Apr 12, 2023


‘Headed off the charts’: world’s ocean surface temperature hits record high

The temperature of the world’s ocean surface has hit an all-time high since satellite records began, leading to marine heatwaves around the globe, according to US government data.

Climate scientists said preliminary data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) showed the average temperature at the ocean’s surface has been at 21.1C since the start of April – beating the previous high of 21C set in 2016.

“The current trajectory looks like it’s headed off the charts, smashing previous records,” said Prof Matthew England, a climate scientist at the University of New South Wales.

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Current observations show moderate to strong marine heatwaves in several regions, including the southern Indian Ocean, the south Atlantic, off north-west Africa, around New Zealand, off the north-east of Australia and the west of Central America.

The first observations of octopus brain waves revealed how alien their minds truly are

Now, for the first time, researchers found a way to record the brain activity of free-moving octopuses thanks to the work of an international team from Germany, Italy, Japan, Switzerland and Ukraine. Their study, recently published in the journal Current Biology, documents a new way to record octopus brain activity for up to 12 hours. But while this experiment was groundbreaking, it's also not clear yet what exactly these signals mean.

"If we want to understand how the brain works, octopuses are the perfect animal to study as a comparison to mammals. They have a large brain, an amazingly unique body, and advanced cognitive abilities that have developed completely differently from those of vertebrates," Dr. Tamar Gutnick, the study's lead author and a former postdoctoral researcher in the Physics and Biology Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, said in a statement.

For this experiment, the researchers chose three big blue octopuses (octopus cyanea), which often appear a mottled brown, but have exceptional camouflage with the potential to quickly alter their color and skin texture. These tropical cephalopods are sometimes called "day octopuses" because they hunt while the sun is out. Remarkably, octopuses are color blind. So how do they know to morph into a bluish magenta hue or transform into a chunk of coral shrapnel? They can sense the different directions light waves vibrate, a property known as polarization. Even their basic perception is radically different from ours.

Scientist claims humans will be able to upload consciousness onto computer by the end of this YEAR - as he urges people to start recording their elderly relatives NOW to prepare

A computer scientist is urging the world to record their elderly parents and loved ones as he predicts consciousness could be uploaded onto a computer this year.

Dr Pratik Desai, who has founded multiple Silicon Valley AI startups, said that if people have enough video and voice recorders of their loved ones, there is a '100 percent chance' of relatives 'living with you forever.'

Desai, who has created his own ChatGPT-like system, wrote on Twitter: 'This should be even possible by end of the year.'

Many scientists believe the rapid advancements in AI, which ChatGPT is spearheading, are poised to usher in a new golden era for technology.

However, the world's greatest minds are split on the technology - Elon Musk and more than 1,000 tech leaders are calling for a pause, warning it could destroy humanity.

Repeating radio signal leads astronomers to an Earth-size exoplanet

Astronomers have detected a repeating radio signal from an exoplanet and the star that it orbits, both located 12 light-years away from Earth. The signal suggests that the Earth-size planet may have a magnetic field and perhaps even an atmosphere.

Earth’s magnetic field protects the planet’s atmosphere, which life needs to survive, by deflecting energetic particles and plasma that stream out from the sun. Finding atmospheres around planets located outside of our solar system could point to other worlds that potentially have the ability to support life.

Scientists noticed strong radio waves coming from the star YZ Ceti and the rocky exoplanet that orbits it, called YZ Ceti b, during observations using the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array of telescopes in New Mexico. The researchers believe the radio signal was created by interactions between the planet’s magnetic field and the star.

A study detailing the findings was published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy.

A new paper says 'Oumuamua was a comet, not an alien spacecraft. Not everyone agrees

In 2017, a bizarre cigar-shaped object dubbed 'Oumuamua zipped through our solar system. It was the first time astronomers had seen an interstellar object pass through our solar system — meaning something that originated in another star system. The properties of 'Oumuamua, at least those which we could observe, were way out of the norm for what most asteroids and comets look like: it was unusually reflective; very oddly shaped (with one long axis and one thin one); and perhaps most bizarrely, it unnaturally accelerated as it left.

Naturally, the combination of multiple odd traits spurred a debate among astronomers over whether or not 'Oumuamua could have been artificially made — perhaps a light sail spacecraft built by an alien civilization — or the consequence of a natural phenomenon scientists didn't know existed.

But according to a new paper published in the journal Nature this week, some astronomers think the answer is less exciting than aliens: 'Oumuamua might have been a piece of debris from a water-rich comet, full of entrapped hydrogen. That hydrogen started to vent when it got near the sun, which explains the object's acceleration.

. . .

But the results of this study have yet to close this chapter of astronomy history. Instead, it has brewed up further debate surrounding the mystery of 'Oumuamua, with some questioning the paper's calculations.

Scientists discover supermassive black hole that now faces Earth

This is a galactic-sized problem.

Scientists revealed Tuesday that galaxy PBC J2333.9-2343 has been reclassified after discovering a supermassive black hole that is currently facing our solar system, reports Royal Astronomical Society.

. . .

According to the society, the galaxy — about 657 million light-years away — was initially classified as a radio galaxy but scientists realized that the space phenomena had rotated 90 degrees and is now pointing its center towards Earth.

Researchers at the Royal Astronomical Society now reveal that the galaxy stretches nearly 4 million light-years across — nearly 40 times the size of the Milky Way.

Scientists are currently unsure what sparked the change in direction, though several people believe that PBC J2333.9-2343 collided with another galaxy, resulting in the shift of direction.

A Tattered Scrap of Fabric, Unearthed From a Peat Bog in the Scottish Highlands, Is the World’s Oldest Piece of Tartan

A scrap of weathered fabric, discovered four decades ago in a peat bog, is the world’s oldest piece of tartan, with new analysis determining it dates to the 16th century.

The textile was found in the 1980s in Glen Affric, a region in the Scottish Highlands about 19 miles west of Loch Ness. Measuring about 21 by 17 inches, the wool fabric is woven with multiple horizontal and vertical bands of variating colors, corresponding to what is considered a traditional tartan pattern.

The fabric recently underwent dye analysis and radiocarbon testing, in the first-ever study commissioned by the Scottish Tartans Authority to date the artifact.

The first analysis, carried out by the National Museums of Scotland, identified four colors dyed into the wool, namely green and brown, and likely red and yellow. No artificial dyes were detected, which suggested the tartan was created before the 1750s.

Ancient Shamans Tripped on Hallucinogens in a Spanish Cave

A new study analyzed human hair from the early first millennium BCE collected in caves in Es Càrritx on the island of Menorca east of Spain, and found multiple psychoactive compounds derived from plants. To the Spanish and Chilean researchers who conducted the investigation, these findings indicated that the heads attached to the hair had engaged in drug use for almost a year. The new study was published on April 6 in the journal Scientific Reports.

. . .

“The study of drug use in Prehistoric Europe has mainly been based on indirect evidence, such as archaeobotanical remains of drug plants, artistic depictions, and occasionally the detection of drug alkaloids in certain artifacts,” the authors wrote in the study. “The unusual finding of human hair in the cave of Es Càrritx provided the opportunity to obtain direct evidence for the use of plant drugs by Late Bronze Age people.”

The researchers found chemical signatures for three different alkaloids, suggesting the use of multiple mind-altering plants. One of these is Jimsonweed, a member of the nightshade family that can act as a hallucinogen but is poisonous in large doses. Another, the joint pine, produces an extract that can be used as a decongestant and doping agent.

New Report Says U of Minnesota ‘Committed Genocide’ Of Native People

The University of Minnesota should hire more Native American faculty, offer students additional financial support and give back land to atone for its historic mistreatment of the state’s tribes, a report conducted through a collaboration with the school concluded Tuesday.

The report said that the university’s founding board of regents “committed genocide and ethnic cleansing of Indigenous peoples for financial gain, using the institution as a shell corporation through which to launder lands and resources.”

Totaling more than 500 pages, the report marks the first time a major American university has critically examined its history with Native people, said Shannon Geshick, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council and a member of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa.

The report is the result of a collaborative effort between the council and the university called the TRUTH Project — short for Towards Recognition and University-Tribal Healing — which has received funding from the Mellon Foundation, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Baltimore’s Catholic Church sexually abused at least 600 children over 60 years, Maryland AG says

Maryland's top prosecutor accused Catholic Church officials in Baltimore on Wednesday of engaging in a yearslong cover-up of the sexual abuse of 600-plus children, some of whom were “preyed upon by multiple abusers over decades."

State Attorney General Anthony Brown chronicled the abuse in a 463-page report that named several priests and described what they are alleged to have done.

"Time and again, members of the Church’s hierarchy resolutely refused to acknowledge allegations of child sexual abuse for as long as possible," according to the report.

"When denial became impossible, Church leadership would remove abusers from the parish or school, sometimes with promises that they would have no further contact with children. Church documents reveal with disturbing clarity that the Archdiocese was more concerned with avoiding scandal and negative publicity than it was with protecting children."

Abilene Christian University professor arrested, accused of sexually abusing adopted children

An Abilene Christian University professor has been accused of sexually abusing his adoptive children, including at least one incident that happened on campus.

. . .

Court documents state that in March 2023, a child came forward to police and said she and her sister were sexually assaulted by [Charles] Wadlington, their adoptive father, and their brother may have been harmed as well.

The brother was interviewed first. The documents state he described an instance where Wadlington touched him painfully in an inappropriate area after he got in trouble for play fighting with his sister. He also told detectives Wadlington “raped his sisters”, and that’s why one had moved out.

During a Child Protective Services investigation, the documents state one of the sisters reported Wadlington had engaged her in sexual activity multiple times, “and that one of those times was in his office at ACU”.

Christian company ignites ‘insane’ battle after trademarking ‘worship leader’

A Christian company called Authentic Media registered the phrase "Worship Leader" as a trademark with the U.S. government in 2016 — and is now sending cease and desist letters to anyone using that phrase, despite it being a common job title used by churches and people of faith, reported Relevant on Friday.

"The company owns an organization called 'Worship Leader,' which offers tools and resources to worship lea— um, we mean leaders of worship," reported Emily Brown. "'We literally coined the phrase ‘Worship Leader,'' the company claims on their website. However, the company has just recently begun to pursue legal action against anyone using the phrase. In June 2022, Authentic Media posted a detailed explanation of why they are beginning to protect their trademark."

. . .

“The company Worship Leader is essentially reporting me for violating trademark laws because I have the term, ‘worship leader,’ in my name,” [Scot] Leonard said on Instagram. “How crazy is that? This is a common term. This is a job title. It’s a term that has been used by churches, thousands of churches all over the world.”

Scientology loyalists will rule on allegations against church instead of a jury: report

A federal judge has ordered three former Church of Scientology employees to bring allegations against the organization of human trafficking and abuse before an arbitration panel made up of church loyalists instead of the U.S. justice system, The Tampa Bay Times reports.

The lawsuit alleges Scientology leader David Miscavige among other church entities trafficked them into the church when they were children and paid them little or nothing for work that was required of them through adulthood, the report said.

Gawain and Laura Baxter, a married couple, and Valeska Paris filed the lawsuit against the church in April.

All three were young adults working full-time in the church’s Sea Org when they signed contracts in which they agreed to resolve disputes through binding arbitration conducted by the church. The three had argued that they wouldn’t receive a fair hearing from a panel that views them as enemies of the church.

Scientology Apparently Dictates Which of Tom Cruise's Kids He Can See, & Suri Didn't Make the Cut

Apparently, little has changed in Tom Cruise and his teenage daughter Suri’s relationship—or, rather, non-relationship—since his 2011 split from her mom, Katie Holmes. Page Six reported Wednesday that Cruise hasn’t “seen the 16-year-old [Suri] in a very long time and is not a part of her life.” This isn’t exactly a new development: In 2012, transcripts from Cruise’s defamation lawsuit against Bauer Media Group for its coverage of him in Life & Style magazine show Cruise confirming that he hadn’t seen his daughter in months at the time, and other reports have alleged his absence from her life in the last several years. With this latest report, it’s jarring how completely removed Cruise remains from his own child’s life after all this time—all, of course, due to his allegiance to the very bizarre Church of Scientology.

In a deposition in 2013, Cruise acknowledged that Scientology was the reason for his estrangement from Suri. When lawyers asked point black whether Holmes ended their marriage “in part to protect Suri from Scientology,” Cruise answered, “That was one of the assertions, yes.” In 2016, Page Six reported that Cruise hadn’t seen Suri in three years due to an internal Scientology rule prohibiting members from fraternizing with non-members. “This is his loss, his issue, his problem. He must be really brainwashed,” a source said at the time, implying Cruise had chosen the church over his child.

This same rule has reportedly strained the relationships between Cruise’s other ex, Nicole Kidman, and her shared kids with him, as they’re also devoted Scientologists. Cruise retained custody of both of the children when their divorce was finalized in 2001. As recently as 2019, Kidman was prohibited from attending her son Connor Cruise’s wedding, per a source who claimed that “Tom is behind this and what he wants is as good as law. Tom made the call and Connor followed.” The same source claimed, “Connor worships the ground his father walks on and would never disobey Tom” and that “Tom would never even consider inviting Nicole to Connor’s wedding because she’s considered a ‘suppressive person’ by the Church.” Connor’s wife, Silvia Zanchi, notably appears to be a high-ranking Scientologist.

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