• Japanese scientists find water and organic matter on Itokawa asteroid

    Scientists have found water and organic matter on the surface of an asteroid sample collected from the solar system – the first time that such material has been found on an asteroid.

    The sample, which was only a single grain, came from asteroid 'Itokawa' by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (Jaxa) first Hayabusa mission in 2010.

    It shows both water and organic matter that originate not from an alien world, but from the asteroid itself. Researchers from Royal Holloway, University of London, suggest that the asteroid had been evolving for billions of years by incorporating the liquid and organic material in the same way Earth does.

    The asteroid has weathered extreme heat, dehydration, and shattering, but managed to re-form and rehydrate using material it picked up. The study also shows that S-type asteroids – which are the most common ones that come to Earth – can contain the raw components of life.

    Read the rest.

    Image: Public Domain

  • If you want a better understanding of Blockchain, this training can answer all of your questions

    Terms like revolutionary and groundbreaking get thrown around a lot in the tech arena. Sometimes, they're warranted. Other times…not so much. Then, there are buzzy new paradigm-shifting technologies that, even for all of their press, might actually be underrated in light of their ultimate global impact.

    Those keyed in the know that blockchaining is the driving technology behind cryptocurrencies, one of the biggest financial developments in decades. Yet, for all the ink spilled over blockchaining, its societal footprint may only now be coming into focus. Blockchaining's distributed ledger technology may soon help save the movie industry. It could also be helping the automotive industry actually clean up urban air quality.  

    Students can go beyond Bitcoin and learn all about the wide-ranging impact of this earth-shaking technology in the Blockchain Certification Advanced Training Bundle.

    Across two courses and more than 35 hours of instruction, even those who know nothing about blockchaining or how it works can get familiar with the basics as well as how to apply the technology in the cryptocurrencies markets and beyond.

    With the Blockchain Basics Course, learners are introduced to blockchaining concepts, understanding how blocks of information can be decentralized on computer systems worldwide efficiently and transparently. Even without the security of a bank or government, blockchained data can't be tampered with or cheated. 

    This course explains how to create and mine blocks and add them to a blockchain. There's also a solid overview of digital currency, so learners can understand how to buy and sell Bitcoin and other cryptos as well as make transactions.

    Then, the Blockchain Certification Training Course moves that knowledge forward, including deep dives into Bitcoins, Hyperledger, Ethereum, and important blockchain platforms, and how to use the latest blockchain tools like Ganache, Truffle, Meta Mask, and Geth to build blockchain applications.

    Backed with this training, students will be able to set up their own private blockchain networks using Hyperledger and deploy smart contracts on Ethereum.

    The Blockchain Certification Advanced Training Bundle is $900 worth of intensive coursework, but right now, it's available for under $15 per course, for only $29.

    Prices subject to change.

  • This Vankyo mini projector displays images up to 200 inches across

    Here's an entirely uncontroversial statement: the convenience of smartphones and tablets is amazing. At no point in human history has so much information, communication, and entertainment been available in such a tiny package. But, that minuscule size is one of the only downsides of a smartphone, a tablet, or even a laptop. If you want to show everyone a video, image, or presentation, then everyone has to crowd around one itty-bitty little screen. 

    Projectors used to take up the better part of a room. Now, mini projectors are not only portable, they're practically the new mobile answer for allowing an entire group to enjoy a movie, live-stream, or video game together without straining to make out the action on a 6-inch smartphone.

    While not the size of a smartphone (yet), the Vankyo Leisure 420 Mini Projector is ready to go at just a foot across and weighing less than 3 lbs., as well as sporting its own carrying case.

    Though it's mini, that doesn't mean the Leisure 420 isn't mighty. For a family viewing night at home, this unit does the trick, backed with advanced LCD technology, and supports full 1080p HD resolution and a 2000:1 contrast ratio optimized for home entertainment. You can beam images anywhere from 40" up to 200" across, offering a truly new meaning to movie night. It also features improved audio with superior bass performance, whether you watch movies or play games.

    As for versatility, the Leisure 420 has ports for days, including USB, HDMI, VGA, and even SD connectors to easily connect to a smartphone, laptop, TV box, PS4, Xbox One, Wii, Nintendo Switch, and more.

    You can pick up this complete on-the-go entertainment system, the Vankyo Leisure 420 Mini Projector, at over 30% off its regular price. Retailing for $139, it's now on sale for just $93.99 while this offer lasts.

    Prices subject to change.

  • Wax Holly Golightly and Don Draper visit NYC steakhouse

    Who wants to drink and dine among empty seats, when they could be around wax replicas of Al Roker, Jon Hamm and Audrey Hepburn? Peter Luger Steak House in Brooklyn thinks the company of celeb figures makes their restaurant appear more inviting. The popular dining spot has borrowed some of Madame Tussauds works to highlight the easing of Covid-19 dining restrictions in New York. The celebrities included are all very iconic to New York City.

    via AP:

    Peter Luger "thought this would be a fun, safe way to fill some of the seats that need to remain empty as we continue to fight the pandemic," said restaurant vice president Daniel Turtel.

    Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's is seated with Good Morning America's Michael Strahan. Jon Hamm's likeness as Don Draper from Mad Men suavely stands by the bar and is available for any schmoe to take a selfie with. Al Roker serves as a waxen greeter when patrons walk in and faux Jimmy Fallon sits widely grinning from a table alone.

  • David Bowie grills MTV about their failure to play videos by Black artists in this 1983 interview David Bowie sits on a couch

    Bowie puts VJ Mark Goodman in the hot seat over MTV's lack of representation in this 1983 interview. Cringe along as Goodman back pedals his ass straight off a cliff. First, he denies that the station fails to play Black artists. He then takes a sharp turn into oncoming "aw hell no" traffic, explaining that MTV doesn't play Black artists because they don't want to scare white children in middle America.

    "That's very interesting. Isn't that interesting," Bowie responds. Our in-house professional translators have verified that this is polite British speak for "What a lamentable crock of horse shit."

  • Cuttlefish passes cognitive tests designed for human children

    University of Cambridge researchers have administered delayed-gratification tests, usually given to children, to cuttlesfish. Turns out them little cephalopods is smart!

    The researchers found that all of the cuttlefish in the test condition decided to wait for their preferred food (the live shrimp), but didn't bother to do so in the control group, where they couldn't access it.

    "Cuttlefish in the present study were all able to wait for the better reward and tolerated delays for up to 50-130 seconds, which is comparable to what we see in large-brained vertebrates such as chimpanzees, crows and parrots," Schnell said.

    The other part of the experiment was to test how good the six cuttlefish were at learning. They were shown two different visual cues, a grey square and a white one. When they approached one, the other would be removed from the tank; if they made the "correct" choice, they would be rewarded with a snack.

    Once they had learnt to associate a square with a reward, the researchers switched the cues, so that the other square now became the reward cue. Interestingly, the cuttlefish that learnt to adapt to this change the quickest were also the cuttlefish that were able to wait longer for the shrimp reward.

    Read the rest.

    Image: Nick Hobgoo, CC BY-SA 3.0

  • Deception in the rainforest

    Don't you just love it when you watch a video for the comedy you expect, and end up learning something neat? In his latest episode of True Facts, Ze Frank is happy to introduce us to some weird creatures of the rainforest and the things they do to survive. He covers techniques like camouflage, toxicity, and mimicry that rainforest creatures use to avoid predators, which are all forms of deception. Plants do some of these things, too. You can't trust what you see in the rainforest, but you will enjoy the fabulous photography of bizarre animals in this video.

  • Watch: Incredibly clever cat opens a sliding glass door

    Opening a sliding glass door is more complicated than it looks if you are a four-legged creature, and yet this scary smart cat figured it out. She (or he) jumps up to the door handle, which she hangs on to with her two front legs, and then employs a hind leg to push against the doorjamb, thus sliding the door open. And who says dogs are smarter than cats? (My barely responsive cats not included in this rhetorical question.)

  • The science of not knowing when to shut up

    If you feel that most conversations go on far longer than they should, you're right. According to a new scientific study, "conversations almost never end when anyone wants them to." Harvard psychologists and their colleagues studied nearly 1,000 conversations to gain insight into how they begin, unfold, and eventually end. Ending a conversation, they determined, is a "classic 'coordination problem' that humans are unable to solve because doing so requires information that they normally keep from each other." From Scientific American:

    In some cases, however, interlocutors were dissatisfied not because the talk went on for too long but because it was too short.

    "Whatever you think the other person wants, you may well be wrong," says Mastroianni, who is now a doctoral candidate in psychology at Harvard University. "So you might as well leave at the first time it seems appropriate, because it's better to be left wanting more than less.[…]"

    That people fail so completely in judging when a conversation partner wishes to wrap things up "is an astounding and important finding," says Thalia Wheatley, a social psychologist at Dartmouth College, who was not involved in the research. Conversations are otherwise "such an elegant expression of mutual coordination," she says. "And yet it all falls apart at the end because we just can't figure out when to stop." This puzzle is probably one reason why people like to have talks over coffee, drinks or a meal, Wheatley adds, because "the empty cup or check gives us an out—a critical conversation-ending crutch."

    "Do conversations end when people want them to?" (PNAS)

  • Display supplier leak suggests a possible "Nintendo Switch Pro" is coming soon

    The Nintendo Switch has a 6.2-inch, 720p LED display. According to this Bloomberg article, it's possible we'll soon be seeing a new premium Switch model with a 7-inch, 720p OLED display.

    From the Bloomberg piece:

    Samsung Display Co. will start mass production of 7-inch, 720p-resolution OLED panels as early as June with an initial monthly target of just under a million units, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. The displays are slated for shipment to assemblers around July, the people said. Representatives for Nintendo and Samsung Display declined to comment.

    "The OLED panel will consume less battery, offer higher contrast and possibly faster response time when compared to the Switch's current liquid-crystal display," said Yoshio Tamura, co-founder of display consultancy DSCC.

  • Luxury condominium boasts "open concept bathroom" with no walls or doors

    In college, my friends lived in a dodgy apartment where the bathtub was in the kitchen. But that's nothing compared to this newly-renovated luxury condominium in Boston that features an "open concept" first floor bathroom with no walls and no privacy, except for a narrow piece of frosted glass beside the toilet. You could move right in for $899,000. From Boston magazine:

    The first time he saw it, listing agent Robert Nichols' jaw dropped. He'd seen open-concept showers before, sure, but a toilet? "I was like, 'Man, was this designed for an exhibitionist?' That literally was my first thought," says Nichols, broker-owner of Boston Trust Realty Group and partner at Crowd Lending Inc. "But you know what? It could work if folks, you know, don't mind having it open like that and just can live freely and enjoy it to its full potential."

    So far at least, the set-up has not exactly been getting rave reviews during showings. "The majority just felt like they were having a hard time really trying to visualize themselves living in that space," he says.

    So the plan for now is to be patient for a few weeks and see if any house hunters with particularly open-minded sensibilities on privacy come along. Or, as he's been telling prospective buyers, his firm is offering to rebuild the wall and door themselves.

    Apparently, open concept bathrooms are a niche trend that more than a few home designers have, er, gotten behind.

    image: Boston Trust Realty Group

  • QAnon Shaman's mom has a pretty fantastical view of her son's actions

    Martha Chansley defends her son the QAnon Shaman as just a guy who was kinda there… in horns and face paint.

    This is an interpretation of her son's actions, however, her view doesn't seem to jibe with what most of us consider 'reality.'

  • Season cast iron on the BBQ

    When I learned this method of seasoning cast iron, I was thrilled.

    No more smoking up the house with awful smelling burnt oil? Using a gas grill is the easiest way, if you have one. I do not.

    This reminds me I need to touch up the seasoning on my cast iron wok.

  • ScholarshipOwl streamlines the scholarship process – and scores more money for students

    No one needs to tell you that the cost of higher education is astronomical. A year of tuition and fees at the average American private university will cost over $37,000, while even a public school option for in-state students will likely set you back over $10,000 a year. Heap on housing, food, and utilities, as well as those $1,700 textbooks and a college student is already looking at going deep into debt well before finishing their education.

    ScholarshipOwl doesn't think any student should be hampered by crippling bills just to improve their life. That's why they built their innovative platform to help students avoid that crushing burden, hooking them up with just the right scholarships to lower those costs and keep the focus of college where it should be – on the learning.

    ScholarshipOwl is kind of like a scholarship clearing house, with connections to hundreds, even thousands of scholarship offers. Once a student fills out a ScholarshipOwl application, the service fires up, helping that student match their situation to just the right awards, boosting their odds at scoring that free college money.

    Assessing a student's personality, grades, lifestyle, and more, ScholarshipOwl uses artificial intelligence to match those qualities to scholarship offers – and even dig up a few that a student would never consider on their own.

    Once the matches are set, ScholarshipOwl will then get the application process started, entering student information to get the paperwork underway, right from their site. Since many scholarships require an essay as part of the application process, ScholarshipOwl helps with that as well, offering tools to write, edit, and proofread those essays right on the platform.

    By widening the scope and streamlining the process for scholarship applications, students can reach out and take their shot at more available college money, saving valuable time while restricting the impact of those huge college loans. Meanwhile, over 80% of ScholarshipOwl users say being automatically applied to multiple scholarships is a huge advantage. 

    And best of all, scoring even one of the scholarships that ScholarshipOwl digs out for a student will more than pay for the cost of the service itself. Right now, a lifetime of ScholarshipOwl access, a $1,200 value, is on sale now for 90% off, down to only $119.99.  

    Prices subject to change.