Technology and Science

Eating the sun: How solar eclipses changed from terrible omen to tourist draw

As we prepare for the moon to swallow the sun, cast your mind back 4,153 years ago, give or take. Without warning, people in central China saw their familiar sun disappear and become a ring of fire, in what today is called an annular eclipse. It only lasted two minutes and 52 seconds, but stories from that day — believed to be Oct. ...

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After cracking down on neo-Nazis, tech companies wonder who should police online hate

For more than two decades, a question with no easy answer has consumed international lawmakers, tech companies and internet users: How should we handle those who spread hate, racism and abuse online? This long-simmering debate came to a boil this week, after white supremacist website The Daily Stormer helped organize a rally in Charlottesville, Va. that left 32-year-old counter-protester Heather Heyer dead. ...

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Demand for eclipse glasses outpaces supply

Ali Van Orman is still looking for specialized glasses to protect her family’s eyes during Monday’s solar eclipse because she never counted on demand totally eclipsing supply. She tried to buy a coveted pair of solar eclipse glasses for herself and two children from Amazon back in July, but the hot commodities wouldn’t have arrived in time. Van Orman and ...

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Digital vigilantism after Charlottesville: Get ready for more naming and shaming

In many ways, last weekend’s rally in Charlottesville, Va., was a chilling throwback to an era most people had hoped we’d moved on from, one in which racists were emboldened to march in the streets, denouncing the lives and rights of others through violence and angry chants, yelling, “White lives matter” and “Jews will not replace us.”  But there are ...

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Solar eclipse myth-busting: Facts and fiction behind nature’s stunning event

Have you heard that it’s safe to look at an eclipse through sunglasses? Or that radiation during one could be dangerous for unborn children? Don’t believe it. Solar eclipses aren’t your run-of-the-mill event: while they occur about once every 18 months, the same location may not experience one for many years. So it’s no surprise that there are a few misconceptions about them. ...

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Websites aim to exile white nationalists in wake of violence

Silicon Valley joined a swelling backlash against white nationalist groups in the U.S. on Wednesday as more technology companies denied their services in response to weekend violence in Charlottesville, Va. Social media networks Twitter and LinkedIn, music service Spotify and security firm Cloudflare were among the companies cutting off services to hate groups or removing material they said spread hate. Earlier in the week, ...

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Scientist looking to bats and bees in fight against antibiotic-resistant superbugs

A researcher in Halifax hopes that a new high-tech tool will help discover superbug-fighting antibiotics from an unusual source — bat and honeybee colonies. “[Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are] a major concern for hospitals around the world and certainly in Canada and right now,” said Clarissa Sit, assistant professor of chemistry at Saint Mary’s University. “I know that physicians and health-care workers ...

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‘Frankenstein’ dinosaur is missing evolutionary link, researchers say

A missing link between plant-eating dinosaurs and meat-eaters such as the Tyrannosaurus rex may have been found, suggests a new study from the University of Cambridge and the Natural History Museum. After analyzing more than 450 anatomical characteristics of early dinosaurs, the researchers found that Chilesaurus — first described in 2015 — fills the gap between the two groups. Chilesaurus, which lived 150 million years ago in ...

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Not all shades created equal: How to get the right solar eclipse glasses

As excitement on social media about the Aug. 21 solar eclipse heats up, experts are urging people to take good care of their eyes when they enjoy the spectacle in Canadian skies. Ralph Chou, a University of Waterloo optometry professor and president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, says that staring at the sun for more than a few ...

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Calgary completes conversion of 80K street lights to LED, expects $5M in annual savings

Calgary has finished replacing 80,000 street lights with LED bulbs more than a year ahead of schedule. The project cost $32 million and is expected to save the city approximately $5 million a year in electricity costs. The new LED fixtures focus light on a more narrow area, the city said, concentrating illumination on streets and sidewalks and reducing light “spillage” upward, ...

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