How archaeologists recreated a lost Norwegian village

By Tobias Carroll: Countless human settlements all over the world are lost to time and the elements. That can be a challenge for the archaeologists tasked with exploring the ways people lived in the past in these locations; it’s much easier to visualize how a specific place worked when one can walk around what remains of it, after all. All of this helps to explain why a new initiative around the town of Borgund, Norway is so exciting — and holds so much promise. The Borgund Kaupang Project, begun in 2019, focuses on learning more about one of a handful of Norwegian towns to exist in medieval ti...

How Do You Keep an Eye on Penguins Without Disturbing Them? Robots.

By Tobias Carroll As with many species on the planet, emperor penguins are facing an existential crisis due to climate change. The fact that they reside in Antarctica, which has been experiencing heightened levels of instability as of late, has more than a little to do with that. But determining the severity of the threat that they face is no easy task — there isn’t a way for humans to unobtrusively observe penguins in their natural habitat without standing out just a bit. Humans may not be well-suited to this task, but it turns out that robots can do it just fine. At least, there’s one robot ...

Watch HBO’s new trailer for 'Game of Thrones' Prequel 'House of the Dragon'

By Carl Caminetti On Thursday, May 5, HBO got fans of its breakthrough fantasy epic Game of Thrones looking forward to the end of August with the release of a new trailer for the network’s forthcoming prequel House of the Dragon. Though HBO previously dropped a teaser for the show back in October, the fresh look at Westeros offers more details about what to expect from the spinoff series when it premieres on August 21. With each episode estimated to cost around $20 million, House of the Dragon has big boots to fill if it hopes to live up to GoT, which won 59 Emmys over eight seasons before wra...

How Do Scientists Study Deep Sea Animals? One Answer Involves Lasers.

By Tobias Carroll Scientists who study animals who live in the depths of the ocean find themselves in an impossible situation. The water pressure thousands of feet below the surface makes it impossible for humans to easily visit that ecosystem, but bringing deep sea creatures up to the surface can have an equally unsettling effect. Remember that photo of a blobby fish that went viral a few years ago? In its natural habitat, that’s not what the fish in question looks like. That natural habitat happens to be 3,000 feet underwater, however. Now imagine that issue, but for countless other species,...

Of course the first woman to coach on an MLB field was immediately undercut by a comment about her looks

By Bonnie Stiernberg On Tuesday night, after San Francisco Giants first base coach Antoan Richardson was ejected in the third inning of the team’s 13-2 victory over the San Diego Padres, assistant coach Alyssa Nakken took over for him and made history as the first woman to ever coach on the field during a regular-season Major League Baseball game. Nakken, who has coached first base for the team during spring training games in the past, was greeted with a warm reception from fans at Oracle Park and a congratulatory handshake from Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer, who recognized the significance...

Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey ready solar-powered Bitcoin mine in Texas

By Tobias Carroll Elon Musk joining Twitter’s board of directors isn’t the only way his path is increasingly overlapping with that of his fellow board member Jack Dorsey, the company’s co-founder and former CEO. These days, Dorsey’s attention is largely focused on another company he founded — Block, previously known as Square. Now, Block and Tesla are teaming up with Blockstream for an ambitious bitcoin mining venture located in Texas. Besides the big names involved, what makes this particular mine interesting is its source of power. You’ve probably heard of it — it’s at the center of the sola...

Peacock’s terms and conditions contains a chili recipe from 'The Office'

By Tobias Carroll What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen in a “Terms and Conditions” agreement? The list is seemingly endless. Besides SNL jokes about Satan owning your soul if you don’t read them closely enough, there are countless real-world examples, including the case of someone who made $10,000 by noticing the right clause in the fine print. Terms and conditions have also been turned into critically acclaimed graphic novels. And, as one TikTok user discovered, you can also learn a way to make chili if you know where to look. As Digg noted, a TikTok user recently learned that the terms and ...

State officials find forever chemicals in beef from Michigan

By Tobias Carroll Can one have a timely warning about something that endures for centuries? The increasing levels of concern over forever chemicals polluting different food supplies — including fish in Lake Superior — are one more effect of pollution to be concerned about. The chemicals, known as PFASs, earned their nickname because, by and large, they don’t break down in natural environments. There are some sources of pollution that can be managed or minimized when placed in the right environment. These? Not so much. And they have a tendency to get into the food we eat. A new report at The Gu...

Archaeologists discover gladiatorial arena in Switzerland

By Tobias Carroll

Traditionally, Switzerland is known for its longstanding practice of neutrality and its reputation for peace. But if you dig deeply enough into its history, you’re likely to find a bit more conflict below the surface. And by “dig deeply,” we’re speaking very literally. In the town of Kaiseraugst, work was underway to build a boat house on the Rhine River. Archaeologists were on the site monitoring it for signs of anything unexpected when — lo and behold — they found exactly that. According to an article at Smithsonian Magazine, the archaeologists found evidence that the same ...

The Pentagon is getting a new office dedicated to UFO investigations

By Tobias Carroll At a time when partisan divides in Washington, D.C. seem to loom large over the nation’s politics, there’s at least one area where politicians from rival parties can find agreement — and it involves UFOs. As part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022, which became law at the end of last year, a new office was created within the Pentagon to look into reports of unidentified flying objects. Admittedly, the reasons cited had to do more with national security and less to do with the possibility that aliens are messing with us. “The United States needs a c...

Ghislaine Maxwell got dumped over the phone in jail

By Kayla Kibbe : No matter how bad your 2021 was, it’s probably safe to say Ghislaine Maxwell had a worse one. Jeffrey Epstein’s literal partner in crime spent the year in prison under conditions she complained about frequently, was convicted of five counts related to sex trafficking underage girls, and, on top of it all, got dumped over the phone by her husband. A friend of Maxwell’s told the Daily Mail that the convicted sex trafficker’s secretive marriage to tech entrepreneur Scott Borgerson ended over the phone while Maxwell was behind bars at Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. Accor...

George R. R. Martin is Enthusiastic About the “Game of Thrones” Prequel

By Tobias Carroll The ending of Game of Thrones might not have been the most universally beloved moment in recent television history, but that’s not stopping a number of people — this writer included — from feeling enthusiastic about HBO’s forthcoming series House of the Dragon. That’s set hundreds of years before the action of Game of Thrones, and features an impressive cast including Matt Smith, Paddy Considine and frequent Alex Garland collaborator Sonoya Mizuno. And it turns out that someone who’s seen part of the show’s first season has had a decidedly positive reaction. That someone is G...

This Week’s “SNL” revisited a 30-year-old sketch to make a point about climate change

By Tobias Carroll Last night’s Saturday Night Live was an especially odd episode, featuring a blend of pre-taped sketches and some highlights from the show’s archives. It wasn’t what the show’s producers had planned, but concerns over the Omicron variant led to a last-minute change. It also made for one of the night’s most inspired decisions — revisiting a 30-year-old sketch and illustrating that some satire holds up quite well over the years. In this case, though, the reasons for that are more than a little terrifying. The introduction to the sketch found Hanks looking back on the bygone days...

Grimes Calls Herself a “Marie Antoinette-Esque Symbol of Inequality”

By Bonnie Stiernberg Since her split with Elon Musk — with whom she shares baby X Æ A-Xii — back in September, Grimes has kept a relatively low profile online. But in a new TikTok this week captioned “back on the internet #sigh,” the musician claimed she has developed “severe PTSD from public life” and “debilitating anxiety about being online” and likened herself to Marie Antoinette, the extravagant queen who was famously guillotined during the French Revolution. “Somehow ended up as some kind of Marie Antoinette-esque symbol for inequality in the pop stan community, which frankly is fairly en...

Christopher Walken painted over a Banksy mural for the sake of comedy

In their own way, both Banksy and Christopher Walken could be accurately described as icons of their respective artistic disciplines. But what happens when two icons like these collide — and one of them is armed with a can of paint? Think rock-paper-scissors, but (arguably) played for laughs and recorded for posterity. Walken is one of the stars of The Outlaws, a new BBC series from The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant that focuses on a group of people doing community service work in Bristol. As Daniel Victor reported at The New York Times, during the filming of one scene, ...