Quanta brings to attention the work of astrobiologists who are trying to determine whether the discovery of oxygen on a distant exoplanet is caused by natural phenomena or by alien life. Avoiding false positives is important due to the hundreds of hours it will require the James Webb telescope in examining "the spectrum for each planetary atmosphere."
The search for biosignature gases around faraway exoplanets “is an inherently messy problem,” said Victoria Meadows, an Australian powerhouse who heads VPL. In the years since Domagal-Goldman’s discovery, Meadows has charged her team of 75 with identifying the major “oxygen false positives” that can arise on exoplanets, as well as ways to distinguish these false alarms from true oxygenic signs of biological activity. Meadows still thinks oxygen is the best biosignature gas. But, she said, “if I’m going to look for this, I want…
Women of Toronto declare war against "Roosh V" aka "Daryush Valizadeh", who is currently hiding at his mother's basement in Silver Spring, Maryland. This "Pro-rape" advocate was suppose tod hold a Meet-up in Queens Park (Toronto, Canada) but when Savoy Howe, the owner of "Toronto Newgirls Boxing Club" heard about it, she posted in on her gym's Facebook page "we would show up wearing boxing gloves and take it from there."
This sparked an overwhelming response from women across Toronto and in social media who want to join with Howe in her fight against Roosh V and his followers.
Roosh V decided to cancel his Meet-up due to public backlash, noting that he "can no longer guarantee the safety or privacy of the men who want to attend." He also stated that he "can't stop men who want to continue meeting in private groups".
Howe held her own Meet-up at…122More
If you have ever wondered what they mean by Seinfeld being a show about... nothing, in his video titled Seinfeld: What "Nothing" Really Means , The Nerdwriter masterfully ties it all back to French literature of the 19th century.190More
As images of the solar system don't give justice to its true size, Wylie Overstreet and Alex Gorosh made a scaled down version in the Nevada desert. Despite planet Earth being no bigger than a blue marble, the distances are still quite extensive. Behind the scenes video here.
On a dry lakebed in Nevada, a group of friends build the first scale model of the solar system with complete planetary orbits: a true illustration of our place in the universe.
In their typical fashion, Kurzgesagt gives a nutshell of a lesson on Red Dwarfs, the baby stars of the universe and the last to extinguish when the universe will die.
The last star in the universe will be a red dwarf. Red dwarfs in general might be great places to look for aliens – or planets for humans to find a new home after our solar system has died.
Gizmodo brings to attention this video showcasing eagles trained by the Dutch National Police, which intercept and capture drones "much like they were lunch."
Eagles are damn good at intercepting other flying creatures, and the video (in Dutch, sorry) certainly proves that the ability translates well to drones. Though one does wonder what might happen if the eagle attempted to bring down a large drone, with feathers meeting big rotors a rather unpleasant thought.
You can now double the size of your penis for a nimble $13,000. A sheath of silicone, called the Penuma, is inserted under the skin of the penis, where it "moves freely, preventing encapsulation."
Nobody wants a small. If there’s one global, irrefutable truth, it’s that all men dream of being enormous—even the ones who are already big. Among the many patients I interviewed for this story were several well-hung gentlemen who’d nonetheless paid Elist $13,000 to slice them open and enhance their penises with a sheath of silicone. Consider the 39-year-old accountant from outside L.A. who had trouble explaining precisely what led him to get his Penuma in 2014. His wife had no complaints. (“He was very well-off,” she told me; his pre-surgery erections were eight inches long.) When I pushed him, repeatedly, about his motivation, he finally stammered, “I don’t know. I think I just wanted it…
The DeLorean Motor Company announces that, with the passing of the "Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act" (H.R. 2675) which allows companies to produce a limited number of replicas of older vehicles, it will produce DeLorean replicas for 2017. The vehicle will maintain its iconic look but sport modern and more enviromentally friendly motors. Back to the Future fans will be delighted.
The vehicles must meet current Clean Air Act standards for the model year in which they are produced. The new law allows the low volume vehicle manufacturer to meet the standards by installing an engine and emissions equipment produced by another automaker (GM, Ford, etc.) for a similar EPA-certified vehicle configuration or a crate engine that has been granted a California Air Resources Board (CARB) Executive Order (EO). This reasonable regulatory reform will also spur innovation, including advances in alternative-fuel and green vehicle technologies.
Walking around in the complex I was waiting for the right moment to start climbing The Great Pyramid of Giza. When I started climbing a street seller was standing behind me but I didn’t care about him I turned around he laughed and I continued climbing.
At the half some people got attention on me and looked up to. That’s how the police spotted me. They shouted something in Arabic I think but I didn’t care and kept going while listening to music.
Perhaps in response to criticism on Barbie's original body shape (and declining sales), Mattel has released the 2016 Barbie Fashionistas featuring more realistic body types and an assortment of skin tones.
The new curvy Barbie has a bigger bust, behind, thicker thighs and a protruding tummy. She landed on the cover of Time magazine on Thursday with the headline "Now can we stop talking about my body?"
On the Primitive Technology website, its curator shows you how to build a cord drill and pump drill using wood, stone, and a piece of cord. Primitive Technology was featured in the past on building a hut from scratch.
As far as fire making goes I’ll stick to fire sticks as the parts are easier to make. But for people with soft hands, this would be a good method for making fire without getting blisters. The effort during the fire making is less too. The pump drill was successful at making fire too but because their were so many moving parts I had to try many times before it worked. Cords would break, the fly wheel would loosen and the drill kept jumping out of the socket. I spent an afternoon trying to get fire with it but it…
fxguide's John Montgomery sits down with Industrial Light + Magic in San Francisco to discuss their stellar work on The Force Awakens. Hear from senior visual effects supervisor Roger Guyett, visual effects supervisor Patrick Tubach, animation supervisor Paul Kavanagh, environments supervisor Susumu Yukihiro, compositing supervisor Jay Cooper and asset build supervisor Dave Fogler as they run through key scenes from the film.
Bangkok-based company bugsolutely is selling Cricket Pasta, pasta made in part with... crickets. Albeit a business, their social project is to show that insects convert feed into protein in a much more effective way and produce significantly less greenhouse gasses than a cow.
Bugsolutely Cricket Pasta is the result of months of research with multiple manufacturers. It’s a mix of durum semolina flour, wheat flour, and cricket flour sourced from selected suppliers. Thanks to the cricket flour, the pasta’s distinctive brown color (see our photo gallery) matches the typical earthy taste which is often associated with roasted almonds. The product is now readily available as fusilli, in a 350 gr (12.3 Oz) sealed package.
On VOX, Dennis Perkins looks at what it was like to spend "25 years of my life in an industry that no longer exists," killed by services like Netflix and Hulu. His argument: while streaming services provide convenience, they lack the commitment one makes when picking a movie. Lengthy but a great read.
We watch Netflix like we used to watch television on a slow Sunday night, everything blending together as we flip aimlessly through the channels. At first the choice is overwhelming: all of these options and nothing but the questionable "You Might Like" cue to guide us — we stare at the screen like idiots, paralyzed. But then when we make a choice, if we make a choice, it feels unimportant. Another option is only a click away.
If you're actually in a video store, the stakes are different. You're engaged. You're on a mission to find…
Residents must wash and sort virtually anything that is non-compostable in their household before bringing it to the recycling sorting center. Shampoo bottles, caps, cans, razors, styrofoam meat trays, water bottles...the list goes on and on (literally) into 34 categories. At the sorting center, labels on each bin indicate the recycling process for that specific item - how it will be recycled, what it will become, and how much that process can cost (or even earn). It's an education process for the consumer.
All kitchen scraps must be composted at home, as the town has no garbage trucks or collectors.
And as for other items, reuse is heavily encouraged. According…
The University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) Experimental Cosmology Group, dedicated to the studies of early universe and astrophysical applications of directed energy, introduces the DE-STAR (Directed Energy System for Targeting of Asteroids and exploRation), a proposed system made of high-powered lasers that would stop asteroids by vaporisation. The device could also be used to provide power to distant probes or small spacecrafts.
DE-STAR or Directed Energy System for Targeting of Asteroids and exploRation is a proposed system to deflect asteroids, comets, and other near Earth objects (NEOS) that pose a credible risk of impact. The objects that cross Earth’s orbit ,even relatively small ones, can still have a devastating effect. We propose an orbital planetary defense system capable of heating the surface of potentially hazardous objects to the point of vaporization. DE-STAR is a modular phased array of kilowatt class lasers powered by photovoltaics (PV). In our…
Scientists theorise that any extraterrestrial civilisation that developed in a globular cluster — a region of space with thousands to millions of stars — may actually be more suitable for their survival regardless of the gravitational interactions thanks to the much shorter distances between planetary systems, allowing them to easily (relatively speaking) set up colonies on them.
[...] the proximity of all those stars may actually be an advantage for supporting life, says Rosanne Di Stefano, a theoretical astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Lots of closely packed stars could also mean lots of planetary systems not very far from one another. “If there is an advanced society in an environment like that, it could set up outposts relatively easily, because we’re dealing with distances that are so much shorter,” she says.
With such networking, civilizations in a globular cluster might endure for billions of…
On the race to provide self-driving cars on demand, General Motors has invested $500 millions in Lyft, the ride-hailing service. In similar news, Audi has also invested $28 million in Silvercar, a car-rental company that only offers silver Audis, calling it the future of mobility.
G.M.’s support includes more than financial backing. As part of the investment into Lyft, G.M. will work on developing a so-called autonomous on-demand network of self-driving cars, an area of research to which companies like Google, Tesla and Uber have all devoted enormous resources in recent years.
G.M. will also work with Lyft to set up a series of short-term car rental hubs across the United States, places where people who do not own cars can pick up a vehicle and drive for Lyft to earn money. [...]
According to TechCrunch, with the release of version 7.1 of its software, Tesla's Model S and X now include a "Summon" feature that allows the car to drive itself. To be clear, this allows the car to go park itself or come in and out of a parking garage. This is part of Tesla's vision of a future where a driver is completely unnecessary.
[...] Today, it released version 7.1 of its software for the Model S and X that includes a “Summon” feature that enables the car to drive itself without anyone inside.
More specifically, using their key fob, Tesla owners can now direct their cars to park themselves in a spot within 39 feet, and to drive themselves into and out of their parking garages.
Facebook, which is well known for disregarding users' privacy and submitting them to various psychological tests, is now trying to introduce Free Basics, "a programme that gives its users free access to Facebook and a handful of other online services" on the smartphones of poor people in third world countries. Critics are however arguing that Facebook's "generosity" is nothing more than a "land-grab," which will force users into a "walled garden of Facebook-approved content," among other issues.
Critics of the programme say that Facebook’s generosity is a cover for a land-grab. They argue that Free Basics is a walled garden of Facebook-approved content, that it breaches consumer privacy by sucking up all the data generated by users of Free Basics, and that it is anticompetitive to boot. Moreover, critics fear that if new internet users are merely Facebook users, other online businesses will have no choice…
Albeit still limited in the "degree of tacticle feedback it can simulate," Japanese researchers at the University of Tokyo have been able to use ultrasound radiation to give holograms haptic feedback when "touched."
The technology is limited for now. It can only emit a “safe” level of ultrasound radiation, meaning that the degree of tactile feedback it can simulate is confined to things like lightly stroking an object. It can’t yet emulate a handshake or a bear-hug, as Motherboard noted.
PriceOnomics has a detailed piece looking at the history of Disney and how, through secretive lobbying, has been able to maintain control of his beloved character, Mickey Mouse. Unfortunately, in the process of doing so, has forever changed when copyrighted works can enter the public domain.
[...] Disney has done everything in its power to make sure it retains the copyright on Mickey -- even if that means changing federal statutes. Every time Mickey’s copyright is about to expire, Disney spends millions lobbying Congress for extensions, and trading campaign contributions for legislative support. With crushing legal force, they’ve squelched anyone who attempts to disagree with them.
In the age of the Internet, where vast swaths of creative material are freely available, the central question raised by Mickey Mouse’s copyright ordeal is especially pertinent: Which is more important, a robust public domain, or the well-being of private interests?
Although it denies "allegationst that it cooks its books," some economists seem to think that the picture-perfect economic growth shown by China may be a result of political pressure forcing inflated numbers. If devaluation of its currency is a possible sign, the world may face a financial crisis similar to that experienced in 2008.
[...] Achieving growth targets is a matter of political importance in China, and there's evidence that someone somewhere is fiddling with the numbers.
For one thing, China's No. 2 leader, Li Keqiang, admitted as much in 2007.
A diplomatic cable released to the public by Wikileaks quoted Li as saying during a dinner that GDP figures were "man-made" and therefore unreliable. Li said he personally looked at electric consumption, rail cargo and loans disbursed for a clue to how the economy was operating, rather than official growth figures.
"All other figures, especially GDP statistics, are…
Composed of 51 printed parts, 15 pins, 14 washers, and 21 screws, this fully functional 3D printed tourbillon watch made by Swiss engineer Christoph Laimer goes to show the level of sophistication now achievable from 3D printers. The files are readily available for download if you want to make your own.
This is an actual watch, with a tourbillon, that is almost entirely 3D printed. Think about it: the tourbillon – a 200+ year old invention designed by one of the greatest watchmakers to ever live, which for most of its history has been practically synonymous with hand-craftsmanship and high end watchmaking, has been produced in a working watch with a 3D printer.
According to The Washington Post, police departments are employing Beware, software that uses social media posts, deep web searches and "billions of data points" to determine a person's threat level. While police claim this is helping them make proper decision, civil libertarians warn that these tools created with "little public oversight" have a "potential for abuse or error."
Councilman Clinton J. Olivier, a libertarian-leaning Republican, said Beware was like something out of a dystopian science fiction novel and asked Dyer a simple question: “Could you run my threat level now?”
Dyer agreed. The scan returned Olivier as a green, but his home came back as a yellow, possibly because of someone who previously lived at his address, a police official said.
“Even though it’s not me that’s the yellow guy, your officers are going to treat whoever comes out of that house in his boxer shorts as the yellow…
On Ratter, Tarin Towers explains how he bought a gun in California, a state that "has more gun laws than any other state." After a true and false test ("It’s perfectly fine to leave your loaded gun in your child’s crib”), a profiency exam, and a background check, he was the owner of a Glock 19 9mm semi-automatic pistol. A fascinating read, he looks at the entire process from the perspective of an outsider who has never bought a gun before.
In San Francisco, you have to keep your gun locked up at all times, unless you’re carrying it on your person. People who say they’re keeping a gun for protection scoff at this. They say there’s no way you could unlock a gun in time if you were defending yourself from an intruder in your home—if you have that many enemies, or valuables, perhaps you could invest in…
The conceptualised interface Desktop Neo takes the GUI of a smartphone and brings it to the desktop environment. Much like 10/GUI, it proves that window management is outdated by completely removing the desktop and replacing it all with a simplified, gesture-based environment focused on productivity. The interface is the brain-child of German-based designer Lennart Ziburski and yes, you're welcome to contribute.
The traditional desktop computer is struggling to adapt the simple interfaces of mobile devices while also keeping its focus on productivity. With people switching to mobile devices for mundane tasks, we have the opportunity to rethink the desktop computer with a focus on getting professional work done.
Neo is a conceptual desktop operating system interface that is built for todays people, needs and technologies. Visualized below are ideas that were designed to inspire and provoke…