• Weird quantum Internet could be delivered by drones

    Researchers have used drones to transmit photons that are entangled even when they're far apart. That means their quantum states are linked: Measuring the state of one affects the state of the other. It's weird shit—so weird that Einstein called it "spooky action at a distance." Scientists have explored whether this strange phenomenon could be the basis of a quantum global internet that harnesses the power of entanglement as a communication technology. Now, researchers from China's Nanjing University used drones and base stations to wirelessly relay entangled particles over a kilometer. From Science:

    Eventually, scientists aim to build a global quantum internet that relies on transmitting quantum particles to enable ultrasecure communications by using the particles to create secret codes to encrypt messages. A quantum internet could also allow distant quantum computers to work together, or perform experiments that test the limits of quantum physics.

    "Optical-Relayed Entanglement Distribution Using Drones as Mobile Nodes" (Physical Review Letters)

    IMAGE: XIAO-HUI TIAN, HUA-YING LIU AND ZHENDA XIE

  • Saudi Arabia announces plans for a zero-carbon city that's 105 miles long

    Saudia Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has revealed plans for The Line, a zero-carbon city that stretches 105 miles with a million residents living in ""carbon-positive urban developments powered by 100% clean energy." It will have no streets or cars, with everything you need just a five-minute walk away. Construction is slated to begin this year. From Reuters:

    The prince later told reporters in the northwestern city of Al Ula that the project was the conclusion of three years of preparation, adding that its infrastructure would cost $100 billion to $200 billion.

    "The backbone of investment in 'The Line' will come from the $500 billion support to NEOM by the Saudi government, PIF and local and global investors over 10 years," he added.

    (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)

  • Four different musicians named Paul O'Sullivan formed a band together

    The Paul O'Sullivan band features Paul O'Sullivan on bass, guitar, drums, and vocals. But it's not a one man band. Each member is a different musician with the birth name Paul O'Sullivan, each of whom lives in a different city. They've always jammed remotely. From CBS News:

    "One night, I was kind of just indiscriminately adding Paul O'Sullivans on Facebook and a good amount of them accepted my friend request," O'Sullivan, who has become known as Baltimore Paul, told CBS News. "Eventually, their stuff started showing up in my news feed. And I'm like, 'Wait a minute, we're all musicians.' You know, it kind of felt like the universe was daring me to do something with this serendipitous scenario."

    Baltimore Paul reached out to musical Paul O'Sullivans around the world. Eventually, three Pauls agreed to form a musical group with him, aptly named The Paul O'Sullivan Band. Manchester Paul is on bass, Pennsylvania Paul is on percussion and Baltimore Paul and Rotterdam Paul are on guitar and vocals.

  • Smokers in New Jersey can get COVID-19 vaccine before teachers, general public

    The state of New Jersey expanded its current limited access to COVID-19 vaccines to people over 65 years old, those 16 to 64 years old with certain underlying health conditions, and, er, cigarette smokers. From NBC New York:

    "It's outrageous. They've chosen to put themselves in that position," said Jonathan Strauss, who disagreed with expanded guideline for smokers. "To put someone one the list — ahead of these people that are volunteering to put their health on the line — because they have chosen to put themselves in a particular medical condition is outrageous."

    But state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said during an afternoon press conference that "smoking puts you at significant risk for an adverse result from COVID-19." Persichilli also said that seniors have accounted for 80 percent of coronavirus deaths in the state. Two-thirds of the total number of those who have died had one or more underlying conditions.

    (via Fark)

    image: Airplane!

  • Danny Boyle is directing a new biopic miniseries about the Sex Pistols

    Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire) is directing a six episode biopic about punk pioneers the Sex Pistols. Titled "Pistol," it's based on the book "Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol" by the band's guitarist Steve Jones.

    "Imagine breaking into the world of 'The Crown' and 'Downton Abbey' with your mates and screaming your songs and your fury at all they represent," Boyle said in Variety. "This is the moment that British society and culture changed forever. It is the detonation point for British street culture…where ordinary young people had the stage and vented their fury and their fashion…and everyone had to watch & listen…and everyone feared them or followed them. The Sex Pistols. At its center was a young charming illiterate kleptomaniac – a hero for the times – Steve Jones, who became in his own words, the 94th greatest guitarist of all time. This is how he got there."

    Written by Craig Pearce and Frank Cottrell Boyce, Pistol will star Anson Boon as Johnny Rotten, Louis Partridge as Sid Vicious, Jacob Slater as Paul Cook, Toby Wallace as Steve Jones, Fabien Frankel as Glen Matlock, Sydney Chandler as Chrissie Hynde, and Emma Appleton as Nancy Spungen.

    photo: Koen Suyk (CC0)
  • New study: Legalizing weed increases sales of junk food

    A new research study shows that legalizing recreational marijuana leads to a noticeable spike in junk food sales. This breakthrough in duh comes from Georgia State University economists whose analysis of retail data from states with recreational marijuana laws revealed that "monthly sales of high calorie food increased by 3.2 percent when measured by sales and 4.5 percent when measured by volume." From The Academic Times:

    "You think marijuana does no harm — that's pretty much the consensus today," said Georgia State University economist Alberto Chong in an interview with The Academic Times. "But there are unintended consequences, and one of them is the fact that you really get very hungry and you start eating crap."

    The researchers added that while the tendency to binge on junk food after smoking a joint may be a stoner stereotype, their findings have real implications for public policy at a time when more than 40% of American adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention[…]

    An earlier version of the paper included a breakdown of junk food sales by type that did not make it into Economics & Human Biology. Legal marijuana boosted sales of ice cream by 3.1%, cookies by 4.1% and chips by 5.3%, according to Chong and Baggio's 2019 working paper…

    "Recreational marijuana laws and junk food consumption" (Economics & Human Biology)

    image: Thayne Tuason (CC BY-SA 4.0)

  • This is the world's oldest known painting of an animal

    Inside a cave on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, archaeologist have found the oldest known painting of an animal. It appears to be a warty pig. Dated at 45,000 years-old by Griffith University and Pusat Penelitian Arkeologi Nasional, the 187cm by 110cm painting was made using red ochre pigment. From CNN:

    These latest finds in Indonesia have challenged a long-standing belief that artistic expression — and the cognitive leap that may have accompanied it — began in Europe. The cave paintings in Indonesia are shedding new light on the early story of humanity.

    Study coauthor Maxime Aubert, an archaeologist and associate professor at Griffith University in Australia who specializes in the dating of rock art, said that view was "Eurocentric."

    It's now thought that the capability to create figurative art — that references the real world — either emerged before Homo sapiens migrated out of Africa and headed for Europe and Asia more than 60,000 years ago or that it emerged more than once as humans spread around the globe.

    More here: "World's oldest cave art discovered in Indonesia" (Griffith University)

    image: GriffithNews

  • Robots made from ice to explore other planets

    Ice is an abundant material in the solar system and researchers are exploring whether it can be used to build and repair robots. University of Pennsylvanian engineers presented their early work on ice as a structural material for robots in a paper at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS). The idea is that in cold enough environments, ice robots could be capable of "self-reconfiguration, self-replication, and self-repair." In IEEE Spectrum, Evan Ackerman interviewed lead researcher Devin Carroll:

    IEEE Spectrum: Where did this idea come from, and why do you think it hasn't been tried before?

    Devin Carroll: The first robot I designed was a tram robot for ecologists to use to survey forests. One of the challenges to making robots for this field is not only are robots expensive but the natural elements will break them given time. Mark and I started exploring the idea of building robots from found material as a way to add robustness to robotic systems operating in remote or hostile environments with a secondary goal of reducing the cost of the system. We ultimately settled on ice because of the design flexibility it affords us and the current interest in icy, remote environments. Climate change has many folks interested in the Antarctic and ice sheets while NASA and other space exploration groups are looking to the stars for ice and water. Therefore, ice felt like the most logical step—if we could build a robot from ice, perhaps it could be used to assist in exploring icy planets for life and data collection[…]

    What are you working on next?

    My immediate focus is on designing a modular joint we can use to easily and securely join actuators with blocks of ice as well as working to develop an end effector that will allow us to manipulate blocks of ice without permanently deforming them via screw holes or other, similar connection methods.

    "Robots Made of Ice Could Build and Repair Themselves on Other Planets" (IEEE Spectrum)

    image: University of Pennsylvania GRASP Lab

  • Watch this TV journalist report the news in six languages

    The Associated Press's polyglot reporter Philip Crowther covers the Capitol insurrection in six languages. According to his LinkedIn bio, he's also fluent in global affairs and sports.

  • Auction of entire museum of muscle cars

    Next week, Rick Treworgy's Muscle Car City—located in a former Walmart in Punta Gorda, Florida—will close forever. Treworgy was planning to retire, although COVID-19 accelerated his plans, and he's sending his collection of more than 200 cars to the auction block. Mecum Auction will take bids beginning January 22 and you can browse the lots here. From Autoblog:

    According to a 2014 episode of Car Crazy, Treworgy has 80 Corvettes alone, more than the actual Corvette Museum. Among them are 20 models from 1967, one of Treworgy's favorites. The rest span the decades from 1954 (he once had a '53 but sold it) to a recently acquired 2020 C8, which, according to The Drive, has only 300 miles on the odometer.

    You like Impalas? There are models of every year from 1958 to 1969. El Caminos? He's got 'em from 1964 to 1972. Novas? Every year from 1963 to 1970 is represented. Most are the more desirable examples of each breed, with four-speed transmissions, the biggest blocks, and unicorn option packages like a factory 1965 Z16 SS396 Chevelle, one of 200 that were ordered off-menu at Chevy dealerships.

    And don't even get us started on the Camaros, which include not one, but two COPO 1969s. Treworgy even owns the only known surviving example of a 1936 Chevrolet Phaeton, of which only seven were built.

  • Game warden fires a perfect shot to rescue two deer

    A bow hunter in Jackson County, Kansas last week noticed two whitetail deer whose antlers were locked together. The hunter called in state game wardens including one who, fortunately, was a very good marksman.

    "At the time, the wardens didn't know how long the bucks had been struggling to free themselves, but quickly observed that the deer had enough energy and wariness remaining, to make approaching them difficult and potentially dangerous," reported the Kansas Wildlife, Parks & Tourism law enforcement agency on their Facebook page. "However, the wardens were determined to do their best to save them from an excruciating death."

    From a safe distance, game warden Jeff Clouser shot one of the antlers, freeing the deer who quickly scurried off, frightened but alive.

    (UPI)