With the Tour de France a week away, I rode the new Cannondale SuperSix EVO, billed as the ‘fastest lightweight road bike,’ to see what it was all about. Here’s the verdict.

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new Cannondale SuperSix EVO Tour de France 2019

Just like that it’s Tour time, and, as with every Tour de France, new bikes are rolling out in the buildup to the Grand Départ.

That includes the Connecticut-based Cannondale, which on Friday unveiled the new SuperSix EVO, billed as the world’s "fastest lightweight road bike." The riders on the US-registered EF Education First team are expected to race fresh EVOs at the Tour, which starts July 6 in Brussels. (They’ve actually been riding them in stealth mode for some time, in pro cycling’s open tech secret.)

Cannondale says the new bike is significantly faster and more comfortable than the previous iteration, which Business Insider reviewed in 2017. An all-rounder, the EVO slots in between Cannondale’s two other race bikes: the hyper-aero SystemSix, which debuted last summer and is the company’s fastest bike, used in flatter road races, and the compliant Synapse, its most forgiving ride, preferred in punishing events like the cobbled Paris-Roubaix.

SuperSix EVO aero cockpit itegrated.JPG

"We’ve hit a weight that’s the same or lighter than the previous bike, but we’ve added so many features," Nathan Barry, a Cannondale design engineer, told Business Insider. "The drag at 30-mph race speed is 30 watts less drag than the old bike. It’s the same stiffness numbers and handling, but there’s bigger tire clearance, more integration, thru axles front and rear, internal cable routing, and more. It’s a perfectly rounded race bike."

In addition to the more-aero tubes, the standout design feature with this EVO is the rear triangle and its dropped seat stays, which, according to the company, make for better aerodynamics — "because there’s just less stuff in the way of the wind" — and a more comfortable ride. It follows numerous brands that have incorporated dropped stays into their frame designs, notably Specialized with the Tarmac and BMC with the Teammachine.

new Cannondale SuperSix EVO debut stealth

"By having the seat stays into the seat tube, below the top tube, if you develop your layup correctly, it can allow the seat tube to flex, and that gives you some comfort in the saddle, which is restricted when you have the seat stays forming a perfect truss with the front triangle," Barry said.

"The reason we’re seeing dropped rear stays across multiple brands is that it’s an engineering solution to a problem that multiple people are trying to solve. If your goal is more comfort and to reduce drag, that is a good way to further that to the back half of the bike."

Another difference is the wider tire clearance. With the previous frame set, the EVO could run tires up to 28 mm wide, which was already generous, but the new bike can accept tires as wide as 30 mm and still have 6 mm of clearance around the tire, according to Cannondale. That’s welcome news, because generally a wider tire is not only more comfortable but also faster, as we learned at last year’s Tour.

SuperSix EVO vs. Specialized Trek other bikes wind tunnel

Unlike with the disc-only SystemSix, riders interested in the new EVO can opt for discs or rim brakes. Cannondale says there’s no difference in stiffness or geometry between the two versions.

Also different from the older bike is that the new EVO is integrated, à la the SystemSix. Combined, the aero frame tubes, fork, wheels, seat post, handlebar, and stem make up Cannondale’s system-integrated design, which, the company says, saves a rider those 30 watts at 30 mph (48 km/h). Also impressive, the company says the new bike increases compliance by up to 18%.

EVO yaw weighted drag power watts savings

Cannondale has also launched a mobile app that pairs with an integrated wheel sensor to deliver speed, route, and distance, as well as other information about your bike, including the serial number and service reminders.

The new line begins with the SuperSix EVO Carbon 105, at $2,200, and runs all the way up to the SuperSix Hi-Mod Disc Dura-Ace Di2, at $11,500. Certain models come with a built-in power meter. Cannondale said the new EVOs would start shipping immediately.

Last week, Cannondale sent Business Insider a SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod Disc Ultegra Di2, a $7,500 bike (it has the same frame set the pros are expected to race at the Tour). And while we had enough time for just a few rides, here are some initial impressions of the most talked-about new bike heading into the Tour.

SEE ALSO: Why the tires at the Tour keep getting wider and the pressure lower

DON’T MISS: I’ve been biking in traffic for decades, and this is one of the best safety gadgets I’ve used

This is a great-looking bike that handles beautifully and feels impossibly smooth on the road. Whereas the previous EVO we tested, in size 58 cm, weighed 18 pounds even, without pedals, our new EVO tipped the scales at just over 17.2, also without pedals in 58 cm.

It’s a clear departure from previous EVOs: This is more of an aero bike now, not that classic EVO you used to know. That’s good if you’re into the slippery aesthetic, but fans of the older look may not dig the wind-tunnel vibes, at least at first.

For instance, this was the most recent EVO, before the launch of the new bike. It has a classic look compared with that of the new bike, which now looks a lot more like the SystemSix.

While the new EVO isn’t a true aero bike, like the SystemSix (below), it now has more in common looks-wise with the SystemSix than it does with the previous EVOs.

Here’s Tejay van Garderen racing on the new EVO in stealth mode this spring. Note that with his setup the EVO has a slightly more classic look. So you could configure the new EVO differently, depending on whether you want more of a speedster or a classic road bike.

As such, the new cockpit is fairly well integrated and comes with a nice out-of-the-way mount for our go-to Garmin computer.

 

 

We like a clean bar, so we were happy with this setup.

No matter which way you look at it, the new EVO oozes wind-cheating intention.

The new EVO features a stack of plastic spacers under the stem that remove easily. (Were this our bike for keeps, we’d pull another two spacers out and cut off the extra steerer tube for an even cleaner look.)

Welcome to the new minimalist EVO. (The binder bolt is hidden under the top tube.)

There’s even more clearance for bigger tires now. You can run up to 30 mm-wide rubber and still have 6 mm of space around the tires, according to Cannondale. (Pictured are 25 mm Vittorias.)

That’s a lot of room for wider tires in back too, should the desire hit you.

On certain models there’s a built-in power meter in the crankset for the data-savvy.

With the rollout of the new EVO, Cannondale announced new wheels too, the HollowGram 45 mm-deep KNØTs.

In addition to the powerful discs, our bike came with a wheel sensor that works with the Cannondale mobile app, which records your ride data in one place.

A sample screenshot from the new Cannondale mobile app shows our newly registered test bike.

Bottom line: This is a crazy-good road bike that even the most finicky roadies would love to have in their quiver.

While our time with the new EVO before launch was very limited, we did get in a few rides, but we were left wanting more — a good sign. The bike does everything exceedingly well, beyond expectation even. The most notable strengths are, no surprise, superb handling and a velvety-smooth road feel. It’s the most comfortable performance road bike we’ve ridden. With the fresh six-point integration and aero design, the bike feels faster at speed, noticeably more so than the EVO we rode in 2017.

Downsides? There really isn’t one we could spot off the bat. Perhaps in a bike that costs over seven grand we’d like a 58 cm EVO that weighs less than 17 pounds, but with discs and a bigger frame that is most likely unrealistic at this stage. And some might at first lament the loss of the classic EVO look, but others will surely embrace the design innovation and the performance benefits it yields. As for us, we’ll keep pedaling. Check back for a long-term review.

Head to Cannondale.com for more information about the new EVO.

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This Parthenon pillar inspired 360-degree air purifier brings a touch of Greek architecture to your home

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The Pillars of Parthenon’s iconic stature can now be beautifully introduced into your living room, bringing with it the clean, healthy air that we deserve. Appropriately named after the Greek God of the West Wind, Zephyrus is a domestic air conditioning unit that absorbs fine dust from the air that surrounds it.

The pillar-like form isn’t only unique, but it also holds a functional benefit; the cylindrical footprint allows the unit to absorb particles from all sides, 360° degrees around itself, making it extremely efficient! In order for the simplistic design to not be interrupted, a minimalistic yet intuitive air condition indicator is positioned on the top surface of the device. This has been accompanied by a trio of buttons which each control the unit’s power, time-booking mode, and fan-speed!

The simplistic design continues on the inside, with a fuss-free and considered assembly process that allows for quick and hassle-less replacement of the filter.

Designer: Jonggun Kim

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How to Grill the Perfect Burger

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Smoke wafts through the air, there’s a cold beer in your hand, and the smell of freshly cut grass drifts by on the breeze. Nothing beats a summer barbecue, and when it comes to grilling, there’s just no substitute for the perfect burger.

Unfortunately, cooking the perfect burger is an essential grilling skill that lots of people don’t have (and don’t even know they don’t have). Burgers aren’t meant to be football-shaped balls of meat, hidden within the recesses of an oversized bun. Nor should they be dry and filled with non-burger ingredients, like breadcrumbs and eggs. They should be juicy and thick, but not too thick, and seasoned with basic ingredients that don’t hide the burger’s true flavor. If that sounds like a burger you want, read on.  

Before you start grilling your perfect burger, make sure to start with the best meat possible — a freshly ground mix of 80/20 chuck. Chuck is a cut of beef and 80/20 means that 20 percent of the ground beef is made up of fat. Any less than 20 percent fat and the burger tends to be too lean, which will make it come out dry. Once you’ve got your meat, it’s time to start grilling.

Like this illustrated guide? Then you’re going to love our book The Illustrated Art of Manliness! Pick up a copy on Amazon.

Illustrated by Ted Slampyak

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NASA’s next $1 billion space mission will be an alien-hunting nuclear helicopter that flies around Saturn’s icy moon Titan

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dragonfly titan moon helicopter drone illustration nasa twitter D GChG6XUAAurFq

NASA has announced humanity’s next big feat of space exploration.

In 15 years, the space agency said, scientists may land a nuclear-powered helicopter on the surface of Saturn’s icy moon Titan. The dronelike rotorcraft, nicknamed "Dragonfly," would skim and scan the moon’s surface while seeking out signs of past — or present — microbial alien life.

According to NASA, Dragonfly is slated to launch around 2026 and arrive at Titan in 2034. It was one of a dozen $850 million mission concepts that research teams pitched to the space agency in 2017.

"This cutting-edge mission would have been unthinkable even just a few years ago," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a release about Dragonfly’s planned trip to Titan. "Visiting this mysterious ocean world could revolutionize what we know about life in the universe."

Why go to Titan?

titan saturn moon 2

Titan is one of many ocean worlds in our solar system, including Enceladus, Pluto, Europa, and Ganymede, that could be suitable for life.

It’s Saturn’s largest moon, and the second-largest moon in the solar system. Scientists also refer to it as a "proto-Earth" because of its size and composition.

Titan’s surface has lakes of liquid hydrocarbon, such as methane (the key ingredient in natural gas), as well as clouds of ethane and smog rich with carbon-containing molecules. Titan’s atmosphere mostly consists of nitrogen, like Earth’s, but is four times as thick as the one ensconcing our planet. So while no human could breathe there, the thick air is helpful for flying robotic choppers.

In addition, a colossal ocean of liquid water may exist below Titan’s roughly 60-mile-thick crust of ice.

All of this makes Titan a prime candidate in the ongoing search for signs of extraterrestrial life.

"Titan is the only other place in the solar system known to have an Earth-like cycle of liquids flowing across its surface," Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, tweeted on Thursday. "Dragonfly will explore the processes that shape this extraordinary environment filled with organic compounds — the building blocks to life as we know it."

A $1 billion plutonium-powered drone

plutonium 238 nasa department energy pu-238 pu238

Titan is a frigid world where surface temperatures hover around minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 179 degrees Celsius). Sunlight is much dimmer on Saturn — about 1% as strong as it is on Earth — so solar panels wouldn’t suffice to power a spacecraft there.

To power Dragonfly and keep its circuits and motors from freezing on Titan, the team behind the mission will get a power supply called a radioisotope thermoelectric generator, or RTG.

In short, the device converts heat energy into electricity. The beating heart of an RTG is a radioactive substance called plutonium-238 (Pu-238), which, until only recently, was made as a byproduct of Cold War nuclear-weapons production. As Pu-238 decays, the material simmers with warmth. In an RTG, that warmth passes through a shell of thermoelectric materials that can turn a fraction of that heat into voltage.

dragonfly nuclear powered drone helicopter rotocraft nasa titan saturn moon illustration jhuaplOn a spacecraft, an RTG gives off lasting warmth that helps safeguard fragile electronics. Using an RTG for power instead of solar panels also reduces the total weight of a robot for deep-space missions. Plus, it takes half of any amount of Pu-238 about 87 years to decay into a more stable material, which means a space mission relying on the substance can last for decades. 

NASA plans to provide $850 million to design, test, and build Dragonfly. Additionally, the agency will provide an RTG for the spacecraft and will also fund its launch on a powerful (and as yet unnamed) rocket.

If Dragonfly arrives on Titan safely after its eight-year journey, it will use maps created by NASA’s Cassini mission to "leapfrog" around the distant world in flights lasting as long as 5 miles (8 kilometers). In total, the spacecraft may fly more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) during its first mission.

NASA expects that adventure to last for about two years and eight months — though other plutonium-powered spacecraft, such as the Voyager probes, have lasted for decades.

SEE ALSO: The 15 most incredible plutonium-powered space missions of all time

DON’T MISS: NASA’s deep-space nuclear-power crisis may soon end, thanks to a clever new robot in Tennessee

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here’s what NASA saw when it landed on Saturn’s largest moon

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Jony Ive is leaving Apple — here are his most iconic creations, which helped lead Apple from almost certain doom to total dominance (AAPL)

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Tim Cook Jony Ive

After a legendary 27-year run, Jony Ive is leaving Apple and starting a new firm, called LoveFrom. 

It can’t be overstated just how influential Ive was, and is, at Apple: "He has more operational power than anyone else at Apple except me," Steve Jobs once said of Ive.

When Ive first started at Apple in 1992, the company was seen by many as being on its last legs. Over the next few years, Ive would contribute his design expertise to products like the Newton, Apple’s ill-fated personal digital assistant. He almost quit on several occassions

But when Jobs made his triumphant return to Apple in 1997 and took over as CEO, Ive emerged as a key lieutenant and a major creative force in the reinvigoration of the company. Together, Jobs and Ive saved Apple from an ignominious fate, and brought it to its present position of massive market strength.

Ive’s first big project with Jobs was the original, candy-colored iMac, launched in 1998. The success of that machine re-established Apple as a major innovative force in the PC market, and set the stage for Apple to blow everybody away with the MacBook, the iPod, and later, the iPhone — all of which Ive designed. 

Now, it seems, Ive is ready for something new — though, it should be noted, his firm LoveFrom will continue working with Apple.

Here are the most iconic Apple products designed by Ive – the products that helped Apple recover from near-certain doom and establish itself as the premiere manufacturer of premium gadgetry. 

SEE ALSO: Apple’s longtime design chief Jony Ive is leaving the company

Ive’s first design for Apple was the MessagePad 110, part of its Newton line of pioneering personal digital assistants. These devices were innovative, boasting stylus input and other cutting-edge features, but they were never sales successes.

Ive’s first smash-hit came later: The original candy-colored iMac looked like nothing else on the market when it came out in 1998. It got lambasted for not having a floppy drive — making this the first time that Apple got rid of a feature that everybody else considered standard, and then ended up looking like a visionary.

Starting in 1999, the iMac design would also give way to the similarly colorful iBook family of laptops, which looked funky, but would later be replaced by the more rectangular MacBook.

The Power Mac G4 Cube, another Ive design, wasn’t quite the same sales sensation, but it reinforced Apple’s reputation for making good-looking computers that stood out against the bland beige boxes that characterized the PC industry of the day.

The original iPod, too, was an Ive design. While music players had existed before, the sleek sophistication of the iPod, combined with its ease-of-use, started a revolution — and gave Apple the grounding it needed to establish its now-huge iTunes Music store.

Fast forward to 2007, and Ive made arguably his biggest stamp on the world of gadget design with the launch of the iPhone, which set the standard for how smartphones should look and feel.

Ive helped create an entirely new category of mobile devices with the iPad, unveiled in 2010. The iPad was the first in a wave of tablets that had most of the functionality of a laptop, and was slightly larger than the iPhone.

Ive also helped design some of Apple’s accessories, like the Apple Pencil. The Apple Pencil was unveiled in 2015 as a companion to the high-end iPad Pro, but was widely seen as an overly expensive stylus — and had the bizarre "feature" of needing to be plugged into the side of the iPad Pro to charge.

Ive took on mobile computing design yet again with Apple’s first wearable device, the Apple Watch, in 2015. Now in its fifth iteration, the Apple Watch supports a range of health technology, wellness monitoring, and cellular data options.

Ive even had his hand in Apple’s biggest project, its massive new headquarter and campus that was unveiled in 2017.

Ive never stopped working on Apple’s laptops, though. Most famously, he created the MacBook Air, Apple’s smallest, lightest, and thinnest laptop.

Indeed, Ive has had his hands in just about everything Apple has come out with in the past decades, including the new Mac Pro unveiled at Apple’s developer conference WWDC on June 3.

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No one cares about 99% of the photos you take. Not even you.

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Before deepfakes and alternative facts, the online world was already telling us fibs. In our series Lies the Internet Told Me, we call ’em all out.


For our summer vacation, my wife drove us hell-for-leather between National Parks, driven by the urge to collect every stamp in her Parks Passport. We eagerly snapped up the new National Parks Geek merch. Our dog was sworn in as a #BarkRanger. And I was deputized photographer, urged to get shots of thousand-year-old petroglyphs and cave dwellings, not to mention the 200 million-year-old tree trunks

We came home. My wife pored over her passport and stamps. The magnets and decals went on fridges and cars. The dog wore his Bark Ranger badge around the neighborhood with beaming pride. And my photos? We haven’t looked through them yet. I doubt we ever will. If we really need to see that petroglyph or that tree again, it would be faster to Google them — where we’d find a more pleasingly professional shot.

If you’re anything like me, here’s the exact number of times in any given year that you pore over your Apple Photos, Google Photos or similar library: approximately never. Who has the time? Despite the encouragement those companies give us to store all our images with them, it sits there as ones and zeros — billions of merely theoretical photos expending massive amounts of energy on cloud servers, costing each of us a few bucks every month.  

Or worse, the photos are consigned to death row on a single vulnerable hard drive, awaiting its inevitable failure. 

Sure, you might dip into the archive for a minute or two every now and then. Wearing your Instagram or Facebook hats, you pluck an image from obscurity, elevating them to the relative stardom of a few Likes. In the social archives, at least, you might look back at them more often. But you’re lucky if this elevation happens to more than one in a hundred snaps. 

The average picture you take will fade into forever, and it’s high time we got real about this. We live in an age of digital abundance, one that has devalued photos more than anything. The Snapchat-and-Stories generation treats them as expendable and ephemeral, but Gen Xers are no better — we just fool ourselves into thinking we’re preserving history in these dusty, pricy digital archives. But what exactly are we preserving, and for whom? 

Will our descendants, beset on all sides by ever more media, even bother to look? If we don’t, why would they? 

The rise and fall of the photo

The OG Instagram: Four unidentified women show off their inexpensive Kodak Brownie cameras in the 1900s.

The OG Instagram: Four unidentified women show off their inexpensive Kodak Brownie cameras in the 1900s.

Image: SSPL via Getty Images

We’ve seen a half-century decline in the value of photographs. From the first ever taken in 1822 through the launch of the one-dollar Kodak Brownie in 1900, they were unique, one of a kind, priceless objects. The Brownie brought us the snapshot, but these were still pieces of treasure: expensive to develop, taken relatively rarely, mounted in carefully guarded albums that nevertheless shed like leaves over the decades. I have, for example, just two precious photographs each of my English and Italian grandfathers. 

The abundant ephemerality of photos started to sneak up on us in 1963, with the first Polaroid camera you could load with a “packfilm,” 100 color exposures strong. You pointed, shot, and peeled each one apart to develop it. A decade later, you didn’t even need to peel. (You also never needed to shake a Polaroid picture; shaking could in fact damage the exposure. Thanks a lot, Outkast.) 

No one cares about 99% of the photos you take. Not even you.

The digital camera brought its own kind of limitations. To cover the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, I bought a bulky piece of plastic that looked like a pair of binoculars. It took about 10 blotchy shots before needing a recharge. Would this replace film? I was skeptical. 

Five years later, I toted a palm-size digital camera to Japan, where a mobile media messaging company tried to convince me that sending small pixelated photos over your phone was the future. I was skeptical. 

I had no idea of the size of the approaching deluge, no sense that the coming decades would make me so photographically rich — and so attention-poor. 

Pics and it didn’t happen

Top strip, 1 photo wide: All the digital photos I took in 1997. Middle strip, 13 photos wide: 2007. Bottom strip, 25 photos wide: 2017.

Top strip, 1 photo wide: All the digital photos I took in 1997. Middle strip, 13 photos wide: 2007. Bottom strip, 25 photos wide: 2017.

Apple Photos, the heir to iPhoto, is organized chronologically; you zoom out and get a multicolored, pixelated view of how many snaps you took (or uploaded from) each year. When I look at my library, it’s easy to see that the vast majority of the 25,332 shots and 950 videos it stores, more than 100 GB of data, hail from the last decade. 

A kind of Cambrian explosion of life took place in the late 2000s, after the launch of the iPhone. On top of that, you can see an increase in duplicates in the 2010s — a sure sign that I stopped pruning my photographic garden. It has gone to seed, a forgotten forest of clones. (iOS, at least, is soon to be smart enough to cull the clones.)

Every so often in this forest you see the bright flowering of a well-tended photo, saved to the roll from Instagram — the clones that saw the sunlight.  

Even without duplicates, this explosion looks set to continue. Multiple estimates have placed the number of digital photos we take per year north of one trillion since 2015, triple the number in 2010. One estimate from Info Trends put the number in 2017 at 1.2 trillion — or 160 photos for everyone alive on the planet, year in, year out — and says it’s increasing by 100 billion a year.  

It’s hard to imagine history will care about even 1 billion of them. What of the rest, then? I’m all for historical preservation, but are we doomed to keep piling up trillions of unseen photos every year, like so many boxes in an ever-expanding warehouse, on the off-chance that one of them contains the Ark of the Covenant? 

We still care about Einstein's vacation snaps (here, the famous physicist  and his wife visit the Petrified Forest). Yours? Not so much.

We still care about Einstein’s vacation snaps (here, the famous physicist  and his wife visit the Petrified Forest). Yours? Not so much.

Image: national parks service

There are plenty of clone photos on display outdoors at the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. In front of the painted desert, black and white shots from the 1880s are shown side by side with color photos of the same site from the 1980s. The point is to show that the landscape hasn’t changed, because the park has prevented people from running off with the long-dead, mineral-rich trees. 

There’s another, more subtle message at work: We’re all taking the same damn photo here, people, and we have done for nearly 140 years. What’s one more picture at this spot? Maybe we should give it a rest, and fully enjoy being here in this moment. 

Did we listen, my fellow National Parks Geeks and I? We did not. We stood in awe of the painted desert for a moment, then automatically raised our phones. Taking care not to allow any strangers in the shot — nothing that might make it truly unique! — we snapped away. And on servers thousands of miles away, more data trees were added to a vast and petrified forest. 

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Scientists trace a cosmic radio burst to a galaxy 3.6 billion light-years away

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Back in 2017, a team of scientists was able to pinpoint the origin of a repeating fast radio burst to a dwarf galaxy over 3 billion light years away. Now, researchers were able trace yet another cosmic radio burst’s home galaxy — and this discovery is even more impressive than the first, seeing as it was a single radio burst that happened only once, not a repeating one.

According to New Scientist, it was only by pure luck that all 36 Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) antennas were pointed in the same direction when it flashed. That gave the researchers involved a way to combine data from all of them and to figure out that the burst, called FRB 180924, came from a galaxy 3.6 billion light-years away from us. They even determined a more specific point of origin, which is around 13,000 light-years away from that galaxy’s center.

"If we were to stand on the Moon and look down at the Earth with this precision" Keith Bannister, the study’s lead author explained, "we would be able to tell not only which city the burst came from, but which postcode — and even which city block."

Fast radio bursts are a fairly new discovery. We only found out about their existence in 2007, so we still barely know anything about them — some even believe that they’re from an intelligent extraterrestrial civilization. By knowing where they come from, we get nearer to figuring out how and why they happen. The burst scientists traced two years ago was from a small galaxy with rapid star formation, but 180924 came from a much larger one that mostly has older stars.

We still don’t know what that means exactly, but as Adam Deller (team member and one of the study’s authors) said: "This suggests that fast radio bursts can be produced in a variety of environments, or that seemingly one-off bursts detected so far by ASKAP are generated by a different mechanism to the repeater." It may take a long time, but we’re bound to find out more about cosmic bursts as scientists look more closely into them. They believe that fast radio bursts could ultimately help us learn what’s in between galaxies, after all, and that they could give us a more complete picture of our universe.

Via: CNN, New Scientist

Source: Science

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Apple has a generational succession problem and Jony Ive’s departure is the tip of the iceberg

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Tim Cook

  • Jony Ive’s departure from Apple underscores the firm’s attempts to shift from hardware to software.
  • Most of the execs trying to make this pivot happen are wealthy men in their 50s who got rich from Apple’s golden age of inventing cool hardware like the iPhone.
  • It isn’t clear they can bring about this reinvention, and if there’s a wider succession plan then they need to make that clear to investors, fast.
  • Apple’s way forward in services is less clear than regular slam-dunk releases like the iPod.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Apple needs to make clear its succession plan, and fast.

The departure of its longtime and beloved chief design officer, Jony Ive, will retrigger worries that the Cupertino firm is losing its mojo. Apple has quelled such jitters once before, when CEO Tim Cook took the top job after the death of Steve Jobs in 2011.

But Ive, described as the Lennon to Jobs’ McCartney, is an equally important loss, being the man who essentially changed the way we consume media on the go with the invention of the iPhone, iPad, and other iconic hardware.

In a brief note to clients this morning, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives described this as a "major changing of the guard within Cupertino."

Pertinently, he wrote: "The major question now going forward is around future product innovation with one of the key visionaries of the Apple brand gone.

"In our opinion this news only adds to the current agita around the Apple story as the company is branching out into television and gaming all while it is currently the poster child for the US/China UFC trade battle on the heels of the G20 summit."

The "current agita" around Apple is that the firm is navigating life after the iPhone by altering its business model to focus on services, rather than hardware. It’s too early to say whether this will be a successful pivot, but the extremity of the shift is underscored by Ive’s departure.

Jony Ive

Ive is 52, and his exit makes it clear that Apple isn’t coming up with a major new hardware invention any time soon.

Who within Apple is up for the challenge of the post-iPhone era? Cook is 58. Services chief Eddy Cue is 54. Software boss Craig Federighi is 50, while marketing boss Phil Schiller is 59. Angela Ahrendts, the former Burberry CEO who failed to kickstart Apple’s retail operations, is 59 and was out of Apple after only five years.

Read more: Wall Street is mourning the exit of Apple’s ‘irreplaceable’ design chief, but is not predicting an existential crisis

The issue isn’t age, exactly. It’s that most of these people have already got extremely rich off navigating Apple’s golden era, when it appeared to be capable of endless invention. Have they got the appetite for another revolution, or like Ive, are they getting "deeply, deeply tired?"

One new area of innovation may be healthcare. Apple has marketed the Apple Watch as a product to get people moving, and pushed the device’s abilities at catching heart irregularities. Another is augmented-reality, with Bloomberg reporting that its next big product will be AR glasses.

The Financial Times, which broke the news of Ive’s departure, noted that Apple is scooping up lots of senior outside talent with different skills. Ex-Googler John Giannandrea now runs Apple’s AI strategy, while Sony veterans Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amberg are helping the firm push into Netflix territory with original video.

Cook has said the firm does have a succession plan in place, although Apple never comments publicly on it. With Ive’s departure marking a symbolic end to Apple’s hardware days, it might be time to spread the news about new blood.

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How being sad, depressed, and anxious online became trendy

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Social media personas built on the illusion of happy, perfect lives are so tired. In 2019, it’s all about being Sad Online. 

“Trendy” emotional distress on social media is part of many must-follow accounts across all platforms. Whether by retweeting the depressing relatability of the So Sad Today Twitter account (at 855,000 followers as of this writing) or commenting the obligatory “same” on a MyTherapistSays Instagram post (currently at 3.6 million). As recently immortalized by a Tim Robinson sketch in I Think You Should Leave, even if you do post pictures where you look cute and happy, it must be accompanied by a self-deprecating caption.

The era of being Sad Online is defined by a sense of reverse FOMO, a tacit agreement to redefine being cool on the internet through JOMO (the Joy of Missing Out) — then file it under social anxiety. It’s possible, though, that constantly posting about our sadness or anxiety can at times be just as performative as the #posivibes self-care culture that’s starting to feel lame. 

While posting about our upsetting ass vibes may feel more real, for some it might just be a new way to fit in online.

There’s also been a flood of social media campaigns encouraging people to speak openly about their mental health. The social media hive mind has rushed to express their own genuine emotional distress with the intention of helping to normalize, destigmatize, and relate to those struggles. In our haste, though, we might’ve forgotten the fundamental and vital distinction between sad feels and the terms used to diagnose mental disorders, like anxiety and depression. 

“People label their sadness as depression and their nervousness as anxiety when the problems that they’re facing often don’t reflect those psychological problems. If healthy people are convinced that they’re depressed, they ultimately identify with the glamorized social media posts, aggravating the phenomenon even more,” Jinan Jennifer Jadayel, a graduate student from the International School in Lebanon and co-author of a 2017 study that tracked social media posts about mental health. 

Social media has increasingly blurred the line between what is authentic and what is performance — even within ourselves. While posting about our upsetting ass vibes may feel more real, for some, it might just be a new way to fit in online.

Don’t get us wrong: By all numerical accounts, there’s never been more people reporting mental health issues than right now — especially the young demographic that dominates social media. 

A recent Pew Research study found that 7 in 10 teens think anxiety and depression are the biggest problems their peers face. The medical journal JAMA analyzed the CDC’s data showing a dramatic increase in suicide rates among Americans 15 to 24-year-olds. Beyond young people, the CDC also cites the oft-repeated statistic that 1 in 5 Americans experience mental illness in a given year. The American Psychiatric Association reported an increase of anxiety and depression among boomers in recent years, too.

We are more anxious and depressed than ever before — or at least talking about it more freely. But the trendiness of sad online culture may lead to wrongful self-diagnoses and an inadvertent trivialization of serious illnesses.

“More and more teenagers are convinced that depression, anxiety, anorexia, and bipolarity are ‘cool’ or can make you ‘special,'” says Rola Jadayel, another co-author of the social media study and professor of sciences at the University of Balamand in Lebanon.

The study focused on a specific type of Tumblr and Instagram post which blatantly glorifies mental health issues through specific hashtags (you know the type). By portraying them as appealing on social media, the research suggests, more people identify with these misrepresentations, which can lead to all sorts of harm.

“For some people, especially when you’re young, there is a bit of a pull to join a group. And the group of people with social anxiety or depression feels like one you can easily join,” says Natasha Tracy, who developed her own online following by blogging and then writing a book, Lost Marbles, about her severe bipolar disorder.

In these jaded times, meme-ing, tweeting, instagramming, and tik-toking about anxiety and depression isn’t just for coping. It can act as a guise of honesty — especially to youth desperately seeking authenticity and connection in a virtual social environment that tends to distort it. 

That’s not to say we shouldn’t or can’t talk openly about mental health issues online. But Tracy believes that the popular social media discourse around mental health is often too far from the truth to be helpful.

“There’s this group think that starts to believe that’s all mental illness is: some mild anxiety and a breathing exercise,” she says. “It normalizes a version of mental illness that isn’t realistic for those of us who actually have serious mental illness. Someone with severe anxiety disorder is going to need a whole heck of a lot more than breathing exercises, you know.”

However, what may seem mild from the outside can feel severe to the person experiencing the symptom, and the only real judge regarding impact can be a mental health professional. The problem then isn’t that more people are sharing their mental health experiences on social media, but that some people are glorifying or misappropriating those issues without proper context. Obviously’ there’s also layers of nuance and degrees to what kind of social posts lead to serious harm.

Two key factors are involved in the most potent and dangerous posts, according to the University of Balamand study: aesthetic visuals and a person to identify with. That’s why the research centered on image-heavy platforms like Tumblr and Instagram, since they illicit the biggest responses and are also the most heavily used by teens, who are particularly vulnerable. 

While the study didn’t account much for video, the researchers believe that those key factors are heightened by that type of content. Since the study published, Tumblr has fallen out of popularity, but young influencers have flocked to Tik Tok and Snapchat. Those platforms are designed for video content that makes followers feel a personal connection to the creator, to see them as  aspirationally relatable. 

And that can be particularly dangerous.

Since imagery and influence are involved, it’s reasonable to infer that the Instagram marketing of Sad Society clothes (99,000 followers), “Anxiety Queen” influencer t-shirts, or necklaces immortalizing ones’ alleged disorder may qualify as some of the more potentially harmful, as opposed to your throwaway tweet conflating laziness with clinical depression. 

The long history behind the rise of sad online culture

The concept of beautiful teen tragedy is far from new. Schools teach teens Romeo and Juliet, arguably the hipsters who romanticized suicide centuries before it became cool online. The ’90s had its own version of trendy sadness, too.

“It’s been around for as long as teenagers have been around,” says Janis Whitlock, a Cornell University professor studying the confluence of social media and mental illness. “The hierarchy of the most depressed was a ’90s phenomenon: Who’s the most sad, most anxious, got the most fucked up family? The stigma was always there, too, but within sub-communities there’s competition over who’s worse off. And now, there’s all these new platforms.”

Social media creates an abundance of small sub-communities where this kind of tragedy olympics reaches an unprecedented amount of people at lightning speed. That isn’t always bad, but the virality is undeniable.

Being sad online has authentic roots, too, popularized by one of the most influential sub-groups who defined early web culture: Internet Sad Girls. A decade ago the aesthetic of pale, melancholic, artsy angsty teen Tumblr girls grew so popular that it paved the way for pop stars like sad vamp queen Lana Del Ray. Sad internet girls not only had their own manifesto, but a feminist philosophy called Sad Girl Theory, penned by artist Audrey Wollen (who goes by Tragic Queen on Instagram).

While not necessarily encouraging a movement, the theory posited that the trend was a form of political protest. Young girls finally felt free expressing their experiences of pain under patriarchal oppression through web art and personas. That’s largely the impetus for social media accounts like Sad Girls Club, an organization with 170,000 Instagram followers aimed at helping women of color with mental illness by providing them with a community.

Elyse Fox, founder of the Sad Girls Club, identified with the Sad Internet Girl at an early age because no one else was helping her make sense of her struggles. “It was a bit shameful to be considered a Sad Girl back then. Today Sad Girls have reclaimed the name and use it as a place of acceptance and familiarity, owning their mental woes and creating community,” she says.

Sad Girl culture grew up, became mainstream in celebrity and internet culture, then ironically led to a commodification of sadness.

Sad Girl culture grew up, became mainstream among celebrity and on the internet, then ironically led to an insincere commodification of both sadness and self-care that was the antithesis of its original intent.

“It sometimes worries me that people are buying into mental health conversations for the wrong reasons. Companies are trying to capitalize off the Sad Internet Girl movement, but they’re only hot for the moment,” says Amani Richardson, editor-in-chief of the Sad Girls Club.

“To some, unfortunately, glamorization of mental health disorders is a trend that pays back a high number of followers, providing a false sense of high esteem,” adds study co-author Rola Jadayel.

It isn’t just young influencers, though. Though well-meaning, more and more celebrities are contributing to a certain type of glamorization by “coming out” about dealing with their own anxiety and depression. Inherently, celebrities are idolized by those same young people who are vulnerable to glamorized mental health struggle. And as celebrities, their struggles are often packaged as inspiring narrative missing the harsh realities of facing those struggles.

“The issue is that people like myself with severe illnesses like bipolar actually don’t see themselves in these public images of mental illness. They don’t reflect my reality,” says Tracy. “People want to wrap things up in a bow — so everything’s going to be OK in the end. But the reality of living with severe illness is that many of us will never see the kind of recovery people with more minor disorders experience.”

Caught between glamorization and destigmatization

There is no quick and dirty guide for how we can do sad online culture responsibly.

“Both are happening online, with obvious examples of glorification and obvious examples of normalization that allow people to get the support they need,” says Whitlock, the Cornell professor. “But there’s a lot of gray in between, and the answer of whether or not it does more harm than good depends on who’s reading it and what their personal filters for perception are.”

The answer isn’t a wholesale eradication — which isn’t possible even if we wanted it. Like many things in 2019, what we need is more careful consideration.

For Tracy, she finds the difference between glorifying versus destigmatizing in her blogs by keeping them grounded in reality, entrenched in her experiences without adding frills and leaning in whenever it gets too uncomfortable.

“Once we do that, the positive and negative effects of talking about mental illnesses online shrink away because what we’re doing is just having a real discussion,” she says.

Similarly, Richardson ensures the Sad Girls Club pays close attention to their language so it speaks to something beyond comforting, commodified buzzwords like “self-care” and “self-love.” 

View this post on Instagram

RP: @crazyheadcomics “Did you know: you’re not immune to mental illness just because you live a good life. it doesn’t matter how good your job is, how nice your family is, how many friends you have – you can still develop a mental illness. when i first started experiencing depression, i felt guilty because i was so privileged, there was nothing wrong with the outside world, everything was perfect yet i felt depressed. but it doesn’t matter. no matter how awful life can get, no matter how beautiful life can be, depression does not discriminate. i’m tired of people thinking that depression is unjustified if you live a good life, because that’s not how it works. you don’t decide whether you fall ill or not. feeling depressed despite your life going right? don’t add an extra layer of guilt. mental illness can happen to anyone, no matter how great things are going.”

A post shared by Sad Girls Club (@sadgirlsclub) on

Both Whitlock and the women at Sad Girls Club also emphasize the need to consider what happens after people get virtual support through these online communities.

“Is that online feeling of support too fleeting? Does it lead to significant changes in offline behavior that help people get better? Are they more likely to go to therapy? I don’t know. But what happens next is a hugely important question,” says Whitlock.

The sad online revolution we need

There is hope that both users and creators of social media platforms are slowly coming to understand the ramifications of careless trend following when it comes to sad internet culture. 

Instagram made efforts to block glamorizing content, banning known problematic hashtags like #proana (pro anorexia) and highlighting #socialanxiety posts that are actually about seeking help rather than clothing brands. Even Tumblr, though close to extinct, is cracking down on its free-wheeling policies by pushing support pages and resources for anyone who searches #suicide.

What led us to spiral out of control here may help us rein ourselves back in: a change in social media culture can be part of the solution to the problem it created. Humans naturally adapt to new environments, and also build their environments to suit their needs — particularly in the virtual world.

“Adaptability is what makes us both wonderful and terrible,” says Whitlock. “We can easily forget what’s healthy — can adapt to really unhealthy environments quickly. And it so often feels somehow right even when it’s not.”

If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For international resources, this list is a good place to start.

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