Today

A cheap robotic hand developed by a company called Grabit offers something most of the other mechanical limbs we’ve seen before don’t: the ability to pick up objects using electrostatic attraction. Even if you’re not familiar with term, you’ve likely…

Josh Spero, author of Second Hand Stories and editor of Spear’s Magazine, and the author Erica Wagner, a former literary editor of the Times mull the question of high tech and old books.

The UK’s first specialised Parkour, or freerunning, academies have opened to encourage people to learn how to do it in a safe environment.

One student is shot dead and four wounded in a school by a classmate who then took his own life, police in the US state of Washington say.

Physics researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University have discovered that most of the electrolytes used in lithium-ion batteries — commonly found in consumer electronic devices — are superhalogens, and that the vast majority of these electrolytes contain toxic halogens.

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A collaboration between researchers at the Universities of Leicester and Innsbruck has developed a completely new way of forming charged molecules which offers tremendous potential for new areas of chemical research.

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The critically endangered Saimaa ringed seal, which inhabits Lake Saimaa in Finland, has extremely low genetic diversity and this development seems to continue, according to a recent study completed at the University of Eastern Finland. In her doctoral dissertation, Mia Valtonen, MSc, analysed the temporal and regional variation in the genetic diversity of the endangered Saimaa ringed seal. The population is only around 300 individuals divided into smaller sub-populations and with very little migration among between them.

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Adherent cells, the kind that form the architecture of all multi-cellular organisms, are mechanically engineered with precise forces that allow them to move around and stick to things. Proteins called integrin receptors act like little hands and feet to pull these cells across a surface or to anchor them in place. When groups of these cells are put into a petri dish with a variety of substrates they can sense the differences in the surfaces and they will “crawl” toward the stiffest one they can find.

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The development of a new organism from the joining of two single cells is a carefully orchestrated endeavor. But even before sperm meets egg, an equally elaborate set of choreographed steps must occur to ensure successful sexual reproduction. Those steps, known as reproductive cell division or meiosis, split the original number of chromosomes in half so that offspring will inherit half their genetic material from one parent and half from the other.

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The governors of New York and New Jersey in the United States have ordered that anyone arriving from West Africa, who has had contact with Ebola patients, should be placed in quarantine for 21 days.

Kansas City Royals beat San Francisco Giants 3-2 in Game Three to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven World Series.

Since its creation, the Amazon Appstore stood apart, banned from being offered in the official store for Android apps, Google Play, until now… sort of. When Amazon recently updated its main Android app, it got a new “Apps & Games” department that…

Burst That Balloon Feeling

Burst That Balloon Feeling Use the mouse to aim, click to shoot. Match 3 or more balloons to score! Be careful, so that the balloons don’t fall under the line!

Police in New York say an axe attack on two officers was a terrorist act carried out by a radicalised Muslim convert.

A US judge has sentenced an ex-Colombian rebel to 27 years in prison for his role in the kidnapping of three American citizens in 2003.

Two nurses infected with Ebola while treating a patient in Dallas are declared free of the deadly virus, a day after the first infection in New York.

(Reuters) – The United States and Costa Rica have qualified for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada after advancing to the CONCACAF Women’s final on Friday.



I’ve had a few days to try and recover from that shocking ending to the latest episode of The Walking Dead, but I still get really uncomfortable every time I watch it. Let’s not dig too deeply into the fact that I’ve insisted on rewatching “Strangers” several times even though I get this hollow-pit of just plain old ickiness in my gut every time. It’s gross. I like it; I played with mud as a child it probably says something about me we can analyze at a different time.

Luckily, I’ve got Justice Revils, founder of popular fan-account @StuffThangsTWD to help get me through this. Mind the spoilers, though if you haven’t seen the episode yet I don’t know what’s wrong with you, go watch “Strangers!”

VB: Okay, walk me through what we saw this week…

JR: The end of the episode! Bob walks away from the church crying, I’m guessing he was bit, and then Gareth and “The Hunters” knock him out — only to eat his leg! This was a fantastic scene that came right out of the comics, best of the episode for sure!

True, for readers of the comics what happens to Bob this week isn’t a huge surprise, it just happens to a different character (Dale, who obviously isn’t around anymore, RIP Daly, I admit I don’t miss your “judgey-face”).

I really love the direction this season is taking, it looks like it’s sticking a lot to the comics, and I won’t complain!

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“Strangers” began as an introduction to new character, Father Gabriel, but became something much deeper as (most of) our group got a rare chance to breathe easy for a few hours.

I loved Abraham’s toast in the church. Really cool moment where he convinces Rick and Judith to go to DC with him. Tara also had some cool moments with Rick and when she talked to Maggie about being with The Governor when they attacked the prison.

I love how much she’s grown since 4B, owning up to the decisions she made by following The Governor and committing to becoming a strong member of this new version of our group. What are some other moments that stick out to you this week as we get ready for the next episode?”

Seeing the car that kidnapped Beth! I really didn’t think it would address that problem this episode, but that’s what I love about surprises. So Daryl & Carol have now gone looking for Beth, and Bob has been taking by The Hunters… Father Gabriel is just in a bad position right now.

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Judging by previews for the upcoming “Four Walls and a Roof” Sasha is gunning for Gabriel and definitely believes he had something to do with Bob’s disappearance. She seems to think Daryl and Carol are with him, I can’t wait to see them go after Beth!

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC. Photos by Gene Page © AMC TV.

Concerned there’s not enough to watch on Netflix, or that the big studios and networks might hold stuff back for their own streaming services? Rest easy, the video streamer has plans for a slew of exclusive content over the next few years, and this…

Three states curb those entering US if exposed to patients

Assigned by a record label to take publicity shots, Mr. Wertheimer photographed rock ‘n’ roll’s earliest superstar in his earliest days.



Norman Lear is a comic poet on the order of the Greeks who, just our luck, came of age at the dawn of the television era. In another time he would have been perhaps Aristophanes or Voltaire, or Swift or Twain. He has always said, “If you can get people to laugh, you can get them to care.”

Norman Lear is the definitive artist of our American culture. But I write here about Norman, my friend, who has taught me personally — I write about how he informed my life.

Norman Lear transformed my hopes. Before I knew Norman, I hoped to be successful as a conductor, to tackle the great works and to collaborate with the greatest musicians in the world. After I came to know him, I began to see the possibility of reaching people and illuminating connections at even a fraction of his effectiveness. Now when I plan a concert, I hope I can help people truly listen in a way that brings their hearts alive. That is how Norman Lear re-shaped my ambition.

“If you can get them to laugh you can get them to care”, is a simple yet infinitely insightful observation for the artist.

Our modern life smashes our humanity into a zillion pieces, with our thinking parts, and our laughing parts and our feeling parts blasted apart, lying in separate shards in haphazard patterns all around us.

Enter the artist, the transformative artist who recognizes his or her responsibility not as commentary or showmanship, but as the re-assemblage — if even for a moment — of the human soul and of those natural human gifts of listening and communication that help us to understand one another.

For all that has been written about the social conscience of Mr. Lear’s life-work, his oeuvre is organic and meaningful, because he puts things in their right order and he gives us the ability to leap beyond our limits and to understand and care about one another — and to truly be together.

The laughter in Lear is powerful because it is a release from the tyrannical bondage of our differences and the dark terror of our loneliness. And yet the work is disguised in the silly safety of the sitcom or film, with characters we know — and who resemble us, and remind us of our neighbors. And in every way the form of his art is as approachable and accessible as it is infinite and profound.

This is what the performing arts are about for me.

Music and performance are most needed when our differences and personal defenses have severed our ears and cut us off from listening and so from caring. We acknowledge music as a powerful force bringing us together in community, and yet we seem content to know this as fact and not to practice the true art of listening with open spirit. In so doing, we can leave the riches of music just beyond reach — and that leaves us separated from ourselves.

In defiance of this dynamic, Norman Lear taught me that the minimal standard of excellence is to be transformative.

With his leadership, which is a clarion call to all American artists, we are reminded of our responsibility to defy the expectations of genres and formats and personalities — and to reach for the truth in its living form.

We are well reminded by Norman that this is a brave fight and that custom is a sneaky and divisive and furiously destructive foe.

Think of how strongly and deeply we associate different kinds of music with different kinds of people. And how strongly surprised we are when our expectations are upended, such as when a buttoned up businessman loves hip-hop or an inner city kid hums Bach. There seems such a determination to divide ourselves that we allow even our music to separate us from one another. In many ways, we USE our music to separate ourselves from one another.

But there is no separation in music itself. Music is a whole and beautiful continuum.

We just choose to see it in the divisive notion of “genres.”

Before (and after) Norman, we see this in TV and film as well — with stock characters and shorthand stereotypes serving to reinforce our sense of separation. And yet for Norman, mass entertainment media became a vehicle for unity. He turned the world on its ear and put it back in its proper place all at once.

For me, inspired by Norman, finding common bonds within music became the whole heart of the matter.

Even though all music can make you feel good, music is not making you whole when you don’t endeavor to hear all of it — and all of it INCLUDES its connections to the rest of the continuum.

What may sound obvious — this notion of wholeness and the continuum — is something we spend enormous energy and violence seeking to blot out.

Meathead and Archie are part of the same whole of humanity. We laugh and regale at their competition, and then we are moved beyond words when they connect — unexpectedly — in love.

This is because connection is not how things should be — it is how things really are.

Fragmentation is the unnatural state, and it is our fractured perception that is incongruous to the real world. The transformative artist like Norman Lear is the rescuer who performs magic by simply illuminating our path. Through him I came to know art as personal and connective.

Now when I face an audience I know that my humble calling is simply to create listening, because listening is learning, and learning is caring. And when we care we discover the world anew.

In the last few pages of Norman’s memoir I learned that for decades we have both subscribed to the same belief profoundly described by George Bernhard Shaw…

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can… Life is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

It’s Friday, ya’ll. But before you checkout for the weekend, check out all our news highlights from the last 24 hours, including our hands-on with the Nexus 9, a new high-altitude jump record, the best gaming mice you can buy right now, and more.

(Reuters) – After a tumultuous offseason that forced the National Basketball Association to confront the delicate issue of race, the league will usher in a new season starting next week that could prove to be one of the best in years.

With Keanu Reeves committing endless mayhem in “John Wick”, things going horribly wrong in “Ouija” and Bill Murray showing his utmost lovability in “St. Vincent” it has been easy for a family friendly film titled “23 Blast” to get overlooked at your local cinema this weekend. It is only playing on around six hundred screens so it might not even be available in your area. But if it is, go see it. It is worth your time and effort.

The movie is based on the true story of Travis Freeman (Mark Hapka), a young man who loses his eyesight in his junior year of high school. Prior to that time he had been a rising football star. Amazingly his coach is able to convince him to come back to the team in his senior year. You have to see the movie to see how this works. Suffice it to say, seeing his valiant effort and the support he receives from his family and friends makes for an emotional and enjoyable film.

One aspect concerning the film that caught my attention is the name of Dylan Baker appearing as the director. Now Baker has been an actor in many movies and in a lot of them he has had some quirky roles. You might have also seen him on “The Good Wife” as a man who gets away with murder and relishes it.

As the director of this film he has to find the right way to present this too good to be true story without making the audience gag on the sweetness. He achieves that balance perfectly. This is no doubt aided by sincere performances by Hapka, Stephen Lang as the high school coach, Bram Hoover as Travis’s best friend, and Baker and Kim Zimmer as Travis’ parents.

The only amateurish performance in the movie is that of the actor playing Travis’ local preacher. However before the movie ends you well find out the reason for that. It comes as a big surprise. Still it adds to the overall effect of the story.

The high caliber of the acting, the strong direction by Baker, the way the story is told in dramatic linear fashion, all add up to an impressive movie experience. This is not something you would expect of a small budget movie of this type but every aspect of the movie rings true.

The film is rated PG-13 for football violence and teen drinking.

If you want to see a movie that will lift your spirits this is the one to chase down. It has humor, heart and drama presented against a football background.

I scored “23 Blast” a hiked 7 out of 10.

Jackie K. Cooper — www.jackiekcooper.com