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In many ways, Qatar has benefited from its neighbors’ blockade, Qatar’s Arab neighbors should embrace Al Jazeera, Iran’s #MeToo moment begins, T
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
“When the blockade was imposed on Qatar on June 5, 2017, few expected it to last as long as it has,” writes Sultan Barakat. “One year on, what started as an expression of frustration with, and attempt to change, Qatar’s independent foreign policy, has, in fact, deepened the political divisions and, if anything, made it more difficult to envisage a return to Gulf unity.
Is Vaping Dangerous? New Study Links E
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
E-cigarettes are widely believed to be healthier than traditional cigarettes, but building evidence suggests the products carry their own risks. To investigate the effects of the flavored liquids used in electronic cigarettes, researchers assessed nine popular flavors. Endothelial cells, which line the blood vessels and inside of the heart, were exposed to the chemicals behind vanilla, mint, burnt  flavor, clove, butter, strawberry, banana, and spicy cooling in a laboratory.
NASA's Space Launch System: Rocketing Towards Cancellation?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Off the record, space industry insiders admit to doubts about the program.
Animals are becoming nocturnal to avoid humans, and that could mean trouble
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Animals that live near human activity are becoming nocturnal just to avoid us, and the implications for ecosystems around the world could be huge.  A team of researchers conducted a meta-analysis which included data about 62 species across six continents and found an overwhelming trend: To avoid encountering humans, animals are becoming nocturnal at the expense of their biologically predetermined schedules.  SEE ALSO: Viral Videos May Endanger Cute Animals Of the species studied that typically split their activity equally between day and night, more than 80 percent of those living near humans increased their nighttime activity. The new results were published in the journal Science this week. "Catastrophic losses in wildlife populations and habitats as a result of human activity are well documented, but the subtler ways in which we affect animal behavior are more difficult to detect and quantify," lead author of the study Kaitlyn Gaynor said in a statement.  European beaver in the city center of a big town in France.Image: Lauren geslinRather than spend their days doing tasks relevant to survival, like foraging or hunting, these animals are sleeping. By forcing their entire day to fit into the night, these diurnal species are restricting their diets, exposing themselves to new predators, and diminishing their ability to hunt.  And while you might expect this change in places where humans are hunting these creatures, increased nighttime activity is found no matter what the humans nearby are up to.  The analysis found evidence that animals alter their daily routines even when humans are doing something seemingly non-threatening, like hiking, near them.  It’s not rare for animals to switch things up so they can avoid potential hazards, but because humans are so widespread, there may be implications for the long-term survival of these species because of their shifting cycles.  "Animal activity patterns reflect millions of years of adaptation—it’s hard to believe we can simply squeeze nature into the dark half of each day and expect it to function and thrive," co-author Justin Brashares in a statement.  But it’s not all bad news. Animals that are able to adapt to a human presence likely have coexistence figured out, at least to some degree.  Image: Lauren GeslinIn fact, it's even possible that these animals may be using us in some way. “Some animals may choose to associate more closely with humans in order to avoid predators that are more sensitive to human presence,” Clinton Epps, a wildlife researcher from Oregon State University who had no role in the study, explained via email. “This pattern is known as human shielding.”  So while these new findings are groundbreaking, they aren't exhaustive.  “This study is not intended to address every complexity but rather to identify broad patterns in animal responses to human activities,” Epps added.  But the research does pose many questions that will be important for future experiments.  For example, when did the switch to nocturnality occur? Which species are negatively impacted the most? What species benefits from this move the most? The answer to seamless human and animal coexistence might lie within these future results.  WATCH: Meet the tardigrade...the world's most 'indestructible' animal
Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani Praises Taliban Ceasefire in Eid Holiday Address
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The holiday marks the end of the Ramadan holy month
CERN starts major upgrade to reap more data at atom smasher
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The world's largest particle smasher is kicking off a major upgrade to churn out 10 times more data and help unlock the secrets of physics
Employee suffers radiation exposure at controversial Idaho nuclear waste site
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
The site has been used by the federal government for nuclear waste disposal since the 1950s, but in recent years, it has been the focus of concerns from state officials and watchdog groups who are alarmed at the volume of radioactive material being held there.
Vows in the air: German couple married in tightrope wedding
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
A couple in eastern Germany have gotten married in a swing dangling from a motorcycle atop a tightrope, 14 meters (46 feet) above the ground. The German news agency dpa reported that a pastor standing in a cage atop a fire service ladder presided over the wedding of Nicole Backhaus and Jens Knorr in the town of Stassfurt on Saturday. The tightrope was stretched between the town wall and a tower, and the motorbike was ridden by Falko Traber, a member of a family of artists.
In many ways, Qatar has benefited from its neighbors’ blockade, Qatar’s Arab neighbors should embrace Al Jazeera, Iran’s #MeToo moment begins, T
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
“When the blockade was imposed on Qatar on June 5, 2017, few expected it to last as long as it has,” writes Sultan Barakat. “One year on, what started as an expression of frustration with, and attempt to change, Qatar’s independent foreign policy, has, in fact, deepened the political divisions and, if anything, made it more difficult to envisage a return to Gulf unity.
Sean Spicer's Next Job Is at a Pro
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
He will serve as spokesman for America First Action
Stephen Hawking's voice beamed into space at final send
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The voice of Stephen Hawking was beamed into space with a message of peace and hope on Friday as the British physicist, who gained international acclaim for his work on black holes, was laid to rest during a service at London's Westminster Abbey. The wheelchair-bound scientist who died in March aged 76 after a lifetime spent probing the origins of the universe, suffered from motor neurone disease which forced him to use an electronic voice synthesiser. Members of the public from over 100 countries, selected by a ballot, joined friends and family for the service which included a reading from actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who played Hawking in a 2004 BBC film.
In many ways, Qatar has benefited from its neighbors’ blockade, Qatar’s Arab neighbors should embrace Al Jazeera, Iran’s #MeToo moment begins, T
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
“When the blockade was imposed on Qatar on June 5, 2017, few expected it to last as long as it has,” writes Sultan Barakat. “One year on, what started as an expression of frustration with, and attempt to change, Qatar’s independent foreign policy, has, in fact, deepened the political divisions and, if anything, made it more difficult to envisage a return to Gulf unity.
Research shows diet shift of beluga whales in Alaska inlet
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Beluga whales in Alaska's Cook Inlet may have changed their diet over five decades from saltwater prey to fish and crustaceans influenced by freshwater, according to a study by University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers.
It’s a little scary how smart Google’s DeepMind just got
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Oh joy - Alphabet Inc.’s AI subsidiary DeepMind has taken another step forward in understanding the world the way humans do. The company that has previously made headlines for developing a system that teaches AI how to play video games — correction, how to crush it at video games — is now better able to “see” and understand a space and environment. DeepMind’s scientists have built an artificial vision system that can take something like a two-dimensional photo and from that construct a 3D model of a scene. London-based DeepMind published details about this new system called the Generative Query Network in the journal "Science" today. The company also walked through some of the details on its own blog, explaining how the system can take images of a scene and build a 3D view from different viewpoints. “Today,” DeepMind notes via the blog, “state-of-the-art visual recognition systems are trained using large datasets of annotated images produced by humans. Acquiring this data is a costly and time-consuming process, requiring individuals to label every aspect of every object in each scene in the dataset. As a result, often only a small subset of a scene’s overall contents is captured, which limits the artificial vision systems trained on that data. As we develop more complex machines that operate in the real world, we want them to fully understand their surroundings: where is the nearest surface to sit on? What material is the sofa made of? Which light source is creating all the shadows? Where is the light switch likely to be?” What it sounds like — to someone, admittedly, who’s not a scientist — is this is almost a way of encouraging an imagination of sorts in an AI system. A machine like this approaches so many things fresh, without a learned experience or body of knowledge to draw from or even use to help make guesses about the world. They need to be taught how to imagine, how to make guesses based on what they “see,” and this seems like a way of doing that. (A potentially scary way of doing that, depending on how you feel about machines learning and getting more human-like). In a statement accompanying today’s release of the research, the paper’s lead author Ali Eslami notes that one of the findings include that deep networks are in fact able to learn about things like perspective and lighting without any human engineering. “The proposed approach,” according to DeepMind, “does not require domain-specific engineering or time-consuming labelling of the contents of scenes, allowing the same model to be applied to a range of different environments. It also learns a powerful neural renderer that is capable of producing accurate images of scenes from new viewpoints. "While there is still much more research to be done before our approach is ready to be deployed in practice, we believe this work is a sizable step towards fully autonomous scene understanding.”
SpinLaunch raises $40M from Airbus, Google and others for space catapult
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A stealthy Silicon Valley startup called SpinLaunch says it’s raised a total of $40 million from a high-profile array of investors to get a space catapult system ready for launch by 2022. The company, founded in 2015 by CEO Jonathan Yaney, has been working on an electric-powered kinetic energy launch system that starts by whipping the vehicle around on a centrifuge, then catapults it spaceward at hypersonic speeds. “Applying the initial performance boost from a terrestrial-based launch platform enables us to lower the cost by orders of magnitude and launch many times per day,” Yaney said today in a news… Read More
Love to Entertain? You Might Want to Decorate With Coral, Says Science
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A hybrid of orange and pink, this sunset-inspired shade is an instant mood booster for both you and your guests.
Black hole eats and destroys hapless star which wandered too close
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Beware of the hungry black hole. Astronomers tracked a supermassive black hole, 20 million times larger than the sun, which ate up and destroyed a star that came too close. SEE ALSO: Three baby planets hanging around a star discovered by astronomers Located nearly 150 million light years away from Earth, scientists theorise the star swirled around the black hole, emitting intense x-rays and visible light, as a jet of material spat out at a quarter of the speed of light. Such an occurrence, called a tidal disruption event (TDE), has been rarely spotted. But scientists think they happen more often. In the case of this stellar death, astronomers used radio and infrared telescopes, such as New Mexico's Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), to keep an eye on the event which happened in a pair of colliding galaxies called Arp 299. "Never before have we been able to directly observe the formation and evolution of a jet from one of these events," Miguel Perez-Torres, from the Astrophysical Institute of Andalusia and who published a report in the journal Science, said in a statement online. Artist's rendering of a tidal disruption event (TDE) that happens when a star passes fatally close to a supermassive black hole, which reacts by launching a relativistic jet. It zooms out of the central region of its host galaxy, Arp299B, which is undergoing a merging process with Arp299A (the galaxy to the left).Image: Sophia Dagnello, NRAO/AUI/NSF; NASA, STScIPerez-Torrez and Seppo Mattila, of the University of Turku in Finland, got their first indication something was going on in January 2005. Astronomers noticed a bright burst near Arp 299, and kept track of the occurrence over a decade, which revealed a jet of electromagnetic waves going in one direction from the black hole. A black hole is an area of space which has such strong gravitational pull that nothing can escape from it, including light. Although most galaxies have black holes, they're not necessarily out there actively eating everything up. Mattila said the discovery might just be the "tip of the iceberg" for TDEs, with the potential for more discoveries ahead. "By looking for these events with infrared and radio telescopes, we may be able to discover many more, and learn from them," he added. WATCH: These trees have lived for 2,500 years. Now they're suddenly dying
Readers write: Understanding thinking in Taiwan, both sides of the issue, women pursuing professions
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
The April 16 Focus story, “Beijing’s bid to win over young Taiwanese,” gave a very comprehensive account of what is going on in Taiwan, providing the background needed to best understand the thinking of its people. Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test? Many residents feel they absolutely need guns for protection – protection from wild animals in addition to lawless people.
In many ways, Qatar has benefited from its neighbors’ blockade, Qatar’s Arab neighbors should embrace Al Jazeera, Iran’s #MeToo moment begins, T
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
“When the blockade was imposed on Qatar on June 5, 2017, few expected it to last as long as it has,” writes Sultan Barakat. “One year on, what started as an expression of frustration with, and attempt to change, Qatar’s independent foreign policy, has, in fact, deepened the political divisions and, if anything, made it more difficult to envisage a return to Gulf unity.
BBC reimagines the perfect human body and it'll give you nightmares
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Humans aren't perfect, but anatomist Alice Roberts knows how they could be. On Wednesday, BBC shared a terrifying video in which Roberts reimagines the human body and creates Alice 2.0 — a version of herself with no errors and the most successful features of animals. This, uh, different looking human model, has large eyes and ears, a chimp's lower back, the legs of an emu, small pumps in her thighs to help blood circulation, and a breast-less chest. Within her lies a dog's heart, "the graceful lungs of a swan," and more. Casual. And oh yeah, to make the whole childbirth thing easier, she has a marsupial pouch. NO THANK YOU. "Oh no, I can’t look at her," Roberts said. "... The baby’s the weirdest thing. That is the weirdest thing but it's very very cute at the same time." BBC declared "this could be a human fit for the future." But honestly? Nah, I think we're good. You can watch the full video here.
Get in the 2018 World Cup Spirit With This Google Doodle
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The month-long competition kicks off today
Former Trump Campaign Head Paul Manafort Is Going to Jail While Awaiting Trial
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
President Trump’s former campaign manager will be sent to jail while he awaits his trial
What It Means to Be a 'Good' Father in America Has Changed. Here's How
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
"I think the key change for the invention of the modern father is in the 1920s," says historian Robert L. Griswold
Why Drug Company Executives Haven’t Really Seen Justice for Their Role in the Opioid Crisis
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The maker of OxyContin faces a new lawsuit
Stephen Hawking's Ashes Interred Between Newton And Darwin In Westminster Abbey
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Stephen Hawking, the world-renowned physicist and philosopher who died in
Australian supermarket giant says 'yes' to mass nude photograph
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
More than 11,000 Australians who rushed for the chance to strip for American photographer Spencer Tunick will soon wear only smiles after a national supermarket chain changed its mind about allowing the shoot to go ahead on a suburban rooftop carpark. "We're over the moon," John Lotton, director of the Provocare Festival of the Arts, told Reuters on Saturday. After festival organizers agreed to move the event from busy weekend trading hours to a quiet Monday morning, Woolworths shed its inhibitions to allow the event to go ahead on July 9.
Every 2018 World Cup Team Name Code, Explained
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
What's CRC? What about KSA? We've got you covered
Trump Still Says the FBI Was 'Plotting Against My Election'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Despite a new report that did not find evidence of political bias tainting the probe of Hillary Clinton's email practices
Jeff Sessions Left Out the Key Part of the Bible Verse He Used to Rationalize Family Separation
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The passage the Attorney General cited continues on
The Most Dramatic Celeb Makeunders Ever
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, health
N/A
22 Patriotic 4th of July Party Ideas
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, health
N/A
A Woolly Mammoth Bone Washed Up on A Scotland Beach
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
When a man found a 2-foot long bone while strolling along the beach in Scotland, he knew he had come across something special. “I’d never seen a bone so large before,” Nicholas Coombey, a marine conservation worker, told The Times of London. The National Museum of Scotland later confirmed that the bone is from a woolly mammoth and it is most likely part of the femur.
The U.K. Wanted to Ban Taking Photos Up Women's Skirts. One Lawmaker Shut it Down.
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
An attempt to make upskirting a criminal offense in the United Kingdom has been blocked by a Conservative party lawmaker.
Flying Spiders: These Arachnid Aviators Can Spin Silk Air Balloons
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Crab spiders spin dozens of fine silk fibers into parachutes that let them hitch a ride on even the lightest breeze, scientists have observed.
Parkland School Guard Who Didn't Stop Shooter Had Harassed One of the Victims, Family Says
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The guard was allegedly suspended for sexually harassing two female students
Steve Scalise 'Back in the Game' a Year After Congressional Baseball Shooting
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The Congressman got the first out of the game
Why man says he took no contest plea in near
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
"I know I'm not guilty," Justin Hansen, who's accused of attacking Brittani Marcell with a shovel in 2008, said. "I don't have to believe it. I know I'm not guilty."
Short on staff, the Trump administration turns to a job fair
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
President Trump vowed to hire the "best people" but has needed some help finding them.
Research on dogs might shed light on human responses to food: study
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
Researchers in Hungary who found that normal and overweight dogs behaved differently in tasks involving food say the dogs’ responses were similar to what might be expected in normal and overweight humans. The study suggested dogs could be used as models for future research into the causes and psychological impacts of human obesity, the authors of the paper from Budapest's ELTE University said. Researchers put two bowls - one of them holding a good meal, the other empty or containing less attractive food - in front of a series of dogs.
Inspector general on Comey: dissecting an error in judgment
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Eleven days before the 2016 presidential election, FBI Director James Comey sent a three-paragraph letter to members of Congress announcing that the FBI was reopening its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.  
Amid legal attack on key health
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Robin Dake recalls a time when health insurance was financially out of reach for her and her two daughters ​– with the prospect of premiums of about $900 a month.
IQ Scores Are Falling Due to Environmental Factors, Study Finds
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Researchers found a steady decline in IQ scores over the past few decades
Why the Most Compelling Drama at the World Cup Might Be Off the Field
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Just look to the FIFA officials
Why your brain really craves french fries and donuts in particular
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Obviously, you're going to crave french fries and donuts over healthier food options.  But why is it that we sometimes really, really yearn for these two foods in particular over others that aren't so good for us, like candy or cheese? Well, you can probably blame your brain. SEE ALSO: Costco food court items, ranked A study published in Cell Metabolism found that foods combining both fat and carbohydrates are valued higher by our brain's reward system, as opposed to foods containing one energy source. A group of 206 adults were studied, undergoing brain scans as they were shown photos of snacks, which either contained fat, sugar, or a combination of the both. The subjects were then given a limited amount of money to bid on their preferred foods, and were found to be prepared to spend more on those which combined fat and carbohydrates. Researchers say our brains seem to estimate how many calories there are in foods with just fat or carbs, helping to regulate how much we eat. But it's when the two combine where things get tricky. "Our study shows that when both nutrients are combined, the brain seems to overestimate the energetic value of the food," Dana Small, from Yale University, explained online. Our tendency toward these foods could also be linked to the facts that fat and carb combined foods rarely exist in nature. The exception is breast milk, which is handy as babies need to learn how to suckle to survive, Small said. "In the modern food environment that is rife with processed foods high in fat and carbohydrate like donuts, French fries, chocolate bars, and potato chips, this reward potentiation may backfire to promote overeating and obesity," she added. Our ancestors primarily ate mostly woody plants and animal meat, with processed foods only appearing in the last few centuries.  "In nature, foods high in fat and carbohydrate are very rare and tend to have fiber, which slows metabolism," Small said. "By contrast, it is very common for processed foods to have high fat and high carbohydrate loads." Researchers think our brains haven't yet evolved to figure out that we shouldn't be eating these kinds of foods all the time. Maybe we'll get there soon enough. WATCH: These trees have lived for 2,500 years. Now they're suddenly dying
Antarctica's ice sheet is melting 3 times faster than before
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
WASHINGTON (AP) — The melting of Antarctica is accelerating at an alarming rate, with about 3 trillion tons of ice disappearing since 1992, an international team of ice experts said in a new study.
NASA’s Mars Rover goes silent as dust storm ‘bigger than America’ sweeps planet
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The storm now covers a quarter of the planet
New book details the inside story of Obama's birth certificate and the birth of fake news
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
A new book by a former senior adviser to Barack Obama gives an account of the behind-the-scenes the drama surrounding the release of the president’s birth certificate — and the response to the so-called birther movement championed by Donald Trump.
Experts say Trump's Russia policy is at odds with itself
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
At a meeting of the Helsinki Commission, experts said President Trump obfuscates his administration’s policy toward the Kremlin by making pronouncements that contradict the positions of the U.S. intelligence community and diplomatic corps.
'Very unfair!': Trump tweets cap another tumultuous week
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
The president's tweets on Friday echo a familiar frustration that he's not getting enough credit.