James Frey Official Website
Join the JAMES FREY mailing list

Cuprate Crystals

from WIRED

The High-Temperature Superconductivity Mystery Is Finally Solved

An atomic-scale experiment all but settles the origin of the strong form of superconductivity seen in cuprate crystals, confirming a 35-year-old theory.


Atombyatom scans of a naturally wavy BSCCO crystal point to the origin of superconductivity in cuprates with bright pink...
Atom-by-atom scans of a naturally wavy BSCCO crystal point to the origin of superconductivity in cuprates. In zones where electrons require more energy to hop between neighboring atoms (bright pink bands spaced 2.6 nanometers apart, left), the electrons form fewer superconducting Cooper pairs (dark bands, right). PHOTOGRAPH: WANGPING REN AND SHANE O’MAHONY

FOR DECADES, A family of crystals has stumped physicists with its baffling ability to superconduct—that is, carry an electric current without any resistance—at far warmer temperatures than other materials.

Now, an experiment years in the making has directly visualized superconductivity on the atomic scale in one of these crystals, finally revealing the cause of the phenomenon to nearly everyone’s satisfaction. Electrons appear to nudge each other into a frictionless flow in a manner first suggested by a venerable theory nearly as old as the mystery itself.

“This evidence is really beautiful and direct,” said Subir Sachdev, a physicist at Harvard University who builds theories of the crystals, known as cuprates, and was not involved in the experiment.

“I’ve worked on this problem for 25 years, and I hope I have solved it,” said J. C. Séamus Davis, who led the new experiment at the University of Oxford. “I’m absolutely thrilled.”

The new measurement matches a prediction based on the theory, which attributes cuprate superconductivity to a quantum phenomenon called superexchange. “I’m amazed by the quantitative agreement,” said André-Marie Tremblay, a physicist at the University of Sherbrooke in Canada and the leader of the group that made the prediction last year.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on November 27, 2022 by Editor

Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »


from Study Finds

Is our universe one big virtual reality? How to test if we’re really living in a computer simulation

By Melvin M. VopsonUniversity of Portsmouth

James Webb Space Telescope image
This image of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago. It is the first of a series of photos snapped by NASA’s James Webb Telescope. (Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI)

Physicists have long struggled to explain why the universe started out with conditions suitable for life to evolve. Why do the physical laws and constants take the very specific values that allow stars, planets and ultimately life to develop? The expansive force of the universe, dark energy, for example, is much weaker than theory suggests it should be – allowing matter to clump together rather than being ripped apart.

A common answer is that we live in an infinite multiverse of universes, so we shouldn’t be surprised that at least one universe has turned out as ours. But another is that our universe is a computer simulation, with someone (perhaps an advanced alien species) fine-tuning the conditions.

The latter option is supported by a branch of science called information physics, which suggests that space-time and matter are not fundamental phenomena. Instead, the physical reality is fundamentally made up of bits of information, from which our experience of space-time emerges. By comparison, temperature “emerges” from the collective movement of atoms. No single atom fundamentally has temperature.

[ click to continue reading at Study Finds ]

Posted on November 22, 2022 by Editor

Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »

Toad Lickers Not Welcome

from IndiaTimes

Story by Basit Aijaz


The US National Park Service is warning people to stop licking toads in the wild, due to their gland-secreted psychedelic substance that can create a hallucinogenic experience.  

In a Facebook post, the National Park Service (NPS) urged people to refrain from licking the Sonoran desert toad, also known as the Colorado river toad.

The agency said the creature is far from harmless, as it contains a potent toxin that can make people sick if they touch it or get the poison in their mouth. 

“These toads have prominent parotoid glands that secrete a potent toxin. It can make you sick if you handle the frog or get the poison in your mouth,” the National Park Service advised. 

[ click to to continue reading at IndiaTimes ]

Posted on November 19, 2022 by Editor

Filed under Mirth, Weirdness | | No Comments »

Tonga’s strange volcanic eruption was even more massive than we knew

from National Geographic

Tonga’s strange volcanic eruption was even more massive than we knew


Photo from space of the eruption over the ocean.
This photograph, taken by an astronaut on board the International Space Station, shows clouds of ash lingering in the atmosphere a day after the intense explosion of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai PHOTOGRAPH BY NASA

Crimson hues flushed across the early morning skies over the Kingdom of Tonga as Grace Frontin-Rollet spotted a pair of small rocky islands from the bow of the RV Tangaroa. Though the scene was picturesque, a tinge of sulfur in the air reminded the marine geologist what she and a team of scientists had traveled for six days over rough waters to see. In the expansive gap between the two bits of land, hidden on the ocean floor, lay the crater of a massive volcano that erupted just months before in one of the largest and strangest blasts ever seen.

“I don’t think the scale of what had happened hit us until we reached the site,” says Frontin-Rollet, who is from New Zealand’s National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

In December 2021, the volcano—called Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai after the two islands that sit on its rim—awoke in a series of tantrums that turned into outright turmoil on January 15, 2022. The peak unleashed a blast so loud it was heard in Alaska, some 6,000 miles away. But much of what happened that day has remained a mystery, until now. Scientists, including the team aboard the RV Tangaroa, are finally putting together the pieces, and the picture that has emerged is mind-boggling.

[ click to continue reading at Nat Geo ]

Posted on November 17, 2022 by Editor

Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »


from The Daily Star

‘Metaverse’ children to replace real kids by 2050 and ‘help with overpopulation’

An AI expert has predicted that ‘virtual children’ will become the norm in the next 50 years – you’ll be able to raise them in the metaverse without having to change a single nappie

By Ciaran Daly

Opening of £22.4 million national robotarium. The centre - a partnership between Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh - is said to be the largest and most advanced robotics and artificial intelligence facility in the UK, and will use robotics and AI applied research and business collaboration to solve global challenges.
iCub which may have use in Healthcare and social care
One AI writer thinks metaverse kids could be the way to go in future (Image: Daily Record)

Virtual kids born in the metaverse could become more common in the next 50 years, according to an AI expert.

Author Catriona Campbell believes parents will want to care for digital children in virtual reality, using a headset to feel like they’re really there with a CGI kid.

These virtual kids would be just like the real thing but could be switched off at the touch of a button, and Campbell argues they’ll help the world deal with ‘overpopulation’.

In a book released this year, Campbell says a ‘Tamagotchi generation’ will be born and be available to parents for a ‘small monthly fee’.

[ click to continue reading at The Daily Star ]

Posted on November 13, 2022 by Editor

Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »

That’s No Asteroid, It’s A Spaceship

from The Daily Beast

Is Earth Being Pummeled by Derelict Alien Spacecraft?

THE GREAT BOMBARDMENT – One scientist thinks the exotic chemistry found in meteorites are actually the remnants of ancient alien technology.

by David Axe

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty

Between 1957 and 1968, scientists decided to try their hand at creating new minerals that could act as very effective conductors of electricity. They “invented” a pair: heideite and brezinaite.

After a few years, the same minerals unexpectedly started showing up in fragments of meteorites that had landed on Earth. As it turns out, these weren’t materials that had to be invented—though how they were able to form outside the lab remained a mystery to scientists.

Now, six decades later, a Venezuelan researcher is trying to connect the dots between the minerals those scientists made in labs and the same minerals that came crashing to Earth from space.

Maybe, just maybe, those superconducting minerals that came from space are also artificial, B.P. Embaid, a physicist at Central University of Venezuela, hypothesized in a study—not yet peer-reviewed—that appeared online on Sept. 13.

[ click to continue reading at TDB ]

Posted on November 12, 2022 by Editor

Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »

Bad Kids

from The U.S. Sun

Voice assistants Siri and Alexa are making kids rude and antisocial, scientists fear

by Sam Blanchard

    Siri and Alexa are making kids rude and antisocial, scientists fearCredit: ALAMY

    Youngsters are not taught to say please and thank you, nor how to read body language.

    Cambridge University’s Dr Anmol Arora warned: “Interacting with the devices at a crucial stage in social and emotional development might have long-term consequences on empathy, compassion and critical thinking.”

    Writing in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, he added: “With digital devices there is no expectation that polite terms, such as please or thank you should be used.

    “There is no need to consider the tone of voice and whether the command being issued may be interpreted as rude or obnoxious.”

    [ click to continue reading at The U.S. Sun ]

    Posted on November 11, 2022 by Editor

    Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »

    Old Rome Reappearing

    from The Charlotte Observer

    Roman ruins reappear from river in drought-stricken Europe almost 2,000 years later


    Europe’s drought and heatwave revealed an ancient Roman military camp complex, Aquis Querquennis, as water levels in the Lima River in Galicia, Spain, dropped. GALIDRONE Screengrab from Farodevigo’s Twitter

    Dropping water levels revealed a massive complex of Roman ruins in Spain as Europe continues to struggle under a record-breaking drought.

    Ancient Romans began construction on a military camp in what is now northwestern Spain, along the Lima River in Galicia, in about 75 AD, Spanish researchers wrote in a 2018 study. They abandoned the camp about a century later.

    The remaining ruins became submerged after the construction of a dam in 1949 created the As Conchas reservoir, The Guardian reported.

    But this summer, all droughts led to Rome. The ancient camp reappeared on the river bank — its entire ruined complex on display, drone footage posted on Aug. 26 by Faro de Vigo showed. Aerial photographs show a sprawling collection of neatly organized stone structures primarily made of gray-brown cobblestones. What’s left of a wall runs around the smaller structures, water lapping at its edge. A once-grand entrance stands partially collapsed, almost welcoming the river that lies just beyond its doorway.

    [ click to continue reading at The Charlotte Observer ]

    Posted on November 10, 2022 by Editor

    Filed under Culture Music Art, Weirdness | | No Comments »

    Definitely An Act of God

    from The New York Post

    ‘Heard a big bang’: California man believes meteor may have destroyed his home

    by Isabel Keane

    Fire truck at the scene
    Firefighters in California continue to investigate what hit Procita’s home, starting the fire. Twitter/@CALFIRENEU

    Now that’s a real kick in the asteroid.

    A Northern California home burst into flames and burned to the ground after a meteor — which witnesses saw flash across the sky — apparently fell from space and slammed into the structure, according to reports.

    Dustin Procita, a rancher in Nevada County, wasn’t sure what had hit his home Friday until after firefighters extinguished the blaze.

    “I heard a big bang. I started to smell smoke and I went on to my porch and it was completely engulfed in flames,” Procita told KCRA.

    “They said it was a meteor. I watched meteor showers and stuff as a kid, but I definitely didn’t look forward to them landing in my yard, or through my roof,” he added.

    Procita had just returned inside after feeding some crows and was sitting on the couch listening to music when the mysterious object hit his home.

    [ click to continue reading at NYP ]

    Posted on November 7, 2022 by Editor

    Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »


    from The Guardian

    The super-rich ‘preppers’ planning to save themselves from the apocalypse

    by Douglas Rushkoff

    A circular, sci-fi-looking bunker tunnel
    Time to bunker down… if you’ve got the cash. Photograph: Terravivos/Observer Design

    Tech billionaires are buying up luxurious bunkers and hiring military security to survive a societal collapse they helped create, but like everything they do, it has unintended consequences

    As a humanist who writes about the impact of digital technology on our lives, I am often mistaken for a futurist. The people most interested in hiring me for my opinions about technology are usually less concerned with building tools that help people live better lives in the present than they are in identifying the Next Big Thing through which to dominate them in the future. I don’t usually respond to their inquiries. Why help these guys ruin what’s left of the internet, much less civilisation?

    Still, sometimes a combination of morbid curiosity and cold hard cash is enough to get me on a stage in front of the tech elite, where I try to talk some sense into them about how their businesses are affecting our lives out here in the real world. That’s how I found myself accepting an invitation to address a group mysteriously described as “ultra-wealthy stakeholders”, out in the middle of the desert.

    [ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

    Posted on November 6, 2022 by Editor

    Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »

    Fake AI

    from Common Sense

    There Is No Such Thing as A.I. Art

    DALL-E compiles, sifts, and analyzes. But it doesn’t dare. It doesn’t take risks. Only humans, our vulnerable species, can. Walter Kirn writes.

    by Walter Kirn

    (“Picasso style dramatic acrylic painting of a confused young man crafting the perfect tinder bio on his phone” made on DALL-E via Reddit)

    I’ve always had problems envisioning the underworld. Sulfurous flames belching up from gloomy caverns don’t trigger existential terror in me. This may be because I grew up in Minnesota, where, for over half the year, fire is inviting, cozy, not forbidding.

    But even detailed scenes of suffering in hell have always fallen short, for me, of their awful equivalents on Earth: Real war and real famine horrify me more than paintings of the damned devouring their own arms. Literary evocations of hell, which focus on its prisoners’ inner states—I’m thinking here of Virgil’s Aeneid and Dante’s Inferno—affect me more deeply, but once again the miseries they speak of are also available in life. The only distinctively hellish thing about these torments is that they are said to persist for all eternity. Eternity, which, perhaps you won’t be surprised to learn, I also have trouble imagining.

    All of this changed for me the other day when I came across a brief animated video. It struck me, at last, with authentic spiritual dread.

    The video was a creation of DALL-E, a new artificial intelligence app from the wizards at OpenAI, which is said to represent a breakthrough in the production of machine-made art. You type in a verbal description of an image—“a tarantula wearing a green scarf,” say—and out of the digital void arrives a picture which reflects your specifications. If you’d like, you can tinker with the image the way you might customize a frozen pizza: You can tell the A.I. to render the tarantula in the style of a cubist drawing or a vintage photograph or a Soviet propaganda poster. (How all this works at a computing level I’ll explain in a moment, or I’ll try.) But when I saw the 30-second video, all I knew was foreboding.

    [ click to continue reading at Common Sense ]

    Posted on November 5, 2022 by Editor

    Filed under Culture Music Art, Weirdness | | No Comments »

    Super-mini Machines

    from WIRED

    The Sci-Fi Dream of a ‘Molecular Computer’ Is Getting More Real

    Chemists have long conceptualized tiny machines that could fabricate drugs, plastics, and other polymers that are hard to build with bigger tools.

    by MAX G. LEVY

    Turing Machine

    DAVID LEIGH DREAMS of building a small machine. Really small. Something minuscule. Or more like … molecule. “Chemists like me have been working on trying to turn molecules into machines for about 25 years now,” says Leigh, an organic chemist from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. “And of course, it’s all baby steps. You’re building on all those that went before you.”

    In 1936, English mathematician Alan Turing imagined an autonomous machine capable of carrying out any precisely coded algorithm. The hypothetical machine would read a strip of tape dotted with symbols that, when interpreted sequentially, would instruct the machine to act. It might transcribe, translate, or compute—turning code into a message, or a math problem into an answer. The Turing machine was a prophetic vision of modern computers. While your laptop doesn’t rely on tape to run programs, the philosophy behind it is the same. “That laid the foundation for modern computing,” says Leigh.

    Leigh now believes that tiny molecular versions of the Turing machine could assemble what we struggle to build in the organic realm, like new drugs and plastics with traits so enhanced and precise that they’re out of reach for current tools. And he’s confident that he can do it. “It’s absolutely clear that it’s possible,” he says, “because there already is this working example called biology.” Nature has given every life-form its version of the Turing machine: ribosomes, cellular structures that slide down sequences of mRNA to churn out proteins one amino acid at a time. No life on earth can function without them.

    [ click to continue reading in WIRED ]

    Posted on November 3, 2022 by Editor

    Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »


    from CNN

    Meet the mystery diamond from outer space

    By Madeline Holcombe

    (From left) Dougal McCulloch, a professor at RMIT University, with Salek and Tomkins at the RMIT Microscopy and Microanalysis Facility in Australia. McCulloch was another coauthor of the study.
    (From left) Dougal McCulloch, a professor at RMIT University, with Salek and Tomkins at the RMIT Microscopy and Microanalysis Facility in Australia. McCulloch was another coauthor of the study.

    Scientists have debated its existence. Tiny traces provided clues. Now, researchers have confirmed the existence of a celestial diamond after finding it on Earth’s surface.

    The stone, called lonsdaleite, has a hardness and strength that exceeds that of a regular diamond. The rare mineral arrived here by way of a meteorite, new research has suggested.

    What’s more, the natural chemical process through which scientists believe lonsdaleite formed could inspire a way to manufacture super-durable industrial components, according to the authors of the study published September 12 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    [ click to continue reading at CNN ]

    Posted on November 2, 2022 by Editor

    Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »

    Our Prediction-generating Machine

    from Nautilus

    What Makes Us Lucid Dream?

    One question for Péter Simor, a psychologist at Eötvös Loránd University.


    What makes us lucid dream?

    Lucid dreaming is quite peculiar. We become aware that we are dreaming. In normal dreaming, we lack this reflective capacity. Lucid dreamers report that these experiences are extremely vivid, fantastic, and perceptually immersive, like virtual reality. In our new paper, we wanted to explain these differences in a model using the predictive coding framework. The main idea is that the brain is a prediction-generating machine.

    Say I see someone in a dream. She’s probably my sister. No, she’s my girlfriend. No, she’s my mother. My brain is trying to make the best guesses of these images. And there is no constraint, no bottom-up input coming from the external world to fit or to shape these predictions. So the brain is just jumping from one prediction to the other. What we argue is that, in lucid dreaming, this is different. I see someone that speaks, let’s say, in a language that is different from the language that I know she usually speaks. This creates a prediction error. And I’m not changing the identity of the person. Instead, I realize, “Okay, something is not going on correctly here.” This is a momentum for lucid dreaming, this prediction error, that will trigger the insight that I’m in a dream. We call this a superordinate self model: “I am dreaming. I’m lying in bed. But I’m having a dream and I’m having these ideas.” This will create a top-down model to which everything that is strange and surprising will be easy to accommodate.

    Lucid dreamers many times observe that they have these extreme experiences, but they are not surprised because they know that they are in a dream. Skilled lucid dreamers can maintain this state, manipulate and monitor their attention. That’s why there’s an important concept called precision weighting, an important part of the theory of predictive coding. Precision weighting reflects the precision I assign to some kind of prediction error. Precision weighting is usually quite low when we are dreaming. We don’t really care if a house is really house-like. Its shapes are sometimes strange. We don’t really have these fine-grain details of the environment because precision is extremely low. In lucid dreaming, it becomes higher. Everything that we experience, let’s say visually, is relevant. We assign strong precision to this information. That’s why we really see the world as if it were quite real. 

    [ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

    Posted on October 31, 2022 by Editor

    Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »

    No Nukes

    Posted on October 16, 2022 by Editor

    Filed under Culture Music Art, Weirdness | | No Comments »

    Cheating At Chess With Your Ass?

    from The U.S. Sun


    Chess ‘cheat’ goes through full body scan at US Championships – including his BUM

    by Isaac Crowson

    The teen chess champ faces claims he cheated more than 100 chess matches

      A TEEN chess champ accused of cheating got a full body scan — including his bum — before his latest tournament.

      A security guard checked out Hans Niemann and raised a laugh when he got to his rear.

      Niemann, 19, faces claims he cheated in more than 100 chess matches. He was notably accused of using a vibrating sex toy in his backside to pick up messages from his coach.

      After he won his first round US Championships match, he was asked about the “elephant in the room” — a reference to the cheating scandal that has gripped the chess world.

      [ click to continue reading at The U.S. Sun ]

      Posted on October 8, 2022 by Editor

      Filed under Mirth, Weirdness | | No Comments »

      KGO Gone

      from SFGate

      KGO host talks about Bay Area radio station’s abrupt signoff

      by Amy Graff

      In this 2005 file photo, KGO radio personality Ronn Owens takes a five-minute break during the three-hour show on Oct. 24, 2005, in San Francisco.

      In this 2005 file photo, KGO radio personality Ronn Owens takes a five-minute break during the three-hour show on Oct. 24, 2005, in San Francisco. Liz Hafalia/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

      American broadcasting company Cumulus Media abruptly announced Thursday during a morning talk show that it’s ending the KGO (810 AM) news-talk format as listeners know it, and company officials told SFGATE in an email that it will be revealing a new brand on the channel on Monday. 

      “The Mark Thompson Show,” which aired Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to noon, was interrupted just after 10 a.m. with a pretaped announcement about the format change.

      KGO talk show host Mark Thompson said he was told just before going on air that the format was changing and his show was being canceled along with all the other regular programming. 

      [ click to continue reading at SF Gate ]

      Posted on October 6, 2022 by Editor

      Filed under Culture Music Art, Weirdness | | No Comments »

      Not Right

      from AP News

      At $249 per day, prison stays leave ex-inmates deep in debt


      AP Photo/Jessica Hill

      HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Two decades after her release from prison, Teresa Beatty feels she is still being punished.

      When her mother died two years ago, the state of Connecticut put a lien on the Stamford home she and her siblings inherited. It said she owed $83,762 to cover the cost of her 2 1/2 year imprisonment for drug crimes.

      Now, she’s afraid she’ll have to sell her home of 51 years, where she lives with two adult children, a grandchild and her disabled brother.

      “I’m about to be homeless,” said Beatty, 58, who in March became the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the state law that charges prisoners $249 a day for the cost of their incarceration. “I just don’t think it’s right, because I feel I already paid my debt to society. I just don’t think it’s fair for me to be paying twice.”

      All but two states have so-called “pay-to-stay” laws that make prisoners pay for their time behind bars, though not every state actually pursues people for the money. Supporters say the collections are a legitimate way for states to recoup millions of taxpayer dollars spent on prisons and jails.

      [ click to continue reading at AP ]

      Posted on September 14, 2022 by Editor

      Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »


      Posted on September 11, 2022 by Editor

      Filed under Mirth, Weirdness | | No Comments »

      Nothing Is Everything

      from Nautilus

      How the Physics of Nothing Underlies Everything

      The key to understanding the origin and fate of the universe may be a more complete understanding of the vacuum.


      Millennia ago, Aristotle asserted that nature abhors a vacuum, reasoning that objects would fly through truly empty space at impossible speeds. In 1277, the French bishop Etienne Tempier shot back, declaring that God could do anything, even create a vacuum.

      Then a mere scientist pulled it off. Otto von Guericke invented a pump to suck the air from within a hollow copper sphere, establishing perhaps the first high-quality vacuum on Earth. In a theatrical demonstration in 1654, he showed that not even two teams of horses straining to rip apart the watermelon-size ball could overcome the suction of nothing.

      Since then, the vacuum has become a bedrock concept in physics, the foundation of any theory of something. Von Guericke’s vacuum was an absence of air. The electromagnetic vacuum is the absence of a medium that can slow down light. And a gravitational vacuum lacks any matter or energy capable of bending space. In each case the specific variety of nothing depends on what sort of something physicists intend to describe. “Sometimes, it’s the way we define a theory,” said Patrick Draper, a theoretical physicist at the University of Illinois.

      As modern physicists have grappled with more sophisticated candidates for the ultimate theory of nature, they have encountered a growing multitude of types of nothing. Each has its own behavior, as if it’s a different phase of a substance. Increasingly, it seems that the key to understanding the origin and fate of the universe may be a careful accounting of these proliferating varieties of absence.

      [ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

      Posted on August 17, 2022 by Editor

      Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »

      Fasten Your Earthbelts

      from The U.S. Sun

      HONEY I SHRUNK THE DAY Earth records ‘shortest day EVER’ after scientists reveal planet ‘spinning faster’

      by Sean Keach

      EARTH has recorded its shortest day since records began – but did you even notice?

      A faster spin meant that Earth’s usual 24-hour rotation was 1.59 milliseconds shorter.

      The fast-paced spin occurred on June 29, creating a headache for time-watchers.

      That’s because Earth’s rotation is usually slowing down.

      In fact we’ve had to add 27 “leap seconds” in the last 50 years to keep global clocks in check.

      Clocks paused most recently in 2016 to account for this strange astronomical effect.

      Now Earth’s spin appears to be speeding up and scientists aren’t exactly sure why.

      Usually days get longer – albeit only very slightly.

      [ click to continue reading at The U.S. Sun ]

      Posted on August 1, 2022 by Editor

      Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »

      Choco Taco Gone

      from CNN

      The Choco Taco is gone for good

      By Danielle Wiener-Bronner

      Pour one out for Choco Taco.

      The beloved Klondike product, packaged ice cream in a taco-shaped cone, has been discontinued.

      “Over the past 2 years, we have experienced an unprecedented spike in demand across our portfolio and have had to make very tough decisions to ensure availability of our full portfolio nationwide,” a Klondike Brand representative told CNN Business in an email, adding “we know this may be very disappointing.”

      You could possibly still find Choco Tacos around as sellers run through their inventory, the representative said.

      [ click to continue reading at CNN ]

      Posted on July 27, 2022 by Editor

      Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »

      Check The Robot

      from CNN

      Chess-playing robot breaks boy’s finger at Moscow tournament

      By Masha Angelova and Mitchell McCluskey

      A chess-playing robot broke a boy’s finger during a match in Russia last week, the president of the Moscow Chess Federation told state news agency TASS media.

      Sergey Lazarev said the incident occurred at the Moscow Chess Open after the boy rushed the robot.

      “A robot broke a child’s finger — this is, of course, bad,” Lazarev said.

      “The robot was rented by us, it has been exhibited in many places by specialists for a long time. Apparently, the operators overlooked some flaws. The child made a move, and after that it is necessary to give time for the robot to respond, but the boy hurried, the robot grabbed him. We have nothing to do with the robot.”

      [ click to continue reading at CNN ]

      Posted on July 25, 2022 by Editor

      Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »


      from VICE

      The Long, Strange Relationship Between Psychedelics and Telepathy

      It’s impossible to tell the story of psychedelics without telepathy. How will these experiences fit into psychedelics’ mainstream, medical future?

      By Shayla Love


      In February of 1971, approximately 2,000 attendees at six Grateful Dead concerts at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, New York saw this message projected onto a large screen at 11:30 PM: “YOU ARE ABOUT TO PARTICIPATE IN AN ESP EXPERIMENT.” 

      It was a test to see if people could use extra-sensory perception, or ESP, to telepathically transmit randomly chosen images to two “psychic sensitive” people, Malcolm Bessent and Felicia Parise, who were sleeping 45 miles away. Bessent was at the Maimonides Dream Laboratory in Brooklyn, while Parise slept in her apartment. 

      Art prints, selected at random, were projected at the Dead show, like The Castle of the Pyrenees and Philosophy in the Boudoir by René Magritte, or a visual representation of spinal chakras. Bessent and Parise described their dreams to two evaluators, an art therapy student and a divinity student, who then judged them based on their similarities to the images shown at the concert. 

      The Grateful Dead were chosen because the members of the band agreed to facilitate such an experiment, but also because those who conducted the study had determined that the audience would be especially primed for telepathic abilities, in part because of the state of mind they assumed the audience would be in. 

      In a paper summarizing the project, the authors wrote, “It was apparent to observers at the concert that the majority of the people in the audience were in states of consciousness that had been dramatically altered…these altered states of consciousness were brought about by the music, by the ingestion of psychedelic drugs before the concerts started, and by contact with other members of the audience.”

      [ click to continue reading at VICE ]

      Posted on July 19, 2022 by Editor

      Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »

      Brain On Idle

      from WIRED

      The Brain Has a ‘Low-Power Mode’ That Blunts Our Senses

      Neuroscientists uncovered an energy-saving mode in vision-system neurons that works at the cost of being able to see fine-grained details.


      battery on brain
      When food has been in short supply for a long time and body weight falls below a critical threshold, the brain reduces its energy consumption by changing how it processes information.ILLUSTRATION: MATT CURTIS/QUANTA MAGAZINE

      WHEN OUR PHONES and computers run out of power, their glowing screens go dark and they die a sort of digital death. But switch them to low-power mode to conserve energy and they cut expendable operations to keep basic processes humming along until their batteries can be recharged.

      Our energy-intensive brain needs to keep its lights on too. Brain cells depend primarily on steady deliveries of the sugar glucose, which they convert to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to fuel their information processing. When we’re a little hungry, our brain usually doesn’t change its energy consumption much. But given that humans and other animals have historically faced the threat of long periods of starvation, sometimes seasonally, scientists have wondered whether brains might have their own kind of low-power mode for emergencies.

      Now, in a paper published in Neuron in January, neuroscientists in Nathalie Rochefort’s lab at the University of Edinburgh have revealed an energy-saving strategy in the visual systems of mice. They found that when mice were deprived of sufficient food for weeks at a time—long enough for them to lose 15 to 20 percent of their typical healthy weight—neurons in the visual cortex reduced the amount of ATP used at their synapses by a sizable 29 percent.

      [ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

      Posted on July 18, 2022 by Editor

      Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »

      The Anthropause

      from The New York Times

      Did Nature Heal During the Pandemic ‘Anthropause’?

      Covid precautions created a global slowdown in human activity — and an opportunity to learn more about the complex ways we affect other species.

      By Emily Anthes

      A lone duck savoring its hegemony over the Place de la Concorde in Paris, during coronavirus pandemic lockdowns in the spring of 2020.
      A lone duck savoring its hegemony over the Place de la Concorde in Paris, during coronavirus pandemic lockdowns in the spring of 2020. Credit…Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

      In a typical spring, breeding seabirds — and human seabird-watchers — flock to Stora Karlsö, an island off the coast of Sweden.

      But in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic canceled the tourist season, reducing human presence on the island by more than 90 percent. With people out of the picture, white-tailed eagles moved in, becoming much more abundant than usual, researchers found.

      That might seem like a tidy parable about how nature recovers when people disappear from the landscape — if not for the fact that ecosystems are complex. The newly numerous eagles repeatedly soared past the cliffs where a protected population of common murres laid its eggs, flushing the smaller birds from their ledges.

      In the commotion, some eggs tumbled from the cliffs; others were snatched by predators while the murres were away. The murres’ breeding performance dropped 26 percent, Jonas Hentati-Sundberg, a marine ecologist at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, found. “They were flying out in panic, and they lost their eggs,” he said.

      The pandemic was, and remains, a global human tragedy. But for ecologists, it has also been an unparalleled opportunity to learn more about how people affect the natural world by documenting what happened when we abruptly stepped back from it.

      [ click to continue reading at NYT ]

      Posted on July 16, 2022 by Editor

      Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »

      Heartbeat Burst

      from CNN

      Mysterious fast radio burst in space has a ‘heartbeat’ pattern

      By Ashley Strickland

      A mysterious radio burst with a pattern similar to a heartbeat has been detected in space.

      Astronomers estimate that the signal came from a galaxy roughly a billion light-years away, but the exact location and cause of the burst is unknown. A study detailing the findings published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

      Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are intense, millisecond-long bursts of radio waves with unknown origins. The first FRB was discovered in 2007, and since then, hundreds of these quick, cosmic flashes have been detected coming from various, distant points across the universe.

      Many FRBs release super bright radio waves lasting only a few milliseconds at most before disappearing completely, and about 10% of them have been known to repeat and have patterns.

      [ click to continue reading at CNN ]

      Posted on July 14, 2022 by Editor

      Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »


      from The Independent

      The solar system could collapse because of a passing star, scientists predict

      by Adam Smith

      Scientists have warned that if a passing star moves Neptune’s orbit by just 0.1 per cent, the resulting chaos could cause the other planets in our solar system to collide.

      The research, presented in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, suggests that a “stellar flyby” – a relatively common occurance in the universe – could be enough to sent the other planets crashing into each other.

      It is possible that if Mercury and Jupiter’s perihelion – the point at which the planets reach closest to the Sun – fall in sync, two possibilities could occur. Mercury could be pulled out of its orbit and either shoot out of the Solar System or head on a collision course with Venus, the Sun, or the Earth.

      [ click to continue reading at The Independent ]

      Posted on July 12, 2022 by Editor

      Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »


      from Science Alert

      A Supervolcano in New Zealand Is Rumbling So Much It’s Shifting The Ground Above It


      The vast expanse of Lake Taupō’s sky blue waters, crowned by hazy, mountainous horizons, invokes an extreme sense of tranquility. 

      And yet, deep in the ground below, geological unrest is brewing, according to a new paper in the New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics.

      Lake Taupō is the largest freshwater lake in Australasia, located at the center of New Zealand’s north island. And while it appears peaceful today, the lake has a violent origin story. 

      The lake’s waters sit within a prehistoric caldera – a word based on the Spanish for ‘cauldron’ or ‘boiling pot’ – formed during Earth’s most recent supereruption, the Oruanui eruption, 25,400 years ago.

      When magma is released from a supervolcano (defined as having released at least 1,000 cubic kilometers of material in any one eruption) in an event like the Oruanui eruption, the depleted magma vents cave in, Earth’s surface sinks, and the landscape is permanently changed into a caldera. 

      In the last 12,000 years, the Taupō volcano has been active 25 times. Its most recent eruption in 232 AD is described by authors of the new paper as “one of the Earth’s most explosive eruptions in historic times”. Since then, the volcano has had at least four documented “episodes of unrest”, causing destructive earthquakes and, in 1922, a massive ground subsidence.

      [ click to continue reading at Science Alert ]

      Posted on July 11, 2022 by Editor

      Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »

      Porn Service

      from The Daily Star

      Las Vegas hotels to offer ‘first ever’ VR porn delivery robots as part of room service

      Help is at hand for lonely hotel guests at Las Vegas resorts thanks to a new VR porn delivery robot – it brings a sanitised headset with the latest immersive adult movies direct to your room

      By Ciaran Daly

      What happens in VR stays in VR
      What happens in VR stays in VR (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

      Guests at Las Vegas hotels will soon be able to order VR porn kits on room service, thanks to a new delivery robot.

      VR Bangers says it has teamed up with a number of Vegas hotels to offer virtual reality porn as room service.

      Discreet delivery robots will rock up to hotels and sneakily deliver a ‘VR porn box’ featuring an Oculus Quest 2 headset pre-loaded with the company’s latest adult flicks.

      The service costs £41 ($49.99) per day and includes a ‘fully sanitised’ set of goggles. The company says it currently has a fleet of five VR porn robots deployed across Las Vegas, with many more on the way.

      [ click to continue reading at The Daily Star ]

      Posted on July 6, 2022 by Editor

      Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »

      R2-D2 Abducted

      from The Orlando Sentinel

      Florida man charged with taking R2-D2 from Disney World resort after posing as security guard

      By Amanda Rabines

      Droids R2-D2 and BB-8 arrive during the dedication ceremony with invited guests at the entrance of the Star Wars: Galaxy?s Edge attraction at Disney?s Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Wednesday, August 28, 2019. The Star Wars-themed land at Disney World officially opens to guests on Thursday. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel) 3087268 (Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel)

      A Kissimmee man with a self-stated “pending application” for Walt Disney World Security is being accused of stealing and tampering with Disney resort property, including a Star Wars R2-D2 statue worth up to $10,000.

      David Proudfoot, 44, posed as a security guard at Disney’s Swan Reserve Hotel on May 31, when he was noticed by hotel security wearing a gray t-shirt, beige workpants and a high-visibility orange work vest while pushing a cart across Epcot Resorts Boulevard onto Swan Reserve property, according to an arrest report.

      Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a call from security of suspicious activity.

      [ click to continue reading at The Orlando Sentinel ]

      Posted on July 5, 2022 by Editor

      Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »

      Serial Grifter

      from SFGate

      ‘Tipster Killer’: The California serial killer who kept calling in tips for his own murders

      by Katie Dowd, SFGATE

      A mugshot for Robert Edward Maury after his arrest in 1987.
      A mugshot for Robert Edward Maury after his arrest in 1987. Shasta County Sheriff’s Office/Handout

      Shirley Landruth had been working for Shasta County’s Secret Witness program for 12 years when a strange man began calling the hotline in 1985. The line allowed people to call in tips for unsolved crimes, sometimes for reward money. The system was strictly anonymous, so Landruth never recorded their conversations.

      But something wasn’t right about this caller. For one, Landruth swore she recognized the man’s voice. 

      “The speed of the speech, the pushiness of it. The way certain words are grouped together,” she would later testify. “The abruptness in the way he terminates conversations.”

      The caller gave Landruth directions to the location of a body, offering her the distance from the road in both meters and feet. He was insistent she relay his information to the police. Unbeknownst to the man, Landruth began recording the call. For the next few years, he called her over 20 times, giving information that would lead to the discovery of three bodies and collecting the reward money each time.

      “Not too many people come upon one body in their lifetime,” Shasta County Deputy District Attorney Jim Ruggiero said in the closing arguments of the man’s 1989 triple murder trial. 

      [ click to continue reading at SFGate ]

      Posted on July 4, 2022 by Editor

      Filed under Weirdness | | No Comments »

      BigPac-10 (or 12, or 14, not sure)

      from The LA Times

      USC and UCLA rock college sports by leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten


      UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson scores past USC linebacker Ralen Goforth during a game on Nov. 20.
      UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson scores past USC linebacker Ralen Goforth during a game on Nov. 20. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

      It may be hard to imagine — USC cardinal and gold and UCLA blue and gold blending into the pageantry that permeates through frosty fall Saturdays in America’s heartland.

      It may be hard to imagine — Trojans and Bruins annually competing with Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines for conference championships and bragging rights instead of Oregon Ducks and Washington Huskies.

      But Thursday, when USC and UCLA officially announced they are leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten Conference, college sports fans from coast to coast were forced to conjure up a vision that what would have once — in simpler times, perhaps — seemed unthinkable.

      The Trojans and Bruins, both of whom have been trying to reclaim past football glory with varying degrees of desperation, came together and completed a shocking move that will forever alter the national college sports landscape.

      [ click to continue reading at LAT ]

      Posted on June 30, 2022 by Editor

      Filed under Mirth, Weirdness | | No Comments »

      Next Page »