“It might be justified to use remotely controlled robots to apply lethal force where such force is justified,” Jay Stanley, a senior legal analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union told me. “As a legal matter, the choice of weapon in a decision to use lethal force does not change the constitutional calculus, which hinges on whether an individual poses an imminent threat to others, and whether the use of lethal force is reasonable under the circumstances.”
Dallas police chief David Brown told reporters Friday that the force “saw no other option than to use our bomb robot” to kill Johnson, and said that prior to using the bomb, Johnson and officers on the force exchanged gunfire.
“It is essentially a jury-rigged version of a drone strike,” Ryan Calo, a University of Washington School of Law professor specializing in cyber and robotic law, told me. “If they would have been justified in throwing a grenade, then they’re likely justified in doing this, which was quite frankly a creative thing.”
Source: Atlas Obscura
‘A team of researchers led by Dr. Hélène Rougier of California State University has announced a landmark discovery in the journal Scientific Reports this week. The team has uncovered evidence of cannibalism among a population of Neanderthals at the Goyet cave site in Belgium—the first discovery of Neanderthal cannibalism in Northern Europe.
Paleoanthropologists have debated evidence for Neanderthal cannibalism for over 100 years, since researchers first discovered remains believed to show evidence of cannibalism in Croatia, although those findings were later disproven. More recently, cannibalized remains were found in France in 1999, Spain in 2006, and in other parts of Southern Europe.
The Goyet remains, which consist of four adolescent or adult neanderthals and one child—the largest discovery of cannibalized remains in Northern Europe—exhibit cut marks where flesh and muscle was separated from bone and percussion marks where bones were crushed to extract marrow. The research team concluded the remains were processed for consumption based on the similar treatment of horses and reindeer remains also found at the site. Because there is no evidence that modern humans were in the area, the scientists believe it is most likely the remains were butchered by other Neanderthals. Basically, it’s a clear case of cannibalism.There’s also evidence the remains weren’t solely used as a food source, as some bones appear to have been used as tools to reshape or sharpen stones. Neanderthals’ use of other Neanderthals’ bones as tools has been seen before in Croatia and France, but the quantity found in Belgium far surpasses what has been recovered at the other sites. Eerily, the researchers note that the living Neanderthals “may have been aware that they were using human remains” as tools, although it’s unclear whether the use was ceremonial or functional.
While the discovery represents “unambiguous evidence” that Neanderthals in Northern Europe practiced cannibalism, the findings shed little light on the motivations behind the behavior. In the published results, the research team argues that the state of preservation of the remains makes it “highly unlikely” that cannibalism was part of a funerary rite, although they acknowledge that it’s ultimately “impossible to infer the behavioural signature represented by these remains.” …’
Source: Atlas Obscura
‘Twenty-six times since 1972, the world’s timekeepers have added a leap second to the clock, the last time being on June 30 of last year, when the day got a little longer, even if you might not have noticed.
It’s going to happen again this year, according to the Associated Press, with the leap second added to the final day of 2016, when the clock will strike 11 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds. Ordinarily the next tick would be midnight, but timekeepers said this year it will be 11:59:60, before turning over to 12:00.
The leap second isn’t necessary on some years, if the Earth orbits more quickly around the Sun. But an official from the U.S. Naval Observatory told the AP that the Earth was a bit slower around the Sun this year, in part because of El Niño…’
Source: Atlas Obscura
No. No, you really don’t. See, there’s this thing about sound that even we grown-ups tend to forget — it’s not some glitter rainbow floating around with no connection to the physical world. Sound is mechanical. A sound is a shove — just a little one, a tap on the tightly stretched membrane of your ear drum. The louder the sound, the heavier the knock. If a sound is loud enough, it can rip a hole in your ear drum. If a sound is loud enough, it can plow into you like a linebacker and knock you flat on your butt. When the shock wave from a bomb levels a house, that’s sound tearing apart bricks and splintering glass. Sound can kill you.
Consider this piece of history: On the morning of Aug. 27, 1883, ranchers on a sheep camp outside Alice Springs, Australia, heard a sound like two shots from a rifle. At that very moment, the Indonesian volcanic island of Krakatoa was blowing itself to bits 2,233 miles away. Scientists think this is probably the loudest sound humans have ever accurately measured. Not only are there records of people hearing the sound of Krakatoa thousands of miles away, there is also physical evidence that the sound of the volcano’s explosion traveled all the way around the globe multiple times…’