Earth is seeing an unprecedented surge in carbon dioxide levels, with disturbing implications


Although many countries are making progress in slowing their emissions of carbon dioxide, a global warming pollutant, the amount of the gas in the air surged at a record pace in 2016, a new report found. 

The amount of carbon dioxide in the air increased at an extreme rate last year to reach the highest amount in at least 800,000 years, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. Globally averaged concentrations of carbon dioxide reached 403.3 parts per million in 2016, which was up from 400.00 ppm the year before. The culprit? Human activities, such as the clearing of rainforests and burning of fossil fuels, as well as a strong El Niño event.  Read more…

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Toyota will test its self-driving cars in California on a closed obstacle course


Toyota is ready to expand work on its self-driving platform. Next up: The automaker will run its cars through the ringer on a private AV test course known for tough conditions. 

The Japanese company’s autonomous R&D wing, Toyota Research Institute (TRI), just signed an agreement to conduct research testing at GoMentum Station. The 5,000-acre “autonomous vehicle proving ground” in California will give Toyota a track to experiment with its new Platform 2.1 autonomous system, which the automaker first showed off last month. 

The GoMentum facility features setups that create “extreme driving events” that Toyota has deemed too unsafe to test elsewhere, as well as realistic infrastructure like bridges, intersections, and parking lots. The data collected in these conditions will be used to help build out the platform’s AI, which requires on-road data to train it how to behave in real world scenarios.  Read more…

More about California, Toyota, Autonomous Vehicles, Self Driving Cars, and Tech

An aspiring Eagle Scout wants to help kids in the foster care system


In order to become an Eagle Scout you have to complete an extensive project that shows leadership skills—usually things like building bookshelves or organizing a blood drive. Malachi Saint, a 15 year old from Jefferson City, Missouri, set his sights even higher for his project.

Saint wanted to help children in the foster care system in his local community by raising money to support the Central Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association. He set an ambitious goal to raise $10,000, and was met with some initial doubt from the Eagle Board of Review, who needed to give final approval on the project.   Read more…

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‘Star Trek: Discovery’ actor alleges Kevin Spacey made an ‘advance’ toward him as a teenager


Star Trek: Discovery and Rent actor Anthony Rapp has publicly accused House of Cards actor Kevin Spacey of making what Rapp alleges is a sexual advance toward him as a teenager, reports BuzzFeed

According to the interview, Rapp, 14 at the time, and Spacey, 26, first became acquainted while Rapp was performing Precious Sons on Broadway in 1986. Spacey was performing in a revival of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, alongside Jack Lemmon.

SEE ALSO: The fashion industry is finally doing something about its ‘own Harvey Weinstein’ — Terry Richardson

BuzzFeed reports that Spacey “invited Rapp over to his apartment for a party, and, at the end of the night, picked Rapp up, placed him on his bed, and climbed on top of him, making a sexual advance.”  Read more…

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‘The Walking Dead’ episode 2 brings back someone we never thought we’d see again


Spoiler alert: This recap contains plot details for The Walking Dead Season 8, episode 2, titled “The Damned.” To refresh your memory of where we left off, check out our recap of the Season 8 premiere.

Well, we definitely didn’t see that coming.

If it took you a second to recognize the guy holding Rick at gunpoint at the end of this week’s Walking Dead, we can’t blame you — we haven’t seen Morales (Juan Gabriel Pareja) since episode 5 of Season 1, when he and his family decided not to travel to the CDC with Rick and the gang, and instead strike out for Birmingham. 

That’s seven seasons for us, but in the timeline of the show, depending on who you ask, it’s been less than two years since Rick woke from his coma, which makes it even more of a bummer that Morales has seemingly joined forces with the Saviors.  Read more…

More about The Walking Dead, Spoilers, The Walking Dead Recap, The Walking Dead Season 8, and Morales

‘Outlander’ episode 7 proves that it takes more than love to make a marriage work


Spoiler warning: This recap contains plot details for Outlander Season 3, episode 7, titled “Créme de Menthe.” To refresh your memory of where we left off, check out our recap of episode 6.

Well, that didn’t last long. 

If episode 6 was a parallel to Claire and Jamie’s wedding night, all breathless anticipation, nerves and lust, episode 7 signals that the honeymoon is most definitely over, and reality has come crashing back in. All those tricky issues that our beloved couple delayed discussing last week — waiting for an opportune moment that will never come — are starting to get dredged back up, from Jamie’s extracurricular activities, to Young Ian’s involvement in his uncle’s life, to Claire’s hard-to-explain absence.  Read more…

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More than half this country apparently uses Facebook’s Messenger


Messenger sure is popular Down Under.

Facebook revealed its first country-specific stats for the instant messaging platform, claiming 13 million Australians use Messenger each month. 

SEE ALSO: Facebook’s data-saving Messenger Lite finally rolls out to the rest of the world

That’s more than half the country’s population, and 80 percent of smartphone users, according to data from Statista.

The popularity of Messenger in Australia is why Facebook has identified it as a key market. It’s why it’ll be one of the first countries outside of the U.S. to launch the Discover tab on Messenger, which puts bots from businesses and publishers within reach on the app. Read more…

More about Tech, Australia, Social Media, Instant Messaging, and Facebook Messenger

GameStop basically just turned itself into a Blockbuster for video games


GameStop has launched an in-store rental service called PowerPass. Remember Blockbuster Video? It’s like that, except instead of VHS tapes, you’re renting used video games.

The only difference here is, you pay up front. A six-month subscription costs $60, and allows you to swap games anytime you want, at no additional cost. However, you can only have one game checked out at a time.

SEE ALSO: Indie game dares to talk about death in a way few others have

The program will launch during the looming holiday season, with only the six-month plan available. There’s a reason for that: At the end of a subscription, you’ll be able to choose one game to keep, for free. Read more…

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More than 30 Houston Texans players took a knee after owner Robert McNair’s ‘inmates’ comment


At an NFL owners meeting last week, Houston Texans owner Robert McNair reportedly said of the ongoing national anthem protests by NFL players, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” On Sunday, McNair’s team responded.

More than 30 members of the Houston Texans organization knelt or remained seated during the pre-game national anthem. There had been rumblings of a major protest in the run-up to Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, and — unsurprisingly — it involved taking a knee.

SEE ALSO: This NFL owner’s words stirred a pot that was already boiling

Seven Seahawks players also remained seated during the anthem, in their continued support for Colin Kaepernick’s symbolic, much talked about decision to kneel throughout the 2016 season. His intent — and the intent of players who have taken up the same cause — was and is to shine a brighter light on systemic racial inequality and police brutality in the United States. Read more…

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R-U-N to this ‘Stranger Things’ hotel room


Whether you’ve yet to start or already finished Stranger Things 2, you’ve got some time to kill before the story continues. New York’s Gregory Hotel has just the thing: A Stranger Things-themed hotel room, just in time for Halloween.

SEE ALSO: Your ‘Stranger Things 2’ binge watch will be better if you’re decked out with ‘Stranger Things’ swag

The hotel package, described as “ex-stream-ly” cozy (this may be a missed opportunity for “eggs-stream-ly” and a partial Eggo pun), starts at $249 per night and includes in-room streaming via Chromecast for Stranger Things and more. The snacks and drinks are all Stranger Things themed – including plenty of Eggos – and there’s a cute, complimentary “Friends Don’t Lie” mug. Read more…

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