See more: Star Wars with Tommy Wiseau
This is a comic about the backfire effect.View
There aren't a lot of individual experiments that have ended up being staples of high school textbooks, but Stanley Miller and Harold Urey did one of them. Miller and Urey are the people who sealed up a mixture of gases meant to model the Earth's early atmosphere and jolted the gas with some sparks. What emerged was a complex mix of chemicals that included amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.
It was a seminal experiment in that it gave researchers one of the first avenues to approach the origin of life experimentally, but its relevance to the actual origin of life has faded as the research it inspired began to refine our ideas. A French-Czech team of researchers decided to give it another look, using a source of energy that Miller and Urey hadn't considered: the impact of a body arriving from space. The result? The production of all four of the bases found in RNA, a close chemical cousin to DNA and equally essential to life.
There are two reasons that the Miller-Urey experiment gradually fell out of favor. The first is conceptual. At the time, people focused on life's dizzying web of chemical reactions, almost all of which are catalyzed by proteins, so it was hard to envision life without proteins. The formation of amino acids could enable the formation of proteins and thus seemed to provide an obvious route to a primitive biochemistry. Genetic material could be added later.
A solar cell with 26.3 percent efficiency. (credit: Photovoltaic & Thin Film Research Laboratories (Kaneka corporation))
Solar panels are cheaper than ever these days, but installation costs can still be considerable for homeowners. More efficient solar panels can recapture the cost of their installation more quickly, so making panels that are better at converting sunlight into electricity is a key focus of solar research and development.
The silicon-based cells that make up a solar panel have a theoretical efficiency limit of 29 percent, but so far that number has proven elusive. Practical efficiency rates in the low-20-percent range have been considered very good for commercial solar panels. But researchers with Japanese chemical manufacturer Kaneka Corporation have built a solar cell with a photo conversion rate of 26.3 percent, breaking the previous record of 25.6 percent. Although it’s just a 2.7 percent increase in efficiency, improvements in commercially viable solar cell technology are increasingly hard-won.
Not only that, but the researchers noted in their paper that after they submitted their article to Nature Energy, they were able to further optimize their solar cell to achieve 26.6 percent efficiency. That result has been recognized by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).
Years in the making, a proposal to mandate the installation of fiber conduits during federally funded highway projects might be gaining some new momentum.
If the US adopts a "dig once" policy, construction workers would install conduits just about any time they build new roads and sidewalks or upgrade existing ones. These conduits are plastic pipes that can house fiber cables. The conduits might be empty when installed, but their presence makes it a lot cheaper and easier to install fiber later, after the road construction is finished.
The idea is an old one. US Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) has been proposing dig once legislation since 2009, and it has widespread support from broadband-focused consumer advocacy groups. It has never made it all the way through Congress, but it has bipartisan backing from lawmakers who often disagree on the most controversial broadband policy questions, such as net neutrality and municipal broadband. It even got a boost from Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who has frequently clashed with Democrats and consumer advocacy groups over broadband—her "Internet Freedom Act" would wipe out the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules, and she supports state laws that restrict growth of municipal broadband.
Here’s a fantastic banjo cover of the Vampire Killer theme from Castlevania on the original NES by my friend Banjo Guy Ollie. Check it out!
The post A Banjo Cover of Castlevania’s Vampire Killer Theme from 1986 [Video] appeared first on Geeks are Sexy Technology News.
In this video essay, Youtuber Nerdwriter1 takes a look at how Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival could be considered by many as a response to all the bad sci-fi movies that have been coming out in recent years.
You are not ready for what you’re about to see…
This is brilliant.
The official prologue to Alien: Covenant introduces the crew of the mission as they gather for a final meal before entering cryosleep.
In Theaters – May 19, 2017.
In case you are not aware yet, Netflix will be getting a Castlevania animated series in 2017, and the producer, Adi Shankar, has just released the series’ first official poster to the public! Check it out!
[Source: Adi Shankar]
The post Netflix’s Upcoming Castlevania Show Gets A Poster! appeared first on Geeks are Sexy Technology News.
On Wednesday, a team of astronomers revealed the discovery of a planetary system less than 40 light years away containing seven Earth-sized planets. The system's star is an ultracool dwarf, TRAPPIST-1, which is nothing to write home about—but astronomers gradually realized that the system has a plethora of planets, and three of them could support water oceans on their surface.
Google, as it often does, commemorated the discovery with a Doodle:
Google Doodles have been around nearly as long as the search engine itself, with the first one commemorating Burning Man back in 1998:
This week started with controversial PewDiePie news—and that's how it's going to end, too. The YouTube megastar, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, posted a response video today addressing The Wall Street Journal's report about alleged anti-Semitic comments. Those comments cost him both a lucrative contract with Disney and his deal with YouTube Red.
In his response, Kjellberg apologized for jokes that "went too far" and acknowledged that he offended people. But he also claimed that "old-school media" (in this case the Journal) attacked him personally for being a YouTube personality who makes a substantial living off the online video platform.
Let's recap the controversy: The Wall Street Journal produced a video and an article earlier this week about PewDiePie's alleged anti-Semitism, citing clips from recent videos in which he is shown watching a Hitler speech, making a Hitler salute, and paying two men to hold up a sign saying "Death to all Jews." After fielding an inquiry from the Journal about the videos, Disney cut ties with PewDiePie, who had been running the Disney YouTube network, Revelmode. Shortly thereafter, YouTube announced it was canceling PewDiePie's YouTube Red show, Scare PewDiePie, and it removed the YouTube star from its Google Preferred ad network.
where my money? wait that was another website...damn
At least four hedge funds have "begun buying or offering to buy claims" from the thousands of people who lost bitcoins when Mt. Gox collapsed three years ago, according to the Financial Times, which cited anonymous sources.
Mt. Gox, a Japan-based bitcoin exchange, collapsed nearly three years ago. It first buckled after weeks of sustained DDoS attacks and "transaction malleability" problems, which led the company to halt withdrawals entirely. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan not long after.
However, about a month later, in March 2014, Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles suddenly announced that he had found an "old format wallet" containing approximately 200,000 bitcoins. At present exchange rates, that sum is worth over $200 million.
Editing the genomes of human embryos should be allowable to treat or prevent serious diseases and disabilities—but only amid stringent oversight and safety protocols and only if no reasonable alternatives exist—according to a report released Tuesday by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine.
The endorsement, however cautious, is a reversal from some previous recommendations from experts and ethicists, who have considered making heritable alterations to humans unequivocally off-limits. Among other concerns about the idea is the fear that unscrupulous scientists could try to create “designer” or enhanced babies, with heightened intelligence, beauty, strength, etc.
The expert panel—22 of the world’s leading experts on genetics, bioethics, medicine, and law—is still completely opposed to such efforts. But amid new, powerful genome-editing tools, such as CRISPR/Cas9, the experts were forced to reconsider genome editing’s potential for good.
“Human genome editing holds tremendous promise for understanding, treating, or preventing many devastating genetic diseases, and for improving treatment of many other illnesses,” Alta Charo, co-chair of the panel and a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in a statement.
The panel of experts also took into consideration the reality that genome editing will occur around the world regardless of an endorsement. Therefore, the committee saw it as beneficial to put forth stringent guidelines for how to do it responsibly. (Currently in the US, genome editing in humans is not permitted—the Food and Drug Administration is barred from using federal funds to review “research in which a human embryo is intentionally created or modified to include a heritable genetic modification.”)
An organization that manages transmission systems across the central US announced on Tuesday that it broke a record for wind penetration in North America. On Sunday at 4:30am, Southwest Power Pool (SPP) became the first regional transmission organization (RTO) to serve 52.1 percent of its load using wind energy.
SPP also set the previous record in April 2016 with 49.2 percent wind generation. A record previous to that was set by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) in late March 2016, when the organization hit 48.28 percent wind penetration at 1:10am.
Records for wind penetration, which measure the amount of total load supplied by wind on a moment-to-moment basis, are being broken more frequently these days, on a regional and internal level. As RTOs, which generally serve large areas and cross state lines, add more wind turbines to their portfolios, wind is becoming a more important part of the energy mix. SPP noted that “wind is now the third most-prevalent fuel source in the SPP region,” which covers 550,000 square miles of territory in Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and portions of neighboring states. Natural gas and coal are still the primary fuel sources for SPP, but the organization said that wind accounted for 15 percent of its generating capacity in 2016.
Post-launch downloadable content (DLC) has become almost standard for any kind of big-budget, epic adventure game these days. Nintendo's popular Zelda series has resisted this trend until now, as the company announced today that Breath of the Wild will see two DLC packs released later this year.
The packs, sold together in a bundle for $19.99, will be released in the summer and the holiday season. Those who purchase them starting on March 3, however, will get instant access to three in-game treasure chests that contain "useful items" and "exclusive in-game clothing."
The Summer DLC pack contains a number of gameplay features that some may think should have been part of the base package, including: a "Cave of Trials" challenge mode; a more difficult "Hard mode"; and an amorphous "additional map feature." The holiday season DLC pack fits closer to the usual expectations for this kind of post-launch DLC, including a new original story, new dungeon, and "additional challenges."
A couple of big names are severing ties with Felix Kjellberg, otherwise known as PewDiePie on YouTube. The Wall Street Journal reported that Disney's Maker Studios dropped PewDiePie from its company, which had previously partnered with the YouTube creator to make the entertainment network Revelmode. Shortly after that announcement, Variety reported that YouTube cancelled the second season of Scare PewDiePie, the YouTube Red show starring Kjellberg, and dropped PewDiePie from Google Preferred, one of the company's advertising programs for top-tier brands and talent.
All of this follows PewDiePie's video posted last month in which he paid two Indian men to hold up a sign that said "Death to all Jews." He did this using a site called Fiverr, a freelance website that lets anyone pay for a variety of services—including graphic design and programming—for just $5. One of the services listed at the time was for Funny Guys, a comedy duo consisting of the two Indian men who would hold up a sign with anything written on it for $5.
After the initial backlash toward PewDiePie's video, the YouTube creator posted a follow-up video in which he says he didn't think the men would actually hold up such an offensive sign. Fiverr banned Funny Guys after the incident; the duo said they didn't understand what the sign meant at the time. PewDiePie apologized while asking Fiverr to reinstate the men to its website, claiming he felt "partially responsible." He also responded to the controversy on his Tumblr page this weekend, defending his channel as "entertainment, and not a place for any serious political commentary," but he also admitted that his previous actions were "ultimately offensive." PewDiePie is no stranger to offensive content, as most of his videos showcase his bombastic sense of humor, but that hasn't stopped 53 million people from subscribing to his channel.
Mobile World Congress is right around the corner, and all month we've been getting a slow trickle of news about each company's expected lineup. Now a report from VentureBeat claims to know the MWC offerings from HMD, and it includes a re-release of the Nokia 3310.
The 3310—first released in the year 2000—was one of the best selling phones ever, and the cheap, durable candy bar phone was one of the models that gave Nokia its reputation for durable, unkillable phones. VentureBeat claims a "modern version" of the little workhorse will be on display at MWC, with a release price of €59 ($62). We're apparently talking about a tiny feature phone that makes phone calls and doesn't do much else. Even with the nostalgic design and presumably long battery life, would such a device do well in a world where smartphones are the standard?
If you're out of the loop on the HMD/Nokia brand transaction: HMD is the new home of the Nokia brand for smartphones, after the brand was purchased and ultimately killed by Microsoft. Unlike your typical zombie brand owner, (like say, TCL's use of the Blackberry brand) HMD was created by former Nokia employees with the express purpose of keeping the light of Nokia phones alive. The update of the 3310 seems designed to show the world that HMD knows what made Nokia phones good, and it's honoring that past.