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Swimmers return to bathe with Palau's golden jellyfish

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 19:57

Swimming with the famous golden jellyfish in Palau can be put back on the bucket list following a two-year ban, but bathers may be stung with a hefty price increase for the pleasure. The government ordered the famed Ongeim'l Tketau Jellyfish Lake closed to swimmers in 2016 because of dwindling numbers of the unique creature -- blamed on warming waters although with some suspicion sunscreen on bathers may also have contributed. The conservation move proved costly for tour operators with the loss of Palau's most popular attraction contributing to a slump in tourism numbers.


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U.S. calls on world to 'pick a side' on Venezuela; Europeans set to recognize Guaido

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 19:17

By Michelle Nichols and Mayela Armas UNITED NATIONS/CARACAS (Reuters) - The United States on Saturday called on the world to "pick a side" on Venezuela and urged countries to financially disconnect from Nicolas Maduro's government, while European powers signaled they were set to follow Washington in recognizing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's rightful leader. ...


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That Flying-Car Future Looks Like a Dystopia

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 17:00

It seems increasingly likely that aerospace companies and startups are rushing to embrace a world of vertical take-off robotaxis. A Boeing Co. prototype flying taxi completed its first test flight on Tuesday and Airbus SE’s drone-style self-driving air taxi will follow within weeks – both of them trailing in the wake of Alphabet Inc. founder Larry Page, whose Kitty Hawk vehicle took its maiden flight in New Zealand last year. In current parlance, “flying car” essentially means an aircraft that could take off and land vertically from a suburban backyard.(1) But we have a name for those sorts of vehicles already: helicopters.


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Not so fast: Most Germans favor speed limits on the Autobahn

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 15:58

A majority of Germans favor setting maximum speed limits for Germany's famously fast Autobahns to help battle climate change, according to a poll published on Saturday. A government-appointed committee studying the future of transport is looking at ending the "no limits" sections on motorways as part of a broader proposal to help Germany meet European Union emissions targets. Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer, a conservative from Bavaria, the home state of carmakers Daimler and Audi, a unit of Volkswagen , said he opposed setting speed limits on Germany's decades-old motorway network.


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U.S. calls on world to 'pick a side' on Venezuela; Europeans set to recognize Guaido

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 14:43

In heated back-and-forth exchanges at a United Nations Security Council meeting, the opposing camp led by Venezuela and Russia, which has invested heavily in Venezuela's oil industry, accused Washington of attempting a coup, and lambasted Europeans' demand that elections be called within eight days. Guaido, who took the helm of the National Assembly on Jan. 5, proclaimed himself interim president on Wednesday. The United States, Canada and a string of Latin American countries recognized the young leader in quick succession.


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Poor hedgehogs are to blame for spat of Salmonella infections

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 14:16

That pet hedgehog might not be such a great idea after all. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out a notice Friday about 11 Salmonella infections across eight states, and in all but one of the cases the people had been in contact with a pet hedgehog. Only one person has gone to the hospital because of the outbreak, but health officials are concerned about the growing number of cases infecting people in Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas, and Wyoming. SEE ALSO: The internet is obsessed with Sonic the Hedgehog's muscular, sculpted sex legs Those infected are 2 to 28 years old and the infections started in October. The same Salmonella strain was found in three hedgehogs from two infected people's homes in Minnesota. It's not clear yet if a common hedgehog supplier can be traced back, but in the meantime hedgehog owners are advised to be careful. The spiny animals carry Salmonella in their droppings -- even though the animals appear fine and healthy. Then when humans touch the pets and their living areas the germs spread and people get sick, especially young children or those with already compromised health. Health officials recommend a lot of hand washing, cage cleaning, and keeping the hedgehogs out of the kitchen area.  For some people, the risk of infection might be too high, so maybe a hedgehog just isn't the right pet for you -- no matter how cute the little guys are. As the CDC warns: "Don't kiss or snuggle hedgehogs." ## WATCH: Octopuses are being given ecstasy in the name of science


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Bear cub burned in Colorado wildfire released into wild

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 12:51

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) — An orphaned bear cub burned by a Colorado wildfire has been released back into the wild.


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After satellite flap, Swarm Technologies raises $25M for space-based IoT network

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 11:57

A year after making a $900,000 mistake, Swarm Technologies is raking in $25 million in a funding round aimed at getting a constellation of sandwich-sized satellites up and running for the Internet of Things. Getting the constellation in orbit could open up a big frontier for tiny satellites within the next year and a half. "We're just excited to get launched and get our network up there and start offering global, affordable internet," said Swarm CEO Sara Spangelo, a veteran of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Alphabet's X "moonshot factory." The satellites, known as SpaceBEEs, are so small that the… Read More


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One dead after protesters storm Turkish military camp in north Iraq: Kurdish officials

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 11:33

One protester was killed and at least 10 others wounded when they stormed a Turkish military camp near Dohuk in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region on Saturday, burning two tanks and other vehicles, residents and Kurdish officials said. Najib Saeed, the chief health official in the area, said it was not yet clear what caused the death. Turkey said the attack was carried out by members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) who disguised themselves among civilians to fuel conflict between Turkish forces and local residents.


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Germany should phase out coal use by 2038: commission

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 11:28

Germany should stop using coal for electricity production by 2038, a government-appointed commission said Saturday, laying out an 80-billion euro roadmap to phase out the polluting fuel. The commission agreed to the deadline after months of bitter wrangling as pressure mounts on Europe's top economy to step up its commitment to battling climate change. The panel, consisting of politicians, climate experts, unions and industry figures from coal regions, announced the deal after a final marathon session ended on Saturday morning.


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At U.N., Pompeo asks countries to 'pick a side' on Venezuela

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 11:26

Pompeo was addressing the 15-member U.N. Security Council, which met at his request after Washington and a string of countries in the region recognized Guaido as head of state and urged Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to step down. "Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side ... Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you're in league with Maduro and his mayhem," Pompeo told the council. "We call on all members of the Security Council to support Venezuela's democratic transition and interim President Guaido's role." Guaido, who took the helm of the National Assembly on Jan. 5, proclaimed himself interim president on Wednesday though Maduro, who has led the oil-rich nation since 2013 and has the support of the armed forces, has refused to stand down.


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Saudi seeks to attract $427 billion with industrial program

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 11:07

"The (NIDLP) program targets 1.6 trillion Saudi riyals ... so it is quiet ambitious but it is over a 10-year period so we have got the time to do it," Falih told a press conference. The government has made attracting greater foreign investment a cornerstone of its Vision 2030 plan to diversify the economy of the world’s top oil exporter away from oil and create jobs for Saudis.


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Death toll in Mexican pipeline blast rises to 114

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 10:26

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The death toll from a pipeline explosion last week in central Mexico has risen to 114, while 33 people remain hospitalized.


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Good News: Artichokes Can Help Lower Body Fat

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 09:59

Don’t have to tell me twice…


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A Teen Told Some of the Most Powerful People in the World That Climate Change Is Their Fault

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 09:47

It's not what they're used to hearing at Davos.


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Naspers Sees Single Global Classifieds Strategy After Avito Deal

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 09:09

Africa’s biggest company by market value on Friday announced it bought out minority shareholders in Avito BB through its classifieds business OLX Group, increasing exposure to Russia’s e-commerce market and strengthening its global position in the sector. The plan is to consolidate the different local platforms into a single global one, Naspers Chief Executive Officer for Classifieds Martin Scheepbouwer said by phone on Saturday.


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Low vaccination rates a big factor in ongoing measles outbreak

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 08:05

Health officials in Washington state are grappling with a measles outbreak, calling for an "all hands on deck" approach to stop the spread of the preventable virus. The state's governor, Jay Inslee, declared a state of emergency on Friday after officials confirmed there were 31 cases of measles. "Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease that can be fatal in small children,” Inslee said.


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Major European countries poised to recognize Venezuela's Guaido

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 07:16

Britain, Germany, France and Spain all said they would recognize Guaido unless fresh elections were announced. Venezuela has sunk into turmoil under Maduro with food shortages and daily protests amid an economic and political crisis that has sparked mass emigration and inflation that is seen rising to 10 million percent this year. Maduro cruised to re-election in May last year amid low turnout and allegations of vote-buying by the government.


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Could Russia's New "Nuclear Torpedo" Sink a U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier?

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 07:00

Whether Poseidon adds much to Russia’s strategic nuclear forces is doubtful. No less is doubtful is Poseidon the Carrier-Killer.


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Binge-watching preys on our animal instincts

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 06:00

In Binged, Mashable breaks down why we binge-watch, how we binge-watch, and what it does to us. Because binge-watching is the new normal. * * * It's 2 a.m.  Empty plates specked with crumbs surround you.  The house is pitch dark, save the blue-tinged luster from your laptop.  You edge your slightly trembling hand forward -- and press play.  Binge-watching TV -- a widely-practiced cultural phenomenon -- is celebrated by Netflix. The media streaming giant knows that its 130 million global subscribers like to binge, and it annually announces the most binged series of the year. While the obsessive watching of shows, from Breaking Bad to The Haunting of Hill House to Making a Murderer, isn't necessarily bad for you (unless it becomes a life-altering, addiction-like behavior), this on-demand, unchecked streaming feeds off our more primitive, evolutionary instincts.  We're primed to binge.  "We're pleasure seekers. We're wired to seek pleasure," Allison Johnsen, a clinical professional counselor at Northwestern Medicine, said in an interview. Pleasure-seeking behavior -- like indulging suspenseful works of fiction -- can be an advantageous adaptation, so long as it's not regularly abused (One 2017 study found it could lead to sleep-deprivation). It can help maintain emotional health, even if that means hours of binge-watching.  "We have to keep ourselves happy," said Johnsen. And binge-watching is "accessible, it provides social conversation or social reference points, it's a stress reliever, and it can be positive," she said. It's understandable why the dramatic plots, relatable characters, and Hollywood-style production developed by the likes of Hulu, HBO, and Netflix gets binged. Episodes build upon episodes for years, plots twist, and as inherently social animals, we become immersed in the lives of characters. Take the conflicted Game of Thrones character Jamie Lannister -- who's still alive after seven seasons, 67 episodes, and one lost hand.  "It's why sometimes people have trouble distinguishing between actors and their characters," Catherine Salmon, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Redlands, said over email. "They feel as if they know them because they 'know' a character they played." In our more primitive, ancestral environments -- thousands of years before the advent of electricity -- we became deeply socialized and invested in characters surrounding us, Salmon added. The instinct to become immersed in people's lives is a trait that's embedded into our highly-evolved species. It's a survival-oriented instinct. What's more, humans have been deeply enamored with characters and storytelling for millennia.  "I imagine binge-watching is only a technologically enhanced version of a behavior that has been around, at least in rudimentary form, for at least 50,000 years," Joseph Carroll, a literature professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and editor in chief of the academic journal Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture, said over email. Then some 3,000 years ago, epic storytelling arose with the Iliad and Odyssey (and later Beowulf). The stories likely left listeners entranced, said Carroll. "The bards chanting such tales must have sung for many hours to halls full of warriors deep in their cups but still entranced by the singers' words," Carroll mused.     Oral storytelling evolved to increasingly widespread reading -- which people still binge on today. It's similar to how Hulu and Netflix watchers binge.  "Readers commenting on works offered on Amazon or Audible often remark that once they had started, they couldn't stop, didn't sleep, and had to force themselves even to eat," noted Carroll. "There is no reason to suppose that a Japanese reader of the 11th century, delving into The Tale of Genji, would have been less eager to binge than a modern reader of Edward St. Aubyn's Patrick Melrose novels." SEE ALSO: The quest to binge-read 'Lord of the Rings' in one day But when it comes to TV, the human fascination with literary, dramatic storytelling, might be all the more enhanced. As social psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa contends in the research paper "Bowling with our imaginary friends," the human brain did not evolve to understand the strong sensory experiences and characters on TV. Consequently, our subconscious psychological mechanisms "may respond as if the people they see on television were their friends," Kanazawa wrote in the academic journal Evolution and Human Behavior.  After assessing data from the U.S. General Survey -- a long-running opinion research center at The University of Chicago -- Kanazawa suggested that both men and woman "feel as if they have more friends if they watch more television." Critically, Kanazawa concludes that watching TV really isn't that bad for one's social well-being.  "...there is nothing shallow about the community we experience by watching TV, or so our brain thinks," wrote Kanazawa. However, this isn't necessarily a free pass to binge-watch so much you stop interacting with others or lose too much sleep.   ## When does binging become a problem? Just because you spend the entire day or night binging doesn't mean it's a "bad" or unhealthy activity. Watch out, however, when binge-watching becomes "more akin to addictive behavior," said Morgan Ellithorpe, an assistant professor in the department of advertising and public relations at Michigan State University who researches the effects of media on health and well-being. For instance, "it becomes a problem when you choose binge-watching over other important activities," like sleeping, on a regular basis. "We all binge-watch," noted Allison Eden, an assistant communications professor at Michigan State University.  Maybe you sit down on Sunday and tear through nearly a whole season of Stranger Things, or six heady episodes of The Young Pope. "That's okay, that's functional," said Eden, whose research focuses on understanding media use from a psychological perspective. "Most of us make it work just fine." Late-night binging isn't bad, until it's bad. Image: Shutterstock / TheVisualsYouNeed "Intrinsically, on its own account, I see nothing particularly disturbing about spending hours or days reading a long novel, or spending a whole weekend taking in The Wire or The Americans," added Carroll. Signs that your binge-watching is getting out of control include experiencing withdrawal, building a tolerance, and letting it conflict with your job -- and your sleep. There's a relationship between the problematic binge-watching of streamed media (like Netflix) and worse sleep quality, noted both Eden and Ellithorpe. Interestingly, researchers have not found the same relationship with traditional TV, which typically releases episodes weekly, so you can't watch an entire series in one sitting.  Perhaps it's because streaming doesn't give you an option to escape. When folks tuned into The Twilight Zone in the late 1950s, there were commercial breaks and dramatic changes of genres between shows.  "There were more opportunities for people to turn off the TV and make better choices," said Eden.      Now, it's all too easy to binge. We like it. It's fun. "I have my shows," noted Johnsen. But it doesn't interfere with her life.  "Everything in moderation -- it's boring but true," she said.  "Moderate binging" might sound like an oxymoron. But it's part of our 21st-century existence. The growing streaming media giants have proven profitable and award-winning. The shows will keep coming. And we'll be watching, sometimes excessively and obsessively, into the night.  "You're totally normal," said Eden. But, she suggests, "Maybe watch the series on the weekends. Maybe don't watch it every night till 2 in the morning." ## WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?


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