ERA SHARK WITH INSANE TEETH FOUND SWIMMING OFF COAST OF PORTUGAL

BY DANA DOVEY

This fish is rarely seen by humans but has lived on the Earth since long before man.

The rare frilled shark is considered a “living fossil” because evidence of its existence dates back to at least 80 million years ago. This summer, researchers found one alive and thriving off the coast of Portugal, uncovering more clues about the resilience of this ancient sea creature.

The researchers who discovered the shark off the Algarve coast were working on a European Union project in the area, the BBC reported. The goal of the project was to “minimize unwanted catches in commercial fishing,” the researchers told SIC Noticisas TV, as the BBC noted, but the team unknowingly unearthed one of the rarest and most ancient animals on the planet.

Scientists believe the frilled shark has remained the same, both inside and out, since the Cretaceous Period, when the Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops still roamed the planet. The creature, known by scientists as Chlamydoselachus anguineus, is incredibly simple and unevolved, most likely due to the lack of nutrients found in its deep-sea dwellings. A Japanese study of the shark found in Suruga Bay, Japan, revealed that its diet is 61 percent cephalopods—the class to which squids and octopus belong.

[ click to continue reading at Newsweek ]

Posted on November 13, 2017 by Editor

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Christmas Music Driving People Crazy

from CBS Philly

Christmas Music Can Harm Your Mental Health, Psychologist Says

CBS Local — Are you one of those people that can’t stand hearing Christmas songs months before the holiday actually arrives? Does hearing festive carols weeks before Thanksgiving only make you upset that you haven’t eaten your turkey yet? A psychologist in Great Britain says your reactions don’t make you a Grinch because too much Christmas music is actually bad for your mental health.

Clinical psychologist Linda Blair claims the constant barrage of Christmas tunes too early in the season forces people to remember all the things they have to do before the holiday. Blair says the songs are a reminder to buy presents, cater parties, organize travel, and all the more stressful chores during Christmas.

“You’re simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing,” Blair tells Sky News.

[ click to continue reading at CBS Philly ]

Posted on November 12, 2017 by Editor

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Chuck Mosley Gone

from SPIN

Faith No More’s Chuck Mosley Dead at 57

by Rob Arcand

Former Faith No More frontman Chuck Mosley has died. After years of sobriety, Mosley passed away on Friday November 9 “due to the disease of addiction,” according to a statement from his family. “He is survived by long-term partner Pip Logan, two daughters, Erica and Sophie and his grandson Wolfgang Logan Mosley,” the note continues. “The family will be accepting donations for funeral expenses.”

Mosley rose to prominence in the dynamic punk scene of Los Angeles in the early 80s, where he first joined the band Animated with future Faith No More bassist Billy Gould. After joining Faith No More in 1983, Mosley sang on their first two albums, 1985’s We Care A Lot and 1987’s Introduce Yourself, both of which helped establish the band as a powerhouse in funk and metal circles.

Mosley was fired from Faith No More in 1988, going on to sue the band, claiming a partnership stake, which they settled out of court. Later spending years fronting hardcore legends Bad Brains, Mosley also formed the band Cement later in the 90s. With an unpredictable energy, he continued releasing solo albums into the new millennium, eventually reuniting with Faith No More for two shows in 2016, following a reissue of the 1985 classic We Care A Lot.

[ click to continue reading at SPIN ]

Posted on November 11, 2017 by Editor

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