Sometimes a week is so upsetting you just have to find joy in the unexpected. Take this huge-ass pumpkin, for example.
Steve Geddes of Boscawen, New Hampshire just made U.S. history by growing a pumpkin so large it surpassed the record for largest pumpkin in America.
As The Boston Globe reported, Geddes presented his 2,528-pound pumpkin at the Deerfield Fair this week, where he wound up taking first place in a contest for heaviest pumpkin and winning $6,000 in prize money.
Here are some photos of the very large pumpkin for your enjoyment.
Just in case you guys wanted to share this story, thought it was really cool. Last night at the Deerfield fair there was a new U.S record pumpkin weighed at 2528 pounds beating the previous one of 2363 pounds. It was grown by a grower of Steve geddes From N.H. pic.twitter.com/B2aSKqYsKp
Woody Lancaster, the northeast representative for the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, confirmed to The Boston Globe that not only did Geddes have the largest pumpkin at the fair this year, but he’s officially grown the largest pumpkin ever grown in North America.
Geddes now holds the U.S. record for heaviest pumpkin, beating the previous record of 2,363 pounds, but he also came remarkably close to the record for heaviest pumpkin in THE WORLD.
Mathias Willemijns of Belgium set the current world record for heaviest pumpkin back in Oct. 2016 with one that weighed a whopping 2,624 pounds, according to the Guinness World Records. But don’t worry Geddes, the world’s second largest pumpkin is still hella impressive and you’ve set the bar even higher for pumpkins in the United States.
If you want to see the pumpkin for yourself, head on over to the fair — which runs until Sept. 30 — and make your way to the fruit and vegetable building.
Long live autumn and long live pumpkins so ridiculously large they’d make Charlie Brown and the people of Halloweentown jealous.
The terms of service we hurriedly agreed to keep coming back to haunt us.
Last Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google confirmed previous reports about the far-reaching access third-party apps can have to Gmail users’ accounts and personal emails.
When you download an app, it might request access to your Gmail account. But what you might not realize when you grant access is that these apps may analyze your Gmail data — including the content of your emails — for their product, and potentially for targeting ads. Apps are also allowed to share your information with third parties, as long as Google determines that it adequately discloses that to users. The Journal previously reported that “hundreds” of apps can scan the email of “millions” of users.
Google says it reviews apps to make sure they are clearly communicating what they have access to. But unless Gmail users are diligent, security experts that Mashable spoke with say the policy potentially exposes people in ways they may have not consented to or understood.
Several experts said that app developers’ access to user data is more than just potentially creepy or invasive, though. Giving an app access to your Gmail can expose received emails as well as sent emails. So, because the policy could expose both your and your friends’ data, app access to Gmail could create a security risk similar to the mechanism that allowed for Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal.
In that instance, a researcher used a third-party app, downloaded by 270,000 people, to gather data on all 87 million Facebook users in their friend networks, and then sold the data to a company (Cambridge Analytica) that used it to engage in political advertising. So, similarly, if you happen to send an email to a Gmail user who has given an app permission to read their emails, not only can that app see your correspondence and information — but a further removed third party can also see your emails, without you having ever given consent to either party.
“I do not see what is to prevent this type of access to be abused and misused in a similar way to Cambridge Analytica,” Brian Honan, a cybersecurity consultant for major banking companies who used to work with Europol, said. “Third-party apps with access to peoples’ accounts can expose a lot of personal data about those persons which could be used to target subsequent adverts or messages to them.”
In a letter, Google reportedly told Congress that when Gmail users grant apps access to their accounts, they may — perhaps inadvertently, if they do not read the terms closely enough — allow these apps to harvest their personal information. Apps can then use what people talk about in their emails, along with demographic and other information, to target their advertising. Google lays out the policy here.
Further, under Gmail’s rules, developers are then allowed to share Gmail users’ data with still other external parties. Google says that it vets the apps, and allows this data sharing as long as it determines that the developers are adequately disclosing the activity.
Gmail itself ended the practice of using the content of people’s emails for ad targeting in July 2017. But it has apparently kept the ability in place for outside parties — so long as users “consent.”
Monday through Friday of each week, the Norwegian Ice Service, a government agency within the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, tweets out rather dismal news about the state of the thawing Arctic.
But these tweets aren’t intended to be grim. They’re simply an objective account of the modern Arctic reality. Each morning, the agency puts the current sea ice cover over a large swath of ocean between Norway and the North Pole into an emotionless, historical perspective.
Take, for instance, a post from August 22, 2018:
This is the lowest area for this day of the year in our records dating back to 1967.
The happenings in this 600,000-square kilometer area monitored by the Ice Service are consistent with what’s occurring in the greater Arctic: Of the nearly 40 years of satellite records observed by the National Snow and Ice Data Center, each of the last 12 years have seen the 12 lowest ice extents on record.
“It’s certainly really enforcing that we are on a declining trend — and we can expect it to go lower,” Nick Hughes, head of the Norwegian Ice Service, said in an interview.
Arctic sea ice is now vanishingly at an accelerating rate. As more ice melts, there are significantly fewer bright, white surfaces to reflect the sun’s energy back into space. Instead, the ocean absorbs the heat, further boosting the warming over the expansive Arctic.
“Sea ice cover at the end of Arctic summers has dropped precipitously since the 1980s,” Yarrow Axford, a climate and Arctic scientist at Northwestern University, said over email. “It’s one of the most profound changes we’ve witnessed in terms of climate change so far.”
In the Norwegian corner of the Arctic, the Ice Service is in a particularly good position to put the present ice cover into a greater historical perspective.
This is the 2nd lowest area on record for this day of the year, only 2004 (133,892 sq km) was lower.
“We have about 50 years of records,” said Hughes. “We’re one of the first users of satellite imaging technology.”
But the Ice Service doesn’t just exist to send daily Twitter updates.
The agency came into being half a century ago to provide navigation support for Norwegian mariners on the high seas. Today, with less ice cover, more vessels are able to use the waters, which makes the Ice Service increasingly relevant.
“There’s more hazards to be aware of,” said Hughes. “Even though there’s this decline in cover, there’s a need to stay vigilant for changing ice conditions.”
Hughes and his team, then, keep quite busy as all types of fishing, transportation, and natural gas vessels navigate through the precarious, frigid waters.
And this a primary reason why the daily tweets are so stark, emotionless, and similar. Lacking time to always type and send out the tweets, a bot — not a human — gathers the day’s ice updates, uses the prewritten text, and then sends it out to the account’s waiting followers.
The tweets actually arrive each morning in pairs: One with a stark statement, and the other with raw numbers illustrating just how many square kilometers below the historical average the ice presently sits.
The #Svalbard#seaice area from the ice chart for 23rd Aug 2018 is 124,738 sq km. This is 104,909 sq km below the 1981-2010 average. #Arctic
For perspective, 1 square kilometer is about the same total area as 187 football fields. So the ice cover on August 23, 2018 was 19.6 million football fields below the historical average.
That sounds like a lot. And it sounds grim. But it’s reality.
“Unfortunately, grim is the state of change in the Arctic, and really globally at this point,” Twila Moon, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, said in an interview. “We’ve fundamentally changed some of the dominant features of the surface of the Arctic.”
Naysayers might say that the Earth is billions of years old, and the Arctic has melted before. That’s true, said Moon, who researches long-term environmental changes. But the Arctic — like the world — is warming at an unprecedented rate.
“The Earth has seen much higher and lower temperatures, but they happened through very slowly moving processes,” said Moon. “We’ve created a system in which we’re really quickly creating carbon.”
The levels of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere are now the highest they’ve been in at least 800,000 years.
In last 100 years, these carbon dioxide numbers, following in tandem with the burning of ancient fuels, have skyrocketed.
Both the Norwegian seas and the greater Arctic may seem far-off. And for many of us, it’s thousands of miles away. But there’s a reason why scientists are watching it so intently.
“The Arctic is like a canary in a coal mine, and it’s warning us that our planet’s climate is undergoing a really profound change,” said Axford.
It’s a reality that’s difficult to ignore, as NASA and European Space Agency satellites now track the dwindling ice each day.
Accordingly, tweets from the Norway Ice Service will continue to arrive each morning, a bearer of straight, unfettered reality.
“It’s only once a day, so hopefully that’s not too much of a nuisance,” said Hughes.
Robots are a pretty normal part of modern life. We buy them as toys for kids, get some to help clean our homes, and sometimes see them on the big screen. Back in 1939, robots were a lot rarer, and if you did see one, it was probably some human inside a costume, sweating bullets. But not Elektro. He was his own cigarette-smoking, seven-foot-tall self. He wowed crowds across the U.S. and can rightly claim the title of being the first robot celebrity. Sorry, R2-D2.
Jayathma Wickramanayake, the United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, introduces the 17 Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals. The winners of this year’s award include an environmental scientist protecting coral reefs, a doctor using technology to improve Nigeria’s health sector, and an activist exploring human-computer interactions to improve the lives of people with disabilities, among others.