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A Rare Halloween Blue Moon in 2020 – Mark Your Calendars!

In January, we promised our readers that 2020 would be a stargazer’s treat, especially when it came to full Moons. In total, for 2020, we’ll have 13 full Moons, including 2 two Supermoons, and a rare Halloween Blue Hunter’s Moon on October 31st. It’s rarer in more ways than you may realize!

What is a Blue Hunter's Moon?

For more than half a century, whenever two full Moons appear in a single month (which happens on average every 2 1/2 to 3 years), the second full Moon is christened a “Blue Moon.”

When you look at the full Moon on Halloween night, it won’t appear blue in color but you’ll be looking at something pretty uncommon. A full Moon on Halloween occurs roughly once every 19 years—a pattern known as the Metonic Cycle.

This well-known lunar cycle was discovered in 432 BC by the Greek, Meton, of Athens. He determined that after 19 years have elapsed, the phase of the Moon will repeat on the same date.Well . . . not always. Because of slight variations in the Moon’s orbital period, and the number of leap days that intervene over a 19-year time span, the Metonic Cycle can be accurate only to within a day.

For a Halloween full Moon, the Metonic Cycle worked well early in the 20th Century—in the years 1925 and 1944. But thereafter, using the cycle, the date of full Moon shifted a day to November 1st (in 1963, 1982, and 2001). But then, in 2020, it returned to October 31st. Making it a rarer sight, indeed.

Read more here. (Farmer's Almanac)

Phosphine Detected In The Atmosphere of Venus - An Indicator of Possible Life?

The presence of phosphine is seen by many astrobiologists as a "biosignature" i.e. an indicator of the possible presence of life. The detection was made by the Atacama (ALMA) array located in Chile and the James Clerk Maxwell telescope located in Hawaii. The research team includes members from the University of Manchester, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Cardiff University. A paper will appear in the 14 September issue of Nature Astronomy.

From what we're told the researchers have concluded that abiotic mechanisms (i.e. ones that do not involve life) that might produce phosphine cannot account for the large amount that they have detected. The phosphine has been detected in the region within the atmosphere of Venus that is considered by some to be potentially habitable. As to what spin the researchers put on this, we'll have to wait for reporters who have the press release or are allowed to participate in the Zoom press conference thing tomorrow at 15:00 GMT to let us know.

Read more here. (Astrobiology)

Florida city repeals 13-year ban on saggy pants

OPA-LOCKA, FLA. -- After 13 years, a South Florida city has overturned a ban on "saggy pants" -- bottoms that reveal the wearer's underwear.

The Opa-locka City Commission voted Wednesday on a 4-1 vote to repeal both the original 2007 legislation and a 2013 ordinance that said women, not just men, could receive civil citations for wearing pants that exposed their undergarments.

The Miami Herald reports that the vote was a first reading of the repeal, meaning it will need to be approved again at a subsequent commission meeting before it's official. But the item was co-sponsored by four of the five commissioners.

Around the city, which is northeast of Miami, signs still warn folks of the ordinance. They showing an image of two young men wearing pants below their waists and featuring the words: "No ifs, ands or butts ... It's the city law!"

Read more here. (CTV News)

Nvidia to buy Arm Holdings from SoftBank for $40 billion

Chipmaker Nvidia has agreed to buy Arm Holdings, a designer of chips for mobile phones, from Softbank in a deal worth $40 billion, the company announced Sunday.

Source (CNBC)

Since it's a big news, might as well just create a new thread for this, rather than update the previous thread.

Nvidia Close To Buying ARM for $40 Billion: Report (OUTDATED)

In a deal that would undoubtedly change the semiconductor industry for years to come, according to the Wall Street Journal, Nvidia is close to finalizing a deal with SoftBank to purchase ARM Holdings for more than $40 billion in stock and cash. The deal is expected to be officially announced early next week. While the exact terms and final sale price of the deal are unknown, the $40 billion offer would represent a tidy profit for SoftBank, which purchased ARM for $32 billion four years ago.

As part of the deal, Nvidia would likely be subject to regulatory approvals that would compel the company to continue to licence the ARM architecture to existing customers, but it would still gain access to a treasure trove of IP and engineering talent. That could enable the company to quickly develop custom CPU architectures for its own use, which would then further the company's broadening push into the profit-rich data center market.

Nvidia has long held the leading position in AI compute in the data center, particularly in the leading supercomputers. However, AMD and Intel, by virtue of having both CPU and GPU production in-house, can tie the CPU and GPU together in much more sophisticated ways than Nvidia due to their purpose-built designs. As a result, the most important supercomputing contracts from the Department of Energy have recently gone to Intel and AMD, both of which have the advantage of tightly-coupled GPU and CPU designs that will power the world's first exascale-class supercomputers. Derivatives of those same designs will eventually filter out to the broader market.

In comparison, Nvidia's singular focus on GPU compute limits its ability to compete with complex designs that fully leverage the advantages of memory coherency between accelerators (like GPUs) and the CPU. Naturally, custom ARM-based Nvidia CPUs would address that need perfectly, and the company has already paved the way for tighter ARM integration with its recent introduction of CUDA support for ARM architectures.

Read more here. (Tom's Hardware)

New unemployment program ends before a single Oklahoman is paid

OKLAHOMA CITY — Extra unemployment benefits are about to come to an end for thousands of Oklahomans.

The federal government on Wednesday told states that the program, created under an executive order from President Donald Trump, was ending. The program provided an extra $300 to $400 a week to people because Congress didn’t extend the $600-a-week program from early in the pandemic. But before anyone in Oklahoma received a cent, the new program was ended.

Shelley Zumwalt, executive director of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, said the news of the program’s early cancelation came in a phone call Wednesday among the states, the U.S. Department of Labor and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"This was … one of those things where we didn't really have a heads-up on,” she said.

Oklahoma is still working through the technical challenges of paying large numbers of people because of the pandemic. Zumwalt said the agency is on track to pay the remaining claimants by the end of the month. The people likely will end up with $1,800 – provided they’re eligible for all six weeks of back pay.

Read more here. (KOCO Local News)

Drinking Until You Pass Out Is Linked to Doubled Risk of Dementia, Huge Study Reveals

It's not advisable, and it's not always safe, but passing out drunk happens sometimes when people over-indulge – having so many drinks their bodies just can't handle it, leading them to sink into bleary unconsciousness.

The hangover could be far worse than a sore head the next morning, scientists now report in a new study. A massive review of previous research examining the drinking history of over 130,000 people suggests that getting blind drunk stands to double people's risk of developing dementia later in life.

While the associations between excessive alcohol consumption and dementia are well documented, there nonetheless remains much we don't know about how drinking alcohol contributes to the biological mechanisms behind cognitive decline, as seen in conditions like Alzheimer's disease.

Even so, the links have been observed in numerous studies, but while the territory may be well explored, that doesn't mean there aren't new ways of approaching the data.

One significant limitation in existing studies, which tend to analyse effects in terms of average alcohol consumption levels over time, is a lack of consideration of the drinking patterns hidden behind the averages.

Read more here. (Science Alert)
General chit-chat
Help Users
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  • Varine Varine:
    Good luck to the hurricane path people. Is TH still in Houston?
  • Ghan Ghan:
    I think so
  • The Helper The Helper:
    Yeah we got nothing here did not even rain
  • Ghan Ghan:
    We could use some rain.
  • The Helper The Helper:
    I am not complaining though Hurricanes are not fun I have been through alot of them
  • Blackveiled Blackveiled:
    I evacuated for it just incase since I live in La Porte pretty much right on the water (in Houston area). Didn't see anything. It's a good thing for me anyways.
  • Ghan Ghan:
    It's too bad that Blizzard messed up so terribly with Reforged.
  • Ghan Ghan:
    Still has a 0.6 user metacritic score.
  • Ghan Ghan:
    (Out of 10)
  • Varine Varine:
    I haven't even tried it yet because everyone said it sucked. How do you get .6 out of ten?
  • The Helper The Helper:
    I am waiting for Dwarf Fortress to come out on Steam then I am on it.
  • Accname Accname:
    I play Dwarf Fortress from time to time.
  • Accname Accname:
    Its Okay.
  • Accname Accname:
    But the performance is sub-par. Does not seem to be well optimized.
  • Varine Varine:
    Is the Steam version coming with a graphical overlay or is it using the ASCII graphics still?
  • tom_mai78101 tom_mai78101:
    Steam version has the graphical overlay.
  • The Helper The Helper:
    Steam Version has graphics, a new interface and will be integrated in the steam mod stuff
  • Blackveiled Blackveiled:
    I didn't think WC3 Reforged was that bad. It pretty much did what it stated (to me at least), but then again I can care less about reforged campaigns and all that. I just care about gameplay.
  • Varine Varine:
    I think people were hoping for a resurgence in mod support. I have little interest in the actual game tbh
  • Varine Varine:
    Plus I know they added that Dota precedent clause where Blizzard can steal your shit which isn't cool.
  • Ghan Ghan:
    They sold Reforged to the community as primarily a huge graphical uplift with high res textures and redone cinematics.
  • Ghan Ghan:
    They even showed one of the redone cinematics at Blizzcon and that very cinematic wasn't even in the released game.
  • Ghan Ghan:
    So I think folks were angry about that.
  • Varine Varine:
    Didn't the backwards compatability have issues too?
  • Accname Accname:
    I never had any hopes for that. Blizzard is not the same company it was 10 years ago.

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