Mystery (Partially) Solved: Stonehenge Was a Complete Circle

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Mystery (Partially) Solved: Stonehenge Was a Complete Circle

One of the mysteries of Stonehenge has been solved because someone was too lazy to get a longer hose.

Usually, the grass around the puzzling collection of Neolithic stones is watered by stewards, but this year, the hose used was too short, and didn’t reach the entire grounds. The unwatered grass dried out. It looked gnarly, but the barren land ended up showing archeologists the answer to a lingering question: Whether Stonehenge was actually supposed to be an incomplete circle.

Tim Daw, who works on the grounds, first noticed parches revealing "stone holes" as he surveyed the dried-out area. These holes confirmed that Stonehenge, at one point, had been a full circle.

"I called my colleague over and he saw them and realized their possible significance as well. Not being archaeologists we called in the professionals to evaluate them," Daw told Telegraph.

"I am still amazed and very pleased that simply really looking at something, that tens of thousands of people had unwittingly seen, can reveal secrets that sophisticated machinery can’t."

This doesn’t mean Stonehenge is now short on unanswered questions. We still don’t know who built it, or why (though a theory that it’s a giant musical instrument has gained some traction). And now there’s another puzzle: What happened to the stones that used to complete the circle?

[Telegraph]

Image credit: AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

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The Perfect Sleeping Positions to Fix Common Body Problems

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The amount of sleep you get every night is important, but what’s even more important is that the sleep your getting is good sleep. If you have aches, pains, indigestion, or tend to snore, these are the positions that can help cure what ails you.

This helpful graphic from The Wall Street Journal points out some common trouble spots and how you can adjust the way you sleep to make sure you have sweet dreams. Back pain? Try a pillow between your knees. Acid Reflux or indigestion? Elevate your head with some more comfy pillows or a few bricks under your bed’s legs. Don’t waste your precious sleeping hours by forcing yourself to sleep uncomfortably. For more information on how your sleeping position can affect you, check out the complete Wall Street Journal article at the link below.

Find the Perfect Sleep Position | The Wall Street Journal via Best Infographics

The Perfect Sleeping Positions to Fix Common Body Problems

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22 Ingenious Stoner Foods Inspired by the Munchies

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Pizzabagel

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Someone has a serious case of the munchies.

It’s no secret that weed and food go together pretty well. The substance enhances your sense of taste, and anyone who’s smoked, ingested or vaped some bud know that the desire to eat delicious snacks is not exactly easy to control.

To combat the overbearing force that is the munchies, stoners have whipped together some ridiculous concoctions that look strangely tempting.

Is your favorite stoner food not listed? Leave it in the comments. Read more…

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This Is Your Brain on Coffee

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Coffee

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You know you feel instantly better after you’ve downed your morning cup, but what is it about coffee that affects the mind in such a pleasant way?

AsapSCIENCE explains how caffeine stimulates adrenaline production and prevents your brain from reabsorbing dopamine, which in turn keeps you happy

But be careful, coffee addicts. Caffeine’s adrenaline-stimulating properties affect your brain the say way cocaine does, but to a lesser degree. So, don’t skip that morning cup, or you’ll be in coffee withdrawal by lunchtime.

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Microsoft Is Officially Killing MSN Messenger Once and For All

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Microsoft Is Officially Killing MSN Messenger Once and For All

Ever since Microsoft acquired Skype, it’s been slowly but surely pushing those last MSN/Windows Live Messenger clingers-on into its brave new, Skype-based world. And now China, the last MSN Messenger stronghold, is finally getting the boot, ending the messaging service’s 15 year run once and for all.

The shift happened in the US just over a year ago, although most of us probably haven’t used the chat client since the early aughts, when it was still going head-to-head with the now similarly fizzling out AOL Instant Messenger.

But if you live in China and have yet to let go, you’ll have until October 31st to Windows-Live-message your heart out. [The Verge]

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I Will Teach You To Be Rich: A Solid Intro to Money Management

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I Will Teach You To Be Rich: A Solid Intro to Money Management

We all have different goals in life, but most of us probably have one thing in common: we’d love to be the kind of person that’s "good with money." You know, that guy or girl that has their s*** together. I Will Teach You To Be Rich may not make you a millionaire, but it will show you how to get your money in order with minimal hassle.

This is part of Lifehacker’s new book review series. Not every life hack can be summed up in a blog post, so we’ve decided to review some of our favorite life-changing books for deeper dives into life’s most important topics.

Chances are you’ve heard of Ramit Sethi and his bestselling (and somewhat hyperbolically-titled) book before. In fact, we’ve featured his tips on Lifehacker many times over the years, including ones from his blog and ones from his book (we even interviewed him once). It’s not a new book by any means, but after picking up the book and giving it a cover-to-cover read myself, I thought it was worth a bit more than the occasional mention we give it.

Who This Book Is For

If you’re already a personal finance nerd, this book probably isn’t for you. Instead, it’s geared toward regular people who know they need to get their money in order, but don’t really know how or where to start.

You can stop after reading it or use it as a stepping stone to becoming a total finance nerd. Essentially, it’s Money Management 101. After reading it, you’ll probably have your money more together than most of your friends, particularly if you’re in your 20s or 30s—the age group at whom the book is aimed.

What You’ll Get

Despite the book’s name, it probably won’t make you rich in the traditional sense of the word. Instead, it’s filled with simple, practical steps you can take to save more money so you can spend it on the stuff that really matters.

Sethi breaks the book down into 9 chapters, with six "weeks" of topics covering different areas of personal finance. The main topics include:

  • Credit cards: How to pick one, use it without going into debt, and optimize your rewards
  • Banks: What kind of accounts you’ll need, how to choose a bank, and negotiate fees
  • Investing: Why you should invest, and how to open an investment account with very little effort
  • Budgeting: How to create a "conscious spending plan" for your money, knowing when to skimp and when to splurge
  • Automation: How to automate all of the above so you can save money while you sleep

He goes into more detail on some of the topics (like investing) for those who want a deeper look, but Sethi is a big proponent of what he calls "85% solutions": Simple methods that get you 85% of the way with almost no effort. If you want to make the absolute most of your money, you can put in more time, but for the lazy among us, that 85% is a hell of a lot better than nothing.

(Note: a few of the book’s numbers are a bit outdated—like the savings accounts with 3% interest, which is unheard of in 2014. This is no fault of the book, which was written in 2009; it’s just something to be aware of.)

One Trick You’ll Take Away

There are a lot of useful tips in this book. A lot. But out of context, they feel inaccessible. The ladder method is easy to paraphrase, for example, but your eyes will glaze over if you still think of "investing" as something only rich businessmen do.

So instead of sharing a specific tip, I want to share one of the overall themes of Sethi’s book: this stuff is not out of your reach. Popular media has taught to think of investing and finance as complicated, expert-only topics, but they aren’t. In fact, they’re incredibly simple for us average Joes. Sethi explains in his book’s introduction:

There’s a difference between being sexy and being rich. When I hear people talk about the stocks they bought, sold, or shorted last week, I realize that my investment style sounds pretty boring: "Well, I bought a few good funds five years ago and haven’t done anything since, except buy more on an automatic schedule." But investment isn’t about being sexy—it’s about making money, and when you look at investment literature, buy-and-hold investing wins over the long term, every time. Forget what that money TV station or finance magazine says about the stock-of-the-month. Do some analysis, make your decision, and then reevaluate your investment every six months or so. It’s not as sexy as those guys in red coats shouting and waving their hands on TV, but as an individual investor, you’ll get far greater returns.

Once you realize how simple this stuff is to implement, the rest of the tips will actually seem useful, and not out of reach.

If you’re still on the fence, check out the freely available excerpts on Sethi’s blog. A good portion of the book is freely available, and you should get a good idea of what you’ll learn with the first chapter.

Our Take

This book is solid. Like I said at the beginning, it’s a great basic intro to personal finance for those who don’t know where to start. The chapters are well organized, and the end of each chapter includes a set of "action steps" based on what you just learned, so you can easily turn it into a to-do list and get right to work.

Sethi explains everything very clearly, and doesn’t go into too much detail where it isn’t needed. This makes it a fairly quick read, which is a good thing: it’s super easy to get through in a couple days and get right to the important stuff. He’s even put some of the deeper details in their own chapters and tells you what to skip if you only want the lazy method, ensuring that no one gets bored and gives up halfway through.

However, the book isn’t perfect. Anyone who’s read Sethi’s blog knows that he has a pretty distinct writing style, and it definitely isn’t for everyone. It’s very blunt, brash, and in your face, and at times can feel a little infomercial-y. Heck, even the title of the book is kind of a turn-off. This can distract a bit from the book’s otherwise great information. It’s hard to argue with the book’s success, and Sethi’s communication style is likely very effective with some people. But if you’re like me, try to set aside your issues with his style—it’s well worth it if you do.

There are also some annoying "callout" boxes within the book’s chapters that interrupt the flow of the text. Usually they contain useful stories or information, but it’s really frustrating when they just stop what you’re reading in the middle for something completely different. Again, it’s not worth ignoring the book entirely, but it does hamper clarity from time to time. I usually opted to skip them and come back after I was finished with the current section.

Lastly, some personal finance geeks will likely claim that Sethi’s book is overly basic. I don’t consider this a bad thing, though—in fact, it’s one of the book’s biggest strengths. Let’s remember who this book is for: regular people, who would never make it through a traditional, more detailed finance book. I Will Teach You To Be Rich includes almost the perfect amount of detail on every subject for those getting started. If you’re looking for something more advanced, there are a lot of other books out there to read after you’ve covered these basics.

I don’t want the above three paragraphs to deter anyone, though. This book has good advice, is well-organized, and keeps you interested even if you aren’t "into" finance. I only mention the above shortcomings as a warning. It’s 100% worth the read, despite a few minor annoyances that you’ll just have to get past.

You can grab the book on Amazon for about $8, in physical or ebook format. You can also check out Sethi’s blog and the book’s homepage at IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com.

Title image remixed from Roman Psyhchyk (Shutterstock).

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The World’s Tiniest 3G Modem is Barely Bigger Than a Penny

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The World's Tiniest 3G Modem is Barely Bigger Than a Penny

One factor limiting the integration of your home’s appliances into the so-called Internet of Things is the size and ruggedness of the device’s modem. But with this miniscule new modem from Intel, anything bigger than a penny will be granted cellular connectivity.

The XMM 6255 has just a 300 sq mm footprint, making it ideal for button-sized micro-sensors and small-form wearables like smart watches. What’s more, the XMM6255 is designed to work in low-connectivity environments like parking garages and remote areas. It utilizes the Intel SMARTi UE2p dual-band single transceiver providing 7.2 Mbps download and 5.76 Mbps upload speeds.

The World's Tiniest 3G Modem is Barely Bigger Than a Penny

"It’s not just about the size of it," Sergis Mushell, a research director at analytics company Gartner, told the BBC. "What Intel is really doing is going after a significant stake in the Internet of Things market, where connectivity is most important. Getting connectivity right is essential for their entire product portfolio."

Thermal, voltage, and current protections are integrated onto the chip—there’s even room for an additional GPS transceiver—which means it can be used in a huge variety of products and applications, both commercial- and research-oriented. [Intel 1, 2 - BBC News]

lead image: Hasloo Group Production Studio

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Scientists find water clouds outside the solar system for the first time

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Scientists find water clouds outside the solar system for the first time

This beautiful purple jewel is an artist rendition of W0855—a Jupiter-sized brown dwarf 7.3 light years from Earth. If the scientists who just published a new paper on its composition are right, it’s the first object outside the solar system in which we have observed water cloudsan amazing discovery.

Keep in mind that we have only detected water clouds on Earth and Mars. Jacqueline Faherty—the scientist who has lead the discovery at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C.—says she has "been obsessed with this object since its discovery" by Pennsylvania State University’s astronomer Kevin Lehman:,

I’ve been obsessed with this object since its discovery. I went to battle at the telescope to try and get this detection. I wanted to put war paint under my eyes and wear a bandanna, because I knew this was not going to be an easy thing to do. At the telescope, I’ve never been so nervous. I’ve never wanted clear conditions so badly [...] I’m absolutely elated.

After there nights manning the 6.5-meter Magellan Baade telescope in Chile, the team managed to get 151 near-infrared images that finally resulted in the positive detection of water clouds. According to University of California, Santa Cruz, Jonathan Fortney, "it’s tentative [but] "it’s the first evidence for water clouds" outside Earth and Mars.


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Amazing photo of the Milky Way over Yellowstone’s alien hot springs

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Amazing photo of the Milky Way over Yellowstone's alien hot springs

NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day has an amazing picture by Dave Lane today, a 16-photo panorama of the Milky Way arching over Silex Spring, Yellowstone National Park. The amazing pool colors—caused by bacteria thriving in the magma-heated waters—make this look like a picture from an alien world.


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