Greg tweeted, ‘I tried to look at the Perseids but some jerk put a northern hemisphere in my way.’
All I saw when I looked up was light pollution. The last time I saw actual stars, I was up in the mountains, west of Colorado Springs — about a decade ago.
Note to self: Never move an ashtray to the left!
- Ancient Egyptian art fills in ecological history: Mammal populations shrank during three abrupt climate shifts over the past 6,000 years.
- Giant Maya carvings found in Guatemala.
- Not ‘Elysium’ but better ‘Ringworld’ settlements could return our future to its past. Yep, that’s Dave Brody’s actual headline.
- The real tech behind ‘Elysium’ exoskeletons.
- Elon Musk to reveal details of Hyperloop transport today.
- Cold War nuclear testing once made orbit unsafe for Apollo. For a brief period, it wasn’t clear whether manned spaceflight could continue at all.
- More than 100,000 have applied to go to Mars and not return, Mars One project says. Meet some aspiring colonists.
- Hubble solves the 40-year-old mystery of the Magellanic Stream.
- 3-D cosmic map helps you wrap your brain around the universe’s weirdness.
- NASA’s massive free e-book collection.
- Confused photocopiers randomly rewriting scanned documents. Ars readers react.
- Crypto experts issue a call to arms to avert the cryptopocalypse. Hard to believe, but there are 70 comments here.
- The science behind the Netflix algorithms that decide what you’ll watch next.
- Lavabit, a pro-privacy e-mail service long used by NSA leaker Edward Snowden, abruptly shut down Thursday. Owner Ladar Levison had some interesting things to say about the closure.
- Lawmakers tasked with overseeing NSA surveillance say they have not had the proper opportunity to understand, much less challenge these programs.
- This little sticker works like an anti-mosquito force field.
- Autism’s unexpected link to cancer gene.
- The possibility that H7N9 avian influenza may evolve sufficiently to cause a pandemic has scientists turning again to controversial research. A man-made pandemic flu virus isn’t the only biological research to worry about.
- Crazy pills.
- Strange sexual quirk of Filipino seafarers is unique to Southeast Asia and dates back to at least the 16th century.
- Overwinding: The Short Forever — an excerpt from Douglas Rushkoff’s Present Shock.
Quote of the Day:
What’s it like to envision the ten-thousand-year environmental impact of tossing a plastic bottle into the trash bin, all in the single second it takes to actually toss it? Or the ten-thousand-year history of the fossil fuel being burned to drive to work or iron a shirt? It may be environmentally progressive, but it’s not altogether pleasant. Unless we’re living in utter harmony with nature, thinking in ten-thousand-year spans is an invitation to a nightmarish obsession. It’s a potentially burdensome, even paralyzing, state of mind. Each present action becomes a black hole of possibilities and unintended consequences. We must walk through life as if we had traveled into the past, aware that any change we make — even moving an ashtray two inches to the left — could ripple through time and alter the course of history. It’s less of a Long Now than a Short Forever.
First paragraph of the book excerpt linked just above.