DES MOINES—The man knows how to make an entrance. During his opening swing through Iowa after declaring his candidacy for president, at his very first campaign stop inside a bustling brew pub here south of downtown, John Hickenlooper arrives to find a crowd of more than 100 voters buzzing about the latest applicant to join the strangest job-interviewing process on Earth. Bending his lanky, 6-foot, 1-inch frame to fit through the crowded doorway of the events room, all eyes on the White House hopeful, the celestial nature of his moment shatters with the pint glass meeting the concrete floor just a few feet away.Story Continued Below It spawns something of a Zapruder film debate: Some attendees say they saw Hickenlooper fumble the glass, others insist he bumped into the man who dropped it, while the candidate himself swears he had nothing to with the accident. Whatever the real explanation, it’s less compelling than what happens next. Hickenlooper instinctively kneels and … [Read more...] about John Hickenlooper Is Running for President As Himself. Uh-oh.
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Historic floods across the Midwest have left three dead, prompted mass evacuations, and drowned cities. The floods aren’t isolated incidents, however: Two giant waves of water are rolling down from the country's far-northern middle expanse. One wave is following the path of the Missouri River toward the Mississippi River, carrying with it big chunks of ice. The second wave is taking a similar path down the Mississippi River from Minnesota. Both are the result of a long winter of heavy snowfall in Minnesota and the Dakotas followed by a short, sharp melt. Both floods are more or less each one giant wave traveling at the speeds of their rivers, said Darone Jones, director of the Water Prediction Operations Division (WPOD) at the National Weather Service’s National Water Center (NWC) in Alabama. The North Dakota wave traveled down the Missouri River to Nebraska and yesterday (March 18) reached northwestern Missouri. After passing Kansas City it will turn left, following the … [Read more...] about What’s Behind the Massive Midwestern Floods: 2 Giant Waves of Water
The ancient supercontinent of Rodinia turned inside out as the Earth swallowed its own ocean some 700 million years ago, new research suggests. Rodinia was a supercontinent that preceded the more famous Pangea, which existed between 320 million and 170 million years ago. In a new study, scientists led by Zheng-Xiang Li of Curtin University in Perth, Australia, argue that supercontinents and their superoceans form and break up in alternating cycles that sometimes preserve the ocean crust and sometimes recycle it back into Earth's interior. "We suggest that the Earth's mantle structure only gets completely reorganised every second supercontinent [or every other cycle] through the regeneration of a new superocean and a new ring of fire," Li wrote in an email to Live Science. The "Ring of Fire" is a chain of subduction zones around the Pacific, where the crust of the ocean grinds underneath the continents. Volcanoes and earthquakes are frequent around the Ring of Fire, lending it its … [Read more...] about Earth Once Swallowed Its Own Superocean. Could It Happen Again?
When Avatara launched in 2010, it looked like a dozen other low-budget games. The world was a cartoonish expanse of pink trees and purple rocks, stirred by the occasional alien sprite. Its edges were covered by too many icons, and its interface was a little too eager to spam your Facebook friends with invitations. But to its designers, Avatara was more than just a game. It was a tiny utopia run by a loving digital god — a god that protected its domain with ruthless devotion, exploiting the vast trust that its users placed in social networks. Avatara’s servers shut down in 2011. The office of its publisher, Summoner Studios, was demolished in 2013. Its developers moved on to other companies and industries — or, in one case, disappeared entirely. But the project’s legacy remains. Long before the Cambridge Analytica scandal, an obscure Facebook game proved that the right information in the wrong place can be more powerful and haunting than anyone imagined. And now, … [Read more...] about The rise and fall of a super-intelligent, self-aware Facebook game
Nearly 2,400 years ago, the philosopher Plato described Atlantis as a mighty state that possessed 10,000 chariots, advanced technologies, vast numbers of elephants and bulls, and a series of complex canals. And now, in a new documentary, a U.K.-based group claims to have discovered the ruins of this once-flourishing society on what is now the Atlantic coast of Spain. But one archaeologist said that the ruins likely belong to another ancient culture, and several researchers interviewed by Live Science could barely contain their exasperation when they heard the news of yet another Atlantis discovery. (People have made dozens of such claims over the years, locating the legendary society in Antarctica, Bolivia, Turkey, Germany, Malta, the Caribbean and elsewhere.) "Bless their hearts — if they're correct about this, that would be awesome," said Ken Feder, a professor of anthropology at Central Connecticut State University. "But here's my problem: As an archaeologist, I know that I … [Read more...] about Atlantis Found (Again)! And Exasperated Scientists (Again) Raise Their Eyebrows