Arcade Fire Share 21-Minute Horror Film Festi, Featuring Peter Gabriel, The National, James Murphy, Fleet Foxes…

arcadefire

Arcade Fire are celebrating Halloween with a special treat for their fans: a bizarre, 21-minute horror film titled Festi. It was directed by “Noreen Bauble”, one of the band’s previously-used pseudonyms, and is billed as “a look back at the 2011 summer festival tour” (that’s the film’s poster, above). The entire band stars in the mini-movie, along with a number of noteworthy figures: James Murphy (as a sad DJ), Fleet Foxes (as bearded singers), Andrew Garfield (Spiderman), and the National (whose Bryce and Aaron Desser play creepy twins), just to name a few. The full cast is listed in the credits, which start around the 21:42 mark.

Festi begins with some nondescript behind-the-scenes footage from 2011, but it doesn’t take long before things get spooky. It’s Will Butler’s 27th birthday, and it’s supposed to be a joyous occasion. Being the famous musician that he is, however, he can’t escape the curse of the 27 Club – so instead, the evening is marked by murder, intrigue, gore, and the haunting of Jim Morrison. Watch the whole thing below, and be sure to stick around until the end to see Peter Gabriel as a security guard and witness a performance of Guns n’ Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine” from – you guessed it – Slash himself. Happy Halloween!

(Link)

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The Universe’s Biggest Galaxies Are Cannibals_

What happens when a galaxy runs out of fuel to make new stars? It finds that fuel elsewhere, and sometimes, that means resorting to cannibalism.

Yep, cannibalism. A new paper from a team of Australian astronomers published today in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society confirms that when push comes to shove, large galaxies eat smaller ones in order to continue expanding.

Aaron Robotham of the University of Western Australia node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) led a team of researchers who looked at more than 22,000 galaxies. They found that smaller galaxies in our universe are adept at making their own stars; they have plenty of gas on hand to compress into new stars. But bigger galaxies don’t have extra material at their disposal with which to make new stars.

Star formation slows in really massive galaxies because of extreme feedback in the active galactic nucleus, the center of the galaxy that emits large amounts of radiation.

“The topic is much debated, but a popular mechanism is where the active galactic nucleus basically cooks the gas and prevents it from cooling down to form stars,” Robotham said in a statement.

And yet, big galaxies can still grow.

Turns out, galactic survival is sort of like a weird version of survival of the fittest. All galaxies start out small, growing as they collect gas that they efficiently turn into new stars. But not all galaxies grow to a ripe old age. The team found that smaller ‘dwarf’ galaxies are sometimes consumed by their nearby larger counterparts.

Every now and then, a dwarf galaxy is “completely cannibalized by a much larger galaxy,” Robotham said. And in this instance size does matter. The larger galaxies have more gravity and can more readily tear apart their smaller neighbours.

Technically, Andromeda will eat us

Our own Milky Way is sort of on the edge of becoming a cannibal, which is slightly better than being at risk of being cannibalized. Our galaxy has reached a point in its evolution where any growth we see will come from it eating smaller galaxies, not by collecting gas to turn into new stars.

“The Milky Way hasn’t merged with another large galaxy for a long time but you can still see remnants of all the old galaxies we’ve cannibalized,” Robotham said. And we can see its next two meals. Robotham added that the Milky Way is likely to “eat two nearby dwarf galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, in about four billion years.”

Unfortunately, the Milky Way will eventually get its comeuppance. In about five billion years, it will merge with the Andromeda Galaxy. The two galaxies will pull each other apart and turn into something new, so the familiar Milky Way we call home will cease to be.

“Technically, Andromeda will eat us because it’s the more massive one,” Robotham said.

Fortunately, we’re unlikely to be around to see the carnage.

Ultimately, galactic cannibalism comes down to gravity. Over billions of years, gravity will cause all the galaxies currently bound together in groups and clusters to merge into a few super-giant galaxies. Along the way, a bigger one is bound to consume a smaller one.

“If you waited a really, really, really long time that would eventually happen but by really long I mean many times the age of the Universe so far,” Robotham said. So neat as it might be, it’s probably not worth holding your breath to see just what happens with the Milky Way gets cannibalized.

(Link)

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Spinflo_

An interactive science toy that visualizes fluid dynamics when you apply force.

Spinflo is an interactive gadget that allows you to see patterns created by fluid in motion. By using the touch of your hand, you can create turbulent or smooth flows, spinning it in different directions with different speeds. The patterns are dynamic and intricate, and just plain fun to see!

You can find out more at the project website here.

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Weatherman Does Forecast as Skeleton_

Louisville-based Meteorologist Jude “Bones” Redfield cleverly incorporated the green screen into his costume Friday morning, delivering the weather forecast as a skeleton.

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Crash Test Dummies Getting Fatter Thanks to ‘Murica_

Well it’s official, we have a reached a new low in America’s obesity epidemic.

Humanetics, the Michigan-based company that manufactures crash test dummies, will now be making fatter 270-pound models to better reflect the current population, compared to the previous 167 pound versions which were created in the ’80s.

“The dummy is a little taller because the population is now taller — but to be frank, it’s all in the butt, thighs and midsection because that’s where the weight gain has occurred,” said Humanetics CEO Chris O’Connor.

Good job ‘Murica!

(Link)

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Spoon Perform They Want My Soul Cuts on “The Daily Show”_

“The Daily Show” temporarily relocated from New York to Austin, Texas this week for “South by South Mess”, an extension of the show’s “Indecision 2014″ coverage running up to the midterm elections. Last night, Jon Stewart was joined by Austin natives Spoon, who performed three tracks from They Want My Soul: “Inside Out”, “Do You”, and “Rent I Pay”. Watch below.

“Inside Out”:

“Do You”:

“Rent I Pay”:

(Link)

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Study: Solar Energy Will Be as Cheap as Fossil Fuel Energy by 2016_

A new study on solar energy from Deutsche Bank bears very good news. Thanks to technology and innovation, solar energy will be just as cheap as energy from fossil fuels by 2016. That’s basically tomorrow, and it’s awesome.

We have a few people to thank for this encouraging turn of events. One is the US. Part of the reason that solar energy will be able to compete fiercely with other cheap—however harmful—energy sources like natural gas is because of the US government’s 30 per cent tax credit on solar energy systems. The study does stipulate that the price solar energy would still drop to competitive levels in 36 US states if the government dropped that subsidy down to 10 per cent.

The other party to thank for solar energy’s rise from being a rich people plaything to a populist solution to clean energy is technology. Technology is awesome. That’s obvious, but this solar energy development shows how innovation can improve everyone’s life if smart people like scientists and engineers decide to make that their goal. For the past couple of decades, countless researchers have helped make advances in solar energy technology, and the pace of awesome innovation shows no signs of slow. Soon, we could have windows that act as solar cells and generate electricity. That’s incredible!

All that said, a study is a study, and it’s certainly possible that this one is a little bit optimistic. That’s okay, though. It’s a good thing to be optimistic about alternative energy sources because being pessimistic is part of the reason we’re destroying Earth so quickly. Pessimists struggle to come up with better ways to drill for oil instead of investing those billions of pounds in technology and innovation that will save the planet.

If you have solar panels on your home, good for you. (Although you may want to read this because there’s a chance you could improve your solar set up.) You’re the ones supporting the solar energy industry and driving that awesome innovation. If you don’t have solar panels on your home, weigh up the pros and cons of getting some. They’re getting cheaper by the minute.

(Link)

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Doctors In Call For Calorie Labels On Alcohol_

Alcohol should and have labels detailing its calorie content, according to the Royal Society for Public Health.

The society’s doctors have warned that a large glass of wine can contain the same number of calories as a doughnut – while four pints on a night out is equal to two-and-a-half burgers and will take around 73 minutes of running to burn-off.

The average adult drinker gets around 10% of their calorie intake from alcohol and experiments have found drinkers consume 400 fewer calories during a night at the pub when their drinks display calorie labels.
Any reduction in calorie intake could make a massive difference to waistlines in the UK, which is among the most obese nations in the world.

But RSPH chief executive Shirley Cramer said 80% of adults were unaware of the calorie count in what they were drinking, such as a 250ml glass of wine – which has between 170 and 230 calories.

(Link)

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A Nearly 40,000 Year Old Baby Mammoth Goes on Display in Moscow_

The mammoth was found in 2010 in the Russian region of Yakutia. Thus, scientists called the carcass Yuka. The mammoth was between six and nine years old when it died.

Yuka’s preserved body shows signs that humans hunted for mammoths during the Ice Age, according to researcher Albert Protopopov.

Weighing five tonnes and at a height of three metres, scientists say that Yuka has become the best preserved mammoth in palaeontology.

(Link)

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Screenless 3D Display_

Proof-of-concept tech developed by Aerial Burton can display 3D forms in mid-air without the need of a screen, using lasers to target specific points.

The images are constructed by firing a 1kHz infrared pulse laser into a 3D scanner, which reflects and focuses the pulses of the laser to specific points in the air. The molecules at that point are ionized, and the energy is released as photons. Aerial Burton believes that using this technology in emergencies will aid communication after a disaster, letting people know where to evacuate, or obtain food and emergency supplies.

(Link)

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