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Did The Strength Of Gravity Just Change?


If you must—absolutely must—search for traces of god in the universe, a great place to start is with its constants. There are several absolutely crucial values for forces, masses, and ratios that hold true everywhere in physical existence (or should hold true) that we typically consider fundamental. That is, they don’t come from first principles, but rather measurements made in a laboratory. Examples include electron mass and charge, Avogadro’s constant (a scaling factor between macroscopic and atomic scales), the Boltzmann constant (relating energy to temperature), and the universal gravitation constant, aka “G.” Also: the speed of light, c.

More at Motherboard

Your $1 Bill Could Be Worth Thousands

One Dollar Bill

If you’ve ever read the eight-digit serial number on a dollar bill, it was probably to play liar’s poker — or out of sheer boredom. But those digits are more than a passing diversion to a thriving online community, for whom they can take on a near-mystical significance.

At CoolSerialNumbers.com, Nashville musician and currency collector Dave Undis brings together like-minded digit-heads who have little interest in the history of money or even the denomination of a given note. Instead they are after certain patterns and series that fall under the flexible heading of “fancy” serial numbers.

More at The Daily Dot

Why Tesla’s Model S Is The Model T Of Our Generation

Tesla S

What is the future of the automobile? One hundred years ago, America was in the midst of a mobility revolution as the Ford Model T put the nation on wheels for the first time. Today, we’re seeing the next era of mobility begin to unfold, and much of the credit goes to that EV icon, the Tesla Model S.

After more than a century of driving gasoline and diesel-powered cars, hybrids and fully electric vehicles are finally beginning to chip away at the market share of their fossil-fueled forefathers. So what has a century of progress wrought? I recently had the chance to get two revolutionary cars – a 1913 Ford Model T and a 2013 Tesla Model S – together at the same time to see where we’ve been and where we’re headed.

While electric vehicles today seem like something from a science fiction future, the truth is they’re as old as cars themselves. When Model Ts started rolling off Ford’s assembly lines in 1908, they typically ended up jostling in largely unregulated city traffic with horse-drawn transportation, early motorbikes, pedestrians, electric streetcars and myriad other brands of cars. The majority of those car builders are now long gone, but among them were several brands of electric cars, such as Detroit Electric.

More at Digital Trends

Dogs Are Perfectly Happy To Socialize With Robots

Robot And Dog

In the centuries-old best friendship between dogkind and humankind, humans are apparently easily replaced with robots. Seemingly loyal canines are totally willing to interact with cold, hard machines, according to a new study in Animal Cognition, gazing lovingly at their robot faces and finding hidden foodstuffs that the robot pointed to.

The study investigated whether or not dogs would be willing to interact with an unfamiliar robot. It found that the dogs would interact with a cyborg–if the robot seemed like a social being, as evidence by its ability to talk to the dog and its owner.

More at Popsci

Terminator Polymer Discovered That Is Capable Of Healing Itself

Terminator 2

Spanish scientists, who have apparently never seen a James Cameron film, have developed a new polymer that spontaneously heals itself. Dubbing the material the “Terminator” polymer, after the T-1000 (played by Robert Patrick in Terminator 2), the scientists maintain that the material’s true use is to improve the lifetime of everyday plastic products.

First reported by the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Materials Horizons, no self-healing material has ever been created – until now. Basically acting like living Velcro, the Terminator polymer can fix any imperfections in itself up to 97 percent.

More at Geekosystem

The World Of Terminator Is Coming Says Royal Air Force Chief


Sir Andrew Pulford, chief air marshal of the RAF, said “autonomous” air vehicles, that can make decisions for themselves, are “undoubtedly” coming.

At a speech held at the DSEI defence industry exhibition at the ExCel exhibition centre in London, Channel 4 News asked the highest ranking officer in the Royal Air Force about the extent to which unmanned aerial vehicles will be used in the air force in the future.

Sir Andrew responded “I think as we reshape the air force for the future, we look to replace old with new, we don’t fall into the trap of replacing the old with just a newer type of the old. You have to challenge yourself to the role that you need the air platform to undertake. What is quite clear is remotely piloted, or autonomous in the longer time – you know, the Terminator 2 type world where machines can make decisions for themselves, we can trust them and send them off to make decisions that at the moment we like to be in thinking place of – that is undoubtedly coming.”

More at Channel 4

Charcoal Drawings By Kelly Blevins

Charcoal Drawing

Kelly Blevins is a Pittsburgh-based artist who combines social stigmas of nudity, politics and philosophies. She creates large scaled drawings, mostly done with charcoal powder, brush and a charcoal pencil.

More at We And The Color

In Defense Of Hook-Up Culture

Hook Up

The vast majority of college students prefer dating to hooking up, and most want to be in a committed relationship. Hooking up helps them get there.

In an op-ed on hook-up culture in college, Bob Laird links binge drinking and casual sex to sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, confusion, low self-esteem, unhappiness, vomiting, ethical retardation, low grades, and emotional inadequacy. “How nice of The Times to include this leftover piece from 1957 today,” snarked a reader in the online comments.

Fair enough, but Laird is more than out of touch. He also fundamentally misunderstands hook-up culture, the relationships that form within it and the real source of the problems arising from some sexual relationships.

More at Pacific Standard

Why Losing Helium Might Mean Losing Our History


Our helium supply is running out. When it goes, it won’t just take our future technology, it could take all of our historical documents with it.

Helium is generally found around stashes of uranium. When uranium decays it ejects an alpha particle, which consists of two protons and two neutrons. As soon as the particle picks up a couple of electrons, it becomes a helium atom. Because so much uranium is underground, the helium is kept in pockets in the Earth. Once it’s unearthed and freed, it floats up and becomes impossible to harvest.

More at io9

Fascinting Photos That Look Unbelievably Like Paintings

Oscar Ruiz

While we’ve all seen our fair share of hyperrealistic and photorealistic art, or paintings and sculptures that look amazingly like photographs, it’s not too often that we come across photos that look like paintings.

Photographer Oscar Ruiz is behind the shot, above, of a housing development in Mexico. Back in May, it was picked as the photo of the day by National Geographic. “A few years ago when I was working as a helicopter pilot for a local radio station, we were required to fly around all of Mexico City chasing news and traffic. I remember flying up to the highway that connects Mexico City with the neighboring state of Puebla, and on my way back this housing complex that seemed to go on forever caught my attention. I decided to circle around to observe from up close what I later found out was the recently built San Buenaventura complex, which is located in Ixtapaluca, on the eastern outskirts of Mexico City. “The exceptional afternoon sun reflecting those thousands of recently painted small homes just looked so beautiful, and the lower I flew the better the angle, so I just got out my camera, opened the sliding window on my Bell helicopter, and snapped a couple of shots.”

More at My Modern Met