Wednesday 28th February 2024
  • Pluto is not a planet because of one small technicality

    Because “Pizzas” stands for “Pluto,” and Pluto is not a planet and hasn’t been for the greater part of the 21st century. For 76 years people knew it as the smallest, most distant member of the nine-object club, but then, in 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) changed all that. An astronomer from the California Institute of Technology named Mike Brown had discovered a few odd objects out beyond all the known planets. One, Eris, appeared to be larger than Pluto (although we now know they’re almost exactly the same size).

    The astronomers who make up the IAU faced a hard choice: label all the new objects and hundreds of future objects as planets, or pick a narrow definition that would save the deeper meaning of the title. They picked the second option. A couple hundred scientists voted to demote Pluto and named it the first of a new group of worlds: the dwarf planets.

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  • How billion-dollar store makeovers are taking on the 'retail apocalypse'

    At JCPenney stores across the US, shoppers may notice a fresh paint smell, better lighting and shiny new signage – with even more improvements planned for the coming months. Centralised checkout counters are replacing registers once spread across multiple departments, and posters promise a "new and improved shopping experience" once the remodels are complete. Change is afoot at the retailer, and not just in the form of upgraded carpet (though that, too, is on the list).

    The updates are part of a $1bn (£808m) investment the company announced in late August – a pricey effort to reinvigorate the brand following a high profile 2020 bankruptcy and subsequent restructuring. The funds will be partly dedicated to slicker technology and improved e-commerce features, but much of the focus remains on JCPenney's more than 650 physical stores. 

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  • How Amazon MGM Studios is writing the playbook for representation - on-screen and off

    Latasha Gillespie knows inclusivity isn't one-sided. At Amazon MGM, the film and television production and distribution studio, she's a staunch believer that representation needs to be both in front of the camera and behind it.

    In a first in the entertainment industry, the company launched its inclusion policy guide and playbook under Gillespie's leadership as head of global diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. These resources – fully available to the public – aim to guide leaders both within Amazon MGM and the entire business landscape to ensure diverse, accurate storytelling.

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  • AI could make the four-day workweek inevitable

    Working four days while getting paid for five is a dream for many employees. Yet the dramatic shifts in the pandemic-era workplace have turned this once unfathomable idea into a reality for some workers. And as more global data emerges, an increasing number of companies are courting the approach after positive trial-run results across countries including the UK, Iceland, Portugal and more.

    Now, as pilots continue – in Germany, a trial of 45 companies has just begun, for instance – another factor has entered the mix. Artificial intelligence (AI) is gathering pace in the workplace, and some experts believe it could accelerate the adoption of the four-day workweek.

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  • Warm Hearts, Cold Reality: How to Raise Team Empathy | Melissa Swift

    The winter 2024 issue features a special report on sustainability, and provides insights on developing leadership skills, recognizing and addressing caste discrimination, and engaging in strategic planning and execution.

    The winter 2024 issue features a special report on sustainability, and provides insights on developing leadership skills, recognizing and addressing caste discrimination, and engaging in strategic planning and execution.

    What’s funny about the way we talk about the brutality of life in organizations is that the metaphors themselves are wrong. Dogs don’t seek out other dogs in order to eat them; unprovoked shark attacks are incredibly infrequent; and when Lord of the Flies played out in real life when a group of schoolboys was marooned on an island, they actually cooperated and helped each other. They even set one boy’s broken leg successfully.1

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  • 3 Ways Samsung's Galaxy Ring Could Blow the Oura Away

    The Oura Ring was relatively early to the smart ring game, but Samsung’s upcoming wearable could have some major advantages.

    Smart rings are about to have a moment. Much like Apple’s Vision Pro is pouring some gasoline on people’s interest in virtual reality headsets, Samsung’s decision to release the Galaxy Ring is set to do the same thing to this new class of wearables. When a giant, global electronics company moves into a new product category, people watch and things change.

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  • Netflix's Wildest Sci-Fi Movie of 2024 Has a Controversial Secret Message

    “It’s a reflection on the spectacle that is human life in modern days. We are here led to believe that we’re here to buy shit.”

    Jakub Procházka is the loneliest man in the galaxy. Played by Adam Sandler in the upcoming movie Spaceman, this Czech astronaut on a high-profile solo mission to the edge of our Solar System feels completely isolated from humanity — and the fact that his wife isn’t answering his calls doesn’t help either. But when a giant, talking spider that he may or may not be hallucinating suddenly shows up on the ship, Sandler’s first reaction isn’t to make friends with the creature (voiced by Paul Dano) but to understandably try to murder it with poison gas.

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  • The Biggest New Star Wars Movie Just Broke a Crucial Lucasfilm Tradition

    Star Wars may be set in a galaxy far, far away, but its filming locations are very terrestrial. Tatooine is in Tunisia, Padme and Anakin discuss sand while overlooking Lake Como in Italy, and Rey first meets Luke on a tiny crag off the coast of Ireland. But aside from those exceptions, most of Star Wars is filmed in studios, and the upcoming spinoff movie The Mandalorian and Grogu won’t be an exception. However, its filming location breaks a long-standing Star Wars pattern — and casts doubt on the movie itself.

    Variety reports that The Mandalorian and Grogu is the biggest budget movie to qualify for California’s state tax program, meaning it will be filmed mainly within the state. This isn’t a departure for The Mandalorian, which according to the Los Angeles Daily News was filmed “almost entirely” at Manhattan Beach Studios in Manhattan Beach, California.

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  • Will There Be an 'Avatar' Season 2? Here's How Many Seasons of 'Last Airbender' to Expect

    Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender is finally here... but its story is far from over. The first season of the live-action remake corresponds to the first season of Nickelodeon’s animated series, which follows the adventures of Aang (Gordon Cormier), a 12-year-old monk who can “bend” the elements. In his wartorn world, he’s known as the Avatar because only he has the power to master air, water, earth, and fire, so he and his friends set off to restore peace.

    Already a natural airbender, Season 1 covers Aang’s journey to master the element of water. Subsequent seasons will follow his quest to master earth and then fire. If all goes to plan, Avatar could run for at least two more seasons (and maybe even more, since there are plenty of comics and novels to adapt). But the Netflix series is also dealing with a time crunch thanks to its young cast. Cormier was just 11 when he was cast as Aang, and now he’s 14. Like another Netflix hit, Stranger Things, Avatar will have to act fast if it wants to capture its young cast as kids.

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  • Watch These Ocean Predators Change Color As They Go In For the Kill

    Among color-changing sea creatures, the ability to flash from one hue to another more typically comes in handy for evading predators rather than hunting prey. But the striped marlin, new research shows, uses its mutability not only to pursue food, but to hunt collaboratively. Drone footage of group-hunting marlin (Kajikia audax) portrays the first rapid color change in such teamwork-oriented predators, described in a paper published today in the journal Current Biology from researchers in Germany and the United Kingdom.

    Striped marlin can change their exterior from blue-gray to high-contrast stripes in mere moments thanks to cells called iridophores, stacked with thin, crystalline protein plates that act as multilayer reflectors. While we’ve known that marlin can change color this way, this finding introduces how the ability aids hunting behaviors. Changing hues may also have a dual function that lets marlin both coordinate attacks and ambush their prey.

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