Scientists Discover 'Dark Lightning,' House Goes Up for Sale in Bitcoins and other Mind Memes

1. Dark lightning

Thunderstorms need to vent electrical energy, and they can do so in two ways. There is the Ben Franklin way and there is the extreme way: dark lightning. This term was coined by Joseph Dwyer, a lightning researcher at the Florida Institute of Technology. So what is it? As Ivan Amato explains in The Washington Post:

Thunderstorms unleash sprays of X-rays and even intense bursts of gamma rays, a form of radiation normally associated with such cosmic spectacles as collapsing stars. The radiation in these invisible blasts can carry a million times as much energy as the radiation in visible lightning, but that energy dissipates quickly in all directions rather than remaining in a stiletto-like lightning bolt.

So should airplane passengers be afraid of getting zapped with radiation?

Read more here

2. Don't Stop Make-Beliebing

Are you a Belieber, that is, a fan of Justin Bieber? If so, you may be fake. The social media analysts Socialbakers say more than half of the Canadian pop star's Twitter followers are fake. Bieber is not alone in this regard. All of the top Twitter accounts -- from @ladygaga to @barackobama -- have fake followers. 

So what consistutes a fake? Those who "follow less than 50 and have less than one follower, have never tweeted or use Twitter to promote spam and use words including 'diet', 'make money' and 'work from home'."

Read more here

3. For Sale, in Bitcoins

Would you bet the farm on virtual currency? This guy has

4. Is Sex With a Robot Cheating? 

A Huffington Post/YouGov Poll of 1,000 adults found that Americans tend to be quite "squeamish about bots," especially if they are performing a variety of personal roles.

Read more here

5. Which College Majors Have the Highest and Lowest Employment Rates?

First take a guess, then click here

Straight millennials are becoming less accepting of LGBTQ people

The surprising results come from a new GLAAD survey.

Photo credit: Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • The survey found that 18- to 34-year-old non-LGBTQ Americans reported feeling less comfortable around LGBTQ people in a variety of hypothetical situations.
  • The attitudes of older non-LGBTQ Americans have remained basically constant over the past few years.
  • Overall, about 80 percent of Americans support equal rights for LGBTQ people.
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Are these 100 people killing the planet?

Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Image: Jordan Engel, reused via Decolonial Media License 0.1
Strange Maps
  • Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
  • This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
  • The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
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New research sheds light on a possible cause of autism: processed foods

The more we learn about the microbiome, the more the pieces are fitting together.

Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new study from the University of Central Florida makes the case for the emerging connection of autism and the human microbiome.
  • High levels of Propionic Acid (PPA), used in processed foods to extend shelf life, reduces neuronal development in fetal brains.
  • While more research is needed, this is another step in fully understanding the consequences of poor nutrition.
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