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The Past We Can Never Return To

Yes, it looks like a Kurzgesagt video, but only the Day-Glo illustrations. They felt that an essay from John Green fit into their mission of spreading thought-provoking ideas. He tells a story about the records left from people who lived long, long ago, but also still live on in the things they left behind. Green and his brother Frank have an entire podcast series called The Anthropocene Reviewed which you can listen to here.


How We Solved The Worst Minigame In Zelda’s History

The Sploosh Kaboom minigame from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is the hardest minigame in Zelda’s History. The minigame was so hard to beat that people had to reverse engineer Wind Waker to find a way to beat it. Watch as Linkus7 explains how the solution was created. 


The Trailer For Christopher Nolan’s New Drama Will Premiere In Fortnite

Another trailer will be released for Christopher Nolan's highly-anticipated thriller Tenet. The catch? Some of his fans will have to download Fortnite to see the new trailer. Fortnite delivered the shocking news on their Twitter account, saying that the trailer will debut inside the game’s new Party Royale mode.  If you’re unfamiliar with how Fortnite works, here’s Uproxx with more details: 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the online shooter, Party Royale is a recently added feature that essentially allows players a safe area to just hang out and goof around with friends. The area has already been used to host concerts from Deadmau5 and Steve Aoki, and now the giant theater screen will be used to debut a trailer for a major motion picture for the very first time. As for how Nolan feels about his prestige film being promoted in a video game… that will surely be a hot discussion for cinema buffs.

image via Twitter


Man Murdered While On A Zoom Call

This situation is like something out of a horror movie. A 72-year-old man was fatally stabbed by his son while he was on a Zoom video chat with about twenty people. Several people saw the father, Dwight Powers being attacked by his son, Thomas Scully-Powers. The police were able to catch Powers’ son, as The New York Times detailed:  

Some participants in the meeting may have witnessed part of the attack, the spokesman said, adding that the police had been given a description of the son by people who were on the Zoom call.
The spokesman declined to comment on the type of meeting that was being held.
Newsday reported that there had been about 20 other people on the video call, which the police confirmed later Thursday night.
“They just noticed him fall off the screen and then they heard heavy breathing,” Detective Lt. Kevin Beyrer of the Suffolk County police homicide squad told Newsday. “It was horrible that they had to witness this.”
Several participants in the Zoom video conference called 911, and the police found and arrested Mr. Scully-Powers in less than an hour, the authorities said. The police spokesman said it had taken officers longer to locate Mr. Scully-Powers because people in the meeting did not know where Mr. Powers lived.

image via The New York Times


Quarantine TV Choices by State

If you’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time at home the last couple of months, you’ve probably turned to TV for entertainment. Streaming services and on-demand TV make it easy to binge-watch some of your old favorites or maybe a series you never got around to watching before. The website Cable TV maps out what people in the 50 states are watching most. Check out how your choices compare to your neighbors! I have a couple of college refugees upstairs who are finally watching all of Breaking Bad, since one of them was too young for the show when it aired, and the other arrived in America after it finished. But more folks in Kentucky are watching The Walking Dead, despite the fact that we all saw it the first time around. Overall, Friends is the binge-watching winner, being the top show in eleven states. -via Digg


Ə: The Most Common Vowel in English

You probably learned about the schwa (Ə) somewhere in the lower grades, and it didn’t make a bit of sense, so you didn’t bother to remember anything that was taught. The teacher gave us plenty of examples, but we couldn't figure out how they were supposed to sound alike, or what the real soundof a  Ə is. Okay. TomScott brings it back with a much better explanation: the schwa is a vowel that is so unstressed that we cannot really define it. Of course, Tom is British, and thinks that the vowel sound in “bath” is made in the back of the mouth. But he does shine some light on phonetics for us in his latest video.


Why Players Around the World Gobbled Up Pac-Man

The iconic video game Pac-Man just turned 40 years old, so Smithsonian magazine brings us a comprehensive history of the game itself, plus an analysis of why it became so instantly popular, and even a look at the world's biggest Pac-Man fan, Tim Crist. Along the way, we find out some neat tidbits about the game's juggernaut journey.

One artifact in the museum’s collection provides some insight into the messy reality behind the big business of Pac-Man. A 1982 Bally Midway advertisement shows Pac-Man in the center of a boxing ring, surrounded by Pac-People who gaze up at him. “Don’t Trifle With a Heavyweight,” the headline warns. The text below reveals that Bally Midway aggressively pursued companies that attempted to sell unlicensed Pac-Man merchandise.

Despite the ad’s firm, clear argument, the legal complexities surrounding Pac-Man were considerably more complicated. “The early intellectual property stuff around video games is really messy,” says Kocurek. Arcades and other companies that hosted cabinets would often refurbish them, swapping out the games and marquees for new games as they became available, aided by products called conversion kits. Alongside Bally Midway’s officially licensed Pac-Man kits, a murky wave of competitors swept in. A group of MIT dropouts who formed a company called General Computer Corporation (GCC), for instance, developed Crazy Otto, a game with a leggy Pac-Man knock-off.

Freshly humbled by a legal scuffle with Atari, GCC approached Bally Midway in an attempt to either sell the game or obtain the company’s blessing. After a successful test in Chicago, Bally Midway purchased Crazy Otto in October 1981, offering GCC royalties for each kit sold. “The fact [GCC founders] Doug [Macrae] and Kevin [Curran] knew that there was only one way they could sell this thing, and how they convinced Midway to do it, is just one of the great sell jobs,” recalled former GCC engineer Mike Horowitz in a Fast Company interview. “They were like 21 years old.”

Those youngsters at GCC went on to sell another game to Bally called Ms. Pac-Man, which is just one of the twists and turns in the history of Pac-Man you'll learn at Smithsonian.

(Image credit: Flickr user ~ tOkKa)


From Bizarre Gardening Accident to Sheer Heart Attack

Earlier this month, we reported on guitarist Brian May's injury sustained while gardening. It turns out that a torn butt was just the beginning of his health problems. His continuing pain led to more tests that revealed a a severely compressed sciatic nerve, then he had a "small" heart attack, and doctors discovered three blocked arteries!

In a series of posts on his Instagram account, the 72-year-old said that a week after he was sent home after sustaining the gardening injury, he was still in such agony that he “wanted to jump at some points”. He was readmitted to hospital for an MRI scan, which discovered a severely compressed sciatic nerve – the product, he concluded, of 50 years as a guitarist. “That’s why I had this feeling that someone was putting a screwdriver in my back,” he said.

During the “whole saga of the painful backside”, May said he experienced 40 minutes of chest pain and tightness that turned out to be a small heart attack. He was readmitted to hospital for an angiogram, which found three blocked arteries. May said he was pressured by some parties to have open-heart surgery, but took alternative advice to have three stents implanted.

Read more about May's health at the Guardian. The article includes a video of May telling the story himself. -via reddit


Jurassic Bug

A giant insect has been found in Utah. Don’t worry, because this insect isn’t alive. Paleontologists have discovered a 151-million-year-old fossil of a giant bug called Morrisonnepa Jurassica. The bug is related to “giant water bugs”, as Yahoo News details: 

"The insect fossil consists of most of the abdomen, two elements of the forewing, and possibly the head and is only the second insect body fossil ever discovered from the Morrison Formation,' the DNR wrote. 
According to the Utah DNR, the insect was first discovered in 2017 and appears to be related to "giant water bugs," which are known for their extremely painful bites. 
"The new fossil insect appears to be a relatively large predator whose modern relatives are known to attack and eat not just other invertebrates like snails and crustaceans but also vertebrate prey such as fish, amphibians, and snakes," the department wrote in its post. 

image via Yahoo News


Researchers Claim Fastest Internet Speed

44.2 Terabits per second (Tbps). That’s the data speed reported by Australian researchers in their paper published in the journal Nature Communications. How fast is it, you ask? Well, fast enough to download a thousand high-definition movies in a split-second. What’s more amazing about this is that the data speed was recorded in a single optical chip.

And they did it not in a lab but using existing communications infrastructure.
“We’ve developed something that is scalable to meet future needs,” says co-lead author Bill Corcoran from Monash University. “And it’s not just Netflix we’re talking about here: it’s the broader scale of what we use our communication networks for.”

More details about this study over at Cosmos Magazine.

(Image Credit: Monash, RMIT, Swinburne universities/ Cosmos)


Child Labor In The Bronze Age

Austria — Deep in the Hallstatt salt mine, archaeologists discovered a tattered leather shoe that has been well-preserved for nearly 3,000 years, along with other small shoes, as well as woolen and leather caps. The tattered shoe was said to have fit on a child under 10 years old. This finding gave archaeologists a glimpse of the life in this place during the Bronze and Iron Ages.

“We must conclude … children were regularly and in large numbers employed for underground mining,” wrote Fritz Eckart Barth, the archaeological site’s director in 1992, when the slipper was analyzed.
In the years since the shoes and caps spurred investigations at Hallstatt, scientists have assembled a vivid picture of the child laborers’ lives based on artifacts and bones. Wear and tear on their skeletons, in particular, suggests the youngest miners performed specific tasks at the site.

This study stands out from other archaeological studies of ancient children, as this tries to reconstruct what their lives have been in the past, compared to other studies which usually just study their physical traits such as height and brain size.

Few studies have re-created everyday experiences — how kids played, learned and labored.

This one clearly was an example of those few studies.

As a subject of scientific inquiry, “the archaeology of childhood is quite recent,” says Queen’s University Belfast researcher Mélie Le Roy. Archaeologists at Hallstatt and elsewhere are just beginning to uncover children’s contributions to ancient societies.

Know more about the history of the Hallstatt salt mine over at Discover Magazine.

(Image Credit: A. Rausch/NHM Vienna/ Discover)


Australia Could Harness Energy From Waves

Australia is known for its beautiful beaches and huge waves, which makes it a great place to go for those who love to go surfing. These waves, however, are not only beneficial to surfers, as they could also be used as a source of renewable energy.

Among those harnessing this tidal potential is Sydney-based Mako Energy. The company makes underwater turbines ranging between two and four meters in diameter. One turbine operating in constantly flowing water can produce enough electricity to power up to 20 homes.

The turbine design could also be used in slow-flowing water, which enables it to generate electricity from rivers and irrigation canals.

"We're developing turbines at a scale where they can be deployed easily in remote communities, coastal businesses, island communities and resorts," Douglas Hunt, managing director of Mako Energy, told CNN Business.
Although tidal energy is still in its infancy, it could help to reduce Australia's dependence on fossil fuels.
"The majority of the energy in the national grid is from coal," explained Jenny Hayward, a research scientist at Australia's national science agency, CSIRO. "We also have wind and solar PV [photovoltaic]."

But compared to other forms of renewable energy (such as solar and wind), tidal energy has a major advantage, which is its predictability. Installing this comes at a cost, however.

More details about this over at CNN.

(Image Credit: Pixabay)


Brazilian Dentist Fixes Teeth of Less-Fortunate People For Free, And Their Smiles Are Priceless!

It is difficult to smile when one has missing teeth, because he knows that it doesn’t look good to the one who sees him smile. You might have had a similar experience with this when you were a kid, and your milk teeth started to fall out. Just imagine if you’re an adult and you lost your permanent teeth, which will not be replaced naturally. While the more fortunate can buy dentures to serve as prosthetics, those who are less fortunate cannot afford that, and they lose their ability to smile, and with that, their confidence, too. Thankfully, there are people who understand their predicament well.

A Brazilian dentist named Felipe Rossi has been traveling the world and helping poor people in need by doing what he does best―giving a reason to smile and restoring lost confidence. For many people, dental health is a pure luxury and they simply can't afford it. They have been given a chance to get the assistance they need for free thanks to Doctor Rossi and his NGO Por1sorriso, which he founded back in 2016.

Check out the photos of people that Doctor Rossi helped over at Bored Panda.

(Image Credit: drfeliperossi/ Bored Panda)


Man Helps King Cobra Get Hydrated

Now that India has been experiencing unusually high temperatures, those who live there have to find ways to beat the heat. It is not only the people who are affected by the heat, but also the animals. Thankfully, there are humans who are willing to help.

Check out the video of a man helping a king cobra hydrate itself by giving it water, over at 9GAG.

(Image Credit: 9GAG)


Building the Perfect Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder

Mark Rober (previously at Neatorama) took up birdwatching as a hobby. However, squirrels discovered his new bird feeders. So, handy fellow that he is, Robert constructed an obstacle course to make things more difficult. But it's not just an obstacle course; it's more involved than anything you'd see on American Ninja Warrior. He even designed a photo opportunity in the middle of it! Yeah, the video is long, but you can skip to 7:40 and see squirrels trying to negotiate the course. Watch from the beginning to see how he built it. -via Gizmodo

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