Sun Dogs

from TIME Magazine

The Polar Vortex Is Causing Striking Solar Phenomena Called ‘Sundogs.’ Here’s What to Know

By GINA MARTINEZ

The polar vortex that has brought deadly cold and record-breaking low temperatures to the Midwest has also resulted in beautiful solar phenomena – sundogs.

According to the National Weather Service, sundogs form when sunlight refracts off ice crystals in the atmosphere and result in colored spots of light approximately 22 degrees either left, right, or both, from the sun.

The origin of the name “sundog” is not entirely clear, but according to Chicago meteorologist Tom Skilling, the name originates from the Greek myth that Zeus walked his dogs across the sky and that the bright “false suns” in the sky on either side of the sun were Zeus’ dogs.

[ click to continue reading at TIME ]

Alternative Milk

from The Guardian

White gold: the unstoppable rise of alternative milks

How wellness upstarts spoiled milk’s healthy reputation – and built a billion-dollar industry from juicing oats and nuts.

By Oliver Franklin-Wallis

Cows being machine-milked in France in 2017.Cows being machine-milked in France in 2017. Photograph: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

In the spring of 2018, New York was gripped by a sudden, very particular and, for some, calamitous food shortage. Gaps appeared on grocery shelves. Coffee shops put out signs, turning customers away. Twitter and Instagram brimmed with outrage. The truly desperate searched from Williamsburg to Harlem, but it seemed undeniable: New York was out of oat milk.

It wasn’t just New York, in fact. The entire US was suffering from a shortage of Oatly, a Swedish plant milk whose rapid rise from obscure digestive health brand to the dairy alternative of choice had caught even Oatly by surprise. Since its US launch in 2016, Oatly had gone from supplying a handful of upscale New York coffee shops to more than 3,000 cafes and grocery stores nationwide. The company had ramped up production by 1,250%, but when I spoke to CEO Toni Petersson in late summer, they were still struggling to meet demand. “How do we supply when the growth is this crazy?” Petersson said.

Fortunately, when it comes to milk, in 2019 there is no shortage of alternative alternatives. Visit your local supermarket and you will find a refrigerated aisle overflowing with choice: almond milk, hazelnut milk, peanut, tiger nut, walnut, cashew – and that’s just the nuts. Coconut, hemp, spelt, quinoa, pea – you name it, somewhere a health-food startup is milking it. London tube stations are filled with ads for new plant milks – or rather, “mylks” (EU law prevents dairy alternatives from using the word milk if it isn’t produced by a lactating mammal). Cookbooks dedicate entire chapters to blending and straining your own. Sainsbury’s now stocks around 70 different options. There are the wellness punks (Rebel Kitchen, Rude Health), the dairy puns (Malk, Milkadamia, Mooala) and the nourishers (LoveRaw, Good Karma, Plenish). “People are just looking at every nut that exists and seeing if they can squash it into a milk,” said Glynis Murray, one of the owners of Good, which squashes hemp seeds into oil and milk.

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

They’re Watching Us

from CBS News

Private company launches “largest fleet of satellites in human history” to photograph Earth

A private company has set off a revolution in space by launching hundreds of small satellites, enough to photograph the entire landmass of the Earth every day

by  David Martin

For decades the U.S. Has relied on spy satellites to look deep inside the territory of its adversaries. These giant billion-dollar satellites take high resolution photographs which can see objects as small as a fist inside Russia, North Korea or wherever the target is. Tonight we will take you inside the intelligence agency where those photos are analyzed, and we will also take you inside a revolution that is rocking the top secret world of spy satellites. A private company named Planet Labs has put about 300 small satellites into space, enough to take a picture of the entire land mass of the Earth every day. Those small satellites have created a big data problem for the government which can’t possibly hire enough analysts to look at all those pictures. Welcome to the revolution.

This is how the revolution began. Twenty-eight small satellites sent out into orbit by astronauts from the biggest of all satellites, the International Space Station.

[ click to continue reading at CBS News ]

Lunar Meteor Exposes Itself

from National Geographic

A meteor hit the moon during the lunar eclipse. Here’s what we know.

In what may be a first-of-its-kind event, a flash of light seen during totality has astronomers on the hunt for a new crater on the moon.

BY

On Sunday, January 20, viewers across the Western Hemisphere were treated to the rusty hues of the decade’s last “blood moon” eclipse. But as people across the planet watched the moon glow crimson, some lucky observers caught an unexpected delight: the flash of a space rock striking the lunar orb.

“It’s a rare alignment of infrequent events,” says Justin Cowart, a Ph.D. candidate at Stony Brook University in New York. “A [meteoroid] about this size hits the moon about once a week or so,” he says. But if this event is confirmed, it may be the first time such an impact has been recorded during a lunar eclipse.

An eagle-eyed viewer on Reddit spotted the potential impact during the eclipse and reached out to the r/space community to see if others could weigh in. The news spread quickly on social media, as people from across the path of totality posted their images and video of this tiny flicker of light.

[ click to continue reading at NatGeo ]

The Notable QUEEN & SLIM

from Dark Horizons

The Notable Films Of 2019: O-S

By Garth Franklin

image

“Queen & Slim”

Following his superb turns in “Get Out,” “Black Panther” and “Widows,” Daniel Kaluuya is set to lead this Lena Waithe-penned indie romance drama which sees “Insecure” and “Master of None” director Melina Matsoukas make her feature debut. Famed author James Frey came up with the initial idea for the project about a black man (Kaluuya) and a black woman (Jodie Turner-Smith) who go on a first date that goes awry after the two are pulled over by a cop. They kill the police officer in self-defense and rather than turn themselves in, they go on the run in a film that aims to “define black love as a revolutionary act.”

[ click to see full list of Notables at Dark Horizons ]

Don’t Mess With The Breasts

from The San Francisco Chronicle

There’s a new texting scam going around, and it starts with a picture of breasts

By Filipa Ioannou

Within a few weeks of each other, two friends of mine in the Bay Area independently received a text with the same unsolicited photo of a woman’s bra-clad, but otherwise exposed, cleavage sent from an area code in central Pennsylvania last month.

Both of them, curious as to the provenance of the boobs, replied and asked who was texting them. It was clear some scam was afoot. But what was it? They wanted to know the endgame.

Local Redditors, too, have reported similar missives.

“Anyone else in SF getting texts from a random number who sends you a nude and then tries to flirt with you over text?” wrote Redditor NaturalPerspective earlier this month. “I have had three people tell me it has also happened to them in the past 3 weeks. Wondering what is going on.”

If you yourself have gotten a similar text out of nowhere and wondered where the trail of breadcrumbs lead — Phishing? Blackmail? Viral marketing? — we followed them, so you don’t have to.

[ click to continue reading at the Chronicle ]

Rembrandt’s Secret Sauce

from artnet

Scientists Have Found the Rare Secret Ingredient Rembrandt Used to Make His Paintings So Vibrant

The discovery could be critical in helping to preserve the Dutch artist’s masterful paintings for future generations.

by Henri Neuendorf

Dutch and French scientists and have discovered the secret behind Rembrandt’s brilliant and life-life impasto technique.

Citing a research paper published in the scientific journal AngewandteChemie, the Daily Mail reports that the team has identified a substance called plumbonacrite, a rare compound thus far only identified in works of art from the 20th century and in one painting by Vincent van Gogh. The information is vital for understanding Rembrandt’s work—and could be crucial for conserving and restoring his masterpieces for future generations to enjoy.

“We didn’t expect to find this phase at all, as it is so unusual in Old Masters’ paintings,” the paper’s chief author, Victor Gonzalez of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Delft University of Technology, told the Daily Mail. “What’s more, our research shows its presence is not accidental or due to contamination, but the result of an intended synthesis.”

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

‘Oumuamua Lurking

from The New Yorker

Have Aliens Found Us? A Harvard Astronomer on the Mysterious Interstellar Object ‘Oumuamua

By Isaac Chotiner

On October 19, 2017, astronomers at the University of Hawaii spotted a strange object travelling through our solar system, which they later described as “a red and extremely elongated asteroid.” It was the first interstellar object to be detected within our solar system; the scientists named it ‘Oumuamua, the Hawaiian word for a scout or messenger. The following October, Avi Loeb, the chair of Harvard’s astronomy department, co-wrote a paper (with a Harvard postdoctoral fellow, Shmuel Bialy) that examined ‘Oumuamua’s “peculiar acceleration” and suggested that the object “may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth’s vicinity by an alien civilization.” Loeb has long been interested in the search for extraterrestrial life, and he recently made further headlines by suggesting that we might communicate with the civilization that sent the probe. “If these beings are peaceful, we could learn a lot from them,” he told Der Spiegel.

I recently spoke by phone with Loeb, who was frustrated that scientists saw ‘Oumuamua too late in its journey to photograph the object. “My motivation for writing the paper is to alert the community to pay a lot more attention to the next visitor,” he told me. During our conversation, which has been edited and condensed for clarity, we discussed why Loeb thinks we need to consider the possibility that ‘Oumuamua was sent by aliens, the dangers of unscientific speculation, and what belief in an advanced extraterrestrial civilization has in common with faith in God.

Your explanation of why ‘Oumuamua might be an interstellar probe may be hard for laypeople to understand. Why might this be the case, beyond the fact that lots of things are possible?

There is a Scientific American article I wrote where I summarized six strange facts about ‘Oumuamua. The first one is that we didn’t expect this object to exist in the first place. We see the solar system and we can calculate at what rate it ejected rocks during its history. And if we assume all planetary systems around other stars are doing the same thing, we can figure out what the population of interstellar objects should be. That calculation results in a lot of possibilities, but the range is much less than needed to explain the discovery of ‘Oumuamua.

There is another peculiar fact about this object. When you look at all the stars in the vicinity of the sun, they move relative to the sun, the sun moves relative to them, but only one in five hundred stars in that frame is moving as slow as ‘Oumuamua. You would expect that most rocks would move roughly at the speed of the star they came from. If this object came from another star, that star would have to be very special.

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Alien Ice-disk In Presumpscot

from the Portland Press Herald

Spinning in the Presumpscot, this alien-looking ice disk has Westbrook all abuzz

The circular sheet appears to be rotating and growing, drawing comparisons to a crop circle, a Lazy Susan and a duck-go-round.

BY DENNIS HOEY

A disk of ice roughly 100 yards across that formed on the Presumpscot River and was slowly rotating and gaining size Monday had Westbrook buzzing almost as much as when city police spotted a giant snake eating a beaver in roughly the same location in June 2016.

Nothing ever came of those mysterious snake sightings – the reptile was dubbed “Wessie” by locals – but the sight of an alien-looking circle of ice stuck in the river had some people wondering about that section of the river’s knack for producing weird events.

“It kind of looks like a crop circle,” said Doug Bertlesman, a web developer at Ethos Marketing. His company is at 17 Ash St. The four-story building with a roof deck overlooks the river where the ice disk formed.

[ click to continue reading at the Press Herald ]

Egg Beats Kylie

from TIME Magazine

An Egg Has Beaten Kylie Jenner’s Record for the Most-Liked Photo on Instagram

By ASHLEY HOFFMAN

An egg won the internet Sunday.

In the latest example that internet dominance is as fragile as an eggshell, an egg Instagram overtook Kylie Jenner by posting the most liked Instagram photo ever.

The egg racked up more than 18.2 million likes as of Sunday evening — a big win for a little egg.

The Instagram account set out on its journey Sunday morning with its first post declaring its ambitions.

“Let’s set a world record together and get the most liked post on Instagram. Beating the current world record held by Kylie Jenner (18 million)! We got this,” the bio read.

[ click to continue reading at TIME ]

Cosmic Steamships

from NBC News

Steam-powered spaceship could cruise the cosmos indefinitely without running out of gas

Scientists say the microwave-sized craft would suck its watery fuel right out of the asteroids, planets and moons it’s exploring.

By Brandon Specktor

Come one, come all and behold the future of space travel: steam power!

No, seriously; half a century after the world’s first manned space mission, it seems that interplanetary travel has finally entered the steam age. Scientists at the University of Central Florida have teamed up with Honeybee Robotics, a private space and mining tech company based in California, to develop a small, steam-powered spacecraft capable of sucking its fuel right out of the asteroids, planets and moons it’s exploring.

By continuously turning extraterrestrial water into steam, this microwave-sized lander could, theoretically, power itself on an indefinite number of planet-hopping missions across the galaxy — so long as it always lands somewhere with H20 for the taking.

“We could potentially use this technology to hop on the moon, Ceres, Europa, Titan, Pluto, the poles of Mercury, asteroids — anywhere there is water and sufficiently low gravity,” Phil Metzger, a UCF space scientist and one of the chief minds behind the steampunk starship, said in a statement. Metzger added that such a self-sufficient spacecraft could explore the cosmos “forever.”

[ click to continue reading at NBC ]

Yikes! Why To Watch Your Blood Sugar Levels

from Fox45 Columbus

Dangerous chase during rush hour result of driver having medical emergency

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) – A potentially deadly situation was stopped when a police officer from Hilliard, Ohio managed to safely stop a driver swerving all over the interstate during rush hour, after a short chase. Officers now say the driver was having a medical emergency which led to the dangerous pursuit.

Police received reports about a vehicle driving erratically on I-270 on the west side shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday. After stopping on the side of the highway to look for the driver, an officer had to suddenly move his patrol vehicle out of the way to avoid being struck after he saw the SUV veer off the road right behind him.

The officer immediately began following the car with lights and sirens, trying to pull over the driver. Dashcam video shows the SUV going from one side of the highway to the other, veering into the grass and clipping roadway signs. At one point, the driver stops in the grass next to the off-ramp to Tuttle Crossing, only to suddenly drive off again, going all the way across the median and back onto the highway as traffic passes.

“(Send) me some help from somewhere, this guy’s going to kill somebody. He’s all over all five lanes,” the officer radioed dispatch after the driver speeds off again, veering across 270. Seconds later, as the SUV goes into the grass and back onto the highway, the officer performed a PIT maneuver, hitting the SUV and bringing the driver to a stop in the middle of the highway.

[ click to continue reading at Fox45 ]

Solitary Bullshit

from Chicago Tribune

How solitary confinement drove a young inmate to the brink of insanity

by Jeff Coen and Stacy St. Clair

With his mental state deteriorating as he sat in the crushing isolation of solitary confinement, a desperate inmate named Anthony Gay saw a temporary way out.

Sometimes it came in the form of a contraband razor blade. Occasionally it was a staple from a legal document or a small shard of something he had broken.

He would mutilate himself in his Illinois prison cell, slicing open his neck, forearms, legs and genitals hundreds of times over two decades in solitary confinement. Once, he packed a fan motor inside a gaping leg wound; another time he cut open his scrotum and inserted a zipper.

Each time he harmed himself, he knew that, at least for a little while, the extreme step would bring contact with other human beings. Therapists would rush to calm him. Nurses would offer kind words as they took his pulse and stitched him up.

“It’s kind of like being locked in the basement, and then emerging from the basement and being put on the center stage,” he said. “It made me feel alive.”

Gay entered the Illinois Department of Corrections in 1994 as a young man, convicted of robbery after brawling with another teen who told police that Gay took his hat and stole a single dollar bill. He expected to serve as little as three and a half years.

Instead, a fight with a fellow inmate led to Gay’s first stint in segregation, pushing him into a downward spiral that resulted in 22 years in solitary confinement. Shortly after the segregation started, the cutting and suicide attempts began.

[ click to continue reading at the Tribune ]

Shit!

from news.com.au

Earth’s magnetic pole is on the move, fast. And we don’t know why

Earth’s magnetic field is what allows us to exist. It deflects harmful radiation. It keeps our water and atmosphere in place. But now it’s acting up — and nobody knows why.

by Jamie Seidel

Graphic via Science Journal NatureGraphic via Science Journal NatureSource:Supplied

Planet Earth is alive. Deep beneath its skin, its life blood — rivers of molten iron — pulse around its core. And this mobile iron is what generates the magnetic field that causes auroras — and keeps us alive.

But, according to the science journal Nature, something strange is going on deep down below.

It’s causing the magnetic North Pole to ‘skitter’ away from Canada, towards Siberia.

“The magnetic pole is moving so quickly that it has forced the world’s geomagnetism experts into a rare move,” Nature reports.

[ click to continue reading at news.com.au ]

XFL Coming

from Real Clear Life

Could NCAA Stars Bolt College for XFL Before NFL?

The XFL isn’t bound by the same eligibility rules that restrict the NFL and its prospective players.

SANTA CLARA, CA – JANUARY 07: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers reacts after his teams 44-16 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi’s Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Though it won’t be kicking off until 2020, the XFL is already making it clear it will welcome talented players who want to get paid as early as possible.

Under NFL rules, a player must be out of high school for at least three years before joining the league. In addition to working on their games, that’s a big reason many top prospects choose to play college football, generally for more than one season.

But, the XFL doesn’t have the same rules as the NFL and it sounds as if players who want to play pro football right out of high school may have that option in 2020. Additionally, college players who want to leave school early before they are eligible for the NFL will also likely be in play for the XFL.

[ click to continue reading at RCL ]