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Loonshot Nursery: England's Genius Factory

When you put together the greatest minds in one room, we are sure to expect great innovations and discoveries to come from them, or so that's what we think would happen in such a scenario.

Being able to bounce off ideas with other people can give inspiration and motivation for these geniuses to uncover the principles of nature and help the rest of us understand the mechanisms of the world, in order for us to put it into practical use.

During the latter phase of the Renaissance and well into the Age of Enlightenment, many great minds sprung up all over Europe. But England had been one of the nations that made the most use out of their geniuses, and this was how they did it. Eventually, with these efforts, England was able to kickstart the Industrial Revolution.

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)


A Picturesque Image of Jupiter

NASA's Juno space probe has been orbiting Jupiter for almost eight years now and it has taken some marvelous photos of the Red Giant. Here's one that was recently captured by Juno showing the Great Red Spot and Jupiter's southern hemisphere as it passed by.

More information about Juno is at and

(Image credit: NASA)


Emperor Tewodros II's Stolen Locks of Hair Returned by British Museum

The Ethiopian emperor Tewodros II had an unfortunate end to his life, but one that no doubt he had done to preserve dignity and honor. Instead of being taken prisoner by British forces in the 19th century, he shot himself and they took two locks from his hair.

Now the National Army Museum in London, to which the locks of hair had been given, will be returning it to its rightful place.

The return of the locks follows a recent report commissioned by French President Emmanuel Macron that recommended African treasures in French museums be returned to their countries of origin. During colonial rule in Africa, thousands of cultural artefacts were plundered from the continent by Western countries.

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)


Alien: The Play

North Bergen High School in New Jersey put on their student play, and it was an adaptation of the 1979 film Alien! Yes, complete with xenomorph, made of recycled materials. North Bergen is not a wealthy school, and they don't even officially have a drama department. But English and drama teacher Perfecto Cuervo adapted the play, oversaw the production, and inspired the students.

Steven Defendini, the school’s art instructor, tells EW the play is a collaboration between three teachers — including one music teacher, Brian Bonacci, with knowledge of stage lighting — and approximately 16 students. “We’re a real small drama program, so we’re used to doing small plays for the local community,” he says, adding how the viral attention online is now such a “surreal experience.”  

See plenty of pictures and some video clips from the drama at Entertainment Weekly, and more at the A.V. Club.

(Image credit: Paul Owens


New Einstein's Cross Confirms Gravitational Lensing

Spotted by the Gran Telescopio Canarias combined with images from the Hubble Telescope, astronomers have discovered a new Einstein's cross which confirms a phenomenon called gravitational lensing which he had predicted in his Theory of General Relativity.

In his theory of general relativity, Albert Einstein said that the trajectory of light curves in the presence of matter. This effect can be observed in the case of light emitted by a distant galaxy, when its light passes close to another galaxy on its way to the observer.
The phenomenon is known as gravitational lensing and gravitational lenses act like magnifying glasses that change the size, shape, and intensity of the image of the distant object.

(Image credit: Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias)


Pass the Salt

Joseph Herscher of Joseph's Machines (previously at Neatorama) manages to find the most ridiculously difficult way to automate a simple task, just like Rube Goldberg did. Only Goldberg's machines were merely committed to paper, while Joseph demonstrates his in fairly deadpan manner in the real world. Here, he automates the task of passing the salt down the table. What's especially strange is that most of the process doesn't involve salt much at all, but requires everything else in the kitchen. Eventually you realize that there are two salt containers, both within reach of the people sitting on either end of the table. But the destination is really of no matter, just enjoy the ride.  -via Tastefully Offensive


The Indoor Temperature Americans Find Most Comfortable

A group of researchers set out to study the different creatures that exist in people's homes and whether their numbers varied depending on the temperature inside. As a result, the researchers found an off-topic insight regarding Americans' climate preferences indoors.

(Image credit: Moja Msanii/Unsplash)


Skyborg: USAF's Future Digital Co-Pilot

Driverless cars are becoming a thing with the help of artificial intelligence. Someday soon, we might even see commercial vehicles that do not need a human driver which could also help reduce traffic accidents and efficiency of transport.

That concept is now crossing over to flight. Currently in the works is an AI "computer brain" called Skyborg that would enable aircraft to be flown without pilot. This effort is being spearheaded by the US Air Force and they hope that if this research succeeds, it would lead to having AI as a digital co-pilot.

(Image credit: USAF)


The Heroic Motorcyclist That Never Was

Pierlucio Tinazzi was a guy who just loved going for ride on his motorcycle. He was employed as a security guard at the Mont Blanc Tunnel until the fateful day of the fire that claimed the lives of 37 people, one of them being Tinazzi.

The story went that before he had succumbed to the fire, he Tinazzi had rescued ten people from the blaze. As a result, he was heralded as an Italian hero and given numerous posthumous awards. Various motorcycle magazines ran his story and he became famous among motorcyclists.

Mark Gardiner was one of those who wrote about Tinazzi. The story he wrote about Tinazzi had been published in 2003 but as he revisited the details, he began to realize that the legend of Tinazzi wasn't true.

(Image credit: Mark Gardiner/CJR)


Free ebooks for your Kindle (or eReader)

Do you have a Kindle or eReader? FreebookSifter makes it easy to find free e-books for Kindle or eReader. Books which are no longer free are removed and books which have just come in are added. Find over 35,000 free eBooks for your Kindle or eReader. The database is updated daily.

Article as posted via Amaze and Amuse


Hayabusa2's First Scientific Results

Six months after Hayabusa2 first landed on the asteroid Ryugu, we finally get to see the first set of data that it has collected from the floating rock.

Hayabusa2 is one of two missions currently visiting and attempting to collect samples from asteroids near the Earth. Its initial observations have already revealed a Ryugu that differed from expectations: rather than a wet mass of differently shaped rocks, it’s a spinning pile of uniform rubble with less water than expected.
These new insights will help scientists write this object’s history, which now seems to include a period of rapid rotation and a potentially chaotic birth from a parent body.

(Image credit: Seiji Sugita et al/Science 2019)


The Viral Jupiter Comet Crash That Lit Up the Internet

The internet was only in a fledgling phase when the first sort of viral event happened. Shoemaker-Levy 9, a comet that flew very close to Jupiter and whose fragments were shredded by Jupiter's gravity.

Shoemaker-Levy 9 lit up the tiny online community. Degroot found that nearly as many people as were hooked up to the internet at the time accessed NASA's resources about impact week.
"This was really the first sort of viral event," Degroot said, and the internet fervor was covered by print media as well. "That really raised the profile of the internet, and not just for the online minority but also for the offline majority … it was pretty much everywhere."

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)


Super Fast Pulsar Seen Hurtling Through Space

From the impacts of a supernova explosion, a pulsar was seen dashing through space going at nearly 2.5 million miles an hour, propelled by the explosion.

“Thanks to its narrow dart-like tail and a fortuitous viewing angle, we can trace this pulsar straight back to its birthplace,” said Frank Schinzel, a scientist at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Socorro, New Mexico. “Further study of this object will help us better understand how these explosions are able to ‘kick’ neutron stars to such high speed.”

(Image credit: Scott Rosen)


For "Playing Possum" Behavior To Work, Various Factors Come Into Play

Some animals, when cornered, play dead in the hopes that the predator would leave it alone thinking that there is no use in eating a lifeless carcass.

When you think about it, there are certain things with this behavior that seem illogical and rely purely on the hope that the predator would not be interested in dead prey. But the fact is not all predators are concerned with that. So why do certain animals feign death?

(Image credit: Tony Alter/Flickr)


Behind the Makings of the HK G11, A Soviet-Era Rifle That Never Saw Combat

One look at Heckler & Koch's G11, there is just something weird about its design. You might think that it is a rifle that comes from a sci-fi film but its design may hold something that would make it even more potent or deadlier than anything that came out during that time.

A typical firearm uses brass cases to hold the propellent, which are then topped by the bullet. While a dependable design, and one still in use today, this brass case adds weight to an already overburdened soldier.
But the late 1960s, German designers from Heckler & Koch tried another approach. Producing a working prototype in 1974, the G11 was Germany’s attempt to combine advanced caseless ammunition with a brilliantly engineered weapon system that could increase the average infantryman’s accuracy.
West Germany would test the weapons system, as would the U.S. Army in the 1980s. In another timeline, the G11 could have been the next-generation replacement for the M16.

(Image credit: Matt Moss/Michael Stillwell)

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