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F†cking Bees

from KQED

What Started the Biggest Fire in California History? Yellowjackets, and a Man With a Hammer

By Dan Brekke

Teenage resident of Clearlake Oaks fought to save his home as the Ranch Fire advanced through the area on Aug. 4, 2018, a week after it started on a ranch near the Mendocino County community of Potter Valley.   (Noah Berger/AFP-Getty Images)

What did it take to start the biggest wildland fire in California history? A rancher attempting a simple chore, a nest of angry yellowjackets and some very bad luck.

Cal Fire reported Thursday that its investigation of the Ranch Fire, which started last July 27 near Clear Lake and eventually burned a sprawling expanse of forest and grassland 13 times the size of San Francisco, was touched off by an unidentified man trying to hammer a metal stake into the ground.

The agency’s report says investigators determined that the hammering threw off sparks or hot fragments that ignited a small patch of dry grass that was 2 to 3 feet tall. The blaze surged uphill despite the panicked efforts of the man who told arriving investigators he had started it.

The man called firefighters to his property just off Highway 20, northeast of Clear Lake and south of the Mendocino County community of Potter Valley, and told them the fire began with what sounded like a straightforward ranch job.

The previous winter, a 50- to 60-foot length of fabric that was suspended over several water tanks as a sunshade blew down in a storm. The rancher’s daughter had complained last July that water in the tanks was too hot for livestock to drink, the man told investigators. So late on the morning of July 27, he drove up the hill from his home with tools and supplies to reinstall the sunshade.

The rancher told Cal Fire that when he picked up the fabric, he disturbed a yellowjackets’ nest underground and was confronted with a swarm of the stinging insects. Since he’s allergic to bees, he said, he backed off for about an hour to let the yellowjackets calm down.

When he returned, he brought a claw hammer and a metal stake that he intended to use to plug the small hole leading to the yellowjackets’ nest.

[ click to continue reading at KQED ]

Posted on June 9, 2019 by Editor

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New Missing Link Found

from The Sun

‘Missing link’ in human evolution found after 30,000-year-old remains are dug up – rewriting history of first American settlers

By Charlotte Edwards

 Native American ancestors crossed over a now submerged land bridge called the Bering Strait from Siberia to North America
Native American ancestors crossed over a now submerged land bridge called the Bering Strait from Siberia to North America

NEWLY discovered ancient teeth dating back 31,000 years are evidence of a new ethnic group in human history – and could change everything we know about the first American settlers.

Living in extreme arctic conditions in Siberia during the last Ice Age, the previously-undiscovered group is being hailed by scientists as a “missing link in evolution”.

The ancient people have been named as ‘Ancient North Siberians’ and the new study suggests that they would have survived in harsh conditions by hunting woolly mammoths, woolly rhinoceroses and bison.

They were discovered thanks to DNA analysis of two ancient milk teeth, found buried deep at the Yana Rhinoceros Horn archaeological site in Russia.

Professor Eske Willerslev, who led the study, said: “The Yana site 31,000 years ago was an Arctic steppe – more rich in plant diversity than today and dominated by varies forbs and grasses, there were very few trees if any. The animal life was very different than today.

“It was more like what we know from the African savanna with mammoth, woolly rhino, horses, bison, wolves and lions. The Ancient North Siberians were hunting these particularly rhino and mammoth.”

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

Posted on June 7, 2019 by Editor

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Can you turn up the heat, darling?

from Metro

The sun has ‘reached solar minimum’ and its surface is ominously calm

by Jasper Hamill

This recent Nasa image shows the face of the sun looking blanker than usual

This solar slowdown often causes temporary cooling in Earth’s atmosphere.

Climate change deniers often hail this cooling as evidence that the heating of our world is about to go into reverse.

Sadly, this is very unlikely to be true because the sun follows an 11-year cycle, meaning it will simply spring back to life in the coming years.

However, once activity ramps up, the sun will be rocked by an increased number of gigantic ‘monster’ explosions, Nasa warned last week.

Eruptions from the face of our star are called ‘prominences’ and cause vast amounts of superhot gas to shoot into space, often forming beautiful loops on the solar surface.

During the solar minimum, the number of flares and sunspots is dramatically reduced.

When the sun leaps back from its minimum after roughly 11 years, we’re likely to see more and more ferocious explosions on the sun.

[ click to continue reading at Metro ]

Posted on June 5, 2019 by Editor

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They’re Coming.

from Stars And Stripes

The Navy tracks UFO sightings. Scientists explain what’s really going on.

By TOM AVRIL

NOGA AMI-RAV/STARS AND STRIPES ILLUSTRATION

(Tribune News Service) — The Navy caused a bit of a sensation this spring when it implemented a formal process for pilots to report unexplained aerial phenomena – what most people call UFOs – after being accused in the past of not taking such reports seriously.

Alas for those who might be tempted to make the leap, such sightings are not evidence of life on other planets.

No one doubts that the pilots are seeing something, but psychologists and specialists in aviation medicine say there are plenty of reasonable explanations for such sightings other than extraterrestrial beings. Earthly sources of light reflected by clouds or haze, for example, or optical illusions wrought by fatigue after staring through a cockpit window for hours on end.

Another possibility is that the pilots were seeing some sort of experimental drone or other advanced technology about which they had not been briefed. Or, the objects were simply satellites, such as those launched in May by the Elon Musk-founded company SpaceX, which prompted a flurry of UFO reports from puzzled observers, the news agency AFP reported.

[ click to contine reading at Stars And Stripes ]

Posted on June 2, 2019 by Editor

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We Don’t Need Another Satellite

from NYT via MSN

After SpaceX Starlink Launch, a Fear of Satellites That Outnumber All Visible Stars

by Shannon Hall

a satellite in space: A view of Starlink’s satellites just before being deployed on May 24.
© SpaceX A view of Starlink’s satellites just before being deployed on May 24.

Last month, SpaceX successfully launched 60 500-pound satellites into space. Soon amateur skywatchers started sharing images of those satellites in night skies, igniting an uproar among astronomers who fear that the planned orbiting cluster will wreak havoc on scientific research and trash our view of the cosmos.

The main issue is that those 60 satellites are merely a drop in the bucket. SpaceX anticipates launching thousands of satellites — creating a mega-constellation of false stars collectively called Starlink that will connect the entire planet to the internet, and introduce a new line of business for the private spaceflight company.

While astronomers agree that global internet service is a worthy goal, the satellites are bright — too bright.

[ click to continue reading at MSN ]

Posted on June 1, 2019 by Editor

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Mona Deepfake

from The Telegraph

‘Deepfake’ AI can turn the Mona Lisa into a convincing real person

by  Olivia Rudgard

AI can now turn the Mona Lisa into a real life person with just one picture.

A paper published by a Samsung artificial intelligence lab in Russia shows the ability to convincingly turn artworks and celebrity photographs into moving images. 

The technology raises the prospect of convincing “deep fakes”, videos showing politicians and even people who have died saying things they never said, created just with still images of their faces. 

The paintings were animated using the facial expressions of a real person, while celebrity photographs of figures such as David Beckham were turned into video using footage of them speaking on a different occasion. 

[ click to continue reading at The Telegraph ]

Posted on May 27, 2019 by Editor

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That’s no asteroid, it’s an asteroid with a moon

from CBS News

A massive asteroid with its own moon trailing behind will pass by Earth this weekend

BY BRIAN PASCUS

1999 kw4 nasa
NASA rendering of KW4 1999 asteroid with moon following 

An asteroid nearly a mile wide with a moon of its own is expected to pass by Earth this weekend, traveling at 48,000 mph. The space rock, known as asteroid 1999 KW4, was discovered 20 years ago and is so large that it is orbited by a moon.

On Saturday evening, 1999 KW4 will make its closest approach to Earth. It will be visible until May 27. Because it carries a large moon along with it, the asteroid is technically designated as a binary system. 

A binary system is defined as two celestial objects close enough to orbit each other, according to NASA.

[ click to continue reading at CBS ]

Posted on May 25, 2019 by Editor

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Trash Even In The Trench

from Reuters

Trash found littering ocean floor in deepest-ever sub dive

by Daniel Fastenberg

NEW YORK (Reuters) – On the deepest dive ever made by a human inside a submarine, a Texas investor and explorer found something he could have found in the gutter of nearly any street in the world: trash.

Victor Vescovo, a retired naval officer, said he made the unsettling discovery as he descended nearly 6.8 miles (35,853 feet/10,928 meters) to a point in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench that is the deepest place on Earth. His dive went 52 feet (16 meters) lower than the previous deepest descent in the trench in 1960.

Vescovo found undiscovered species as he visited places no human had gone before. On one occasion he spent four hours on the floor of the trench, viewing sea life ranging from shrimp-like anthropods with long legs and antennae to translucent “sea pigs” similar to a sea cucumber.

He also saw angular metal or plastic objects, one with writing on it.

“It was very disappointing to see obvious human contamination of the deepest point in the ocean,” Vescovo said in an interview.

Plastic waste has reached epidemic proportions in the world’s oceans with an estimated 100 million tonnes dumped there to date, according to the United Nations. Scientists have found large amounts of micro plastic in the guts of deep-dwelling ocean mammals like whales.

[ click to continue reading at Reuters ]

Posted on May 13, 2019 by Editor

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Bad Alexa!

from ctpost

Alexa has been eavesdropping on you this whole time

by Geoffrey A. Fowler

Would you let a stranger eavesdrop in your home and keep the recordings? For most people, the answer is, “Are you crazy?”

Yet that’s essentially what Amazon has been doing to millions of us with its assistant Alexa in microphone-equipped Echo speakers. And it’s hardly alone: Bugging our homes is Silicon Valley’s next frontier.

Many smart-speaker owners don’t realize it, but Amazon keeps a copy of everything Alexa records after it hears its name. Apple’s Siri, and until recently Google’s Assistant, by default also keep recordings to help train their artificial intelligences.

[ click to continue reading at ctpost.com ]

Posted on May 7, 2019 by Editor

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Maximum Security Robbery

Posted on May 6, 2019 by Editor

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Black Hole Needs To Hit Big O Tires

from Sky News

Misaligned black hole just 8,000 light years from Earth is behaving weirdly

By Alexander J Martin, technology reporter

Artist's impression of V404 Cygni seen close up. The binary star system consists of a normal star in orbit with a black hole. Material from the star falls towards the black hole and spirals inwards in an accretion disk, with powerful jets being launched from the inner regions close to the black hole. Credit: ICRAR
Image:An artist’s impression of V404 Cygni seen close up. Pic: ICRAR

Scientists have discovered a “misaligned” black hole just 8,000 light years from Earth – and it’s behaving in a way that has never been seen before.

Researchers from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) published their findings about the V404 Cygni black hole in the journal Nature.

They have never seen a black hole behaving in such a strange way before – with its spewing radio jets rotating with high-speed clouds of plasma that are erupting out of it in different directions.

The study’s lead author, Associate Professor James Miller-Jones, said: “This is one of the most extraordinary black hole systems I’ve ever come across.

“Like many black holes, it’s feeding on a nearby star, pulling gas away from the star and forming a disk of material that encircles the black hole and spirals towards it under gravity.

“What’s different in V404 Cygni is that we think the disk of material and the black hole are misaligned.”

This misalignment means that the inner part of the black hole’s disk is wobbling like a spinning top, causing the jets to be fired out in different directions as it changes orientation.

[ click to continue reading at Sky News ]

Posted on April 30, 2019 by Editor

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The Man Who Ran Out Of Air At The Bottom Of The Ocean

from BBC

Can You Survive If You Run Out Of Air?

Science tells us the human body can only survive for a few minutes without oxygen. But some people are defying this accepted truth.

By Richard Gray

An ROV image of Chris Lemons on the sea bottom (Credit: Floating Harbour)
The crew on the ship watched helplessly from the surface as a remotely operated vehicle sent back live images of Lemons’s fading movements 100m below (Credit: Floating Harbour)

There was a sickening crack when the thick cable connecting Chris Lemons to the ship above him snapped. This vital umbilical cord to the world above carried power, communications, heat and air to his diving suit 100m (328ft) below the surface of the sea.

While his colleagues remember the terrible noise of this lifeline breaking, Lemons himself heard nothing. One moment he was jammed against the metal underwater structure they had been working on and then he was tumbling backwards towards the ocean floor. His link to the ship above was gone, along with any hope of finding his way back to it.

Most crucially, his air supply had also vanished, leaving him with just six or seven minutes of emergency air supply. Over the next 30 minutes at the bottom of the North Sea, Lemons would experience something that few people have lived to talk about: he ran out of air.

[ click to continue reading at BBC ]

Posted on April 28, 2019 by Editor

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They’re Coming

from SPACE

The First Known Interstellar Meteor May Have Hit Earth in 2014

The 3-foot-wide rock rock visited us three years before ‘Oumuamua.

By Christopher Choi

Artist's concept of 'Oumuamua, an interstellar object that was discovered zooming through our solar system in 2017. A new study determined that a small meteor that hit Earth in 2014 came from interstellar space as well.

Artist’s concept of ‘Oumuamua, an interstellar object that was discovered zooming through our solar system in 2017. A new study determined that a small meteor that hit Earth in 2014 came from interstellar space as well.(Image: © K. Meech et al./ESO)

The first meteor to hit Earth from interstellar space — and the second known interstellar visitor overall — may have just been discovered, a new study finds.

Interstellar meteors may be common, and could potentially help life travel from star to star, researchers added.

The first known visitor from interstellar space, a cigar-shaped object named ‘Oumuamua, was detected in 2017. Scientists deduced the origins of the 1,300-foot-long (400 meters) object from its speed and trajectory, which suggests it may have come from another star, or perhaps two.

[ click to continue reading at SPACE.com ]

Posted on April 24, 2019 by Editor

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Most Prefer Coke

from Futurism

Pepsi Plans to Project a Giant Ad in the Night Sky Using Cubesats

Pepsi says it’ll use an artificial constellation, hung in the night sky next to the stars, to promote an energy drink.

by Jon Christian

Orbital Billboard

A Russian company called StartRocket says it’s going to launch a cluster of cubesats into space that will act as an “orbital billboard,” projecting enormous advertisements into the night sky like artificial constellations. And its first client, it says, will be PepsiCo — which will use the system to promote a “campaign against stereotypes and unjustified prejudices against gamers” on behalf of an energy drink called Adrenaline Rush.

Yeah, the project sounds like an elaborate prank. But Russian PepsiCo spokesperson Olga Mangova confirmed to Futurism that the collaboration is real.

“We believe in StartRocket potential,” she wrote in an email. “Orbital billboards are the revolution on the market of communications. That’s why on behalf of Adrenaline Rush — PepsiCo Russia energy non-alcoholic drink, which is brand innovator, and supports everything new, and non-standard — we agreed on this partnership.”

[ click to continue reading at Futurism ]

Posted on April 23, 2019 by Editor

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The Geeks Should Just Stick To Microwave Burritos, Please

from Vanity Fair

HOW SILICON VALLEY TURNED YOUR BURRITO INTO A CAPITALIST NIGHTMARE

The food-delivery industry wasn’t broken, but venture capital set out to disrupt it anyway. The result is overpriced services that frustrate restaurants, are hated by drivers, and drive customers crazy.

BY NICK BILTON

© 20th Century Fox/Everett Collection.

We all rag on Silicon Valley for saying it’s going to make the world a better place. But let’s be realistic: the roughly 50-square-mile area surrounding the San Francisco Peninsula has, indeed, made our lives better in innumerable ways. Look, there’s a machine in our pockets that allows us to take a thousand photos a day, access the world’s information, and do things we never could have dreamed of in the past, like deposit a check without having to go to the bank or drive out of state without getting lost. Thanks to Silicon Valley, you can book flights while you’re sitting on the toilet, get laid while you’re sitting on the toilet, order toilet paper while you’re sitting on the toilet. It’s all pretty magical.

There is, however, one area in which Silicon Valley has made our lives worse: food delivery.

Now, before I go on a vehement rant about how infuriatingly bad food-delivery services are—how sneaky, and self-enriching they are, how they cheat customers, screw over restaurants, and make the world a worse place—I must disclose that I am not just an angry customer here. My first job in high school, after working at McDonald’s for 17 minutes—long story—was delivering food. I worked for Sal’s Italian Restaurant in Florida, zipping pizzas and baked ziti all through Turtle Run and Coral Springs. Later, I was the head delivery driver (yes, head!) for the local wing shop. Here was the thing that was different back then: you picked up the phone, you called and asked for your food, we’d tell you exactly what it cost, exactly how long it would take to get to you, and we’d put it in packaging to ensure it was still blazing hot and fresh when we rang your doorbell.

[ click to continue reading at Vanity Fair ]

Posted on April 22, 2019 by Editor

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Robot Authors

from The Guardian

The rise of robot authors: is the writing on the wall for human novelists?

Artificial intelligence can now write fiction and journalism. But does it measure up to George Orwell – and can it report on Brexit?

by Steven Poole

An industrial robot writes out the Bible. Photograph: Amy Cicconi/Alamy

Will androids write novels about electric sheep? The dream, or nightmare, of totally machine-generated prose seemed to have come one step closer with the recent announcement of an artificial intelligence that could produce, all by itself, plausible news stories or fiction. It was the brainchild of OpenAI – a nonprofit lab backed by Elon Musk and other tech entrepreneurs – which slyly alarmed the literati by announcing that the AI (called GPT2) was too dangerous for them to release into the wild, because it could be employed to create “deepfakes for text”. “Due to our concerns about malicious applications of the technology,” they said, “we are not releasing the trained model.” Are machine-learning entities going to be the new weapons of information terrorism, or will they just put humble midlist novelists out of business?

Let’s first take a step back. AI has been the next big thing for so long that it’s easy to assume “artificial intelligence” now exists. It doesn’t, if by “intelligence” we mean what we sometimes encounter in our fellow humans. GPT2 is just using methods of statistical analysis, trained on huge amounts of human-written text – 40GB of web pages, in this case, that received recommendations from Reddit readers – to predict what ought to come next. This probabilistic approach is how Google Translate works, and also the method behind Gmail’s automatic replies (“OK.” “See you then.” “That’s fine!”) It can be eerily good, but it is not as intelligent as, say, a bee.

Right now, novelists don’t seem to have much to fear. Fed the opening line of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four – “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen” – the machine continued the narrative as follows: “I was in my car on my way to a new job in Seattle. I put the gas in, put the key in, and then I let it run. I just imagined what the day would be like. A hundred years from now. In 2045, I was a teacher in some school in a poor part of rural China. I started with Chinese history and history of science.”

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on April 21, 2019 by Editor

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Liquid Solid Found

from National Geographic

Confirmed: New phase of matter is solid and liquid at the same time

The mind-bending material would be like a sponge made of water that’s leaking water.

BY ADAM MANN

SOLID, LIQUID, GAS … and something else? While most of us learn about just three states of matter in elementary school, physicists have discovered several exotic varieties that can exist under extreme temperature and pressure conditions.

Now, a team has used a type of artificial intelligence to confirm the existence of a bizarre new state of matter, one in which potassium atoms exhibit properties of both a solid and a liquid at the same time. If you were somehow able to pull out a chunk of such material, it would probably look like a solid block leaking molten potassium that eventually all dissolved away.

“It would be like holding a sponge filled with water that starts dripping out, except the sponge is also made of water,” says study coauthor Andreas Hermann, a condensed matter physicist at the University of Edinburgh whose team describes the work this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

[ click to continue reading at Nat Geo ]

Posted on April 14, 2019 by Editor

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Sex Pot

from Metro UK

People are putting cannabis up their bums and vaginas to have better sex

by Jasper Hamill

This packet contains a cannabis suppositry (Image: Foria)

Here in the UK, most cannabis users eat, smoke or vaporize weed to get high.

But in US states where it’s now legal, a very different method of using weed is emerging.

Marijuana is slowly shedding its image as a drug used by munchy-crazed potheads and becoming a medicine for people suffering from chronic pain and even a ‘wellness’ product believed to enhance healthy living.

In California though, people are using placing cannabis-based products inside their bums and vaginas to enhance sex or tackle soreness caused by medical conditions.

We spoke to a company called Foria which makes the world’s first cannabis suppository, as well as a woman who has used weed to help overcome a history of sexual trauma and discover the joy of sex and sensuality.

[ click to continue reading at Metro ]

Posted on April 12, 2019 by Editor

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Armageddon Map

from France 24

Mapping Armaggedon: Earth’s looming tsunamis and mega-quakes

A landslide from Anak Karkatau triggered a tsunami that killed 437 people and injured 30,000 in December 2018A landslide from Anak Karkatau triggered a tsunami that killed 437 people and injured 30,000 in December 2018 AFP/File

As villagers along the Sunda Strait were finishing their meals on the evening of 22 December last year, they had no idea of the cataclysmic event that awaited them.

After bubbling on and off for months, the active volcano of Anak Krakatoa erupted, triggering a 0.3-kilometre-cubed sized chunk of rock to plunge into the unusually deep waters off the coast of Indonesia’s west Java and South Sumatra regions.

The resulting tsunami, which hit the coast just minutes after the landslide, killed 437 people and injured 30,000 more.

The killer wave was the most recent of a geological phenomenon that has led to around a quarter of a million deaths in the last two decades alone.

And it won’t be the last.

[ click to continue reading at France 24 ]

Posted on April 10, 2019 by Editor

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Plague Again

from MSN

Deadly germs, Lost cures: A Mysterious Infection, Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy

by MATT RICHTEL and ANDREW JACOBS

Last May, an elderly man was admitted to the Brooklyn branch of Mount Sinai Hospital for abdominal surgery. A blood test revealed that he was infected with a newly discovered germ as deadly as it was mysterious.

Doctors swiftly isolated him in the intensive care unit. The germ, a fungus called Candida auris, preys on people with weakened immune systems, and it is quietly spreading across the globe.

Over the last five years, it has hit a neonatal unit in Venezuela, swept through a hospital in Spain, forced a prestigious British medical center to shut down its intensive care unit, and taken root in India, Pakistan and South Africa .

Recently C. auris reached New York , New Jersey and Illinois, leading the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to add it to a list of germs deemed “urgent threats.”

The man at Mount Sinai died after 90 days in the hospital, but C. auris did not. Tests showed it was everywhere in his room, so invasive that the hospital needed special cleaning equipment and had to rip out some of the ceiling and floor tiles to eradicate it.

“Everything was positive — the walls, the bed, the doors, the curtains, the phones, the sink, the whiteboard, the poles, the pump,” said Dr. Scott Lorin, the hospital’s president. “The mattress, the bed rails, the canister holes, the window shades, the ceiling, everything in the room was positive.”

[ click to continue reading at MSN ]

Posted on April 6, 2019 by Editor

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Consent Condom

from The Sun

New ‘consent’ condoms can only be opened by two people

The condoms can only be opened when four hands simultaneously press special pressure points on the side of the packet

By Molly Rose Pike

A BIZARRE new pack of condoms that can only be opened by two people at once have been launched to promote consent.

‘Consent Pack’ condoms open only when four hands simultaneously press special pressure points on the side of the packet, it’s claimed.

Argentinian contraceptive firm Tulipan say the product will make consent during sex clearer, though it’s not clear how effective this will be.

The company plans to give the condoms away for free in bars and at events in the Argentinian capital city of Buenos Aires.

Joaquin Campins, the general director of the BBDO agency, which cooperated with the condom brand on the special pack, said: “If it’s not a yes, it’s a no.

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

Posted on April 3, 2019 by Editor

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The Simulation Hypothesis

from Digital Trends

Are we living in a simulation? This MIT scientist says it’s more likely than not

by Dyllan Furness

we spoke to an mit computer scientists about the simulation hypothesis medrez riz play labs august 2017 phan 05Rizwan Virk, Play Labs’ Executive Director

What if I told you that physical reality is an illusion and we all live in a computer simulation?

That hypothesis, famously probed in the 1999 film The Matrix, is the subject of a new book by Rizwan Virk, a computer scientist and video game developer who leads Play Labs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In his book, The Simulation Hypothesis, Virk endeavors to unpack the heady arguments that call our physical world into question.

[ click to continue reading at Digital Trends ]

Posted on April 2, 2019 by Editor

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I Still Believe

from The Philadelphia Inquirer

The UFO community still believes — and science is starting to listen

by Chabeli Herrera

The UFO community still believes — and science is starting to listenRICH POPE / MCT

ORLANDO, Fla. — He appeared as if a hologram at first — then solid — suddenly there and clear as you or I, at the edge of the forest behind Trish Bishop’s home in Kissimmee.

It was a Thursday in March 2013, the glow of the afternoon tucking in for the day behind the trees. He stood tall, at least 6-foot-3, perhaps 220 pounds and certainly muscular, wearing a formfitting tan colored uniform, boots, and gloves. He lingered by the crape myrtle tree in the middle of the backyard.

When he turned around, it was his face, she remembers, that stopped her.

Bulging eyes jutting so far out of the sockets that Bishop wondered whether he could close them. Skin white as chalk. And a jaw so large, it dispelled any notions the government worker had of the visitor being human.

[ click to continue reading at Philly.com ]

Posted on March 21, 2019 by Editor

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Taco Bell Hot Sauce To The Rescue Again!

from The Takeout

Taco Bell hot sauce saves another life

by Gwen Ihnat

A few weeks ago, we were shocked to hear that a man survived for five days stranded in the snow by eating nothing but Taco Bell hot sauce packets (resulting in his getting Taco Bell free for a year). This started us on the path to thinking that Taco Bell hot sauce was magical. And now, in light of another hot-sauce life-saving measure, we think we may be on to something.

In—happy Monday, everyone—Florida, a man was sitting down at a Taco Bell in Winter Haven when he decided to get up from his seat to procure more hot sauce. Mere seconds later, an elderly man crashed through the front of that Taco Bell with his car, hitting the table where the hot-sauce-retrieving customer had been sitting just moments before.

[ click to continue reading at The Takeout ]

Posted on March 18, 2019 by Editor

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Whale Fall

from The New Yorker

A Whale’s Afterlife

On the day before Thanksgiving, 2011, Greg Rouse, a trim marine biologist in his fifties, was tidying his lab at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, in La Jolla, California. Rouse studies the worms and other small animals that inhabit the deep sea. He was organizing his microscopes, dissection supplies, and jars of deep-sea critters when he received a long-anticipated e-mail.

In the late two-thousands, Rouse and Eddie Kisfaludy, then an operations manager for Virgin Oceanic, had begun meeting with officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (noaa) and the city of San Diego to pitch an alternative approach to the disposal of dead whales. Often, whales that wash up on shore are hauled to landfills or pushed back into the water. Rouse and Kisfaludy wanted to tow one out to sea, sink it to the seafloor, and watch what happened. Whale falls, as marine biologists call such events, create pop-up habitats that may serve as stepping stones for organisms migrating from methane seeps or hydrothermal vents to other parts of the ocean. Precisely how this works, and which species colonize the carcass as it degrades, were open questions that Rouse hoped to answer.

In the e-mail, a biologist from noaa wrote that a large female fin whale had washed ashore four days previously, on the rocky beach at Point Loma, just west of downtown San Diego. The noaa team had already moved the carcass to the protected beaches of Mission Bay and performed a necropsy, concluding that the whale had been hit by a ship. Now they were ready to hand it over to Rouse: if he could mobilize the necessary resources on short notice, the whale was his to sink.

Rouse quickly met up with Kisfaludy to strategize. They needed a boat big enough to tow a sixty-foot, twenty-three-ton whale, so Kisfaludy leaned on a Newport-based friend, Chris Welsh, for the use of his large catamaran. To sink the carcass, they sourced five tons of rusty chains from Newport Harbor and another two tons of iron shackles from the Scripps scrap yard, in San Diego.

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on March 14, 2019 by Editor

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Beatdown At The Bell

from CBS Philly

Watch: 6 Taco Bell Employees Beat Up Man And His Girlfriend Outside Center City Location

By Greg Argos

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Taco Bell beatdown was captured on video. Taco Bell is taking action but the criminal investigation is just getting started.

Bryan Reese is the guy in blue on the ground. Video shows six people wearing Taco Bell uniforms surrounding him, one holding him down as the others serve up punches to his side.

After he gets up, the employees then deliver blows to his girlfriend Ali’s face.

It all happened on Chestnut Street near 10th, in front of the Center City location.

“I just stopped by the Taco Bell to pick some friends up who were getting food at the end of the night,” Reese said.

[ click to continue reading at CBS Philly ]

Posted on March 10, 2019 by Editor

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The Famous Joey Ryan Penis Flip

Posted on March 9, 2019 by Editor

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Ted Bundy Lives

from AP

Bundy’s deadly charm still polarizes, 40 years later

By DAN SEWELL

CINCINNATI (AP) — She kept her eyes on the dapper, wavy haired man who smiled, winked and exuded self-confidence as the courtroom proceedings moved along.

“I don’t know what it is he has, but he’s fascinating,” the teenage spectator explained to me at the time. “He’s impressive. He just has a kind of magnetism.”

It was that beguiling magnetism that investigators said helped make the object of her interest — Ted Bundy — one of the nation’s most prolific serial killers, with at least 30 women and girls’ deaths linked to him in a multiple-state spree that spanned the late 1970s.

I reported the teenager’s comments for The Associated Press’ coverage of Bundy’s 1979 murder trial in Miami, the first of two murder trials he would have in Florida. She was just one example of a regular courtroom backdrop of spellbound female spectators who were “attractive, young and single,” as I wrote at the time, just like the women Bundy was on trial for bludgeoning and sexually assaulting.

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on March 8, 2019 by Editor

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Winter 1709

from National Geographic

Winter Is Coming: Europe’s Deep Freeze of 1709

In the first months of 1709, Europe froze and stayed that way for months. People ice-skated on the canals of Venice, church bells broke when rung, and travelers could cross the Baltic Sea on horseback. This freakish winter ultimately claimed the lives of a vast number of Europeans and disrupted two major wars—but to this day, there is no conclusive theory for its cause.

BY

IT HAPPENED LITERALLY overnight in the first few days of 1709. On January 5, temperatures plummeted—not, perhaps, a surprise in European winter. But 1709 was no ordinary cold snap. Dawn broke the next morning on a continent that had frozen over from Italy to Scandinavia and from England to Russia, and would not warm up again for the next three months. During the worst winter in 500 years, extreme cold followed by food shortages caused hundreds of thousands of deaths in France alone, froze lagoons in the Mediterranean, and changed the course of a war. Shivering in England, the scholar William Derham wrote: “I believe the Frost was greater … than any other within the Memory of Man.”

French Freeze

The country most affected by the terrible cold was undoubtedly France. The year 1709 had already started badly. French peasants had been hit by poor harvests, taxes, and conscription for the War of the Spanish Succession. The cold snaps of late 1708 were as nothing to the crash in temperatures that took place over the night of January 5 to 6. In the following two weeks, snow would fall and thermometers in France would drop to a low of -5°F.

In the absence of weather forecasting, the authorities had no time to prepare for what became known as “Le Grand Hiver,” and thousands succumbed to hypothermia before measures could be taken to help them. Animals were not spared either: Numerous livestock froze in their pens, barns, and coops.

[ click to continue reading at Nat Geo ]

Posted on March 3, 2019 by Editor

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Bring Back The Shit Stick!

from National Post

U.S. plush toilet paper use wiping out Canada’s forests, flushing away the future: report

The report gave failing grades to the leading toilet paper, tissue and paper towel brands for using only virgin fibre pulp, mostly from Canada’s old boreal forests

by Adrian Humphreys

The voracious use of toilet paper in the United States — with the average American using almost three rolls each week and major manufacturers spurning alternative fibres — is destroying Canada’s forests and causing widespread environmental damage, two international environmental groups say.

A report on tissue paper use gave failing grades to the leading toilet paper, tissue and paper towel brands for using only virgin fibre pulp, mostly from Canada’s old boreal forests.

“Forests are too vital to flush away,” says the report, called The Issue With Tissue, released Wednesday by Natural Resources Defense Council and Stand.earth, international nonprofit environmental organizations that cooperated on the study.

[ click to continue reading at National Post ]

Posted on February 26, 2019 by Editor

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Always Have An Off-site, Air-gapped Backup

from Fast Company

Humanity’s 30-million-page backup plan is heading to the moon

BY MELISSA LOCKER

When SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket took off on Thursday night, it carried humanity’s entire backup plan with it. It was headed to the moon, the world’s ultimate cold-storage unit.

The Arch Mission Foundation (AMF) created the Lunar Library, a 30-million-page long compendium of humanity’s greatest cultural offerings, encoded it on a specially designed disc meant to last a billion years, and sent it to the moon to keep it safe. The disc is being carried to its final resting place on the moon’s surface aboard Beresheet, the Israeli spacecraft (and Google Lunar XPrize contender) that was carried to space by the Falcon 9, CNET reports.

The Lunar Library contains a vast archive of human history and civilization, covering all subjects, cultures, nations, languages, genres, and time periods. Everything from the contents of Wikipedia, to a compilation of human languages, the Rosetta Project, books selected by Project Gutenberg, as well as genome maps, 60,000 analog images of pages of books, photographs, illustrations, and documents, and much of the world’s greatest art, music, literature, and scientific knowledge. It’s all encoded on a disc that is composed of 25 nickel discs, each only 40 microns thick, made for the AMF by NanoArchival.

[ click to continue reading at Fast Company ]

Posted on February 25, 2019 by Editor

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God Bless Testosterone

from ABC 7 Detroit

Local powerlifter lifts vehicle off man trapped underneath after accident

By: Alan Campbell

YPSILANTI, Mich. (WXYZ) — A local power lifter is being hailed as a real life super hero, after his quick actions helped save a man pinned under a rolled over vehicle.

Ryan Belcher, works out and trains at the gym 5 days a week. It’s his life, and a place he credits for giving him extra strength on a day he needed it the most.

“I just lifted and started pushing the vehicle as hard as I could,” Belcher said.

Belcher isn’t your normal power lifter.

“What’s weird is it’s easier for me to not know the weight,” he said.

It was around 4:30 Thursday afternoon when Belcher heard something outside his workplace on the 2600 block of Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti.

“I just hear a big smash and, as I look out, a crowd of people are coming and this vehicle is flipped upside down and my first instinct was to just take off out there,” he said.

[ click to continue reading at ABC 7 Detroit ]

Posted on February 15, 2019 by Editor

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MAGMA

from The Express

Yellowstone volcano: How scientists ‘intensely monitor’ rising column of HOT MAGMA

THE YELLOWSTONE volcano has been “intensely monitored” by a team of scientists and volcanologists concerned by a 400-mile-long plume of hot magma that is rising beneath the surface of the Earth.

By CALLUM HOARE

The Yellowstone volcano has erupted three times in history – 2.1 million years ago, 1.2 million years ago and 640,000 years ago. Scientists have previously revealed that, should an earthquake occur, it could take less than two weeks before a catastrophic reaction event with the potential to wipe out three-quarters of the US is triggered. Now, it is the job of geologists to “intensely monitor” a large area of molten rock directly below the surface of the supervolcano, it was revealed in a documentary.

“We can reconstruct a 3D picture like an MRI scan by recording thousands of earthquakes.”

The documentary then reveals how the mapping system of more than 150 seismometers has identified a 400-mile-long magma plume rising from the Earth’s core.

Should this reach the surface, there could be catastrophic effects.

The last eruption of Yellowstone produced around 2,500 times more volcanic material than the 1980 eruption of Mount St Helens.

[ click to continue reading at The Express ]

Posted on February 14, 2019 by Editor

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