Monday, July 5, 2021

An atomic clock that could transform deep-space travel has successfully completed its first test run in space

NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock, which launched on a satellite in June 2019, outperformed all other clocks in space during its first year in orbit around Earth. The clock, DSAC for short, was at least 10 times more stable than clocks on GPS satellites, which makes it reliable enough for futuristic space navigation schemes, researchers reported. To navigate the solar system today, space probes listen for signals from antennas on Earth and then bounce those signals back. A future spacecraft carrying a toaster oven–sized DSAC could simply measure how long it takes a signal from Earth to arrive and calculate its own position. Untethering deep-space navigation from Earth could someday enable self-driving spaceships or GPS-like navigation systems on other planets. By comparing DSAC with the U.S. Naval Observatory’s hydrogen maser “master clock” on the ground, the researchers found that the space clock drifted about 26 picoseconds, or trillionths of a second, over the course of a day. (Science News)


US Attorney General suspends federal executions and orders review of Trump-era rules

Attorney General Merrick Garland has ordered a temporarily halt to federal executions as Justice Department senior officials review the policies and procedures for the controversial punishment. There has not been a scheduled federal execution since President Joe Biden was sworn in to office. There are 46 men currently on federal death row, and while there are more than 2,500 men and women on state death row, this directive from Garland does not halt those proceedings. (CNN)


12-Year-Old DJ Has Equipment Confiscated After School Bathroom Rave

A 12-year-old DJ and all-ages legend, had his equipment confiscated after hosting a rave in the school bathroom. His mother said the saga began about two weeks ago, when the budding turntablist sent out a Snapchat announcement inviting “all the boys from year 8” at St. Antony’s Catholic College in Manchester, UK. Together, they held an impromptu dance fest in the boys lavatory during lunch period on December 11th. The set included complimentary soft drinks and Cadbury Twirls. The set lasted 30 minutes before authorities broke it up. The mother said that the boy’s speaker and lights have been impounded, although she did not herself punish him. In fact she enjoyed the spirit of it all, and wrote, “Am I wrong for finding this funny?” (Consequence Sound)



Man becomes the ‘first in the world’ to vertically BREAK his penis

A 40-year-old man from the UK has become the first in the world to break his penis vertically. Luckily for men across the world, this injury is very uncommon. Despite numerous horizontal fractures, medics who treated this believe it is the first vertical fracture in the world. Although there are no bones found in the penis, it can still ‘break’ if the organ is suddenly bent. The man’s member “buckled against his partner’s perineum” and suffered an eye-watering 3cm tear at its base. According to medical experts, such injuries are most common in men in their 40s who usually describe a ‘popping’ sensation and immediate swelling. Although this red-faced Romeo described no popping sensation and a gradual increase in swelling before he sought medical assistance, which differs to the more common horizontal tear. (Dorset Echo)


More jobs offer $1K to new talent

Signing bonuses of $1,000 or more are becoming the norm, and they are no longer reserved for white-collar professionals. As sectors struggle to attract talent, notably in food service, healthcare and manufacturing, hiring bonuses are being offered to workers earning between $16.50 and $25 an hour, including movers, housekeepers and welders. One job marketplace found that almost 20% of all postings in June offered signing bonuses, up from 2% in March, which were most common in Iowa, Missouri, Vermont, Wyoming and Arkansas. (The Wall Street Journal)


Richard Branson will fly into space on July 11, beating rival Jeff Bezos by 9 days

Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of Virgin Galactic, will fly into space aboard his company’s VSS Unity rocketplane on July 11 for an up-and-down test flight, beating Amazon-founder and rival Jeff Bezos into sub-orbital space by nine days. The announcement from Virgin came just a few hours after Bezos announced that aviation pioneer Wally Funk will be joining him, his brother Mark and the yet-to-be named winner of an online auction for blastoff July 20 aboard his company’s New Shepard spacecraft. Both Virgin Galactic and Bezos’ Blue Origin are competing head-to-head in the emerging space tourism marketplace, both offering short rides just above the discernible atmosphere for a few minutes of weightlessness and spectacular views before returning to Earth. Along with wealthy space tourists, both companies expect to fly researchers and experiments from government agencies and companies developing or testing space technology. (CBS News)


California high school stripped of basketball title after tortillas were thrown at opposing Latino players

The governing body for high school sports in California stripped a Southern California high school of its basketball division championship after some of its players threw tortillas at the opposing team, which was from a largely Latino school. Coronado High School will lose its boys Division 4-A regional championship because of the “degrading and demeaning behavior” following the June 19 division championship game, according to a statement from the California Interscholastic Federation. The incident followed a squabble between coaching staff from both schools. It received national attention and prompted several investigations. The Coronado Unified School Board voted unanimously to fire the coach following the incident, and district Superintendent issued a public apology. A Coronado High alumnus who provided the tortillas to players said throwing them was a tradition at a college he attended, the University of California, Santa Barbara. He added that he is of half-Mexican descent and that there was “absolutely no racial intent behind that action”. (ABC News)


Flying car completes test flight between airports

A prototype flying car has completed a 35-minute flight between international airports in Nitra and Bratislava, Slovakia. The hybrid car-aircraft, AirCar, is equipped with a BMW engine and runs on regular petrol-pump fuel. Its creator, Prof Stefan Klein, said it could fly about 600 miles, at a height of 8,200 feet, and had clocked up 40 hours in the air so far. It takes two minutes and 15 seconds to transform from car into aircraft. The narrow wings fold down along the sides of the car. In the air, the vehicle reached a cruising speed of 106 miles per hour. It can carry two people, with a combined weight limit of 441 pounds. (BBC)


Chinese police asks public to adopt ‘timid’ dogs who failed training

A police academy in China’s northeastern Liaoning province is auctioning off dogs that failed to qualify in their police dog training program, according to a statement on its website. The auction will begin on July 7, with 54 dogs for sale. Most of the dogs are German Shepherds, a breed used by police departments around the world for their strength and intelligence, though there are a few Dutch Shepherd hybrids and Belgian Malinois on the auction list as well. The 54 trainees failed to pass their program for a number of reasons, said the police academy, for instance, a number of them were “timid,” “weak” or “frail.” Some “don’t bite,” meaning they didn’t follow trainers’ instructions to attack targets; others “lacked athletic ability” or showed “low ability” to fetch items when thrown. Each dog has a starting price of about $30, with each bid increasing by a multiple of $7.70 until the highest bidder wins. Those who win the dogs are required to sign an agreement to follow government regulations for raising and caring properly for their dogs, said the police academy statement. They are forbidden from reselling the dogs or transferring them to another owner. (Currently)


NASA to test new solar sail technology with launch in 2022

NASA says it plans to test new solar sail technologies in space by the middle of next year. NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail System (ACS3) will deploy an apartment-sized solar sail from a toaster-sized cubesat in Earth orbit in mid-2022. The mission will refine technologies associated with solar sails. Such sails have been used in space before, most recently in the Planetary Society’s ongoing LightSail 2 mission, which has spent just over two years in orbit. “Just as a sailboat is powered by wind in a sail, solar sails employ the pressure of sunlight for propulsion, eliminating the need for conventional rocket propellant,” NASA officials said in a statement. The data the new mission collects will inform the design of future, larger-scale systems that can be used for asteroid searching, monitoring the sun’s activity or powering astronaut communications systems in deep space, NASA added in the mission update. (Space)


A ransomware attack impacted over 200 U.S. businesses last week

The attack was led by REvil, a group of hackers who operate a “ransomware-as-a-service” enterprise with links to Russia. The hackers first targeted Kaseya, a U.S. technology firm that provides software to help companies manage their IT services remotely. The hackers used Kaseya’s corporate network to target eight large managed service producers and their clients. Kaseya has operations in over 10 countries and has over 10,000 customers. The hackers used “ransomware,” a form of malicious software that encrypts a victim’s files, blocks access to their computer system, and threatens to publish the victim’s files until they pay a ransom. REvil is one of the most high-profile and profitable hacker groups in the world. They were behind the $11 Million dollar hack that disrupted operations at JBS in May. The attack comes as four U.S. states are considering outlawing ransomware payments. (Bleeping Computer)


Putting things off? Join the club

Procrastination, for many, is the horse that can’t be broken. During the pandemic, procrastination took on a whole new meaning, as remote work blurred the work-life lines many of us had in place. Realizing the root cause of your procrastination can help eradicate it. Here are some other tips psychologists recommended:

  • Create a space that’s just for work.
  • Make sure you understand the task at hand and how to complete it.
  • Work off a daily to-do list.
  • Showing self-compassion and forgiveness often leads to less procrastinating.

(The Cut)


Don’t let jealousy own your work

Jealous of your co-worker’s fancy promotion or team meeting shout-out? Don’t let it overcome you. It’s easy to fall into a comparison trap at work, but addressing feelings of envy and anxiety can be helpful to one’s career. Start by acknowledging your feelings instead of judging or burying them. Then use those feelings as fuel to hype yourself up rather than waiting for others to recognize your accomplishments. Once you build your confidence, rethink your habits and who you surround yourself with. (The Wall Street Journal)


Monday Brings Us:

  • Apple Turnover Day
  • Bikini Day
  • Earth at Aphelion
  • Graham Cracker Day
  • Hawaii Day
  • Workaholics Day
  • Work Without Your Hands Day


Historical Events

  • 1295 – Scotland and France form an alliance, the so-called “Auld Alliance”, against England.
  • 1316 – Battle of Manolada between the Burgundian and Majorcan claimants of the Principality of Achaea
  • 1610 – John Guy sets sail from Bristol with 39 other colonists for Newfoundland.
  • 1687 – Isaac Newton publishes Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica.
  • 1803 – The Convention of Artlenburg leads to the French occupation of Hanover (which had been ruled by the British king).
  • 1813 – War of 1812: three weeks of British raids on Fort Schlosser, Black Rock and Plattsburgh, New York begin.
  • 1865 – The Salvation Army is founded in the East End of London, England.
  • 1884 – Germany takes possession of Cameroon.
  • 1940 – World War II: the United Kingdom and the Vichy France government break off diplomatic relations.
  • 1999 – Wolverhampton, England is hit by storms which include a tornado. The area is hit again with severe storms on August 1.