Einstein was right about ripples in spacetime!

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Gravitational waves are real, and scientists have detected them. In the video above, PBS Space Time explains the discovery by researchers at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). From the New York Times:

A team of physicists who can now count themselves as astronomers announced on Thursday that they had heard and recorded the sound of two black holes colliding a billion light-years away, a fleeting chirp that fulfilled the last prophecy of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

That faint rising tone, physicists say, is the first direct evidence of gravitational waves, the ripples in the fabric of space-time that Einstein predicted a century ago (Listen to it here.). And it is a ringing (pun intended) confirmation of the nature of black holes, the bottomless gravitational pits from which not even light can escape, which were the most foreboding (and unwelcome) part of his theory.

More generally, it means that scientists have finally tapped into the deepest register of physical reality, where the weirdest and wildest implications of Einstein’s universe become manifest.

Below, NASA's animated simulation of the black holes merging and releasing the gravitational radiation (background here):

above image credits: R. Hurt/Caltech-JPL Read the rest

Watch this beautiful ballet of drones (also, Disneyland Drones!)

"Working with Daito Manabe, Motoi Ishibashi and their team at Rhizomatiks Research in Tokyo, the goal is to create an intimate and artistic interaction between man and machine," says Marco Tempest of MagicLab.

Related, Disney recently filed a patent for what they call "Flixels" (floating pixels), drones that will be used in performances at their theme parks. (NBC News)

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Watch a man just miss getting struck by lightning

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January 30 was Nick Panayiotou's lucky day. He was standing in a boat shed in Sydney, Australia’s Oyster Bay filming the storm outside when...

(Thanks, UPSO!)

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Black travel guide for a racist America

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In 1936, postal worker Victor H. Green worked with his colleagues in the Postal Workers Union to create a guide for black travelers navigating a country where many restaurants, hotels, and shops were still "whites only," and the real threat of physical assault and arrest hung in their faces.

"You needed The Green Book to tell you where you can go without having doors slammed in your face," civil rights leader Julian Bond once said.

The Green Book was updated and in print until 1966.

"There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published," reads the introduction.

More at Atlas Obscura: "Object of Intrigue: A Jim Crow Era Guide for Black Travelers" (Thanks, David Steinberg!)

Previously: "New York Public Library does the public domain right"

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New dark wave from Fake Your Own Death (formerly El Terrible)!

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My pal Terry Ashkinos, a veteran of the San Francisco indie music scene (Elephone, El Terrible) keeps the dark wave dream alive with the deep and expansive new track "Close," from Fake Your Own Death's as-yet-untitled album due out in late spring. Listen below! Fake Your Own Death (Ashkinos, Scott Eberhardt, and Adrian McCullough) perform live on February 27 at Bottom of the Hill as part of the killer Noise Pop 2016 music festival. Don't sleep on it.

Fake Your Own Death

Previously on Boing Boing:

Music premiere: Dark noise pop from El Terrible

El Terrible: dark, spare noise pop from SF

Premiere: new video from SF noise pop trio El Terrible Read the rest

Go To The Mardi Gras (1959)

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A classic from 1959 by Professor Longhair.

You will see the Zulu King

Down on St. Claude and Dumaine

(via Greg Dulli)

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The products most associated with emergency room visits

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Nathan Yau created an interactive visualization of Consumer Product Safety Commission data on emergency room visits spurred by product-related injuries. At the top are floor and stair injuries followed by various sports and bed injuries.

"Why People Visit the Emergency Room" (FlowingData) Read the rest

Seductive, synthy new track from Rogue Wave

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Indie rock stalwarts Rogue Wave catch a new(er) wave with "What Is Left To Solve," the killer synth-driven new track from their forthcoming sixth album, Delusions of Grand Fur, out April 29. They take their show on the road starting May 5 with a series of Bay Area shows.

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Man killed by meteorite, first case in modern history (UPDATE: maybe not!)

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UPDATE: NASA says probably not. (NYT)

On Saturday, a falling meteorite is thought to have killed V. Kamaraj, a bus driver at Bharathidasan Engineering College in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

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Headbangers caught in the moment

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Danish photographer Jacob Erhbahn captured metalheads mid-headbang at music festivals around Europe. The result is Headbangers, a full-color book compiling the best of these unrestrained moments of metal bliss.
In this collection Ehrbahn’s camera stops time and captures the surprising and life-affirming moments when the headbangers abandon all semblance of vanity and surrender to the rhythm. Ehrbahn transports us to an intimate world disconnected from time and space—a universe where it’s possible to transcend the frenzy and enter an altered state that brings calm, joy, and relief.

Headbangers by Jacob Erhbahn (Amazon)

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How to slurp ramen

New York City's Ivan Ramen proprietor/chef Ivan Orkin gives pro tips on noodle slurping.

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The people who reportedly never sleep. Ever.

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Vietnamese gentleman Thái Ngọc claims that ever since he suffered a terrible fever in 1973, he hasn't slept a wink. There's also Ines Fernandez who says she's been awake for decades. Of course, these curious individuals and others with similar stories may actually be suffering from a very strange sleep disorder called sleep state misperception (SSM) in which the individuals think they were up all night but actually slept just fine. At Mysterious Universe, Martin J. Clemens looks at SSM and the very scary rare disease called Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI), presented as total insomnia that can last the rest of the person's life, which is usually only 18 months or so after the onset of symptoms. From Mysterious Universe:

FFI is a neurological condition caused by a misfolded protein in the DNA of the afflicted, of which there have been only about 100 cases. That protein, called a prion protein, is known as PrPSc (PrPC in non-FFI subjects). Essentially, the prion form of the protein causes a change in certain amino acids – due to the protein strand folding incorrectly – which, when combined with other genetic markers, then affects the brain’s sleep centers. FFI is genetic, and therefore hereditary, but there is an even rarer form known as Sporadic Fatal Insomnia (sFI) that occurs spontaneously, the cause of which is not understood. You may wish to know that PrPSc is the same protein that’s responsible for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as Mad Cow Disease.

"The Woman Who Stayed Awake for 30 Years…Or Did She? Read the rest

Amazing optical illusion makes black and white image appear color

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Stare at the dot. Enjoy the magic! (via r/gifs) Read the rest

Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White (RIP)

Maurice White, founder of the incredible psychedelic R&B group Earth, Wind & Fire, has died at age 74.

“Although we were basically jazz musicians, we played soul, funk, gospel, blues, jazz, rock and dance music … which somehow ended up becoming pop,” White wrote. “We were coming out of a decade of experimentation, mind expansion and cosmic awareness. I wanted our music to convey messages of universal love and harmony without force-feeding listeners’ spiritual content.”

(New York Times)

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Kronos Quartet's Explorer Series this weekend in San Francisco!

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My favorite avant-garde classical group Kronos Quartet are holding their Kronos Festival 2016 this weekend at the SF JAZZ Center! I attended the Kronos Festival 2015 and it was easily one of my favorite performances of last year. This year's program weaves experimental and contemporary classical music with a stunning array of international musical traditions from West Africa, Vietnam, Ukraine, Finland, and Afghanistan. Open your ears, eyes, and mind.

While based in San Francisco, Kronos Quartet spends much of the year traveling and performing around the world. This festival brings some of that home to San Francisco. Virtuoso pipa player Wu Man will be the festival’s artist-in-residence.

The festival showcases Kronos in collaboration with guest performers David Coulter (born in the UK), Fodé Lassana Diabaté (Mali), Ritva Koistinen(Finland), Mariana Sadovska (born in Ukraine), and Vân-Ánh Võ (born in Vietnam). The San Francisco Girls Chorus and musicians from Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts also join Kronos onstage to perform new works, and the festival culminates in a daytime family concert celebrating the Lunar New Year.

Kronos Festival 2016: Explorer Series

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DIY smart bathroom mirror

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Smart bathroom mirrors with Internet connections and integrated displays have been fodder for futurists (including me) since the early 1990s at least. Google engineer Max Braun decided to build his own from a two-way mirror, display panel, and Amazon Fire TV Stick running an Android application package for the UI. He posted about the project on Medium:

To the right of where my face would be we have the time and date. To the left is the current weather and a 24-hour forecast. Below are some recent news headlines...

Other concepts I’m playing with are traffic, reminders, and essentially anything that has a Google Now card. The idea is that you don’t need to interact with this UI. Instead, it updates automatically and there’s an open-ended voice search interface for anything else.

"My Bathroom Mirror Is Smarter Than Yours" (Medium)

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Fantastic search engine for matching Simpsons quotes and screenshots!

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Frinkiac allows you to type in a quote from The Simpsons and it'll find the matching stills from a database of 3 million screen caps. I expect that its creators will be acquihired soon by Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net.

(Thanks, Brad Kreit!) Read the rest

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