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Willie Nelson Is Launching His Own Brand Of Weed

Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson takes a hit of the cigarette-sized vaporizer in his gnarled hand, exhaling a small cloud, before placing it on the foldout table in front of us. We’re seated in the cool enclave of his tour bus, at the entrance to his sprawling property just outside Austin, Texas, which he has dubbed the town of Luck. Up a hill and around a corner, people are rocking out at Willie’s own Heartbreaker Banquet, an annual fundraiser/music festival held concurrently with SXSW.

Now 81, Willie is biding his time before joining the festivities, and we’re talking about why he puts on the event every year. In the process, he lets slip that he has something else in the works: a new brand of weed, called, naturally, Willie’s Reserve.

More at The Daily Beast

Passphrases That You Can Memorize That Even The NSA Can’t Guess

Tumbling Dice

It’s getting easier to secure your digital privacy. iPhones now encrypt a great deal of personal information; hard drives on Mac and Windows 8.1 computers are now automatically locked down; even Facebook, which made a fortune on open sharing, is providing end-to-end encryption in the chat tool WhatsApp. But none of this technology offers as much protection as you may think if you don’t know how to come up with a good passphrase.

More at The Intercept

Graphene Allows Strange Form Of Ice To Occur At Room Temperature

Graphene

We are all familiar with water, and we see it every day in many forms: in the bulk as a glass of water, in the crystal phase as ice, and the vapor phase as steam. While the behavior of these phases seems predictable, water is an unusual substance that behaves unlike any other small molecule we know of. This fact is particularly notable when water is viewed at small-length scales or confined to small compartments.

An international team of scientists recently discovered some intriguing structural characteristics of water confined in graphene nanocapillaries. In these studies, the researchers deposited a graphene monolayer on a small grid, added a small amount of water, and then covered it with another monolayer of graphene. This sample was left overnight to allow excess water to evaporate, eventually bringing the graphene layers together so that only a small amount of adsorbed water remained between them. The water left behind showed some unusual structural properties.

More at ars technica

There’s A Schism In The Witch Community Over Online Spell Casting

Witch

A month ago, I hired a witch on Etsy to cast a sex spell on my marriage. Since then, I have learned more about the online witchcraft community than I thought I’d ever know.

Commenters called me an idiot for thinking it’d work, friends asked if I’d recommend the process, and at least one person told me I should find Jesus. But one angry response really caught my attention: the bubbling anger at capitalist witches.

“That was probably the dumbest thing you could have ever done,” one commenter wrote. “Speaking as a witch, I would never cast a spell for anyone for payment. That’s ethically wrong.”

More at The Daily Dot

Top Predators May Be The Most Important Animals On Earth

Shark

Humans have always had a complicated relationship with other predators. Grizzly bears, crocodiles, great white sharks—these are among our planet’s most awe-inspiring creatures. Still, we’d never want these deadly animals in our backyards. But new scientific evidence suggests that we need them far more than we realized.

Whatever your personal feelings about Earth’s most powerful beasts may be, there’s no denying their critical importance to our planet. Mountain lions are doing more than just keeping deer in check. Their footprints ripple through ecosystems, shaping everything from the number and types of plants and animals that live there, to which diseases will break out.

More at Gizmodo

How Luck Works

Luck

In 1992, Archie Karas, then a waiter, headed out to Las Vegas. By 1995, he had turned $50 into $40 million, in what has become known as the biggest winning streak in gambling history. Most of us would call it an instance of great luck, or we might say of Archie himself: ‘What a lucky guy!’ The cold-hearted statistician would laugh at our superstious notions, and instead describe a series of chance processes that happened to work out for Karas. In the larger landscape where randomness reigns, anything can happen at any given casino. Calling its beneficiaries lucky is simply sticking a label on it after the fact.

More at aeon

Like Humans, Apes Make Irrational Economic Decisions

Ape

Just the other day I found myself in the waiting room of an automotive dealership. While my car was being serviced, I flipped through a product brochure. One ad for an oil change boasted that it would clean out at least 90 percent of used oil. Another for new brakes guaranteed maximum performance for twelve months. No one was advertising oil changes that leave behind 10 percent sludge, or brakes that begin to fail after only a year.

More at The Atlantic

Remembering A Crime That You Didn’t Commit

Crime scene

In 1906, Hugo Münsterberg, the chair of the psychology laboratory at Harvard University and the president of the American Psychological Association, wrote in the Times Magazine about a case of false confession. A woman had been found dead in Chicago, garroted with a copper wire and left in a barnyard, and the simpleminded farmer’s son who had discovered her body stood accused. The young man had an alibi, but after questioning by police he admitted to the murder. He did not simply confess, Münsterberg wrote; “he was quite willing to repeat his confession again and again. Each time it became richer in detail.” The young man’s account, he continued, was “absurd and contradictory,” a clear instance of “the involuntary elaboration of a suggestion” from his interrogators. Münsterberg cited the Salem witch trials, in which similarly vulnerable people were coerced into self-incrimination. He shared his opinion in a letter to a Chicago nerve specialist, which made the local press. A week later, the farmer’s son was hanged.

More at The New Yorker

Volcanoes Could Help Power The Planet

Volcano

In this serene corner of Java, farmworkers pick tea leaves from striped-green hills threaded with pipes. The three-foot-wide pipes carry steam from a broiling underground reservoir, a reminder of the volcano that once erupted. Here, along the volcano-rich Ring of Fire, the Wayang Windu Geothermal Power Station uses the Earth’s heat to produce energy that emits few or no greenhouse gases. It aims to expand, because it’s discovered what may be the world’s biggest hot steam well.

More at National Geographic

The Weird Kinda Perverted History Of The Unicorn

The Maiden and the Unicorn by Domenichino

In late 2012, the North Korean regime made a rather bizarre announcement, even by the standards of the North Korean regime. According to The Guardian, the country’s archaeologists had discovered “the lair of one of the unicorns ridden by the ancient Korean King Tongmyong,” just 600 feet from a temple in the capital city. What might have tipped the scientists off was, no joke, the words “Unicorn Lair” written right in front of the damn thing.

More at Wired