Nick Zimmermann

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The secret app that gives Syrian civilians minutes to escape airstrikes

BEIRUT — When a Syrian warplane gathers speed along the runway, seconds from takeoff and minutes from action, a covert race to save civilian life begins.<p>It starts in nearby Syrian hills with a single flight spotter and his cellphone. Moments later, details of the flight are beamed to a server …

Middle East

Latest Attraction at French Theme Park: Crows That Pick Up Trash

Oh, to be a crow.<p>Maligned as scavengers that torment their dead brethren. Portrayed as aerial killers in the 1963 Alfred Hitchcock classic, “The Birds.”<p>In France, though, the wily crow is getting a makeover. Puy du Fou, a historical theme park in the Loire region about four hours from Paris, has …

Birds

Hottest exoplanet ever discovered has metallic skies, rain like lava

Kelt-9b is so hot because it's 30 times closer to its star than we are to the sun.<p>One day in the distant future, a team of intrepid humans might board a starship and set out for a world beyond our solar system — maybe one of the exoplanets of Alpha Centauri, the nearby star system.<p>One place we'll …

Planets

The Secret to Ant Efficiency Is Idleness

ScienceTake<p>By James Gorman<p>Ants are renowned for their industriousness. Ask the grasshopper in the story by Aesop. He had to come begging the hard-working ant for food when winter came because he had frittered away his summer.<p>But that is fable, the ultimate in what scientists call anecdotal …

Traffic

Wi-fi could be used to detect weapons and bombs

<b>Ordinary wi-fi could be used to detect weapons and explosives in public places, according to a study led by the Rutgers University in New Jersey.</b><p>Wireless signals can penetrate bags to measure the dimensions of metal objects or estimate the volume of liquids, researchers claim.<p>Initial tests appeared …

Wi-Fi

Why taking ayahuasca is like having a near-death experience

A psychedelic drug taken as part of the South American plant brew ayahuasca produces effects that are strikingly similar to near-death experiences, a …

Psychedelic Drugs

Karma raises $12M to let restaurants and grocery stores offer unsold food at a discount

Karma, the Stockholm-based startup that offers a marketplace to let local restaurants and grocery offer unsold food at a discount, has raised $12 million in Series A funding.<p>Swedish investment firm Kinnevik led the round, with participation from U.S. venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners, …

Selling

Expiration dates are a sham. Here's the best way to tell if a food has gone bad.

The best way to tell whether a food is still good to eat isn't necessarily by looking at the sell-by date printed on the package.<p>Expiration dates are based on rough estimates. They can tell you when a carton of eggs or a raw steak will most likely reach the limit for its best quality, but that's …

Vegetables

Foreign artist reimagines US currency

In terms of design, paper currency in the United States hasn’t changed much in the past hundred years. There have been updates and additional flourishes — not to mention security measures — but overall, it’s essentially the same set of bills circulated since 1913.<p>1913 was a big year for currency. …

Federal Reserve

Some transgender drivers are being kicked off Uber’s app

Uber has revolutionized the taxi industry with its easy-to-use service, but its current features lack options for transgender drivers to identify …

Transgender

Mothers who feed babies to stop them crying could be fuelling obesity epidemic, warn experts

Mothers who feed their babies to stop them crying could be fuelling the obesity epidemic, a new study suggests.<p>US researchers at Penn State College of Medicine wanted to find out whether they could cut the number of overweight and obese toddlers by changing the behaviour of parents.<p>They found that …

Penn State

Are Diplomas in Your DNA?

Last week, scientists published the biggest-ever study of the genetic influence on educational attainment. By analyzing the DNA of 1.1 million …

Genetics

First drug to prevent chronic migraines approved by EU

The first ever drug specifically designed to prevent a migraine has been given the green light by European health officials.<p>Erenumab is now expected to be considered by English and Scottish health agencies to assess whether it is appropriate for NHS use.<p>But manufacturer Novartis said that patients …

Migraines

Tapping into the power grid could predict the morning traffic

Why is there traffic? This eternal question haunts civic planners, fluid dynamics professors, and car manufacturers alike. But just counting the cars on the road won’t give you a sufficient answer: you need to look at the data behind the data. In this case, CMU researchers show that electricity …

Machine Learning

Why Conservatives Find Life More Meaningful Than Liberals

It has nothing to do with Trump.<p>Polarization has become so severe that what news you read, who you marry, and what kind of car you drive is connected to your political persuasion. And so is, it turns out, whether you see the point in literally anything.<p>In a new study of people in 16 different …

University of California

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts can now earn Bitcoin with just a laptop GPU

Wannabe cryptocurrency miners unwilling to shell out thousands for a specialized rig might just be in luck. A new application, <i>Honeyminer</i>, allows even those with modest PCs to mine popular cryptocurrencies as part of a pool. For those willing to donate GPU power for spare change, paid in Bitcoin, …

Profit

When a DNA Test Shatters Your Identity

“Each person comes into our group thinking they are a freak.”<p>It was AncestryDNA’s customer-service rep who had to break the news to Catherine St Clair.<p>For her part, St Clair thought she was inquiring about a technical glitch. Her brother—the brother who along with three other siblings had gifted …

Genealogy

Designer babies on horizon as ethics council gives green light to genetically edited embryos

Designer babies are on the horizon after an influential group of scientists concluded that it could be ‘morally permissible’ to genetically engineer human embryos.<p>In a new report which opens the door to a change in the law, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, said that DNA editing could become an …

Genetics

The Farcical Battle Over What to Call Lab-Grown Meat

The FDA held a public meeting to talk about it, but no one could agree on what to call it.<p>On Thursday, in a small but packed auditorium, the FDA convened a public meeting about lab-grown meat—but you wouldn’t have known that if you were listening for those words. According to the FDA, it was …

Agriculture

WeWork Will No Longer Allow Its 6,000 Employees to Expense Meals with Meat

WeWork, the shared workspace company, is taking a pass on meat. The company notified workers that its events will no longer include meat and that it …

Israeli company plans lunar landing next year

YEHUD, Israel (AP) — An Israeli organization said Tuesday that it hopes to become the first non-governmental entity to land a spacecraft on the moon when it attempts to launch a module later this year.<p>SpaceIL and the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries plan to launch their unmanned craft in …

Space Exploration

The man who paves India's roads with old plastic

At 73, Dr Rajagopalan Vasudevan is roughly as old as the mass production of plastic. But that is not the reason why the chemistry professor has a soft spot for the much-maligned material.<p>“Plastic isn’t the problem,” the venerable scientist says in his office in the southern Indian city of Madurai. …

Pollution

America is a nation of narcissists, according to two new studies

Is America a narcissistic country?<p>On a day when America gathers together to celebrate itself, this seems a fair question. The answer is a resounding yes, according to new research — but some states are more narcissistic than others.<p>In a study published in the journal Psychological Science, …

Narcissism

Against Big Philanthropy

Philanthropy sounds nice, but it’s still a tax-sheltered way that plutocrats exercise power, says Stanford's Rob Reich.<p>The world’s tech titans are amassing some of the biggest fortunes ever created. Some, like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, are giving most of it away. While there have been some …

Middle-class

Dog 'saves' officer with CPR

A police dog in Madrid named Poncho "performed" CPR on an officer during a mock demonstration.

Demonstration

GM Has a 2 Word Dress Code and It's Actually Brilliant

It used to be 10 pages. Now it's just two words. Here's why they made the change.<p>This story is about three things: dress codes, leadership and common sense.<p>It's about a $62 billion company with roots going back 100 years--the kind of giant, legacy organization you might think would get bogged down …

Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon Really Want Companies to Stop Giving Quarterly Earnings Guidance

Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon are doubling down on their plea for corporations to stop providing quarterly earnings guidance.<p>Buffett, who runs …

Soda ad blitzes conspicuously match food stamp schedules, study says

Food companies have embraced a controversial tactic in their quest to sell more soda, a new study says: timing advertisements for sugary drinks to the days states distribute food stamp benefits.<p>On any given day, grocery shoppers are likely to see soda displays in stores, researchers found.<p>But they …

Google Walks Away From America's Security

Google’s decision not to renew a contract to develop artificial intelligence for the Defense Department was a victory for the employees who had protested it. It was also a defeat for U.S. national security, patriotism, and the cause of limiting civilian casualties in war.<p>The program, officially …

National Security

Space Station For Sale: NASA Administrator Is In Talks With International Companies

Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft is scheduled to blast off Wednesday morning with its three-member crew to begin what is billed as Expeditions 56-57 at the International Space Station.<p>But new NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, this week is talking openly about a very different future the International Space …