Students wore boxes on their heads during exams to prevent cheating

Last week, students at Haveri, Karnataka, India's Bhagat Pre-University College wore boxes on their heads to prevent cheating on exams. Apparently the front of the boxes were cut away so the students could see their papers while not allowing for peripheral vision. According to school officials, this was a trial of the anti-cheating measure and that parents had approved. In fact, the students brought the boxes from home. From CNN:

Before long, the school was facing widespread criticism on social media. Even government officials weighed in -- S. Suresh Kumar, the state education minister, said in a tweet that the school's practice was "unacceptable."

"Nobody has any right to treat anybody more so students like animals," Kumar wrote. "This (perversion) will be dealt with aptly."

The school has provided authorities with a written explanation of the trial and an apology, Sateesh said.

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Russian CRISPR scientist announces new controversial effort to edit genes that cause deafness

Russian scientist Denis Rebrikov claims that he's begun a gene-editing process to eventually enable couples who both carry a specific genetic mutation that causes deafness to birth children who can hear. Rebrikov formerly announced his effort to use the CRISPR tool for gene editing to create babies resistant to HIV. From Nature:

In his e-mail to Nature, Rebrikov makes clear that he does not plan to create (a gene-edited) baby yet — and that his previously reported plan to apply this month for permission to implant gene-edited embryos in women has been pushed back.

Instead, he says that he will soon publish the results of his egg experiments, which also involved testing CRISPR’s ability to repair the gene linked to deafness, called GJB2, in bodily cells taken from people with this mutation. People with two mutated copies of GJB2 cannot hear well without interventions, such as hearing aids or cochlear implants. Rebrikov says these results will lay the groundwork for the clinical work.

Rebrikov adds that he has permission from a local review board to do his research, but that this does not allow transfer of gene-edited eggs into the womb and subsequent pregnancy...

Some scientists and ethicists also call into question the benefits of this procedure because hearing loss is not a fatal condition. “The project is recklessly opportunistic, clearly unethical and damages the credibility of a technology that is intended to help, not harm,” says Jennifer Doudna, a pioneer of the CRISPR gene-editing tool and a biologist at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Buy Banksy's disco ball/riot helmet hanging lamp

Available from Banksy's delightful new homewares shop Gross Domestic Product, the "Met ball" "home entertainment lighting system is made from an old Police riot helmet and approximately 650 little mirrors." It is a limited, signed edition of 15 and sells for £500.00.

The Gross Domestic Product shop will reportedly only be open for business for a couple of weeks as it was created to thwart a stupid trademark claim on the artist's name. Read the rest

You can now enjoy a whiff of T. Rex's foul breath

Researchers at Chicago's Field Museum collaborated with fragrance chemists to recreate what is likely the foul odor of a T. Rex's breath. Now, museum visitors can push a button for an olfactory experience of the dinosaur age. The new sensory station is part of an exhibit centered around the most complete T. Rex skeleton ever discovered. From Atlas Obscura:

They quickly gave up on imitating T. rex poop. Most of the commercially available synthetic feces scents are imitations of human waste, and our generally omnivorous diets stray too far from SUE’s carnivory. Cat poop is slightly better, because they’re obligate carnivores, (exhibit developer Meredith) Whitfield says, but hyena droppings would be ideal, because that includes both chewed-up meat and ground bones, just like SUE’s deuces. Turns out synthetic hyena poop scent is hard to come by, so the team moved on. (But, Whitfield adds, “If you’re at the hyena enclosure at the zoo and smell their poop, that’s probably close to what T. rex poop smelled like.”)

Dino breath, on the other hand, was both tempting and feasible. “From anatomical studies of SUE’s teeth, we can say, ‘Well, you have the kind of anatomy that might suggest that you have some nasty raw meat decaying in your mouth,’” Whitfield says. “What did that smell like? The answer is: Bad.”

The team found a service that manufactures a range of prepackaged smells—mainly pleasant air fresheners for hotel lobbies and other benign places, but also stinky ones for police training exercises, so that officers can learn to detect stuff like meth labs, decomposing bodies, and other malodorous things.

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Tupac Shakur arrested in Tennessee!

Johnson City, Tennessee police arrested Tupac Shakur for assault, resisting arrest, and possession of meth and drug paraphernalia. According to News Channel 9, Shakur is being held on an $18,000 bond. In addition to being a hip hop legend, Shakur is apparently a master of disguise.

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Video demonstration of new "invisibility cloak"

Canadian camouflage developer HyperStealth Biotechnology Corp released a series of videos demonstrating their new "patent-pending" "Quantum Stealth Light Bending Material (Invisibility Cloak)." Here is HyperStealth's technical video about the technology and their press release. Read the rest

New Apple AirPods Pro with noise-cancelling functionality

MacRumors, which is usually correct, reports on China Economic Daily's news of the imminent launch of Apple AirPods Pro with noise-cancelling functionality and a $260 price. The new AirPods Pro won't look anything like the image above, although it'd be cool if they did. From MacRumors:

According to China Economic Daily, Apple's third-generation ‌AirPods‌ will adopt a new in-ear design to support the new noise-canceling feature and enhance the listening experience. The paper claims the "Pro" suffix, which Apple recently adopted for its most expensive iPhone 11 models, will help to differentiate the new wireless earbuds from Apple's existing ‌AirPods‌ and underscores the marketing rationale justifying the higher $260 price tag.

According to a separate report on Friday from the same Chinese-language financial media outlet, the ‌AirPods‌ Pro will also feature a new metal design that increases heat dissipation. Apple ‌AirPods‌ supplier Inventec is said to be cooperating with Chinese manufacturer Lixun to undertake the new orders...

According to industry sources previously cited by DigiTimes, Apple's suppliers are gearing up to assemble the next-generation ‌AirPods‌ as early as October, suggesting an updated version of the earphones could arrive in time for the holiday shopping season.

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Researchers print electronic tattoos directly onto the skin

While researchers have demonstrated electronic "tattoos" that can be applied to the skin, Duke University electrical engineers have shown that electronic components can be printed directly onto the body. Typically, printable electronics need post-processing to function but the Duke researchers used an aerosol jet printer to print silver nanowire ink at near room temperature and the circuits worked immediately. On the first try, the traces connected a battery to an LED that glowed. The skin circuits wash right off with soap and water. From IEEE Spectrum:

Flexible electronics are having a moment. The sheer range of devices developed recently demonstrates the scope and speed of the field, including patches to communicate with robots, wearables to reverse baldness or detect heartbeats, and solar cells that can be sewn into clothing....

In two recent papers, Franklin, Williams and colleagues at Duke demonstrate a low-temperature technique for printing electrical components—including leads and transistors—onto delicate surfaces such as apples, human skin and paper, with no post-processing required.

“Ultimately it doesn’t matter if it’s paper or plastic or what-not, you want to be able to put your surface in, add printed, functional electronics to that surface, and away you go,” says (electrical engineer Aaron) Franklin. The new technique enables researchers to print electronic components onto a wide range of materials and reduces overall production complexity and time, he says...

“We don’t want to just print conductive traces onto human skin,” says Franklin. “We want to actually show we can do a full printing on any surface with useful, functional biosensing devices.”

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Exquisitely engineered coin contains a mechanical beating heart

Russian artist Roman Booteen modifies coins with incredible engravings and feats of mechanical engineering. This coin features a beating heart. Other exquisite examples of his work are below. He also customizes Zippo lighters.

(via Kottke)

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#hobonickel #goldinlay #morgandollar #engraved #engravedcoin #hobonickel #hobonickels

A post shared by Roman Booteen (@romanbooteen) on Aug 7, 2017 at 8:02am PDT

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A post shared by Roman Booteen (@romanbooteen) on Nov 17, 2017 at 12:50am PST

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Check out this 480 million-year-old conga line of arthropods

When I was little, my big brother would take me fossil-hunting on a quest for trilobites, marine arthropods that have been extinct for around 250 million years. Occasionally we'd find lone specimens but never a bunch of them in a conga line as seen above. Paleontologists at France's Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 studied lines of nearly two dozen trilobytes from Moroccan fossil beds to gain insight into the origins of collective social behavior. From the New York Times:

These trilobites lived during the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event, a period defined by a dramatic increase in the variety and complexity of marine life. It was the evolutionary sequel to the first major diversification event, the so-called Cambrian explosion, which established most animal groups in the fossil record some 541 million years ago.

Before the Cambrian, there is “no evidence for group behavior” in animals, (paleontologist Jean) Vannier said, because Precambrian life-forms lacked sophisticated nervous systems.

Ampyx trilobites, in contrast, had an anatomy that could have enabled chemical communication and sensory stimulation. Though they were visually blind, the trilobites had long spikes protruding from their rear ends. These appendages clearly overlap and link individuals in the fossilized chains, and perhaps allowed tactile or pheromone signals to be exchanged.

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NASA video: "Space Is Hard"

"Space travel is hard and unforgiving," writes NASA, "but we have never been more ready to meet the unknown."

Or as William S. Burroughs said, "This is the space age and we are here to go."

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Gentleman gives fake name to police even though real name is tattooed on his neck

When police arrested Matthew Bushman, 36, of Mansfield, Illinois on Friday, he reportedly tried to provide a fake name. Thing is, his real name is tattooed right across his neck. Police shouldn't be surprised though. After all, they were investigating Bushman for possible involvement in a forgery.

(WAND17) Read the rest

What the hell is a "dimension" anyway?

Caltech theoretical physicist Sean Carroll, author of Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime, explains the concept of a "dimensions" at five different levels of complexity. Dr. Carroll sure has a big brane. Read the rest

Tasmanian tiger: thought to be extinct yet sighted two months ago

In 1936, the Tasmanian tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus) was declared to be extinct. Yet in the last three years, there have been eight reported sightings according to Tasmania's Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment. I hope it's true. From CNN:

While stories abound that some continue to live in the remote wilds of Tasmania, an island state off Australia's south coast, there has been no hard evidence to support this -- only claims of sightings, like the ones newly released.

One report last February said that two people, visiting Tasmania from Australia, were driving when an animal with a stiff tail and striped back walked onto the road.

The animal "turned and looked at the vehicle a couple of times" and "was in clear view for 12-15 seconds," the report read. Both people in the car "are 100% certain that the animal they saw was a thylacine."

Another report filed the same month described a striped "cat-like creature" moving through the mist in the distance.

image: Thylacines in a Washington DC zoo, c.1906 (public domain) Read the rest

Hot mic/camera footage of Nixon joking around moments before resigning

On August 8, 1974, President Richard Nixon delivered his resignation speech to the American public. Moments before this historical event, he was calmly joking around with the TV crew as if this was just any other presser. And then....

"...I have felt it was my duty to persevere, to make every possible effort to complete the term of office to which you elected me. In the past few days, however, it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort."

(via r/ObscureMedia)

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Fun interactive way to see what words were first used in print in a particular year

Visit Merriam-Webster's "Time Traveler" and select a year from the drop-down menu. Instantly you'll see the English words that were first used in print that year! More specifically, "the date is for the earliest written or printed use that the (dictionary) editors have been able to discover."

Above are the words first used in print in 1989, the year of the very first bOING bOING print 'zine! Cybernaut! Nanobot! Cyberporn! Those sure were the good ol' daze...

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Dutch family spent nine years living in a secret room "waiting for the end of time"

In the Netherlands province of Drenth, a family of seven adults were found living inside a hidden room in their farmhouse for nine years "waiting for the end of time." The family included a father, 58, and six male children, aged 18 to 25. Apparently one of the young men had enough and visited a nearby pub. After drinking five beers, he told the bar owner that he had run away and needed help. From the BBC News:

Officers visited the remote farmhouse and carried out a search. They discovered a hidden staircase behind a cupboard in the living room that led down to a secret room where the family were housed...

The farm is outside the village and is accessible by a bridge over a canal.

The farm, which is part-hidden behind a row of trees, also has a large vegetable plot and a goat...

The local postman said he had never delivered a letter there. "It's actually pretty strange, now I come to think about it," he told Algemeen Dagblad news website....

Police in Drenthe confirmed that a 58-year-old man had been arrested and was under investigation after refusing to co-operate.

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