Best of Last Week—Creating negative mass, consequences of drinking soda and isolating a higher state of consciousness
(ScienceX)—It was another good week for physics as a team at Washington State University announced that they had created ‘negative mass’—a fluid that accelerates in the opposite direction of a force pushed against it. And a European team demonstrated a new way to violate local causality using a new type of Bell inequality that takes into account two state sources that are independent. Also, another team created time crystals, suggesting a new form of matter may hold the key to developing quantum machines. And a team working on the Large Hadron Collider b project reported on finding new hints of possible deviations from the Standard Model regarding the manner in which some particles were found to decay—though of limited statistical significance, it adds credence to other recent findings.
In other news, an international team of researchers reported on the discovery of a science fiction horror that wriggled into reality with the discovery of a giant sulfur-powered shipworm—in a lagoon rife with rotting wood. Also, a team with the Australian National University announced that the origins of Indonesian hobbits had finally been revealed—they found that the diminutive Homo floresiensis likely evolved from ancestors in Africa. Also, two teams of researchers made headlines by asking if soda bad is for your brain, and whether diet soda is worse.
The first, led by a professor at Boston University, found that sugary drinks might be causing a decrease in the size of the hippocampus in people who consume them. The second team, also affiliated with Boston University, found evidence suggesting that people who drink diet soda may be putting themselves at risk of developing dementia. And officials in Iceland expressed concern that the Icelandic language is at risk because robots and computers can’t grasp it—and because English has become so pervasive. Also, a team with members from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Princeton University announced that they have found a way to harness the mysterious Casimir force for tiny devices—in a silicon chip.
And finally, if you are someone who takes LSD or other hallucinogenic drugs, you might be interested in a study conducted by a team at the University of Sussex. They claim to have found the first evidence for a higher state of consciousness —brain scans of people consuming psychedelic drugs showed a sustained increase in neural signal diversity, indicating a higher degree of complexity of brain activity.
(Breitbart) Over the last few months, retail giant Target Corp. has been desperately cutting costs and canceling long-planned growth programs to regain profitability. As part of its scrambling to finally get into the black, the chain has also been firing top executives, and last week yet another top officer’s scalp was taken.
On Thursday Target announced that chief innovation and strategy officer Casey Carl was leaving the company after 20 years on the job. Casey is at least the fifth top executive to leave the company recently, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Despite firing its top innovation officer, Target CEO Brian Cornell released a statementinsisting that “Innovation is alive and well at Target.”
The move might not be a complete shock considering that as its stock price and profits tumbled, early this year the company abruptly canceled two once highly touted innovation and growth projects aimed at bringing Target into the future of retail. Despite these moves, Cornell still claims that “Innovation must be a mind-set, an essential component of every business, every strategy and every team.”
Carl joins a growing list of top officers shown the door at the nationwide retailer. Also fired in the last two years has been Target’s head of stores, head of marketing, its human resources boss, and its chief digital officer.
The scrambling comes after Target suffered three disastrous quarters of sales declines in a row and a loss of over $15 billion this year. The losses came after its April of 2016 announcement that it intended to allow men pretending to be women to use any bathroom or changing room they want to use at any given time.
The announcement sparked millions of people to boycott the company. In one particular case a #BoycottTarget petition organized by the American Family Association has surpassed 1.5 million signatures….
(Breitbart) A New York Times report on Saturday claimed that FBI Director James Comey decided to reveal last year that he was re-opening the investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton because he suspected Attorney General Loretta Lynch was covering up for her — and because an email found by Russian hackers seemed to support those suspicions.
The Times’ investigative report suggests that a U.S. intelligence agency managed to intercept some of what Russian hackers were stealing — and that one document, “described as both a memo and an email, was written by a Democratic operative who expressed confidence that Ms. Lynch would keep the Clinton investigation from going too far.”
According to the Times, Comey feared that Lynch — who had insisted the Clinton probe be referred to as a “matter” and not as an “investigation,” and who suggested it the investigation was not criminal when, in fact, it was — would declare the case closed, and then Russian hackers would leak the document to undermine the FBI’s image of independence.
The Times notes: “Mr. Comey’s defenders regard this as one of the untold stories of the Clinton investigation, one they say helps explain his decision-making.” And if a local news reporter in Phoenix had not caught Lynch meeting with former President Bill Clinton, she might have succeeded in sheltering the Clintons even more effectively than she had….
HONG KONG (AFP) — The euro surged Monday after moderate Emmanuel Macron won the first round in France’s presidential election and looked set to triumph in the run-off against right wing candidate Marine Le Pen next month.
Investors globally had been watching the vote fearing that a wave of populism, which swept Donald Trump to the White House and saw Britain leave the EU, could lead to a win for the anti-European Le Pen and put the future of the bloc in doubt.
However, Macron is widely expected to gallop to victory over the divisive Front National leader and traders gave a huge thumbs-up, sending the euro flying above $1.09 at one point before paring the gains to $1.0846 from $1.0726 in New York on Friday. It also jumped to 119.40 yen from 117.07 yen.
“Markets are happy to buy what they see as the fact — that 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron will be confirmed as the next president of the French republic in two weeks’ time,” Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank, said in a commentary.
The boost in optimism also hit the yen — considered a safe bet in times of uncertainty — which in turn lifted Japanese exporters.
– US tax reform –
Tokyo’s Nikkei rose 1.3 percent, Sydney and Seoul each added 0.2 percent, and Wellington put on 0.4 percent.
However, Hong Kong gave up early gains and ended the morning session 0.1 percent down, while Shanghai sank almost 1.6 percent, extending a recent sell-off fuelled by profit-taking, liquidity and regulatory plans.
“Given that pre-vote polling shows that Macron should trounce Le Pen on May 7, markets are already celebrating as though Macron is already the president of The Republic,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader, in a note.
The gains in Asia extended Friday’s rally that was built on comments from US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who promised a tax reform plan would be unveiled soon.
That was followed by Trump saying Friday that there would be “a big announcement on Wednesday having to do with tax reform”.
Eyes are now on Washington where lawmakers have just four days to agree a funding bill to avoid a painful government shutdown that would cost the economy billions of dollars.
There are fears Trump will refuse to sign anything that does not contain spending for his controversial Mexican border wall, with Democrats saying they will not back anything that includes provisions for the plan.
– Key figures at 0430 GMT –
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.3 percent at 18,854.97
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.1 percent at 24,016.23 (break)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 1.6 percent at 3,123.80 (break)
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0846 from $1.0726 at 2100 GMT Friday
Euro/yen: UP at 119.40 yen from 117.07 yen
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2790 from $1.2810
Dollar/yen: UP at 110.05 yen from 109.15 yen
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 25 cents at $49.87 per barrel
Oil – Brent North Sea: UP 30 cents at $52.26
New York – Dow: DOWN 0.2 percent at 20,547.76 (close)
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent at 7,114.55 (close)
The Russian President possesses credible information that could prove the April 4 chemical attack on Syria (which killed 86 civilians including children) was staged to discredit Syrian President Assad and to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles (in retaliation, of course) at a Syrian airbase on April 6.
Though he hasn’t revealed it yet, Russian President Vladimir Putin, in 2015, claimed to possess secret satellite images that could prove the U.S. government brought down the Twin Towers with controlled demolition.
The 9/11 terrorist attacks, he declared, were orchestrated by the world’s biggest oil consumer to look like an act of aggression by international terrorist organizations. Putin said it was orchestrated to attack countries in the Middle East, the world’s chief oil-exporting region, to control more than half of the world’s oil reserves.
While conspiracy theorists brushed aside his evidence, the European Scientific Journal in 2016 concluded 9/11 was indeed a controlled demolition.
Well, Putin is back. And this time he claims to possess credible information that could prove the April 4 chemical attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun (which killed 86 civilians including children) was staged to discredit the government of Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad (who renounced chemical weapons nearly four years ago). The alleged chemical attack gave the United States an excuse to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles (in retaliation, of course) at a Syrian airbase on April 6.
In a joint press conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Moscow on April 11, Putin — calling on the international community to thoroughly investigate the use of chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun and take appropriate action — asked the world to be prepared for more chemical attacks. These, Putin suggests, will also be false flags, conducted to frame the Syrian government:
“We have reports from multiple sources that false flags like this one — and I cannot call it otherwise — are being prepared in other parts of Syria, including the southern suburbs of Damascus. They plan to plant some chemical there and accuse the Syrian government of an attack.
“President Mattarella and I discussed it, and I told him that this reminds me strongly of the events in 2003, when the US representatives demonstrated at the UN Security Council session the presumed chemical weapons found in Iraq. The military campaign was subsequently launched in Iraq and it ended with the devastation of the country, the growth of the terrorist threat and the appearance of Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS] on the world stage.”
Putin is already proven right, so it seems. Two prominent journalists with experience on Syria claimed the chemical attack was a false flag — designed to make the Trump administration go to war with Assad.
Former U.S. presidential candidate Ron Paul called the Syrian chemical attack a false flag promoted by the media propaganda machine to rally the people behind the United States. The odious propaganda, he added, smearing Assad as a monster for using chemical weapons is strongly indicative of a manufactured opportunity — a false flag. Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi, too, threw his weight around Putin saying:
“I’m hearing from sources on the ground in the Middle East, people who are intimately familiar with the intelligence that is available who are saying that the essential narrative that we’re all hearing about the Syrian government or the Russians using chemical weapons on innocent civilians is a sham.
“The intelligence confirms pretty much the account that the Russians have been giving … which is that they hit a warehouse where the rebels – now these are rebels that are, of course, connected with Al Qaeda – where the rebels were storing chemicals of their own and it basically caused an explosion that resulted in the casualties. Apparently the intelligence on this is very clear.”
Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump has confirmed that he will authorize additional strikes on Syria “if Assad uses chemical weapons again or deploys barrel bombs in the country.” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters recently:
“The sight of people being gassed and blown away by barrel bombs ensures that if we see this kind of action again, we hold open the possibility of future action. If you gas a baby, if you put a barrel bomb in to innocent people … you will see a response from this president.”
Courts in Australia have dumped a father’s plea to insanity because he set his three-year-old daughter on fire. The courts have found Edward John Herbert guilty of setting his three-year-old daughter on fire, and dousing his two other children with the same intent.
The reason Herbert gave for the hideous crime was because his three-year-old daughter was “too beautiful.” The man has been found guilty of destroying the lives of his family, and his plea of insanity was rejected outright.
In March 2017, the Supreme Court of Western Australia threw Edward John Herbert’s insanity plea out after he admitted wanting to kill both his daughters in their rooms. The father of two said that he was not guilty of the charges measured against him because he made the decision to harm his children while substance affected.
The Supreme Court judge was informed that Herbert was under the influence of marijuana and alcohol at the time when he poured a flammable liquid over his three-year-old daughter, in front of his partner.
Herbert then set his three-year-old daughter on fire while she slept, before pouring flammable liquid over his eldest daughter, a seven-year-old autistic girl who requires special treatment, and his six-year-old son. The court also heard how Herbert was also reported to have told a neighbour, “don’t worry, I would not have lit my boy up,” demonstrating intent to harm.
According to Stephanie Bochorsky, a police officer who lives in the same neighbourhood where the incident took place, she heard the screams of their mother crying for help. Bochorsky, who was off duty that day, ran in to her assistance and administered first aid to the child.
Two weeks ago, Judge Carolyn Frances Jenkins declared the actions of Herbert were of his own free will; that he was of sound mind on the day when he decided to burn both of his daughters alive.
However, Justice Jenkins has postponed the ruling until May pending a psychiatric evaluation.
Mara Barone, who is representing Herbert, said that a long jail sentence is now unavoidable.
During his hearing, it was revealed that Herbert had told one of his neighbours that they were his daughters and therefore he could do as he pleased. He continued, saying he burnt his three-year-old daughter because she was “too beautiful.”
Herbert’s now ex-partner and the mother of the children said he was consuming more than thirty dollars’ worth of weed every day for over a month before the burning incident.
He had also developed a habit of drinking more than twenty beers a day, she said. Herbert had also taken a knife and had ran across the house threatening to blow it up before he set his daughter on fire.
Amanda Forrester, the prosecutor on the case, says the three-year-old received more than twelve percent burns to her body, and that she needs surgery and laser treatment to recover. However, the child will remain permanently scarred.
According to Doctor Bryan Tanney, the psychiatrist assessing Herbert, Herbert might have been undergoing psychosis when he attacked; triggered by his heavy drug and alcohol abuse.
Dr Tanney highlights the psychosis may have been triggered because Herbert didn’t smoke marijuana on the day he almost killed his children.
A letter written by Herbert to his former partner from the prison stated that he loved his kids more than life itself and that he had found God in prison. He further claimed he was unable to recall the memory of the attack.
“I am so sorry and I have got to live with this for the rest of my life,” wrote Edward Herbert in his letter to his former partner. “It hurts so much.”
BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping urged “restraint” on North Korea during a phone call Monday (Apr 24) with US President Donald Trump, days before an American supercarrier is due to arrive in the Korean Peninsula.
The conversation came amid growing concerns that Pyongyang will conduct another nuclear or missile test to mark the 85th anniversary on Tuesday of the founding of its Korean People’s Army.
“(China) hopes that the relevant parties can maintain restraint and avoid actions that would increase tensions in the Korean Peninsula,” Xi said, according to a statement from the foreign ministry.
“The only way to realise denuclearisation in the Korean Peninsula and quickly resolve North Korea’s nuclear problem is for each relevant party to fulfil its duties.”
It was the second phone call between the two leaders since their summit at Trump’s luxury resort in Florida early this month.
Speaking in Sydney on Saturday, US Vice President Mike Pence said the American aircraft carrier Carl Vinson would arrive in the Sea of Japan, bordering the Korean Peninsula, “in a matter of days”.
The ship joined other warships for joint exercises with Japan in the Philippine Sea on Sunday.
Confusion has clouded the carrier group’s whereabouts in recent days after President Donald Trump suggested the “armada” was steaming towards North Korea when in fact it was sent towards Australia.
Pence also renewed calls for Beijing — Pyongyang’s only major ally and largest trade partner — to use its “unique” position to bring Pyongyang to heel.
“The steps we’re seeing China take, in many ways unprecedented steps, bringing economic pressure to bear on North Korea are very welcome,” Pence said.
“We do believe China can do more.”
In February China announced it was halting all imports of coal from North Korea — a crucial earner for Pyongyang — for the rest of the year.
China also issued a stern warning earlier this month that a conflict over North Korea could break out “at any moment”, as Pyongyang vowed a “merciless” response to any US military action.
The comments came ahead of a failed missile test coinciding with the 105th anniversary of the birth of North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-Sung.
The North has ramped up its rhetoric in recent weeks, threatening to hit back against any provocation from the US and its regional allies, Japan and South Korea, which both host large American military contingents.
Before his latest conversation with Xi, Trump called Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking to him about the joint drill between the Carl Vinson and Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Force.
“I told him that we highly appraise US words and actions that show all options are on the table,” Abe told reporters following the call.
“We completely agreed that we strongly demand restraint by North Korea, which has repeatedly taken dangerous provocative actions.”