Electric eels provide a zap of inspiration for a new kind of power source

Electric eels provide a zap of inspiration for a new kind of power source

New power sources bear a shocking resemblance to the electricity-making organs inside electric eels.
These artificial electric eel organs are made up of water-based polymer mixes called hydrogels.
This setup creates a voltage of about 150 millivolts across each cell.
Alternatively, printing all the hydrogels on a single sheet and then folding the sheet stacked the gels like pancakes.
The researchers designed the four hydrogels’ chemical makeup so that as soon as all the gels of a single cell touched, their positively charged sodium atoms surged toward one end of the lineup and negative chloride atoms flooded toward the other.
Much like a real electrocyte, each four-gel artificial cell generated 130 to 185 millivolts of electricity, and 612 artificial eel cells in tandem produced 110 volts — about the energy of a household outlet.
“The device we’re closest to powering is probably a pacemaker,” Mayer says.
But he thinks that tweaking the hydrogel setup to more closely imitate a real eel electric organ — like by printing thinner gels — could give these energy sources more oomph.
Mayer also wants to devise a new way to recharge the artificial organs.
Researchers currently have to hook the devices up to an external power source that drives the hydrogels’ charged particles back to their starting positions, kind of like plugging a battery into a charging dock.

The prisoner dads who create storybooks to send to their children

The prisoner dads who create storybooks to send to their children

The Inside Stories project matches artists with prisoners.
These men are fathers to an estimated 200,000 children and, with phone calls limited and visits closely monitored, forging a bond with their children as they grow up is a huge – and hugely emotional – challenge.
Enter the Inside Stories project, by charity Create.
Give stories, not stuff Groups of up to eight prisoners work for 12 days in pairs to write, illustrate and record their stories, helped by skilled professional artists.
The project culminates in a celebratory family visit day at which the stories are performed to music.
That’s why this project is unbelievably important.
We know that 38 per cent of young offenders reoffend within 12 months of being released,” says Goulder, “so developing programmes that can help to reduce reoffending – which costs between £9.5bn and £13bn a year – seemed like a good thing to do.” The children are hugely important in all of this, and I think they’re often forgotten The project is not without challenges – from safety concerns to staffing – but Goulder notes that its rewards make it worth the effort and more.
“I think my family feel proud of me for doing this,” says one prisoner who took part.
“I’ve shown my partner, children and parents that I am thinking about them, being productive with my time, becoming a good man.”
In 2016, when he had served three years of a six and a half-year sentence, he took part in Inside Stories.

London Train Station to Throw Christmas Party for City’s Homeless

London Train Station to Throw Christmas Party for City’s Homeless

Over 200 homeless people in London will be treated to an extravagant holiday party thanks to some rail workers at the Euston Train station.
30 volunteers from Britain’s transit company, Network Rail, will be working alongside charity staff in order to throw a Christmas bash complete with decorations, lunch, and dinner on December 25th.
WATCH: Teen Boys Filmed Giving Duvet to Homeless Man and Tucking Him In The rail workers will reportedly be serving up the meals, chatting up the homeless visitors throughout the celebration, supervising the event, and cleaning up afterwards.
St Mungos and Streets Kitchen, the two charities that are helping to coordinate the event, say that they have already distributed invitations to individuals sleeping on the streets.
Steve Naybour, head of transformation in Network Rail’s track team, said: “Using a station to give homeless people a Christmas dinner and some festive cheer is a great thing to do.
RELATED: UK Football Stars Buy Hotel, Invite Homeless to Stay For Winter “Thousands and thousands of my colleagues will already be working on Christmas Day to improve the railway for passengers.
Working on Christmas Day is pretty much par for the course for many of us who work for Network Rail, but this year – because I wasn’t scheduled to work – myself and a handful of colleagues came up with this plan to feed some of London’s homeless instead.” “Everything, including people’s time, has been donated.
And I can’t think of a better way to spend my Christmas Day – it even beats working on the railway!” Spread The Merry News: Click To Share With Your Friends – OR, (Photo by Rept0n1x)

How to Make an Evergreen Wreath

How to Make an Evergreen Wreath

1 Get evergreen branches from Cedar, Pine, and other clippings.
The greenery you choose is totally your choice.
You can even mix!
You can make a door wreath with three 3 ft (.9 m) long branches (give or take).
Cut the branch ends into 6″ (15 cm) pieces before you start.
But if you’re going for a show-stopper, stick with a double wire frame — it allows your wreath to be more lush-looking and full.
3 Continue wrapping around the frame.
Wrap wire around the stems of each bundle and keep on adding same-sized bundles until you’ve gone full-circle.
Once you have completed the circle, tuck the last bundle under the first bundle.
Adjust the greenery and stems as necessary.

What is coreauthd, And Why Is It Running on my Mac?

What is coreauthd, And Why Is It Running on my Mac?

You’re looking through Activity Monitor to see what’s running on your Mac, when you notice something unfamilar: coreauthd.
What is this process?
But here’s a quick look at what it does.
Better start reading!
Daemons run in the background of macOS and do all kinds of things essential to your system.
This specific daemon manages local authentication, including when you type your password or use Touch ID.
Basically, it means that coreauthd is what triggers those prompts asking for your password while you’re making changes only permitted by administrators.
For example: enter your password in System Preferences to make administrator level changes, and you’ll have admin access to settings there until you close the System Preferences window.
There are lots of little rules like this that manage how long admin functions last, and coreauthd is managing them.
This is not the most complicated process, but it is essential for using your Mac.

Alzheimer’s protein can sneak into the brain from the blood

Alzheimer’s protein can sneak into the brain from the blood

One hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease is clumps of a misbehaving protein in the brain.
Experiments on mice now show that Alzheimer’s proteins can build up in the brain after sneaking in from the blood.
But this finding may help scientists develop new treatments that target easier-to-reach parts of the body — perhaps including the bloodstream.
Earlier studies in animals showed that A-beta injected into the bloodstream can enter the brain.
But they also found plaques inside the brains of the normal mice in each joined pair.
The normal mice didn’t have as much A-beta in their brains.
The researchers saw inflammation and tiny areas of bleeding in the brains of normal mice that had shared blood containing lots of A-beta.
Both A-beta plaques and tangles of tau protein show up in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Out of balance The new results don’t mean that protein hitchhikers in blood cause Alzheimer’s disease.
The body may be chock-full of the protein.

Worries grow that climate change will quietly steal nutrients from major food crops

Worries grow that climate change will quietly steal nutrients from major food crops

2017 was a good year for worrying about nutrient losses that might come with a changing climate.
“It’s literally a 25-year story, but it has come to a head in the last year or so,” says Lewis Ziska, a plant physiologist with the U.S.
Concerns are growing that wheat, rice and some other staple crops could, pound for pound, deliver less of some minerals and protein in decades to come than those crops do today.
Crop responses to rising CO2 might affect nutrition and health for billions of people, Ziska says, but the idea has been difficult to convey to nonspecialists.
In the 2017 Annual Review of Public Health, Samuel Myers of Harvard University and colleagues wrote that global shortfalls in human nutrition are already “staggering.” More than a billion people aren’t getting enough zinc now, raising risks of premature birth, stunted childhood growth and weak immune systems.
To estimate future shortfalls, Myers and colleagues turned to nutrient data they published in 2014 in Nature.
Fancy research piping boosted ambient levels of 363 to 386 parts per million to 546 and 584 ppm.
An expanded set of experiments suggested that protein content in rice and wheat could sink by roughly 8 percent, Myers and colleagues wrote in the August Environmental Health Perspectives.
For every kilogram of plants that cattle ate in 2015, there were 10.6 grams less protein than there had been 22 years before.
But the mix of urushiols, oils that put the itch in poison ivy, can become more allergy-provoking when exposed to extra CO2, a test suggested.

This year’s neutron star collision unlocks cosmic mysteries

This year’s neutron star collision unlocks cosmic mysteries

In 2017, scientists went all in on a never-before-seen astronomical event of astounding proportions: a head-on collision between two neutron stars, the ultradense remnants of exploded stars.
Life capable of building the complex detectors necessary for spotting the gravitational rumbles wouldn’t arise for many millions of years.
Less than 11 hours after the gravitational waves appeared, astronomers spotted a new point of visible light in the sky.
“Most things we look at don’t change over time at all.” Researchers announced October 16 that Advanced LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) and its sister experiment, Advanced Virgo, had detected gravitational waves from colliding neutron stars — a cosmic crash also observed by more than 70 observatories around the world.
The intensity of observations outstripped all previous astronomical finds, said astronomer Edo Berger of Harvard University at an October 16 news conference in Washington, D.C. “I don’t think there has been anything like this before.” Roughly 15 percent of all astronomers were involved in the discovery, estimates astronomer Bryan Gaensler of the University of Toronto.
Some of these theories aren’t consistent with the near-simultaneous detection of light and gravitational waves, several teams reported online October 17 and 18 at arXiv.org (SN: 11/25/17, p. 10).
The new measurement is right in between the previous two, at 70 km/s per megaparsec, researchers reported online in Nature.
“This event is just the first of many that will be discovered in the future,” Loeb says.
A fifth black hole merger was reported in November (SN Online: 11/16/17).
Both the fourth black hole collision and the neutron star crash appeared during a short window of less than a month when all three existing gravitational wave detectors were simultaneously operational.

A quantum communications satellite proved its potential in 2017

A quantum communications satellite proved its potential in 2017

Created by Chinese researchers and launched in 2016, the satellite is fueling scientists’ dreams of a future safe from hacking of sensitive communiqués.
That quantum key would be derived by measuring the properties of quantum particles beamed down from such a satellite.
But until this year, there’s been a sticking point in the technology’s development: Long-distance communication is extremely challenging, Lu says.
So quantum cryptography was possible only across short distances, between nearby cities but not far-flung ones.
In the spacecraft’s first record-breaking accomplishment, reported June 16 in Science, the satellite used onboard lasers to beam down pairs of entangled particles, which have eerily linked properties, to two cities in China, where the particles were captured by telescopes (SN: 8/5/17, p. 14).
The quantum link remained intact over a separation of 1,200 kilometers between the two cities — about 10 times farther than ever before.
Next, scientists tackled quantum teleportation, a process that transmits the properties of one particle to another particle (SN Online: 7/7/17).
Micius teleported photons’ quantum properties 1,400 kilometers from the ground to space — farther than ever before, scientists reported September 7 in Nature.
In a paper published in the Nov. 17 Physical Review Letters, the researchers performed another type of quantum key distribution, using entangled particles to exchange keys between the ground and the satellite.
Although quantum communication was already feasible in carefully controlled laboratory environments, the Chinese researchers had to upgrade the technology to function in space.

Brains of former football players showed how common traumatic brain injuries might be

Brains of former football players showed how common traumatic brain injuries might be

But a study this year dealt one of the hardest hits yet to the sport, detailing the extensive damage in football players’ brains, and not just those who played professionally.
“The number of brain donors who have donated since the JAMA paper came out has been astronomical,” Mez says.
Three of 14 high school players and 48 of 53 college players had signs of CTE.
That skewed sample makes it difficult to draw broad conclusions.
A study of concussed hockey players ages 11 to 14 suggested that young brains may need more time than is usually allotted to heal after a hard knock.
Players had troublesome changes in white matter tracts — nerve cell bundles that carry messages across the brain — three months after injury, despite normal thinking and memory abilities, researchers reported in November in Neurology.
To fully understand CTE, scientists need a way to identify and follow the disease as it progresses.
A comprehensive study is now under way to look for CTE markers in live people, and has already hit on one clue.
In people with CTE, the more years that a person played football, the more CCL11.
CCL11 levels, or other factors circulating in cerebrospinal fluid or blood, might one day let scientists monitor the brain health of athletes and others exposed to head trauma.

CRISPR gene editing moved into humans in 2017

CRISPR gene editing moved into humans in 2017

Scientists reported selectively altering genes in viable human embryos for the first time this year.
Other groups posted separate reports of CRISPR/Cas9 repair in viable human embryos in August and October.
It’s the relative ease and permanence that have many people worried that CRISPR/Cas9 could lead to new classes of genetically enhanced people and discrimination against others born with uncorrected genetic diseases.
No babies have been born with changes made by CRISPR/Cas9 or any other gene-editing technology.
Doudna said she does not support using CRISPR/Cas9 to make gene-edited babies.
A study from Mitalipov and colleagues, published in Nature in August, suggests that making so-called “designer babies” could be harder than people expect (SN: 9/2/17, p. 6).
Instead of using a piece of DNA that the researchers injected to repair cuts made by CRISPR/Cas9, human embryos used their own DNA from another chromosome as a repair template.
If one healthy copy of the gene exists, the cell, theoretically, would use it as a repair template.
The researchers attached other enzymes that chemically change one DNA base into another.
For other couples, gene editing could increase the number of healthy embryos available by fixing some that would otherwise be thrown away, Amato says.

8-Year-Old Boy Saves Christmas For Kids In Puerto Rico

8-Year-Old Boy Saves Christmas For Kids In Puerto Rico

An 8-year-old boy in New Jersey has collected more than 1,000 toys for children of Puerto Rico. “I’m so overwhelmed,” Rosado told ABC News. “I’m so proud of my son.
I didn’t expect so many toys.”
NBA manager Brandon Eddy saw Jayden on the news and shipped 11 boxes full of toys. “Words can not explain the gratitude I have towards all the Toy donations being shipped to me,” Rosado wrote on Facebook. “OMG a big thank you to The NBA Eddy Brandon for reaching out to me after seeing Jayden on the news.
He shipped me these 11 boxes full of toys for the Children of PR.
She also plans to bring some toys to an orphanage that had reached out to her for help.
It will be Jayden’s first trip to the island.

New Horizons’ next target might have a moon

New Horizons’ next target might have a moon

MU69 orbits the sun in the Kuiper Belt, a region more than 6.5 billion kilometers from Earth.
That distance makes it difficult to get pictures of the object directly.
But last summer, scientists positioned telescopes around the globe to catch sight of MU69’s shadow as it passed in front of a distant background star (SN Online: 7/20/17), a cosmic coincidence known as an occultation.
Analyzing that flickering starlight raised the idea that MU69 might have two lobes, like a peanut, or might even be a pair of distinct objects.
Whatever its shape, MU69 is not spherical and may not be alone, team members reported in a news conference on December 12 at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union.
Another stellar flicker sighting raised the prospect of a moon.
SOFIA saw what looked like a new, shorter dip in the star’s light.
A double object with a smaller moon could explain why MU69 sometimes shifts its position from where scientists expect it to be during occultations, said New Horizons team member Marc Buie of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo.
The true shape will soon be revealed.
The New Horizons spacecraft set its sights on the small space rock after flying past Pluto in 2015, and will fly past MU69 on January 1, 2019.

Jupiter’s massive Great Red Spot is at least 350 kilometers deep

Jupiter’s massive Great Red Spot is at least 350 kilometers deep

NEW ORLEANS — Jupiter’s Great Red Spot has deep roots.
Data from the first pass of NASA’s Juno spacecraft over the incessant storm show that its clouds stretch at least 350 kilometers down into the planet’s atmosphere.
That means the storm is about as deep as the International Space Station is high above the Earth.
As the spacecraft swooped 9,000 kilometers above the giant storm, Juno’s microwave radiometer peered through the deep layers of cloud, measuring the atmosphere’s temperature down hundreds of kilometers.
“Juno is probing beneath these clouds, and finding the roots of the red spot,” Juno co-investigator Andrew Ingersoll of Caltech said December 11 at a news conference at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting.
Warm air rises, so the internal heat could provide energy to churn the storm.
“I’m not sure we’ve established the true foot,” he says.
On a future flyby, Juno will try to use gravity data to detect the storm at depths of thousands of kilometers.
If the spot does go down that deep, theorists will struggle to explain why, Bolton says.
“I like to say that if aliens sent a probe to Earth and it landed in the Sahara, they would conclude the Earth is all desert,” says planetary scientist Michael Wong of Caltech, who was not involved in the new study.

Bambi On Ice: Watch Firefighter Nudge Trapped Deer to Safety

Bambi On Ice: Watch Firefighter Nudge Trapped Deer to Safety

Earlier this week, the L4262 Sunriver Professional Firefighters of Sunriver, Oregon posted a video of themselves edging onto a frozen lake in order to save a deer that had become trapped at the center.
Though the critter can be seen repeatedly trying to stand on its spindly little legs, it keeps slipping back down onto its knees.
WATCH: Hummingbird Refuses to Leave the Dog Who Saved Her Life Using gear that the organization had purchased with grant money back in spring, firefighter Jeff “JJ” Johnson edges onto the lake with an ice sled.
Slowly but surely, Johnson nudges the deer all the way across the lake until it reaches the embankment.
Even though the deer has landed on solid ground, it doesn’t seem to understand that it is free to go.
RELATED VIDEO: Stork Flies 5,000 Miles Every Year To Be With Injured Soul Mate Johnson gives the animal a few head scratches and a pat on the neck until it finally stands up and gracefully wanders off into the wilderness.
“We are blessed to have receive so many positive comments about our recent deer rescue,” says the organization.
“[But] most importantly, we are happy to have helped our valuable wildlife.” (WATCH the video below) Click To Share Bambi’s Sweet Rescue Videos With Your Friends – OR,

Anonymous Donor Buys Every Toy at Goodwill, Gives Them to Children For Free

Anonymous Donor Buys Every Toy at Goodwill, Gives Them to Children For Free

For the last decade, this anonymous philanthropist has routinely bought out the entire children’s section of Goodwill so each kid in the store could take home one gift for free.
When asked why this Secret Santa does what he does, he simply said it had become “an important part of his family’s Christmas tradition”, according to the Coloradoan.
On the days leading up to the special holiday event, the Goodwill store in Fort Collins, Colorado had set aside plenty of children’s books, toys, and stuffed animals so there would be enough goodies for all their little customers throughout the day.
Any child who entered the store on Saturday was told that they could select one item to take home with them – no strings attached.
RELATED: Anonymous Group of Adults Secretly Watches Over Struggling Youth of Their Town After the donor had written out a check to cover the cost of the gifts earlier in the day, one of the company’s staff members got on the intercom and announced the good news to the customers – much to the delight of the youngsters.
The Coloradoan says that the donor and his wife briefly stayed to watch the joyous reactions before “slipping out the front door, unnoticed”.
(WATCH the video below) Click To Share This Sweet Christmas Story With Your Friends – Representative photo by U.S. Air Force / Osakabe Yasuo

Saudi Arabia Lifts Decades-Long Ban on Public Cinemas

Saudi Arabia Lifts Decades-Long Ban on Public Cinemas

Saudi Arabia on Monday lifted a decades-long ban on cinemas, part of a series of social reforms by the powerful crown prince that are shaking up the ultra-conservative kingdom.
Reviving cinemas would represent a paradigm shift in the kingdom, which is promoting entertainment as part of a sweeping reform plan for a post-oil era, despite opposition from conservatives who have long vilified movie theatres as vulgar and sinful. “Commercial cinemas will be allowed to operate in the Kingdom as of early 2018, for the first time in more than 35 years,” the culture and information ministry said in a statement.
Like most public spaces in the kingdom, cinema halls are expected to be segregated by gender or have a separate section for families.
Hardliners, who see cinemas as a threat to cultural and religious identity, were instrumental in shutting them down in the 1980s.
Saudi Arabia’s highest-ranking cleric warned in January of the “depravity” of cinemas, saying they would corrupt morals.
But authorities appear to be shrugging off the threat, with some comparing Saudi Arabia’s reform drive to a fast-moving bus — either people get on board or risk being left behind.
Saudis themselves appear quietly astounded by the torrid pace of change — including the historic decision allowing women to drive from next June.
The social transformation chimes with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s recent pledge to return Saudi Arabia to an “open, moderate Islam” and destroy extremist ideologies.
Saudi films have been making waves abroad, using the internet to circumvent distribution channels and sometimes the stern gaze of state censors.

So Many Awesome Things Happened At NASA This Year, It’s Hard to Narrow Them Down

So Many Awesome Things Happened At NASA This Year, It’s Hard to Narrow Them Down

Since that announcement, NASA learned even more about the planets and the star including the confirmation of the orbit of one of the planets in the system, as well as clues that there might be water on the planets.
That’s not all, at the conclusion of Expedition 52, that was extended by three months in April, Whitson also earned the title as the NASA astronaut who has spent the most time in space.
The 2017 solar eclipse For one day in August people all across the country stopped what they were doing and ran outside to see what was affectionately labeled “The Great Solar American Eclipse.”
People talked about the eclipse for months before it happened, bought glasses, and even planned vacations to locations in the path of totality.
Vice President Mike pence announced that NASA will send people to the moon again Vice President Mike Pence was appointed the chairman of the newly revived National Space Council earlier this year and in October announced a new goal for NASA: to send people back to the moon.
We will return American astronauts to the moon not only to leave behind footprints and flags but to build the foundation we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond,” Pence said from a podium at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The planning for the mission started in the 80s and spent decades sending data back to NASA.
The craft was sent to burn up in the atmosphere of the planet to eliminate the risk that it could crash and contaminate the moons around the planet after it lost power.
An illustration shows the Cassini spacecraft plunging into Saturn on Sept. 15, 2017, ending its mission in the outer solar system.
Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech The astronaut candidate class of 2017 was announced In June, NASA revealed the newest astronaut candidate class.

‘Hair is Not What Makes You Beautiful’ –Woman Inspires Millions With Engagement Photos

‘Hair is Not What Makes You Beautiful’ –Woman Inspires Millions With Engagement Photos

Makenzee Meaux has spent years hiding her alopecia by wearing a wig.
But now, she’s inspiring millions of other people by embracing her condition and showing that “hair is not what makes you beautiful.” In a breathtaking engagement photoshoot that has gone viral, Meaux can be seen posing with her fiancé Bryan Ballard; except halfway through the shoot, the bride-to-be whips off her wig and shows off her natural beauty – alopecia and all.
Meaux says: “It is a disease where all of your hair follicles suddenly stop growing and the doctors can not figure out why or what will bring it back.
They call it the mystery disease.
Nothing else is wrong with the body other than hair will not grow, which – as you can imagine for a young girl – is a huge confidence killer.” “I experienced lots of bullying in the early years and along the way I lost all hope that I could ever feel beautiful again.” Meaux says that she was so self-conscious about her condition, it took her two and a half months to tell Ballard about her baldness.
But after they got engaged five and half years later in May, Meaux says that she has never felt more confident than when she is supported by Ballard.
“He has helped me be brave and realize that hair is not what makes you beautiful and is not what makes people love you, it is truly all about what’s on the inside,” writes Meaux.
“He has shown me that the people who love you do not care whether or not you have hair and the ones who do are not worth your time or your love.
According to TODAY, Meaux even met up with a 3-year-old girl with alopecia in her city because she was so inspired by the college student’s photos.
“It’s been amazing.” Click To Share The Stunning Photos With Your Friends – Photos by The Frost Collective

Good News in History, December 12

Good News in History, December 12

100 years ago today, an Irish immigrant, Father Ed Flanagan, opened Boys Town as a home for wayward boys in Nebraska.
After arriving in the US, he became a social reformer as a priest—trying to change how America cared for its children.
With nothing more than a $90 loan from a friend, he bought an old boarding house and began welcoming Omaha’s homeless boys, regardless of race or religion and even child criminals in prison for serious crimes.
Soon they outgrew the home with 100 boys getting a new start, and even electing their own government.
WATCH a short bio… (1917) The 1938 film Boys Town, starring Spencer Tracy as Father Flanagan, was based on, and some scenes were filmed at, the now-famous home.
MORE Good News on this Date: The UN accepted John D. Rockefeller Jr.‘s gift of a six-block tract of Manhattan real estate to become the site of U.N. headquarters (1946) Paula Ackerman becomes the first woman Rabbi in the US (1950) Kenya gained independence from the United Kingdom (1963) 30,000 women held hands and formed a chain around the 9 mile (14.5 km) Greenham Common in a peace rally against use of cruise missiles (1982) Houston became the largest U.S. city to elect an openly gay mayor, when a large percentage of voters chose City Controller Annise Parker (2009) A 6th grade boy, Gerry Orz, persuaded the California state government to declare December 12 as a “Day of Silence” to officially honor the victims of bullying (2013) And, on this day in 1870, Joseph Rainey of South Carolina became the first black congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Born into slavery in South Carolina, he was freed in the 1840s by his father who had been allowed to work as a barber and split the profits with his master.
With his savings, he purchased the freedom of his entire family.
As a respectable leader in Charleston, Rainey joined the Republican Party and eventually won four elections to Congress, where he worked hard to gain passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1875.
CHECK out the book, The Epic Story of Reconstruction Through the Lives of the First Black Congressmen.

Fine Cell Work: the social enterprise that trains prisoners in paid, skilled needlework

Fine Cell Work: the social enterprise that trains prisoners in paid, skilled needlework

Teaching prisoners creative sewing boosts their employability and self-confidence, say those at Fine Cell Work Fine Cell Work trains offenders to do high-quality, creative needlework in their cells.
The aim is that the work helps foster hope, discipline and employability.
Those at the social enterprise want to help people to finish their sentences with skills, money earned and saved, and the self-belief that will help them avoid re-offending, as well as guiding them towards training and support on release.
Fine Cell Work works in 32 UK prisons with more than 600 prisoners each year.
“The sense of satisfaction in making an entire product – and being paid for it – greatly improves their wellbeing, confidence and self-worth.
Others save their Fine Cell Work money to help them pay a deposit for rented accommodation on release, or a bicycle so that they can get around.” John (not his real name), a Fine Cell Work service user in his 50s, found out about the charity from a fellow prisoner.
“I got along with people and there was a great sense of camaraderie.
I would say to any-one starting their journey with Fine Cell Work to make the most of it.
Put whatever you have done behind you and move forwards with your new life.” Featured image: Simon Bevan This article is part of a special focus on prisons, which also features in Positive News magazine.
Give stories not stuff this Christmas and inspire a friend with a gift subscription to Positive News magazine

Rabbit Rescuer Reunites With Bunny He Saved From Blazing Wildfire

Rabbit Rescuer Reunites With Bunny He Saved From Blazing Wildfire

The man who rescued a rabbit from the side of a highway during a Southern California wildfire last week is remaining in contact with the burned bunny.
Caleb Wadman recently reunited with the rabbit, which is receiving treatment for its burns at the California Wildlife Center, according to the TV newsmagazine “Inside Edition.” The 21-year-old admits he panicked while trying to get the frightened rabbit to safety.
“In the video that everybody sees, I was going crazy because she was screaming,” he told “Inside Edition.” The rabbit suffered burns to its ears and feet.
Although some criticized the rescue, saying that a wild rabbit surely didn’t need human assistance, Wadman’s risky decision is getting support from Dr. Duane Tom, director of animal care at the California Wildlife Center.
″This rabbit needed to get medical attention,” he told “Inside Edition.” Both Wadman and the rabbit are safe, but the rescue still sends chills down the spine of Wadman’s mom, Shari.
“I started to cry, actually.
That was very kind of him, but then I saw how close he was to the fire,” she told “Inside Edition.”

Ticks had a taste for dinosaur blood

Ticks had a taste for dinosaur blood

The tiny arthropods have been surreptitiously sucking blood for more than 100 million years, but evidence of early ticks’ preferred hosts has been scant.
Now, samples of amber from Myanmar have caught the critters with their spiny mouthparts inside the cookie jar.
A hunk of 99-million-year-old amber holds a tick tangled in a dinosaur feather, researchers report December 12 in Nature Communications.
The tick enmeshed in the feather belongs to the same group of ticks as the deer ticks that bite humans and other animals today.
But it’s hard to say what type of dinosaur the tick dined on.
While the researchers say the age of the feather places it on a dinosaur, they can’t tell how birdlike that creature may have been.
The feather shares characteristics with the plumage that helps modern birds fly, such as longer barbs on one side of the feather’s shaft than the other.
“In the future, we may be able to further narrow down the range of potential hosts, but this is currently the best that can be done with an isolated feather,” adds Ryan McKellar, an invertebrate paleontologist at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Regina who wasn’t part of the study.
Another chunk of amber contained two ticks preserved so close together that they were likely entrapped at the same time.
“So we think that those beetle hairs were acquired by the ticks in a feathered dinosaur nest,” says Pérez-de la Fuente.

Anonymous Donor Buys Every Toy At Goodwill And Gives Them All To Children

Anonymous Donor Buys Every Toy At Goodwill And Gives Them All To Children

For nearly a decade, an anonymous donor has bought every toy in the Fort Collins, Co.
Goodwill so that any child who walks into the store leaves with something. “All kids today, all day long, you get one free toy, free stuffed animal or free kids book,” Todd Wakefield, Goodwill’s Senior Director of Retail, said on the intercom.
The anonymous donor said he does not need recognition for his act of kindness, but said that this day has become an important part of his family’s Christmas tradition.
As kids crowded around plastic bins overflowing with toys, he and his wife quietly took in the scene before slipping out the front door, unnoticed. “We’ve got some amazing people throughout our community,” Wakefield told The Coloradoan. “This is what our business is run on, people willing to give and to help their community.”
Please consider making a donation to Sunny Skyz and help our mission to make the world a better place.

Husband’s Intuition Led Him To His Wife’s Car Crash And Saved Her Life

Husband’s Intuition Led Him To His Wife’s Car Crash And Saved Her Life

Trevor Koenig of Vernon, British Columbia, knew in his gut that something was wrong when his wife didn’t come home on Monday evening.
Something told Trevor to start on Highway 6 so that’s where he headed. “I just drove 50 kilometres an hour with my high beams on close to the shoulder and watched the shoulder the whole way for any highway tracks,” he said.
He got out of his car and couldn’t believe what he saw down the steep embankment: his wife’s car pinned against a tree.
His heart sank.
But when he arrived at the mangled vehicle, it was empty. “She wasn’t moving and I got in front of her and I lifted up her face and her eyes were just staring blank and I thought, ‘oh, I was too late, and then she blinked,” he said. “She thought she was dreaming, she asked if I was real.”
Trevor immediately called for help.
Ambulance Paramedics, RCMP and Vernon Search and Rescue all helped to hoist Trevor’s wife up to safety.

Not all of a cell’s protein-making machines do the same job

Not all of a cell’s protein-making machines do the same job

The ribosomes then translate those instructions into other proteins that build cells and carry out cellular functions.
Even many cell biologists have paid little attention to the structures, viewing them as “backstage players in controlling the genetic code.” But that view may soon change.
Ribosomes actually come in many varieties, incorporating different proteins, Barna and colleagues found.
Each variety of ribosome may be responsible for reading a subset of messenger RNAs, recent studies suggest.
For instance, ribosomes containing the ribosomal protein RPS25 build all of the proteins involved in processing vitamin B12, Barna and colleagues reported July 6 in Molecular Cell.
Perhaps other biological processes are also controlled, in part, by having specific types of ribosomes build particular proteins, Barna said.
The team then examined the ribosomal proteins found in each type of cell.
Although Barna’s idea of diverse ribosomes goes against the classical textbook view, “the concept is not heretical at all,” says Vassie Ware, a molecular cell biologist at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., not involved in the work.
These findings may help explain why some people with mutations in certain ribosomal protein genes develop conditions such as Diamond-Blackfan anemia — a blood disorder in which the bone marrow doesn’t make enough red blood cells — but don’t have problems in other body tissues, Ware says.
RPL5 and RPL11 proteins may be part of specialized ribosomes that are important in the bone marrow but not elsewhere in the body.

Mini brains may wrinkle and fold just like ours

Mini brains may wrinkle and fold just like ours

PHILADELPHIA — Flat brains growing on microscope slides may have revealed a new wrinkle in the story of how the brain folds.
Cells inside the brains contract, while cells on the outside grow and push outward, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, discovered from working with the lab-grown brains, or organoids.
This push and pull results in folds in the organoids similar to those found in full-size brains.
Orly Reiner reported the results December 5 at the joint meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology and the European Molecular Biology Organization.
Reiner and her colleagues sandwiched human brain stem cells between a glass microscope slide and a porous membrane.
The apparatus allowed the cells access to nutrients and oxygen while giving the researchers a peek at how the organoids grew.
Wrinkles began to form in the outer layers of the organoids about six days after the mini brains started growing.
The researchers used the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing system to make a mutation in the LIS1 gene.
Cells carrying the mutation didn’t contract or move normally, the team found.
“They really were able to reproduce the shape of what we all imagine the brain should look like,” he says.

Apple To Buy Shazam Amid Rumors It Will Phase Out iTunes Downloads

Apple To Buy Shazam Amid Rumors It Will Phase Out iTunes Downloads

Apple confirmed Monday that it plans to purchase the music identification and streaming service Shazam for around $400 million.
The announcement ends months of rumors regarding a Shazam acquisition, as Spotify and Snapchat were also said to be bidding for the startup.
Judging from Shazam’s last fundraising round in 2015, Apple is getting a pretty good deal: Investors at the time valued Shazam at $1 billion, even though it hadn’t yet made a profit.
Apple didn’t immediately make its intentions for Shazam clear, beyond coyly saying it has “exciting plans in store.” But the planned purchase coincides with a rumor, also out Monday, that Apple is considering dropping music downloads from iTunes in favor of a streaming-only model.
Per industry publication Digital Music News, Apple plans to make the musical shift sometime in early 2019, just after the lucrative holiday season.
Apple didn’t immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment, but it did deny DMN’s report in a statement to 9to5Mac and has denied similar reports in the past.
Nevertheless, a phase-out of music downloads wouldn’t be entirely unexpected.
At the same time, music downloads ― a category dominated by iTunes ― have dropped sharply, falling from a peak of $3.9 billion in sales in 2012 to a projected $600 million by 2019.
“Apple just doesn’t have the same amount of data about listening tastes as Spotify, meaning it can’t drive recommendations with as high a degree of accuracy and precision,” Mulligan added.
“Shazam essentially gives it a shortcut to having a massive database.” This story has been updated to reflect Apple’s response to 9to5Mac.

Deloitte’s tech predictions for 2018: More AI, digital subscriptions, AR, and live events

Deloitte’s tech predictions for 2018: More AI, digital subscriptions, AR, and live events

Here’s the nine major predictions and the explanations for them: Deloitte predicts that more than a billion smartphone users will create augmented reality content at least once during 2018, with 300 million doing so monthly and tens of millions weekly.
Millennials (aged 18 to 24) are 70 percent more likely to have four or more forms of ad blocking than the average adult.
U.S. TV viewers watch about 1.1 billion hours of live TV daily, and live broadcast and events will generate over $545 billion in direct revenues in 2018.
Broadcast TV ads and subscriptions represent about $358 billion of that amount.
China represents half of all viewing hours and generated 11.1 billion streams in 2016, significantly more than the 2.7 billion for North America.
In 2020, there will be 680 million digital subscriptions.
The mobile phone market is saturated, with more than 90 percent of adults in developed countries having a phone.
By 2023 more than 1.85 billion phones will be sold worldwide each year, or 5 million a day.
And those smartphone owners will interact with their smartphones 65 times a day in 2023, up 20 percent from 2018.
TV viewing by millennials will continue to decline.

Kumail Nanjiani’s Twitter Account Had the Best Reaction to the Golden Globe Nominations

Kumail Nanjiani’s Twitter Account Had the Best Reaction to the Golden Globe Nominations

Actor, comedian and writer Kumail Nanjiani‘s first feature film, the cross-cultural romantic comedy The Big Sick, received rave reviews and performed solidly at the box office when it came out this summer.
“Hey gang.
This is Steven Spielberg tweeting from Kumail’s phone,” reads a message posted to Twitter from Nanjiani’s account on Monday.
“My fave movie this yr was The Big Sick… Great movie to watch w the fam.
Or at least, Nanjiani ostensibly took over the Star Wars director’s account for yet another case of social media musical chairs.
“Ok this is Kumail tweeting from Rian’s phone — Steven Spielberg stole my phone, he fake-handed it back to me then ran off,” Nanjiani wrote by way of explanation.
(He also plugged Johnson’s The Last Jedi, which comes out Friday, and tried to convince him to make an early viewing happen.)
“Steven Spielberg tweeted that!
I’ll give the phone back to him,” he insisted, before ostensibly switching over to the famed director again.
I directed Jaws, ET, BFG.

Amazon Web Services opens second region in China

Amazon Web Services opens second region in China

Ningxia Western Cloud Data Technology Co. Ltd. will operate the datacenters there, though it will provide many of the AWS services that are available in other regions.
That arrangement mirrors the one that AWS has with Sinnet to operate its Beijing cloud region.
While the region can provide computing capabilities for Chinese companies, it will also allow businesses outside the country to have have an execution environment for their technology inside China.
As with the rest of the cloud market, AWS faces heavy competition.
Microsoft operates a pair of cloud regions in China, with datacenters in Shanghai and Beijing.
In addition, homegrown tech titans like Tencent and Alibaba also offer their own cloud computing services.
Those two companies offer compute capacity both inside and outside China.
At the time, the cloud provider said that it remains committed to the Chinese market, and this launch shows that the tech titan’s plans continue to march along.
At the same time, the special arrangements required for AWS cloud regions to operate in China show how that country differs from the other markets around the globe where cloud providers operate.
For example, users who want to tap into those two regions must request an account from a special website.

Luck, Companion Of Courage – Make Every Day Your Lucky Day

Luck, Companion Of Courage – Make Every Day Your Lucky Day

Some people have all the luck, while others must make their own or steal it from some extra lucky creature like a leprechaun, but those who know how to properly apply their mojo can turn certain symbols into a font of lucky energy.
The clover, hare and horseshoe are all powerful symbols on their own, but when you bring the three together and bind them with three sevens and an all-seeing eye so much lucky energy is created the symbolist has some mojo juice to spare!
Add a fresh and lucky look to your geeky wardrobe with this Luck, Companion Of Courage t-shirt by Propaganda Department, it’s luckier than a rabbit’s foot and way more humane!
Visit Propaganda Department’s Facebook fan page, official website, Twitter and Instagram, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more magical designs: View more designs by Propaganda Department | More Funny T-shirts | New T-Shirts Are you a professional illustrator or T-shirt designer?
Let’s chat!
Sell your designs on the NeatoShop and get featured in front of tons of potential new fans on Neatorama!

These Corpses Became Mummies in the Basement of a German Cathedral

These Corpses Became Mummies in the Basement of a German Cathedral

The crypt that lies beneath St. Peter’s Cathedral in Bremen, Germany is known as Bleikeller – lead cellar – because the space was originally used to store leftover lead after renovations.
Scientists think that, in an unintended side effect, the lead and the dry air contributed to the mummification of corpses stored down there, some of which could be almost 300 years old.
The bodies were found by Arp Schnitger, a 17th century organ maker who was allowed part of the basement to use as a workshop – so it must have been quite a shock.
The bodies have been accessible to tourists since the mid-19th century, according to at least one account, and today you can see their bodies through glass-topped coffins.
If you visit, you’ll see that each of the bodies has a story to tell: a man who was fatally shot, a Swedish general and his assistant, an English countess, a murdered student, as well as a few prominent Bremen citizens.
It’s definitely a unique stop, and something your friends might have missed!
You might want to check these out, too!
In the Past, It Meant Almost Certain Death.
In this age of globalism, it’s become kind of a thing for people to run into someone who looks exactly like them.
We see our lookalikes at airports, on social media, or maybe when our sister’s boyfriend’s uncle gets into a fender bender with our “doppelgänger” – because, you know, there are 7 people out … Continue reading

For Disney Chief Bob Iger, Fox Deal Is All About Future of TV

For Disney Chief Bob Iger, Fox Deal Is All About Future of TV

CEO seeks hit movies, TV shows — and pipes to viewers’ homes Pay-TV services like Sky would become part of Disney’s empire When news broke last month that Walt Disney Co. was in talks to buy a large of part of 21st Century Fox Inc., the first question many investors had was, why are the Murdochs selling?
It would also be a defining moment for Disney and its Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger.
Iger has built a reputation over the past 12 years for making bold bets, including the $7.4 billion he paid for Pixar animation just months after he became CEO.
But this would be much bigger, giving the home of Mickey Mouse and Princess Elsa the 20th Century Fox film studio, the FX network, 39 percent of Britain’s Sky Plc TV service and other assets.
It’s just the kind of consolidation media investors have said was long overdue, particularly in film.
“There’s a lot of synergies in doing this, particularly in global distribution,” said Mario Gabelli, whose Gamco Investors Inc. holds more than $350 million of Fox shares.
The timing is opportune, Gould said, because other potential bidders for Fox, including Verizon Communications Inc., may be hesitant to do a big deal given AT&T Inc.’s current fight with the Justice Department over its proposed $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc. Comcast Corp. said Monday that it considered a Fox deal, but never made an offer.
AT&T Commits to Time Warner Deal Even as Judge Delays Deadline Acquiring the Fox assets fits two of Iger’s big-picture initiatives.
but Disney has much bigger scale potential.
“For Disney, scale and distribution together matter more now, and this would give it both in droves,” Yong said in a Dec. 6 note.

The Sweet Story of How an 81-Year-Old Woman and a 22-Year-Old Man Became Friends

The Sweet Story of How an 81-Year-Old Woman and a 22-Year-Old Man Became Friends

This story is a great reminder that although we all look different and come from various backgrounds, we’re all human, and if we actually take the time to get to know each other, we can be friends with just about anyone.
She’s white.
He’s black.
The game allows you to play with strangers, and Spencer was matched up against Rosalind in June 2016.
The two played back and forth for a while, then started to chat with each other through the app.
When he moved to New York City and told his friend about his Words With Friends pal in Florida, that friend told her mother, a pastor at a church, about the unlikely friendship (complicated, I know).
So the two started playing and chatting again.
Pastor Amy gave her sermon and decided she wanted Spencer and Rosalind to meet in person.
Spencer said, “I’d never spoken to her or heard her voice.
She was spunky, witty, full of life.” In addition to their age and racial differences, they’re also on opposite sides of the political spectrum.

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