The Majority of Americans Can’t See the Milky Way Anymore

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Milky Way seen over the ALMA observatory (Image: ESO/Y. Beletsky)

Our world is getting brighter, as we turn more and more lights on across the planet. But all that light shining from the ground makes it harder to see the lights shining from the sky. It’s now gotten so bad that the Milky Way is almost impossible to see in most of the United States.

A team of international researchers has created the most complete global atlas of light pollution ever created to show just what you can—and, increasingly, can’t—see in your own patch of night sky. They detailed their results today in a paper in Science Advances. In addition to tracking global light pollution, their new atlas also focuses on the slow global fade of the world’s most iconic dark sky object: the Milky Way.

In the US, 80 percent of people on the ground cannot see the Milky Way anymore because of light pollution. Worldwide, the number is less extreme, with 30 percent of the population unable to see the Milky Way, but the percentages veer wildly up and down when you look at individual countries, with some having almost no night sky visibility.

Global map of light pollution (Image: Science Advances)

Singapore was found to be the most light-polluted of all countries, with skies so bright over the whole country that no spot of the country was dark enough at night for human eyes to adapt to night vision. Though the atlas shows how bad the problem has gotten today, it’s actually been a long time coming.

“My sense is the the growth in artificial sky brightness began to accelerate after WWII, tracking fossil fuel consumption,” co-author of the study Chris Elvidge of NOAA told Gizmodo. “Fossil fuels provide the electricity for the lights and the mobility to facilitate urban sprawl.”

Elvidge recommended a number of counter measures to counteract the problem. Those included switching to motion-detector lights at night, turning off lighted-signs at night, and replacing street lamp fixtures with lights that shine only down, not up. Especially important, however, could be changing from traditional lightbulbs to amber-colored bulbs.

“The color which is most highly scattered is blue. This is the blue sky effect you see during the day,” Elvidge explained. “By cutting down on emissions in the blue, light pollution can be reduced. There is already a large stock of amber lights installed worldwide—high pressure sodium lamps.”

Another possibility for Americans who are still hoping to catch a glimpse of the Milky Way is to use this interactive map that the researchers have released to find the remaining dark sky patches closest to them.

Interactive night sky atlas over America (Image: CIRES capture courtesy of NOAA)

Be forewarned, though: Those dark patches are not likely to be above you. Instead, dark skies can increasingly be found only on public lands or exceptionally remote areas. “Some of our national parks are just about the last refuge of darkness—places like Yellowstone and the desert southwest,” co-author of the paper Dan Duriscoe of the National Park Service service noted in a statement.

Still, when you look at America’s skies in contrast with some of the areas even more hard hit by light pollution—like Berlin, which you can see inside of a “light dome” in this night photo of the city below—these islands of remaining darkness amidst the swelling light almost seem lucky. For now at least, some Americans can still see the Milky Way. It’s just a bit of a trek to get there first.

Berlin’s “light dome” (Image: A. Jechow/IGB)

[Science Advances]

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President Obama and Jimmy Fallon slow-jam the news

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President Barack Obama joined Jimmy Fallon for Thursday night’s show, where they presented a sensual-but-informative new segment of "Slow Jam the News." 

Watch Obama talk the economy, climate change and even our girl Rihanna.

More about Tv, Entertainment, Watercooler, and Videos

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JK Simmons’ Trainer Revealed What He Did To Get Him Absolutely Shredded For His Role In ‘Justice League’

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Earlier this week a photo of JK Simmons lifting weights in a gym went viral, with people being all “Wait…where the fuck did this come from?” You expect Chris Hemsworth to be ripped for Thor and you expect Arnold Schwarzenegger to get swole for Terminator, but JK Simmons? Dude’s 61 years old – how ripped can he actually get?

Super fucking ripped, apparently, as the above image managed to spread itself like wildfire in only a few short hours. And while it’s clear that Simmons put in a lot of time and effort into getting that big, he didn’t do it alone – Aaron Williamson, a 6’3” 235-pound former Marine and competitive bodybuilder, worked with Simmons (and continues to do so) to get him in this shape. Speaking to NY Daily News, Williamson divulged exactly what it took to get Simmons from “Grandpa” to “Sylvester Stallone.” Not only do they train together “two or three” times a week, but Simmons is on a specific diet as well:

I give him suggestions here and there, but he’s been experimenting over the past couple of years with different foods. A lot of low-carb stuff, lean proteins, a lot of vegetables. Every day might be a little different for him. He eats every three hours. What he calls his “secret weapon” is a little piece of dark chocolate. He eats one square every day.(via)

As for what sort of exercises they do in the gym, Williamson says that he and Simmons “typically are doing a lot of unilateral movements with dumbbells, because JK has aches and pains and stuff, so we try to keep things mobile and loose”:

We use dumbbells that feel a bit better on your joints rather than being stuck under a bar. His goal was to have “sick arms.” When we did Terminator, I was training a guy named Jai Courtney. He kept mentioning, “I want to have arms bigger than Jai’s.” We would joke about it, but then we actually started training and he made improvements on his arms until what we’re doing right now.(via)

He’s making me look bad. #JKSimmons #AintPlayinNoGames

A photo posted by Aaron Williamson (@aaronvwilliamson) on

Clearly whatever they’re doing works – and good on JK for getting into fitness even at a later stage in life. It’s never too late to get swole.

[H/T NY Daily News]

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What I learned from a ‘Snapchat affair’ with an old flame

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After breaking up over four years ago, I recently began Snapchatting my ex-boyfriend, Matt.

Despite living mere subway stops apart for the past year, I hadn’t seen him in almost three years; that last time, we slept together.

But with so much time passed, “snapping” Matt felt harmless. After all, he was my “first love” — first everything, really — so totally losing him from my life always felt a little unnecessary and empty. We’d been such compatible friends—why should that end?

Through Snapchat, it was fun to see snippets of his life— his attempts at home-cooking, office pups and neighborhood art — and to share flashes of mine. To know he was happy, cliché as it sounds, made me happy, too.

But let’s be real. Snapping Matt, I ultimately realized, added a layer of complexity to my life.

Soon into our snap “friendship,” my boyfriend, Ian, caught on. Matt’s name often buzzed across my iPhone when we were together. At first I’d flip my screen or tuck it in my pocket.

Image: PATRICK SEEGER/PICTURE-ALLIANCE/DPA/AP IMAGES

But as Matt’s digital presence became familiar to me, it became familiar to Ian, too. I knew this situation was strange, yet part of me didn’t want it to be. Part of me wanted Ian to see Matt’s snaps, to know we’d re-established contact.

Perhaps part of me wanted Ian to be concerned or jealous that our once-love had blossomed into a thriving snap “something.” I enjoyed the attention from Matt and craved Ian’s counter.

I wanted to believe snapping Matt was just an entertaining, even endearing daily divergence. The snap photos and messages were fleeting by design, as our thoughts about one another should have been. Yet as Matt and I scaled the ranks in each others’ snap “best friends,” I found myself analyzing our snap “tactics,” and drifting into distant memories of those years together as I rarely had before.

A slippery slope

At first, I’d see the snaps he sent me posted on his public “story”… but soon they became much more personalized.

At first, I’d see the snaps he sent me posted on his public “story” as well. They were depersonalized, I reminded myself — he’s letting me in as he does every “best friend” on his most recently snapped list. But soon the snaps became more personalized.

First it was a photo of his new kitten, and I’d reply reminiscing on my hate for his dad’s cat, who’d always creep behind my shoulders when we watched movies. I’d snap a show I was into, and he’d send recommendations. We’d use Snapchat’s “messaging” feature, engaging in what felt like real conversation.

Yet however “advanced” our snap “texting” became, the fleeting nature of Snapchat was crucial to our connection—unlike iMessage there was no record of our interaction, which is what I wanted. When my friends saw a snap from Matt come through, they’d raise their brows, but couldn’t ask to read our exchange; it didn’t exist.

Sending Matt an iMessage felt too permanent or forward. I wouldn’t even “Like” Facebook photos of his recent trip. It was too public a gesture.

But Snapchat was free-game, an open testing ground for communication I wasn’t sure I should, or wanted to be having. Our secret engagements were inconsequential or so I thought.

Image: Patrick Seeger/AP Images

After a few months of snapping, things escalated. Our snap exchanges remained completely PG, even fizzling off for a few weeks. However, my subconscious chose a different route. 

At first Matt randomly appeared in my dreams. He’d be at a party I attended or in a store when I walked in. Gradually, he took on more central roles. For a full week, I dreamt about him every night. First, there were love dreams; his arms wrapped around me as I leaned against him, sitting in a grassy field.

But love dreams quickly became sex dreams, and I’d wake up exhausted, confused and turned on. Minutes later, I’d feel disgusted and ashamed.

Yes, it’s normal to have some sex dreams about your ex’s, but the frequency of these dreams, coupled with the regularity of our snapping illuminated a seriously unsettling cause and effect. Anxious about these dreams, but unwilling to discuss them with Ian, I’d pick fights, projecting the frustration I thought he’d feel if he found out. This immature behavior demanded I snap back to reality.

Was any of it real?

Through social media, I developed a false sense of intimacy with Matt that, in truth, proved as transient as our five-second snaps. I realized Matt rarely started our serial snaps, and often didn’t reply to my more personal reach-outs. I had even invited him to my going away party via snap message, and though he replied, he didn’t come.

As I tried to materialize our supposedly budding friendship, he kept his limits. While snapping Matt was as normal as snapping anyone else, the jolt of adrenaline I felt each time his name popped up proved our communication fed a deep-rooted insecurity. For years, I feared the reality that after such an intimate connection, Matt truly moved on and feels nothing beyond fond memories for me.

Matt is more a ghost than a participant in my present, and his absence requires I let go, not only of our relationship, but myself with him.

Perhaps scarier is the reality that I too have moved on—that Matt is more a ghost than a participant in my present, and his absence requires I let go, not only of our relationship, but also of myself with him.

Things were simpler when Matt and I dated; our biggest concern was which Starbucks to go to or if I’d finish my homework in time to make a movie. Matt treated me like a princess, and allowed me to get whatever I wanted. I encouraged this behavior. While we meant it, we said “I love you” ad nauseam, as if playing out a scripted high-school romance—our relationship, in retrospect, more performative than deep.

With Ian I am not that googly-eyed, self-centered sixteen-year-old. I can’t expect him to jump at my every need, or soliloquize our romance, nor can he. We have jobs, rent and consequential deadlines beyond late homework. We strive for balanced partnership and long-passed the honeymoon phase. For us, love means compromise, informed support, and advice in the dark times, as well as the light-hearted, childish adventures.

We’re far from mature adults, but we’re getting there. So to compare present relationships to past, to hold onto less fully-formed versions of ourselves, perhaps as a means to justify immature behavior or old habits, is not only dangerous but also damaging, to present partners and ourselves.

The IRL factor

Recently, for the first time in years, I saw Matt, by surprise, in-person. It was a Saturday, hot. During a neighborhood ‘block party,’ welcoming the unofficial start of summer, I spotted Matt from a distance, sipping a smoothie and swaying to live music.

His broad shoulders and bright T-shirt were immediately familiar. Hand-in-hand with his girlfriend, as I was with my boyfriend of two years. She looked my way through round sunglasses blocking potential eye contact. Her long, wavy hair reminded me of mine at seventeen. She is undeniably beautiful.

Now short, my hair dampened at the nape of my neck. I turned quickly. He didn’t see me.

“Matt’s here,” I told my boyfriend, on instinct. A rushed whisper. “Matt. Matt?” he asked. Stoic, he rolled his shoulder then changed the topic. “It’s fine,” I lied, smiling. “I know,” he replied.

My friends urged me to say hi, but I couldn’t. Seeing my ex by-surprise after years apart was shocking, but not because he’d become a stranger. Spotting Matt was dissonant, even nauseating, because over the past few months, through Snapchat, he’d become completely familiar.

I’d moved to this neighborhood weeks earlier, to live in a friend’s empty room out of convenience. I knew Matt lived in the area, and months ago we’d planned to grab a drink. Though now living in such proximity, catching up beyond the digital space felt too close for comfort. After my move, our Snaps, too, began to fizzle.

In awe of the bright sunshine, beautiful murals, music and countless tattooed artists that day, I decided, “Fuck it” and sent Matt a quick Snap. I also posted to my “story,” of the local scene.

As Matt and his girlfriend entered the crowd, I checked the app instinctively. He hadn’t opened my snap or staged some romantic run-in, as my internal narrative might have fantasized weeks before.

I didn’t love Matt anymore, but I’d fallen back in love with the idea that he was paying attention to me.

In that moment, I realized how threatening and fake this whole “snap affair” had been. I didn’t love Matt anymore, but I’d fallen back in love with the idea that he was paying attention to me, that he remembered me, that some part of me, the first-love, high school romance, lost virginity part of me, remained pure and alive with him.

Now, through Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter (the list goes on), we’re not only able, but almost encouraged to spy on ex’s lives “after us.” This often anonymous viewership sustains our participation (albeit digital) in their lives, whether they or we) know it or not. Troubling and beautiful, we can only expect this phenomenon to advance.

Snapchat’s transient nature tempts us to dance the line between appropriate and unnecessary communication, especially with romantic (and ex-romantic) partners. Ultimately, this wider margin for regret requires we second-guess Snapchat’s “less serious” reputation, before acting upon it.

The facade I’d fostered with Matt was so false that when real-life contact proved finally possible, I felt entirely incapable. He never responded after opening my snap hours later — this silence appropriately evidencing a mutual lesson learned.

*Names have been changed for anonymity. 

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

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These pictures show how insanely cool the next MacBook Pro could look (AAPL)

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Martin Hajek MacBook Pro Render5

Based on parts that leaked and credible reports, the MacBook Pro expected to launch later this year is shaping up to be very cool.

Now 3D-render master Martin Hajek has produced detailed pictures of what the new MacBook could look like, and they’re incredibly exciting for anyone who might be considering buying a MacBook Pro later this year.

The biggest rumored new feature on the MacBook Pro is a touchscreen display integrated into the keyboard, located where the function keys would normally go.

The idea is that programs — like Photoshop, or Siri — could use the touchpad to display custom shortcuts depending on what the user is doing at the moment. Hajek provides a beautiful example in his renders using Spotify, which could use the screen to display the current track along with touchscreen play, pause, and next track buttons. 

Of course, the pessimistic take on this new touchpad is that it requires third-party support, and like some of Apple’s new interface tweaks like 3D Touch, the installed base might not be large enough for developers to devote time to it. (In one worst-case scenario, the touchpad could become like the edge screen on Samsung’s Galaxy Edge phones — nice to have, but not essential.)

Still, it’s fun to imagine what the next MacBook Pro could look like. 

You can see all of the MacBook Pro renders below, reproduced with permission. Check out Hajek’s website for more device renders, or follow him on Twitter @deplaatjesmaker for the latest.

SEE ALSO: The next MacBook Pro is shaping up to be incredible

A case leak cutout showed that the function keys were likely to be replaced by a touchscreen. However, there’s rumors that the MacBook Pro will have a TouchID fingerprint sensor as well, and that’s not depicted in these renders.

The touchscreen bar could be a great place for the traditional Mac menu bar.

It could certainly free up valuable screen real estate.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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This app lets you make easy money by selling personal data to marketers

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man on laptop at data center

Flickr/Leonardo
Rizzi


Every second you interact with your digital devices, you create
data. What you’re clicking, liking, sharing, and posting masks a
wealth of information about you and your habits that companies
and marketing firms would love to know so that they can better
target you.

A new app called DataWallet, which launched on
June 9th, wants people to opt into sharing their data (the app
maker sells it to marketing firms) so they can make a quick buck
on the information they inadvertently already provide.

The unusual service takes the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”
attitude to data-snooping.

The
multibillion-dollar data brokerage industry
operates largely
in the shadows, culling information using everything from
registration records at the DMV to Facebook pages – and pretty
much anything that resides in the public domain. It’s all a
little bit creepy.

“The only way to make sure we are empowered in the process
is by bringing something to market that is better,” founder and
CEO of DataWallet, Serafin Lion Engel, tells Tech
Insider.


datawallet screen 1
DataWallet

The set-up process begins with deciding what data you want
to share. Members can give access to their Facebook, Twitter,
Instagram, and Pinterest accounts, and fine-tune the settings for
each if they don’t, for example, want to include their hometown
or work history.

DataWallet, which was founded in 2015, aggregates this data
from all parties, strips it of any personally identifiable
information (such as name, email, and phone number), and
condenses it into analytics reports. Companies can then buy those
reports from DataWallet.

Users turn a profit on every report sold that includes
their data, which stretches back to the creation of their social
accounts. P

ayouts vary from $1 to $50 and occur at a
frequency of every two months or so, according to Engel. The more
accounts you link to DataWallet, the higher the likelihood that
your data will be purchased.

The average payout is $10. Engel expects that number to
rise as more users join the app, making the service more valuable
to companies and marketing firms who will then purchase the
reports.

The service is only worthwhile for consumers if they’re
making money on it (which requires lots of buyers), but the
buyers will only purchase reports if the service attracts a
massive user base.

It’s a classic chicken-versus-egg
conundrum, though Engel insists buyers will be attracted to the
depth of DataWallet’s data. Typically, these firms have access to
public data, which users can control in settings.

DataWallet unlocks new, more interesting
information, such as what users are talking about online, when
they’re online, and what they care about.

“It’s an unprecedented way for you to understand your
consumers,” Engel says.


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DataWallet

More than 20,000 people have joined the waitlist for the
app, which launched on Apple’s App Store on June 10.

In the future, the company hopes to integrate other
data-centric services that go beyond social. Users might
volunteer data on their Amazon Prime purchases or Netflix
account, in exchange for discounts or better
recommendations.

DataWallet has a long way to go before it can make any
promises regarding security. It currently uses “state-of-the-art
encryption” to protect users’ data, according to Engel, and is
working to implement more advanced measures.

Of course, opting in to share your data doesn’t prevent
other data brokers from also taking it. Engel hopes the company’s
intimate relationships with users provides a competitive
advantage over other data brokers, so they might one day be
forced to cooperate with users in order to stay in business. It’s
all about baby steps.

“It’s not just a way more ethical way of going about it,”
Engel says, “it is the only ethical way to go about it.”

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7 Genius Tips For You To Clean The Bathroom Quickly

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bathroom cleaning tips

Let’s face facts: cleaning the bathroom is one of the more unpleasant household chores that we undertake on a weekly basis. Due to its often challenging and time-consuming nature, we also have a tendency to put off cleaning our bathrooms, which in turns allow dirt to accumulate and makes the task even harder! This is why so many of us look for short-cuts, but while this saves time it also compromises the quality of the clean.

With many households already saving money by creating an energy-efficient bathroom, it is little wonder that home-owners are also keen to clean this space in a more efficient and time-effective manner.

But what if there were some simple but effective hacks that enabled you to quickly clean your bathroom while also achieving brilliant results? This is where our YouTube friend the Household Hacker comes into play, as he has created a video that highlights seven stunningly simple bathroom cleaning tips for busy home-owners!

What problems does the video cover?

So what common cleaning problems does the video tackle? Here are a select few:

  • Dirty and stained glass mirrors
  • The build up of lime-scale and soap scum in your shower
  • Hard-water stains on fittings such as taps
  • Accumulated dirt and stains on neglected items such as soap dispensers
  • Regular toilet cleaning and maintenance
  • Dirt and grime on your toilet brush!
  • Blocked ventilation to your washer-dryer

How will these Bathroom Cleaning tips help you out?

These simple bathroom cleaning tips share a common theme, as they are easy to execute and can be implemented using common household items. This also makes them cheap, with staples such as white vinegar and lemon juice extremely cost-effective even if you do not already have them in your home. All that is required on your part is a willingness to learn and a little elbow grease. So why not check out the video now and revolutionise your approach to cleaning the bathroom?

The post 7 Genius Tips For You To Clean The Bathroom Quickly appeared first on Lifehack.

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A Balloon Beacon of Hope

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Technology has come a long way in giving mass populations advanced warning of oncoming natural disasters, but the problem of what to do following the devastation still exists. To aid in relief and rescue, the Noah Balloon serves as a visible marker for individuals to navigate toward following an earthquake, tsunami, tornado or other event. Where there is a Noah Balloon, people can find medical care, food and other emergency services.

Designer: Jong Chan Kim & Daewoong Park

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