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Agre’s Prophecy

from Washington Post via MSN

He predicted the dark side of the Internet 30 years ago. Why did no one listen?

by Reed Albergotti

In 1994 — before most Americans had an email address or Internet access or even a personal computer — Philip Agre foresaw that computers would one day facilitate the mass collection of data on everything in society.

That process would change and simplify human behavior, wrote the then-UCLA humanities professor. And because that data would be collected not by a single, powerful “big brother” government but by lots of entities for lots of different purposes, he predicted that people would willingly part with massive amounts of information about their most personal fears and desires.

“Genuinely worrisome developments can seem ‘not so bad’ simply for lacking the overt horrors of Orwell’s dystopia,” wrote Agre, who has a doctorate in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in an academic paper.

Nearly 30 years later, Agre’s paper seems eerily prescient, a startling vision of a future that has come to pass in the form of a data industrial complex that knows no borders and few laws. Data collected by disparate ad networks and mobile apps for myriad purposes is being used to sway elections or, in at least one case, to out a gay priest. But Agre didn’t stop there. He foresaw the authoritarian misuse of facial recognition technology, he predicted our inability to resist well-crafted disinformation and he foretold that artificial intelligence would be put to dark uses if not subjected to moral and philosophical inquiry.

[ click to continue reading at MSN ]

Posted on August 12, 2021 by Editor

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Lithium Landscapes

from BBC

How your phone battery creates striking alien landscapes

By Richard Fisher and Javier Hirschfeld

A wider view of Chile's brine pools. It can take more than a year to maximise the lithium concentration by this evaporation method (Credit: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters)
A wider view of Chile’s brine pools. It can take more than a year to maximise the lithium concentration by this evaporation method (Credit: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters)

Beneath the screen that you are reading this on, there could be the distilled essence of a salt plain.

Millions of years ago, volcanoes deposited minerals over vast tracts of South America. Later, water leached through the rock to form massive lakes. Cycles of evaporation and deposition followed, leaving vast plains of salt behind – infused with one of the world’s most sought-after minerals: lithium.

With the rapid rise in battery usage in electronic devices and electric cars, the demand for lithium and other constituent materials is accelerating. As BBC Future has previously reported, it is enabling mining companies to look in new places, such as the deep ocean or in previously exploited mines, and has prompted scientists to seek alternative battery technology. But our focus today is how lithium is changing the fortunes – and specifically, the landscapes – of those countries that have it in abundance.

In Bolivia and Chile, the high tonnage of lithium embedded in the salt plains has given rise to massive facilities. From the air, the evaporation pools associated with the mineral’s extraction dot the landscape like colours in a painter’s palette. In this edition of our photography series Anthropo-Scene, we explore these places, whose striking features have inspired various artistswriters and architects.

[ click to continue reading at BBC ]

Posted on August 9, 2021 by Editor

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Hidden Eden Exposed

from The New Yorker

The Lost Canyon Under Lake Powell

Drought is shrinking one of the country’s largest reservoirs, revealing a hidden Eden.

By Elizabeth Kolbert

La Gorce Arch
In 2019, La Gorce Arch could be visited by boat. It’s now a half-mile hike from Lake Powell.

The morning after I arrived in Bullfrog, I went back to the marina to meet up with Eric Balken, the executive director of the Glen Canyon Institute. The institute, whose goal is to return the canyon to its natural state, was founded in 1996. A decade later, while Balken was still a student at the University of Utah, he signed on as an intern at the group’s office, in Salt Lake City. He’s worked there ever since. Now thirty-four, he has probably seen more of Glen Canyon than anyone else under the age of ninety. The first time I spoke to him, over the phone, he offered to show me some “incredible” sights. “It’ll be hot,” he added.

Again the dock was crowded with families heading out onto Powell in houseboats. For our trip, Balken had rented a pontoon boat. His wife, Sandrine Yang, had decided to come along. So had my husband and two photographers. Once we’d loaded the boat with all our camping gear and supplies, there was only a narrow alley of floor space left.

Balken slipped on a pair of mirrored sunglasses and steered the boat out of the marina, into an arm of the lake known as Bullfrog Bay. From the mouth of the bay, we headed south, into what used to be the main channel of the Colorado. Red cliffs four, five, six hundred feet tall lined the lake on both sides.

As we sped on, the cliffs grew taller and redder. The Colorado used to carry vast amounts of sediment—hence its name, meaning “red-colored.” The river, it was said, was “too thick to drink, too thin to plow.” Now, though, when the Colorado hits the reservoir’s northern edge—a border that keeps creeping south—most of the sediment drops out, leaving the water clear. Lake Powell is an almost tropical shade of turquoise. It sparkled under the cerulean sky. Somewhere deep beneath us, the river was still flowing. But at the surface the water was slack. Yang declared the scene “stupid beautiful.”

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on August 8, 2021 by Editor

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Viewing The Earth’s Innards

from National Geographic

Rare chunks of Earth’s mantle found exposed in Maryland

The set of rocks strewn throughout Baltimore likely represent a slice of prehistoric seafloor from a now-vanished ocean.

BY MAYA WEI-HAAS

Katie Armstrong, NG Staff. Sources: “Suprasubduction zone ophiolite fragments in the central Appalachian orogen”, Geospere, 2021. C.R. Scotese, Paleogeographic land extent

Standing among patches of muddy snow on the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland, I bent down to pick up a piece of the planet that should have been hidden miles below my feet.

On that chilly February day, I was out with a pair of geologists to see an exposed section of Earth’s mantle. While this layer of rock is usually found between the planet’s crust and core, a segment peeks out of the scrubby Maryland forest, offering scientists a rare chance to study Earth’s innards up close.

Even more intriguing, the rock’s unusual chemical makeup suggests that this piece of mantle, along with chunks of lower crust scattered around Baltimore, was once part of the seafloor of a now-vanished ocean.

Over the roughly 490 million years since their formation, these hunks of Earth were smashed by shifting tectonic plates and broiled by searing hot fluids rushing through cracks, altering both their composition and sheen. Mantle rock is generally full of sparkly green crystals of the mineral olivine, but the rock in my hand was surprisingly unremarkable to look at: mottled yellow-brown stone occasionally flecked with black.

[ click to continue reading at Nat Geo ]

Posted on August 7, 2021 by Editor

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Spelling Infidelity Explained

from Nautilus

What Misspellings Reveal About Cultural Evolution

BY HELENA MITON

Illustration by VectorMine / Shutterstock

Something about me must remind people of a blind 17th-century poet. My last name, Miton, is French, yet people outside of France invariably misspell it as “Milton”—as in the famed English author, John Milton, of the epic poem Paradise Lost.

It is not uncommon for people to misspell an unfamiliar name—yet 99 times out of 100 people misspell mine as “Milton.” That is the name that shows up on everything from my university gym card to emails from colleagues.

It might seem trivial, yet this misspelling actually illustrates a key feature of how cultural practices emerge and stabilize.

When studying culture, one of the key questions scientists ask is about continuity: Why do people do the same things, in roughly similar ways, over long periods of time? Consider how traditional food recipes, say tamales, have maintained a stable core definition over generations—corn-based dough cooked in corn husks.

[ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

Posted on August 6, 2021 by Editor

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Masturbation Going Viral

from The U.S. Sun

Can masturbating REALLY boost your immune system and fight Covid?

by Vanessa Chalmers

WITH a deadly virus circulating the past year and a half, many people have been wondering how they can boost their immunity.

Masturbating is sometimes touted as a way to give the immune system a kickstart.

When Covid first started causing chaos in the Western world in March 2020, Google searches for “can masurbation boost immunity” went wild as people searched for ways to protect themselves.

Unfortunately, touching oneself will not be the difference between catching Covid and not, as there are many factors that influence a person’s risk of getting the disease.

But Dr Jennifer Landa, a specialist in hormone therapy, suggests that indulging in some self-love might be able to strengthen your body’s natural defence forces.

“Masturbation can produce the right environment for a strengthened immune system,” she said, according to Men’s Health.

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

Posted on August 1, 2021 by Editor

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Jet Pack Is Back!

from The Sun

LAX ‘Jet Pack guy’ spotted AGAIN flying 15 miles from Los Angeles airport at 5,000 feet as FAA and FBI investigates

by Catherina Gioino

A man in a possible jet pack was seen flying about 5,000ft in the air, similar to a sighting from last year like in this photoCredit: Instagram / @slingpilotacademy

A MAN on a possible jet pack was spotted flying 15 miles from Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday – nearly a year since a spate of previous sightings sparked panic.

The man – who has been dubbed “jet pack guy” – was seen by a Boeing 747 pilot looking similar to Marvel action star Iron Man as he soared at 5,000ft.

“A Boeing 747 pilot reported seeing an object that might have resembled a jet pack 15 miles east of LAX at 5,000ft altitude,” the Federal Aviation Administration told CBS.

“Out of an abundance of caution, air traffic controllers alerted other pilots in the vicinity.”

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

Posted on July 29, 2021 by Editor

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Interior People

Posted on July 24, 2021 by Editor

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Not A Good Year

from AP

US life expectancy in 2020 saw biggest drop since WWII

By MIKE STOBBE

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. life expectancy fell by a year and a half in 2020, the largest one-year decline since World War II, public health officials said Wednesday. The decrease for both Black Americans and Hispanic Americans was even worse: three years.

The drop spelled out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is due mainly to the COVID-19 pandemic, which health officials said is responsible for close to 74% of the overall life expectancy decline. More than 3.3 million Americans died last year, far more than any other year in U.S. history, with COVID-19 accounting for about 11% of those deaths.

Black life expectancy has not fallen so much in one year since the mid-1930s, during the Great Depression. Health officials have not tracked Hispanic life expectancy for nearly as long, but the 2020 decline was the largest recorded one-year drop.

The abrupt fall is “basically catastrophic,” said Mark Hayward, a University of Texas sociology professor who studies changes in U.S. mortality.

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on July 21, 2021 by Editor

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Taco No

from CBS News

Taco Bell’s menu hit by nationwide shortages of ingredients

BY KATE GIBSON

The menu at Taco Bell may be a bit limited these days, with the quick-service restaurant chain warning customers that it might not be able to fulfill their current appetite hankerings. 

In an apology offered in an orange banner atop its website, Taco Bell declared: “Sorry if we can’t feed your current crave. Due to national ingredient shortages and delivery delays, we may be out of some items.” 

Those who frequent Taco Bell turned to social media to share their culinary disappointment. 

“Taco Bell has a ‘district-wide shortage of hot sauce…times are tough,” tweeted one patron. “For anyone craving Taco Bell tonight, I’ll save you the drive, they don’t have chicken or beef, national shortage or something. I just ate black beans in a hard shell,” complained another in a separate tweet.

[ click to continue reading at CBS ]

Posted on July 20, 2021 by Editor

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‘Big Ass Steamroller’ Cool

from VICE

Police Destroy 1,069 Bitcoin Miners With Big Ass Steamroller In Malaysia

Malaysian authorities did not mess around when they broke up a cryptocurrency mining farm and charged the operators with stealing electricity.

By Andrew Hayward

As Bitcoin’s price surged this spring to a new all-time high, the spotlight shining on its controversial mining process only got brighter. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and many other cryptocurrencies use an energy-intensive “proof-of-work” process that makes computers on its decentralized network compete to solve complex mathematical equations to verify a batch of transactions; this makes the network less susceptible to certain attacks, and earns miners crypto rewards.

Given the competitive element in the quest for valuable cryptocurrency, powerful mining rigs—essentially, PCs purpose-built to maximize mining rewards—are the preferred tool of serious crypto miners. They are expensive, and persistent demand and manufacturing delays can mean months-long waits for rigs to be delivered. This week, police in Malaysia crushed 1,069 of them with a steamroller.

[ click to continue reading at VICE ]

Posted on July 16, 2021 by Editor

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Eels

Posted on July 15, 2021 by Editor

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It’s coming…

from VICE

MIT Predicted in 1972 That Society Will Collapse This Century. New Research Shows We’re on Schedule.

A 1972 MIT study predicted that rapid economic growth would lead to societal collapse in the mid 21st century. A new paper shows we’re unfortunately right on schedule.

By Nafeez Ahmed

IMAGE: GETTY 

A remarkable new study by a director at one of the largest accounting firms in the world has found that a famous, decades-old warning from MIT about the risk of industrial civilization collapsing appears to be accurate based on new empirical data. 

As the world looks forward to a rebound in economic growth following the devastation wrought by the pandemic, the research raises urgent questions about the risks of attempting to simply return to the pre-pandemic ‘normal.’

In 1972, a team of MIT scientists got together to study the risks of civilizational collapse. Their system dynamics model published by the Club of Rome identified impending ‘limits to growth’ (LtG) that meant industrial civilization was on track to collapse sometime within the 21st century, due to overexploitation of planetary resources.

The controversial MIT analysis generated heated debate, and was widely derided at the time by pundits who misrepresented its findings and methods. But the analysis has now received stunning vindication from a study written by a senior director at professional services giant KPMG, one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms as measured by global revenue.

[ click to continue reading at VICE ]

Posted on July 14, 2021 by Editor

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Eternal Pregnancy

Posted on July 10, 2021 by Editor

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Mushroom Boom

from Nautilus

Psychedelics Open a New Window on the Mechanisms of Perception

Hallucinatory drugs may allow our brains to let go of prior beliefs.

BY ANIL ANANTHASWAMY

Anathaswamy_BREAKER-1
John Smithson / Public Domain

verything became imbued with a sense of vitality and life and vividness. If I picked up a pebble from the beach, it would move. It would glisten and gleam and sparkle and be absolutely captivating,” says neuroscientist Anil Seth. “Somebody looking at me would see me staring at a stone for hours.”

Or what seemed like hours to Seth. A researcher at the United Kingdom’s University of Sussex, he studies how the brain helps us perceive the world within and without, and is intrigued by what psychedelics such as LSD can tell us about how the brain creates these perceptions. So, a few years ago, he decided to try some, in controlled doses and with trusted people by his side. He had a notebook to keep track of his experiences. “I didn’t write very much in the notebook,” he says, laughing.

Instead, while on LSD, he reveled in a sense of well-being and marveled at the “fluidity of time and space.” He found himself staring at clouds and seeing them change into faces of people he was thinking of. If his attention drifted, the clouds morphed into animals.

[ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

Posted on July 8, 2021 by Editor

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Mo’ Ransom

from WIRED

A New Kind of Ransomware Tsunami Hits Hundreds of Companies

An apparent supply chain attack exploited Kaseya’s IT management software to encrypt a “monumental” number of victims all at once.

by BRIAN BARRETT

100 prism
The impact has already been severe and will only get worse given the nature of the targets. PHOTOGRAPH: RL PHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES

IT WAS PROBABLY inevitable that the two dominant cybersecurity threats of the day— supply chain attacks and ransomware—would combine to wreak havoc. That’s precisely what happened Friday afternoon, as the notorious REvil criminal group successfully encrypted the files of hundreds of businesses in one swoop, apparently thanks to compromised IT management software. And that’s only the very beginning.

The situation is still developing and certain details—most important, how the attackers infiltrated the software in the first place—remain unknown. But the impact has already been severe and will only get worse given the nature of the targets. The software in question, Kaseya VSA, is popular among so-called managed service providers, which provide IT infrastructure for companies that would rather outsource that sort of thing than run it themselves. Which means that if you successfully hack an MSP, you suddenly have access to its customers. It’s the difference between cracking safe-deposit boxes one at a time and stealing the bank manager’s skeleton key.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on July 2, 2021 by Editor

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Cosmic Cannibals

from NPR

When A City-Size Star Becomes A Black Hole’s Lunch, The Universe Roils

by NELL GREENFIELDBOYCE

An artistic image of what happens when a monstrous black hole collides with — and gulps down — a neutron star the size of a large city. Carl Knox/OzGrav/Swinburne

A black hole swallowing a neutron star — a star more massive than our sun but only about the size of a city — has been observed for the first time ever.

Each of these space monsters is among the most extreme and mysterious phenomena in the universe. The new find, described Tuesday in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, shows how the very fabric of the universe gets roiled when the two come together.

Researchers found not just one, but two black holes making snacks of neutron stars. Their noshing happened about 1 billion years ago but was so intense that it shook space-time and sent out ripples that only recently hit the Earth, triggering giant detectors built to sense these waves.

[ click to continue reading at NPR ]

Posted on June 29, 2021 by Editor

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Lightning Caldwell

from AccuWeather

A lightning strike fueled baseball’s most electrifying performance

By Mark Puleo

Ray Caldwell pitching for the New York Yankees. (Library of Congress)

Nearly 20,000 different men have called themselves Major League Baseball players since the inception of the league, and the vast majority have been entirely forgotten in the immensity of the sport’s history.

Ray Caldwell’s career was heading in that direction. Despite having a page full of unique anecdotes, alcohol abuse and off-the-field troubles had his career on the path toward obscurity.

“I don’t think a guy like Ray Caldwell could exist anymore in Major League Baseball,” Randy Anderson, president of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, told AccuWeather. “He’s a real throwback to when times were much different.”

Ray Caldwell is a name that could win you a few dollars at trivia night. He was the inaugural pitcher to start games at the grand opening of both Fenway Park and Ebbetts Field, he tossed the 91st no-hitter in baseball history, was one of the final 17 pitchers to legally be allowed to throw a spitball and even roomed with Babe Ruth when he played in Boston.

[ click to continue reading at AccuWeather ]

Posted on June 25, 2021 by Editor

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Artificial Rembrandt

from NYT via DNYUZ

Rembrandt’s Damaged Masterpiece Is Whole Again, With A.I.’s Help

Rembrandt’s Damaged Masterpiece Is Whole Again, With A.I.’s Help

AMSTERDAM — Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” has been a national icon in the Netherlands ever since it was painted in 1642, but even that didn’t protect it.

In 1715, the monumental canvas was cut down on all four sides to fit onto a wall between two doors in Amsterdam’s Town Hall. The snipped pieces were lost. Since the 19th century, the trimmed painting has been housed in the Rijksmuseum, where it is displayed as the museum’s centerpiece, at the focal point of its Gallery of Honor.

Now, from Wednesday — for the first time in more than three centuries — it will be possible for the public to see the painting “nearly as it was intended,” said the museum’s director, Taco Dibbits.

Using new high-tech methods, including scanning technologies and artificial intelligence, the museum has reconstructed those severed parts and hung them next to the original, to give an idea of “The Night Watch” as Rembrandt intended it.

The cutdown painting is about 15 feet wide by 13 feet high. About two feet from the left of the canvas was shaved off, and another nine inches from the top. Lesser damage was done to the bottom, which lost about five inches, and the right side, which lost three.

Temporarily restoring these parts will give visitors a glimpse of what had been lost: three figures on the left-hand side (two men and a boy) and, more important, a feel for Rembrandt’s meticulous construction in the work’s composition. With the missing pieces, the original dynamism of the masterpiece is stirred back to life.

[ click to continue reading at DNYUZ ]

Posted on June 24, 2021 by Editor

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29 Peeping Planets

from The Guardian

Scientists identify 29 planets where aliens could observe Earth

Astronomers estimate 29 habitable planets are positioned to see Earth transit and intercept human broadcasts

by Ian Sample Science editor

space
The scientists identified 1,715 star systems where alien observers could have discovered Earth in the past 5,000 years by watching it ‘transit’ across the face of the sun. Photograph: c/o Cornell

For centuries, Earthlings have gazed at the heavens and wondered about life among the stars. But as humans hunted for little green men, the extraterrestrials might have been watching us back.

In new research, astronomers have drawn up a shortlist of nearby star systems where any inquisitive inhabitants on orbiting planets would be well placed to spot life on Earth.

The scientists identified 1,715 star systems in our cosmic neighbourhood where alien observers could have discovered Earth in the past 5,000 years by watching it “transit” across the face of the sun.

Among those in the right position to observe an Earth transit, 46 star systems are close enough for their planets to intercept a clear signal of human existence – the radio and TV broadcasts which started about 100 years ago.

The researchers estimate that 29 potentially habitable planets are well positioned to witness an Earth transit, and eavesdrop on human radio and television transmissions, allowing any observers to infer perhaps a modicum of intelligence. Whether the broadcasts would compel an advanced civilisation to make contact is a moot point.

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on June 23, 2021 by Editor

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Der Stonehenge

from The Daily Beast

The Cruel and Twisted Discoveries at Germany’s Stonehenge

by Candida Moss


Getty

When you think of Stonehenge what do you think of? England? Druids? Partygoers celebrating the solstice? A unique piece of ancient heritage? Chances are that you don’t think of Germany. As it turns out, however, Saxony-Anhalt has its own Early Bronze Age wooden henge—Ringheiligtum Pömmelter—and recent excavations have added more detail to its dark, distinctive history.

The reason that you might not have heard of Ringheiligtum Pömmelter is that it was only discovered in 1991. The monument, which is located near the village of Pömmelte, in the district of Salzlandkreis, was discovered when aerial photography of the region revealed the outline of the structure. Like Wiltshire’s Stonehenge, it is concentric and is made up of seven rings of raised banks, ditches, and palisades in which wooden posts were positioned. If you visit the 380-feet-wide circle today you can see the attractive reconstructed monument. The painted wooden posts erected at the site give tourists a sense of what it was like in its heyday.

[ click to continue reading at TDB ]

Posted on June 21, 2021 by Editor

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SpaceXcedrin

from The Observer

SpaceX’s Starship Worksite in Texas Is a Constant Headache for Regulators

By Sissi Cao

Space enthusiasts look at a prototype of SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft at the company’s Texas launch facility on September 28, 2019 in Boca Chica near Brownsville, Texas. Loren Elliott/Getty Images

SpaceX’s busy rocket testing activities in the remote beach town of Boca Chica in South Texas are increasingly becoming a headache for local residents and governments.

Last week, the Elon Musk-led rocket company received a notice from a county district attorney warning the company that it could be violating several state laws by closing public roads for extended periods of time and hiring unlicensed security guards to ward local residents off the closed area.

In the letter, first reported by Texas local television station KRGV, Cameron County district attorney Luis Saenz alleged that members of his staff, while attempting to access a public road near SpaceX’s test facilities to carry out an investigation on June 9, were “approached, stopped and detained” by a company security guard who they later found was not licensed by the Texas Department of Public Safety per state law.

[ click to continue reading at The Observer ]

Posted on June 17, 2021 by Editor

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Go Blue!

from Quanta Magazine

How Animals Color Themselves With Nanoscale Structures

Animals sculpt the optical properties of their tissues at the nanoscale to give themselves “structural colors.” New work is piecing together how they do it.

by Viviane Callier

A pair of photographs showing a blue morpho butterfly and a close-up detail of its blue wing.
The stunning blue iridescence of the blue morpho butterfly results from the way that structures in its wing scales diffract and reflect blue light while absorbing other parts of the spectrum.

Peacocks, panther chameleons, scarlet macaws, clown fish, toucans, blue-ringed octopuses and so many more: The animal kingdom has countless denizens with extraordinarily colorful beauty. But in many cases, scientists know much more about how the animals use their colors than how they make them. New work continues to reveal those secrets, which often depend on the fantastically precise self-assembly of minuscule features in and on the feathers, scales, hair and skin — a fact that makes the answers intensely interesting to soft matter physicists and engineers in the photonics industry.

Many of the colors seen in nature, particularly in the plant kingdom, are produced by pigments, which reflect a portion of the light spectrum while absorbing the rest. Green pigments like chlorophyll reflect the green part of the spectrum but absorb the longer red and yellow wavelengths as well as the shorter blue ones. Which specific wavelengths get reflected or absorbed depends on the pigment’s molecular makeup and the exact distances between the atoms in its molecular structures.

[ click to continue reading at Quanta ]

Posted on June 16, 2021 by Editor

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Bitcoin vs. The Volcano

from The Independent via Yahoo! News

El Salvador to use energy from volcanoes for bitcoin mining

by Vishwam Sankaran

El Salvador’s president Nayib Bukele, accompanied by US Ambassador to El Salvador Ronald Johnson (out of frame), speaks during a joint press conference at Rosales Hospital in San Salvador  (AFP via Getty Images)
El Salvador’s president Nayib Bukele, accompanied by US Ambassador to El Salvador Ronald Johnson (out of frame), speaks during a joint press conference at Rosales Hospital in San Salvador (AFP via Getty Images)

Hours after becoming the first nation to authorise bitcoin as a legal tender, El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele instructed a state-owned geothermal electric company to plan to use geothermal energy from the country’s volcanoes for mining for the cryptocurrency.

“I’ve just instructed the president of @LaGeoSV (our state-owned geothermal electric company), to put up a plan to offer facilities for bitcoin mining with very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy from our volcanos,” Bukele posted on Twitter.

The Bitcoin law was approved by a “supermajority” gaining 62 out of 84 possible votes within the Central American country’s congress.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! ]

Posted on June 12, 2021 by Editor

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Serial Seducers

from The New York Post

Woman reveals dark hobby of seducing infamous serial killers by mail

By Dana Kennedy

Barbara Dickstein (center) and late husband befriended killers through letters.
Barbara Dickstein (center) and late husband befriended killers through letters. NY Post composite; Stephen Yang

A couple in Yonkers had a dark hobby for decades: seducing serial killers by mail.

For more than 20 years, at least 100 of the country’s most ­vicious serial and celebrity murderers — including John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Richard Ramirez, “Son of Sam” ­David Berkowitz, Charles Manson, ­Arthur Shawcross, Edmund Kemper, Karla Faye Tucker, Robert John Bardo and Gerard Schaefer, among others — ­eagerly corresponded with Barbara and Richie Dickstein.

To “hook” the criminals, Barbara and Richie wrote letters pretending to be whatever turned on the killers — like when she sent photos of a local stripper and pretended it was her to tantalize Ramirez.

“If you look at most of these serial killers’ childhoods, they never had any love. I think they thought that with us, ‘Here’s someone willing to show me love and I’ll try it with them,’ ” Barbara told The Post.

[ click to continue reading at NYP ]

Posted on June 7, 2021 by Editor

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As Dinosaurs Roam The Earth

from Study Finds

No joke: Nearly half of Americans think dinosaurs STILL roam the Earth!

by Chris Melore

NEW YORK — When did “Jurassic Park” go from a blockbuster movie to a conspiracy theory? A shocking new study finds nearly half of Americans say they’re convinced dinosaurs still exist in some remote corner of the world.

Researchers polling 2,000 adults discovered that four in 10 think the famous prehistoric inhabitants existed between 2,000 and 10,000 years ago – rather than between 66 to 230 million years ago. One in five even believe the dinosaur population only went extinct 100 years ago.

Fifty-four percent also believe all dinosaurs only lived in Africa and North America – unaware that scientists have unearthed their bones all over the world. Despite there being more than 1,000 different species of dinosaur, the typical adult can name just four – with the Tyrannosaurus rex being the most recognizable of all.

[ click to continue reading at Study Finds ]

Posted on June 6, 2021 by Editor

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Sticky Sticky

from Sports Illustrated

‘This Should Be the Biggest Scandal in Sports’

The inside story of how rampant pitch-doctoring in MLB is pumping pitchers up and deflating offenses.

by STEPHANIE APSTEIN AND ALEX PREWITT

To understand the fiasco of baseball’s 2021 season, which people around the game describe as sullied by rampant cheating to a degree not seen since the steroid era, all you have to do is pick up a ball.

Then try to put it back down.

One ball made its way into an NL dugout last week, where players took turns touching a palm to the sticky material coating it and lifting the baseball, adhered to their hand, into the air. Another one, corralled in a different NL dugout, had clear-enough fingerprints indented in the goo that opponents could mimic the pitcher’s grip. A third one, also in the NL, was so sticky that when an opponent tried to pull the glue off, three inches of seams came off with it.

[ click to continue reading at SI ]

Posted on June 5, 2021 by Editor

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Desert Drone Chase

from The Drive

New Details Emerge On The “Highly Modified Drone” That Outran Police Helicopters Over Tucson

The drone was first detected near an energy storage facility across from Davis-Monthan AFB before evading two pursuing law enforcement helicopters.

BY BRETT TINGLEY

Last month, The War Zone reported on a bizarre drone encounter that occurred in the skies above Tucson, Arizona. According to reports, on the evening of February 9, 2021 around 10:30 PM local time, a helicopter belonging to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, encountered what has been described by KOLD’s Dan Marries, who interviewed an FBI agent assigned to the case, as a “highly modified drone” in controlled airspace. Another helicopter operated by the Tucson Police Department’s Air Support Unit was called in to help track and potentially identify the drone alongside the one from CBP, but the drone was able to evade them both and remain unidentified. Shortly after the incident was disclosed, the FBI released a statement asking for help from the public regarding any information related to the encounter. 

In the days since we first reported on the Tucson drone encounter, individuals have reached out with new information that adds further context to this still-developing story. A source with direct knowledge of the incident’s details told The War Zone they believed the drone was highly unlikely to be battery-powered based on the altitude, distance, and speed at which it flew. The source also stated it seems as though the drone was equipped with an infrared camera based how it was able to dynamically maneuver, including in relation to the helicopters chasing it, despite the low level of ambient light at the time of the incident. They also added that it is “only logical that it was looking towards DM’s [Davis Monthan AFB] flight line” based on its location. 

[ click to continue reading at The Drive ]

Posted on June 2, 2021 by Editor

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Super-prodigy

from Fox 5 NY

Piano prodigy practices for Carnegie Hall performance

By Stacey Delikat

GREENWICH, Conn. – Her fingers may be small, her tiny feet far from the pedals, but Brigitte Xie has some massive talent.

Xie is just 3 years old but in six months she has progressed more on the piano than some people do over the course of years.

“She is really exceptional,” said Felicia Feng Zhang, her teacher. “She listens so well. When I demonstrate, she really watches what I did and imitates well.”

Last summer as the pandemic wore on, Xie’s parents, Nicole Sun and Tao Xie of Ridgefield, Connecticut, were looking for something to keep their toddler busy. They connected with Zhang, an award-winning piano teacher. After a few online lessons, Xie’s parents brought her to Zhang’s Greenwich studio for in-person lessons.

[ click to continue reading at Fox 5 NY ]

Posted on June 1, 2021 by Editor

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Mead Running Low

from CNN

First-ever Colorado River water shortage is now almost certain, new projections show

By Pedram Javaheri and Drew Kann

Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US and a critical water supply for millions across the Southwest, has declined about 140 feet since 2000 and now sits at just 37% of full capacity.

Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US and a critical water supply for millions across the Southwest, has declined about 140 feet since 2000 and now sits at just 37% of full capacity.

Thousands of people will celebrate Memorial Day this weekend on the water of Lake Mead, just 24 miles east of Las Vegas on the border of Arizona and Nevada.What they may not realize is that the oasis they’re enjoying in the desert is entering uncharted territory, with significant ramifications for millions across the Southwest in the years to come.

On Tuesday, the water level in Lake Mead — the largest US reservoir, and fed by the Colorado River — fell below the elevation of 1,075 feet. It has hit that mark only a handful of times since the Hoover Dam was finished in the 1930s, but it always recovered shortly after. It may not this time, at least not any time soon.

[ click to continue reading at CNN ]

Posted on May 28, 2021 by Editor

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No More Love

from The Spectator

The sexual counterrevolution is coming

America’s young elite is turning against free love

by Mary Harrington

sexual

Charlotte is a 23-year-old Harvard graduate. Beautiful and willowy, she grew up in — her words — ‘a super-liberal environment’. You might expect to find her Instagram full of sexy, pouting pictures. But Charlotte has deleted all the bikini photos from her online life. And six months ago, she embraced ‘modest dress’: nothing that exposes her collarbones or shoulders and nothing that reveals her legs above the knee.

Narayan is seven years older than Charlotte. He is what matchmaking 18th-century matrons might have described as ‘very eligible’: a clean-living, highly educated and charismatic single guy with a well-paid job in tech. He’s the embodiment of Jane Austen’s famous observation that ‘a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife’. And contra all the modern laments about single men preferring to play the field, Narayan actually wants to get married.

Narayan and his close male friends are all around the same age. They’re all elite guys working in tech and finance — and all either dating to marry, or already married. In what amounts to an informal 21st-century marriage brokerage, they and the wives of already-married members of their friend group collude to track down potential partners. But they’re picky — and Narayan is blunt about the criteria. It’s not just about being educated, ambitious or pretty. ‘Guys who say they don’t care about their wife’s sexual history are straight-up lying,’ he tells me. All the men in his group, he says, would strongly prefer their future wives to be virgins on marriage. Some categorically rule out women who aren’t: ‘No hymen, no diamond’.

[ click to continue reading at The Spectator ]

Posted on May 25, 2021 by Editor

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The Sun Always Wins

from Penn-Live

Solar storms are back, threatening life on Earth as we know it

By The Associated Press

Solar storm
While invisible and harmless to anyone on the Earth’s surface, the geomagnetic waves unleashed by solar storms can cripple power grids, jam radio communications, bathe airline crews in dangerous levels of radiation and knock critical satellites off kilter.

A few days ago, millions of tons of super-heated gas shot off from the surface of the sun and hurtled 90 million miles toward Earth.

The eruption, called a coronal mass ejection, wasn’t particularly powerful on the space-weather scale, but when it hit the Earth’s magnetic field it triggered the strongest geomagnetic storm seen for years. There wasn’t much disruption this time — few people probably even knew it happened — but it served as a reminder the sun has woken from a yearslong slumber.

[ click to continue reading at Penn-Live ]

Posted on May 22, 2021 by Editor

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Happy Little Ugly People

from The Daily Beast via Yahoo! News

Sex, Deceit, and Scandal: The Ugly War Over Bob Ross’ Ghost

Bob Ross Estate
Bob Ross Estate

by Alston Ramsay

Bob Ross is everywhere these days: bobbleheads, Chia Pets, waffle makers, underwear emblazoned with his shining face, even energy drinks “packed with the joy and positivity of Bob Ross!” Whatever merchandising opportunity is out there, kitsch or otherwise, it’s a safe bet his brand-management company is on it—despite his having shuffled off the mortal coil more than 25 years ago.

He’s also a smash hit on social media, where he feels more like a Gen-Z influencer than a once semi-obscure PBS celebrity who rose to fame in the 1980s on the back of his bouffant hairdo, hypnotic singsong baritone, and a timeless message about the beauty of the world around us. His official YouTube page has logged close to half a billion views. He’s been satirized by the comic-book anti-hero Deadpool, the world-infamous street artist Banksy, and even Jim Carrey as Joe Biden on Saturday Night Live.

If that weren’t enough, he’s hawking Mountain Dew in a new CGI commercial that’s right on the edge of the uncanny valley, and Netflix has a feature-length documentary about him due this summer by the prolific actor-producer Melissa McCarthy.

Yes, Bob Ross is a beacon of light in an ever-darkening world—an endless stream of soothing bon mots perfectly at home in the meme-and-merchandise internet era.

He was also recently in federal court. Or, to be more precise, his eponymous company Bob Ross, Inc., was. Now run by the daughter of Bob’s original business partners—Annette and Walt Kowalski—Bob Ross, Inc., was defending itself against claims that it had made millions of dollars by illegally licensing Bob’s image over the last decade, expanding far beyond the company’s original core business of selling Bob Ross-themed paints and paint supplies.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! ]

Posted on May 21, 2021 by Editor

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