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Safe Halloween science ideas during COVID

SYLMAR, LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Halloween is just around the corner and even though Los Angeles County strongly suggests not to trick or treat this year, there are some other activities that your kids can do virtually.

Mad Science Los Angeles, based in Sylmar, has educational activities for children and is gearing up for a Halloween event.

“Our mission is to bring fun, educational science to children. Our main age range is, generally, we like to say K to 6th. However, we do have some pre-school programming,” said Susan Kilanowski, managing director for Mad Science Los Angeles.

Mad Science is an organization that sets up events and learning seminars mainly for afterschool programs.

They also used to host different events with large groups, but when COVID-19 hit they had to pivot to virtual learning.

“Doing things virtually definitely has some other fun ways that kids can do science at home.

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First study to compare dietary signatures of African and South American mammals in quest to reconstruct ancient ecosystems finds need for revisions — ScienceDaily

Closed-canopy rainforests are a vital part of the Earth’s modern ecosystems, but tropical plants don’t preserve well in the fossil record so it is difficult to tell how long these habitats have existed and where rainforests might have once grown. Instead, scientists look to the diets of extinct animals, which lock evidence of the vegetation they ate into their teeth. A new study led by scientists at the American Museum of Natural History finds that the paradigm used to identify closed-canopy rainforests through dietary signatures needs to be reassessed. The findings are published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“The Amazon is the world’s most diverse rainforest, home to one in 10 known species on Earth,” said Julia Tejada-Lara, who led the study as a graduate student at the Museum and Columbia University. “Closed-canopy rainforests have been proposed to occur in this area

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Apple Has No Interest in Purchasing Failing Short-Form Video Streaming Service Quibi

Apple is not interested in purchasing short-form streaming video service Quibi, according to a new report from The Information detailing Jeffrey Katzenberg’s efforts to sell Quibi.

Katzenberg apparently approached several tech executives, including Apple’s software and services chief Eddy Cue, but no one has been interested in buying the Quibi service.

For those unfamiliar with Quibi, it’s a short-form streaming video platform that launched in April 2020. It’s similar to Netflix or Hulu, but the video content that it features is provided in a shorter 5 to 10 minute format that’s designed to be watched on a smartphone in portrait mode.

Quibi spent more than $1 billion on creating original content, leading to more than 175 shows and over 8,000 episodes, but it has failed to gain popularity. In May, Katzenberg said that he believed Quibi’s slow start and inability to catch on was due to the pandemic, and said

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Apple iPhone 12 Launch: Pricing, Model Specs Leak Out Ahead of Event

Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 12 next week but details supposedly spilling the beans on the tech giant’s forthcoming first-ever 5G phones have emerged on social media.

A user on China’s Weibo with the handle “Kang” on Friday posted info allegedly revealing pricing and specifications for four new Apple smartphones — the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 mini — as well as a new cheaper HomePod mini smart speaker, as spotted by MacRumors.

The caveat: The info is unconfirmed and may not fully square with what Apple actually announces at its launch event, slated for Oct. 13. It’s not clear how Kang came by the details. That said, according to AppleTrack, whoever Kang is has a good track record of predicting Apple announcements, including accurately reporting several of the company’s announcements from this year’s WWDC and the new iPad Air model

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Two UK Tech Blunders That Point To A Lack Of Data Literacy

The UK Government’s decision to use a spreadsheet to track coronavirus tests is the second technical blunder in as many months that will have a fundamental impact on thousands of people in the UK. Between September 25th and October 2nd, this decision led to nearly 16,000 un-reported cases and an exponential number of their contacts being warned through contract tracing – putting the entire country at increased risk from the growing spread of COVID-19. All of this, due to using excel as a production database.

The previous blunder occurred in August when a mathematical model was used to moderate and standardize the predicted exam grades for students across the country. This model was not a “big data” algorithm that gains a full view of a student’s capability by using every possible piece of information about a student. It was sadly the opposite. To rapidly gather and easily standardize the results,

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The Capital Letter: Stimulus Politics, Trade Deficits, Big Government & Big Tech

(James Lawler Duggan/Reuters)

The politics of stimulus, trade deficits, big government and big tech and more.

Call me crazy, but I’m not convinced that the latest round of talks on a new stimulus package are going as well as they might be.


President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi questioned each other’s mental faculties, showcasing increasing partisan tensions as Election Day looms.

“The president is, shall we say, in an altered state right now, so I don’t know how to answer for his behavior.,” Pelosi said in an interview on Bloomberg Television Thursday.

The Democratic leader also called Trump’s changing positions this week on whether to let his administration conduct talks on fiscal stimulus “strange.” Trump pulled his team from negotiations Tuesday, prompting Pelosi to suggest to colleagues that day that Trump’s thinking might have been affected by the steroids he’s taken to battle his Covid-19,

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The science behind an annual fall event

With fall colors coming to a peak in Western New York, meteorologist Elyse Smith breaks down some of your favorite fall colors come to be.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — In this week’s episode of “Experiments with Elyse,” Storm Team 2 Meteorologist Elyse Smith shared why leaves change color in the fall and how weather can influence that process.

For Western New York, the seasonal average peak for fall colors is mid-October. Factors such as temperature, sunlight, wind and soil moisture from precipitation all effect how and when leaves change color.

But these factors aren’t just taken into account during the fall season. What happens all the way back in May can influence what happens in October. 

According to the National Arboretum, the best recipe for vibrant fall foliage is a wet summer followed by a dry fall with several days of sunshine and cool, but frostless, nights leading up to a

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Olympic athletes should be mindful of their biological clocks — ScienceDaily

Biological clocks have sizeable effects on the performance of elite athletes. This conclusion was drawn by chronobiologists from the University of Groningen after studying the times achieved by swimmers in four different Olympic Games. Shifting the clock to reach peak performance at the right time could make the difference between winning and losing. The results were published on 8 October in the journal Scientific Reports.

‘In many sports, the differences between coming first or second, or winning no medal at all, are very small,’ explains Renske Lok, first author of the paper and former PhD student at the University of Groningen. ‘We wondered whether an athlete’s biological clock was playing a role.’ This clock determines our bodies’ daily rhythms: it regulates physiological characteristics such as core body temperature and blood glucose levels. ‘And we know that peak performance usually coincides with the peak in core body temperature,’ says Lok.

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Twitter Places New Restrictions On Users To Combat Misinformation


  • Twitter announced that it would add new restrictions on tweets when U.S. politicians and other users try to spread election misinformation
  • This week, Facebook banned QAnon accounts in a sweeping crackdown on the conspiracy theory
  • Google will restrict political ads after polls close Nov. 3 

Twitter on Friday announced it would add new restrictions on tweets when U.S. politicians and other users try to spread election misinformation, joining other social media companies in tightening its rules in the final weeks of voting.

Twitter has been consistently criticized over spreading falsified or misleading posts, including tweets from President Donald about mail-in voting. Twitter now aims to counter misinformation directed at voters.

In a blog post, Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s policy chief, and Kayvon Beykpour, the company’s product chief, said warnings will be placed on misleading tweets so that users have to physically click off the warning to view the

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Yelp Will Add Racist Behavior Tags to Business Pages

Illustration for article titled Yelp Will Now Advise Customers When a Business Is Racist Enough to Land in the News

Screenshot: Yelp

Yelp will now warn customers that they’re looking at a “business accused of racist behavior”—just so long as it’s been racist enough to warrant a mention in the news.

The review platform announced in a blog post Thursday that it will place an alert on a business page when a business “gains public attention” such as a news article documenting “egregious, racist actions from a business owner or employee, such as using overtly racist language or symbols.” Previously, Yelp implemented a “Public Attention Alert” feature that informed visitors that a business may be at the center of a controversy involving racism, but that alert didn’t specify whether the business was the source of the bigoted behavior or the target.

“As the nation reckons with issues of systemic racism, we’ve seen in the last few months that there is a clear need to warn consumers about

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