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Calcio Storico: The Most Dangerous Game

There’s a sudden rush of interest in a game that’s been played for centuries in Florence, Italy: calcio storico. Sam Borden makes it a photo-filled splash story for the New York Times:

FLORENCE, Italy — Last Tuesday, about 24 hours before he jammed his fingers into another man’s nose, dropped his elbow across another man’s neck and put another man’s feet where one’s ears are supposed to be, Rodrigue Nana considered, just for a moment, the basic notion of fear.

Calcio Storico. Photo: Lorenzo Noccioli (CC)

Calcio Storico. Photo: Lorenzo Noccioli (CC)

“Do you want to know what I am afraid of?” he said, his fingers tracing the meaty scar above his left eyebrow. Nana, a Cameroon-born transplant to Italy, leaned forward, as if to share a secret. “I am afraid of showering.”

He did not laugh. Neither did any of his teammates sitting nearby. This was not a time for joking; Nana and the rest of his team were about to begin their last training session before last Wednesday’s final match of calcio storico, a centuries-old competition that features very few rules and the sort of human wreckage generally associated with the days of the gladiators.

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‘VR is going to yield this staggering orgasm of the new’

Are you excited about Virtual Reality, which is finally available to consumers? Not as excited as John Riccitiello, I’ll wager, who says “VR is going to yield this staggering orgasm of the new,” per Gamesindustry.biz:

Unity CEO John Riccitiello on the company’s role in building a market for VR software, and why he’s no fan of the “sour grapes” offered by the cynics.

Ggn John Riccitiello ea core ips.jpg

John Riccitiello (CC)

 

The entire market for game engines has started to look an awful lot like Unity Technologies. Companies like Epic and Crytek have pushed for more diverse platforms, more open pricing models, and more accessibility for smaller teams, but always two steps behind the pace-setter, behind Unity. Indeed, one gets the feeling that every major player in the market would rattle on about “democratising game development” if David Helgason, Joachim Ante and Nicholas Francis hadn’t adopted it as their mantra a decade ago.

However, Unity’s own trajectory shouldn’t be ignored, either.

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The Intriguing History of Ghost Photography

“As camera tech has evolved, so too has the photography of puzzling ‘spirits’,” writes Howard Timberlake at BBC Future:

It’s February 2015 at Hampton Court Palace in London. Twelve-year-old Holly Hampsheir grabs her iPhone to take a photo of her cousin, Brook, as she walks alone through the majestic King’s Apartments. Snap.

It’s not until the following day that they discover Brook was not alone in the picture. A tall, grey, seemingly cloaked woman follows behind her. In a second photo, this strange anomaly is gone.

Was it a stunning image of a tortured apparition making a rare performance for the cameras, or something more… well… sensible?

The answer, as we’ll discover, says more about how smartphones take photos than anything supernatural. In fact, this grey ghoul is just the latest apparition in a fascinating history of ghost photography. Ever since the camera was invented, spooks have appeared in photos.

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Jim Carrey Slams California School Vaccine Legislation: It’s ‘Poisoning More Children’

Jim Carrey just became one of the highest profile “Anti-Vaxxers” per the Hollywood Reporter:

Carrey tweeted that Gov. Jerry Brown is a “corporate fascist” who “must be stopped.”

carrey tweet

Jim Carrey is speaking out against new legislation requiring all public school children in California to be vaccinated starting in 2016.

Carrey, who has been an outspoken critic of vaccinations, said Gov. Jerry Brown needed to be stopped.

“California Gov says yes to poisoning more children with mercury and aluminum in manditory [sic] vaccines. This corporate fascist must be stopped,” Carrey tweeted of Brown, who signed the legislation Tuesday.

Read more Hollywood’s Vaccine Wars: L.A.’s “Entitled” Westsiders Behind City’s Epidemic

The new legislation removes personal belief exemptions to vaccinations for religious reasons. Carrey was once in a relationship with Jenny McCarthy, the public face of the anti-vaccination movement. She has said her son developed autism after receiving a vaccination.

Fellow celebrities have also voiced their displeasure with the law, taking to Twitter to retweet those voicing similar positions and writing their own opinions condemning the compulsory vaccination policy.

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Quantum Spacecraft & Other Hidden Truths: What Lies Hidden In Snowden’s ‘Black Budget’ World?

Christina Sarich via Collective Evolution:

Not long ago Edward Snowden, a former intelligence contractor leaked the very first documentation that proves the existence of clandestine black budget operations. You can read more about that here.  So what discoveries lay hidden that are open to reasonable speculation?

EDO pallet.jpg

When Jimmy Carter installed solar panels on the White House in the 1970s, the whole world thought we were about to enter a new era of alternative energy. As soon as Reagan was elected, however, he took them down, taking us back to the dark ages of energy and marking several more decades of dependency on a polluting, non-renewable substance – oil. Conspiracy theories abound regarding why this happened, but the energy crisis goes down a deeper rabbit hole in Alice’s little wonder world than some of us could have imagined – enter quantum spacecraft, and a few other little secrets.

In order to travel light years away, compelling the forces of gravity to work in one’s favor is just the first of numerous challenges to overcome.

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Forget Little Green Men – Aliens Will Look Like Humans

Alright alien-hunters, you can stop looking for Grays, Little Green Men or other freakish alien stereotypes. They’re going to look like us according to Professor Simon Conway Morris, reports the Independent:

They are often portrayed on screen as little green men with elongated limbs and saucer-like eyes.

Credit: Anthony Appleyard (CC)

Credit: Anthony Appleyard (CC)

From E.T to the X-Files, aliens from outer space have captured our imagination for decades.

Yet a new book from a leading evolutionary biologist argues that if they exist and we ever encountered them, they would look very similar to us.

Professor Simon Conway Morris said extra-terrestrials that resemble human beings should have evolved on at least some of the many Earth-like planets that have been discovered by astronomers.

In his new book published on 2 July, The Runes of Evolution, the University of Cambridge academic builds on the principle of convergent evolution – that different species will independently evolve similar features, with the comparison of the camera eye of an octopus and a human eye a favourite example – and argues it will not just took place on Earth.

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The Surprisingly Imperfect Science of DNA Testing

Katie Worth tells us “how a proven tool may be anything but,” in reference to DNA testing, for Frontline:

…Peter Gill is a giant in the forensic DNA community, counted among the scientists who wrote the original paper conceptualizing DNA as a forensic tool in 1985. But he has spent recent years warning people using his tool against blindly trusting its results. In a 2014 book called “Misleading DNA Evidence: Reasons for Miscarriages of Justice,” Gill wrote that contamination is dangerous because investigators are eager to believe that DNA found at a crime scene must come from the perpetrator.

“The presence of a DNA profile says nothing about the time frame or the circumstances under which it came to be there,” says defense expert and researcher Dan Krane. “Test results can’t distinguish between the possibility of contamination, or evidence tampering, or, you know, murder.”

Technology may soon increase the danger of implicating innocent people.

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The Dopest Blunts Ever

In interesting find over at Digg, where they profile the maker of some extraordinarily complicated blunts:

Here is a man with too much time and marijuana on his hands. Instagram user Valleyrec420, a self-described California Prop 215 patient, is spending his days rolling the most incredible blunts we’ve ever seen. Err… not that we’ve seen a ton of blunts. We’re not experts. Who’s asking? Are you a cop? You have to tell us if you’re a cop.

Instagram / valleyrec420

Instagram / valleyrec420

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The Ballad of the Piggyback Bandit and other Strange Criminals

The Piggyback Bandit is the nickname for Sherwin Shayegan, who is known for soliciting piggyback rides from high-school athletes in the Northwestern United States in 2008. Shayegan has been banned from high-school sporting events in five states.

The Piggyback Bandit is the nickname for Sherwin Shayegan, who is known for soliciting piggyback rides from high-school athletes in the Northwestern United States in 2008. Shayegan has been banned from high-school sporting events in five states.

While most of you were at work yesterday morning I found myself reminiscing about the Piggyback Bandit.

The Piggyback Bandit is a guy named Sherwin Shayegan. He loves piggyback rides. LOVES THEM!

The Piggyback Bandit ingratiates himself with high school sports teams  by pretending to be a team manager or a fan, often he wears some sort of team jersey. He has pretended to interview athletes for a term paper, acted as a team manager or just tried to blend in with the crowd, but no matter what he pretends, one thing is for sure, sooner or later he is going to ride some high school athlete all around the gym.

Shayegan’s piggybacking on the backs of young and virile teen athletes harkens back to 2008 and had been mainly confined to Washington and Oregon.… Read the rest

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‘Inception’ Is Possible—At Least In Sleeping Mice

A man in a suit with a gun in his right hand is flanked by five other individuals in the middle of a street which, behind them, is folded upwards. Leonardo DiCaprio's name and those of other cast members are shown above the words "Your Mind Is the Scene of the Crime". The title of the film "INCEPTION", film credits, and theatrical and IMAX release dates are shown at the bottom.If you liked the movie Inception and are interested in the science of dreaming, you’ll be interested to learn that scientists are now able to influence the dreams of mice (humans coming soon no doubt). From Quartz:

Scientists have been poking around in mice brains a lot recently. They’ve found that they have dreams, and that those dreams can be manipulated.

Research (paywall) by scientists at the Industrial Physics and Chemistry Higher Educational Institution in Paris has shown that scientists can influence mouse dreams, in a way reminiscent of the 2010 science fiction movie Inception. Researchers placed electrodes into a part of the mouse brain called the hippocampus, which contains cells that send electrical signals in specific places (hence their name, place cells). After monitoring mice in a specific arena, scientists were able to locate specific cells that fired in specific locations.

As the mice were sleeping, the electrodes illustrated that place cells in mice were still firing, as they dreamed about particular places.

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