The bizarre true story behind the “this is a work of fiction” disclaimer.

‘Virtually every film in modern memory ends with some variation of the same disclaimer: “This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.” The cut-and-paste legal rider must be the most boring thing in every movie that features it. Who knew its origins were so lurid?

For that bit of boilerplate, we can indirectly thank none other than Grigori Rasputin, the famously hard-to-assassinate Russian mystic and intimate of the last, doomed Romanovs. It all started when an exiled Russian prince sued MGM in 1933 over the studio’s Rasputin biopic, claiming that the American production did not accurately depict Rasputin’s murder. And the prince ought to have known, having murdered him…’

Source: Slate

Maine Gov. LePaige: people of color are the enemy

‘Paul LePage, the Republican governor of Maine, told reporters that people of color are the enemy in his state.

“When you go to war, if you know the enemy, the enemy dresses in red and you dress in blue, you shoot at red, don’t you? You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy. And the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority right now coming in are people of color or people of Hispanic origin. I can’t help that. I just can’t help it. Those are the facts.”

The remarks came after he left a voicemail on a state lawmaker’s phone after the Democrat, Drew Gattine, allegedly called him a racist. He also threatened to shoot Gattine…’

Source: Boing Boing

Cannabinoids remove plaque-forming Alzheimer’s proteins from brain cells

 

‘Salk Institute scientists have found preliminary evidence that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other compounds found in marijuana can promote the cellular removal of amyloid beta, a toxic protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease. While these exploratory studies were conducted in neurons grown in the laboratory, they may offer insight into the role of inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease and could provide clues to developing novel therapeutics for the disorder…’

Source: Neurosciencestuff Tumblr

This ‘Star in a Jar’ Could Produce a Nearly Unlimited Supply of Energy

‘Fusion energy has long been heralded as the power-supply of the future, but the sad joke is, it always will be. The experimental energy source is perennially 30 years away from being viable on a mass-scale. Still, fusion energy could provide us with a low-cost, sustainable energy resource—if only physicists could figure out how to harness the power of the Sun on Earth.

This dream of a sustainable “star in a jar” was brought one step closer to reality this month by physicists at the Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, who demonstrated how the design for a new type of “jar” could lead to the first commercially viable nuclear fusion power plant…’

Source: Motherboard

Our Galaxy Has a Twin, and It’s Made Almost Entirely of Dark Matter

‘There are billions of galaxies out there besides our own, so it’s something of a given that the Milky Way might have a few “twins,” roughly mirroring its mass and size. And now, scientists think they’ve found one, only it’s like nothing like what they expected.

Called Dragonfly 44, it’s about 330 million light years away and it has almost the same mass as our Milky Way. For years, it eluded detection by scientists because it has so few stars. As a team of researchers reported last week in Astrophysical Journal Letters, a whopping 99.99 percent of Dragonfly 44 is made up of dark matter.

Dragonfly 44 might effectively match the Milky Way in mass, but unlike our own galaxy, it only has one star for every 100. That’s such a thin population, said the study’s author Pieter van Dokkum of Yale University in a statement to Yale News, that without the dark matter to hold it in place, Dragonfly 44 “would quickly be ripped apart unless something was holding it together.” It’s so faint, in fact, that if they hadn’t been using the ultra-powerful telescopes of the Keck and Gemini observatories in Hawaii, van Dokkum and his team may never have found it.

Technically, dark matter galaxies aren’t that unknown. The key difference, though, is that most of the other known examples are so small that they would be better described as clusters. Until now, none of them have been so incomprehensibly massive as Dragonfly 44.

But it’s a significant find, as it means we might be on our way to figuring out what dark matter is…’

Source: Motherboard

Newly Discovered Great White Nursery: ‘Holy Grail’ of Shark Research

‘For the first time, biologists have located a great white “nursery,” where mother sharks deliver pups, alive and fully formed. Researchers with OCEARCH, an ocean research nonprofit, identified the site this week in waters off Montauk, Long Island.This monumental finding is “probably the most significant discovery we’ve ever made on the ocean,” said Chris Fischer, the founding chairman of OCEARCH. In an interview with CBS News, Fischer noted that great white birthing sites are regarded as “the holy grail of research,” and are especially important in the Atlantic Ocean, where the sharks are vulnerable to bycatch and sport fishing…’

Source: Motherboard