Neal Stephenson’s Latest Book Dodges Its Scariest Premise

In its 880 pages, Neal Stephenson's Fall; or, Dodge in Hell navigates many of the themes the science fiction author has become known for. The history, and future, of science. How knowledge engenders power, and how that power perpetuates itself. How technologies that sound far-fetched are in fact inevitable, derived as they are from a centuries-long process of incremental breakthroughs. What’s unique to this go-round is that Stephenson’s pet ideas about our digital lives and afterlives overshadow his book's urgency. Nearly 30 years ago, Stephenson envisioned the metaverse; at the start of Fall, he sees a culture cleaved in two, its divisions reinforced by AR-enabled filter bubbles. It's a pressing, plausible future—and one Stephenson ultimately leaves unexamined. Early in Fall, …

US State On Track To Become First To Ban Declawing Of Cats

A piece of legislation that would make declawing cats illegal in New York has passed state legislature and now heads to the Governor’s desk to sign into law. Bill A01303 would make the state the first to ban the practice, prohibiting the procedure altogether and fining veterinarians up to $1,000 for performing it. Onychectomy, more commonly known as declawing, is a surgical procedure used to remove a cat’s claws to stop it from scratching or killing birds. It is already illegal in parts of Europe and Canada, as well as a number of US cities including, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Denver, reports the Associated Press. However, no state has banned it in its entirety. A number of organizations and …

A Long-Sought Immune Cell Could Be The Cause Of Type I Diabetes

A mysterious X cell, part of the immune system that sometimes goes rogue and attacks the pancreas, has been proposed to explain type 1 diabetes. However, like the possible planet with the same designation, years of failure to find the object in question have inspired widespread doubts it exists. So a claim to have discovered the X cell in its natural habitat vindicates those who have kept faith and may open a path towards treatment. Like other autoimmune conditions, type I diabetes involves the immune system treating healthy cells like dangerous invaders. In this case, the innocent victims are the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas, but that doesn’t explain what causes such a harmful and specific error. Dr Abdel-Rahim …

A couple who died of bubonic plague were mocked online. Then, a biologist showed up to shut it down with cold, hard science.

Earlier this year, a couple from Mongolia died of bubonic plague after consuming the organs of raw marmot. They believed the action would bring them good health. While that may sound strange, according to the World Health Organization, the eating of rodent meat is considered a folk remedy in the region. The loss of two lives is tragic. But it got worse. Soon after news of the couple’s demise broke out, people began mocking them on social media. After one Tumblr user decided to turn the conversation into a discussion of how the deceased should have just adopted a vegan diet, another used showed up to explain exactly why the post was wrong, rude, and ethnocentric. All images in this …

Topshop Owner Philip Green Charged With Assault In Alleged Spanking Incident

The billionaire chairman of Arcadia Group, Green, 67, is accused of spanking the instructor and grabbing her buttocks at the Canyon Ranch resort in Tucson in 2016 and 2018, according to the Pima County Attorney’s Office, the PA reported. Arcadia Group said in a statement on Green’s behalf that he “strenuously denies” the allegations, and noted that “contrary to previous suggestions in the media, there is no allegation of any sexual assault or misconduct made by the prosecution.” Arcadia Group’s statement said that Green did not plan to attend the hearing in person. Green’s group operates some of the best-known clothing store chains in the United Kingdom and Ireland, including Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins. Download Join HuffPost …

New York Daily News Dings ‘Guac Blocker’ Trump Over Mexico Tariffs

New York Daily News on Saturday used its cover to call out President The tariff The tabloid called Trump a “Guac Blocker” over the move. The newspaper The Daily News has a long history of using eye-catching front pages to take aim at the president and his administration. Last week it commented on Trump’s wild Wednesday press conference with this “Snit Hits The Fan” zinger: RELATED… Pelosi Torches Trump's New Immigration Plan With Melania Dig Harvard Constitutional Law Professor Unloads On ‘Flagrant Dickhead’ McConnell Nancy Pelosi Has A Theory About Trump Actually Wanting Democrats To Impeach Him REAL LIFE. REAL NEWS. REAL VOICES. Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard.

Partner ‘stabbed BGT nurse 70 times’

“Desmond Sylva had used a kitchen knife… and despite her efforts to fight him off, she was clearly powerless to do so,” he said. Image copyright PA Image caption Ms Kerr was killed in an “utterly terrifying attack”, the court heard Jurors heard Mr Sylva had served in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers between 2002 and 2012 before he was discharged on medical grounds. Since then he has been given treatment on a number of occasions and diagnosed with bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. The court heard Mr Sylva had been briefly admitted to hospital after telling his mother he was feeling suicidal on 9 August last year, while the day before Ms Kerr’s death he allegedly told …

Is $2 million enough to feel wealthy?

How much does a person need to feel rich? But that wouldn’t be enough for some people. And for others, wealth isn’t a financial concept at all. That’s why finding what makes you feel wealthy takes a strategy rather than a single specific number, says Nelson. “I know people who make $250,000 to $500,000 and feel poor, and other people who make $70,000 and feel rich,” says Tara Unverzagt, a certified financial planner. She points to research showing an income of about $70,000 is optimal for emotional well-being, and $95,000 is ideal to feel positive about your life, including meeting long-term goals and the inevitable comparisons with everyone you know. “But for most people, when they get to $2.27 million, …

Rare Snow Falls In Queensland, Australia’s Sunshine State

Queenslanders and Sydneysiders woke to a big shock on Monday as snow fell in parts of the usually sub-tropical states. It may be the start of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, but Queensland in June usually basks in a balmy 20°C (68°F) while in New South Wales, Sydney’s average daytime temperature for this time of year is a distinctly non-freezing 17°C (63°F). June also marks the start of the dry season. Despite severe weather warnings for heavy rain and gale-force winds issued in Sydney, and people being urged to stay inside, many have been sharing their snaps of the snow on social media. – Blackheath, in the Blue Mountains, about 90 kilometers (56 miles) from Sydney and 1,065 meters (3,500 …

Here’s How You Treat Your Ex, According To Your Zodiac Sign Betches

Everyone treats their exes differently. For instance, the air signs, AKA Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius, were born with a PhD in emotional detachment, and a minor in IDGAF, so even if their exes were to do them dirty, it’s not like they would even sweat the damn thing. At least not to their face, of course. Also, not to bring it back to the water sign drama, but there are some Libras with Scorpio placements out there, and well… that’s a completely different bad trip. Their idea of forgiveness consists of mental terrorism, and the silent treatment, but again, we’ll save this celestial coma for another occasion. Earth signs, aka Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn, have no problem whatsoever cutting the …

Tourist’s lucky guess cracks safe that had been locked for 40 years

Stephen Mills was visiting the Vermilion Heritage Museum with his family when he cracked the safe that had been locked for 40 years. (Chris Stead) The BBC reports that the dial numbers on the lock run from zero to 60, so Mills used the combination 20-40-60. “Typical combination lock, three times clockwise – 20 – two times counterclockwise – 40 – once clockwise – 60, tried the handle and it went,” he told the BBC. Sadly, there was no hidden treasure inside the safe. Instead, Mills found some papers from 1977 and 1978. One of the papers was a pay sheet and the other was part of a restaurant order pad, according to the BBC. On the pad were receipts …

This Woman Gets A Maternity Photo Shoot With Her Thesis And All Students Relate

It’s that time of year again when so many students around the world are handing in their graduation thesis. This important academic achievement tests the knowledge they gained during the years spent studying and allows students to finally reap the reward of their hard work. To commemorate this important milestone, students are getting creative. Recently, a 26-year-old grad student, Sarah Whelan Curtis, stole the spotlight online by doing a hilarious maternity photo shoot after finally ‘giving birth’ to her thesis. (h/t: Yahoo) Curtis, who is doing her Ph.D. at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia recently finished her thesis on epigenetics that took her 4 years to write. She broke the news by doing a maternity photo shoot with her work …

‘I was so naive’: Cheryl reflects on fame

It’s part of her return to music after a five-year hiatus, during which time she had a baby son with One Direction star Liam Payne and appeared as a judge on the BBC talent show The Greatest Dancer. The opening salvo in her comeback campaign, a slinky pop squiggle called Love Made Me Do It, stalled at number 19 in the charts last year – but the star has survived enough bumps and bruises in her career to shrug that off and move on. As she prepares to launch Let You, we asked Cheryl to sit down and look back at a scrapbook of her 17 years in the spotlight. And we didn’t even have to bribe her with a …

Angela Merkel Tells Harvard Grads To ‘Tear Down Walls Of Ignorance’ in Trump Rebuke

German Chancellor Harvard University graduates on Thursday to “tear down walls of ignorance and narrow-mindedness,” in what appeared to be a rebuke of President commencement address at the university, Merkel warned against nationalist and isolationist sentiments that are adopted by Trump and right-wing groups in Europe. She also encouraged graduates to act on Speaking primarily in German, the chancellor criticized “walls” throughout her address, noting that her own life was significantly affected by the Berlin Wall that divided Germany while part of the country was still under communist rule. Merkel grew up in Soviet-ruled East Germany and said she saw how the wall separated her from democracy every day as a college student. She also talked about how walls exist …

Trump Lawyer John Dowd Asked Flynn Attorney To Spill On Mueller Probe ‘For The Country’

Robert Mueller’s investigation, left a bumbling voicemail asking an attorney representing  Flynn pleaded guilty in late 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians in an interview with agents at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017, just days after Trump took office. Flynn resigned as Trump’s national security adviser in mid-February 2017. previously revealed in the redacted version of Mueller’s special counsel report. Dowd left the message on Nov. 22, 2017. Flynn took his  In the voicemail, Dowd said he was “sympathetic” to the situation and understood that Flynn might be exploring a deal with the government before asking Flynn’s attorney, Rob Kelner, to provide information on where the Mueller investigation was headed. Dowd also seemed …