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 ]

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 ]

Library Of The Apocalypse

from The Sun

Second Arctic ‘Doomsday Vault’ will allow the world’s precious books to survive Armageddon

Huge archive of digitised documents will be buried deep in an old mine buried within the permafrost of Svalbard in Norway

by Jasper Hamill

Like the Seed Vault, the Doomsday Library is buried in the permafrostAP /Like the Seed Vault, the Doomsday Library is buried in the permafrost

It is hoped countries will choose to store digitised versions of their most important books and documents in the vast library, allowing to survive nuclear war or some other grim apocalypse.

If Britain decided to get involved in the project and put a version of the National Archive in the vault, it would mean that copies of The Sun would be preserved for all eternity – so future generations can enjoy a few episodes of Deidre’s Ye Olde Photo Casebook.

The facility is called the World Arctic Archive and is based in the same area of Norway as the Global Seed Vault, which is stocked up with seeds to enable humanity to survive if a natural disaster wipes out food supplies.

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

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 ]

Russians Hacking American Farmers Sorta

from VICE

Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware

JASON KOEBLER

A dive into the thriving black market of John Deere tractor hacking.

To avoid the draconian locks that John Deere puts on the tractors they buy, farmers throughout America’s heartland have started hacking their equipment with firmware that’s cracked in Eastern Europe and traded on invite-only, paid online forums.

Tractor hacking is growing increasingly popular because John Deere and other manufacturers have made it impossible to perform “unauthorized” repair on farm equipment, which farmers see as an attack on their sovereignty and quite possibly an existential threat to their livelihood if their tractor breaks at an inopportune time.

“When crunch time comes and we break down, chances are we don’t have time to wait for a dealership employee to show up and fix it,” Danny Kluthe, a hog farmer in Nebraska, told his state legislature earlier this month. “Most all the new equipment [requires] a download [to fix].”

The nightmare scenario, and a fear I heard expressed over and over again in talking with farmers, is that John Deere could remotely shut down a tractor and there wouldn’t be anything a farmer could do about it.

[ click to continue reading at VICE ]

Season 4 – He Will Not Zip Tie Us

from HEATSTREET

‘He Will Not Divide Us’ Liverpool Stream Taken Down Following 4chan Trolling

By William Hicks

He Will Not Zip Tie Us

For the fourth time, Shia Labeouf and co. claimed the “He Will Not Divide Us” stream had found a permanent home—and for the fourth time they were proved wrong.

The Liverpool, UK, location for the protest livestream has been compromised, with members of 4chan’s /pol/ board scaling the roof of the FACT center and attempting to tear down the flag. Labeouf and his artist friends thought the flag was safe on top of a five- story building in a different country, but again they discounted the power of the Internet.

Trolls went to extensive lengths to scale the building and try to remove the flag, risking physical and legal dangers.

Three guys were able to get on the roof from another building and made their way across to the arts center. They complained that the flag was heavily zip tied to the pole and could not take be taken down without scissors.

The stream was cut off before the flag was taken down, leading to speculation the Brits had failed. But later pictures from the ground revealed the flag had in fact been removed from the pole.

[ click to continue reading at HEATSTREET ]

Chuck Barris Gone

from CNN

Chuck Barris, TV game show creator and host, dies at 87

By Madison Park

(CNN)Chuck Barris, best known as host of the TV series “The Gong Show” and creator of “The Dating Game” and “The Newlywed Game,” died Tuesday.

As host of “The Gong Show,” Barris introduced amateur performers to three celebrity judges, who could put a stop to terrible performances by striking the gong. Much like on “American Idol,” awful performances became ratings smash hits. The TV show aired from 1976 to 1980.

While his shows were wildly popular, they were not a hit with critics. Barris was panned as the King of Schlock, Baron of Bad Taste and Ayatollah of Trasherola.
Apart from game shows, Barris found success as a writer. He penned six best-selling books and a 1962 pop song, “Palisades Park,” which became a No. 3 hit in the US for Freddy Cannon.

Barris later wrote in his book “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” that he worked as a CIA assassin while working in TV — a claim denied by the agency. The book became a 2002 movie, directed by George Clooney. Sam Rockwell starred as Barris, and the cast included Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore and Clooney.

[ click to read full obit at CNN ]

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 ]

The Alexandria Quartet

from Literary Hub

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF THE LIBRARY OF ALEXANDRIA

ONE OF THE GREAT CENTERS OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE, EVER

By James Crawford

In 1960, four novels by the well-known English writer Lawrence Durrell were brought together in one volume and published as The Alexandria Quartet. Described by its author as “an investigation of modern love,” it was set in the Egyptian city of Alexandria before and during the Second World War, and was largely based on Durrell’s own experiences during his time there as a press attaché. The Quartet traced the personal lives of a number of key characters—seemingly based on real individuals, including Durrell’s second wife—from different, competing perspectives. He later claimed, however, that, out of all of the people portrayed and incidents featured, “only the city is real.”

Alexandria was the true hero of the book: an exotic, darkly seductive and sensuous city, fragrant of “offal and drying mud, of carnations and jasmine, of animal sweat and clover.” Durrell painted a picture of a cosmopolitan, Greco-Arab outpost, where East met West in a delicious collision of hotels, hashish cafés, colonial villas and squalid slums, all set between the blankness of the desert and the blue of the Mediterranean. Yet Durrell’s Alexandria was far from a product of the 20th century alone. Instead he called it a “capital of memory,” a place that still held on to the “echoes of an extraordinary history.” It was a remnant and a shadow of a much greater city, one born out of a dream two-and-a-half thousand years old.

In 331 BC, according to the Greek historian Plutarch, after successfully conquering Egypt, Alexander the Great received a vision in his sleep. A “grey-haired man of venerable appearance,” told him of “an island in the much-dashing sea in front of Egypt: Pharos is what men call it.” Alexander believed that this visitation was the Greek poet Homer, communicating from beyond the grave. When he travelled to view Pharos, he declared it to be the perfect spot for a city: a city that would bear his name, and that would become a new capital of the ancient world.

[ click to continue reading at Literary Hub ]

Moonbase 2037

from The Independent

Thousands of people could live in space colonies orbiting the Earth in 20 years, expert claims

Space colonists might live longer and eventually grow taller than humans left behind on Earth, Jerry Stone tells The Independent ahead of British Science Festival lecture

by Ian Johnston

spacecolony1.jpgThe colonies would float in space as individual galactic ‘islands’ Rick Guidice/Nasa

Thousands of people could be living in floating space colonies orbiting the Earth in 20 years’ time, according to the head of a project by the British Interplanetary Society (BIS).

And, while life in space might sound unappealing to some, Jerry Stone believe it could actually be healthier than planet Earth, enabling people to live longer and, eventually, grow taller.

Mr Stone, author of the book One Small Step about the moon landings, and other members of the BIS have been updating research carried out in the US in the 1970s into how humans could start living in space in large numbers.

In a speech in Aberdeen as part of British Science Week, Mr Stone will claim humanity is now close to the point where such colonies could be built using material taken from the Moon and asteroids.

[ click to continue reading at The Independent ]

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 ]

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 ]

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 ]

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 ]

MasterChef Junior

from The Other Cape

We’ll Have What She’s Having

Posted by Heather Atwood

MasterChef Junior contestant Lila DeLuca in her Rockport kitchen. (Photograph by Jonathan Kozowyk)MasterChef Junior contestant Lila DeLuca in her Rockport kitchen. (Photograph by Jonathan Kozowyk)

Late last spring, Lila DeLuca, a braided 10-year-old Rockporter, quietly slipped off to Los Angeles. She reported to her elementary school that she would be accompanying her father, Scott, on an “indefinite business trip.”

This, of course, was cover for the strict code of silence the Fox Broadcasting Company imposes upon its MasterChef contestants — even the juniors.

In her 2016 audition video, DeLuca had proven to the MasterChef Junior talent team that she had the right stuff to be one of the 40 kids qualified to endure — with all due adorableness — celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s famously menacing temper and the lofty standards of his co-host Christina Tosi, the high priestess of pastry at New York’s Momofuku Milk Bar.

For the next six weeks, DeLuca would proceed to croûtoncoulis, caramelize, and squeal for joy — like 10-year-olds do. While the show has concluding taping and the results are in, DeLuca is prohibited from sharing any of the juicy details. But she can say that, yes, there was school (as California laws require). And there were field trips, intended to keep young minds working in between the intensity of shooting, and, of course, there was the once-in-a-lifetime experience of being on the set of a nationally-televised, wildly-popular TV show.

[ click to continue reading at The Other Cape ]