Six million years ago, giant otters weighing more than 100 pounds lived among birds and water lilies in the wooded wetlands of China's Yunnan province.

That's according to new research from a team of scientists who discovered a well-preserved cranium of the newly-discovered species in an open lignite mine in 2010. They recently published their findings in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.
In 1961, the Cuban Missile Crisis was at hand, and with the overhanging fear of an impending Soviet missile strike...families in Central Florida built homemade bomb shelters.

...100 members of 25 wealthy families...pooled their resources and secretly built what is said to be the largest privately-owned bomb shelter in the nation, a massive subterranean structure that is now referred to as the Mount Dora Catacombs.
Ha-KILLER Matata!
Posted by LinusMines in blinded by science 207 days ago
A new study of violent behavior in more than 1,000 mammal species found the meerkat is the mammal most likely to be murdered by one of its own kind.

The study...in the journal
Nature, analyzed more than 4 million deaths among 1,024 mammal species and compared them with findings in 600 studies of violence among humans from ancient times until today.

The findings tell us two things:
-- Some amount of violence between humans is attributable to our place on the evolutionary tree.
-- Meerkats are surprisingly murderous.

Investigative journalist Will Potter is the only reporter who has been inside a Communications Management Unit, or CMU, within a US prison. These units were opened secretly, and radically alter how prisoners are treated — even preventing them from hugging their children. Potter, a TED Fellow, shows us who is imprisoned here, and how the government is trying to keep them hidden. "The message was clear," he says. "Don’t talk about this place."

Filmed August 2015; includes transcript.
The drugmaker Purdue Pharma launched OxyContin two decades ago with a bold marketing claim: One dose relieves pain for 12 hours...

On the strength of that promise, OxyContin became America’s bestselling painkiller, and Purdue reaped $31 billion in revenue.

But OxyContin’s stunning success masked a fundamental problem: The drug wears off hours early in many people...OxyContin is a chemical cousin of heroin, and when it doesn’t last, patients can experience excruciating symptoms of withdrawal, including an intense craving for the drug.

The problem offers new insight into why so many people have become addicted to OxyContin, one of the most abused pharmaceuticals in U.S. history...

The [Los Angeles] Times investigation, based on thousands of pages of confidential Purdue documents and other records, found that:

-- Purdue has known about the problem for decades...

-- The company has held fast to the claim of 12-hour relief, in part to protect its revenue...


First part of an investigative series.

[vices, the biz]
Although Duo is available on both iOS and Android, Google's goal is clearly to give Android users a FaceTime-like experience...Google had three priorities when it crafted what it sees as the perfect app for one-to-one videoconferencing: simplicity, speed and "human" features.

The simplicity is apparent as soon as you launch the app. Similar to Snapchat, you're greeted with a view from your phone's camera, although on Duo it's your selfie cam...there's a row of yellow circles that show your most recent calls. In the bottom left is the big, blue call button; tapping it brings up a list of your phone's contacts.

...Duo uses your phone's contact list — not your Gmail contacts. And when you first set up the app, you do so with your phone number and not your Google account...
Radiocarbon dating reveals the Greenland shark reaches sexual maturity at 150 years of age, and has a lifespan of at least 400 years, making it the longest-lived vertebrate on Earth, according to a study published in the journal Science.
...the Most Controversial Race at the Olympics

The women’s 800-meter competition will be one of the most eagerly anticipated events at the Rio Olympics, and not just because the racers are fast. Some are also biologically different, at least to some degree. In earlier Olympics, they might have been disqualified, or even accused of being men. That won't happen in Rio. But the whole world will be looking very closely at South Africa's Caster Semenya (on LF) and her closest competitors.
I'm going to cut the preamble here and get straight to the chase: what the hell is going on in this GIF? How did it all happen? Did a troupe of butterflies flap their wings really hard on the other side of the planet, and through the Super Chaos Theory cause this everyman's Cirque du Soleil? I don't even know where this comes from...or who filmed it, but I want to know what is going on. I need to know. Let's Zapruder this GIF.
The members of [the 'Skullcap Crew'] ... have together faced at least 128 known official allegations from more than 60 citizen-filed complaints over almost a decade and a half. They have also been named in more than 20 federal lawsuits.

Citizens have repeatedly accused these men of acts of brutality, intimidation and harassment – costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal settlements. Yet over the course of their careers, these officers have received little discipline – a two-day suspension, a five-day suspension, a reprimand – according to city data. Instead, they have won praise from the department, accruing more than 180 commendations.

[government, vices]
Prince Online Museum
Posted by LinusMines in entertainment 293 days ago
We launch with over a dozen of Prince’s most popular sites, but over 20 years online, Prince launched nearly 20 different websites, maintained a dozen different social media presences, participated in countless online chats, and directly connected with fans around the world. This Museum is an archive of that work and a reminder of everything he accomplished as an independent artist with the support of his vibrant and dedicated online community.
Archerfish are already stars of the animal kingdom for their stunning spit-takes. They shoot high-powered water jets from their mouths to stun prey, making them one of just a few fish species known to use tools.

But by training [them] to direct those jets of spit at certain individuals, scientists have shown that the little guys have another impressive skill: They seem to be able to distinguish one human face from another, something never before witnessed in fish and spotted just a few times in non-human animals.
...legendary filmmaker Mel Brooks has been responsible for some of the most beloved movies ever made. And unsurprisingly, at various points in his career, he has discussed the making of almost all his films. Except for one—the lone dud in his canon—a film so bad The New York Times declared it “an embarrassment,” and which Brooks has never publicly discussed: Solarbabies. Well, at least not until now. Because last week, on behalf of the How Did This Get Made? podcast, [Blake J. Harris] spoke with Brooks at length to try and figure out how (the hell) did this get made...
Unhappily Ever After
Posted by LinusMines in it's the arts 336 days ago
Animation/storyboard artist Jeff Hong re-imagines Disney characters within the real world.
Two hundred years ago, the greatest eruption in Earth’s recorded history took place. Mount Tambora—located on Sumbawa Island in the East Indies—blew itself up with apocalyptic force in April 1815.

...Mary Shelley’s storm-lashed novel
Frankenstein bears the imprint of the Tambora summer of 1816, and her literary coterie—which included the poets Percy Shelley and Lord Byron—serve as tour guides through the suffering worldscape of 1815–18.

[history] [it's the arts]