Sunday, September 7, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy Still Dominating Weak Summer Box Office

Guardians of the Galaxy Still Dominating Weak Summer Box Office

Guardians of the Galaxy Still Dominating Weak Summer Box Office

Posted: 07 Sep 2014 11:03 AM PDT

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is still dominating the weekend box office numbers, bringing in an estimated $10.16 million over the historically slow weekend after Labor Day alone.

This is the film’s fourth weekend atop the weekend box office, bringing the space adventure/comedy’s total global ticket sales to over $586 million world-wide, The Wrap reports.

Coming in second this weekend is the turbo-charged remake of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which raked in about $6.5 million despite generally poor reviews. “. . .I’d rather watch a feline at a piano with eating implements tied to its paws than another movie of Michael Bay’s ham-fisted Turtles,” TIME film critic Richard Corliss wrote in his review.

[The Wrap]

Jupiter’s Moon Europa Just Got Even Cooler

Posted: 07 Sep 2014 10:01 AM PDT

The more they look at other worlds in the Solar System, the more scientists discover that Earth isn’t as special as we earthlings like to think. Our planet has active volcanoes—but so does Jupiter’s moon Io. We have geysers—and so does Saturn’s moon Enceladus. We have lakes, rivers and rain, and so does Titan, another moon of Saturn’s.

Now a paper in the journal Nature Geoscience argues that one more geological feature thought to be unique to Earth may not be after all. Using images from the Galileo spacecraft, planetary scientists think they’ve found evidence of plate tectonics on Jupiter’s ice-covered moon Europa—a world that’s already on astrobiologists’ radar because the ocean that lies beneath the moon’s thick rind of ice could conceivably host life of some sort.

Plate tectonics is the same process that causes continents to drift slowly around on the surface of the Earth, and, says Michelle Selvans, a research geophysicist at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, who wrote a commentary on the new research for the same journal, “we’ve never seen this anywhere else.”

If plates are indeed shifting on the Jovian moon, it explains a longstanding mystery. Europa’s surface is crisscrossed with cracks where the thick ice has spread apart and the resulting gaps have been filled in by new slushy ice oozing up from the water deep below. “The fundamental question,” says the paper’s lead author, University of Idaho planetary scientist Simon Kattenhorn, “is how you can keep adding new surface without getting rid of old surface?

That’s wouldn’t be a problem if Europa were simply growing in size, but, writes Selvans, that is “unlikely.” (She admits privately that this is really science understatement-speak for “ridiculous.”) It also wouldn’t be a problem if the old surface simply folded like an accordion, as it was pushed aside. “We’ve looked for that,” she says, “and haven’t seen it.”

On Earth, however, the creation of new surface that spreads from places like the submerged Mid-Atlantic ridge is balanced by tectonic plates of crustal rock plunging back down to melt in the sea of magma below. It’s these sinking, melting plates in Earth’s so-called subduction zones that give rise to volcanoes in the “Ring of Fire” surrounding the Pacific Ocean.

And now Kattenhorn and his co-author, Louise Prockter, of Johns Hopkins, seem to have found evidence that Europa gets rid of its excess crust via subduction as well. One clue: they looked at surface ice features on Europa that have been scrambled by repeated cracking and shuffling, then manipulated the imagery to move the pieces around and reassemble them as they must have been when they were intact. Some of the puzzle pieces, they discovered, had clearly disappeared. “We looked at an area about the size of Louisiana,” says Kattenhorn, “and there was a missing piece the size of Massachusetts.”

Another telltale sign: along the boundaries where the scientists think some of the crust plunged back under the adjoining ice, there was evidence of “cryolava”—that is, partially melted, slushy ice—on one side of the divide but not the other. That’s similar to what happens on Earth, where volcanoes happen on one side of a subduction boundary but not the other.

Finally, the existence of plate tectonics and subduction on Europa would answer another longstanding question about the frigid moon. Its surface is remarkably deficient in craters considering the number of comets and asteroids zipping around the neighborhood.

This suggests that Europa was completely resurfaced no more than 90 million years ago. It could have happened just that once, but that, says Selvans, feels like “special pleading”—that we’re looking at the moon at a unique time in its four-billion-year-plus history. It’s much more palatable to scientists to think they’re looking at an ongoing process, which plate tectonics certainly is.

Selvans emphasizes that the evidence so far isn’t a slam-dunk, and Kattenhorn is quick to agree. Galileo took high-resolution images of only a small part of Europa’s surface. “Our paper can’t answer the question of whether this is a global process,” he says. Since melting ice and melting rock behave differently in terms of buoyancy and density, moreover, it’s not clear that what’s going on at Europa is an exact analogy for what’s happening on Earth.

The only way to figure it out for sure is to get more imagery, and Galileo went out of service back in 2003. Unfortunately, the only probe scheduled to visit Europa (and two of Jupiter’s other moons too) is a European Space Agency mission, which won’t arrive until 2030. NASA’s own Europa mission, meanwhile, known as the Europa Clipper, is still only a concept.

Watch: History’s Most Infamous Political Ads

Posted: 07 Sep 2014 10:00 AM PDT

The advertisement described by TIME in the paragraph above aired only once, 50 years ago, on Sept. 7, 1964.

It’s a minute long and appeared during Monday Night at the Movies on NBC. This is what happens next, as TIME described it: The countdown ends, and the screen erupts in atomic explosion, followed by the voice of Lyndon Baines Johnson, who says somberly: “These are the stakes: to make a world in which all of God’s children can live, or go into the dark. We must either love each other or we must die.”

The commercial, an election-season spot for incumbent president LBJ, was never meant to run repeatedly, but it was followed later in the month by a similar commercial featuring another little girl, this time with an ice cream cone, accompanied by an ominous voiceover about radioactive chemicals introduced to the environment by nuclear tests. Still, the spots provoked immediate controversy — and contributed to TIME’s decision to dub the Sept. 25, 1964, issue “The Nuclear Issue.” (The daisy girl appears on the cover.) Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater, TIME said then, was dogged by an “itchy-finger image.” After speaking in favor of making it easier for the nation’s armed forces to use nuclear weapons if needed, Goldwater became synonymous with the threat of full-on nuclear destruction. As one registered Republican from Vermont told a reporter, “I don’t think too much of President Johnson, but I guess I’m really afraid of Senator Goldwater.”

Nuclear weapons became the central issue of that year’s campaigns, but — as TIME reported — neither side had 100% of the facts straight. On the one hand, Johnson’s strenuous insistence that he would never delegate the authority to launch nuclear weapons ran contrary to the procedures already established by the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. NATO’s supreme commander in Europe already had the right in certain situations to cross the line from convention to nuclear weaponry. (Today, as TIME explained as part of the Answers Issue that arrived on news stands earlier this month, a minimum of two people are needed to launch a nuclear weapon in the U.S.) On the other hand, Goldwater’s claim that soldiers on the ground could operate small hand-held nuclear weapons ignored the fact that no such weapons existed. As explained by the diagram below, the smallest nuclear weapon the U.S. had, the Davy Crockett, weighed over 100 pounds and had a range of up to 2.5 miles, with enough power to destroy a bridge or up to 50 tanks. And after that the weapons quickly get much more powerful.

Sept. 25 1964 nuclear weapons chart
From the Sept. 25, 1964, issue of TIME

Johnson’s misstatements, however, didn’t matter in the long run. He won the 1964 presidential election in a landslide victory — and the fear-provoking TV ads that ran only once went down in history as some of the most infamous, and most effective, political spots ever.

Watch both of them below:

Read TIME’s full 1964 report on Johnson’s advertisements here, in TIME’s archives: The Fear & The Facts

Atlanta Hawks Owner Selling Team After Admitting Racist Email

Posted: 07 Sep 2014 09:20 AM PDT

Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson said Sunday he will sell his shares of the team after admitting to sending racist emails in regard to the Hawks’ fan base.

In a statement released Sunday, Levenson said he voluntarily reported the 2012 email chain to the National Basketball Association in July because he believes the league should have a “zero tolerance for racism.” Though the NBA has not yet completed its independent review of the emails, Levenson said Sunday he will sell his controlling interest in the Hawks franchise.

“I’m truly embarrassed by my words in that e-mail, and I apologize to the members of the Hawks family and all of our fans,” Levenson said in a statement published in full on Basketball Insiders.

In the 2012 email, Levenson said he “trivialized our fans by making clichéd assumptions about their interests (i.e. hip hop vs. country, white vs. black cheerleaders, etc.) and by stereotyping their perceptions of one another (i.e. that white fans might be afraid of our black fans).”

“By focusing on race, I also sent the unintentional and hurtful message that our white fans are more valuable than our black fans,” Levenson said. “If you’re angry about what I wrote, you should be. I’m angry at myself, too. It was inflammatory nonsense.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in his own statement Sunday that he commends Levenson for “putting the best interests of the Hawks, the Atlanta community, and the NBA first.”

Hawks CEO Steve Koonin will reportedly oversee team operations as the squad seeks a buyer. The Hawks owner’s response stands in stark contrast to the ugly removal of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was forced to sell his team and banned from the NBA following the publication of phone recordings in which Sterling made racist comments.

Reddit Bans Groups Where Users Have Been Sharing Celebrity Nudes

Posted: 07 Sep 2014 09:02 AM PDT

Reddit has banned controversial groups that have been a hub for leaked celebrity nudes over the past week, though the site says the move wasn’t a result of it buckling to outside pressure.

Reddit says “subreddits” like “r/TheFappening” and others were banned for violating the typically-freewheeling site’s community rules after they were covered in links to nude photos that were released following a massive hack of celebrities’ iCloud accounts. The move is unusual for the site, whose small management team typically embraces a hands-off approach to community moderation, leaving it up to the thousands of sub-communities to self-police themselves. Some Reddit users were angered by the move, though Reddit’s team said the situation became particularly untenable when it was realized that some of the links pointed to lewd photos of underage celebrities.

“We put up a blog post explaining why we don’t ban things for reason X (which some people want us to, but we will not), but at the same time behavior in a subreddit started violating reason Y (a pre-existing and valid rule for which we do ban things) and we banned it, resulting in much confusion,” Reddit’s explanation of the ban reads.

Reddit has complied with legal requests under copyright law to not allow the posting of the stolen images, but the site did not initially obstruct the dissemination of links to the photos. Reddit said in a blog post it has no plans to change existing policy in response to the recent events.

“Reddit’s platform is structurally based on the ability for people to distribute, promote, and highlight textual materials as well as links to images and other media,” Reddit’s blog post reads. “We understand the harm that misusing our site does to the victims of this theft, and we deeply sympathize.”

See Iceland’s Volcano Raging Under the Northern Lights In 1 Amazing Image

Posted: 07 Sep 2014 08:37 AM PDT

Since the Aug. 31 eruption of Iceland’s Bardarbunga volcano, the world has watched in awe as it spews glowing red lava into the desolate landscape. Bardarbunga has stemmed a series of earthquakes through the country, but the eruption has also become the subject of some incredible photographs, videos, and satellite images.

Icelandic photographer Gísli Dúa Hjörleifsson, who is also a ranger in the area, may have captured the most epic images of all: the hot glow of the volcanic eruption underneath cool and ethereal haze of the northern lights, or the aurora borealis.

The Bardarbunga volcano erupts under the aurora borealis in the Holuhraun lava field in the east highlands of Iceland near Snæfell on Sept. 2, 2014. Gísli Dúa Hjörleifsson

“In my many years of working in the highland of Iceland both as a photographer and ranger, I . . . have a knowledge of the nature and especially the way the light has an huge influence in the landscape,” Hjörleifsson told TIME. “Knowing the current situation of the volcano I wanted to capture this unique situation. I drove up in the area surrounding the volcano and watched the the sky until I could see the northern lights taking shape. That interaction with the heat and color from the volcano created a completely new color palette I have never seen [before].”

Kei Nishikori Becomes First Asian Male Player to Reach Grand Slam Singles Final

Posted: 07 Sep 2014 08:20 AM PDT

Kei Nishikori became the first Asian male player to reach a Grand Slam singles men’s final Saturday, upsetting number one Novak Djokovic in the U.S. Open semifinals. Nishikori will now go on to play Marin Cilic, who bested crowd favorite Roger Federer at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, Queens, at the men’s singles final on Monday.

American Detained in North Korea Going on Trial This Week

Posted: 07 Sep 2014 07:58 AM PDT

An American recently detained in North Korea is set to go to trial this week, according to Reuters citing North Korean state news agency KCNA.

Matthew Miller, 26, will go to trial on Sept. 14. Miller, originally from Bakersfield, Calif., was arrested in April for allegedly destroying his visa when he arrived in North Korea.

Miller is one of three Americans being held in the country. Jeffrey Fowle was arrested this spring for leaving a Bible in a club after entering the country in late April. Kenneth Bae has reportedly been detained since 2012 for what Pyongyang says was a plot to overthrow the state.

The Americans have called for the U.S. to intervene and secure their release, speaking out in rare interviews with CNN and the Associated Press. In an recent interview with CNN, Miller said “my situation is very urgent, that very soon I am going to trial, and I would directly be sent to prison.”


Each Day Spent in Hospital Increases Drug-Resistant Infection Risk 1%

Posted: 07 Sep 2014 07:46 AM PDT

Each day spent hospitalized increases the risk of infection from drug-resistant bacteria, researchers say.

In a new study presented at the 54th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, researchers looked at 949 cases of infection from a drug-resistant bug called Gram-negative bacteria between 1998 and 2011. The data showed that each day spent in a hospital increased the likelihood of a drug-resistant infection by an additional 1%.

Gram-negative bacteria infections are known to be a problem in acute health care, and can cause infections like pneumonia, bloodstream infections, surgical site infections and meningitis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Gram-negative bacteria are resistant to multiple drugs and are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics.

Overuse of certain drugs and antibiotics have allowed bugs to learn from them and mutate so that the drugs become less effective in treating disease. The CDC says at least 2 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and 23,000 people die from their infections.

U.S. Launches New Airstrikes in Iraq to Protect Dams

Posted: 07 Sep 2014 06:52 AM PDT

Updated 10:31 a.m.

The U.S. launched a series of airstrikes against Islamic militants in western Iraq this weekend to protect vital dams, the Pentagon said. The new airstrikes targeted fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) operating near western Iraq’s Haditha Dam and Mosul Dam.

“At the request of the Government of Iraq, the U.S. military today conducted coordinated airstrikes against [ISIS] terrorists in the vicinity of the Haditha Dam in Anbar province,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement. “We conducted these strikes to prevent terrorists from further threatening the security of the dam, which remains under control of Iraqi Security Forces, with support from Sunni tribes.”

National Security Council Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said the Haditha strikes were carried out “at the direction of the President and in coordination with the Government of Iraq.”

The Pentagon said in a separate statement that “additionally, an attack aircraft conducted one airstrike against ISIL near Mosul Dam on Saturday in support of Iraqi security forces protecting Mosul Dam.” The U.S. had previously carried out airstrikes to protect the Mosul Dam, but the operations near the Haditha Dam were new.

The Pentagon said it ordered the strikes to protect U.S. personnel and support Iraqi security forces. “We will continue to conduct operations as needed in support of the Iraqi Security Forces and the Sunni tribes, working with those forces securing Haditha Dam,” Kirby said.

This weekend’s strikes brings the total number of recent U.S. bombings in Iraq to 138.


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