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Pilbarra

from BBC

Is the Pilbara the oldest place on Earth?

by Dan Avila

(Credit: Dan Avila)
(Credit: Dan Avila)

Dating to around 3.6 billion years ago, the Pilbara region of Western Australia is home to the fossilised evidence of the Earth’s oldest lifeforms.I

In recent years, science has confirmed what Aboriginal Australians, the world’s oldest continuous living culture, always knew: the Pilbara region of Western Australia is among the oldest places on Earth.

The Pilbara began to form more than 3.6 billion years ago and its vast landscape of deep pindan reds and endless panoramas, which stretches from the west coast to the Northern Territory border, is an ancient, forbidding place. For those travelling to the region for the first time, the initial sense of space and solitude can be daunting: it’s roughly double the size of Great Britain, but with a population of just 61,000, it is one of the most sparsely populated regions on Earth.

[ click to continue reading at BBC ]

Posted on January 27, 2022 by Editor

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Trappedverse

from WIRED

My Family Is Trapped in the Metaverse

Virtual reality isn’t great, but it’s a lot better than dealing with everything else out there.

by Adrienne So

A child wearing VR glasses experiences AI technology
PHOTOGRAPH: VCG/GETTY IMAGES

ON A WHIM, I recently started rewatching Ready Player One, the Steven Spielberg adaptation of Ernest Cline’s seminal novel about a future in which virtual reality is the real world. In the opening scene, protagonist Wade Watts clambers around a ramshackle trailer park before placing a headset on his face. Everyone has largely abandoned the decrepit, rundown reality for the Oasis—a virtual world of limitless possibilities, where everyone can do, be, or look like pretty much anything they want.

If you’d asked me if we were close to Ready Player One a year ago, I would’ve snorted and listed any of the objections my more skeptical colleagues have noted. However, on a recent Saturday afternoon, my husband put on the Meta Quest 2 VR headset to play Puzzling Places, a 3D puzzling game, while our children played with their stuffed animals and I sorted laundry.

After lunch, my 6-year-old daughter was allowed to spend a half-hour in Google’s Tilt Brush, a 3D drawing app where she created a frosty winter scene, complete with falling snow and snowmen named Lisa and Tom. My 4-year-old watched, enraptured, as the headset cast to the screen. After dinner, I caught my husband putting the headset on again. I told him to charge it when he was done because I was going to try a few new games with my coworker in an hour.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on January 26, 2022 by Editor

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B-O-L-O-G-N-A Mask

from c|net

Oscar Mayer bologna-inspired face mask hydrates and horrifies

My bologna face mask has a first name.

by Amanda Kooser

oscar-mayer-bologna-face-mask-hero-visual
Maybe don’t wear this out in public.Oscar Mayer

I have no idea what’s in bologna. The off-pink deli meat is something I haven’t thought about since childhood. Then along comes meat-maker Oscar Mayer with a bologna face mask, and I’m now having deep thoughts about lunch and self-care.

Scratching sound. Rewind. Bologna face mask?! Oscar Mayer, never one to shy away from flashy marketing moves, is selling a $4.99 Bologna Hydrogel Sheet Face Mask on US Amazon as of today, for as long as supplies last.

Oscar Mayer is riffing on the playful idea of biting out eye and mouth shapes from a piece of bologna and then holding it over your face like a mask. Where did this bizarre ritual come from? I don’t know and I’m afraid to ask, but it sounds like a very American thing to do.

[ click to continue reading at c|net ]

Posted on January 24, 2022 by Editor

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First Sleep, Second Sleep

from BBC

The forgotten medieval habit of ‘two sleeps’

By Zaria Gorvett

A memorial tombstone of a sleeping knight (Credit: Alamy)
(Image credit: Alamy)

It was around 23:00 on 13 April 1699, in a small village in the north of England. Nine-year-old Jane Rowth blinked her eyes open and squinted out into the moody evening shadows. She and her mother had just awoken from a short sleep.

Mrs Rowth got up and went over to the fireside of their modest home, where she began smoking a pipe. Just then, two men appeared by the window. They called out and instructed her to get ready to go with them.

As Jane later explained to a courtroom, her mother had evidently been expecting the visitors. She went with them freely – but first whispered to her daughter to “lye still, and shee would come againe in the morning”. Perhaps Mrs Rowth had some nocturnal task to complete. Or maybe she was in trouble, and knew that leaving the house was a risk. 

Either way, Jane’s mother didn’t get to keep her promise – she never returned home. That night, Mrs Rowth was brutally murdered, and her body was discovered in the following days. The crime was never solved.

Nearly 300 years later, in the early 1990s, the historian Roger Ekirch walked through the arched entranceway to the Public Record Office in London – an imposing gothic building that housed the UK’s National Archives from 1838 until 2003. There, among the endless rows of ancient vellum papers and manuscripts, he found Jane’s testimony. And something about it struck him as odd. 

Originally, Ekirch had been researching a book about the history of night-time, and at the time he had been looking through records that spanned the era between the early Middle Ages and the Industrial Revolution. He was dreading writing the chapter on sleep, thinking that it was not only a universal necessity – but a biological constant. He was sceptical that he’d find anything new.  

So far, he had found court depositions particularly illuminating. “They’re a wonderful source for social historians,” says Ekirch, a professor at Virginia Tech, US. “They comment upon activity that’s oftentimes unrelated to the crime itself.”

But as he read through Jane’s criminal deposition, two words seemed to carry an echo of a particularly tantalising detail of life in the 17th Century, which he had never encountered before – “first sleep”.

[ click to continue reading at BBC ]

Posted on January 23, 2022 by Editor

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The Beautiful Model

from The Conversation

The Standard Model of particle physics: The absolutely amazing theory of almost everything

The Standard Model of elementary particles provides an ingredients list for everything around us. Fermi National Accelerator LaboratoryCC BY

The Standard Model. What a dull name for the most accurate scientific theory known to human beings.

More than a quarter of the Nobel Prizes in physics of the last century are direct inputs to or direct results of the Standard Model. Yet its name suggests that if you can afford a few extra dollars a month you should buy the upgrade. As a theoretical physicist, I’d prefer The Absolutely Amazing Theory of Almost Everything. That’s what the Standard Model really is.

Many recall the excitement among scientists and media over the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson. But that much-ballyhooed event didn’t come out of the blue – it capped a five-decade undefeated streak for the Standard Model. Every fundamental force but gravity is included in it. Every attempt to overturn it to demonstrate in the laboratory that it must be substantially reworked – and there have been many over the past 50 years – has failed.

In short, the Standard Model answers this question: What is everything made of, and how does it hold together?

[ click to continue reading at The Conversation ]

Posted on January 22, 2022 by Editor

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Pokerbots

from The New York Times

How A.I. Conquered Poker

Good poker players have always known that they need to maintain a balance between bluffing and playing it straight. Now they can do so perfectly.

By Keith Romer

Illustration by Patricia Doria

Last November in the cavernous Amazon Room of Las Vegas’s Rio casino, two dozen men dressed mostly in sweatshirts and baseball caps sat around three well-worn poker tables playing Texas Hold ’em. Occasionally a few passers-by stopped to watch the action, but otherwise the players pushed their chips back and forth in dingy obscurity. Except for the taut, electric stillness with which they held themselves during a hand, there was no outward sign that these were the greatest poker players in the world, nor that they were, as the poker saying goes, “playing for houses,” or at least hefty down payments. This was the first day of a three-day tournament whose official name was the World Series of Poker Super High Roller, though the participants simply called it “the 250K,” after the $250,000 each had put up to enter it.

At one table, a professional player named Seth Davies covertly peeled up the edges of his cards to consider the hand he had just been dealt: the six and seven of diamonds. Over several hours of play, Davies had managed to grow his starting stack of 1.5 million in tournament chips to well over two million, some of which he now slid forward as a raise. A 33-year-old former college baseball player with a trimmed light brown beard, Davies sat upright, intensely following the action as it moved around the table. Two men called his bet before Dan Smith, a fellow pro with a round face, mustache and whimsically worn cowboy hat, put in a hefty reraise. Only Davies called.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on January 21, 2022 by Editor

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Autonomyverse

from City Journal

Enter the Metaverse

Unlike the Internet, the dawning digital environment promises autonomy from the physical world.

by Bruno Maçães

MIGUEL CANDELA/ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES
MIGUEL CANDELA/ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES

It is no coincidence that the metaverse as a practical project emerged out of the experience of the Covid-19 pandemic. The concept is older, tracing its origins to such science fiction classics as Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, but the last two years have transformed it into an actual business proposition, capable of dictating a name change for Facebook (now Meta) and moving billions of dollars in capital markets.

The great migration to digital during the pandemic showed the enormous advantages of being able to work and live within an artificial, secondary universe. In this universe, the laws of space and time no longer apply, or at least they can be bent, enhancing human powers in ways still to explore: an end to long commutes and the achievement of measurable increases in productivity; the ability to participate in meetings and conferences on different continents and on the same day; and children still able to attend school, even amid the worst public-health emergency in a century.

Unfortunately, the limits of digital experience were no less apparent. A lot gets lost when human interaction takes place on a screen. The results of remote schooling have so far proved mixed, at best. A digital work environment soon revealed itself as considerably more exhausting than the real counterpart. Human beings are built for the kind of immersive interaction that takes place in the physical world, where all five senses get involved. Some of our mental abilities, including memory, suffer markedly when we are reduced to disembodied egos on Zoom. As for entertainment, digital experiences are still so far from the actual fun of going to a restaurant or a music concert that nothing one tried on the Internet during the lockdowns measured up.

[ click to continue reading at City Journal ]

Posted on January 20, 2022 by Editor

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Microsoft Blizzard

from The Observer

Microsoft to Purchase Activision Blizzard for $68.7 Billion

Microsoft says the acquisition will help “provide building blocks for the metaverse.”

By Isabella Simonetti

Activision is currently implicated in a workplace sexual misconduct scandal. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

IGN initially reported that Kotick would remain as Activision Blizzard CEO, but has updated their story to say that Kotick’s future at the company remains unclear.

Microsoft has agreed to buy video game giant Activision Blizzard in an all-cash deal for $68.7 billion, further propelling the company’s expansion into the metaverse. 

Activision is home to some of the world’s most popular video games including the Call of Duty franchise and Candy Crush. For Microsoft, which owns the gaming and console-maker XBox, the deal, if completed, will represent its largest acquisition in history. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news.

[ click to continue reading at The Observer ]

Posted on January 19, 2022 by Editor

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Andre Leon Talley Gone

from TMZ

ANDRE LEON TALLEY DEAD AT 73

Remembering Andre Leon Talley

Fashion icon Andre Leon Talley has died at 73 … TMZ has learned.

A source with direct knowledge tells us Vogue’s former creative director and one-time editor-at-large passed away Tuesday at a hospital in White Plains, NY. It’s currently unclear exactly what he was battling in the hospital.

Talley was instrumental to Vogue’s vision and direction in the ’80s and ’90s, when he worked his way up the magazine ranks to eventually become the news director — which he helmed from ’83 to ’87 — and then ascended to Vogue’s creative director in ’88.

[ click to continue reading at TMZ ]

Posted on January 18, 2022 by Editor

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Crypto Anger

from The New York Times

Crypto Enthusiasts Meet Their Match: Angry Gamers

By Mike Isaac and Kellen Browning

“I just hate that they keep finding ways to nickel-and-dime us in whatever way they can,” said Matt Kee, a gamer, about a game studio’s push into NFTs.
“I just hate that they keep finding ways to nickel-and-dime us in whatever way they can,” said Matt Kee, a gamer, about a game studio’s push into NFTs.Credit…Stacy Kranitz for The New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — For years, Christian Lantz has played S.T.A.L.K.E.R., a first-person shooter game set in a post-apocalyptic Ukraine that became a cult hit for its immersive role playing. So when the 18-year-old high schooler heard a sequel was coming this year, he knew he had to buy it.

That was until GSC Game World, the Ukrainian company behind the computer game, announced last month that the new S.T.A.L.K.E.R. would incorporate the crypto-based assets known as nonfungible tokens, or NFTs. In the new game, GSC said, players could buy and sell NFTs of items like clothing for their in-game characters. The company heralded the move as a “transformative step” toward the virtual world known as the metaverse.

Mr. Lantz was incensed. He joined thousands of fans on Twitter and Reddit who raged against NFTs in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.’s sequel. The game maker, they said, was simply looking to squeeze more money out of its players. The backlash was so intense that GSC quickly reversed itself and abandoned its NFT plan.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on January 17, 2022 by Editor

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Bulltheft

from AFP via Yahoo! News

Why thieves are snatching French bulldogs across the US

French bulldogs like Magnolia -- seen here sporting a tiny Chanel bag during New York Fashion Week in February 2021 -- have become a favored target of thieves, some of them violent (AFP/Angela Weiss)

The two thieves who brutally robbed 27-year-old Marieke Bayens at gunpoint on a California street were not after her purse — or her. They wanted the little dog at the end of her leash: Merlyn, a French bulldog.

From New York to Los Angeles, and from Miami to Chicago, thefts of the prized breed have been on the rise.

Small and friendly — and thus easy to grab — French bulldogs are hugely popular, selling for thousands of dollars on the black market.

They have the added draw of being a “dog of the stars.”

The most famous victim so far has been Lady Gaga. Armed men last year stole her pet bulldogs Koji and Gustav, even opening fire on an employee who was walking them (he was wounded but survived).

The superstar singer offered a $500,000 reward for their return and eventually got the dogs back. Police made five arrests in the case.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! News ]

Posted on January 16, 2022 by Editor

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Surveillanceverse

from The Washington Post

Surveillance will follow us into ‘the metaverse,’ and our bodies could be its new data source

by Tatum Hunter

Erin McDannald joins her colleagues in the office about three days a week by popping on an Oculus headset from Facebook parent company Meta or clicking into a desktop application. She can maneuver through an exact replica of the brick-and-mortar Washington, D.C., office building her company left behind when it switched to remote work.

McDannald is CEO of Environments, an interior-design-turned-software company building so-called immersive work experiences in virtual reality, and it’s testing its own product. Five employees work in the virtual office, each with their own avatar that looks (kind of) like them. The company takes care to make employee avatars resemble their human counterparts only to a point — too lifelike, and they get creepy. Too abstract, and the whole thing starts to feel unprofessional, McDannald said. Employees marking work anniversaries have tiny, celebratory icons above their avatars’ heads, like in the computer game “The Sims.” McDannald can walk over to an employee’s virtual desk and check in at any time. Despite the ramped-up opportunity for managerial oversight, she said no employees have objected.

“I think there will be a merging of our physical and online personas,” she said.

[ click to continue reading at WaPo ]

Posted on January 15, 2022 by Editor

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NFTs Bad

from Nautilus

The Worrisome Rise of NFTs

An astrobiologist says non-fungible tokens do not bode well for our species’s future.

BY CALEB SCHARF

featured_image

Humans are very good at inventing commodities, and we’ve been at it for a long time. See that pebble over there? Well, that’s a better pebble than all these others, and if you give me something in exchange for it, I’ll let you take ownership. It’ll be your pebble, forever. And soon there will be a market in pebbles, a pebble community, pebble exhibitions and auctions filled with pebble speculators, pebble exchanges, and pebble artists.

The deeper, evolutionary reasons why we do this—or why any species commodifies objects or experiences—are not immediately obvious. It could be a trait that supports social interaction and cohesion, helping distribute food and resources more efficiently throughout a population. Or perhaps it supports the signaling of individual fitness or intention that can guide our reproductive strategies. A behavior statistically favored in an intricate web of Darwinian selection, eking out a tiny advantage for the genetic lineage of anyone who plays along.

If bits of data were more like Michelangelo’s marble, the whole notion of NFTs would be irrelevant.

What further complicates this (as with any such trait) is the cost incurred for individuals or a species; the expenditure of resources and energy. The most explicit, and worrisome, example today is the emergence of commodities like cryptocurrencies or Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). In simple terms, just as a cryptocurrency is meant to be infallibly secure and fair, an NFT is a way to assign secure provenance and ownership to a digital asset. That digital asset might be an image, a video, or some hybrid digital experience.

[ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

Posted on January 14, 2022 by Editor

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Honey Gone

from The LA Times

A street musician spent years building a one-of-a-kind drum kit on wheels. Then, one morning, it was gone

BY KENAN DRAUGHORNE

A drummer performs in a Target parking lot.
Sheriff Drumman performs in the Target parking lot in Inglewood. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

A few minutes before the Los Angeles Rams take on the Seattle Seahawks at the billion-dollar SoFi Stadium on a late December evening, about six football fields away, there’s a party being held in the Target parking lot.

A smattering of people are dancing in the winter air to the percussive sounds of a man pounding away on a gleaming, golden-nectar drum set he affectionately calls “Honey.”

It’s a massive rig: 13 pieces, including three snares, two bass drums (one of which boasts a double kick pedal) and a gargantuan ride cymbal. Behind the kit, his back against the tailgate of a cherry red Ford F-350, sits Sheriff Drumman, flashing a smile that could outshine the sun.

[ click to continue reading at LAT ]

Posted on January 13, 2022 by Editor

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Gameverse

from The New York Times

To Understand the Metaverse, Look to Video Games

Produced by ‘Sway’

Sway - The New York Times

When it comes to the metaverse, Phil Spencer could give Mark Zuckerberg a run for his money. The head of Xbox and executive vice president of gaming at Microsoft, Spencer says popular games like Microsoft’s Halo and Minecraft — and competitors like Roblox and Fortnite — are already creating virtual worlds similar to the metaverse. And he says that video games, whose sales have soared during Covid, could offer lessons for the workplaces that have moved online in the pandemic: “We look at these virtual spaces, and some of the things that we’ve learned in video games of people coming together to cooperate together, to achieve tasks.”

[You can listen to this episode of “Sway” on AppleSpotifyGoogle or wherever you get your podcasts.]

[ click to continue reading at The New York Times ]

Posted on January 12, 2022 by Editor

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Andbox CEO – James Frey

from DIGIDAY

by ALEXANDER LEE

James Frey

Prominent New York City esports organization Andbox has hired filmmaker, businessman and controversial writer James Frey as its first CEO. In doing so, the organization hopes to continue its evolution from a competitive gaming team into a wide-ranging entertainment brand.

Andbox is the largest esports organization based in New York, fielding teams in Overwatch, Valorant and Call of Duty in addition to a roster of dedicated content creators. The org was founded by Sterling.VC, a venture fund under the umbrella of former New York Mets parent company Sterling Equities. Since its foundation in 2017, Andbox has mostly focused on its efforts as a competitor in some of the major franchised esports leagues — but over the past year, the company has increasingly borrowed from the entertainment industry playbook to produce its own video and podcast content.

Since joining Andbox in October 2021, Frey has largely worked from the shadows while familiarizing himself with both the company and the esports ecosystem in which it operates. “There’s been a gargantuan learning curve for me,” he said. “I’m not going to come in here and pretend that I’m a know-it-all about esports because I’m not.” With three months of esports-industry experience under his belt, Frey is ready for his debut as the esports organization’s front-facing CEO.

[ click to continue reading at DIGIDAY ]

Posted on January 11, 2022 by Editor

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Always fun…

Posted on January 10, 2022 by Editor

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Except for the whole eating-people part…

from The Seattle Times

In 1973, ‘Soylent Green’ envisioned the world in 2022. It got a lot right.

By George Bass / The Washington Post

The year is 2022. Our overpopulated planet is experiencing catastrophic climate change, megacorporations have excessive power over the government, and clean living is a luxury only the 1 percent can afford.

It may read like a scan of the front-page headlines, but these predictions were laid out half a century ago in the dystopian film “Soylent Green.”

Hundreds of films have attempted to visualize the future; most didn’t do a great job. “Freejack” (1992) imagined widespread time-traveling assassins by 2009, while box office bomb “The Postman” (1997) predicted 2013 would be post-apocalyptic.

But about 50 years ago, Hollywood’s prognosticators seemed to hit on the truth.

In 1972, the “Planet of the Apes” franchise released its fourth film, “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.” It’s set in the year 1991 and imagines Earth in the grip of a lethal pandemic. Draw your own AIDS/SARS/Zika/covid comparisons.

But “Soylent Green,” released in 1973 and based on a novel by Harry Harrison, was even more eerily prescient. It’s set in the then-far-off future of 2022. It stars Charlton Heston – known for playing Moses in “The Ten Commandments” (1956) and for being the five-time president of the National Rifle Association – as Thorn, a New York police detective. And the planet he inhabits looks a lot like ours.

[ click to continue reading at The Seattle Times ]

Posted on January 9, 2022 by Editor

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Plastic Surgeryverse

from The New York Post

Metaverse clothing, travel, plastic surgery: Experts predict life in 2030

By John Mac Ghlionn and Brad Hamilton

In the metaverse you’ll be able to swim with the sharks, tour the Parthenon in Athens, or go skydiving — all from your VR glasses. And “you” can be anyone you want, even LeBron James or a jaguar.
In the metaverse you’ll be able to swim with the sharks, tour the Parthenon in Athens, or go skydiving — all from your VR glasses. And “you” can be anyone you want, even LeBron James or a jaguar. NY Post photo composite

Imagine scaling Everest, swimming with hammerheads or skydiving over the Grand Canyon — without ever leaving your living room. All will supposedly be possible in the metaverse, a new level of virtual reality being developed by the world’s top tech gurus.

“I want to walk through the grounds of Trinity College, Dublin, to turn the pages of the Book of Kells, and I’ll be able to do that in VR,” said British futurist Andrew Curry, referring to the 800-year-old gospel scrolls housed at Ireland’s top university.

In its fully realized form, the metaverse promises to offer true-to-life sights, sounds and even smells, where a tour of ancient Greece or a visit to a Seoul café can happen from your home, Curry said. Decked out with full-spectrum VR headsets, smart clothing and tactile-responsive haptic gloves, the at-home traveler can touch the Parthenon in Athens or taste the rich foam of a Korean dalgona coffee.

[ click to continue reading at The New York Post ]

Posted on January 8, 2022 by Editor

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Gravity Slaves

from Study Finds

Gravitational forces of the Sun and Moon impact behavior of all organisms — even humans

by Chris Melore

cat moon
(Credit: Pixabay from Pexels)

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — Maybe there really is something to the stories that strange things happen during a full moon. A new study finds that all biological organisms, from plants, to animals, to human beings, all have a connection to the gravitational forces coming the Sun and Moon.

Researchers from Brazil and the United Kingdom say their work reinforces the historical link between gravitational tides and how they affect the behavior of all life on Earth.

“All matter on Earth, both live and inert, experiences the effects of the gravitational forces of the Sun and Moon expressed in the form of tides. The periodic oscillations exhibit two daily cycles and are modulated monthly and annually by the motions of these two celestial bodies. All organisms on the planet have evolved in this context. What we sought to show in the article is that gravitational tides are a perceptible and potent force that has always shaped the rhythmic activities of these organisms,” study author Cristiano de Mello Gallep says in a media release.

[ click to continue reading at Study Finds ]

Posted on January 7, 2022 by Editor

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Moneyverse

from The New Yorker

Money in the Metaverse

In a virtual world full of virtual goods, finance could get weird.

By Anna Wiener

Animation of a quarter
Illustration by Nicholas Konrad / The New Yorker

Years ago, while on vacation in the Northwest, my husband and I rented a room in the home of a middle-aged couple, one of whom had recently retired. The house was old, beautiful, and cozily laden with objects that signalled domestic inertia. It sat on a lush, wild sprawl of farmland that immediately inspired fantasies of leaving San Francisco and our tech jobs, foraging for mushrooms, administering to septic systems, and turning over soil.

One morning over breakfast, conversation shifted to our host’s retirement. He was glad to have more time at home with his wife and their dog. He was baking a lot. He was spending hours playing FarmVille.

“FarmVille?” I asked, half awake, spreading honey over a slice of toast. Through the picture window, we could see mist rising from the evergreens. The dog nosed around in the vegetable beds. FarmVille, our host confirmed pleasantly—it was a game, a farming simulator, played by tens of millions of people on Facebook—before asking if we might be interested in some eggs. We were. The eggs were fresh. The sun was emerging. Our host seemed very happy with his lot.

It is hard to know what anyone else really wants, and I think of this man often. I thought of him most recently while watching Mark Zuckerberg deliver an hour-long presentation on Facebook’s rebrand—it is now called Meta—and its newfound focus on building the “metaverse”: a vast and integrated virtual world. Watching Zuckerberg stroll through a blandly monied virtual set, appointed, as if from a drop-down menu, with books and trinkets and unused-looking sports equipment, I wondered if there were people who wanted this, or would find this vision exciting. Then I reminded myself: FarmVille. I think it is useful, in attempts to forecast the future, to be humble about the enormous mystery of other people’s desires.

In recent months, the metaverse has been described as a kind of online place, combining virtual reality, augmented reality, the Internet, entertainment experiences, gaming, and remote work. The key idea is that, no matter what you’re doing in the metaverse, or where you are, your identities and assets will be multi-platform and transportable: you’ll be the same “you” at work and at leisure. As the concept of the metaverse has snaked into the discourse, predictions about it have seemed mainly to reflect the desires of the corporations that are setting the terms of the conversation. (The term “metaverse” itself, which has its origins in dystopian science fiction, has been aggressively promoted by companies with worlds to sell.) Reading about the metaverse, I’ve often had the uneasy feeling that I am taking something far too seriously—giving credence to the wrong things, internalizing the wrong logic—simply because a small number of world-historically wealthy people have told me to.

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on January 6, 2022 by Editor

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BlackBerry Gone

from Bloomberg

Your BlackBerry Dies Today: End of an Era for Iconic Handset

By Vlad Savov

Day Two Of Mobile World Congress 2015
A BlackBerry Classic smartphone.Photographer: Pau Barrena/Bloomberg

BlackBerry devices running the original operating system and services will no longer be supported after Jan. 4, marking the end of an era for the storied device that catapulted work into the mobile era.

Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry Ltd., the company formerly known as Research In Motion whose signature handset in the 1990s came to embody working on the move, said handsets running its in-house software “will no longer be expected to reliably function” after Tuesday, according to its end-of-life page.

[ click to continue reading at Bloomberg ]

Posted on January 5, 2022 by Editor

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Sutton Hoo

from artnet

Archaeologists Say They Have Found the Anglo-Saxon Workshop Where the Treasures of Sutton Hoo Were Forged

Student volunteers assisted in the historic find.

by Sarah Cascone

Volunteers from Suffolk Young Carers excavating the cellar of an Anglo-Saxon hut at Rendlesham. Photo ⒸSuffolk County Council.
Volunteers from Suffolk Young Carers excavating the cellar of an Anglo-Saxon hut at Rendlesham. Photo ⒸSuffolk County Council.

Archaeologists in Rendlesham, Suffolk, have uncovered a seventh-century workshop that may have been home to the craftspeople who made the treasures of nearby Sutton Hoo, widely considered the greatest archaeological find in U.K. history.

Rendlesham is just three miles away from the early medieval cemeteries at Sutton Hoo, and those buried there “probably lived at Rendlesham,” a Suffolk County Council spokesman told the Daily Mail. “There is also evidence of craft working at Rendlesham, so it is possible they may have produced some of the objects discovered in the Sutton Hoo burial grounds.”

Sutton Hoo’s legendary discovery in 1939 was the subject of the 2020 Netflix film The Dig, starring Carey Mulligan as landowner Edith Pretty, who hired archaeologist Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes) to excavate the mysterious earthen mounds on her property.

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Posted on January 4, 2022 by Editor

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Everyverse

from The New York Times

Everybody Into the Metaverse! Virtual Reality Beckons Big Tech.

Tech’s biggest companies are joining game makers and start-ups in pursuit of an immersive digital world that some have been working on for years.

By Cade Metz

Kasia Bojanowska

The metaverse, one of the most buzzy terms of the tech industry, could be many things. It could be a virtual world where imagination is the only limit. Or it could be a less fantastical place for holding business meetings without leaving home.

For the tech titans getting behind this big idea, the metaverse could be something more tangible: the next great way to make piles of money.

After 15 years of riding a boom in mobile computing that has turned tech’s biggest companies into giants worth trillions of dollars, the power brokers of the industry believe that controlling the doors into the metaverse and virtual reality could be the centerpiece of a new business, like smartphones and apps or personal computers and web browsers in the 1990s.

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Posted on January 3, 2022 by Editor

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Space Ramen

from The Debrief

RAMEN NOODLES ARE THE PERFECT SPACE FOOD

by CRISTINA GOMEZ

Yakisoba Noodles for Astronauts
Instant flavored noodles, and rice meals for astronauts. Image Credit: Sora / Nissin

Besides being a staple of “College Life” globally, instant noodles in their many varieties are easily one of the most popular and convenient  ‘on-the-run’ meals that get turned to when the hunger kicks in. And now they’re on the menu for those in orbit on the International Space Station. Nissin is producing UFO brand Yakisoba noodles for astronauts, with ‘space ramen’ as a tasty instant meal alternative to be eaten alongside the best view of our planet from space.

Japan ranks as the fifth nation of the highest consumers of instant noodles, and even has August 25 pegged as an annual “Instant Ramen Day.” It’s on that day that it’s encouraged to remember August 25, 1958, as the day that Nissin Foods released the now famous Chicken Ramen, the world’s first instant noodle product that would go on to be a favorite in kitchens, restaurants, cafes, college canteens, and even camping sites, everywhere.

The ‘instant noodles’ meal exploded in popularity and very quickly came with an ever-increasing amount of flavor options. It was cheap to buy, simple to prepare, and was good with practically any flavor variation you could think of. At the time, Japan was growing economically, experiencing a boom in productivity and profitability known as the “high increase economic miracle.” Basically, the cities were swelling with workers coming in from rural areas and in everything from consumer electronics to vehicle sales and exports, Japan was in an explosive phase of economic growth where fast food such as instant noodles would power workers on long shifts with minimum downtime due to eating breaks.

[ click to continue reading at The Debrief ]

Posted on January 2, 2022 by Editor

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Happy 2022!

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EVER

Posted on January 1, 2022 by Editor

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