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LNN

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  1. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine thinks it’s time to start taking the threat of an Earth-altering asteroid impact seriously. In a speech today at the International Academy of Astronautics Planetary Defense Conference, Bridenstine opened his keynote with a warning about what’s to come. “We have to make sure that people understand that this is not about Hollywood, it’s not about movies,” he said. “This is about ultimately protecting the only planet we know, right now, to host life and that is the planet Earth.” Bridenstine acknowledged that a large asteroid colliding with Earth is met with a sort of “giggle factor,” a false sense of security brought on by countless Hollywood films that have perhaps desensitized us to the carnage it would cause. But you don’t have to look far to see the kind of damage an asteroid collision creates. In 2013, a 20 meter (65 foot) meteor exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk. Traveling more than 18 kilometers per second (11 miles per second), the meteor exploded some 23 kilometers (14 miles) above the Earth’s surface, according to NASA. But it still wreaked major havoc. The meteor reportedly damaged thousands of buildings and sent more than 1,500 people to the hospital — most from the debris caused by the shockwave. “These events are not rare; they happen,” Bridenstine noted. And according to one model, we should expect a similar collision once every 60 years. The 20th century featured three such impacts: one in Tunguska, Russia, in 1908, and another in Brazil in 1930. The Tunguska event leveled more than 2,000 square kilometers, but caused no human casualties. But NASA is working on a fix. Currently, the agency has an ambitious goal of tracking 90 percent of asteroids 140 meters and larger — an asteroid large enough to wipe out a small country. And while meteors lose a significant portion of their mass upon entering our atmosphere, it’s worth noting that the rock responsible for the Russian event in 2013 was merely 20 meters, or one-seventh the size of those NASA is tracking. Perhaps Elon Musk, and SpaceX can help. NASA recently announced it had contracted SpaceX, paying the company $69 million to help solve the problem. In its first joint mission, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), SpaceX will send a rocket on a collision course with a near-Earth object, an asteroid in this case. If successful, the rocket will steer the object away from Earth. It’s also worth noting that NASA doesn’t seem to know what to make of this. It’s been incredibly inconsistent in its predictions, with its Jet Propulsion Laboratory seemingly taking a contrarian view to Bridenstine’s: NASA knows of no asteroid or comet currently on a collision course with Earth, so the probability of a major collision is quite small. In fact, as best as we can tell, no large object is likely to strike the Earth any time in the next several hundred years. A bulk of these stories are generally minor warnings that sound alarm bells for members of the press who don’t understand them in the same way astronomers do. The asteroid 1999 RQ36, for example, made headlines after models showed it could hit our planet by 2182. NASA, however, says it’s still too early to make these kinds of predictions about an asteroid’s orbital path. So, maybe we hold off on that Armageddon sequel, just for now? But, if you’re really worried about a cataclysmic event, you can check out NASA’s “Sentry: Earth Impact Monitoring” webpage to see which known asteroids have the highest probability of colliding with Earth. Or if you’re really wanting to go down the rabbit hole, here’s a training exercisethat gives you a peek behind the curtain in how NASA would observe and respond to an imminent collision, based on hypothetical simulations. How’s that for specific? If you’re interested in learning more about how technology is solving some of mankind’s biggest problems, check out the Future Generations track at TNW Conference. The Next Web
  2. Uber is facing a class action lawsuit from more than 6,000 taxi drivers and car-hire operators in Australia. More Uber news: Travis Kalanick, Uber’s cofounder and ex-CEO, is reportedly not invited to help ring the bell for the company’s IPO next Friday, per Axios.
  3. On Wednesday, Burger King launched a limited edition series of “Real Meals,” along with a commercial and campaign called #FeelYourWay to commemorate Mental Health Awareness Month. The boxes are labeled with different moods...and before you read them, just know we would never lie to you. They are Pissed, Blue, Salty, YAAAS, and DGAF. This campaign, touting the phrase “No one is happy all the time,” is clearly a foil for the Happy Meals from rival McDonald’s. But some on social media took issue with the campaign, saying the “moods” don’t capture mental health disorders respectfully. Zoom out: This is just the latest in Burger King’s ongoing McDonald’s trolling and general attention-grabbing stunts. Morning Brew
  4. Wondering why SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son’s been posting all those forearm workouts to IG? Gotta tone that bell-ringing hand as he reportedly considers an IPO for his Vision Fund. To stick its public landing, the $100 billion Vision Fund, which is famous for plugging tech startups with obscene amounts of money, would have to overcome U.S. rules that restrict average investors from tossing our hard-earned income into risky bets. So there’s a high degree of difficulty. But SoftBank is keeping busy elsewhere. Execs have been sprinting around the world looking for more funds and more investment opportunities. The WSJ writes that Son just got back from China, where he negotiated with billions “the Vision Fund doesn’t yet have.” And the company’s now in casting calls with investors for Vision Fund 2: The Second Part. Zoom out: According to Bloomberg’s finance seer Matt Levine, between Musk’s attempt to take Tesla private and the Vision Fund’s attempt at an IPO, “the last few years really have knocked down the boundaries between public and private capital.” Morning Brew
  5. Many of you have heard about “Sharing Human Technology with Plants,” an installation project of a walking succulent plant (to be precise, an Echeveria ‘Hakuhou’) I started at the end of 2014. It somehow caught Bob Xu’s attention, who later became Vincross’ first investor. It’s no exaggeration to say that without “Sharing Human Technology with Plants,” we wouldn’t have been able to create HEXA so quickly. So, after having built HEXA, I’d always wanted to remake the project using HEXA as its base. The idea has been brushed aside for the lack of time until very recently. The original idea of the project came from a dead sunflower. In 2014, I went to see a sunflower exhibition, and found myself focused on a dead sunflower near a ground of blooms. The dead flower sat in a place that was always in a shadow. I had no idea how it ended up there or why it died – whether it was because of the lack of sunshine or water – but it was just there, and it was dead. I thought, if it could move a little bit, take a 30-feet walk out of the shadow to where the other sunflowers were, it would have lived healthily. But it didn’t. Plants are passive. Eternally, inexplicably passive. No matter if they are being cut, bitten, burned or pulled from the earth, or when they lack sunshine, water, or are too hot or cold, they will hold still and take whatever is happening to them. They have the fewest degrees of freedom among all the creatures in nature. This is simply the default setting that nature gives to plants. Each life has its own default settings, including human beings. We humans are not built to go to the depths of the ocean to explore its wonder; nor are we meant to fly to the skies to have the clouds beneath our feet. We’re not meant to land on the moon to view the blue planet. For millions of years, humans have been following their settings, and it’s not until the last century that we started to break those laws. We invented submarines, airplanes, and the Apollo Program, essentially helping us to break our default settings. However, for billions of years, plants have never experienced movement of any kind, not even the simplest movement. Their whole lives, they stick to where they were born. Do they desire to break their own settings or have a tendency towards this? If human beings always try to break the settings with technology, how about plants? I do not know the answer, but I would love to try to share some of this human tendency and technology with plants. With a robotic rover base, plants can experience mobility and interaction. I do hope that this project can bring some inspiration to the relationship between technology and natural default settings. In remaking the project, I didn’t create a special new base but just used a standard Vincross HEXA instead. I built a dual-layer “flowerpot,” which replaced HEXA’s shell. And to honor the original project, the main body of the plant was still Echeveria ‘Hakuhou.’ Here are some clips to showcase the remade project. It chases the sunshine when it needs it: It spins when it enjoys the sun to have the sunshine on all its sides. It looks for shades when it needs to cool off: It plays with human: It dances when it’s happy: It gets grumpy when it’s thirsty: Would the plant like it, I mean, the feeling of being an animal? I have no idea. But I want to let it have the experience. When human beings go to deep ocean and moon through technology, let’s share some of technology with plants, let them at least experience what it is like to experience the simplest of motions.
      Hello guest!
  6. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has taken a stake in Amazon (+3.24%), the investing demigod told CNBC. Important programming note: Buffett made it clear it wasn’t he who bought Amazon stock, but rather “one of the fellows in the office that manage money.” He has a name, Warren. And that name is likely Todd Combs or Ted Weschler, Buffett’s protégés at Berkshire. That Berkshire (or Todd or Ted) is investing in Amazon is significant. Buffett’s held a special place in his Coke-filled heart for Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos, but he never bought shares... "I’ve been an idiot for not buying," Buffett said this week. In 2018: "I had no idea that it had the potential. I blew it." And here’s an excerpt from an interview he did with us: Giphy So why now? Buffett (whose entire shtick is value investing) had shunned the move-fast-and-break-things tech sector for years. But then he greenlit a sizeable investment in Apple, a stake which has since grown to more than $40 billion. And now, Berkshire has put Buffett’s stamp of approval on Amazon, a company that only recently started thinking about profit. This could offer a glimpse into Berkshire once Buffett is gone (he’s 88 years old). Todd and Ted have gained influence in Berkshire’s day-to-day, earning Buffett’s praise for A+ investments like Apple and airline stocks. Buffett’s BFF Charlie Munger says they’re Berkshire’s “younger eyes.” Looking ahead: Investors will get even more insight into Berkshire’s future this weekend, when Buffett hosts his annual shareholder meeting in Omaha. We’re also counting on more color re: Berkshire’s recent Occidental Petroleum deal, its Amazon stance, and its massive cash pile. + While we’re in Omaha: We present you with Buffett Bingo, c/o the WSJ. Morning Brew
  7. Amazing to think that a plane hits the building and explodes in flames and burns for an hour and then somehow those thin little "floors" start to pancake down tearing those massive metal spires which are feet thick in the middle into nice little evenly chopped up pieces of metal for trucks to haul away. Meanwhile other steel buildings have caught fire, burned for 20 hours and then get refurbished and still in use today. Sadly those middle beams were just too thin and weak to handle a plane crash.
  8. FREE YORKSHIRE TERRIER. 8 YEARS OLD. HATEFUL LITTLE DOG. BITES. FREE PUPPIES: 1/2 COCKER SPANIEL, 1/2 SNEAKY NEIGHBOR'S DOG. FREE PUPPIES... PART GERMAN SHEPHERD, PART STUPID DOG. GERMAN SHEPHERD 85 lbs. NEUTERED. SPEAKS GERMAN. FREE. FOUND: DIRTY WHITE DOG. LOOKS LIKE A RAT ... BEEN OUT AWHILE .. BETTER BE A REWARD. SNOW BLOWER FOR SALE... ONLY USED ON SNOWY DAYS. COWS, CALVES NEVER BRED ... ALSO 1 GAY BULL FOR SALE. NORDIC TRACK $300 HARDLY USED, CALL CHUBBY. HUMMERS - LARGEST SELECTION EVER - "IF IT'S IN STOCK, WE HAVE IT!" GEORGIA PEACHES, CALIFORNIA GROWN - 89 cents lb. NICE PARACHUTE: NEVER OPENED - USED ONCE. JOINING NUDIST COLONY! MUST SELL WASHER & DRYER $300. OPEN HOUSE: BODY SHAPERS TONING SALON. FREE COFFEE &DONUTS. FOR SALE: ONE MAN SIX WOMAN HOT TUB (AND THE BEST ONE) . . FOR SALE BY OWNER: Complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica - no longer needed. Got married last month. Wife knows everything.
  9. Frederick Anthony "Freddie" Jackson (born October 2, 1956)[2][1] is an American Grammy-nominated singer.[3] Originally from New York, Jackson began his professional music career in the late 1970s with the California funk band Mystic Merlin. Among his well–known R&B/Soul hits are "Rock Me Tonight (For Old Times Sake)" (1985), "Have You Ever Loved Somebody" (1986), "Jam Tonight" (1986), "Do Me Again" (1990), and "You Are My Lady" (1985). He contributed to the soundtrack for the 1989 film, All Dogs Go to Heaven with the Michael Lloyd-produced duet "Love Survives" alongside Irene Cara.
  10. I never meant to cause you any sorrow I never meant to cause you any pain I only wanted to one time to see you laughing I only wanted to see you Laughing in the purple rain Purple rain, purple rain Purple rain, purple rain Purple rain, purple rain I only wanted to see you Bathing in the purple rain I never wanted to be your weekend lover I only wanted to be some kind of friend Baby, I could never steal you from another It's such a shame our friendship had to end Purple rain, purple rain Purple rain, purple rain Purple rain, purple rain I only wanted to see you Underneath the purple rain Honey, I know, I know I know times are changing It's time we all reach out For something new, that means you too You say you want a leader But you can't seem to make up your mind I think you better close it And let me guide you to the purple rain Purple rain, purple rain Purple rain, purple rain If you know what I'm singing about up here C'mon, raise your hand Purple rain, purple rain I only want to see you Only want to see you In the purple rain
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