Nullary Sources

Awesome Tagline Goes Here

0 notes

A tick bite can make you allergic to red meat

AP report on some food allergies apparently being spread by ticks in the United States:

The bugs harbor a sugar that humans don’t have, called alpha-gal. The sugar is also is found in red meat - beef, pork, venison, rabbit - and even some dairy products. It’s usually fine when people encounter it through food that gets digested.

But a tick bite triggers an immune system response, and in that high-alert state, the body perceives the sugar the tick transmitted to the victim’s bloodstream and skin as a foreign substance, and makes antibodies to it. That sets the stage for an allergic reaction the next time the person eats red meat and encounters the sugar.

The Wikipedia article for the allergy mentions a replacement heart valve triggering anaphylaxis in someone, which is especially horrifying.

0 notes

Last month, speedrunner Cosmo Wright set a new world record for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, beating the game in eighteen minutes and ten seconds. This video is the game footage with an all-new commentary track dubbed on top by Cosmo, who explains all the route choices he manes and glitches he exploits.

This is the greatest speedrun I’ve ever done.

2 notes

Remains of 9 Jonestown massacre victims found in Delaware

Ray Sanchez, CNN:

Nearly four decades after hundreds of people were led to their deaths in a mass murder-suicide pact in a South American jungle, the cremated remains of nine of those victims have been found in a shuttered funeral home in Delaware.

The eerie find was made after the owner of the site of the former Minus Funeral Home in Dover contacted authorities about 38 small containers left behind on the property, authorities said.

I… had no idea some were missing.

0 notes

Duke’s Legacy: Video Game Source Disc Preservation at the Library of Congress

David Gibson writing a guest post on the Library of Congress’s blog The Signal: Digital Preservation:

Several months ago, while performing an inventory of recently acquired video games, I happened upon a DVD-R labeled Duke Nukem: Critical Mass (PSP). My first assumption was that the disc, like so many others we have received, was a DVD-R of gameplay. However, a line of text on the Copyright database record for the item intrigued me. It reads: Authorship: Entire video game; computer code; artwork; and music. I placed the disc into my computer’s DVD drive to discover that the DVD-R did not contain video, but instead a file directory, including every asset used to make up the game in a wide variety of proprietary formats. Upon further research, I discovered that the Playstation Portable version of Duke Nukem: Critical Mass was never actually released commercially and was in fact a very different beast than the Nintendo DS version of the game which did see release. I realized then that in my computer was the source disc used to author the UMD for an unreleased PlayStation Portable game.

I immediately subscribed to this blog after reading this.

2 notes

My new desktop picture is this photo taken by the Expedition 22 crew, featured on August 3 on Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Pictured above, Endeavour was imaged near Earth’s horizon as it approached, where several layers of the Earth’s atmosphere were visible. Directly behind the shuttle is the mesosphere, which appears blue. The atmospheric layer that appears white is the stratosphere, while the orange layer is Earth’s Troposphere.

My new desktop picture is this photo taken by the Expedition 22 crew, featured on August 3 on Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Pictured above, Endeavour was imaged near Earth’s horizon as it approached, where several layers of the Earth’s atmosphere were visible. Directly behind the shuttle is the mesosphere, which appears blue. The atmospheric layer that appears white is the stratosphere, while the orange layer is Earth’s Troposphere.

0 notes

Behind Toledo’s Water Crisis, a Long-Troubled Lake Erie

Michael Wines, The New York Times:

It took a serendipitous slug of toxins and the loss of drinking water for a half-million residents to bring home what scientists and government officials in this part of the country have been saying for years: Lake Erie is in trouble, and getting worse by the year.

Flooded by tides of phosphorus washed from fertilized farms, cattle feedlots and leaky septic systems, the most intensely developed of the Great Lakes is increasingly being choked each summer by thick mats of algae, much of it poisonous. What plagues Toledo and, experts say, potentially all 11 million lakeside residents, is increasingly a serious problem across the United States.

When Mayor D. Michael Collins told Toledo residents on Monday that it was again safe to use the city’s water, he was only replaying a scene from years past. Carroll Township, another lakefront Ohio community of 2,000 residents, suspended water use last September amid the second-largest algae bloom ever measured; the largest, which stretched 120 miles from Toledo to Cleveland, was in 2011. Summertime bans on swimming and other recreational activities are so routine that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency maintains a website on harmful algae bloom.

Note to our dear readers: please do not, under any circumstances, move to Toledo, Ohio.

0 notes

The NFL Passes Out Crippled Surface Tablets to Quarterbacks

Joshua Brustein, Bloomberg Businessweek:

The digital revolution is finally coming to the NFL—sort of. The league’s preseason kicks off Sunday, and the Hall of Fame Game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Giants will be the first game in which tablet computers are allowed on the sidelines. Thirteen Microsoft Surface tablets will be present on each sideline, and the coaches in each box will have access to another dozen.

But just as the NFL preseason is football in name only, the devices that the players will be using aren’t tablets in any normal sense of the word. The league reached a $400 million deal with Microsoft last spring to make its Surface tablets the exclusive computer of the NFL sideline, albeit with several conspicuous alterations made to the company’s standard tablets. The NFL’s Surface tablets have had their cameras disabled and can connect only to a private in-stadium wireless network. The devices can only run a single program, which allows people to browse through digital game photographs.

It’s not exactly a groundbreaking moment of innovation in football.

The NFL is comically serious about this sort of thing.

0 notes

In the running for best TED talk is “The danger of a single story,” given by Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie at TEDGlobal 2009 in Oxford:

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

The TED site has a transcript too if you’d rather read it.

0 notes

Nasa validates 'impossible' space drive

David Hambling, Wired (UK):

Nasa is a major player in space science, so when a team from the agency this week presents evidence that “impossible” microwave thrusters seem to work, something strange is definitely going on. Either the results are completely wrong, or Nasa has confirmed a major breakthrough in space propulsion.

"Test results indicate that the RF resonant cavity thruster design, which is unique as an electric propulsion device, is producing a force that is not attributable to any classical electromagnetic phenomenon and therefore is potentially demonstrating an interaction with the quantum vacuum virtual plasma."

This last line implies that the drive may work by pushing against the ghostly cloud of particles and anti-particles that are constantly popping into being and disappearing again in empty space. But the Nasa team has avoided trying to explain its results in favour of simply reporting what it found: “This paper will not address the physics of the quantum vacuum plasma thruster, but instead will describe the test integration, test operations, and the results obtained from the test campaign.”

"Science can’t explain this." — NASA, 2014