Stephen Hawking Dies at 76

Prof. Stephen Hawking (1942-2018), the world famous scientist, passed away early this morning at the age of 76. Hawking, arguably one of the best-known physicists in the world, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 1963 and was given only a few years to live. The fact that he made it over 50 years alone is impressive, not to mention his long list of accomplishments.

The New York Times reports: “Not since Albert Einstein has a scientist so captured the public imagination and endeared himself to tens of millions of people around the world,” Michio Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York, said in an interview.

Dr. Hawking did that largely through his book “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes,” published in 1988. It has sold more than 10 million copies and inspired a documentary film by Errol Morris.

He went on to become his generation’s leader in exploring gravity and the properties of black holes, the bottomless gravitational pits so deep and dense that not even light can escape them.

He was a man who pushed the limits — in his intellectual life, to be sure, but also in his professional and personal lives. He traveled the globe to scientific meetings, visiting every continent, including Antarctica; wrote best-selling books about his work; married twice; fathered three children; and was not above appearing on “The Simpsons,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation” or “The Big Bang Theory.”

I’m a liberal arts major who can barely count without using my fingers, so I’m about as far away from a scientist as anyone can be. However, I have seen a couple documentaries about black holes and Hawking’s research and I always found them fascinating. It’s safe to say that, even if I don’t completely understand all that this guy actually did, the world has lost a very important person.


Japan Using Robot Wolves to Protect Crops

Don’t you love how literally everyone has seen enough science fiction movies to know where this is going, yet humanity keeps doing crap like this anyway?

You may not have known this, but wild boars are kind of a problem in Japan. Anyone who has grown up in the country knows the kind of damage a hog can do. In Japan, wild boars can do a lot of harm to the country’s rice and chestnut crops.

So, what is Japan doing to combat these boars? They’ve gone with the most Japanese solution possible: Robots!

The Independent reports: The “Super Monster Wolf” stands at 50cm tall, is 65cm long and runs on rechargeable solar-batteries, using motion-sensors to detect when other mammals approach and letting out an alarming primal howl in response.

At least they were subtle with the name…

The robo-wolf can cover distances of up to half a mile and has been used in trials to patrol fields near Kisarazu City, Chiba, as a deterrent to pests, effectively acting as a moving scarecrow.

In addition to its satanic stare, the creature features a realistic fur hide and snarling rubber jaws.

I don’t know, actually. My family’s roomba hardly works, what should we expect from the robot wolf? I mean, how scary can it actually beHOLY CRAP!!!

Screen shot 2018-03-13 at 9.03.48 AM

It is about to enter mass production and will soon be made commercially available, retailing at 514,000 yen (£3,478).

Well, that’s kind of expensive for a demon-scarecrow, but I guess if you can afford it you should get it! I’m sure that won’t give anyone a heart attack late at night!

Sutherland Springs Conspiracy Theorists Arrested

Nothing like arresting a conspiracy theorist to discourage other conspiracy theorists!

The Sutherland Springs massacre is just one of many, many incidents of mass gun violence to hit the United States. Being several months old, however, this church shooting is sadly now a bit of old news. Most people have moved on to more recent school/church shootings. Unfortunately, conspiracy theorists are not most people. Two nutjobs have recently been arrested for harassing the shooting victim’s families.

KTSA reports: Fifty-four-year-old Robert Ussery and his partner, Jodi Mann, were arrested by Wilson County Sheriff’s Deputies Monday after harassing the pastor of First Baptist Church and another member of the congregation.

“He keeps insisting that this was a Homeland Security drill and that nobody ever got hurt here,” Pastor Frank Pomeroy told the Trey Ware Morning Show.

Pomeroy’s daughter was killed in the massacre November 5.

“He said my daughter never even existed and he demanded to see her birth certificate,” said the pastor.

Hmm … Which is more believable: A crazy, evil person walking into a church and murdering a bunch of people? Or this pastor and his family being a part of a conspiracy and playing the long con by being a part of their community for years and years without giving away any hints?

Pomeroy claims Ussery yelled and cursed at him and another church member Monday and threatened to hang him.

“He told us if we went around the corner he would beat us to death. He didn’t actually threaten to come inside the church, but he was pointing his finger at me and another member of the church,” Pomeroy said.

Well, he really seems like a pleasant person to be around, doesn’t he? Definitely someone who has his head screwed on right! Thank goodness we have people like him and his partner fighting hard to uncover the truth! After all, you can only clear the waters by completely muddying them.

What, that doesn’t make sense? Apparently that doesn’t matter any more!

Texas Town plagued by feral chickens

They roam the streets at all hours of the day and night. People can’t leave their homes for fear of being attacked. Late at night, holding their children close, they shudder in fear as they hear in the distance, “Buh-Gawk!!!”

The town of Bastrop, Texas, has several attractions. It’s a short drive from Austin, The Capital of Texas Zoo is close by, as well … Oh, and it’s overrun by wild chickens. That’s something city residents are hoping to fix, soon.

The Tyler Morning Telegraph reports: … the city’s animal services division is putting final touches on a contract that would hire outside help to trap and rehome many of the fowl that have strutted too far from the Farm Street Historic Chicken Sanctuary, a 1,500-foot stretch of road where the chickens have enjoyed legal protection for nearly a decade.

Darn sanctuary cities! There’s no rule of law, everyone can just run a-fowl!

But the flock’s overpopulation — the city estimates their numbers have grown to between 100 and 200 birds, mostly gamy wild jungle fowl — has sent many of the birds scavenging and roosting well outside the sanctuary’s boundaries, between the train tracks near Fayette Street to Texas 95.

The Capital of Texas Zoo counts hippos, peacocks, panthers, tigers and camels as residents at its facility in western Bastrop County. And soon it might be welcoming into its fold many of the free-ranging Farm Street chickens, whose constant clucking, cawing and feculence have driven many Bastrop residents to their wits’ end.

The city also has homes lined up other than the zoo — rural homesteads open to taking in fowl outside the city limits, where they can maintain their free-range lifestyle. Any other people interested in taking some of the trapped chickens will be vetted by the city to prevent any of the roosters from falling into the hands of cockfighters.

Well, hey, that’s not very fair! Those chickens are clearly homeless, how else are they going to make a living? I’ve seen Rocky, getting into the fighting ring is the only way to make your fortune!

Man Burns Down Home to Remove Skunks

Well, it worked, didn’t it?

A Ferndale, Michigan, man recently burned down him home by accident while having an argument with some roommates who weren’t paying rent. Of course, when one shares a home with skunks, you really shouldn’t expect them to pay rent very often.

CBS Detroit reports: The man told investigators he had enough with the skunks, who made a home in his crawlspace, and was attempting to drive them out with a smoke bomb when things went awry.

The bomb triggered a fire that spread through the crawlspace and onto the first floor of the home, on W. Webster near Edgewood Place.

The fire was burning for roughly 15 minutes before the man called 911 for help, the Detroit Free Press reported. The fire eventually spread up through the walls of the home and to the attic. Firefighters extinguished the blaze, but flames were going through the roof. The home is a total loss.

I like that he waited 15 minutes before asking for help. I, too, just try to ignore problems until they go away by themselves. Speaking of problems just going away by themselves…

The skunks appear to have run away before the flames consumed the home, as no carcasses were found at the scene.

Well, problem solved! He’s homeless now, but so are the skunks! Score 1 for humanity!

Man Burns Down Home In Attempt To Remove Skunks

Chi*a Ba*s Letter “N” From I*ter*et

When throwing out even the illusion of democracy, almost anything can become subversive to one’s authority. President (and Winnie the Pooh impersonator) Xi Jingping has recently done away with term limits and made himself president for life. The Chinese government was quick to crack down on the Internet and to keep things censored tightly. Many “dangerous” words and phrases were banned from the Internet. Interestingly enough, apparently the letter N was considered dangerous by the censors.

The Guardian Reports: The contravening consonant was perhaps the most unusual victim of a crackdown targeting words, phrases and even solitary letters censors feared might be used to attack Beijing’s controversial decision to abolish constitutional term limits for China’s president.

The Communist party has painted the move – which experts say paves the way for Xi to become a dictator for life – as an expression of overwhelming popular support for China’s strongman leader. However, there has been widespread online push-back in China since it was announced on Sunday on the eve of an annual political congress in Beijing.

In a blog post, Victor Mair, a University of Pennsylvania China expert, said censors had taken “quick, drastic action” after “the internet was flooded with complaints”.

According to The Guardian, some of the red flag phrases included

  • ‘Ten thousand years’ (万岁), which is China’s way of saying: ‘Long live!’ or ‘Viva!’
  • ‘Disagree’ (不同意)
  • ‘Xi Zedong’ (习泽东) – a hybrid of the names of Xi and Chairman Mao Zedong
  • ‘Shameless’ (不要脸)
  • ‘Lifelong’ (终身)
  • Personality cult’ (个人崇拜)
  • Emigrate (移民) and
  • ‘Immortality’ (长生不老)

So why the letter “N”? What did the 14th letter of the alphabet ever do to China?

Less clear is why censors took issue with the letter ‘N’. Mair speculated it was “probably out of fear on the part of the government that ‘N’ = ‘n terms in office’, where possibly n > 2”.

Oh, I see. It’s a math problem! Ok, so if N is greater than 2, and technically there are only supposed to be a maximum of 2 terms, then N = Dictatorship! I solved it! Hey, I’m actually pretty good at math, who knew?

Charlie Smith, the alias of the co-founder of, a group which helps users track and bypass Chinese censorship, said he found that explanation plausible.

“I doubt that they actually put that much thought into it so sadly, the letter ‘N’ was a temporary victim of this rash decision.”

Are you sure? I’m willing to bet that lots of thought and discussion went into the decision to ban a single letter of the alphabet from the internet. I mean, seriously, an overbearing government overreacting to something? That’s never happened before!