An incident of road rage in Santa Clarita, CA, yesterday, resulted in a chain reaction crash that sent someone who wasn’t even involved to the hospital with moderate injuries. Reportedly, the sedan involved had nearly struck the motorcycle while changing lanes from the carpool lane to the fast lane. This upset the motorcyclist, who argued a bit with the sedan driver, then kicked the passenger door. The video began after this, and the motorcycle drove around to the driver side and kicked the rear driver side of the car. The car driver responded by swerving into the motorcycle and forcing it into the center divide. However, the sudden movement of the definitely-not-a-sportscar caused the driver to lose control, smashing into the center divide, then bouncing across lanes and colliding with a pickup, causing the truck to lose control and flip over.
See, this is why I hate driving in California. Not that road rage doesn’t happen anywhere else, but I’m still convinced California has some of the worst drivers overall. And with all these bad drivers, people get pissed off, and do stupid things. I’ve never come close to anything like this, but since moving to California years ago, I’ve become a much more angry driver myself because it’s just non-stop stupidity. I’ve been literally run off the road due to other people’s unsafe lane changes – more than once, nearly hit head-on by people illegally passing in the double yellow in my lane – more than once, nearly T-boned at intersections by red light runners – more than once, and nearly rear-ended countless times. These things happen in other states, but not with the ridiculous frequency they do here. And don’t get me started on the left lane hogs. EVERYONE feels like they have to drive in the left lane, even if they’re going 10 miles per hour in a 50. So yeah, people have good reason to get pissed off.
But however pissed you get, this is not the way to react. The biker shouldn’t have kicked the car (even though I totally believe that the car started it with an unsafe, possibly illegal lane change). And the car shouldn’t have retaliated by trying to push the biker back. Based on what I’ve seen of the video and read, I feel like while the car was the real jerk here, both of them were at fault. The biker shouldn’t have gotten that aggressive, and the car driver definitely shouldn’t have tried to make the biker wreck. That aggressive move by the car caused a person who wasn’t in any way involved with the incident to crash and be injured. The car driver was apparently not charged with anything, and the biker left the scene, with authorities looking for any information they can find on him. I have a hard time understanding why they didn’t charge the car driver too – with the biker kicking the car or not, the car is actually the one who caused the accident.
Anyway, don’t road rage, people. Crap like this happens.
[via ABC News (warning – autoplay)]
OK, I’ll admit, I’ve looked this over a couple times, and I’m still having a *bit* of a hard time understanding the full details of what’s happening here. The gist, though, is that scientists have apparently managed to create a “wormhole” that connects two separate regions of three-dimensional space magnetically.
What I get from it is that they’ve built a device out of a selection of so-called metamaterials and metasurfaces – ferromagnetic sheets and superconducting material. They used these things to build a sphere, which is completely magnetically undetectable from the outside. Where it gets a little weird, is that when this sphere is exposed to a magnetic field on one end, like from a magnet/electromagnet, one of the magnetic poles is transmitted through the sphere and is created at the opposite end of the device. The device itself remains magnetically undetectable, meaning it’s not magnetized itself, and can’t be detected by any magnetic equipment. It simply transmits one of the magnetic poles through itself to appear on the other side.
I’m not sure this fully fits our concept of a wormhole – sort of folding three-dimensional space in on itself so that two distant points meet through an additional dimension. But some of the things happening here are the same in a way. The magnetic field is sort of interrupted by this sphere, and the one pole comes out the other side, instantly traveling a distance through 3D space with no magnetic field in between. The continuity is broken, and the field effectively “jumps” from one point in 3D space to another.
While this thing has been built to work with magnetism, they say the concept is similar to gravitational wormholes. And all this effort isn’t necessarily just theoretical either – there may be some useful real-world applications for this wormhole device. One obvious area being looked at is MRI – using a device like this to apply a localized magnetic field to a patient without distorting the overall magnetic field in the region, possibly creating more open (less claustrophobic) MRI machines, allowing multiple parts of the body to be scanned simultaneously, and more.
[via Science Vibe]
The news is a couple of days old, and Colin may have covered it in the amazing amount of content he’s been putting out lately – which I haven’t had a chance to peruse completely (so if so, I apologize), but Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old American college student who was arrested in North Korea and sentenced to 15 years in a labor camp, has died. He had been detained in North Korea for 1 1/2 years already, after being accused of “hostile acts against the state” for tearing down and taking a government propaganda poster from the lobby of the hotel he was staying in at the time.
At some point during his detention, he became ill, and fell into a coma. North Korea finally released him back to the U.S., and he was still in a coma when he arrived. He died six days after making it back to the states.
At this point, everyone is using this to talk about how awful North Korea is, how oppressive their government is, and how inhumane their punishments are – internment at a North Korean labor camp is quite often essentially a death sentence. And people are right. North Korea is ridiculously bad. I feel terrible for the people who live there under such a harsh government, and that government needs to sit down and play nice, or be replaced IMO.
What people aren’t talking about, though, is the part Warmbier himself played in all this. The thing is, we already know North Korea enacts harsh punishments for even simple things. We know it’s an oppressive regime, which pretty much totally ignores humanitarian treatment. They kill people for any number of benign reasons. But knowing how North Korea is, Warmbier still chose to take the risk of going there. While they’re not actually banned, American citizens are already warned by the U.S. State Department not to travel to North Korea due to the dangers, and he went anyway. And what’s more, he chose to steal a piece of government propaganda – in a state that will kill you as likely as not for any offense against the government. Warmbier absolutely didn’t deserve death, and I don’t want to minimize what happened here, but the reality is that he did play a role in his own death, and some of the fault is his. He chose to gamble by traveling to one of the most dangerous countries in the world, and he upped the ante by doing something to directly antagonize the government of that country. You don’t steal government propaganda in any country – even our own allies. That’s just not OK. But to do it in a country that has executed people for less, I just can’t imagine how that seemed like a good idea.
Part of the fallout from this is that a travel ban to North Korea may be more likely, with licenses required for anyone going there, and licenses not issued for tourism. People traveling for work, to provide humanitarian aid, etc. would probably still be cleared, but going just to see it may be off the table before long. A bipartisan bill has already been introduced into Congress. And of course Trump is talking a big game right now, but what’s new there?
There are accusations that North Korea’s explanation for the coma – a mix of botulism and sleeping pills – is bogus and something else caused it. Tensions with North Korea have certainly escalated, but I really do question whether this needs to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. A kid, against better judgment, went to explore North Korea, did something he should never have done, and North Korea reacted the way everyone knows North Korea reacts. This doesn’t excuse North Korea in any way, but at the same time, I’m hoping it doesn’t provoke an all-out war.
The weather is as extreme as ever in the U.S. right now. While some parts of the country are being rocked by massive storms bringing 70 mph winds, flooding, and tennis ball-sized hail, other parts are burning alive. In Phoenix, AZ, nearly 50 flights have been canceled today alone due to the extreme heat. Specifically, regional flights involving a particular type of aircraft – the Bombardier CRJ – have been canceled. The CRJ has a maximum operating temperature of 118 degrees Fahrenheit (~48 degrees Celsius). The forecast in Phoenix for today is up to 120.
The problem is, the hotter the air gets, the more it expands, and the less dense it becomes. The less dense the air is, the faster a plane has to be able to go to achieve lift, and in some cases, the air can literally be too hot to lift a plane off the ground safely. With that, flights on these smaller aircraft are often canceled during periods of extreme heat. And Phoenix isn’t the only place baking in the sun this week – many of the western states have been seeing triple-digit temperatures.
On a different note, no links were provided to source articles for this information as we usually do (although there are many), because every single one included auto-play videos – and in some cases, not even relevant videos, but auto-play advertisements. This applies even to major news outlets – CNN has been doing it for a long time, but now NBC, ABC, and even Fox have jumped on the evil autoplay bandwagon. As a result, I don’t feel like linking to any of them, but if you’re interested, it’s quite easy to find half a dozen sources through Google. The image, though, is an AP photo that was pulled from Watts Up With That – a site that discusses climate change, interestingly enough.
Once again, I’m not dead yet. The past couple of weeks have been utterly insane for me schedule-wise, to the point I’ve barely even been able to check in on DotD (or anywhere else). Thankfully, Colin was available to step up and start bringing some more content back, so it was technically a net gain, right?
The insanity is over for now though, and has dialed back more to just sporadic fits of much more manageable crazy, so I should be able to pretty quickly get back to a more typical posting schedule for me again. Sorry I’ve been pretty much entirely MIA the past couple weeks, but I did use a couple small bits of my nonexistent free time to keep Colin posted.
I would like to reiterate what Colin said in his return post – we’re definitely looking for some new contributors to help with posting content on a relatively regular basis. Even if you can’t contribute a huge amount – like me! I’m doing good to get one or two things submitted per day, and I do miss days here and there… but if we have 5 or 6 people all submitting 1-2 things a day, even if you miss a day, it’s not that noticeable since others are there to pick up the slack. As it is, with just Colin and I, if one of us is gone, it’s definitely noticeable, and if only one of us is posting and then can’t for a day for some reason, it’s really noticeable.
So seriously… if you’re interested in sharing some of the weird, interesting, thought-provoking, funny, or whatever news or items you run across on a daily basis, we’re interested in giving you a shot at it. If you’re at all interested, please do get in touch with Colin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Really, we see this primarily as a community site, so we’d love to get you involved!
At any rate, I’m glad things are finally calming down, and the regular posts should be starting up here again pretty quickly.
I’m not sure how else to relate to the crap the United States is going through with Trump at the helm. It’s getting more than a little tiring to keep complaining here, and I for one really don’t want DotD to turn into a political sounding board, but seriously… when are these issues going to stop?
First, a couple weeks ago, the FCC officially voted – along party lines, of course – to roll back net neutrality regulations that were established in 2015. Elimination of net neutrality rules would allow Internet service providers to arbitrarily create tiers of service based on more than just bandwidth. They would have the option of charging additional fees based on the type of traffic (e.g. streaming video, gaming, direct downloads/torrents, etc.), and even segregating specific websites or types of sites into paid tiers, although that’s probably much less likely to happen. What could be potentially more likely is that providers would be free to block access to websites of competitors, for example. And perhaps most concerning (and what was already happening to an extent prior to the regulation), Internet providers could create “fast” and “slow” lanes of traffic for website hosts, and artificially slow traffic for major sites like Amazon or Netflix unless they pay an additional fee for access to the “fast lane.” You know, kind of the way the Mafia charges “protection fees” for small businesses to keep them from breaking the owners’ kneecaps? Netflix was facing off against Verizon over this very thing before net neutrality rules were established.
The primary excuse for this rollback is that “the Internet wasn’t broken in 2015,” so there’s no reason to fix what ain’t broke. The FCC chairman likened it to using a sledgehammer against a flea, except here there’s no flea. I’m not sure how artificially slowing Netflix down demonstrates there was no problem, but this is Trump’s government we’re talking about here, not smart people. Supposedly, eliminating net neutrality will “encourage growth” among Internet providers, and allow them to focus on things like expanding high-speed service into more remote rural areas.
This isn’t a done deal yet though – there is a 90-day public comment period, during which stakeholders and the general public can submit comments on the decision before it officially becomes law. Whether the FCC will actually listen to any of those comments is questionable. As of May 23, there were already 2.6 million comments submitted to the FCC, although comments submitted before the release of the official proposal will not be considered.
But net neutrality is just a first-world problem, right? I mean, yeah, having our internet crippled at the whims of major corporations would suck for daily life, and even the economy, but all that’s just because we depend so much on the internet for almost everything these days, as a first-world country. How about things that carry global impact? Things like the U.S. formally withdrawing from the Paris accord – an international agreement among 148 countries to actively work to combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, among other things. Trump formally announced today that the U.S. is withdrawing from the Paris accord, intent on “putting American workers first.” One excuse he gave for withdrawing is that there’s no way to punish any country who reneges on the agreement anyway, so it’s pointless.
Trump has long been a skeptic of climate change, and in placing an oil industry buddy as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and placing his own daughter in charge of a non-scientific study into whether the U.S. should withdraw, I’m not sure there was much question what Trump’s decision would be from the start. Trump is all in favor of anything that supports big businesses, regardless of who or how many others might be harmed. So really, we all knew this day was coming. But that doesn’t make accepting the fact that it’s here any easier.
Anybody have a better theme song for Trump than this one? Because he’s definitely steering us down that road.
(Possible movie spoilers if you haven’t already seen every Marvel movie through 2016…)
This has to be one of the most satisfying music videos I’ve ever seen, and not just because I’m a huge Marvel geek. The song is catchy, but more than that, great care has been taken to sync the action – including sound effects – to the music. The choice of clips across the plethora of movies available from the Marvel cinematic universe was well curated, and just everything about this video was pretty much done to perfection. I pretty much haven’t stopped watching it since I found it this weekend, so I thought I’d share. This is how fan videos should be done.