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Penisnapping

from The Daily Star

Bloke has his penis held to ransom by hackers who took control of digital chastity belt

Qiui, the company which makes the Cellmate cage, says it believes that a true chastity experience is one that ‘does not allow the wearer to have any control over’

By Joshua Smith

Sam was horrified when he realised he’d been hacked (Image: Getty Images)

A man had his penis held to ransom for more than £700 after hackers locked a digital chastity belt he was wearing.

Sam Summers had been wearing a Qiui Cellmate chastity cage, which connects to the internet, when he received a strange message on the product’s app on his phone.

Someone said they had taken control of the chastity belt and that they wanted around $1,000 (£729) in Bitcoin to give him back control of the device.

“Initially, I thought it was my partner doing that. It sounds silly, but I got a bit excited by it,” Sam Summers told VICE.

But when Same called his partner and told her their safe word, he was shocked to find out it wasn’t her.

That’s when he realised, to his utter horror, that he had been hacked.

His penis was locked in the cage, and he had no way to get it out because the belt has no manual override.

“Oh, s**t, it’s real,” Sam said. “I started looking at the thing.

“There’s no manual override at all. It’s a chastity belt, I guess it kind of shouldn’t have an override.

[ click to continue reading at The Daily Star ]

Posted on January 30, 2021 by Editor

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The Reddit Boys Revenge

from Vanity Fair

“You Meet Insanity With Insanity”: The GameStop Redditors Who Upended Wall Street Are Doubling Down

by Jessica Camille Aguirre

Wall Street can seem like a citadel, so it is with unreserved glee that many have kept tabs on the GameStop saga this week. For once, the underdogs were getting flush—and even better, seemingly screwing over hedge funds in the process. On WallStreetBets, the Reddit forum where it all began, retail traders are rallying one another to stay aggressive and hold against downward pressure on the stock, whose value was sinking by Thursday afternoon. An I.T. worker in Atlanta who bought in on Monday after reading about GameStop on the forum said he watched the value of his position lose and then regain around $100,000 over the course of 24 hours, and he’s not abandoning his shares anytime soon.

“It does feel like a gang-up on Wall Street, which has suffered no repercussions from the pandemic,” the I.T. worker said. “Jobless claims, jobless claims, every week we see them going higher and higher, all the chaos with Brexit, all the stuff that’s happening. Like, we can’t go outside, but you guys are making a profit. What the fuck?” On WallStreetBets, it’s to no small amount of admiration that DeepFuckingValue, one of the first users to go bullish on GameStop, who has since been identified by the Daily Mail as 34-year-old financial adviser Keith Patrick Gill, continues to post his daily tally from staying long on the video game store chain. Midweek, that was almost $50 million (from a reported initial investment of some $53,000), but the next day, it had dived by more than $14 million

What happened was this: A few hedge funds, reading what they thought was the writing on the wall, bet against GameStop by shorting its stock, predicting that a brick-and-mortar store had no future in the COVID-delineated online economy. So retail traders bought the stock in droves and pushed its value up, knowing that traders would eventually have to buy the stock back at the higher price in order to cover their positions, losing money in the process. GameStop isn’t the first short squeeze Wall Street has seen, but it’s one of the first that originated in the online forums where day traders using popular platforms like Robinhood have coalesced during the pandemic. Some major funds were caught in the squeeze, including Melvin Capital and Citron Research, and total losses from the short positions in U.S. companies were estimated to be more than $70 billion as of Thursday. Redditors rejoiced over Wall Street’s pain, and CNBC’s Jim Cramer said the masses ganging up against institutional money could be finance’s new paradigm. “There is definitely a level of nervousness here,” said a hedge fund manager named Westley, who asked not to have his last name published. 

[ click to continue reading at VF ]

Posted on January 28, 2021 by Editor

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Fripp & Toyah Do Black Dog

Posted on January 3, 2021 by Editor

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THE ODYSSEY Cancelled

from The Wall Street Journal

Even Homer Gets Mobbed

A Massachusetts school has banned ‘The Odyssey.’

By Meghan Cox Gurdon

A sustained effort is under way to deny children access to literature. Under the slogan #DisruptTexts, critical-theory ideologues, schoolteachers and Twitter agitators are purging and propagandizing against classic texts—everything from Homer to F. Scott Fitzgerald to Dr. Seuss.

Their ethos holds that children shouldn’t have to read stories written in anything other than the present-day vernacular—especially those “in which racism, sexism, ableism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of hate are the norm,” as young-adult novelist Padma Venkatraman writes in School Library Journal. No author is valuable enough to spare, Ms. Venkatraman instructs: “Absolving Shakespeare of responsibility by mentioning that he lived at a time when hate-ridden sentiments prevailed, risks sending a subliminal message that academic excellence outweighs hateful rhetoric.”

The subtle complexities of literature are being reduced to the crude clanking of “intersectional” power struggles. Thus Seattle English teacher Evin Shinn tweeted in 2018 that he’d “rather die” than teach “The Scarlet Letter,” unless Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel is used to “fight against misogyny and slut-shaming.”

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on January 2, 2021 by Editor

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Homogenized by COVID

from Vox

The year reality collapsed into pixels

What I learned from spending 2020 working, learning, and entertaining on the same screen.

By Alissa Wilkinson

By the time the friendly robot Wall-E makes it to outer space in the Pixar movie that bears his name, the audience is ready to meet the humans. Years earlier, when Earth became overrun with the detritus of overconsumption, those humans absconded on spaceships owned by the giant corporation that sold them all that stuff, leaving little robots like Wall-E behind to clean up the planet. Now Wall-E has found a way onto the ship where the humans are. What will he find? Astronauts? Lord of the flies? An advanced, enlightened iteration of the species?

Nope. Human civilization, left to its own devices on a giant vessel owned by a corporation, has more or less devolved into full-time consumers. Earth’s descendants are effectively blobs — they sit in comfy chairs that cruise around the ship all day, wearing pajama-like outfits that can change colors at the touch of a button, with personalized screens to look at whenever they’re not sleeping. They’ve forgotten how to walk or interact with other people or do anything offscreen at all. In fact, the screens are so engrossing that although these humans are surrounded by other humans on other chairs with other screens, they never actually look at each other. Instead, the screens are portals to their entire reality. They’re where people order food, watch entertainment, talk to one another, and, most importantly, learn about what they should buy next.

[ click to continue reading at Vox ]

Posted on December 30, 2020 by Editor

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Jet Guy Go

from The Drive

Video Taken By Pilots Of What Could Be The Elusive Los Angeles Jet Pack Guy Emerges (Updated)

Flight school pilots were on a training flight off the coast when they were surprised to see what appeared to be a guy in a jet pack whizzing by.

BY TYLER ROGOWAY

When it comes to weird stories that keep getting weirder, the elusive “Jet Pack Guy” of Los Angeles pretty much takes the cake. After multiple reported sightings from airline pilots on more than one occasion of a guy in a jet pack flying around at thousands of feet near Los Angeles International Airport—some of the most congested airspace on earth—as well as ongoing FAA and FBI investigations into the matter, we now have credible video of what seems to be the flying object in question.

The footage doesn’t come to us from some random Reddit board or YouTube channel, either. It was taken during an instructional flight from Sling Pilot Academy in the training area off Palos Verdes. We reached out to the flight school, which is based out of Zamperini Field, in Torrance, California for additional details.

[ click to continue reading at The Drive ]

Posted on December 27, 2020 by Editor

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The Selfish Meme

from WIRED

The WIRED Guide to Memes

Everything you ever wanted to know about Nyan Cat, Doge, and the art of the Rickroll.

by ANGELA WATERCUTTEREMMA GREY ELLIS

What Is A Meme The Definitive WIRED Guide

MEMES AND THE internet—they’re made for each other. Not because they’re digital visual communication (though of course, they are that), but because they are the product of a hive mind. They are the shorthand of a hyper-connected group thinking in unison. And, friends, the web hive mind is a weird (often funny, sometimes dangerous) place. 

The term “meme” comes from evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. For Dawkins, cultural ideas were no different than genes—concepts that had to spread themselves from brain to brain as quickly as they could, replicating and mutating as they went. He called those artifacts memes, bits of cultural DNA that encoded society’s shared experiences while also constantly evolving.

But Dawkins coined the term in 1976, in his book The Selfish Gene, long before the modern internet, before memes morphed into what they are now. Back then, Dawkins was talking about passing along culture—song melodies, art styles, whatever. Today, denizens of the internet think of memes as jokes passed across social media in the form of image macros (those pictures of babies or cats or whatever with bold black-and-white words on them), hashtags (the thing you amended to what you just wrote on Twitter), GIFs (usually of a celebrity, reality star, or drag queen reacting to what you just wrote on Twitter), or videos (that Rick Astley video people used to send you).

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on December 16, 2020 by Editor

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Demon Iceberg To Commit Genocide on Cute Penguins

from Thomson-Reuters

Giant iceberg on course to collide with south Atlantic penguin colony island

By Cassandra Garrison

An enormous iceberg is heading toward South Georgia Island in the southern Atlantic, where scientists say a collision could devastate wildlife by threatening the food chain.

Scientists have long been watching this climate-related event unfold, as the iceberg – about the same size as the island itself – has meandered and advanced over two years since breaking off from the Antarctic peninsula in July 2017.

The peninsula is one of the fastest-warming places on Earth, registering a record high temperature of 20.75 degrees Celsius (69.35 degrees Fahrenheit) on Feb. 9. The warming has scientists concerned about ice melt and collapse leading to higher sea levels worldwide.

The gigantic iceberg – dubbed A68a – is on a path to collide with South Georgia Island, a remote British overseas territory off the southern tip of South America. Whether that collision is days or weeks away is unclear, as the iceberg has sped up and slowed down with the ocean currents along the way, said Geraint Tarling, a biological oceanographer with the British Antarctic Survey who has been tracking the icy mass.

A collision, while looking increasingly likely, could still be avoided if the currents carry the iceberg past the island, Tarling said.

[ click to continue reading at Trust.org ]

Posted on December 13, 2020 by Editor

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Go Or No Halo

from WaPo via Greenwich Time

Amazon’s new health band is the most invasive tech we’ve ever tested

by Geoffrey A. Fowler and Heather Kelly, The Washington Post

Amazon has a new health-tracking bracelet with a microphone and an app that tells you everything that’s wrong with you.

You haven’t exercised or slept enough, reports Amazon’s $65 Halo Band. Your body has too much fat, the Halo’s app shows in a 3-D rendering of your near-naked body.

And even: Your tone of voice is “overbearing” or “irritated,” the Halo determines, after listening through its tiny microphone on your wrist.

Hope our tone is clear here: We don’t need this kind of criticism from a computer. The Halo collects the most intimate information we’ve seen from a consumer health gadget – and makes the absolute least use of it. This wearable is much better at helping Amazon gather data than at helping you get healthy and happy.

[ click to continue reading at GT ]

Posted on December 10, 2020 by Editor

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Botanical Fractals

from Smithsonian Magazine

Decoding the Mathematical Secrets of Plants’ Stunning Leaf Patterns

A Japanese shrub’s unique foliage arrangement leads botanists to rethink plant growth models

By Maddie Burakoff

Aloe Spirals
The spiral pattern of an Aloe polyphylla plant at the University of California Botanical Garden. (Stan Shebs via Wikicommons under CC BY-SA 3.0)

To the untrained eye, plants may appear to grow rather impulsively, popping out leaves at random to create one big green jumble. Take a closer look, though, and you’ll find that a few curiously regular patterns pop up all over the natural world, from the balanced symmetry of bamboo shoots to the mesmerizing spirals of succulents.

In fact, these patterns are consistent enough that cold, hard math can predict organic growth fairly well. One assumption that has been central to the study of phyllotaxis, or leaf patterns, is that leaves protect their personal space. Based on the idea that already existing leaves have an inhibitory influence on new ones, giving off a signal to prevent others from growing nearby, scientists have created models that can successfully recreate many of nature’s common designs. The ever-fascinating Fibonacci sequence, for example, shows up in everything from sunflower seed arrangements to nautilus shells to pine cones. The current consensus is that the movements of the growth hormone auxin and the proteins that transport it throughout a plant are responsible for such patterns.

[ click to continue reading at Smithsonian ]

Posted on December 2, 2020 by Editor

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The Confessions of Samuel Little

from The Washington Post via San Francisco Chronicle

How America’s deadliest serial killer went undetected for more than 40 years

by Wesley Lowery, Hannah Knowles and Mark Berman, The Washington Post

Samuel Little guided his car to a stop in a secluded area off Route 27 near Miami and cut the engine. Before long, Mary Brosley had straddled his lap. He started playing with her necklace.

He’d met her at a nearby bar, drinking away the final hours of 1970. She was a tiny, beautiful mess of a woman, about 5-foot-4 and anorexic, barely 80 pounds. The tip of her left pinkie finger was missing, sliced off in a kitchen accident, and she walked with a limp from hip surgery.

Brosley said she had left a series of lovers and two children in Massachusetts after endless confrontations about her drinking. Estranged from her family, struggling to survive, she was the kind of woman who might disappear from the face of the Earth without attracting much notice.

Little admired the way the moonlight illuminated her pale throat.

“I had desires. Strong desires to . . . choke her,” he would later tell police. “I just went out of control, I guess.”

By New Year’s Day 1971, Mary Brosley, 33, had become the first known victim of a man since recognized as the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history. Over more than 700 hours of videotaped interviews with police that began in May 2018, Little, now 80, has confessed to killing 93 people, virtually all of them women, in a murderous rampage that spanned 19 states and more than 30 years.

[ click to continue reading at Chron ]

Posted on November 30, 2020 by Editor

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A51 Why?

from CBS News

What is Area 51? And why is it so secretive?

BY JESSICA LEARISH

Revellers Descend On Nevada Desert For "Storm Area 51" Gathering Men dressed as aliens dance at “Alienstock,” a  “Storm Area 51” spinoff event, on September 20, 2019 in Rachel, Nevada. GETTY IMAGES

It’s been a perennial American obsession for more than 50 years. It’s provided a shadowy backdrop for shows like “The X-Files” and movies like the 1996 summer blockbuster “Independence Day.” And in 2019, this well-known but little-understood location took over social media when one jokester inspired millions of people to RSVP “yes” to trespassing.

The place: Area 51, a remote patch of desert some 83 miles north-northwest of Las Vegas, next to a salt flat at the foot of a mountain. This military outpost — and what’s happened inside it — is so top-secret that its very existence was disputed until 2013.

In short, Area 51 was created during the Cold War to help America peek in on the Soviet Union. But, because of its clandestine beginnings and cutting-edge tech, many Americans came to associate the base with extraterrestrial ships and little green men. 

[ click to continue reading at CBS News ]

Posted on November 28, 2020 by Editor

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Monolith Returned

from artnet

A Mysterious Steel Monolith Was Discovered in the Utah Desert. Is It a Work of Art—or the Work of Aliens?

Theories about who or what is behind the object have started circulating online.

Cue Also sprach Zarathustra

A mysterious steel monolith has been discovered deep in the red rock canyons of southern Utah. And no one seems to know who—or what—is behind it.

Officers from the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) eyed the object from a helicopter last week while counting bighorn sheep in the area. The spotters were quick to posit two theories about the polished steel block: it’s either a work of art, or the work of aliens. 

“I’m assuming it’s some new-wave artist or something or, you know, somebody that was a big ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ fan,” Bret Hutchings, the helicopter pilot, told the Utah news outlet KSL 5 News

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on November 27, 2020 by Editor

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Mushies Going Mainstream

from The Observer

The Hunt For The Other Magic Ingredients In Magic Mushrooms

By Chris Roberts

Harvesting Mazatec psilocybin mushrooms from their growing tubs May 19, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. Joe Amon/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

In the late 1980s, Jochum Gartz, a chemist at the Institute for Biotechnology in Leipzig, Germany, noticed something intriguing about magic mushrooms.

There are more than 200 species of fungus that produce psilocybin, which was then and now thought to be the “active ingredient” in psychedelic mushrooms. Those different mushrooms, found all over the world and grown in different conditions, were not at all the same. And what they did to the humans who ate them, Gartz observed, was definitely not the same.

Gartz noted 24 cases of “accidental” hallucinogenic mushroom ingestion. In every case, the users all reported intense euphoria—all positive vibes, with no anxiety, dystopia, or unease. No bad trip.

All 24 of the “good trippers” had eaten a species of mushroom called Inocybe aeruginascens. That species has relatively high levels of a compound called aeruginascin, one of several chemical compounds identified in psilocybin-producing mushrooms.

[ click to continue reading at Observer ]

Posted on November 24, 2020 by Editor

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Brain Decoder

from NextGov

Army-Funded Algorithm Decodes Brain Signals

The algorithm is part of an effort to eventually establish a machine-brain interface.

By Mila Jasper

But researchers funded by the U.S. Army developed a machine-learning algorithm that can model and decode these signals, according to a Nov. 12 press release. The research, which used standard brain datasets for analysis, was recently published in the journal Nature Neuroscience

“Our algorithm can, for the first time, dissociate the dynamic patterns in brain signals that relate to specific behaviors and is much better at decoding these behaviors,” Dr. Maryam Shanechi, the engineering professor at the University of Southern California who led the research, said in a statement. 

Dr. Hamid Krim, a program manager at the Army Research Office, part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory, told Nextgov Shanechi and her team used the algorithm to separate what they call behaviorally relevant brain signals from behaviorally irrelevant brain signals. 

“This presents a potential way of reliably measuring, for instance, the mental overload of an individual, of a soldier,” Krim said. 

[ click to continue reading at NextGov.com ]

Posted on November 21, 2020 by Editor

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Stupid Asteroid

from CNN

Dinosaurs would have continued to thrive had it not been for the asteroid, researchers say

By Amy Woodyatt, CNN

An artist’s interpretation of the asteroid impact that wiped out all non-avian dinosaurs

Dinosaurs were doing well and could have continued to dominate Planet Earth if they had not been wiped out by an asteroid, new research has found.

After emerging during the Triassic period some 230 million years ago, dinosaurs occupied every continent and were dominant in most terrestrial ecosystems, until they were rendered extinct by the asteroid impact 66 million years ago. 

Some scientists believe the creatures were beginning to lose their edge and were already heading for extinction when the asteroid hit Earth at the end of the late Cretaceous period.

But researchers from the UK’s University of Bath are hoping to put this theory to bed. Gathering diverse and up-to-date data, researchers used statistical analysis to assess whether the dinosaurs were still able to produce new species up until their untimely demise.

[ click to continue reading at CNN ]

Posted on November 20, 2020 by Editor

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Dupree G.O.D.

Posted on November 18, 2020 by Editor

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Kid Groupie

from Vulture

Our ‘Lost’ Weekend With Van Halen

A couple college dudes won an MTV contest to tour with Van Halen. Then all hell broke loose.

By Chris Lee

On an overcast morning in the spring of 1984, Kurt Jefferis and Tom Winnick, a couple of college-age bros of no particular renown, departed the world of normalcy in a stretch limousine to embark on a rock-and-roll fantasy. Their destination: Detroit. More accurately: oblivion. Jefferis, a 20-year-old department-store stock clerk, had bested more than a million other competitors to win the MTV contest “Lost Weekend With Van Halen.” He and his plus-one, Winnick, a childhood buddy, would in a matter of hours find themselves backstage with the legendarily hard-partying Atomic Punks on a two-day bender that ticked every box of rock debauchery synonymous with the Big Hair era. “You’ll have no idea where you are,” Van Halen’s vainglorious front man, David Lee Roth, said in a promo for the contest. “You’ll have no idea where you’re going and probably no memory of it after you go.”

That turned out to be partially true. As Jefferis and Winnick tell it now, nearly 40 years later, in the weeks following Hall of Fame guitar virtuoso Eddie Van Halen’s death, certain elements from the Weekend remain fixed points in their lives — the private jets, the Champagne and lobster, the cocaine, the onstage chugs of Jack Daniel’s, a woman named Tammy — while other details have been lost to the fog of time. The contest becamesomething of Van Halen folklore in the intervening years; it was the subject of a short film, Lost Weekend, which screened in competition at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, as well as a dedicated chapter (subtitled “MTV and Van Halen Team Up to Nearly Kill a Super-Fan”) in the 2011 book I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution. The events surrounding the contest unfolded just as Van Halen was first ascending the heights of multiplatinum superstardom but only months before Roth would quit the quartet for a solo career. What took place in front of MTV’s cameras served as a primitive precursor to reality television: loosely scripted situational intrigue that wound up far beyond anyone’s control.

[ click to continue reading at Vulture ]

Posted on November 17, 2020 by Editor

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The Largest Astronomy Book In The World

from National Geographic

Why the Nasca lines are among Peru’s greatest mysteries

The lines drawn in geometric patterns and distinct animal shapes across the Peruvian desert have inspired many theories over the years. Here’s what we know—and what remains to be seen.

BY JASON GOLOMB

AS A PLANE soars over the high desert of southern Peru, the dull pale sameness of the rocks and sand organize and change form. Distinct white lines gradually evolve from tan and rust-red. Strips of white crisscross a desert so dry that it rains less than an inch every year. The landscape changes as lines take shape to form simple geometric designs: trapezoids, straight lines, rectangles, triangles, and swirls. Some of the swirls and zigzags start to form more distinct shapes: a hummingbird, a spider, a monkey.

These are the renowned Nasca lines—subject of mystery for over 80 years. How were they formed? What purpose could they have served? Were aliens involved?

The lines are found in a region of Peru just over 200 miles southeast of Lima, near the modern town of Nasca. In total, there are over 800 straight lines, 300 geometric figures and 70 animal and plant designs, also called biomorphs. Some of the straight lines run up to 30 miles, while the biomorphs range from 50 to 1200 feet in length (as large as the Empire State Building).

[ click to continue reading at Nat Geo ]

Posted on November 15, 2020 by Editor

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Great Tits Gone

from The New York Post

Great tits could be wiped out by climate change in near future

By Ben Cost

The great tit could soon go the way of the dodo.
The great tit could soon go the way of the dodo.

We mean the birds, dirtbags.

The unfortunately named great tit has joined a long list of species that could soon disappear due to Earth’s rapidly warming climate.

“If the changes happen too fast, species can become extinct,” said Emily Simmonds, an associate professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s department of biology. She authored an article in the journal Ecology Letters detailing how the food supply of the great tit — a colorful songbird endemic to Europe and Asia — and other bird species can be impacted by a premature season shift caused by rising temperatures. 

Simmonds argued that warmer winters and resultant early springs prompt plants to leaf earlier, causing tree-eating larvae to hatch ahead of time, Science Daily reported. This can prove problematic to birds like the great tit that depend on the spring bug bounty when they’re babies.

[ click to continue reading at NYP ]

Posted on November 11, 2020 by Editor

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All Gold Stars

from Astronomy

Does all the gold in the universe come from stars?

Humanity’s fascination with this precious metal is increased by knowing it comes from the stars.

By Raymond Shubinski

ASYCG1120_03
This gold coin from the First Persian Empire was struck around 420 b.c. It honors King Darius II. Deflim/Wikimedia Commons

In a remote galaxy, two neutron stars circled one another in a ballet of ultimate destruction and inevitable creation. Both objects were the remnants of massive stars, probably from a binary system, that had become supernovae long before. Each was incredibly massive, with neutrons so closely packed that their cores became diamond. The dance, alas, could not go on forever and the stars collided, releasing unimaginable energy and sending gravitational waves speeding through the fabric of space-time.

In 2017, 1.3 billion years later, astronomers detected those waves with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory. Albert Einstein’s prediction that the universe should be filled with such faint ripples caused by gravity from massive objects included sources such as neutron star mergers. Yet finding a disturbance in the fabric of space-time from this kind of event had proven elusive until then. When news of the detection of gravitational waves broke, the media wanted to know what else happens when neutron stars collide. Astronomers explained that, beyond the destruction of the stars and the ripples in space, such events also create all the heavy elements we know in the blink of an eye. But what did the media key into? That gold comes from outer space.

[ click to continue reading at Astronomy ]

Posted on November 10, 2020 by Editor

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Dark Soul Good

from The Guardian

Into the night: why walking in the dark is good for the soul

by Lizzie Enfield

The sun setting behind Mount Caburn, near Lewes, in the South Downs. Photograph: Peter Cripps/Alamy

The lights from the cottage windows recede, all too rapidly, as we walk along an unlit country lane and take a footpath through a field into open countryside. Thick cloud cover prevents the moonlight from illuminating the way ahead. Yet, as my eyes begin to get used to the darkness, the landscape around me reveals itself in a new light – albeit a shady one.

The contours of Mount Caburn, an iron-age hill fort, are like shadows against the sky. On the horizon, a tree bent by the wind is silhouetted, and the rocky outcrop at the top of the field turns out to be a flock of sleeping sheep. A fox cries, a pheasant crows and the air is full of a heady earthy scent.

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on November 4, 2020 by Editor

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Dead Not Dead

from Real Clear Science

Could Schrödinger’s Cat Exist in Real Life?

By Stefan Forstner

Dhatfield

Have you ever been in more than one place at the same time? If you’re much bigger than an atom, the answer will be no.

But atoms and particles are governed by the rules of quantum mechanics, in which several different possible situations can coexist at once.

Quantum systems are ruled by what’s called a “wave function”: a mathematical object that describes the probabilities of these different possible situations.

And these different possibilities can coexist in the wave function as what is called a “superposition” of different states. For example, a particle existing in several different places at once is what we call “spatial superposition”.

It’s only when a measurement is carried out that the wave function “collapses” and the system ends up in one definite state.

Generally, quantum mechanics applies to the tiny world of atoms and particles. The jury is still out on what it means for large-scale objects.

In our research, published today in Optica, we propose an experiment that may resolve this thorny question once and for all.

[ click to continue reading at RCS ]

Posted on November 3, 2020 by Editor

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Jet-pack Man

from The U.S. Sun

Another ‘man in jet pack’ seen above LAX as China Airlines crew ‘spots mysterious flier at 6,000ft’ and FAA alerts cops

by Neal Baker / Fionnuala O’Leary

ANOTHER apparent sighting of a man in a jet pack flying above Los Angeles International Airport was made on Wednesday – with a China Airlines crew reporting seeing the mystery flier at 6,000ft.

The Federal Aviation Administration has alerted law enforcement and is investigating the report, which is the second such sighting in weeks.

An FAA spokesman told The Sun: “A China Airlines crew reported seeing what appeared to be someone in a jet pack at an approximate altitude of 6,000 feet, about seven miles northwest of Los Angeles International Airport around 1:45 pm [on] Wednesday. 

“The FAA alerted local law enforcement and will look into the report.”

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

Posted on November 1, 2020 by Editor

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Does The Dog Die

from BUSTLE

A Website Called “Does The Dog Die” Is For Anyone Who Hates Sad Dog Movies

By Brittany Bennett

Any death in a movie, book, or TV show is upsetting and can be very disturbing. The Lion King? My sobs are unstoppable. I don’t even watch Game of Thrones — don’t @ me — but I know all about the Red Wedding and felt how emotionally distraught you all were. So, in case you want to avoid surprise human and animal deaths that would warrant approximately five tissue boxes, and who has the space in their purse for that, there’s a website for that. This website lets you know if the dog dies at the end of the movie, and honestly thank you.

[ click to continue reading at BUSTLE ]

Posted on October 29, 2020 by Editor

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Asteroid Grab

from Science Alert

Watch Live: A NASA Spacecraft Is About to Land on an Asteroid And Grab a Sample 

by ELIZABETH CANTWELL

Imagine parallel parking a 15-passenger van into just two to three parking spaces surrounded by two-story boulders. On October 20, a University of Arizona-led NASA mission 16 years in the making will attempt the astronomical equivalent more than 200 million miles (320 million kilometres) away.

A NASA mission called OSIRIS-REx will soon attempt to touch the surface of an asteroid and collect loose rubble.

[ click to continue reading at Science Alert ]

Posted on October 27, 2020 by Editor

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Brilliant Legal Hack

from the New Hampshire Union Leader

Woman accused of impersonating prosecutor, dropping criminal charges against herself

By Mark Hayward

A Littleton woman allegedly impersonated a Hillsborough County prosecutor when she filed bogus documents with court officials declaring that the drug possession and stalking case against her had been dropped, according to recently released indictments.

Lisa Landon, 33, of Railroad Street, Littleton, faces one charge of false personation and six charges of falsifying physical evidence, according to Hillsborough County grand jury indictments handed up earlier this month.

The indictments allege that Landon submitted the fake documents in three different court cases last November and December. In several instances, she used the New Hampshire court system’s electronic system to file documents.

[ click to continue reading at the Union Leader ]

Posted on October 26, 2020 by Editor

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Elysium Realism

from SPACE

The Elysium effect: The coming backlash to the billionaire ‘NewSpace’ revolution

By Rick Tumlinson

In the 2013 science fiction film “Elysium” starring Matt Damon, Earth’s wealthiest 0.01% move to the ultimate gated community, a luxurious orbiting space colony, leaving a poverty-stricken humanity to fend for themselves on a ravaged planet.

Interestingly, it is indeed some of today’s 0.1% who are leading the way into space to build communities beyond Earth. However, quite the opposite of the movie, their goals are of the highest order, from democratizing access to space by lowering costs, to creating new products and ideas, to helping save the planet and opening space to future generations.

As in any good social movement, there is a need for bad guys, and these guys are easy icons of evil to many. And there may be no easier target they could present than a shiny private rocketship or space station — even if it is for a good cause.

Though they have many flaws, including the accumulation of lots of money, these space pioneers are actually trying to do something good for humanity and the planet. And while they may not be the cuddliest of people, just look at their other projects and goals: Musk builds electric cars and solar power systems, Bezos wants to move polluting heavy industry off planet – even as Amazon pushes towards zero emissions, and Branson is a long time champion of social and environmental causes

Yet these visionaries, who author Christian Davenport called “The Space Barons” are often portrayed as rich boys with fancy toys.

Things will get worse when the next wave of terribly branded “space tourists” begin to fly. Bezos’ Blue Origin and Branson’s Virgin Galactic will charge over $200,000 for excursions to the edge of space, while newcomer Axiom Space Systems and SpaceX will offer flights to and beyond the International Space Station for a few tens of millions, and even loop the Moon for a just few hundred million more.

[ click to continue reading at SPACE.com ]

Posted on October 24, 2020 by Editor

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Cow Hugging

from Fox 5 New York

Cow-hugging is the new animal therapy trend we all need

By Catherine Park

Therapy animals are not a new concept, but in a world where mental health is being tested by an ongoing pandemic, people are searching for comfort it what might seem like unusual places.

A practice that originated in the rural town of Reuver in the Netherlands, “koe knuffelen,” which means “cow hugging” in Dutch, is gaining global popularity, according to a BBC report.

It’s not just the act of hugging a cow that helps relieve stress and lower anxiety, but making contact with any furry critter could help improve one’s mental health.

Cows are the optimal cuddling buddy, and it’s not just because they’re adorable.

A 2007 study in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science states that cows “show cues of deep relaxation, stretching out and allowing their ears to fall back when massaged in particular areas of their neck and upper back.”

“Cow cuddling is believed to promote positivity and reduce stress by boosting oxytocin in humans, the hormone released in social bonding. The calming effects of curling up with a pet or emotional support animal, it seems, are accentuated when cuddling with larger mammals,” according to the BBC.

The need for companionship during a socially-distanced time is steadily increasing.

[ click to continue reading at Fox 5 NY ]

Posted on October 14, 2020 by Editor

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Robot Beetle Cool

from Republic World

Robot Beetle Faces A Real Beetle In This Jaw Dropping Fight Between Nature And Machine

Written By Gladwin Menezes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZgcaRDi_cM

In a video that surfaced recently, a robot beetle can be seen going up against a real beetle. The fight between the two has caused netizens to react in awe and amusement. The insect wrestled the machine while being filmed and the results were spectacularly astonishing.

The video begins with the mechanical beetle fidgeting and poking the real beetle. Unaware of what is happening, the real beetle tries its level best to reason out with the situation he is in. The shiny black beetle is the live beetle whereas the dark black beetle is the mechanical one. Upon first glance, one can easily notice that the mechanical or robotic beetle is much larger and seems way too stronger in terms of size and might. The real beetle, on the other hand, seems of a regular size and not as intimidating as the robot beetle.

[ click to continue reading at Republic World ]

Posted on October 11, 2020 by Editor

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Island of Nowhere

from Hakai Magazine

The Island That Humans Can’t Conquer

A faraway island in Alaska has had its share of visitors, but none can remain for long on its shores.

Text by  Sarah Gilman / Photos by  Nathaniel Wilder

St. Matthew Island is said to be the most remote place in Alaska. Marooned in the Bering Sea halfway to Siberia, it is well over 300 kilometers and a 24-hour ship ride from the nearest human settlements. It looks fittingly forbidding, the way it emerges from its drape of fog like the dark spread of a wing. Curved, treeless mountains crowd its sliver of land, plunging in sudden cliffs where they meet the surf. To St. Matthew’s north lies the smaller, more precipitous island of Hall. A castle of stone called Pinnacle stands guard off St. Matthew’s southern flank. To set foot on this scatter of land surrounded by endless ocean is to feel yourself swallowed by the nowhere at the center of a drowned compass rose.

My head swims a little as I peer into a shallow pit on St. Matthew’s northwestern tip. It’s late July in 2019, and the air buzzes with the chitters of the island’s endemic singing voles. Wildflowers and cotton grass constellate the tundra that has grown over the depression at my feet, but around 400 years ago, it was a house, dug partway into the earth to keep out the elements. It’s the oldest human sign on the island, the only prehistoric house ever found here. A lichen-crusted whale jawbone points downhill toward the sea, the rose’s due-north needle.

Compared with more sheltered bays and beaches on the island’s eastern side, it would have been a relatively harsh place to settle. Storms regularly slam this coast with the full force of the open ocean. As many as 300 polar bears used to summer here, before Russians and Americans hunted them out in the late 1800s. Evidence suggests that the pit house’s occupants likely didn’t use it for more than a season, according to Dennis Griffin, an archaeologist who’s worked on the archipelago since 2002. Excavations of the site have turned up enough to suggest that people of the Thule culture—precursors to the Inuit and Yup’ik who now inhabit Alaska’s northwestern coasts—built it. But Griffin has found no sign of a hearth, and only a thin layer of artifacts.

[ click to continue reading at Hakai ]

Posted on October 7, 2020 by Editor

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They’re Getting Closer

from CBS Pittsburgh

‘It’s Been A Long Time Since We’ve Seen Something Like This’; Meteor That Lit Up Pittsburgh Skies Was Seen In 15 States

The meteor that flew over the Pittsburgh area on Wednesday morning has now been reported as having been seen over 700 times.

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When the skies above Pittsburgh lit up early Wednesday morning, social media was abuzz trying to figure out what it was or what had just happened.

At 6:24 a.m., the skies lit up with what appeared to be a fireball flying through the atmosphere.

KDKA spoke with Jay Reynolds, a Research Astronomer at Cleveland State University, who is now in his sixteenth year there, says that it was a meteor.

[ click to continue reading at KDKA ]

Posted on October 1, 2020 by Editor

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Dreams On-demand

from The Daily Star

Real-life Inception as scientists figure out how to plant ideas in dreams

Researchers at MIT have been testing a fascinating new technique called targeted dream incubation, which allows them to insert certain topics into someone else’s dreams

By Sophie Bateman

It may sound like the plot of Inception, but scientists have figured out how to plant ideas into other people’s dreams.

Researchers at MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces have been testing a new technique called targeted dream incubation (TDI), which allows them to insert certain topics into someone’s dreams.

Past studies have shown that when sleepers enter a rare dream state known as lucid dreaming, they gain awareness that they’re dreaming and can thus have some control over what happens in their mind.

TDI achieves a similar result by targeting people during hypnagogia, a semi-lucid dream state that occurs as someone is falling asleep.

[ click to continue reading at The Daily Star ]

Posted on September 26, 2020 by Editor

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