You Really Don’t Need to Watch the Black Moon Tonight

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Image: NASA Earth Observatory

Have you heard? The Black Moon rises tonight! But if you’re worried about catching this “rare” phenomenon don’t be—it’s actually not that special.

A Black Moon is not an actual astronomy term and there’s a couple different definitions floating around out there. The Black Moon that people are talking about now is defined as when two new moons—the phase of the moon where it appears invisible in Earth’s sky—happen in a single calendar month. This is the first time in over two years that’s happened.

While it’s technically true that it’s rare, it isn’t all that meaningful. The new moon pops up approximately every 29.5 days and September’s cluster of two is no exception. The two new moons in September aren’t really any closer together than any other new moons this year—it’s simply that the first one happened to fall on the very first day of September and the last one on the last day of September. The gap between the two is still practically identical to the gap between the July 4th and August 2nd new moons, or the coming November 29 and December 29 new moons, or any of the other 13 new moons this year.

Getting excited about two new moons popping up together in the month of September is a little like telling everyone to celebrate your birthday extra hard this year because it won’t fall on a Tuesday again for another two years. It’s not factually wrong that it’s rare, exactly, it’s just a very weird and not very meaningful coincidence of the calendar to get excited about.

Does that mean you shouldn’t bother to look up tonight? Not quite, a new moon is always a good opportunity to see the sky at its darkest without moonlight drowning out any constellations or planets you may want to catch a glimpse of. But, if you do happen to miss it or the sky is covered in clouds, don’t fret. The exact same opportunity will pop-up again literally about every 30 days, over and over and over again.

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The miniature Nintendo that Japan’s getting is way cooler than the US one

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All the way back in July, Nintendo tickled the nostalgia of
Nintendo fans by announcing
a miniature, $60 version of its original console
. The NES
Classic Edition has 30 built-in classic games, and you’ll be able
to get it on November 10.

If you live in Japan, however, it’s a bit of a different story.
In its home country, the NES was known as the Famicom (short for
“family computer”), and it had a different design. The
controllers were actually hard-wired to the console, so you
placed them in little cradles on the side of the console when you
were done playing.

Basically, the Famicom is rad.

Accordingly, Nintendo has announced the Japanese version of the
NES Classic Edition called the Mini-Famicom. Here’s how it looks:


mini famicom
Look at that thing! It’s
adorable!

Nintendo

It sounds like it’s the same basic deal: For ¥5,980 (roughly $60
USD), you get 30 built-in Famicom games, two controllers, and the
system itself, which connects to modern TVs via HDMI. It
looks like it recreates the basic design of the Famicom in a
smaller form factor, which means the bolted-on controllers are
probably smaller as a result. 

The game library is largely the same
as it is in the U.S.
, with a few exceptions. For example, the
American football classic “Tecmo Bowl” has been replaced by
“Tsuppari Oozumou,” a sumo wrestling game.

It connects via HDMI just like the western version, so you can
almost certainly just import one and play it if you so desire.
The games will obviously all be in Japanese, but if you care
about importing something from Japan, I assume you understand
what you’re getting into.

Overall, though, this thing is way cooler than the one we’re
getting. The cradles for the controllers, the color scheme, and
the big “Family Computer” logo on the front all contribute to an
amazing console design that I think wins out over the western
NES. 

The Mini-Famicom comes out in Japan on November 10. Here’s the
trailer for it:

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Fun Video Hilariously Explains What All Those Random Symbols on Sheet Music Mean

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This clever video by Julian Cianciolo explains how to read sheet music and is actually much more enjoyable to watch than you’d imagine, especially if you’re a musician who can read sheet music because you can probably understand all the deadpan explanations, layered in-jokes, and trombone quips.

But even if you’re not a musician and just a dumb, musically illiterate, talentless normal like the rest of us, it’s still pretty fun to watch just to find out what those symbols and marks in music mean, if only to know how useless and silly some of them are.

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Surfer gets surprise of his life when dolphin jumps onto his board

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Surfer gets surprise of his life when dolphin jumps onto his board

It’s not all fun and games in the water.

Junior surfing champion Jed Gradisen got a huge surprise while surfing off the west coast of Australia when a dolphin jumped out of the water and landed directly on his board.

Thankfully, Jed’s father was there to capture the startling moment on camera.

“I think it was just an accident that the dolphin jumped on me,” Jed said. “It was just as amazed as I was.”

Luckily, Jed was not seriously hurt and insisted the experience wouldn’t keep him out of the water.

Surf on, Jed. We’ll be on the beach.

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Smartphone calls continue steady decline in UK

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BII UK smartphoneBI Intelligence

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Smartphone users in the UK are calling each other less often, but they’re increasingly using other modes of communication on their devices, according to Deloitte’s Mobile Consumer Survey 2016: UK Cut.

About 31% of the 4,000 survey participants aged 18 to 75 claimed not to make any standard voice calls in a given week, a stark increase from the only 4% of respondents who said they didn’t make voice calls in 2012.

The results are reflective of the continuing global trend in users turning to over-the-top (OTT) communication modes to connect not only with friends and family, but businesses as well. 

Voice calls are not being replaced by any single mode of communication. Rather, UK consumers are using a range of tools including e-mail, social media, instant messaging apps, and video calls at a growing rate. This shift has likely occurred for a number of reasons:

  • Convenience of communication trumps immediacy. Data-only communication enables users to multitask. For instance, more than half of smartphone owners use their phones while watching TV. Sending an email or instant message allows them to engage in both activities at the same time, whereas a voice call would make an additional task more challenging.
  • Consumers aged 18-24 represent the biggest users of data. Seventy-nine percent of 18 to 24 year-olds use email and social media weekly, and 74% use instant messaging weekly. This has a “knock-on” effect on older generations who want to keep in contact with their younger counterparts.
  • Data usage is increasing across the many modes of communication. All five modes of OTT communication saw at least 30% year-over-year (YoY) growth. In particular, respondents noted that their instant messaging usage (think Facebook Messenger and Snapchat) grew almost 50% from the same time the year prior. This makes sense considering that messaging apps over-index in terms of usage when compared with traditional apps, according to Flurry.

The move to other modes of communication is important for businesses to consider when wanting to reach their customers. Almost 90% of consumers globally want to use messaging services like SMS or chat apps to talk to businesses, according to a study commissioned by communications platform Twilio. However, just under half of all businesses that took part in the study are equipped to reach customers through messaging. Considering the growing use of these alternate channels, this failure to implement multiple B2C messaging strategies could hurt customer retention.

These trends have caught the attention of a wide range of businesses, publishers among them. News industry leaders including the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and the BBC are establishing a presence on a number of chat apps in an effort to be out front and build an audience on the latest platforms where people are consuming content. These early adopters are experimenting to learn which chat apps work for their audience and how they can leverage chat for the distribution of digital content, including articles, images, surveys, and video. 

BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on messaging apps for publishers that looks at the appeal of these apps and how they’re becoming a dominant platform for media consumption. It compares the leading chat platforms, including WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook’s Messenger, and Viber, and what features publishers should know about when thinking about how they might leverage these properties. It also looks at strategies for content distribution across chat apps and finally spotlights some of the challenges that publishers may encounter as they begin to dip their toes into content distribution via messaging apps.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • There are dozens of messaging platforms, each with distinct user demographics and features, and these differences will determine which apps a publisher should try and what type of content is most fitting. 
  • Publishers like The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and the BBC are experimenting to learn which chat apps work for their audience and how they can leverage chat for the distribution of digital content, including articles, images, surveys, and video.
  • Chat apps are especially appealing to publishers because they allow these brands to tap into users’ “dark social” activity. Dark social traffic stems from people sharing content privately through IM programs, messaging apps, and email, among other means.
  • Because chat apps were once primarily used for peer-to-peer communications, publishers have an opportunity to reach audiences on these platforms through a more conversational exchange. 

In full, the report:

  • Breaks down the pros and cons of each major messaging app.
  • Explains the different ways publishers can distribute content on messaging apps.
  • Highlights the differences between native and linked content.
  • Looks at the potential barriers that could limit chat apps’ utility for publishers.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you’ll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT 

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GoTenna’s new communicator crowd sources for a better signal

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If you’re a fan of exploring the great outdoors, especially in areas of devoid of cell service, you may have already sought out a GoTenna. These walkie-talkie-like enablers pair with your mobile device via Bluetooth so you can send messages and GPS data to others in the area using radio frequencies. Today the company is pushing the off-the-grid envelope even further with the introduction of GoTenna Mesh, along with a new premium subscription service and an SDK for developers to play with. The addition of mesh networking makes it one of the first devices of its kind, providing mobile (not fixed point), off-the-grid, long-range communication to users — so long as there’s a smattering of devices to help leverage its capabilities.

This is also the first time GoTenna is launching its product internationally, utilizing available public radio spectrums in each area. Early birds can pick up a set starting at $129 on Kickstarter, but if you wait for the retail launch it’ll run you $179 per pair.

The new hardware is smaller, albeit a touch chubbier-looking than its predecessor, and there’s no longer a need for an antenna extension. The basic range without mesh networking in action is similar to the previous model, covering up to about one mile in urban areas and three out in the sticks. From there, however, once a few devices are in play, the range extends from one device to the next nearby and so on, letting your data daisy-chain its way across greater distances.

The new technology augments the range of communication by sending data pings in the background to various nearby devices, hopping around until an efficient and successful path is found to the intended recipient. As an example, if you’re hiking and have friend A three miles ahead of you (in range) and friend B six miles ahead, the signal can hop from one to the next, retransmitting from the closest device until it gets where it’s going.

Obviously, with a robust network of active devices, the better the service can become. To help build a community for people to share their active locations, GoTenna launched the site: imeshyou.com, where users can anonymously list the area they’re in with their Mesh. That way, you’ll know if you’re heading into an area where you can get a boost from the locals or other travelers nearby.

As before, you use the GoTenna app for iOS and Android to send messages as text or GPS coordinates. There’s still a public broadcast channel that anyone with a device nearby can pick up, while group messaging and one-to-one communication offer end-to-end encryption for privacy’s sake.

The company is also launching its first premium subscription service called GoTenna Plus. During the first 90 days, users can get a year’s worth of service for $10, with the price then landing at $30 per year. This gives you detailed topographic maps, delivery notifications for up to six users at a time, location tethering to keep tabs on other verified users in your group and trip statistics. Plus, there’s network relaying, so you if you don’t have a cell signal, but a connected friend does, you can piggyback on their service and send SMS messages to the outside world.

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Guy Has A Badass Rap Battle With A Babe On Tinder, If Definitely Getting Laid Later Tonight

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Have to love how this played out. Nine times out of ten you just keep some lame fish who bails after the first try. This chick, however, goes all in, wordsmithing the shit out of her flirty rap battle verses with this dude. It’s a slam dunk.

Something tells me lots and lots of sex when they’re finally down to chill.

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