Last fall, a man I’ll call Michael sat down at his computer, logged into Facebook, and prepared to begin his new life as a wildlife trafficker. First, he loaded a fake profile with scenic safari photos from his made-up job in a national park in southern Africa. He sent friend requests to a couple traffickers in Vietnam and joined the Facebook groups they invited him to. Since he’s not fluent in Vietnamese, he used Google Translate to assist with introductions. He posted a couple terms like ngà voi and sừng tê giác. Translated, that means “ivory” and “rhino horns.” As a former law-enforcement agent in southern Africa, Michael had spent years investigating criminal networks, including the ones that trade endangered species. Now, working on behalf of an anti-poaching group, he had walked right through the front doors of Facebook’s black market in illicit wildlife, where criminal networks appear to buy and sell ivory hacked … [Read more...] about Tusks, Horns, and Claws: The Fight to Dismantle the Facebook Animal Parts Bazaar
When was animation first created
Archaeologists working at Pompeii continue to uncover incredible finds, 270 years since the remains of the ancient city were first discovered. The latest discovery is a newly unearthed house with brightly coloured animal frescoes, revealed at the site earlier this week. As well as the marine mammals that give the site its name, the house's frescoes also show several fish and birds, including a peacock, a partridge, and a parrot. Deer and mythical creatures are also depicted. Excavations are currently underway in Regio V, a northeastern area of the archaeological park which had not been excavated since the immediate postwar period with some spots completely untouched. Just a week before that, archaeologists were able to cast the complete figure of a horse for the first time ever at the site. And a month earlier, an excavation uncovered the complete skeleton of a young child in a bathhouse long thought to have been fully excavated. That find … [Read more...] about IN PICTURES: Spectacular house with colourful animal frescoes discovered in Pompeii
In a world first, Chinese scientists have created identical copies of a primate using a single individual’s DNA, though campaigners warned it was a “stepping stone to the creation of human clones”. What is cloning used for, when did Dolly the Sheep get cloned and will humans be next? Here's everything you need to know. When was Dolly the Sheep cloned? Dolly became the first cloned mammal in 1996 in Edinburgh. Sadly, Dolly died in 2003 with arthritis and cancer. So far 23 species of animals, including pigs, rats and cows, have been cloned. In 2015, Britain welcomed its first cloned dogs after Laura Jacques and Richard Remede from Silsden, West Yorks, paid £67,000 for their dead boxer, Dylan, to be replicated in a lab in South Korea. They got two identical puppies, which they called Changer and Shadow.How does cloning work? Scientists take live cells from a living animal, or one that has been dead for no more than five days. Then they implant nucleus DNA … [Read more...] about How does cloning work, when was Dolly the Sheep cloned and will humans be next?
After finally seeing Red Dead Redemption 2 in action for the first time, it’s clear that the next great Western is not a film. It’s Red Dead Redemption 2. During a visit to Rockstar North’s studio in Edinburgh, I had been made aware of the hand-crafting involved in creating its vast 19th century American landscape, the meticulous sound design that ensures its score never arrives or leaves with a crash, and the effort that has gone into making sure there’s never a break in the action. It’s clear that every effort has been made to ensure the world is as action-packed and involving as possible. But none of that prepares you for watching the studio’s efforts working in sync. The way mud gleams in the sunshine. How a bank heist taking place during a monkey’s wedding looks positively poetic. And how the game’s protagonist, outlaw Arthur Morgan, drops to his haunches to contemplate the horizon after a period of player inactivity manages to feel … [Read more...] about Red Dead Redemption 2 exclusive first-look preview
Dodos went extinct more than 300 years ago, but scientists are only now opening up a cold case after learning that one of the birds — the prized dodo specimen that likely inspired author Lewis Carroll to create a dodo character in the 1865 book "Alice in Wonderland" — was brutally murdered. After recently loading the famous dodo into a micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) scanner, researchers noticed that the scans showed weird fleck marks in the flightless bird's neck and the back of its head. A closer inspection revealed that those flecks were tiny lead pellets, meaning that someone shot the dodo from behind, killing the wildfowl, the researchers announced Friday (April 20). [In Photos: The Famous Flightless Dodo] The murderous finding came as a complete surprise, said Paul Smith, the director of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History in England, where the dodo specimen — called the Oxford dodo — is on display. For years, curators thought that the … [Read more...] about World’s Most Famous Dodo Didn’t Die — It Was Murdered
It was supposed to be the laptop that saved the world. In late 2005, tech visionary and MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte pulled the cloth cover off a small green computer with a bright yellow crank. The device was the first working prototype for Negroponte’s new nonprofit One Laptop Per Child, dubbed “the green machine” or simply “the $100 laptop.” And it was like nothing that Negroponte’s audience — at either his panel at a UN-sponsored tech summit in Tunis, or around the globe — had ever seen. After UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan offered a glowing introduction, Negroponte explained exactly why. The $100 laptop would have all the features of an ordinary computer but require so little electricity that a child could power it with a hand crank. It would be rugged enough for children to use anywhere, instead of being limited to schools. Mesh networking would let one laptop extend a single internet connection to many others. A … [Read more...] about OLPC’s $100 laptop was going to change the world — then it all went wrong
Produced by Josh Yager and Tom Seligson When Marsha Brantley, 50, of Cleveland, Tenn., suddenly vanished in 2009, her husband Donnie eventually became a suspect in her murder. But was Marsha even dead? The case was unusual from the start because for months after Marsha disappeared, nobody reported her missing – not her friends, her family or even her husband. No one took much notice until her hairdresser, Kelly DeLude, worried about a missed appointment and started asking questions. "I felt compelled to find out what happened to her," DeLude tells "48 Hours correspondent Peter Van Sant. "I wasn't trying to be a detective. I was trying to be a concerned friend." DeLude eventually called police, and investigators later picked up the case. The investigation was full of seeming contradictions from the start. Donnie Brantley claimed he hadn't reported Marsha missing because she had left him. Then, police say he lied repeatedly about where she had gone and what she'd … [Read more...] about Was a missing Tennessee woman murdered or did she willingly disappear?
Theoretical physicist and enormous pop culture celebrity? Only Stephen Hawking, whose death at age 76 was announced Tuesday, could swing both of those titles. Despite the fact that few people outside the realm of science understood what Hawking really did for a living, he became a beloved figure in the entertainment world. His wheelchair and robotic-sounding computer voice made him instantly recognizable, whether in cartoon form or being portrayed by handsome actor Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar playing Hawking in 2014's "The Theory of Everything." Here's a look at some of the times when the scientist hit the big (and little) screen. 'The Simpsons': Forever a fan Hawking was such a fan of "The Simpsons" he allowed the animated Fox show to feature him during four separate appearances, and called it "the best thing on American television." He also knew it brought him and his big brain to a new audience, saying, "Almost as many people know me from 'The Simpsons' as through my … [Read more...] about ‘Star Trek’ to ‘Simpsons,’ Hawking was our pop-culture physicist
Emotional support animals are becoming common sights on airplanes. We've seen pigs fly, and miniature horses as doctor-sanctioned animal companions. Then peacocks get the shaft when it comes to comforting passengers on board. And an emotional support hamster was tragically flushed away when it was refused entry on a flight earlier this year. That harrowing tale of a companion animal gone very, very wrong highlights the confusion and complications of flying with animals for medical reasons. Before you tote your furry friend to the airport, make sure to brush up on which animals airlines allow on planes. To help you out, we've rounded up every major airline's emotional support animal policy. SEE ALSO: Enormous emotional support peacock denied seat on flight, owner not pleased First, though: It's important to distinguish an emotional support animal from a service animal. Unlike a guide dog for a blind person, an emotional support animal is there for people with emotional, … [Read more...] about A complete guide to airline policy on emotional support animals
In the olden days, getting access to anime was a tremendous pain in the ass. For every series that got dubbed and aired on American television, there were dozens if not hundreds more that only made their way over on quasi-legal videotapes or bootleg DVDs. Fans of Japanese animation learned to work around it, but the advent of fast, reliable streaming video changed everything. Netflix’s initial anime offerings were pretty scarce, but they’ve noticed the demand is there and beefed up their selection considerably. Here’s our list of the absolute best series to watch. This might change as the service gains the rights to new shows and loses the rights to others, so bookmark the page and come back often. Death Note Based on a super-popular manga, Death Note tells the story of Light Yagami, a high school over-achiever who finds a notebook that lets him untraceably murder anybody by writing their name. He attempts to use it to make the world a “better place,” by … [Read more...] about The Best Anime On Netflix Streaming