Aug 9, 2023


Pastor alarmed after Trump-loving congregants deride Jesus' teachings as 'weak'

Evangelical Christian leader Russell Moore revealed this week that many evangelical pastors have become alarmed that their Trump-loving congregants have become so militant that they are even rejecting the teachings of Jesus Christ.

In an interview with NPR, Moore said that multiple pastors had told him disturbing stories about their congregants being upset when they read from the famous "Sermon on the Mount" in which Christ espoused the principles of forgiveness and mercy as central to Christian doctrine.

"Multiple pastors tell me, essentially, the same story about quoting the Sermon on the Mount, parenthetically, in their preaching — 'turn the other cheek' — [and] to have someone come up after to say, 'Where did you get those liberal talking points?'" Moore revealed. "And what was alarming to me is that in most of these scenarios, when the pastor would say, 'I'm literally quoting Jesus Christ,' the response would not be, 'I apologize.' The response would be, 'Yes, but that doesn't work anymore. That's weak.'"

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"When we get to the point where the teachings of Jesus himself are seen as subversive to us, then we're in a crisis," he said.

Lori Vallow Daybell sentenced to life in prison for murders of her 2 children and conspiring in the murder of her husband’s first wife

Idaho mother Lori Vallow Daybell was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole after her conviction earlier this year in the murders of two of her children and for conspiring in the murder of her husband’s first wife.

Vallow Daybell received a sentence of life in prison for the murders of each of her children, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, as well as for the conspiracy to commit murder of Tammy Daybell, the first wife of her husband, Chad Daybell. Those sentences will be served consecutively, the judge ruled, with two additional life sentences and a sentence of 10 years for grand theft to be served concurrently.

A jury in May found her guilty on all charges, including two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of conspiracy in the deaths of the children and Tammy Daybell, whose loved ones gave emotional testimony Monday underscoring the lasting toll of Vallow Daybell’s crimes.

July 2023 was likely the hottest month in 120,000 years

Scientists are already calculating that July 2023 will be the hottest month on record—and likely the warmest month that humanity has ever experienced. The United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service announced late last week that this month’s heat was beyond record-smashing. The planet’s temperature, they report, has been temporarily passing over the crucial threshold of limiting global warming to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial temperatures.

This news comes as no surprise to the millions of people around the world facing extreme heat. Phoenix, Arizona is about to enter its 31st straight day of temperatures above 110 degrees. Parts of northwest China saw a record-breaking 126 degrees earlier this month, while southern Europe is seeing wildfires following an extreme heatwave. These global heat waves would be “virtually impossible” without climate change, according to an early analysis released last week by the World Weather Attribution initiative.

“We can say that the first three weeks of July have been the warmest three week periods ever observed in our record,” Carlo Buentempo, director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, said via Zoom and in a statement. “This anomaly is so large with respect to other record-breaking months in our record that we are virtually certain that the month, the month as a whole, will become the warmest July on record, the warmest month on record, in all likelihood.”

The Atlantic is at risk of circulation collapse – it would mean even greater climate chaos across Europe

Amid news of lethal heatwaves across the Northern Hemisphere comes the daunting prospect of a climate disaster on an altogether grander scale. New findings published in Nature Communications suggest the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, or Amoc, could collapse within the next few decades – maybe even within the next few years – driving European weather to even greater extremes.

The Amoc amounts to a system of currents in the Atlantic that bring warm water northwards where it then cools and sinks. It is a key reason why Europe’s climate has been stable for thousands of years, even if it’s hard to recognise this chaotic summer as part of that stability.

There is much uncertainty in these latest predictions and some scientists are less convinced a collapse is imminent. Amoc is also only one part of the wider Gulf Stream system, much of which is driven by winds that will continue to blow even if the Amoc collapses. So part of the Gulf Stream will survive an Amoc collapse.

But I have studied the links between Atlantic currents and the climate for decades now, and know that an Amoc collapse would still lead to even greater climate chaos across Europe and beyond. At minimum, it is a risk worth being aware of.

Florida ocean temperature topped 100F, setting potential record

Shallow waters off south Florida topped 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8C) for several hours on Monday, potentially setting a new world record with temperatures more commonly associated with hot tubs.

. . .

The sauna-like conditions might be enjoyable for some humans, but sustained extreme heat is devastating for coral reef ecosystems and the species that depend on them.

It comes days after the nonprofit Coral Reef Foundation (CRF) said that one reef in south Florida it had been working to restore had been devastated.

"CRF teams visited Sombrero Reef, a restoration site we've been working at for over a decade. What we found was unimaginable—100% coral mortality," said the organization's Phanor Montoya-Maya, in a statement.

Ancient diseases locked in ice could wipe out a third of humanity, study suggests

A new study has suggested the release of pathogens trapped in the world's permafrost and glaciers could pose a threat to humanity itself.

These "time-travelling" pathogens have been locked beneath the ice for millennia, but climate change could hasten their release.

While melting glaciers and permafrost risk the re-emergence of many types of dormant pathogens, the potential destruction to modern ecosystems posed by these microbes has been difficult to predict.

But a new global study by Flinders University Professor Corey Bradshaw, and Dr Giovanni Strona of the European Commission Joint Research Centre, has calculated the ecological risks posed by the release of these unpredictable ancient microbes.

A worm that survived 46,000 years in permafrost wows scientists

Scientists have discovered a worm that managed to stretch its short life expectancy — by tens of thousands of years.

A tiny roundworm was revived after it was frozen in Siberian permafrost 46,000 years ago, when Neanderthals still walked the Earth.

The worm, a previously unknown species of nematode, survived after entering a dormant state known as cryptobiosis, during which the animal doesn't eat and lacks a metabolism. The finding was detailed in a recent study published in the journal PLOS Genetics.

The most stunning part of the discovery was the length of time the worm had endured cryptobiosis, said Philipp Schiffer, one of the study's authors and a group leader at the Institute of Zoology at the University of Cologne in Germany.

A newly discovered colossal whale might be the heaviest animal ever, study finds

A colossal ancient whale discovered in Peru might be the heaviest animal on record, according to a new study.

At an estimated body mass of 85 to 340 metric tons (187,393 to 749,572 pounds), the heft of the now-extinct Perucetus colossus is equivalent to or exceeds that of the blue whale, which had indisputably been considered the animal with the greatest body mass until now, said Giovanni Bianucci, first author of the study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

The partial skeleton of Perucetus, consisting of 13 vertebrae, four ribs and one hip bone, is estimated to be 17 to 20 meters (55.8 to 65.6 feet) long. The fossil specimen is shorter than that of a 25-meter long (82-foot-long) blue whale — but its skeletal mass still potentially exceeded that of any known mammal or sea vertebrate, including its gigantic relative, according to the study.

What’s more, Perucetus likely weighed two to three times more than the blue whale, which today weighs a maximum of 149.6 metric tons (330,000 pounds).

2nd nuclear fusion breakthrough brings us a (tiny) step closer to limitless clean energy

A nuclear fusion reaction that puts in more energy than it gives out has been demonstrated by U.S. scientists for a second time. The successful experiment takes us one small but meaningful step closer to creating a new source of limitless clean energy.

By firing the world's most energetic laser beam to briefly transform a pellet of hydrogen isotopes into a fiery plasma, the physicists produced a higher net-energy gain than they did on their first attempt last year.

"Since demonstrating fusion ignition for the first time at the National Ignition Facility in December 2022, we have continued to perform experiments to study this exciting new scientific regime. In an experiment conducted on July 30, we repeated ignition at NIF," the researchers said in an emailed statement. "As is our standard practice, we plan on reporting those results at upcoming scientific conferences and in peer-reviewed publications."

Scientists have been trying to find practical methods to create nuclear fusion — the process that makes stars like our sun burn — since the 1940s. Stars fuse hydrogen atoms to make helium under extremely high temperatures and pressures, converting matter into light and heat and producing energy — without also creating damaging byproducts such as greenhouse gases or radioactive waste.

A Background ‘Hum’ Pervades the Universe. Scientists Are Racing to Find Its Source

In June, a new era in astronomy began with the apparent discovery of low-frequency gravitational waves, the ambient hum of spacetime ripples pervading the universe. That announcement came from a huge collaboration of researchers around the world. Groups in the U.S., Europe, India, Australia and China are each working on their own similar experiments and are pooling their data together to improve the result. With evidence for these never-before-seen gravitational waves now firmly in hand, all those disparate teams are now feverishly gathering more data for a grander goal: to understand exactly where this background hum is really coming from. Many experts suspect that the hum mostly emerges from pairs of supermassive black holes spiraling together in the gradual process of merging—but it could instead come from even stranger sources that might represent thrilling new branches of physics. “We’re right at the very beginning of the field,” says Chiara Mingarelli of Yale University, part of the U.S.-led collaboration, NANOGrav.

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The evidence for a background hum of low-frequency gravitational waves comes from a total of 115 pulsars that were observed across many years by the multiple teams. Now efforts are underway to combine all those pulsar timing data into a single data set as part of the International Pulsar Timing Array (IPTA), which will improve the data set’s overall sensitivity. “We’re working on this together,” Mingarelli says. “We have one representative from each PTA [working] to start combining the data.” That collective effort has been ongoing for two years already, and more definitive results are expected to appear by the end of 2023 or sometime in 2024. “That is going to be the most sensitive pulsar timing array data set that’s ever been put together,” says Nihan Pol of Vanderbilt University.

Whistleblower tells Congress the US is concealing ‘multi-decade’ program that captures UFOs

The U.S. is concealing a longstanding program that retrieves and reverse engineers unidentified flying objects, a former Air Force intelligence officer testified Wednesday to Congress. The Pentagon has denied his claims.

Retired Maj. David Grusch’s highly anticipated testimony before a House Oversight subcommittee was Congress’ latest foray into the world of UAPs — or “unidentified aerial phenomena,” which is the official term the U.S. government uses instead of UFOs. While the study of mysterious aircraft or objects often evokes talk of aliens and “little green men,” Democrats and Republicans in recent years have pushed for more research as a national security matter due to concerns that sightings observed by pilots may be tied to U.S. adversaries.

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Grusch says he became a government whistleblower after his discovery and has faced retaliation for coming forward. He declined to be more specific about the retaliatory tactics, citing an ongoing investigation.

“It was very brutal and very unfortunate, some of the tactics they used to hurt me both professionally and personally,” he said.

I’m an AI influencer: Followers crave my sexy snaps — but I don’t exist

Her fans think they found true love — but she’s not real.

Milla Sofia is an artificial intelligence-generated influencer whose sultry photos on Twitter and TikTok are racking up thousands of likes from deluded social media users, Futurism reported.

. . .

“As a fashion model, I bring an unparalleled and futuristic perspective to the realm of style. Whether it’s the catwalk or the digital landscape, my passion lies in showcasing the latest trends and pushing the boundaries in the ever-evolving fashion industry,” she says of herself.

Instead of simply photoshopping models’ faces to meet unrealistic beauty standards, creating fake models might erase the need for models altogether.

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