Jun 27, 2016

Practice With The Plush

Apr 11, 2016

The Originals - Season 3 Episode 17 - Behind the Black Horizon

The Originals - Season 3

Supernatural drama, Horror, Fantasy

Created by: Julie Plec


Joseph Morgan
Daniel Gillies
Claire Holt
Phoebe Tonkin
Charles Michael Davis
Daniella Pineda
Leah Pipes
Danielle Campbell
Yusuf Gatewood

Composer(s): Michael Suby
Country of origin: United States
Original language(s): English

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Apr 8, 2016

Humongous black hole catches astronomers totally off guard

Astronomers weren't expecting to find a super massive black hole in this average-size galaxy, and they now may have to rethink their models.

One of the biggest black holes ever found sits in a cosmic backwater, like a towering skyscraper in a small town.

Astronomers have spotted a super massive black hole containing 17 billion times the mass of the sun — only slightly smaller than the heftiest known black hole, which weighs in at a maximum of 21 billion solar masses — at the center of the galaxy NGC 1600.

That's a surprise, because NGC 1600, which lies 200 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Eridanus, belongs to an average-size galaxy group, and the monster black holes discovered to date tend to be found in dense clusters of galaxies. So researchers may have to rethink their ideas about where gigantic black holes reside, and how many of them might populate the universe, study team members said.

"The black hole is much bigger than we expected for the size of the galaxy or where this galaxy lives, the environment," said study co-author Chung-Pei Ma, an astronomer at the University of California, Berkeley.

"That's the puzzling part — or the intriguing part — of the result," she told Space.com. "There may be more NGC 1600s out there lurking at more ordinary sites, like small towns in the U.S. rather than Manhattan."Ma is head of the MASSIVE Survey, a multi telescope effort that began in 2014 to identify and catalog the most massive nearby galaxies and black holes. NGC 1600 first showed up in the survey with data from the McDonald Observatory in Texas.

Although the initial observations weren't detailed enough to see the spectrum of light from the galaxy's center clearly, Ma and her colleagues could already tell that they were looking at something extraordinary: "It was a little bit like looking at a hurricane from very far away," she said. "We couldn't quite tell how big this hurricane was, this black hole was, but the hurricane was so big that we already started to feel the wind using this coarser data."

Suspecting they had spotted a very large black hole, study team members next investigated the elliptical galaxy using the northern half of the Gemini Observatory, twin telescopes situated in Hawaii and Chile. Gemini allowed them to probe the black hole's "sphere of influence," Ma said — the region where the black hole's mass held more sway than the overall galaxy's, where it was whipping the stars into action. They also scoped out the site with data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

The stars "were going so fast that the only way they could be travelling at this speed is if you had a 17-billion-solar-mass black hole at the center," she said.


The largest super massive black hole ever found contains up to 21 billion times the mass of the sun, and resides in a more expected location: the incredibly dense Coma Cluster, which includes more than 1,000 identified galaxies. (For comparison, the black hole lurking at the center of the Milky Way totals around 4 million solar masses.)

The black hole in the Coma Cluster resides in a galaxy surrounded by bright peers, but NGC 1600 outshines its neighboring galaxies by at least a factor of three. NGC 1600's black hole takes up about 2 percent of its galaxy's mass — which is about 10 times larger than black holes at the center of their galaxies are expected to be.

Small black holes can form when massive stars collapse. The enormous ones at the centers of galaxies likely grow so large by taking in a lot of dust and debris early on in their lives and by colliding and merging with other black holes, which occurs when two galaxies combine.

"The way we understand how galaxies and black holes grow to such high masses is from how galaxies form," Ma said. "Typically, we believe they form by emerging galaxy collisions, or cannibalism — they collide together, like the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy: we are approaching each other, and we're going to collide one day. So we are going to form a bigger galaxy, and the two individual black holes of the progenitor galaxies would come together to form a bigger black hole." [Watch: Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxies Collision Simulated]

So the biggest galaxies are often formed from several smaller galaxies that merged, whose corresponding black holes have merged as well. A more crowded cluster of galaxies creates favorable conditions for extremely large black holes to form, it seems — but NGC 1600 is in a much sparser area.

"One possibility for how to get a big mass is maybe NGC 1600 had eaten up its friends," Ma said. "It gobbled up its friends, and during the process it acquired their black holes — maybe it got to be so big at the expense of its friends."

That could explain the unusually empty neighborhood around NGC 1600.

Alternatively, the black hole could have been in a region of the universe that had a lot of gas early in its life, Ma said.

"The universe contained a lot of gas when it was younger," she said. "Maybe it got really, really big when the galaxy was very young."

If that were the case, Ma added, the black hole could have grown to its current size without ever residing in a more densely populated area.

Possibly twins

Besides probing the mysteries of its location, the researchers are zeroing in on the condition of the black hole itself — or, potentially, the black holes themselves.

When two galaxies merge, their central black holes circle each other, getting closer and closer until they combine into one. The researchers' observations suggest that the black hole at NGC 1600's center might actually be two in the process of merging, or one that very recently merged.

The key insight there is that, while the galaxy shone brightly with starlight, the center seemed unusually empty. Such large galaxies usually have cores that are correspondingly bright, Ma said.

"The way I like to say it is, for some reason, the stars seem to be scared of the very center; they somehow don't want to get very close," she said. "Right now, the most elegant way to explain the existence of this scoured-out region is by binary black holes."

Stars that are too distant to be directly pulled into such a system can still be heavily influenced by it. The dynamics of a system with two super massive black holes at its center are such that approaching stars whip around and are accelerated outward, fleeing the system and forcing the black holes to move a tiny bit closer to one another, Ma said. Each star has little effect, but over time, the black holes are drawn closer and closer together — and eventually coexist in a ring where most nearby stars have been flung away.

Researchers can't currently tell if the system is still two black holes or has already merged into one. But NGC 1600 could be a prime candidate for scientists who study gravitational waves to scrutinize, Ma said: Gravitational waves would be generated by black holes that are still circling and colliding, but not by ones that have already combined.

Avi Loeb, chair of the astronomy department at Harvard University, called the new work an exciting discovery.

"It would be interesting to find more black holes of this mass range and check whether this is an outlier or typical case," Loeb, who was not involved in the study, told Space.com in an email.

"The fundamental question is, which environmental conditions nurture the growth of the most massive black holes?" he said. "We would love to know the answer to that question through future studies like this one."

Loeb added that the NGC 1600 black hole's size makes it a good target for the Event Horizon Telescope, a coalition of nine telescopes around the world that will work together to image black holes.

Study team members hope to further investigate NGC 1600 with the Hubble telescope to get a better look at its core and pin down the black hole's mass more precisely, and they will continue to learn about the distribution of large black holes via the MASSIVE study.

Sparsely populated parts of the galaxy are much more common than the superdense areas where the largest black holes have been found so far. So, if black holes this large are common in such areas, too, NGC 1600 might just be "the tip of the iceberg," Ma said. MASSIVE should reveal just how common the huge bodies are, and expand researchers' understanding of the beasts, she added.

"I'm confident we're going to find black holes — if we don't, that would be really, really strange — but the question is going to be … how massive can these black holes be? Is 17 billion, 20 billion [solar masses] where they stop growing? Or could there be even bigger monsters out there we haven't found?"

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Kate Hudson Shows Off Insane Abs While Skiing in Her Sports Bra

The Kardashians aren't the only ones hitting the slopes, as Kate Hudson jetted off to Aspen, Colorado, with her brother, Oliver Hudson, and friend Sara Foster. And the gang, which also included Kate's two sons, 12-year-old Ryder and 4-year-old Bingham, opted to ski shirtless.

A photo posted by Kate Hudson (@katehudson) on

"Skis on, shirts off!" the 26-year-old actress captioned the photo.

Even though the weather was more sunny than snowy, Kate and Sara bundled up together for another cute photo. "Spring ski #GetYourTShirtsOut," Kate wrote alongside the kissy pic.

A photo posted by Kate Hudson (@katehudson) on

Meanwhile, nearly the entire Kardashian family -- including Kris Jenner, Kim, Khloé and Kourtney Kardashian, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Kanye West, Tyga, and even Scott Disick -- took a getaway to Vail, Colorado. Get more details on their vacay in the video below.

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Scarlett Johansson Candidly Reflects on a Former Relationship That Led Her to Hit 'Rock Bottom'

Scarlett Johansson is reflecting on that time she "lost" herself.

The 31-year-old Captain America: Civil War actress graces the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine's May issue for the first time in nine years, and in her tell-all interview with the glossy, she gets candid on a former relationship that led her to hit rock bottom.

"Long, long ago, I had someone in my life who was forever unavailable...but, like, so attractively unavailable," she reveals. "You have to get to your breaking point -- rock bottom is the moment when you're like, 'I've lost myself. Why am I standing outside this bar at 1:30 in the morning texting while my friends are inside? Or taking a taxi to see him at some ungodly hour? This isn't me.' That is the moment you've gotta cut it off. Otherwise, it will keep coming back, suck your blood."

Luckily, that isn't the case for Johansson anymore, as the blond beauty is happily married to French journalist Romain Dauriac. The two began dating in November 2012 and said "I do" in a secret ceremony in Philipsburg, Montana, in October 2014, roughly one month after Johansson gave birth to their daughter, Rose.

Before that, she was married to Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds from 2008 to 2011 (he re-married in 2012, tying the knot with Gossip Girl star Blake Lively). Johansson was previously romantically linked with Jack Antonoff from the band fun, and actors Josh Hartnett and Sean Penn.

All relationship talk aside, she also opens up about some more serious topics in her revealing interview, including the recent chatter regarding the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

"There are countries at war, there's terrorism, global warming, and we're like, 'We should definitely cut the budget for Planned Parenthood. Let's take away the availability of women's health initiatives!'" she states. "It's nuts. We're talking about preventing cervical and breast cancers. Growing up, I used [Planned Parenthood’s] services. All my girlfriends did -- not just for birth control, but for Pap smears and breast exams."

"You read about the rise of back-alley abortions, women having to mutilate themselves and teenagers having to seek help in unsafe conditions, and for what?!" she continues. "We're moving backward when we're supposed to be moving forward."

And when it comes to equal pay for women in Hollywood, Johansson considers herself quite fortuitous.

"There's something icky about me having that [equal pay] conversation unless it applies to a greater whole," Johansson dishes. "I am very fortunate, I make a really good living and I'm proud to be an actress who's making as much as many of my male peers at this stage. I think every woman has [been underpaid], but unless I'm addressing it as a larger problem, for me to talk about my own personal experience with it feels a little obnoxious. It's part of a larger conversation about feminism in general."

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Here’s What the Game of Thrones Season 6 Premiere Synopsis Tells Us

HBO released the synopsis and title for the season six premiere of Game of Thrones on Thursday, revealing some significant details about what’s in store for the habitants of Westeros. Dubbed “The Red Woman,” the episode’s official description reads, “Jon Snow is dead. Daenerys meets a strong man. Cersei sees her daughter again,” foretelling a focus on three major storylines that are carrying over from last year.

This narrative is reinforced by a new summary of the season as a whole. “Following the shocking developments at the conclusion of season five, including Jon Snow’s bloody fate at the hands of Castle Black mutineers, Daenerys’ near-demise at the fighting pits of Meereen, and Cersei’s public humiliation in the streets of King’s Landing, survivors from all parts of Westeros and Essos regroup to press forward, inexorably, towards their uncertain individual fates,” it reads. “Familiar faces will forge new alliances to bolster their strategic chances at survival, while new characters will emerge to challenge the balance of power in the east, west, north and south.”

But while Daenerys’s encounter with the Dothraki and Cersei’s reunion with her (now-dead) daughter, Myrcella, will definitely be points of interest, many fans’ main concern lies in learning what’s really going on with the supposedly deceased Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Assuming that the episode title is referencing Melisandre — who is currently holed up at Castle Black along with Jon’s dead body – it seems that viewers may get their answer pretty quickly.

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Caitlyn Jenner Shows Off SEXY Cleavage In Her New MAC Lipstick Campaign!

Caitlyn Jenner's collaboration with MAC cosmetics is officially here! On Thursday, the gorgeous gal celebrated the launch of her new lipstick by posting this boobalicious pic (above) from the new campaign to her Instagram!

The best part about the Finally Free product?

ALL of the selling price goes towards the MAC AIDS Fund Transgender Initiative! The reality star wrote in the caption for the cleavage-flaunting shot:

"Finally Free Lipstick is here!@maccosmetics 100% of sales go to Trans programs :) link to purchase is in my bio #maccaitlynjenner #finallyfree #transisbeautiful"

The beauty brand also shared the seXXXy snap on their page, raving about the gorgeous gal:

"@CaitlynJenner fearlessly shared her transition with the world, and now her new M·A·C Lipstick, Finally Free… is finally here! 100% of the selling price goes to the M·A·C AIDS Fund Transgender Initiative, to further its work in support of transgender communities. Get it today in select markets. #MACCaitlynJenner"

We are so glad that 100% of the sales are going towards a good cause! We applaud Caitlyn for stepping up and using her celebrity to help the transgender community.

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How To Access Facebook's Secret Message Folder You've Probably Never Seen

We all know that Facebook filters its messages. It has to, for one thing: there’s spam that goes through Facebook, and the company has to manage it, just like anyone might. I had been under the impression that I had been looking at all my Facebook messages when I went into the “message requests” folder — apparently messages from people I wasn’t friends with or that the algorithm had deemed suspect. But apparently there’s another hidden folder just waiting to be explored.

You get there slightly differently depending on how you access Facebook. For the website, you go click on the “message requests.” It should bring up a short list of messages. Scroll to the bottom and hit “see filtered requests.” On the messenger app, go to “people” then “message requests,” then the same deal. It brings up a whole section of messages, a sub-basement of communications.

A quick peek in mine revealed a whole lot of spam, an equal number of cranks, and then a message or two that I might have wanted to receive. My girlfriend found a consulting offer in hers. Clearly, almost nobody knew about this thing before a HelloGiggles post laid it out a few days ago, so one wonders what other messages out there in the ether have gone unreceived. It could be especially problematic if you use Facebook for work and expect communication from people you don’t necessarily know.

I’m glad I know about this thing now: I’ll put it on my list of things to check when I check things. Still, the double layering is an odd way to handle the spam folder, something that nearly every other mail or messaging service in existence deals with. I’ve got no problem with letting a computer do some of my sorting, but I prefer to know exactly how it’s going about doing it, and where it’s putting things.

Of course, this is Facebook, and the company’s policy has always leaned towards the idea that the algorithm knows what you want better than you do. This is right along those lines: we’ve always had the options to customize our Facebook experience somewhere, but they’re tucked away to ensure that the vast majority of people never find them. I’ve contacted Facebook for clarification, and will update with any new information.

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Twitch Now Works on Bluestacks for Streaming Android Games

Barely a month after the most popular games streaming service on the planet Twitch integrated the subscription option into its Android app, the Amazon-owned company now works with BlueStacks, the makers of one of the most widespread Android emulators on the planet in order to enable the streaming of Android games to Twitch without an actual Android device.

More specifically, the BlueStacks team has recently integrated Twitch’s first and latest applications programming interfaces (APIs) into its platform, which means that its users can now not only watch Twitch streams on the BlueStacks App Player, but also stream mobile games running in the said App Player to Twitch with just a click of a button. The player currently officially supports Windows and OS X, so basically you just need a Mac or a PC in order to stream a mobile game to Twitch; no smartphone required. This is not only good news for gamers, but also for developers who previously didn’t have enough bandwidth to enable streaming of their mobile games. BlueStacks and Paris’ Glory4Gamers are also hosting a Hearthstone tournament today to commemorate this occasion. The eSports event will feature some of the top Hearthstone players in the world who’ll compete on the mobile version of Blizzard’s collectible card game which will be streamed to Twitch using the aforementioned method.

It’s worth noting that BlueStacks is actually not an emulator per se, but a piece of virtualization software which only simulates software and not the hardware itself. While that may not seem like a huge difference to end users, do keep in mind that running some games and other apps on officially unsupported devices is a breach of their terms of service. Kabam is a pretty well-known example of a company who has banned users in the past for such transgressions. As you may have guessed, the app has no problem deducing that it’s being run on an officially unsupported platform when you use software such as BlueStacks because such creations don’t even attempt to imitate the hardware for which the app was originally designed. Naturally, it’s still unlikely you’ll get banned if you play something like Star Wars Uprising using BlueStacks, but do be aware of the possibility.

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FBI debates sharing iPhone hacking details with Apple

The FBI has not decided whether to share details with Apple about how the bureau hacked into an iPhone linked to a California terrorism investigation, FBI Director James Comey says.

Comey discussed the situation during a speech Wednesday evening at Kenyon College in Ohio. He called it a "technological corner case" and said the flaw the FBI exploited in Apple's software works only on a "narrow slice of phones" -- the iPhone 5C running iOS 9, the recent version of Apple's mobile operating system -- not on newer or older models.

"If we tell Apple, they're going to fix it and we're back where we started," Comey said. "As silly as it may sound, we may end up there. We just haven't decided yet."

The Justice Department dropped its legal fight to compel Apple to provide it with specialized software that would allow the FBI to hack into the iPhone, which was issued to San Bernardino county health inspector Syed Farook. Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people in December; the couple died in a shootout with authorities.

The iPhone was found in a vehicle the day after the shooting. Two personal phones were found destroyed so completely the FBI could not recover information from them.

U.S. Magistrate Sheri Pym had ordered Apple to provide the FBI with software to help it hack into Farook's work-issued iPhone after the government said only Apple could help authorities access the encrypted and locked iPhone. The order touched off a debate pitting digital privacy rights against national security concerns.

Comey told the university audience that the case also inspired a lot of efforts to try to break into the phone -- "everybody and his uncle Fred called us with ideas."

"Someone outside the government, in response to that attention, came up with a solution," Comey said. "One that I am confident will be closely protected and used lawfully and appropriately."

The government then "purchased a tool that allows court authorized access to the phone," Comey said. The government has declined to release the identity of the third party that made it possible to access the iPhone in the case.

"The FBI is very good at keeping secrets and the people we bought this from -- I know a fair amount about them, and I have a high degree of confidence that they're very good at protecting it and their motivations align with ours," Comey said.

Comey's comments were the closest hints about whether or what the FBI may do with its knowledge of a vulnerability in Apple's software that could let someone bypass built-in digital locks to access private information. It remains unclear whether or when the FBI may share details about the technique with state or local police agencies or law enforcement offices.

The FBI's solution apparently would not help Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who told a congressional panel that he has 205 iPhones his investigators can't access data from in criminal investigations. Not one of those phones is an iPhone 5C, according to his office.

CBS News Justice reporter Paula Reid noted that if prosecutors sought to use the technique to access phones in state or federal criminal cases, the method would have to be disclosed under discovery rules. So she believes the government is more likely to stick to using it in national security cases where such disclosure would not be required.

The encrypted phone in the California case was protected by a passcode that included security protocols: a time delay and self-destruct feature that erased the phone's data after 10 tries. The two features made it impossible for the government to repeatedly and continuously test passcodes.

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