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Speech Recognition (Without The Speech)

from Science Daily

Engineers translate brain signals directly into speech

Advance marks critical step toward brain-computer interfaces that hold immense promise for those with limited or no ability to speak

Credit: © adragan / Fotolia

In a scientific first, Columbia neuroengineers have created a system that translates thought into intelligible, recognizable speech. By monitoring someone’s brain activity, the technology can reconstruct the words a person hears with unprecedented clarity. This breakthrough, which harnesses the power of speech synthesizers and artificial intelligence, could lead to new ways for computers to communicate directly with the brain. It also lays the groundwork for helping people who cannot speak, such as those living with as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or recovering from stroke, regain their ability to communicate with the outside world.

These findings were published today in Scientific Reports.

“Our voices help connect us to our friends, family and the world around us, which is why losing the power of one’s voice due to injury or disease is so devastating,” said Nima Mesgarani, PhD, the paper’s senior author and a principal investigator at Columbia University’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. “With today’s study, we have a potential way to restore that power. We’ve shown that, with the right technology, these people’s thoughts could be decoded and understood by any listener.”

Decades of research has shown that when people speak — or even imagine speaking — telltale patterns of activity appear in their brain. Distinct (but recognizable) pattern of signals also emerge when we listen to someone speak, or imagine listening. Experts, trying to record and decode these patterns, see a future in which thoughts need not remain hidden inside the brain — but instead could be translated into verbal speech at will.

[ click to continue reading at Science Daily ]

Posted on February 3, 2019 by Editor

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Live Vortex

Posted on February 1, 2019 by Editor

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Sun Dogs

from TIME Magazine

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

By GINA MARTINEZ

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

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

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

[ click to continue reading at TIME ]

Posted on January 31, 2019 by Editor

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Boston Drivers

Posted on January 30, 2019 by Editor

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Trevor The World’s Loneliest Duck Gone

Posted on January 28, 2019 by Editor

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They’re Watching Us

from CBS News

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

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

by  David Martin

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

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

[ click to continue reading at CBS News ]

Posted on January 27, 2019 by Editor

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Lunar Meteor Exposes Itself

from National Geographic

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

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

BY

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

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

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

[ click to continue reading at NatGeo ]

Posted on January 23, 2019 by Editor

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‘Oumuamua Lurking

from The New Yorker

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

By Isaac Chotiner

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

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

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

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

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

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on January 18, 2019 by Editor

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Alien Ice-disk In Presumpscot

from the Portland Press Herald

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

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

BY DENNIS HOEY

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

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

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

[ click to continue reading at the Press Herald ]

Posted on January 17, 2019 by Editor

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Egg Beats Kylie

from TIME Magazine

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

By ASHLEY HOFFMAN

An egg won the internet Sunday.

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

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

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

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

[ click to continue reading at TIME ]

Posted on January 16, 2019 by Editor

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Yikes! Why To Watch Your Blood Sugar Levels

from Fox45 Columbus

Dangerous chase during rush hour result of driver having medical emergency

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

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

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

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

[ click to continue reading at Fox45 ]

Posted on January 14, 2019 by Editor

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Shit!

from news.com.au

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

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

by Jamie Seidel

Graphic via Science Journal NatureGraphic via Science Journal NatureSource:Supplied

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on January 11, 2019 by Editor

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Gigantic Jets

from Real Clear Science

What Causes Earth’s Rare and Mysterious Gigantic Jets?

By Ross Pomeroy

We’re all well acquainted with lightning. The bright, brief flashes of electrical energy puncture the general monotony of Earth’s sky. Their luminous dance, however, is restricted to within and below the planet’s billowing thunderclouds. Often shielded from our view above is a light show of a more magnificent nature. Here can be seen transient bursts of luminous plasma, the most common of which is a sprite, resembling a red mushroom cloud between 50 and 100 kilometers above the surface. Lucky onlookers can also see blue jets, bold, yet wispy blue bolts extending upwards from the tops of clouds to as high as 40 to 50 kilometers.

Rarest of all the “lightning above the clouds” is the gigantic jet, which is like a supersized blue jet that transitions to the color red at the highest altitudes. Scientists at the Arecibo Observatory once observed a blue jet extending from a thundercloud up to 70 kilometers, blazing at speeds of roughly 2,000,000 meters per second, more than forty times faster than ground lightning!

[ click to continue reading at RCS ]

Posted on January 8, 2019 by Editor

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Fighting Back

from The Daily Star

NASA to crash 13,500mph spacecraft into ASTEROID in mission to stop deadly strike on Earth

NASA is planning to smash a spacecraft into an asteroid in the next phase of its planetary defence experiment.

By Rachel O’Donoghue

NASA DART asteroid missionSAVE EARTH: NASA will practice stopping a catastrophic asteroid strike (Pic: GETTY)

The US space agency is working on the most fiery and crucial stage of its Double Asteroid Redirection Test, DART.

The experiment will be the latest in NASA’s mission to protect Earth from deadly asteroid strikes.

In 2021, it aims to fully test the new defence system by smashing a spaceship into a rock at 13,500mph (6 km per second).

Space experts are worried an asteroid could potentially smash into earth causing catastrophic damage.

[ click to continue reading at The Daily Star ]

 

Posted on January 7, 2019 by Editor

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Losing The High Ground

from National Geographic

China just landed on the far side of the moon: What comes next?

The lander-rover combo touched down where no human or robot has ventured before. Find out what it’s doing there, and what else is headed for the lunar surface.

BY

This image from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter centers on the South Pole-Aitken basin, the largest impact basin on the moon and one of the largest in the solar system. The distance from its depths to the tops of the highest surrounding peaks is nearly 10 miles. IMAGE BY NASA/GODDARD

On the evening of January 2, a Chinese lander named for an ancient moon goddess touched down on the lunar far side, where no human or robot has ever ventured before. China’s Chang’e-4 mission launched toward the moon on December 7 and entered orbit around our cosmic companion on December 12. Now, the spacecraft has alighted onto the lunar surface.

Leading up to the historic touchdown, details on Chang’e-4’s landing were few and far between. CNSA is notoriously secretive; the last update offered was on December 30, when officials stated that the spacecraft had entered its final pre-landing orbit. Around the world, scientists and enthusiasts huddled in online forums and on Twitter before the landing, trading whispers as they read the latest from well-sourced journalists, Weibo accounts, and amateur astronomers tracking Chang’e-4’s orbit.

Posted on January 1, 2019 by Editor

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TR-3Bs @ WPAFB

from The Express

Rise in mysterious ‘TR-3B UFO sightings’ sparks PANIC over ‘top-secret US military plans’

THERE has been a shocking rise in alleged TR-3B triangular UFO sightings across the world – with the most recent footage showing the bizarre aircraft close to a US airbase in Ohio.

By OLI SMITH

A recent jump in the number of sightings of alleged TR-3B aircrafts has sparked a panic among online conspiracy communities. Experts fear that there “is something going on” amid concern over top-secret US military experiments or the involvement of extraterrestrials. Michael, of the YouTube channel MrMBB333, posted the latest sighting of the alleged TR-3B in Toledo, Ohio.

He said: “According to the guy who filmed this, it had circled over his neighbourhood at least three times.

“It looks like a perfect triangle. You cannot see anything except the lights.

“I’ve tried to put on different light filters to get a clearer picture but all you see are the bright lights.

“We are seeing a lot of these lately – especially in Ohio.

“Something is going on.”

The sighting took place just a few miles from the Wright-Patterson air Force Base – raising concern of US military involvement.

[ click to continue reading at The Express ]

Posted on December 29, 2018 by Editor

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It’s All Fake, Folks

from New York Magazine

How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually.

By

Photo: Artwork by Ayatgali Tuleubek

In late November, the Justice Department unsealed indictments against eight people accused of fleecing advertisers of $36 million in two of the largest digital ad-fraud operations ever uncovered. Digital advertisers tend to want two things: people to look at their ads and “premium” websites — i.e., established and legitimate publications — on which to host them.

The two schemes at issue in the case, dubbed Methbot and 3ve by the security researchers who found them, faked both. Hucksters infected 1.7 million computers with malware that remotely directed traffic to “spoofed” websites — “empty websites designed for bot traffic” that served up a video ad purchased from one of the internet’s vast programmatic ad-exchanges, but that were designed, according to the indictments, “to fool advertisers into thinking that an impression of their ad was served on a premium publisher site,” like that of Vogue or The Economist. Views, meanwhile, were faked by malware-infected computers with marvelously sophisticated techniques to imitate humans: bots “faked clicks, mouse movements, and social network login information to masquerade as engaged human consumers.” Some were sent to browse the internet to gather tracking cookies from other websites, just as a human visitor would have done through regular behavior. Fake people with fake cookies and fake social-media accounts, fake-moving their fake cursors, fake-clicking on fake websites — the fraudsters had essentially created a simulacrum of the internet, where the only real things were the ads.

How much of the internet is fake? Studies generally suggest that, year after year, less than 60 percent of web traffic is human; some years, according to some researchers, a healthy majority of it is bot. For a period of time in 2013, the Times reported this year, a full half of YouTube traffic was “bots masquerading as people,” a portion so high that employees feared an inflection point after which YouTube’s systems for detecting fraudulent traffic would begin to regard bot traffic as real and human traffic as fake. They called this hypothetical event “the Inversion.”

[ click to continue reading at NYMag ]

Posted on December 26, 2018 by Editor

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Christmas Creature Caught On Cam In Kentucky

from The Lexington Herald Leader

Monstrous creature ‘turned its head and looked straight at our car,’ Kentucky woman says

BY MARK PRICE

A woman is reported to have seen a frightening “creature” on a road outside the eastern Kentucky town of Sandy Hook, prompting an investigation by the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization.

The group released a “follow-up report” this month that concludes the woman saw something that wasn’t human. Sandy Hook is about 100 miles east of Lexington, Kentucky.

“She described it as a walking tree,“ investigator Jack Smarr said after interviewing the woman.

His report stops short of declaring it was Bigfoot, a legendary “ape-like creature” that remains more a popular myth than a scientific fact, according to Live Science.com.

[ click to continue reading the Herald Leader ]

Posted on December 25, 2018 by Editor

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They Just Keep Coming

from The Star Tribune

Meteor spotted in north metro was one of this year’s biggest worldwide

The fireball was reported above Cambridge, in Isanti County, about 2:10 a.m.

By Tim Harlow

MATTHEW SPARBY

One of the biggest meteors seen worldwide this year streaked over the north metro early Thursday, giving the night sky a light show and rattling homes with a sonic boom.

The refrigerator-sized fireball entered the stratosphere above Cambridge, Minn., in Isanti County about 2:10 a.m. and illuminated the sky with brilliant hues of blues and greens as it burned its way eastward before going dark over Harris in southern Chisago County, said Pat Branch, an observer and meteorite hunter with the American Meteor Society, which collects reports from all over the world.

It wasn’t immediately clear how close the meteor came to Earth impact, but it probably was close enough to drop pea- to grape-size rocks with charred, crusted or chipped edges, Branch said. The drop zone between Harris and North Branch would be about 2 miles long and a half-mile wide, he said.

[ click to continue reading Star Tribune ]

Posted on December 22, 2018 by Editor

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Porsche-towed

Posted on December 20, 2018 by Editor

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100ft.

Posted on December 17, 2018 by Editor

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The New Vesuvius

from The Sunday Express

Volcano WARNING: Naples supervolcano showing ‘signs’ of possible ‘Vesuvian-style eruption’

ITALY’S Campi Flegrei volcano has, for the first time in nearly 400 years, been “showing a type of unrest” which could indicate it is “getting ready for another eruption”, volcano expert Christopher Kilburn has said.

By CHARLOTTE DAVIS

The volcano, which is located in the highly-populated Italian city of Naples, could at some point in the “foreseeable future” have a Vesuvian-style eruption, warned Dr Christopher Kilburn, a professor at University College London and expert in volcanic hazard. Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dr Kilburn explained how Campi Flegrei is a caldera and was produced by a large-scale eruption. He said: “The last major collapse occurred 15,500 years ago. Since then there have been lots of small eruptions within the caldera which is populated by about 350,000 people.

“The size of these eruptions is comparatively modest. When I say comparatively, the larger sizes are about the size of the Vesuvius eruption that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum – so fairly big for human beings but small compared with what the volcano has done in the past.”

The volcanologist, who has worked closely with the Vesuvius Observatory in Naples to analyse the volcano, explained how the last historic eruption was in 1538.

But the professor warned: “Since then it has been showing episodes of unrest – that means the ground has at the centre of the caldera the ground has been uplifted overall by just under four metres in the last 60 years or so. So, about two metres in two years with long intervals and nothing in between.”

[ click to continue reading at The Express ]

Posted on December 16, 2018 by Editor

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Space Sex Hard

from The Sun

Forget colonising Mars – From shrivelled willies to sex dolls and radioactive babies, expert reveals why sex will make living in space a nightmare

There are a number of issues surrounding sexual intercourse in micro-gravity  – including lack of arousal and floating fluids

By Mark Hodge

SEX in space is a logistical nightmare with problems ranging from floating fluids to shrinking manhoods, a NASA-funded scientist says.

Dr John Millis, a US physicist and astronomer, spoke to The Sun Online about the issues faced by consenting astronauts who wish to engage in rumpy-pumpy in micro-gravity.

Dr Millis, of Anderson University in Indiana, compared sex in space to having intercourse while “skydiving” but added that it was “not impossible.”

He told The Sun Online: “The issues surrounding the act all revolve around the free-fall, micro-gravity, environment experienced by astronauts.

“Even the lightest touch can make it difficult to stay in contact if both persons are not properly anchored.

“The astronauts would need to brace themselves against the space station, and even each other.

“A shared sleeping bag, or similar, would perhaps be the most useful.”

But more problems would arise if the romantic astronauts were able to lock together in a coital tryst.

Dr Millis, whose work has been funded by NASA, explains that in micro-gravity blood rises to your head, instead of your wedding tackle – making it harder for both men and women to get aroused.

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

“Imagine engaging in sexual activity while skydiving – every push or thrust will propel you in opposite directions.

Posted on December 14, 2018 by Editor

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How Much For A Torso?

from Reuters

Made in America: U.S. body brokers supply world with human torsos, limbs and heads

Part 9: Body parts from American donors have been exported to at least 45 countries, and thousands of parts are sent abroad annually. Demand is high in nations where customs limit selling or dissecting their own dead. In the U.S., though, almost anything goes.

By JOHN SHIFFMAN and READE LEVINSON

REMAINS FOR RENT: A U.S. body donation company leased the heads of dead Americans to a Tel Aviv dental training facility. The facility posted pictures of the training on Facebook in October, just before returning a shipment of heads to the United States. That shipment was intercepted by U.S. border agents because the manifest mislabeled the package of heads as “electronics.” REUTERS/Handout

PORTLAND, Oregon – On July 20, a Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship departed Charleston, South Carolina, carrying thousands of containers. One of them held a lucrative commodity: body parts from dozens of dead Americans.

According to the manifest, the shipment bound for Europe included about 6,000 pounds of human remains valued at $67,204. To keep the merchandise from spoiling, the container’s temperature was set to 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

The body parts came from a Portland business called MedCure Inc. A so-called body broker, MedCure profits by dissecting the bodies of altruistic donors and sending the parts to medical training and research companies.

MedCure sells or leases about 10,000 body parts from U.S. donors annually, shipping about 20 percent of them overseas, internal corporate and manifest records show. In addition to bulk cargo shipments to the Netherlands, where MedCure operates a distribution hub, the Oregon company has exported body parts to at least 22 other countries by plane or truck, the records show.

Among the parts: a pelvis and legs to a university in Malaysia; feet to medical device companies in Brazil and Turkey; and heads to hospitals in Slovenia and the United Arab Emirates.

Demand for body parts from America — torsos, knees and heads — is high in countries where religious traditions or laws prohibit the dissection of the dead. Unlike many developed nations, the United States largely does not regulate the sale of donated body parts, allowing entrepreneurs such as MedCure to expand exports rapidly during the last decade.

No other nation has an industry that can provide as convenient and reliable a supply of body parts.

[ click to continue reading at Reuters ]

Posted on December 12, 2018 by Editor

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Porch Pirates vs. Doorstep Vigilantes

from The Washington Post

Porch Pirates are trying to steal Christmas, but doorstep vigilantes are on high alert

By Petula Dvorak

The Porch Pirates are in overdrive.

Their crimes are unfolding on doorsteps across the nation as Christmas presents, ordered from online retailers, arrive by the hundreds of millions. And plenty of those packages disappear.

The thieves are totally legit villains now because they have an official villain name. Search “Porch Pirates” on Twitter or other social media, and you’ll see what I mean.

But some of the 26 million victims who say they’ve had boxes swiped from their porches are heroically fighting back, determined to protect their precious packages.

They’re using booby traps, secret cameras, geo-trackers and bait boxes. The scenes of Good vs. Evil being posted online make for days of great comic-book reading, complete with shaming doorbell video clips of sneaky pirates, clumsy pirates, grandma pirates in flowery tunics, at least one pirate in a bra, even regretful pirates who’ve returned to the scene of the crime to leave an apology note.

[ click to continue reading at WaPo ]

Posted on December 10, 2018 by Editor

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Bienvenue Bennu!

from AP

NASA spacecraft arrives at ancient asteroid, its 1st visitor

By MARCIA DUNN

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — After a two-year chase, a NASA spacecraft arrived Monday at the ancient asteroid Bennu, its first visitor in billions of years.

The robotic explorer Osiris-Rex pulled within 12 miles (19 kilometers) of the diamond-shaped space rock. It will get even closer in the days ahead and go into orbit around Bennu on Dec. 31. No spacecraft has ever orbited such a small cosmic body.

It is the first U.S. attempt to gather asteroid samples for return to Earth, something only Japan has accomplished so far.

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on December 8, 2018 by Editor

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Shiny Happy Martians

from GIZMODO

Curiosity Rover Just Spotted This Super-Shiny Object on Mars

by George Dvorsky

An unusually smooth and reflective Martian rock has caught the attention of NASA scientists, prompting an investigation by the Curiosity rover.

With the spectacularly successful landing of the InSight probe on Mars earlier this week, our attention has understandably been diverted away from Curiosity, which has been exploring the Red Planet since 2012. While we’ve been gushing over InSight, the six-wheeled NASA rover has been working at Vera Rubin Ridge, investigating the Highfield outcrop, a unique patch of grey bedrock.

Curiosity has been at the Highfield drill site before, but NASA’s mission controllers wanted to take a look at four previously detected rocks—including an unusually smooth rock that, in black and white at least, looks a bit like a chunk of gold.

[ click to continue reading at GIZMODO ]

Posted on December 6, 2018 by Editor

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NASA Admits It

from The Sun

Nasa admits ‘tiny super-intelligent’ aliens may have ALREADY visited Earth – and says some UFO sightings ‘cannot be explained or denied’

A top Nasa scientist said the space agency needs to be “more aggressive” in the hunt for alien life

By Sean Keach, Digital Technology and Science Editor

A NASA scientist admits that it’s entirely possible aliens have already visited Earth – and we simply never noticed.

The space expert also noted that not all UFO sightings can be “explained or denied”, and said scientists should be more open-minded about the possibility of alien visitors.

Nasa has long been investing in SETI, the “search for extraterrestrial intelligence” – better known as aliens.

And in a recently publisher paper on SETI, Professor Silvano P. Colombano suggested that alien life may have already visited us.

He suggested that aliens could look so different from how we expect, and that they may be able to travel huge distances – because we simply can’t comprehend their make-up or technology.

“I simply want to point out the fact that the intelligence we might find and that might choose to find us (if it hasn’t already) might not be at all be produced by carbon based organisms like us,” said Professor Colombano, of Nasa’s Ames Research Centre in California.

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

Posted on December 4, 2018 by Editor

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Earth’s Bell Rung – And No One Heard

from National Geographic

Strange waves rippled around the world, and nobody knows why

Instruments picked up the seismic waves more than 10,000 miles away—but bizarrely, nobody felt them.

BY

On the morning of November 11, just before 9:30 UT, a mysterious rumble rolled around the world.

The seismic waves began roughly 15 miles off the shores of Mayotte, a French island sandwiched between Africa and the northern tip of Madagascar. The waves buzzed across Africa, ringing sensors in Zambia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. They traversed vast oceans, humming across Chile, New Zealand, Canada, and even Hawaii nearly 11,000 miles away.

These waves didn’t just zip by; they rang for more than 20 minutes. And yet, it seems, no human felt them.

[ click to continue reading at Nat Geo ]

Posted on December 3, 2018 by Editor

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Frankenstein From Within

from Discover Magazine

Will We See “Monstrous” Neuroscience?

By Neuroskeptic

monster_brain

The science story of the past week was the claim from Chinese scientist He Jiankui that he has created gene-edited human babies. Prof. He reports that two twin girls have been born carrying modifications of the gene CCR5, which is intended to protect them against future HIV risk.

It’s far from clear yet whether the gene-editing that He described has actually taken place – no data has yet been presented.  The very prospect of genetically-modifying human beings has, however, led to widespread concern, with He’s claims being described as “monstrous“, “crazy” and “unethical”.

All of which got me wondering: could there ever be a neuroscience experiment which attracted the same level of condemnation?

What I’m asking here is whether there are neuroscience advances that would be considered inherently unethical. It would, of course, be possible to carry out any neuroscience experiment in an unethical way, by forcing or tricking people into participation. But are there experiments which would be unethical even if all the participants gave full, informed consent at every stage?

Here are a couple of possibilites:

[ click to continue reading at Discover ]

Posted on December 1, 2018 by Editor

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Be Careful Whom You Try To Colonize

from France 24

US tourist killed by arrow-shooting Indian tribe

Contact with several tribes on the Andaman islands, set deep in the Indian Ocean, is illegal in a bid to protect their indigenous way of life and shield them from diseasesContact with several tribes on the Andaman islands, set deep in the Indian Ocean, is illegal in a bid to protect their indigenous way of life and shield them from diseases Contact with several tribes on the Andaman islands, set deep in the Indian Ocean, is illegal in a bid to protect their indigenous way of life and shield them from diseases AFP/File

An American tourist was killed by arrows shot by protected tribesmen living in one of the world’s most isolated regions tucked in India’s Andaman islands, police said Wednesday.

John Chau, 27, had taken a boat ride with local fishermen before venturing alone in a canoe to the remote North Sentinel Island where the indigenous people live cut off completely from the outside world.

As soon as he set foot on the island, Chau found himself facing a flurry of arrows, official sources told AFP.

Contact with several tribes on the islands, set deep in the Indian Ocean, is illegal in a bid to protect their indigenous way of life and shield them from diseases.

[ click to continue reading at France 24 ]

Posted on November 21, 2018 by Editor

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The Cannibal Earth

from Space

The Earth Is Eating Its Own Oceans

As Earth’s tectonic plates dive beneath one another, they drag three times as much water into the planet’s interior as previously thought.

Those are the results of a new paper published today (Nov. 14) in the journal Nature. Using the natural seismic rumblings of the earthquake-prone subduction zone at the Marianas trench, where the Pacific plate is sliding beneath the Philippine plate, researchers were able to estimate how much water gets incorporated into the rocks that dive deep below the surface. [In Photos: Ocean Hidden Beneath Earth’s Surface]

The find has major ramifications for understanding Earth’s deep water cycle, wrote  marine geology and geophysics researcher Donna Shillington of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in an op-ed accompanying the new paper. Water beneath the surface of the Earth can contribute to the development of magma and can lubricate faults, making earthquakes more likely, wrote Shillington, who was not involved in the new research.

[ click to continue reading at Space.com ]

Posted on November 19, 2018 by Editor

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Condi To Take Over The Browns?

from DEADLINE

Condoleeza Rice Under Consideration For Cleveland Browns Head Coach – ESPN Report

by Bruce Haring

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice may interview for head coach of the Cleveland Browns, according to an ESPN report.

If Rice actually moves forward, she would be the first woman to ever interview for an NFL head coaching job. The league currently has three women in assistant coaching positions, but none in key coordinator positions that would merit consideration as a head coach.

Rice is reportedly a lifelong Browns fan. She would inherit a mess, as the 3-6-1 Browns have disappointed this year and are just one season removed from an 0-16 record.

[ click to continue reading at DEADLINE ]

Posted on November 18, 2018 by Editor

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