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Saturday, December 14, 2019

December 14, 2019

Powerful 6.9 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Southern Philippines


A 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines on Sunday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

The institute said the quake, which struck at 2:11 p.m. local time (0611 GMT), hit 6 km northwest of Padada town, Davao del Sur province, with a depth of 30 km.

The quake, which was tectonic in origin, will trigger aftershocks and damage.

The Philippines has frequent seismic activity due to its location along the "Pacific Ring of Fire."
December 14, 2019

Sleeping 9 Hours Or More Could Increase Stroke Risk By 85% - Study Finds

stroke, sleeping

People who sleep for more than nine hours each night or take long naps during the day may have an increased risk of stroke compared with those who sleep less, according to new research.

A Chinese study, published in the journal Neurology, examined the sleep habits of 31,750 healthy adults, using a combination of physical examinations and self-reported data.

The participants, who had no prior history of strokes or other major health problems, were followed for six years on average and asked about their nightly sleeping habits and whether they napped during the day and for how long. However, other lifestyle factors such as fitness and nutrition were not taken into consideration.

In that time there were 1,438 definite and 119 probable stroke cases.

Researchers found that those who said they slept for nine or more hours a night were 23 per cent more likely to go on to have a stroke than people who slept fewer than eight hours per night.

Similarly, regular daytime nappers who slept for more than 90 minutes each time were 25 per cent more likely to have a stroke than people who napped for under half an hour.

Participants who were both long nappers and long sleepers were 85 per cent more likely to have a stroke than people considered to be moderate sleepers and nappers.

The team also pointed out that people who reported poor quality of sleep were 29 per cent more likely to later have a stroke than people who felt they had slept well.

Meanwhile, those who were long sleepers and also experienced poor sleep quality were 82 per cent more likely to go on to have a stroke.

stroke, sleeping

Study author Xiaomin Zhang, of Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, said: “More research is needed to understand how taking long naps and sleeping longer hours at night may be tied to an increased risk of stroke, but previous studies have shown that long nappers and sleepers have unfavourable changes in their cholesterol levels and increased waist circumferences, both of which are risk factors for stroke.

“In addition, long napping and sleeping may suggest an overall inactive lifestyle, which is also related to increased risk of stroke.”

According to the Stroke Association – a charity that provides specialist support and funds critical stroke research – more than 100,000 strokes occur each year in the UK, the equivalent of around one stroke every five minutes.

The organisation adds that there are more than 1.2 million stroke survivors in the country and that every two seconds, someone in the world will have a stroke.

The NHS states that symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the word FAST:

Face – the face may have dropped on 1 side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.

Arms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in 1 arm. 

Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them. 

Time – it’s time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.

It adds that strokes are a medical emergency and urgent treatment is essential.

The sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen.

If you suspect that you or someone else is having a stroke, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.

December 14, 2019

Bill Gates Backing Plan To Stop Climate Change By Blocking Out The Sun

climate change, volcano,

It sounds like a wacky idea out of science fiction - but it’s backed in part by billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates and top scientists from Harvard.

The researchers believe that a fleet of specially designed aircraft could spray sulfate particles into the lower stratosphere to cool down our planet and offset the effects of climate change.

A test of the technology has been proposed for this year, the Daily Mail reports, with the Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx) seeing a bag of carbonate dust released into the atmosphere 12 miles up.

If that experiment proves successful, the researchers will move on to releasing the dust from planes.

The researchers suggest that jets flying 12 miles up would complete over 60,000 missions in 15 years, starting with a fleet of eight and moving up to 100 planes.

At present, there are no aircraft capable of doing this, so they would need to be developed.

The Harvard researchers have claimed that (if it were launched this year), it would cost about $3.5 billion (£2.74 billion),, plus $2.25 billion (£1.76 billion) per year.

bill gates

The researchers said last year, ‘Dozens of countries would have both the expertise and the money to launch such a program.

‘Around 50 countries have military budgets greater than $3 billion, with 30 greater than $6 billion.’

The idea of ‘solar geoengineering’ or solar radiation management (SRM) is controversial, mimicking the world-chilling effects of huge volcanic eruptions.

Some scientists have suggested that such technology could be used a ‘stop gap’ to reduce temperatures while measures to limit CO2 emissions are put in place.

But others have suggested that when the SRM was withdrawn, it could lead to rapid global warming in a phenomenon known as ‘termination shock’.

[ By MSN/Yahoo News ]
December 14, 2019

Twitter To Crack Down Porn Starting January 2020

twitter porn ban

Over the past year or so, there has been a general crackdown on content that would be considered NSFW, basically any content that is meant to be consumed by adults due to its graphically violent or sexual nature. Facebook and Instagram have always been rather restrictive with the kind of content they allowed on their platforms, but last year a real game changer occurred when Tumblr, a social media platform that was widely considered to be a haven for anyone that wanted to create or share adult content, implemented a site wide ban on such content.

This heralded a changing of the times. After Tumblr’s surprise decision to ban all adult content on the platform, something that was brought about from a concern that some people featured in this kind of content might actually be under the legal age of consent, Facebook and Instagram cracked down even further on these kinds of content as well. This went as far as restricting the use of certain kinds of emojis as well, emojis that are considered to be sexual in nature due to their general implications.

twitter porn ban

It seems like Twitter is now joining the growing list of social media platforms that are banning content that is sexual in nature. Starting from the 1st of January 2020, content that contains graphic gore, sensitive or violent sexual imagery will no longer be allowed on the platform. This is basically being done to prevent such content from contributing to the widespread sexual violence committed against women on a daily basis, and turn Twitter into a more family friendly place.

twitter porn ban

While the sentiment behind this new policy surrounding NSFW content seems to make sense, some people are criticizing the micro-blogging platform for it. One group of people that are criticizing it include artists that specialize in NSFW artwork, sex workers that upload content to the platform as well as general fetish enthusiasts.

These people are criticizing the fact that the ban on “violent sexual content” is going to prevent content in which the encounter is consensual from being uploaded as well. What Twitter defines as “violent sexual content” is basically any content that has both violence and sex in it, yet certain people claim that they engage in such encounters consensually and it is essentially play acting meant as a form of artistic expression. The criticism also mentions the fact that non fetish based sexual videos will still be allowed, so the focus is not really on consent but rather on an assumption that is not based on the actual consent of the people involved.

Others are criticizing this as a cheap move to encourage more advertisers to come to the platform, something that is undoubtedly true as Twitter looks to expand its borders.

Friday, December 13, 2019

December 13, 2019

Dad’s Terrified After Seeing His Baby In Washing Machine -Realises It’s A T-shirt

baby, washing machine

A dad was horrified to see his child's face squashed against the washing machine door with the drum spinning - until he realised his wife had washed a t shirt.

It turned out that what the chap was actually seeing was his favourite t shirt with his child's face printed on the t shirt.

Writing on Imgur as ARussianAndHisBike, the dad posted the image alongside "If you are ever washing your favourite shirt with a picture of your child on it, just put a warning note on the washer or something".

Instead of startling Imgur users, the photo attracted a string of joke titles.

One person captioned it, 'how else am I supposed to wash the baby, Karen?'

Conveniently, the baby snap shows the child looking excited, beaming with an open-mouthed grin, prompting one person to reference the Dirty Dancing hit track, writing 'I had... the time of my life... and I owe it all to yoooou'.

While another joked the machine was on the right setting not to harm the child. They wrote: "What's the big deal? I put it on the delicates setting.

baby, washing machine

The post went viral receiving over 100,000 views in seven days.

But not everyone found the post funny.

One person sympathised with the dad: "GOOD GRIEF! Put a note on the title that actually shows up on the thumbnail, too, please!"

While someone else warned of the danger of shoving living beings into a machine.

They wrote: "Co workers cat just died in a dryer accident about a week and a half ago. If you have kids or pets check before loading."

[ By Mirror ]
December 13, 2019

Man Jumps Into Icy Waters To Save Dog’s Life

dog, dog rescue

It’s hard to say what we would do in a life or death situation to save an animal; those that do deserve the title of ‘hero’.

Don Chatten was out walking his two dogs in Buffalo, New York, on a bitterly cold day when a woman asked for his help finding her small dog.

He didn’t hesitate to help her but when he finally located the missing pooch, he realized the danger and knew he had to act fast.

The dog had fallen into icy waters in Ellicott Creek Park and Don knew he didn’t have much time if he was going to save her.

Waist-deep in icy water

According to WKBW News, Don called 911 but fearing they may be too late decided to rescue the dog himself.

He tried to crawl across the ice, but it gave way plunging him waist-deep into the icy waters.

“I knew it wasn’t real deep in this part because I used to come here when I was a kid,” Don told WKBW News.

The shivering dog was then taken to the vet to be checked over, according to the news station.

Find out more about the heroic actions of this animal lover in the clip below.

December 13, 2019

Transgender Demands Extra Breast Implants On Head

Jolene Dawson

Botched has seen some crazy requests during its six seasons, but drew the line on the latest episode when a model requested breast implants on top of her head.

Jolene Dawson, a transgender model and self-proclaimed ‘Bratz Doll’ appeared on the show and asked Dr. Terry Dubrow and Dr. Paul Nassif to give her the unique breast augmentation.

‘I definitely, 100%, without a doubt need an implant in my head,’ Jolene explained. ‘So it would be two breast implants in my head, like two boobs!’

Jolene Dawson

The Australian patient also revealed they had spent $200,000 (£152,100) on their body transformation… ‘but wanted to cap it at a million’.

Despite looking stunning, Jolene then reeled off the numerous tweaks she still wanted done – including a trachea shave, brow bone shave and a jaw shave.

Dr Dubrow later told her: ‘I’m so happy that there are certain procedures that are designed to take you to the next level – the bone shaving, the jawline refinement…


‘But don’t be a pioneer testing the limits of surgery that could kill you.’

Judging from Jolene’s Instagram, she’s decided against getting the implants done.

Before heading onto the show, Jolene – based in Australia’s Gold Coast – has been public about her plastic surgery disasters, including a £5000 nose job that means she refused to leave the house.

She also had her belly button removed in 2018 in a bid to ‘look less human and more like a Bratz doll’.

[ By Metro ]
December 13, 2019

Thousands of ‘Penis Fish’ Found on a California Beach

penis fish

We’ve all seen our fair share of deep-sea horrors that haunt the bottom of the ocean and Jaws-esque movies featuring gigantic, human-gulping sharks. But nothing, people—absolutely nothing—will ever prepare you for an eye-full of penis fish. A fact that is especially unfortunate for one man in California, who recently found thousands of them washed ashore, all laid out on the sand. Pulsating in the worst way possible.

penis fish

The New York Post picked up on this so-NSFW/not-NSFW-at-all story, originally reported by Ivan Parr in his “Ask the Naturalist” column in Bay Nature Magazine. According to Parr’s article, a man by the name of David Ford discovered the multitude of penis fish on Drakes Beach in Marin County on December 6. It’s unclear what Ford was doing on the beach, but somehow he came upon the penis fish strewn across the sand, like so many long, plump sausages. This is actually an apt description considering the fact that Ford also saw hundreds of seagulls feasting on the penis fish.

penis fish

In terms of what these things actually are—aside from crimes against nature and our eyeballs—that’s best described by their other, far less disgusting, yet still pretty disgusting nickname, “Fat Innkeeper Worms.” Just as Urechis caupo earned the nickname of Penis fish thanks to its appearance, it’s known as the Fat Innkeeper Worm because it behaves much like an Innkeeper. And a benevolent one at that.


This comparison to an innkeeper is drawn because of the way Urechis caupo feeds itself, which is a process that’s both putrid and inadvertently selfless. Essentially, a penis fish feeds itself by digging a U-shaped hole in the ocean floor and then setting up a mucus net at one end of the hole that it uses to trap food particles and other detritus. Once it’s captured whatever food particles it can from the water, the penis fish retracts its mucus net from whence it came (its elongated, sucking proboscis), and consumes the particles for their nutrients. Larger food particles that the penis fish is unable to consume are left behind, however, and are eaten as freebie snacks by other ocean dwellers like pea crabs, shrimps, and scaleworms.


This act of commensalism, in which the penis fish helps others, but doesn’t itself receive gain or lose anything by helping them, is perhaps the one big redeeming quality of the entire Urechidae family. Although feelings of disgust may quickly return after hearing that after it’s done eating, the penis fish spouts out poo pellets, which it blasts out of its feeding tube with jets of water squirted from its anus. There’s also this little video, which may make you think of Yivo from Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs. Or of just moving to Mars.

What do you think of these thousands of penis fish? Do you need about a thousand pictures of Baby Yoda to cleanse your visual cortex and hippocampus of any memory of these things? Let us know in the comments!

[ By Nerdist ]

Thursday, December 12, 2019

December 12, 2019

Hair Straighteners May Increase Breast Cancer Risk By 30% - National Institute of Health

Hair Straighteners, Hair Dye

Scientists at the National Institutes of Health found that women who use permanent hair dye and chemical hair straighteners have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who don’t use these products. The study published online Dec. 4 in the International Journal of Cancer and suggests that breast cancer risk increased with more frequent use of these chemical hair products.

Using data from 46,709 women in the Sister Study, researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of NIH, found that women who regularly used permanent hair dye in the year prior to enrolling in the study were 9% more likely than women who didn’t use hair dye to develop breast cancer. Among African American women, using permanent dyes every five to eight weeks or more was associated with a 60% increased risk of breast cancer as compared with an 8% increased risk for white women. The research team found little to no increase in breast cancer risk for semi-permanent or temporary dye use.

"Researchers have been studying the possible link between hair dye and cancer for a long time, but results have been inconsistent," said corresponding author Alexandra White, Ph.D., head of the NIEHS Environment and Cancer Epidemiology Group. "In our study, we see a higher breast cancer risk associated with hair dye use, and the effect is stronger in African American women, particularly those who are frequent users. "

An intriguing finding was the association between the use of chemical hair straighteners and breast cancer. Dr. White and colleagues found that women who used hair straighteners at least every five to eight weeks were about 30% more likely to develop breast cancer. While the association between straightener use and breast cancer was similar in African American and white women, straightener use was much more common among African American women.

Co-author Dale Sandler, Ph.D., chief of the NIEHS Epidemiology Branch, cautioned that although there is some prior evidence to support the association with chemical straighteners, these results need to be replicated in other studies.

When asked if women should stop dyeing or straightening their hair, Sandler said, "We are exposed to many things that could potentially contribute to breast cancer, and it is unlikely that any single factor explains a woman’s risk. While it is too early to make a firm recommendation, avoiding these chemicals might be one more thing women can do to reduce their risk of breast cancer."

December 12, 2019

Women Who Dye Their Hair At Higher Risk Of Developing Breast Cancer, Study Warns

breast cancer, hair dye

It’s something that many women do regularly without thinking twice, but if you dye your hair, you may unknowingly be increasing your risk of developing breast cancer.

A new study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health has revealed that women who use permanent hair dye and chemical hair straighteners have a higher risk of developing the disease.

In the study, the researchers analysed data from 46,709 women, and found that those who had used permanent hair dye in the year prior to enrolling in the study were 9% more likely to develop breast cancer than those who didn’t dye their hair.

Meanwhile, using chemical hair straighteners was found to increase the women’s risk of breast cancer by about 30%.

Worryingly, among African American women, using permanent hair dyes every five to eight weeks or more was associated with a 60% increased risk, compared to an 8% increased risk for white women.

breast cancer

Dr Alexandra White, who led the study, said: “Researchers have been studying the possible link between hair dye and cancer for a long time, but results have been inconsistent.

“In our study, we see a higher breast cancer risk associated with hair dye use, and the effect is stronger in African American women, particularly those who are frequent users."

While the reason for these findings remain unclear, the researchers hope their results will encourage further studies into hair products and cancer.

Dr Dale Sandler, co-author of the study, said: “We are exposed to many things that could potentially contribute to breast cancer, and it is unlikely that any single factor explains a woman's risk.

“While it is too early to make a firm recommendation, avoiding these chemicals might be one more thing women can do to reduce their risk of breast cancer."

[ By Mirror ]
December 12, 2019

VIDEO: Chinese Kid Kicks Car That Knocks Down His Mother On Zebra Crossing

road accident

Road rage or aggressive driving is one of the major causes of traffic accidents in China.

A major chunk of accidents on roads are caused by distracted drivers - especially those operating mobile phones while driving - and this is only getting worse, not just in China, but all over the world.

More recently, a CCTV footage of car knocking down pedestrians on a zebra crossing, has sparked fury online.

In the video that's going viral, a mother and her son are taking the crosswalk when an SUV drives past them without a care in the world and knocks them down.

Furious after what happened, the little boy checks to see if his mother is injured before kicking the front of the vehicle, and shouting at the driver.

Following the collision, the driver leaves his vehicle and tries to help the injured woman into his car, presumably to take her to a hospital.


This incident took place in Chongqing, China, and the police have determined that the driver was fully responsible for what happened; he was most probably distracted while driving.

According to a 2015 study, China was one of the top countries in terms of road rage - the country recorded more than 17 million road accidents in just a year. That's mind-boggling!

[ By India Times ]
December 12, 2019

Man Left Horrified After He Pulls Out 32 Feet Tapeworm From His Butt

tapeworm

In what can be described as a terrifying incident seemingly straight out of a Stephen King horror novel, a man pulled out a 32 feet-long tapeworm out of his body while using the restroom.

According to a story published in Mirror UK, 44-year-old Kritsada Ratprachoom, thought that something was “sticking out of his bottom side” and pulled it out.

The man, hailing from Udon Thani in North eastern Thailand, described the tapeworm to be sticky and stretchy, the report stated.

"I felt like I wasn't finished defecating like something was left," Udon Thani was quoted as saying.

He added, “Turns out there was something sticking out of my bottom.”

tapeworm

Kritsada, who is a freelance photographer by profession, took a few pictures before flushing the parasite down the toilet, the report revealed.

According to him, he had just finished dropping his child off at school and ran some errands when he realised he had to rush to a washroom.

Unfortunately for him, he felt a wriggling in his stomach and got up to see what it was.

The report cited him as estimating the work to be 32 feet long.

Tapeworms are much like ribbon-like worms that can survive inside the stomach, if a person has accidentally swallowed their eggs or newly hatched worms.

The man, however, had no idea how the worm reached his gut.
[ By News18 ]

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

December 11, 2019

Study Linking Profanity To Honesty Shows People Who Curse Are More Authentic

angry women, profanity, cursing

The next time someone tells you to watch your language, feel free to tell them to fuck off.

Sure, swearing is considered poor form in certain settings—like courts, classrooms, and most offices. But people who do it may be more trustworthy, according to a new three-part study analyzing swearing and straightforwardness in individuals and society.

“The consistent findings across the studies suggest that the positive relation between profanity and honesty is robust, and that the relationship found at the individual level indeed translates to the society level,” concludes the final paper, set to be published in the journal of Psychological and Personality Science this year.

Gilad Feldman of the Department of Work and Psychology in Maastricht University in the Netherlands led an international research team whose goal was to resolve a conflict in social science, which is split on the matter of swearing and straightforwardness. On the one hand, using profanity is taboo and people who do so may be more inclined to break other social norms, including committing crimes of dishonesty—and so swearing has been associated with moral turpitude, the paper explains. On the other hand, blurting curses is positively associated with authenticity in certain situations—for example, people accused of crimes who are actually innocent are more inclined to swear during interrogations than those who are guilty and denying their crime, other studies have found.

In an effort to settle the debate, the researchers first studied individual profanity by asking 276 individuals to report how commonly they curse, list their favorite swear words, and explain what emotions they associate with swearing (like anger, embarrassment, or anxiety). Then, these individuals were asked about their honesty in a rather roundabout way—they were surveyed about their reliability, among other things, using a version of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, a standard psychological model developed in 1985. Those who made certain claims—for example that they always do whatever they said they would—were deemed liars based on this particular scale

profanity, cursing

Next, they analyzed about 70,000 social media interactions between international participants, assessing the presence of profanity in status updates against other measurements of honesty online, such as frequency of use of words like “I ” or “me” which have been associated in previous studies with lack of forthrightness. “Profanity and honesty were found to be significantly and positively correlated, indicating that those who used more profanity were more honest in their Facebook status updates,” the researchers write.

Finally, the team analyzed profanity on a societal level. To do this, they looked at the 2012 Integrity Analyses of 48 US states (a measure of transparency and accountability in state governments conducted by the Center for Public Integrity). They took the state data and compared it to individual swearing scores of state residents in their Facebook study (29,701 participants), finding a correlation between frequent cursing in residents and the state’s integrity score. For example, in Connecticut and New Jersey, individuals swore frequently but their states also scored highest on the integrity analysis. Meanwhile, in South Carolina individuals politely avoided profanity, but the state also scored low in governmental integrity and openness.

“We set out to provide an empirical answer to competing views regarding the relationship between profanity and honesty,” the researchers write. “In three studies, at both the individual and society level, we found that a higher rate of profanity use was associated with more honesty.”

That said, they caution against now assuming that the potty-mouthed are all-round angels. Dishonesty in the study was limited to “conscious creation of a false sense of reality” but didn’t address true ethics. So, people who curse like sailors may still commit serious ethical crimes—but they won’t pretend all’s well online.

[ By Quartz ]
December 11, 2019

Man Claims His Farts Can Kill Mosquitoes Six Meters Away

Joe Rwamirama

A Ugandan man whose farts can allegedly kill mosquitoes six meters away claims to have been offered deals by companies looking to turn his flatulence into commercial insect repellent.

Joe Rwamirama, a 48-year-old man from Kampala, in Uganda, says he eats ordinary food and that his farts smell no worse than anyone else’s, but to insects, like malaria-transmitting mosquitoes, the gas he passes is deadly. Joe’s insect-repelling farts are famous around town, and people know that whenever he is around, mosquitoes magically vanish. Some say that the man’s farts have evolved to fight mosquitoes.

“He is known all over the city as the man who can kill mosquitoes with his farts,” local barber James Yoweri told Talk of Najia. “When Joe is around we all know that mosquitoes will vanish. He is respectful of people around him and will only fart when there are mosquitoes around which bring malaria. His farts gets rid of this disease.”

“I heard about Joe’s gift and I took him in to help mop out the mosquitoes infesting our surroundings,” a local chief said. “He respectfully drops these bloomers and it helped eradicate the insects. He does his thing and they drop – like flies.”

Rwamirama, who does odd jobs for a living, went as far as to claim that his farts are strong enough to knock out insects in a six mile radius, which would make his fallout zone larger than that of the atomic bomb which destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.


“I smell like a normal man and I bathe daily and my farts are just like everyone else, they are only dangerous to small insects and especially mosquitoes,” Joe insists.

The Ugandan man now dreams of having his insect-killing farts turned into a commercially-available repellent. “Imagine buying a Raid can with my face on it!” he told reporters. However, the companies he claims already contacted him about it have yet to confirm his statements.

[ By Oddity Central ]
December 11, 2019

Astronomical events in December - including ‘King of Meteor Showers’ and Solar Eclipse

Astronomical events in December

If you’re a fan of stargazing, you’ll be happy to hear that there are several astronomical events lined up for December.

This month we’ll be treated to not just one, but two meteor showers, as well as an annular solar eclipse.

We’ll also welcome the official start of winter with the December Solstice, which is taking place on December 22 this year.

Best of all, most of the astronomical events this month will be visible with the naked eye, so there’s no need to fork out on expensive equipment to get involved!

Here’s everything you need to know about December’s astronomical events, including when they are and how to see them.

 Full Cold Moon

December 12 - Full Cold Moon

The astronomical events will kick off on December 12, when a Full Cold Moon will appear in the sky.

This phenomenon takes place when the Moon is located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun, meaning its face is fully illuminated.

This particular full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Cold Moon, because it takes place at the time of year when the cold winter air settles in and the nights become long and dark.

Geminids Meteor Shower

December 13-14 - Geminids Meteor Shower

If you’ve always dreamed of seeing a shooting star, you’ll be happy to hear that you’ll have two opportunities this month.

The Geminids Meteor Shower is often referred to as the ‘King of Meteor Showers’, and will peak on the evening of December 13.

During the peak, there can be up to 120 multicolour meteors per hour, so there’s a pretty good chance you’ll see one!

For your best chance of seeing one, try to head to an area with little light pollution such as the countryside.

Ursids Meteor Shower

December 21 - Ursids Meteor Shower

If you miss the Geminids, thankfully you’l have another chance to see shooting stars in December, thanks to the Ursids Meteor Shower.

This shower will peak on the evening of December 21, at which point there will be around 5-10 meteors per hour.

While the meteors will radiate from the constellation Ursa Minor, they can appear anywhere in the sky - so keep your eyes peeled!

 December Solstice

December 22 - December Solstice

We’ll officially welcome winter in on December 22, thanks to the December Solstice.

On this day, the South Pole of the Earth will be tilted towards the Sun, which will have reached its most southernmost position in the sky.

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, this is the first day of winter, while for those in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the first day of summer.

Annular Solar Eclipse

December 26 - Annular Solar Eclipse

The final astronomical event of the year is an annular solar eclipse, which will take place on December 26.

An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon is too far away from Earth to completely cover the Sun. This means a ring of light will appear around the darkened Moon.

Unfortunately for us Brits, the event will not be visible from the UK, and will only be seen from southeast Asia and parts of the Indian Ocean.

[ By Mirror ]
December 11, 2019

Smelling Your Lover’s Shirt May Make You Less Stressed

smelling, sniffing

Men were chosen to provide clothing samples because they tend to produce more scent, says lead author Marlise Hofer, a PhD student in the department of psychology. Women, meanwhile, have a naturally better sense of smell. After the shirts were worn for 24 hours, they were frozen to preserve any scents that were left behind.

The women in the study were then asked to smell a T-shirt that had either been unworn, worn by their partner or worn by another man they did not know. Immediately afterward, they were given a mock job interview and a difficult mental math exam designed to evoke stressful emotions. They also answered questions about their stress levels and provided saliva samples to measure levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

Women who had smelled their partner’s shirt reported feeling less stress both before and after their interview and exam, compared to those who had smelled an unworn shirt or a stranger’s shirt. Those who were able to recognize their partner’s scent also had lower cortisol levels than other women in the study, suggesting that the stress-relieving benefits may be greatest when a person is aware of what they’re sniffing.

Women who smelled a stranger’s scent, on the other hand, had higher levels of cortisol before and after their stress tests. “Humans have developed to fear strangers, especially strange males,” says Hofer. “It’s possible that a strange male scent triggers the fight or flight response, even without us realizing it.”

Hofer says she and her co-authors would like to study the connection between scent and stress in other ways, including whether men would have the same reaction to a romantic partner’s scent. A man may be less likely to wear his girlfriend’s shirt while she’s away, says Hofer, but he may still sleep on her side of the bed or smell other items that belong to her.

smelling, sniffing

“I know I’ve personally seen men smelling the hair of their partner when they’re standing behind them,” she says, “so maybe they just have slightly different behaviors that are accomplishing basically the same thing.”

It’s not yet clear whether the smell of certain products—like perfume, shampoo or men’s body spray—would trigger similar stress reductions in romantic partners. “We’d have to do more research to see if people exposed to familiar scents they associate with their partner have the same response,” says Hofer, “or if this is something unique to our natural body odors.”

The researchers say that their findings could suggest an easy way to lower stress levels when traveling or taking on solo challenges: Take an article of your partner’s clothing along. They’re also interested in studying scent-and-stress connections between parents and children.

“Being separated from young kids can be very stressful for both parties,” says Hofer. “If we can make it easier to leave your child at daycare for the first time or train them to sleep through the night without you, this could have very practical implications.”

[ By Time ]
December 11, 2019

Philippines Likely to Finalise BrahMos Deal by Next Year

BRAHMOS

The Philippines is set to become the first country to buy the BrahMos cruise missile jointly developed by India and Russia, with New Delhi and Manila focusing on price negotiations with the aim of concluding a deal in 2020, people familiar with the discussions said.

India has been in talks with several countries, including Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, over the past few years to sell them land and sea-based versions of the supersonic cruise missile.

The people cited above said the Philippines Army had zeroed in on the BrahMos after extensive trials and everything now revolved around the cost of the system and financing for the deal.

“As far as the Philippines Army is concerned, the consensus on the BrahMos system is a done deal. Now, it’s all about the price negotiations and we hope the deal will be finalised next year,” said a person familiar with the negotiations who declined to be named.

The cost of the system will be the key factor in Manila’s decision on the number of units to be purchased to equip the Philippines Army’s first Land Based Missile System Battery, which was raised and activated in October, the people said.

Though India has offered a $100 million line of credit to the Philippines for defence purchases, Manila is exploring the option of acquiring the BrahMos system with its own funds to be allocated in the next budget.

“Various options are being looked at – whether it should be internal funding or a preferential loan – and whether there will be some preferential terms offered for the sale. The cost will determine how many systems are bought,” said the person cited above.

BRAHMOS

The Philippines Army’s decision to opt for the BrahMos became evident when a mock-up of the land-based version of the missile was displayed at an expo in Manila on December 5. The missile was displayed mounted on a truck launcher system and a chart outlined the Philippines Army’s development road map for the first Land Based Missile System Battery.

The chart said the battery had been activated and its personnel would undergo special courses on rockets, missiles and training simulators to be prepared for inducting the missiles. The chart also said: “Equipment: For acquisition of LBMS (BRAHMOS).”

The chart showed the Philippines Army expects the battery’s personnel and equipment to be ready and for all the equipment to be acquired by 2024.

It also showed the army expects the battery to be fully capable of defending the Philippines against external threats by 2028.

In recent years, the Philippines has concluded several deals with India for personal protective items or bulletproof gear and armour plating for military vehicles.

An Indian firm has also bid for a recent Philippines tender for bulletproof gear.

BRAHMOS

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Philippines in 2017, the two sides signed an MoU on defence industry and logistics cooperation to provide a framework for strengthening cooperation and coordination in logistics support and services, and in the development, production and procurement of defence hardware.

In July, Thailand ambassador Chutintorn Gongsakdi had told HT his country was hoping to conclude negotiations on the purchase of the BrahMos missile by next year. He said Thailand is eyeing “important purchases” of Indian military hardware, including coastal radars and the BrahMos.

India is also exploring the possibility of selling the BrahMos to Indonesia, and a team from the Indo-Russian joint venture that makes the system visited a state-run shipyard in Surabaya in 2018 to assess the fitting of the missile on Indonesian warships.

Talks have also been held with Vietnam for the sale of the BrahMos, which was developed by the Indo-Russian joint venture set up in 1998. The Indian Navy inducted the missile on its frontline warships in 2005 and the army began inducting the BrahMos from 2007 after a series of tests.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

December 10, 2019

Women Do Better When They Have A Group Of Strong Female Friends, Study Finds

women

Madeleine Albright once said, "There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." It turns out that might actually be a hell on Earth, because women just do better when they have other women to rely on, and there's research that backs it up.

A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that women who have a strong circle of friends are more likely to get executive positions with higher pay. "Women who were in the top quartile of centrality and had a female-dominated inner circle of 1-3 women landed leadership positions that were 2.5 times higher in authority and pay than those of their female peers lacking this combination," Brian Uzzi writes in the Harvard Business Review.

Part of the reason why women with strong women backing them up are more successful is because they can turn to their tribe for advice. Women have to face different challenges than men, such as unconscious bias, and being able to turn to other women who have had similar experiences can help you navigate a difficult situation. It's like having a road map for your goals.

women

It's interesting to note that women in leadership positions who lacked this style of support system didn't make as much as the women who did. "While women who had networks that most resembled those of successful men (i.e., centrality but no female inner circle) placed into leadership positions that were among the lowest in authority and pay," Uzzi writes. Men and women have different needs, and that even extends to their tribe.

But it's not just in the workplace. A 2006 study found that women who had 10 or more friends were more likely to survive the disease than women who lacked close friends. The study found socially isolated women were 64% more likely to die from cancer, and 43% more likely to have a breast cancer reoccurrence. Friendship is literally the best medicine.

Never underestimate the power of a group text with your girlfriends. Having a place to commiserate over sexism and support other women with goofy gifs when someone succeeds can enrich your life on all fronts.

[ By Upworthy ]
December 10, 2019

Last Full Moon of the Decade Rises on 12/12 at 12:12 AM

full moon

If you’re a stargazing enthusiast who lives on the east coast of the United States, it’s time to grab your binoculars—the last full moon of the decade is taking place this week.

For east coasters, the moon is set to hit maximum exposure at exactly 12:12AM on December 12th.

Astronomers all over the world will still be able to catch a gorgeous glimpse of the moonrise, but its full illumination will take place at a less superstitious time than 12:12AM on 12/12.

That being said, stargazers in the central US time zone can still catch the moonrise at 11:12PM on December 11th, which makes for a palindromic timestamp.

This particular full moon has been called the “Long Night’s Moon” or the “Cold Moon” because its occurrence in December usually precedes the start of winter on the 21st, meaning that the nights will start getting longer and colder and the moon will sit above the horizon for a longer period of time.

If you want to prepare for this week’s moonrise, be sure and check a moonrise calculator as well as your local weather radar for cloud cover predictions. For more general information about the moonrise, you can also check out the Farmer’s Almanac.