America’s top Google searches reveal just how confused the country is right now



If our parents or president can’t provide  the answers, Americans turn to Google.

After last night’s historic upset, many people searched online for help understanding what just happened. Some, it appeared, were looking for facts. Others wanted emotional reassurance that the electoral map that they were looking was somehow, magically, wrong.

First and foremost, Americans wanted to know basic facts about their often confusing electoral system:

"Who won the #popular vote?" Top questions on Google today#USElection2016

— GoogleTrends (@GoogleTrends) November 9, 2016 Read more…

More about Election Night 2016, Google Search, Watercooler, and Politics

from Mashable!

Tiny Bat Shocks Scientists by Smashing Decades-Old Speed Record


Photos: MPI for Ornithology/Getty

All hail the Brazilian free-tailed bat, which has just claimed a new flight speed record for all mammal-kind.

According to researchers at Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, bats of the species weighing less than half an ounce each were recently recorded flying at speeds exceeding 99 miles per hour, making it the fastest horizontal flyer on Earth.

“Initially, we could hardly believe our data,” said researcher Kamran Safi, “but they were correct.”

In addition to smoking the common swift (the next fastest horizontal flyer at around 68 miles per hour) the insect-loving echolocators shattered the previous highest bat-speed. In the 1950s, researchers estimated the same species to exceed speeds of 59 miles per hour, an observation that hasn’t been replicated until now. From New Atlas:

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute attached radio transmitters to the backs of Brazilian free-tailed bats. Using a mobile receiver aboard a small aircraft to localize the signal, the team tracked the flight paths of the animals and measured their speed through the air.


After consulting local weather data, the team has ruled out the possibility that tailwinds had a part to play. It says that where birds were assumed to fly more efficiently and faster than bats, its findings suggest a re-think might be in order of how we view the flight ability of the two creatures.

When it comes to vertical flight, however, birds still have the upper hand: In 1999, a peregrine falcon named “Frightful” was recorded dive-bombing at 242 miles per hour.

[New Atlas]

from Gizmodo

LeEco’s Super Bike isn’t electric, but it sure has a lot of gadgets attached


The LeEco Super Bike may be the perfect analogy for the company that created it. It’s a strange amalgamation that patches together a lot of disparate ideas together in a less than elegant way. It’s clearly trying really hard and will no doubt alienate some people with its over-eagerness.

Also, weirdly, it’s not electric.

That last point was the first thing a rep mentioned to be before looking at the bike earlier today. It’s a strange thing to lead with, but it’s likely already proven a pretty big source of confusion among consumes, so might as well cut that confusion off at the pass, really. It does seem a strange piece of technology to omit from “the world’s first super bike.”


At first glance, it brings to mind the bicycle that caused Pee-Wee such a headache in the mid-80s. The frame of the thing is a rounded triangle, reminiscent of the Starfleet insignia turned on its side. It gives the bike an added sense of aerodynamics, I suppose, but mostly it just looks weird.


There are a trio of big buttons along the top bar, one controls the front-facing light, the other snaps the back wheel parking break in place and a third takes shots via an optional front facing camera, and is otherwise vestigial.

On the tail of the bike, above the rear wheel, are a pair of lasers that shoot red laser pointer-like lines out the side, creating a theoretical safety barrier to keep cars from getting too close. The lights were particularly effective in the lights of the exhibit space, but will presumably operate much better at night when they really matter.


The focal point of the Super Bike’s superness is a four-inch touchscreen that sits up front, between the handlebars, running what the company has deemed “Bike OS” (for obvious reasons) atop Android. The display was actually fairly responsive, and there’s something to be said for built-in GPS, as someone who has gotten lost on his bike several times in the city can certainly attest.

Actually using the mapping functionality while riding is another issue entirely. A four-inch screen is still pretty small when you’re trying to find the next turn while cruising down the street. Pretty clear how that could ultimately be a recipe for disaster, even with all the laser lane makers in the world deployed.


The display can also be used to do things like selecting music, played through a set of downward facing on-board speakers.

As with most of the company’s non-smartphone/TV offerings, there’s no word yet on pricing or availability here in the States. Though the company assures us that the Super Bike will be available here in some form or other. It’s pretty clear the company mostly wanted to overwhelm its new American audience with all of the different things it does in one lavish and bizarre press conference.

And really, the Super Bike is the perfect microcosm of that approach.

from TechCrunch

This USB Stick Performs an HIV Test


Image: Imperial College London/DNA Electronics

Scientists in the UK have developed a USB stick that can quickly and accurately measure the amount of HIV is in a patient’s blood.

The medical device was created by scientists at Imperial College London and tech firm DNA Electronics, and all it needs is a simple drop of blood to measure HIV-1 levels. It then creates an electrical signal that’s fed into a computer, laptop, or handheld device. The disposable test could be used by HIV patients to monitor their own treatment and help patients in remote regions of the world, where more standard HIV tests are inaccessible.

Image: Imperial College London/DNA Electronics

Published in the journal Scientific Reports, results show that the USB stick is highly accurate, and it can produce a result in under 30 minutes. Current tests to detect the amount of HIV in the blood can take as much as three days, requiring patients to send blood samples to a lab. In the latest research, the USB stick tested 991 blood samples with 95 percent accuracy, with an average time to produce a new result just shy of 21 minutes.

When blood is placed onto a spot on the USB stick, it senses the HIV-1 virus through a change in acidity levels. A mobile phone chip in the USB stick converts this information into an electrical signal, and the stick then feeds the result to an app on a handheld device or computer.

The technology is still in its early stages, but it could allow patients to regularly monitor their virus levels similar to the way people with diabetes check their blood sugar levels. The current treatment for HIV reduces virus levels to practically zero, but in some cases, the anti-retroviral medication stops working, typically due to the HIV virus developing a resistance to the drugs. The new USB stick can detect the rise in HIV levels, and flag a potential problem with a patient’s meds or therapy.

“[Monitoring] viral load is crucial to the success of HIV treatment,” noted study lead author Graham Cooke in a statement. “At the moment, testing often requires costly and complex equipment that can take a couple of days to produce a result. We have taken the job done by this equipment, which is the size of a large photocopier, and shrunk it down to a USB chip.”

The team is now investigating the possibility of using the device to test for other viruses, such as hepatitis.

[Scientific Reports]

from Gizmodo

What the world searched on Google after the US elections


Based on the search strings that trended for November 9th, the world turned to Google in an effort to understand the President-elect’s surprise win and the United States’ complicated voting system. Google Trends posted the most popular searches after Donald Trump was named the 45th President of the United States on Twitter, and as Mashable noted, it reflects a lot of people’s confusion.

As you would expect, the candidates’ names are linked to election-related searches, such as "What will Hillary Clinton do now?" and "How did Donald Trump win?" But even generic search strings like "How did…" and "Why did…" were dominated by the presidential elections. "Why did Hillary concede?" trended, as well as the question that probably plagued a lot of people’s minds: "How did the polls get it so wrong?" Across the pond, people also looked up what Trump means for Brexit.

We embedded some of Google’s top search trends below, but you can check out Google’s World POTUS website for more search data. As for what results come up when you look up these questions, we’re afraid you’re going to have to Google them yourself.

Via: Mashable

Source: Google Trends (Twitter)

from Engadget

‘Speed Flying’ Through The Alps Looks Crazier Than Smoking Bath Salts In A Bear Cave


Until this morning I never knew Speed Flying existed as a sport, but now that I’ve done a little research it appears to be a unique combination of parachuting/skydiving and wingsuit flying/BASE jumping. You run and jump off a cliff just like you do in BASE jumping and wingsuit flying, only instead of falling straight down and pulling your parachute or riding out the adventure in your wingsuit you’re immediately navigating using your parachute chords.

I guess a good way to think of this is similar to parasailing but instead of the tourist being attached to the boat they’re soaring down a mountain and navigating their own course. This is one of the most adrenaline packed clips I’ve ever seen, and I’m beginning to wonder what it is about the Alps that has made Europeans crave these thrills.

Not too long ago I blogged about a video of a wingsuit BASE jumper who crash landed at 90mph after jumping in The Alps (he lived, barely, and you can see the POV footage here). Now I see this Speed Flying clip for the first time, I’m beginning to worry about the extreme sports athletes over in Europe.

…(h/t DIGG)…

Share This


Stephen Colbert urges folks to not move because of election



After cracking jokes about the new president-elect Donald Trump and suggesting Elizabeth Warren grieve with a neck tattoo, Stephen Colbert offered a message of unity during his monologue Wednesday night. 

Colbert urged viewers who want to move up north to Canada ("the language of France with the culture of Minnesota," as he described it) to reconsider—and not just because the Canadian immigration site crashed.  

"You don’t get to flee to another country when things get rough here," Colbert said. "Being an American citizen is like family. You’re in it whether you like it or not."

Oh, and if you’re feeling anything but elated about the election results, Colbert dishes the perfect advice on how to overcome.  Read more…

More about Canada, Election 2016, Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Stephen Colbert, and Watercooler

from Mashable!

Astronomers have designed a house for Mars — take a look inside


Mars 3.JPGThe “Mars Show Home” will be on display at the Royal Observatory until November 16.Edith Hancock

Everyone from astronomers to tech companies wants to know what it would be like to live on Mars.

From growing vegetables in Martian soil, to claims that leaving Earth could save the human species, scientists are constantly making advances in this field.

Now, astronomers from the Royal Observatory in London and Stephen Petranek — author of “How We’ll Live on Mars” — have designed a Martian Show Home to demonstrate what life could be like on the Red Planet.

The exhibit, which launched on Thursday 10 November and will run until Wednesday 16 November, marks the launch of “MARS” — a mini-series on National Geographic showing how humans could survive on the planet.


Business Insider went along to take a tour of the Martian home.

This is the Mars Show Home, which is currently on display at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London.

The pod-like house was designed by the observatory’s astronomers along with “How We’ll Live on Mars” author Stephen Petranek. The book is the inspiration for a National Geographic mini-series called “MARS,” which looks at how humans could colonise the planet over the next century.

Inside, the pod contains everything a person needs to live on Mars. The Royal Observatory’s Public Astronomer Dr Marek Kukula said one of the biggest challenges the planet’s first visitors will face is staying happy.

“I think all of the logistical and technical issues have been well thought through,” Dr Kukula said. “I suspect the real challenge will be how astronauts will survive and keep their morale going.”

According to Dr Kukula, the first astronauts to live on Mars will have to overcome living in “tiny environments, millions of miles away from their families and penned up together for really long periods of time.”

More mundade items included a microwave oven and a shelf with personal belongings. 

The home contains all the essential appliances for an extended stay. While Dr Kukula said that they expect astronauts will live on the planet for one or two years at a time while working and conducting experiments, Stephen Petranek said most people who travel to Mars won’t come back.

“It’s would be an incredibly expensive process just to get a person to Mars in the first place, so to bring them back again is almost a waste of money,” Petranek said.

“The people who would be selected to travel to Mars will know it’s a one-way ticket, and a chance to create a new civilization.”

Living on Mars means being self-sustainable. The astronomers included potted plants in the exhibition, to show how people could grow their own food.

“These could be anything,” Dr Kukula said.”Fruit, vegetables, tomatoes, potatoes — anything you could grow back on Earth.”

While the home contains one single bed at ground level, Dr Kukula said that the pods would sleep up to four people underground. “The ground-level bed is for lounging during the day.”

The home also contains the type of space suit anyone who lives on Mars would wear.

“One of the other big problems people will have is adapting to the pressure on the planet,” he said.

The atmosphere on Mars is about 100 times thinner than Earth’s and would require a  lightweight pressure suit. “Otherwise, your eyes would want to burst out of your skull!” Dr Kukula said.

When it comes to building the real thing, homes on Mars won’t have windows. This is due to radiation, which is one of the biggest issues astronauts and future Martains will face.

The astronomers included a skylight in their show home. The sunlight bounces through a highly reflective mirror-like tube, brightening up the entire home.

The pod itself is designed to look like it is built out of the earth on Mars. Dr Kukula said this would be the most likely building material, as it means the structure is “strong and used to the planet’s environment.”

from SAI

Astronomers have found ‘intriguing’ shadows in new photos of alien solar systems


Very Large Telescope four lasers 5

Astronomers have used a powerful mountaintop observatory to
record three of the most detailed photos yet of infant alien
solar systems forming planets.

The scientists were even able to see “intriguing” shadows cast by
clouds of gas and dust in one of the images.

The photos could help pop more pieces into the longstanding
puzzle of how
came to exist.

Ask an astronomer how planets form, and she’ll say parts of a
giant wheel of gas and dust around a newborn star, called a
protoplanetary disk, somehow collapse into blobs. Each blob
snowballs, clearing lanes in the disk as it grows bigger and
bigger until you have a new planet. Cooking time: A few million

But the
details are still mysterious
. For example: What starts the
party? How do planets end up spinning? And what causes a rocky
planet to form as opposed to a gas giant?

“[A]stronomers don’t know exactly how planets are formed,” Emma
Yu, an astronomer at the University of Texas in Austin, writes
at “Ask An Astronomer”

So we continue to look to the stars for clues — and the
“unprecedented detail” in the new images, write the authors of



in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, may
bring them that much closer to the complicated truth.

The scientists used an instrument called SPHERE
on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) — an array of four different
telescopes run by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) — to
take the new images of infant solar systems and their
protoplanetary disks.

SPHERE made this possible because it blocks out the light of the
central star, allowing any dim protoplanetary disks to be seen.

Here’s one that looks top-down on the star system HD 135344B,
which is located some 450 light-years from Earth:

protoplanet formation gas disk eso1640d

ESO, T. Stolker et

Some of the arms are brighter than the others, which is strange —
they appeared to be shadows. And over several observations, the
shadows appeared to move.

Astronomers who
this image eventually realized that the nascent solar
system had twisted inner and outer disks, not just one flat disk,
and the moving material was causing the shadows, much like a bird
flying in front of a lighthouse’s lamp.

From there, they figured out what a cross-section of the system
looked like, including a “warp” zone between the disks (25 AU, or
astronomical units, is about the distance from the sun to
somewhere between Uranus and Neptune):

protoplanetary disk astronomy astrophysics t stolker

Stolker et al./Astronomy & Astrophysics

Below is another new image of a new solar system from SPHERE.

This one is called RX J1615, and it’s a real baby at just 1.8
million years old (our solar system is about 4.6 billion years

The SPHERE image shows the system from a glancing angle, which
another group
of astronomers to figure out some of its
secrets from 600 light-years away:

protoplanet solar system gas dust eso1640b

ESO, J. de Boer et

The photo is a first and revealed “a complex system of concentric
rings surrounding the young star, forming a shape resembling a
titanic version of the rings that encircle Saturn,” according to
an ESO press

And below is yet another new image studied by
a third group
of astronomers.

This star system, called HD 97048, is located about 500
light-years away. It has some unusual structures and gaps —
features that helped the team figure where its nascent planets
might be:

protoplanet solar system gas dust eso1640c

ESO, C. Ginski et

“Through painstaking analysis, they found that the juvenile disc
around this star has also formed into concentric rings,”
according to the ESO’s release, and with highly unusual symmetry.

Alone, each new image is pretty incredible: These are baby solar
systems that may one day form Earth-like planets.

But together they provide a wealth of information that
astronomers may one day use to figure out how, exactly, we all
got here.

from SAI