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Bandido

Posted on July 19, 2017 by Editor

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Space Hotel

from MASHABLE

Looking for a vacation splurge? Consider this space hotel

BY MARGARET SULLIVAN

A rendering of the space hotel MarinaIMAGE: MIT MARINA PROJECT TEAM

Do you have a hankering for adventure and several million dollars laying around? Then this might be the perfect getaway opportunity for you, if you can hold on tight for a few years.

NASA recently held a competition, which was won by a team of graduate students from MIT, to design a commercially enabled habitable module for use low in Earth’s orbit.

Translation: the MIT team basically just won a competition to design a luxury space hotel.

The hotel would float just about 100-1,200 miles above Earth’s surface, and be made up of eight inflatable rooms arranged in a circle, kind of like a ceiling fan, attached to a NASA space station at the center.

[ click to continue reading at MASHABLE ]

Posted on July 18, 2017 by Editor

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Bodacious

Posted on July 17, 2017 by Editor

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We Could Be Next

from The Daily Express

END OF WORLD WARNING: Watch biggest explosion EVER on Moon as NASA warns we could be next

A METEOR with the explosive power of TEN cruise missiles has struck the Moon – sparking a massive explosion visible with the naked eye.

By PAUL BALDWIN

MoonThe moon was struck by a meteor creating the an explosion visible with the naked eye / GETTY

And terrifyingly the 56,000 mph collision – captured by NASA scientists highlighting the catastrophic danger planet earth faces from similar meteors – was caused by a space rock weighing no more than 88 lbs (40 kilos).

Despite the meteor’s tiny proportions – about the size of a small boulder and the weight of an average 10-year-old boy – the impact damage was colossal and the explosion shone with the brightness of a magnitude 4 star.

A similar strike against a city on earth would create a crater 65feet (20m) deep and create a devastating kill zone equivalent to TEN Tomahawk cruise missile striking in exactly the same place.

Experts fear the death toll would run into thousands.

[ click to continue reading The Daily Express ]

Posted on July 13, 2017 by Editor

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Monster Black Holes, Cool

from SPACE

Monster Black Holes Spotted Orbiting Each Other for 1st Time Ever

By Charles Q. Choi

Monster Black Holes Spotted Orbiting Each Other for 1st Time EverArtist’s conception of two supermassive black holes orbiting each other at the center of galaxy 0402+379, located 750 million light-years from Earth.
Credit: Josh Valenzuela/University of New Mexico

For the first time ever, scientists have directly spotted a pair of supermassive black holes orbiting each other, a new study suggests.

This orbital motion — which was noted in observations made over the course of a dozen years — may be the smallest-ever movement detected of an object across the sky, the researchers said.

Supermassive black holes harbor millions to billions of times the mass of Earth’s sun and form the hearts of most, if not all, large galaxies. Much remains uncertain about how these giant black holes grow and influence the universe around them. [Images: Black Holes of the Universe]

One way to gain insights on black hole growth is to look at black holes on the verge of merging with one another. As such, researchers have analyzed the center of a giant elliptical galaxy called 0402+379, which is located about 750 million light-years from Earth. In 2006, scientists found that the galaxy’s core apparently holds two supermassive black holes.

Judging by the gravitational effects these black holes had on their surroundings, the two behemoths harbor a combined mass about 15 billion times that of the sun, the researchers said. It remains uncertain just how big each black hole is, but the limited data that astronomers currently have suggest that one of the black holes might be two or even four times bigger than the other, said study co-author Roger Romani, an astrophysicist at Stanford University.

[ click to continue reading at SPACE.com ]

Posted on July 10, 2017 by Editor

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Is my husband gay, is my wife crazy?

from Vox

Proof that Americans are lying about their sexual desires

by Sean Illing

Two weeks ago, I interviewed Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author of Everybody Lies, a new book that uses data on America’s Google habits as an insight into our national consciousness.

Two findings from the book dominated the conversation: America is riddled with racist and selfish people, and there may be a self-induced abortion crisis in this country.

But there was plenty more revelatory data in the book that we didn’t cover. So I wanted to follow up with Stephens-Davidowitz to talk about some of the other provocative claims he is making.

I was particularly interested in sexuality and online porn. If, as Stephens-Davidowitz puts it, “Google is a digital truth serum,” then what else does it tell us about our private thoughts and desires? What else are we hiding from our friends, neighbors, and colleagues?

A lot, apparently.

Among other things, Stephens-Davidowitz’s data suggests that there are more gay men in the closet than we think; that many men prefer overweight women to skinny women but are afraid to act on it; that married women are disproportionately worried their husband is gay; that a lot of straight women watch lesbian porn; and that porn featuring violence against women is more popular among women than men.

I asked Stephens-Davidowitz to explain the data behind all of this. Here’s what he told me.

[ click to continue reading at Vox ]

Posted on July 8, 2017 by Editor

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More Skull Cult

from Reuters

Tower of human skulls in Mexico casts new light on Aztecs

By Roberto Ramirez | MEXICO CITY

Skulls are seen at a site where more than 650 skulls caked in lime and thousands of fragments were found in the cylindrical edifice near Templo Mayor, one of the main temples in the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, which later became Mexico City, Mexico June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero

A tower of human skulls unearthed beneath the heart of Mexico City has raised new questions about the culture of sacrifice in the Aztec Empire after crania of women and children surfaced among the hundreds embedded in the forbidding structure.

Archaeologists have found more than 650 skulls caked in lime and thousands of fragments in the cylindrical edifice near the site of the Templo Mayor, one of the main temples in the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, which later became Mexico City.

The tower is believed to form part of the Huey Tzompantli, a massive array of skulls that struck fear into the Spanish conquistadores when they captured the city under Hernan Cortes, and mentioned the structure in contemporary accounts.

Historians relate how the severed heads of captured warriors adorned tzompantli, or skull racks, found in a number of Mesoamerican cultures before the Spanish conquest.

[ click to continue reading at Reuters ]

Posted on July 7, 2017 by Editor

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Skull Cult

from National Geographic

Hints of Skull Cult Found at World’s Oldest Temple

Carved human skull fragments from a Stone Age archaeological site hint at a surprisingly complex culture.

By Shaena Montanari

Göbekli Tepe, site of the possible skull cult, is considerd the world’s oldest temple. PHOTOGRAPH BY VINCENT MUSI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

Around 10,000 years ago, the already striking presence of Göbekli Tepe in southeastern Turkey could have been even more impressive—as human skulls might have dangled in what is considered the world’s oldest temple.

According to new research published in Science Advances, three Neolithic skull fragments discovered by archaeologists at Göbekli Tepe show evidence of a unique type of post-mortem skull modification at the site.

(Read more about Göbekli Tepe, the “world’s oldest temple.)

The deep, purposeful linear grooves are a unique form of skull alteration never before seen anywhere in the world in any context, says Julia Gresky, lead author on the study and an anthropologist at the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin. Detailed analysis with a special microscope shows the grooves were deliberately made with a flint tool. One of the fragments even has a hole drilled in it, resembling skull modifications made by the Naga people of India who used the hole to hang the skull on a string.

[ click to continue reading at NatGeo ]

Posted on July 6, 2017 by Editor

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NASA Asteroid Killer

from CNN via ClickOrlando

NASA unveils plan to test asteroid defense technique

DART launch set for October 2022

By DAKIN ANDONE, CNN

(CNN) – Humanity could face one less doomsday scenario if NASA has its way.

On Friday, the space agency announced plans to redirect the course of a small asteroid approaching Earth, as part of the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), according to a NASA press release.

The release notes that asteroids hit Earth nearly every day, but most are small enough to burn up in the atmosphere.

But the DART project — a joint effort between NASA and the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland — is for the asteroids that are too big to break up — those that could have severe consequences for the Earth if they hit.

“DART would be NASA’s first mission to demonstrate what’s known as the kinetic impactor technique — striking the asteroid to shift its orbit — to defend against a potential future asteroid impact,” said Lindley Johnson, NASA’s planetary defense officer in Washington, in the press release.

“This approval step advances the project toward an historic test with a non-threatening small asteroid.”

[ click to continue reading at ClickOrlando ]

Posted on July 2, 2017 by Editor

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Humanity’s Greatest Challenge

from Phys.org

Are asteroids humanity’s ‘greatest challenge’?

by Mariëtte Le Roux

Close encounter: NASA graphic showing asteroid 1998 QE2, which caused a brief scare when it skimmed past Earth in 2013. But one Close encounter: NASA graphic showing asteroid 1998 QE2, which caused a brief scare when it skimmed past Earth in 2013. But one day a space rock is bound to be on target, say worried scientists

Throughout its 4.5-billion-year history, Earth has been repeatedly pummelled by space rocks that have caused anything from an innocuous splash in the ocean to species annihilation.

When the next big impact will be, nobody knows.

But the pressure is on to predict—and intercept—its arrival.

“Sooner or later we will get… a minor or major impact,” Rolf Densing, who heads the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, told AFP ahead of International Asteroid Day on Friday.

It may not happen in our lifetime, he said, but “the risk that Earth will get hit in a devastating event one day is very high.”

For now, there is little we can do.

And yet, the first-ever mission to crash a probe into a small space rock to alter its trajectory suffered a major setback when European ministers declined in December to fund part of the project.

[ click to continue reading at Phys.org ]

Posted on June 30, 2017 by Editor

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Mad Max in Berdoo

from The San Bernardino County Sun

Self-described ‘Mad Max’ found with illegal weapons — including sawed off shotgun — in Barstow

By Beatriz Valenzuela

A sawed-off shotgun was among the items seized Thursday night, June 22,from Jack Lee Ernest, 39, of Barstow, who fashioned himself after Mad Max. Brass knuckles and two knives were also seized.A sawed-off shotgun was among the items seized Thursday night, June 22,from Jack Lee Ernest, 39, of Barstow, who fashioned himself after Mad Max. Brass knuckles and two knives were also seized.Courtesy of San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

BARSTOW >> A Barstow man on a quad claiming to be “Mad Max” was arrested Thursday night after they found a cache of illegal weapons including a sawed-off shotgun, officials said.

Jack Lee Ernest, 39, had several weapons, including brass knuckles, two knives — which deputies say “Ernest had positioned for tactical access” — and the shotgun, according to San Bernardino County sheriff’s Barstow station officials.

Around 11 p.m., Deputy Kenneth Bubier noticed someone riding a quad in the area of Old Highway 58 and Leona Road, according to a news release.

Because of the late hour, Bubier attempted to pull over the rider, later identified as Ernest, officials said.

[ click to continue reading at SBSun.com ]

Posted on June 24, 2017 by Editor

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More.

from SPACE

The Family Tree of Exoplanets Has Just Divided Into Two Branches

By Elizabeth Howell, Seeker

The Family Tree of Exoplanets Has Just Divided Into Two BranchesThis sketch illustrates a family tree of exoplanets. Planets are born out of swirling disks of gas and dust called protoplanetary disks. The disks give rise to giant planets like Jupiter as well as smaller planets mostly between the sizes of Earth and Neptune. Researchers using data from the W. M. Keck Observatory and NASA’s Kepler mission discovered that the smaller planets can be cleanly divided into two size groups: the rocky Earth-like planets and super-Earths, and the gaseous mini-Neptunes. / Credit: NASA/Kepler/Caltech (T. Pyle)

Scientists have reorganized the exoplanetary tree of life into two distinct branches. Most exoplanets discovered so far are close in size to Earth or either Neptune, according to a new study led by the California Institute of Technology. But astronomers are puzzled as to why there is a gap between these two planetary sizes.

The work, which is based on an analysis of thousands of known exoplanets, shows that planets in our galaxy overwhelmingly fall into two groups. The first includes rocky planets up to 1.75 times the size of Earth, and the second group is made up of gaseous Neptune-like worlds between 2 to 3.5 times the size of Earth. (Neptune, by comparison, is roughly 4 times the size of Earth.)

The work includes data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope, which searches for Earth-like worlds in the habitable zones of their stars, and the W. M. Keck Observatory, which detects planets using the High Resolution Echelle Spectrometer (HIRES) on the Keck I telescope. The researchers attempted to classify these planets similarly to how biologists classify animal species.

[ click to continue reading at SPACE.com ]

Posted on June 23, 2017 by Editor

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They’re coming…

from The Sun

Earth set for an ‘asteroid encounter’ THIS WEEK and 750ft space rock could be ‘potentially hazardous’

Nasa’s eagle-eyed asteroid hunting team have spotted 1803 potentially hazardous asteroids

By Margi Murphy

This asteroid rotation map shows how close 441987 (2010 NY65) will swoop by the EarthThis asteroid rotation map shows how close 441987 (2010 NY65) will swoop by the Earth

A ROCK hurtling through space will make a close encounter with Earth on Saturday, according to Nasa.

But don’t cancel the BBQ just yet – it’s unlikely to smash into our planet.

If it did, it could potentially wipe out life as we know it.

So Nasa is keeping an eye on it just in case.

The asteroid – named 441987 (2010 NY65) – is marked as a concern because it’s 230 metres in diameter and travelling just 7.9 lunar distances (that’s about three million km) from us.

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

Posted on June 22, 2017 by Editor

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Black Coffee In Dread

from The Independent

Psychopaths drink their coffee black, study finds

by indy100 staff

giphy-54.gif

If you like your coffee black, you may be someone who prefers strong flavours, takes good care of their health, or just wants to drink their coffee the way it’s supposed to be drunk. 

Or, you may be a psychopath.

At least, that’s according to a new study published in the journal Appetite, which found a correlation between a love of black coffee and sadist or psychopathic tendencies.

The research surveyed more than 1,000 adults, asking them to give their food and flavour preferences. The participants then took a series of personality tests assessing antisocial personality traits, such as sadism, narcissism and psychopathy.

The study, carried out by researchers at the University of Innsbruck, found that a preference for bitter flavours was linked to psychopathic behaviour.

The closest association was between bitter foods and “everyday sadism” – that is to say, enjoyment of inflicting moderate levels of pain on others.

[ click to continue reading at The Independent ]

Posted on June 21, 2017 by Editor

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Being Algorithm’d

from Fox News

News Corp. CEO: The Almighty Algorithm – “fake news” and other consequences of Google, Amazon and Facebook’s relentless focus on quantity over quality

By Robert Thomson

Editor’s note: These remarks were delivered by the chief executive officer of News Corporation, Robert Thomson, during London Tech Week on June 14, 2017.

We are here to pay homage to the almighty algorithm.  Algorithmic alchemy is redefining our commercial and social experiences, turning base matter into noble metals. But like the alchemists of old, algorithms are also a charlatan’s charter, allowing claims of pure science when human intervention is clearly doctoring results to suit either commercial imperatives or political agendas.

And there is the enduring contradiction between the claimed sophistication of, say, Google’s ability to target audiences and track tastes for advertisers, and its inability to identify the tasteless, the terroristic, the perverted and the pirated. As the over-alliterative title to this short address suggests, it is profit before provenance and probity. And for journalists, it is penury.

This séance with science is particularly poignant during one of our periodic phases of fascination with AI, artificial intelligence.  When is artificial intelligence merely the artifice of intelligence?  The most telling recent sign of cerebral superiority was Google’s machine-minded triumph in the board game Go over a Chinese grand master.  Chinese call the game weiqi, Japanese call it Go. And so we should turn to the sage Japanese author, Yasunari Kawabata, who presciently wrote The Master of Go sixty-six years ago.  He wrote, ”From the Way of Go, the beauty of Japan and the Orient had fled…One conducted the battle only to win, and there was no margin for remembering the dignity and the fragrance of Go as an art.”

[ click to continue reading at Fox ]

Posted on June 15, 2017 by Editor

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Eat Me, Bobby D.

from The Edmonton Journal

Older female elk ‘virtually bulletproof’ as they learn to avoid hunters

MICHELLE LEPAGE

After seven years of studying the movements and behaviours of female elk, University of Alberta researchers discovered they become “virtually bulletproof” as they age.

“Elk learn to become shy as they get older,” said University of Alberta biologist Mark Boyce. “They hunker down in the deep forest and stay in rugged terrain. Those types of behaviours were very effective (for survival) in heavily hunted areas.”

Boyce and two former post-doctoral fellows used radio collars fitted with GPS technology to track elk in southwestern Alberta and southeastern British Columbia between 2007 and 2012.

In their study, published Wednesday, they found female elk learned behaviours that helped them better avoid hunters with each hunting season.

“The bold elk move the most, are the most aggressive and will bolt out into the open. Those elk died at a high rate.” said Boyce. “As they age, they tend to become shy, more savvy, learn to avoid roads.”

While some elk started out shy, most learned to adopt the shy behaviours.

“The magic number is 10,” said Boyce. “After this age threshold, female elk become almost bulletproof, virtually invulnerable to hunting.”

[ click to continue reading at EdmontonJournal.com ]

Posted on June 14, 2017 by Editor

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Bird Butts

from New Scientist

Birds use cigarette butts for chemical warfare against ticks

By Natasha Khaleeq

Is this a cigarette habit with some benefits? A species of urban bird seems to harness the toxic chemicals in cigarette butts in its fight against nest parasites – although there is a downside to the practice.

Constantino Macías Garcia at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and his colleagues, have spent several years studying the curious cigarette habit in urban house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus). Initial evidence hinted that nicotine and other chemicals in the butts might help deter insect pests from moving into the nests – nicotine does have anti-parasite properties – but it wasn’t conclusive.

To firm up the conclusion, Macías Garcia and his team experimented with 32 house finch nests. One day after the eggs in the nest had hatched, the researchers removed the natural nest lining and replaced it with artificial felt, to remove any parasites that might have moved in during brooding. They then added live ticks to 10 of the nests, dead ticks to another 10 and left 12 free of ticks.

They found that the adult finches were significantly more likely to add cigarette butt fibres to the nest if it contained ticks. What’s more, the weight of cigarette butt material added to nests containing live ticks was, on average, 40 per cent greater than the weight of cigarette butt material added to nests containing dead ticks.

[ click to continue reading at New Scientist ]

Posted on June 12, 2017 by Editor

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Hellchange

from WIRED

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: CHINA BUILDS A 20-ROAD INTERCHANGE FROM HELL

by 

Motorists drive on an interchange in Chongqing, China. It has five layers, 20 lanes, and goes in eight different directions. – FRED DUFOUR/GETTY IMAGES

TO A HARRIED motorist, the Huangjuewan flyover is a vision of hell, a mishmash of lanes and ramps that go in eight in directions. But where a driver sees chaos, Fred Dufour sees beauty, even order.

“It’s impressive, all the layers, stacked one by one,” the Getty photographer says. “From above, it’s impressive, too.”

He makes a compelling argument. The Huangjuewan opened last month on the outskirts of Chongqing, a sprawling city in southwest China. The highest of the interchange’s five levels soars 12 stories overhead, and the 20 lanes send cars this way and that. Getting the best view required standing on the roof of a building perched on a nearby hill.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on June 9, 2017 by Editor

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ROMAINE CALM

from The Sun

Plants can HEAR and use their ‘sense’ to seek out flowing water, scientists discover

By Margi Murphy

PLANTS listen out for the sound of dripping water when they’re thirsty, scientists have discovered.

They can sense water in a flowing pipe – or even a buzzing insect – by detecting the vibrations the water makes, experts claim.

There has long been a question mark over how plants tend to toward water sources.

Evolutionary biologist Monica Gagliano and her colleagues decided to get the bottom of it.

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

Posted on May 19, 2017 by Editor

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Negative Mass Created

from UPI

Physicists create fluid with ‘negative mass’

“What’s a first here is the exquisite control we have over the nature of this negative mass, without any other complications,” said researcher Michael Forbes.

By Brooks Hays

Scientists created a liquid with “negative mass.” The experiments could help scientists investigate astrophysical phenomena like black holes and dark matter. Photo by NASA/UPI

April 17 (UPI) — A team of physicists at Washington State University have created a fluid that ignores Isaac Newton‘s Second Law of Motion. The fluid has “negative mass.” When it’s pushed it accelerates backwards.

Almost all matter in the universe obey’s Newton’s second law — matter accelerates in the direction of the force applied to it. The new fluid does the opposite.

“With negative mass, if you push something, it accelerates toward you,” Michael Forbes, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Washington State, said in a news release.

The liquid consists of rubidium atoms cooled to a temperature barely greater than absolute zero. The cooled atoms formed a Bose-Einstein condensate, a phase of matter characterized by slow-moving particles that behave like waves. The matter behaves like a superfluid, meaning its particles move in unison without sacrificing energy.

[ click to continue reading at UPI ]

Posted on April 19, 2017 by Editor

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Pink Floyd Killer Shrimp

from NPR

A Shrimp That Can Kill With Sound Is Named After Pink Floyd

by 

Synalpheus pinkfloydi, which was recently named after the band Pink Floyd, for the distinctive coloration of its claw. Arthur Anker/Courtesy of Sammy De Grave and Oxford University

Legend has it that the band Pink Floyd once played so loudly at a show that the sheer volume had killed all the fish in a nearby pond.

Now there’s a new species of shrimp, named after Pink Floyd, that can kill fish by making a loud noise. Synalpheus pinkfloydi rapidly opens then snaps closed its large claw, generating frequencies up to 210 decibels — louder than a typical rock concert and loud enough to kill small fish nearby.

It turns out, however, that its new name has nothing to do with that urban myth about Pink Floyd’s volume. Dr. Sammy DeGrave, head of research at Oxford University Museum of National History, says the inspiration for the shrimp’s name was really the color of its claw: pink. “The reference is to the line, ‘By the way, which one of you is Pink?’ from the song ‘Have A Cigar’,” DeGrave told NPR when reached over the phone. “The story is when Pink Floyd first went to America, people thought one of the band members was actually named Pink. A reporter asked, ‘Which one of you is pink?” so that’s what stuck in our mind and that’s where [the name] came from.”

[ click to continue reading at NPR ]

Posted on April 15, 2017 by Editor

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Brain Grooves

from Vice

The Encephalophone Is a Real Instrument You Can Play with Your Mind

by Andrea Domanick

Researchers at the University of Washington have found that it may also help treat neurological problems.

Today in Cool Stuff Brought to You by Science, we have the encephalophone—an invention that, despite sounding like a discarded Muppet Show prop, is actually a fascinating new instrument developed for neurological and music research.

The instrument works by translating brain waves through a synthesizer, essentially allowing users to play it with their minds. To do so, a subject wears a cap fitted with electrodes (à la every dystopian sci-fi flick you’ve ever seen) that is connected to a computer synthesizer set up. That in turn produces an array of electronic string, piano, and other instrument sounds based on brain patters. Those patterns, of course, can be tricky to wrangle—notes can be set off by facial movements as well as intended thoughts—but, as with mastering any instrument, musicians and researchers say that’s half the fun.

The device was profiled in the Seattle Times this week for its role in an ongoing project led by Dr. Thomas Deuel at the University of Washington. The Swedish neurologist and musician has been working with the institution’s DXARTS program, which fosters work between scientists and artists. It’s there, while overseeing a lab focused on the relationship between art and neurology, that Deuel and his team have been using the instrument to help treat a local choir director who lost her ability to make music after contracting a viral infection in her brain.

[ click to continue reading at Vice ]

Posted on April 11, 2017 by Editor

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Fat Faded F†ck Face

Posted on April 9, 2017 by Editor

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Black Hole Soon

from New Scientist

Earth-sized telescope set to snap first picture of a black hole

The Event Horizon Telescope will take images of the black hole at the centre of our galaxy, and could reveal how relativity and quantum mechanics mesh

By Leah Crane

GET ready to peer into the unknown. This week, we will have our first chance to take a picture of the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy. The image could teach us how black holes work and even how the largest and smallest forces governing the universe fit together.

The Event Horizon Telescope is switching on. It consists of eight radio observatories around the world, including telescopes in Spain, the US and Antarctica (see map). And for just four or five nights between 5 and 14 April, if the weather is clear at all of the observatories, they will all turn on at once.

“Event horizons have been part of the mythology of science, but they will become real”

Each telescope will point at Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, and measure every radio wave coming from its direction. Linking together observatories spread across such a huge area and combining their observations to filter out extra light will effectively create a powerful “virtual telescope” almost the size of Earth.

[ click to continue reading at New Scientist ]

Posted on April 5, 2017 by Editor

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Hey where’s the party at?

from New Atlas

Simulation suggests 68 percent of the universe may not actually exist

by 

According to the Lambda Cold Dark Matter (Lambda-CDM) model, which is the current accepted standard for how the universe began and evolved, the ordinary matter we encounter every day only makes up around five percent of the universe’s density, with dark matter comprising 27 percent, and the remaining 68 percent made up of dark energy, a so-far theoretical force driving the expansion of the universe. But a new study has questioned whether dark energy exists at all, citing computer simulations that found that by accounting for the changing structure of the cosmos, the gap in the theory, which dark energy was proposed to fill, vanishes.

Published in 1915, Einstein’s general theory of relativity forms the basis for the accepted origin story of the universe, which says that the Big Bang kicked off the expansion of the universe about 13.8 billion years ago. The problem is, the equations at work are incredibly complicated, so physicists tend to simplify parts of them so they’re a bit more practical to work with. When models are then built up from these simplified versions, small holes can snowball into huge discrepancies.

[ click to continue reading at New Atlas ]

Posted on March 31, 2017 by Editor

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Blowing up a 200-ton rock. Cool.

Posted on March 30, 2017 by Editor

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Asteroid Chicken

from SPACE

Wrong-Way, Daredevil Asteroid Plays ‘Chicken’ with Jupiter

By Hanneke Weitering

This image of asteroid 2015 BZ509, captured by the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory (LBTO), helped astronomers establish the object's retrograde, co-orbital nature.This image of asteroid 2015 BZ509, captured by the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory (LBTO), helped astronomers establish the object’s retrograde, co-orbital nature.

Credit: LBTO

Astronomers have found a bizarre asteroid orbiting the sun in the wrong direction while playing a risky game of “chicken” with the largest planet in the solar system.

The unnamed asteroid shares Jupiter’s orbital space while moving in the opposite direction as the planet, which looks like a recipe for a collision, astronomers said. Yet somehow, the asteroid has managed to safely dodge Jupiter for at least tens of thousands of laps around the sun, a new study showed.

This mysteriously lucky asteroid was discovered in 2015 by astronomers using the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS1) in Hawaii. It was given the provisional designation 2015 BZ509 with the nickname “BZ.” Scientists noticed that the asteroid moves in the opposite direction of every planet and 99.99 percent of asteroids orbiting the sun, in a state known as retrograde motion.

[ click to continue rading at SPACE.com ]

Posted on March 29, 2017 by Editor

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PriestHub

from America Magazine

Confessions of a Porn-Addicted Priest

John Smith

“Forgive me. I have sinned.” I’ve always counted it a privilege to hear these words, to offer forgiveness. But for years, it was tainted with self-recrimination: You’re a hypocrite. Indeed, who was I to forgive or offer counsel, when I struggled with sin that I myself refused to confess because I couldn’t give it up and wasn’t sure I wanted to? Now, I have a confession to make.

It began during seminary, scanning photo galleries of models and actresses that I was attracted to. It seemed harmless, no threat to my celibate commitment. I took that promise seriously. I had no illusions that it would be easy, and it wasn’t. This might take the edge off, I thought.

I had no fears about its effects on my everyday life. I maintained proper boundaries in my work. I was especially vigilant when I was aware of my attraction to someone. I stayed away from sexually suggestive comments, and never flirted or acted inappropriately. I was the model of propriety, even as my browsing turned from the scantily clad to the unclothed.

My busyness seemed like a grace. Studies, ministry and social life always took priority over my explorations in the developing world of online pornography. Keeping my commitments, I reasoned, would ensure it remained a harmless diversion. My self-deception continued, unconfronted.

[ click to continue reading at America ]

Posted on March 26, 2017 by Editor

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Poopipedia

from Gizmodo

What Your Poop Is Trying to Tell You

by Andrew Tarantola

What the hell is that? Seriously, did that just come out of you or did it crawl up the pipe? If you’ve just exorcised a poo that looks nothing like what you’ve eaten recently, it could be a sign of a serious illness. It could also just be that curry from last Wednesday, so it’s good to know what to look for.

What Goes Into Your Dookie

Human feces goes by many names but is a universal byproduct of the human digestive tract. Yes even your girlfriend poops, even if you’ve never actually seen her do it. Stool is the body’s semi-solid waste product and is comprised of everything that the body could not absorb or otherwise had to expel. Which is to say “crap.”

This includes not just food waste, but also more heinous sounding stuff like dead blood cells, bile, and gastrointestinal bacteria, all covered in a mucus sheath that helps it slide out. Anytime you’ve strained and struggled to pass something that feels not only uncomfortable but actually impossible, you’ve experienced the discomfort of your body not producing enough mucus. It generally means you are dehydrated, so drink some water.

[ click to continue reading at Gizmodo ]

Posted on March 21, 2017 by Editor

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Gravity Re-done

from New Scientist

Rules of attraction: Why it’s time to rethink how gravity works

Fresh suspicions have reopened the case against dark matter, forcing a fundamental rethink of the familiar force that keeps our feet on the ground

By Mark Anderson

Gravity artworkJulien Pacaud

GRAVITY is supposed to be reliable. It’s the familiar force that keeps our feet on the ground and Earth’s atmosphere from hurtling into space. On grander scales, it has shaped the evolution of the universe. What a shame, then, that it sometimes lets you down. To square the whirligig rotations of galaxies and galaxy clusters with our picture of gravity, we have to invent a whole new form of matter that no one has ever seen: dark matter. To explain why the universe’s expansion is accelerating, we have to conjure up an equally mysterious essence known as dark energy.

But what if we never really knew gravity at all? What if out there, beyond where we can easily keep our eye on it, the universal force doesn’t stick to the rules?

It’s a heretical idea, if not an entirely novel one. Now though, renewed scrutiny of galaxies and surprises from the realm of quantum information theory are reinvigorating the quest to rethink gravity. Radical ideas are emerging that amount to a fundamental transformation of how we understand space-time – and what gravity really is. In this picture, dark matter ceases to exist. And dark energy, rather than being something that works against gravity, might be part of what creates it.

[ click to continue reading at New Scientist ]

Posted on March 18, 2017 by Editor

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Space War Coming

from The Washington Post

War in space is becoming a real threat

By David Ignatius

Among the memorabilia in Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein’s office is a fragment of the Wright brothers’ first airplane. But the most intriguing items may be two small plastic satellites on sticks that can be maneuvered to simulate a dogfight in space.

Space is now a potential battle zone, Goldfein explains in an interview. The Air Force wants to ensure “space superiority,” which he says means “freedom from attack and freedom to maneuver.”

If you think cyberwar raises some tricky issues, get your mind around this next big threat worrying the Pentagon. Similar problems exist in both the cyber and space domains: U.S. commercial and military interests are interwoven but deeply suspicious of each other; the technologies are borderless but are being weaponized by hostile nation-states; and attacks on satellites and other systems may be invisible and difficult to attribute.

Today’s digital world hangs on the satellite networks that invisibly circle the globe. They’re the wiring system for many commercial and military operations down below, and they’re highly vulnerable to attack. Russia has jammed GPS reception in Ukraine; China has hacked U.S. weather satellites; North Korea has jammed signals over the demilitarized zone.

The cloud overhead is thickening: As of mid-2016, the Union of Concerned Scientists counted 1,419 satellites orbiting the globe, including 576 from the United States, 181 from China and 140 from Russia. More than half are in low Earth orbit; most of the rest are geostationary, about 22,000 miles from Earth. Roughly 350 satellites, or 25 percent of the total, are for military use. At least 12 nations now have space-launch capability.

[ click to continue reading at WaPo ]

Posted on March 16, 2017 by Editor

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Save The Banana!

from WIRED

Humans Made the Banana Perfect—But Soon, It’ll Be Gone

by Rob Dunn

GETTY IMAGES

ON A PLATE, a single banana seems whimsical—yellow and sweet, contained in its own easy-to-open peel. It is a charming breakfast luxury as silly as it is delicious and ever-present. Yet when you eat a banana the flavor on your tongue has complex roots, equal parts sweetness and tragedy.

In 1950, most bananas were exported from Central America. Guatemala in particular was a key piece of a vast empire of banana plantations run by the American-owned United Fruit Company. United Fruit Company paid Guatemala’s government modest sums in exchange for land. With the land, United Fruit planted bananas and then did as it pleased. It exercised absolute control not only over what workers did but also over how and where they lived. In addition, it controlled transportation, constructing, for example, the first railway in the country, one that was designed to be as useless as possible for the people of Guatemala and as useful as possible for transporting bananas. The company’s profits were immense. In 1950, its revenues were twice the gross domestic product of the entire country of Guatemala. Yet while the United Fruit Company invested greatly in its ability to move bananas, little was invested in understanding the biology of bananas themselves.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on March 15, 2017 by Editor

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Crystallizing Time

from NATURE

The quest to crystallize time

Bizarre forms of matter called time crystals were supposed to be physically impossible. Now they’re not.

by Elizabeth Gibney

Nik Spencer/Nature

Christopher Monroe spends his life poking at atoms with light. He arranges them into rings and chains and then massages them with lasers to explore their properties and make basic quantum computers. Last year, he decided to try something seemingly impossible: to create a time crystal.

The name sounds like a prop from Doctor Who, but it has roots in actual physics. Time crystals are hypothetical structures that pulse without requiring any energy — like a ticking clock that never needs winding. The pattern repeats in time in much the same way that the atoms of a crystal repeat in space. The idea was so challenging that when Nobel prizewinning physicist Frank Wilczek proposed the provocative concept1 in 2012, other researchers quickly proved there was no way to create time crystals.

But there was a loophole — and researchers in a separate branch of physics found a way to exploit the gap. Monroe, a physicist at the University of Maryland in College Park, and his team used chains of atoms they had constructed for other purposes to make a version of a time crystal2 (see ‘How to create a time crystal’). “I would say it sort of fell in our laps,” says Monroe.

[ click to continue reading at NATURE ]

Posted on March 14, 2017 by Editor

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