800,000 ceramic poppies turn the Tower of London’s moat red

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Image credit: Jim Crossley / Creative Commons.

As the world remembers the centenary of the First World War, London’s Tower of London is being covered by ceramic poppies to commemorate the lives lost in the conflict. Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red is an evolving installation that will see 888,246 of the artificial flowers “planted,” at the Tower, each representing a British or Colonial death during the war.

The first poppy was planted by YS Crawford Butler, the oldest serving of the…

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GayStation charity console won by a Pokémon

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Someone nicknamed “Pumpkaboo” is now the proud owner of a gorgeous, rainbow-patterned PlayStation 4. All it took was 28,300 kr (about $4,119). Swedish retailer Webhaller placed the “Sony GayStation 4” on auction last last month, in celebration of the recent Stockholm Pride Festival. Asides from being a show of solidarity, the machine was also used as a way to accrue proceeds for the RSFL Newcomers network, which looks to assist non-heteronormative foreigners.

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Giant floating snowflake will offer a five-star view of the Northern Lights

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Rich tourists will soon be able to enjoy the Northern Lights from within a floating, snowflake-shaped resort located in the waters near Tromso, Norway. The 86-bedroom Krystall hotel is being marketed as a “scarless development,” according to The Telegraph. In other words, the glass-roofed luxury property is not only intended to be “self-sustainable” but also to have a minimal impact on its environment.

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Google’s Venn diagram doodle makes correlation cute

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Google is celebrating the 180th birthday of John Venn, creator of the Venn diagram, with a special doodle on its front page. The interactive doodle allows you to choose from ten subjects in order to find the correlation between them. Choosing “sea life” and “has wings,” for example, will bring up a cutesy illustration of a flying fish. It’s a neat illustration of what a Venn diagram is, even if it doesn’t quite cover the breadth of the diagrams’ uses. It’ll be up on Google.com for the rest of the day, after which you can check it out at Google’s Doodle archive.

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A British national park is using ponies to fight smartphone addiction

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Britain’s New Forest National Park wants to take away your cellphone, your tablet, and your car keys. The park, in southern England, has started a new scheme in which visitors can deposit their electronic devices at a dedicated “Tech Creche.” Smartphones and iPads are kept in device daycare while their owners roam the park, supposedly freed from the tyranny of screens, push notifications, and GPS directions.

Participating people can print off vouchers that promise they’ll “swap screen time for family time.” The park also suggests visitors leave their cars at the visitor center, travelling instead on foot or by open top bus to lessen the environmental impact on the park. The scheme is designed to reconnect children and parents on family…

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Mohiomap Turns Evernote, Google Drive, And Dropbox Accounts Into Mind Maps

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Mohiomap1 Like many other people, I use Evernote as an information dump. Despite my best efforts to keep things organized with multiple notebooks and tags, my account has become almost as unwieldy as an overstuffed filing cabinet, with stacks of PDFs, web clippings, and notes going back years. That’s why I was intrigued by Mohiomap. Read More

Israel eavesdropped on Secretary John Kerry during Middle East negotiations in 2013

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The US and Israel have been staunch allies for decades, but that doesn’t mean that the two nations aren’t keeping an eye on each other. Der Spiegel reports that Israeli intelligence agents wiretapped US Secretary of State John Kerry the last time he tried to broker a peace deal in the Middle East, in 2013. The German paper cites “reliable sources” who say that some of Secretary Kerry’s negotiation efforts between Israel, Palestine, and Arab states were carried out using unencrypted telephone equipment. Apparently the calls were intercepted as they were transmitted by satellite. The Israeli government then used the information it obtained to try “to reach a diplomatic solution in the Middle East.”

It seems everyone spies on everyone,…

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Video Claims To Show Off The Live Folders Feature Coming In Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1

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Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 2.17.51 PM Component to Windows Phone 8.1’s first update — Update 1, of course — are Live Folders, which will allow users of Microsoft’s smartphone platform to group applications on the main screen of their handsets, saving space. It’s part of a larger set up feature upgrades that Update 1 will bring. Microsoft has only released screenshots to date. A video, uploaded by… Read More

Elon Musk says artificial intelligence is ‘potentially more dangerous than nukes’

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If the robots take over, at least Elon Musk will be able to say “I told you so.” The billionaire inventor loves to make the impossible possible, but he is deeply afraid of artificial intelligence (AI). On Twitter this weekend, Musk said that “we need to be super careful with AI,” adding that they are “potentially more dangerous than nukes.”

If that weren’t concerning enough, Musk followed up his statement with another tweet that read: “Hope we’re not just the biological boot loader for digital superintelligence [sic]. Unfortunately, that is increasingly probable.” Both are scary enough — one compares sentient networked robots with the most dangerous weapon on earth, and the other suggests we’re merely the fleshy precursors to robot…

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US aid worker infected with ebola is now being treated at an Atlanta hospital

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On Saturday, Dr. Kent Brantly arrived in Atlanta, Georgia. He is understood to be the first person carrying ebola who has been inside the United States. Dr. Brantly, of Texas, contracted the highly contagious virus while working in Liberia to help treat ebola patients, and he has been brought back to the US for intensive care at Emory University Hospital. The university is equipped with a special facility — designed in partnership with the US Centers for Disease Control — made to treat patients with extremely contagious conditions. Dr. Brantly’s co-worker, Nancy Writebol, also contracted ebola at the same clinic in Liberia. She is expected to return to the US for intensive care in a few days, according to The New York Times.

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Lessons Learned On App Design For Fast-Growth Markets

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globe, mobile apps One of the typical mistakes developers make is thinking that because they’ve had success in one corner of the globe, they should be able to employ the same strategy to drive adoption elsewhere. The truth of the matter is apps that are wildly successful in the U.S., Europe and Japan often fail to gain substantial traction in areas like India, South America and the Middle East; these… Read More

Lego set shows there’s cool stuff happening in the real world, too

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Let’s face it: your kid probably doesn’t need another set of Star Wars-themed Lego — especially since there’s a lot of damn cool stuff going on in the real world. Like science. Science is cool. Lego has put together this $20 “Research Institute” set to let young’uns act like scientists. And the figurines are all women, to boot! It’s just too bad it looks like everyone else is having fun other than the chemist.

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American Ebola patient arrives at Atlanta hospital

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Kent Brantly, a doctor who contracted Ebola in Liberia, shown with colleagues in this undated photograph provided by Samaritan's Purse. Samaritan's Purse//Reuters

Kent Brantly, a doctor who contracted Ebola in Liberia, shown with colleagues in this undated photograph provided by Samaritan’s Purse. Samaritan’s Purse//Reuters

CNN reports that an American doctor who contracted Ebola in West Africa, where he worked for a medical charity, has been transported to Emory Hospital in Atlanta.

“A specially equipped medical plane whisked Ebola-stricken Dr. Kent Brantly from Liberia to Georgia on Saturday,” the network reports.
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