I'm a guest of honor this weekend at the Dallas's Fencon this weekend, and I've just learned that some of the other speakers won't be able to talk, thanks to the government shutdown. They're government space scientists, and the 143-year-old Antideficiency Act makes it a crime (punishable by fines and imprisonment) for government employees to volunteer to do their own jobs (which, in their cases, includes talking about science to the public). The law dates back to the Lincoln administration, and was aimed at stopping fraudsters who did "government" business, then presented a bill for services that hadn't been contracted but had nevertheless been performed — a kind of Civil War era version of red-light windscreen squeegeeing.
The Vikings reached North America long before Columbus' enslavement and brutalization of the Americas' Indigenous population, the Viking settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, was discovered six decades ago. Though many of the settlement's structures have been recreated, as accurately as dig site evidence and historical research could allow, the settlement's date has been difficult… READ THE REST
Nature surveyed 300 scientists who've done media interviews about COVID. The results had some surprisingly positive notes — 85% said "their experiences of engaging with the media were always or mostly positive, even if they were harassed afterwards". But as you might expect, a significant chunk described some ghastly abuse. Fully 15% got death threats,… READ THE REST
On Sunday morning, residents of New Hampshire and parts of Massachusetts were rocked by a massive boom that shook homes in the region and understandably freaked people the hell out. Early theories that it was a supersonic aircraft or earthquake were quickly proven wrong. So what was it? Most likely a meteor exploded above New… READ THE REST
ether it's with your voice or a silent but effective side-eye, humans are master communicators. And just like English, Spanish, or French, American Sign Language is another one of the many ways we can communicate with both loved ones, complete strangers, and even little kids. Even if you don't know anyone who uses ASL to… READ THE REST
Diving is a sport in and of itself, but what about underwater photography and videography? Aside from taking in the ocean depths and generally just trying to stay alive, you have to maneuver between a plethora of underwater camera equipment, which includes the camera itself, lenses, strobes, and many more. That's hard enough when you're… READ THE REST
Our world is dominated by mobile devices, some of which can even outperform laptops. When it comes to tablets, in particular, no one can seem to get their eyes off Apple's iPad. Whether the Mini or the Pro, iPads have long been some of the bestselling tablets to date. But as with all Apple products,… READ THE REST