Zombifying fungus bypasses the brain to make ants its puppets, study finds

Zombifying fungus bypasses the brain to make ants its puppets, study finds

Enlarge / A dead ant that has been taken over by a species of Cordyceps in the Rio Claro Reserve in Colombia. (credit: National Geographic/Justin Maguire)

Pity the poor unsuspecting carpenter ant who unwittingly becomes infected with spores scattered by a parasitic fungus in the Cordyceps genus. The spores attach to the ant and germinate, spreading through the host’s body via long tendrils called mycelia. Cordyceps essentially turns its host into a zombie slave, compelling the ant to climb to the top of the nearest plant and clamp its tiny jaws in a death grip around a leaf or twig.

The fungus then slowly devours the ant, sprouting through its head in one final indignity. Then the bulbous growths on the ends of the mycelia burst, releasing even more spores into the air, to infect even more unsuspecting ants. It’s not a great way to go: the entire process

Read the rest
DEAL: Buy and Activate on Google Fi, Get a Pixel 3 or 3 XL for $300 Off

DEAL: Buy and Activate on Google Fi, Get a Pixel 3 or 3 XL for $300 Off


For a limited time, you can grab a Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL for $300 off when you buy and activate the device through Google Fi. At $300 off, the Pixel 3 is down to $499 and the 3 XL is down to $599.

To take advantage of this promo, all you need to do is buy the phone at the discounted price via Google Fi, then be sure to activate the device within 30 days. If you don’t activate it on Fi, you’ll be charged the full price of the phone. And yes, this promo is open to new and existing Fi customers.

Full terms can be seen here.

Did you know you can download the latest Android Q beta with the Pixel phones? That’s pretty sweet.

Google Fi Link

Source link Read the rest

WHO declares Ebola outbreak an international emergency

WHO declares Ebola outbreak an international emergency

Enlarge / Health workers communicate information about Ebola at an Ebola screening station on the road between Butembo and Goma on July 16, 2019, in Goma, DRC. (credit: Getty | John Wessels)

The World Health Organization on Wednesday declared the nearly year-long Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

The declaration could boost funding and support for outbreak-response efforts, which have been hampered by violence and community distrust in the affected areas. Since January, officials have reported 198 attacks on health responders, which left seven dead and 58 healthcare workers and patients injured.

“It is time for the world to take notice and redouble our efforts. We need to work together in solidarity with the DRC to end this outbreak and build a better health system,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said today in a statement. “Extraordinary work

Read the rest
Netflix Bringing Mobile-Only Streaming Option to India

Netflix Bringing Mobile-Only Streaming Option to India


Netflix discussed financials with investors today and plans of a new and cheaper mobile-only streaming option were announced, headed first to India.

As of now, there is no detailed plan to launch this mobile-only plan in the US or anywhere outside of India, with this plan described as, “an effective way to introduce a larger number of people in India to Netflix and to further expand our business in a market where Pay TV ARPU (average revenue per user) is low (below $5).”

Obviously, Netflix plans in the US allow you to stream content directly to your phone, but there is no phone-only plan. This would be a cheaper option than the current offerings from Netflix, something that could be good for those without a TV in their house but may have a tablet or large phone for media consumption.

The plan is expected to go live in Q3.

// … Read the rest

Painted-on salt provides glowing thermometer for tiny things

Painted-on salt provides glowing thermometer for tiny things

Enlarge (credit: PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Temperature is notoriously difficult to measure, mostly because it’s an average quantity. The temperature of a room is often recorded at a single point, when it’s meant to be a measure of the average energy of the air in the room—a room that will have spatial and temporal fluctuations around that average.

As anyone who has argued over the thermostat will know, measuring the average is difficult enough. But what if I want to measure the actual fluctuations and temperature differences in the room? Then I need a thermometer that provides a temperature image.

You might be thinking “get an IR camera, dummy.” But there is a much cooler option than an infrared camera. It’s a (nearly) normal camera coupled with a laser that measures temperature from the emission of visible light.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Source link Read the rest

DEA tracked every opioid pill sold in the US. The data is out—and it’s horrific

DEA tracked every opioid pill sold in the US. The data is out—and it’s horrific

Enlarge / Members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters hold signs while protesting during the McKesson Corp. annual meeting at the Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce in Irving, Texas, US, on Wednesday, July 26, 2017. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

Between 2006 and 2012, opioid drug makers and distributors flooded the country with 76 billion pills of oxycodone and hydrocodone—highly addictive opioid pain medications that sparked the epidemic of abuse and overdoses that killed nearly 100,000 people in that time period.

As the epidemic surged over the seven-year period, so did the supply. The companies increased distribution from 8.4 billion in 2006 to 12.6 billion in 2012, a jump of roughly 50%. In all, the deluge of pills was enough to supply every adult and child in the country with around 36 opioid pills per year. Just a 10-day supply can hook 1 in 5 people into being long-term users,

Read the rest
Turkey crosses “red line,” gets booted from F-35 partnership

Turkey crosses “red line,” gets booted from F-35 partnership

Enlarge / Turkey’s planned purchase of F-35A Joint Strike Fighters has been vetoed in the wake of the Turkish purchase of Russian anti-air defenses. (credit: US Air Force)

Today, the White House officially announced that Turkey would not be allowed to purchase the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The US government had warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that his government’s purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia would be incompatible with NATO systems and would trigger an exclusion of Turkey from the F-35 program. Turkey was a financial contributor to the F-35 development program and already had pilots in the US in training to fly the aircraft; those pilots were kicked off US training bases in June.

US and NATO partners are concerned that the S-400 systems, supported by Russian technicians, will essentially amount to an intelligence collection system for Russia on NATO aircraft and military operations. But

Read the rest
Xiaomi’s Mi A3 brings stock Android, OLED display for €249

Xiaomi’s Mi A3 brings stock Android, OLED display for €249

Today Xiaomi announced the Xiaomi Mi A3, the latest phone in its “A” line. In the past, Xiaomi’s A line has been a good bet if you’re looking for a midrange smartphone. This latest model comes in at €249 (~$280) and is launching in Europe on July 24. Decent phones in the sub-$300 price range are tough to come by, so any serious device priced this low is worth paying attention to. Just looking at the spec sheet, though, we do have some concerns.

As you’d guess, the A3 is a third-generation Xiaomi A phone, and in many ways, these represent the least “Xiaomi” phones Xiaomi makes. Instead of Xiaomi’s iOS-inspired “MIUI” Android skin, these phones are in Google’s “Android One” program, which means they come with stock Android and get two years of OS updates. The phones usually get a wider

Read the rest
Facebook, Google stocks fall on imminent antitrust probes

Censored Chinese search project is “terminated,” Google rep testifies

(credit: Sam Churchill / Flickr)

Google has ended all work on its censored Chinese search engine, a company representative testified on Tuesday.

“We have terminated Project Dragonfly,” said Karan Bhatia, Google’s vice president of public policy, at a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The secret project was first revealed by the Intercept a year ago. The new search engine would have initially been offered as an Android app, and it would have reportedly blacklisted “websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest,” according to the Intercept.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Source link Read the rest

New archaeological layer discovered at L’Anse aux Meadows

New archaeological layer discovered at L’Anse aux Meadows

Enlarge / Paul Ledger and Véronique Forbes examining the cultural horizon. (credit: Linus Girdland-Flink)

L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland is famed for being a site where Norse travelers set up a colony hundreds of years before Europe at large became aware of North America’s existence. The colony was thought to be short-lived, but a new find may extend the length of its occupancy.

While taking sediment cores from a nearby peat bog to help study the ancient environment, archaeologist Paul Ledger and his colleagues discovered a previously unknown chapter in the story of L’Anse aux Meadows. Buried about 35cm (14 inches) beneath the modern surface, they found signs of an ancient occupancy: a layer of trampled mud littered with woodworking debris, charcoal, and the remains of plants and insects.

Based on its depth and the insect species present, the layer looks like similar surfaces from the edges of Viking Age

Read the rest