Good Monday morning!

Let us help you ease into the work week with a primer on what you might have missed happening over the weekend. You don't want to go to the water cooler without first reading this.

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Ask Stephen Hawking your questions on artificial intelligence.
Via: CNET
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Stephen Hawking will come to Reddit's r/science next week for his first ever AMA and he has a specific topic in mind.

It may not be entirely an 'Ask Me Anything' as Prof. Hawking wants to field questions dealing with artificial intelligence and the hurdles that we face as a species as technology moves forward in the field.

According to CNET:

Typically, a Reddit AMA is live as people throw questions at the subject, and the person tries to keep up with the barrage by responding as best as possible. But for Hawking's AMA, you'll present the questions ahead of time, and he'll answer them over the following weeks.

Specifically, you can submit your questions starting Monday July 27 at 8am ET through Tuesday, August 4, at reddit.com/r/science, and Hawking will respond over the next few weeks. Hawking, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, uses a computer to communicate. So the delayed format will allow him the time necessary to answer questions."



Hawking joined Elon Musk and other notable industry figures earlier this year in an open letter to promote studying the possible dangers of AI research and how to avoid them.

In his first AMA, Hawking surely wants to continue that conversation.

But of course, someone will ask him about his favorite sandwich.

Esports will begin drug testing heavily.
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E-Sports has grown big enough for the New York Times to report on it, unfortunately it's about growing drug use.



The world of the professional video game playing received a lot of attention this week after leaders announced an expansion of testing for performance-enhancing drugs. according to the New York Times:

In response to those comments, the Electronic Sports League, one of the most successful leagues in competitive video gaming, said on Wednesday that it would test players for performance-enhancing drugs starting at a tournament in August. E.S.L. said it would work with two international agencies — the same ones that help oversee anti-doping policies for cycling, the Olympics and other sports — to create anti-doping guidelines and a testing program for players.

The announcement is perhaps the clearest sign yet that e-sports, as professional gaming is widely known, is evolving into a mainstream form of competitive entertainment. This year, overall revenue from the global e-sports business is expected to surpass $250 million from more than 113 million e-sports fans worldwide, according to estimates from Newzoo, a games research firm.



The sport has never exactly endorsed drug usage, however players recently flaunting the use has brought the whole thing into a brighter spotlight.

E.S.L. has long had a general prohibition against doping, but its rules did not specify which drugs were not allowed, and the league did not police players. That changed, though, when Mr. Friesen, who plays under the name Semphis, was interviewed earlier this month and said that he had used Adderall during an E.S.L. tournament for the shooter game Counter-Strike while playing with a team called Cloud9.

"We were all on Adderall," Mr. Friesen said of his team, for which he no longer plays. "Tons of people do it."



With one of the biggest events in professional gaming, the DOTA 2's The International, starting Aug. 3, this definitely won't be the last we've heard about it.

Snakes had four legs millions of years ago.
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Newly discovered Brazilian fossils reveal four things we never before knew about snakes.

Live Science reported that ancestors of modern snakes actually had four legs July 23. Though they might not be used how you would think.



The roughly 120-million-year-old snake, dubbed Tetrapodophis amplectus (literally, four-legged snake), likely didn't use its feet for walking. Instead, the appendages may have helped Tetrapodophis hold onto a partner while mating, or even grip unruly prey, said study co-researcher David Martill, a professor of paleobiology at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom.



Fossils had previously been found showing snakes with two legs, but these provide the first such examples of a quadruped serpent.

You gotta love this quote from Professor Martill:

"I thought, 'Bloody hell, it's got back legs!'" Martill said. "It had front legs. Nobody had ever seen a snake before with four legs, and yet evolutionary theory predicts that there should be an animal that is transitional between four-legged lizards and snakes, and here it was."



Here's the whole of the discovered fossil:



From that distance, you might be tricked into believing this 120 million old thing was just identical to any old snake you'd find anywhere.

But zooming in closer, it reveals that modern-day snakes evolved from ancestors that had four legs.

Look at its little foot!



A closer shot shows just how developed the bones were in those appendages.



This artist's rendition shows how that fierce little creature might look while it prepares breakfast.



Syracuse University professor Sam Van Aken made a tree that gives 40 different kind of fruit.
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Talk about a tree that keeps on giving.

National Geographic released this video of Syracuse University professor Sam Van Aken greatest creation: a tree graphted with 39 other branches that grows a total of 40 different fruit varieties.

The mad scientist Art Professor grows different types of cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots that bloom through out the year.

Look at this strikingly beautiful abomination of nature:



Syracuse.com tells how the whole offense to God happened:

[Van Aken] explains that grafting works by slicing branches with buds from one tree and inserting it into a matching slit in a branch on the Tree of 40 Fruit. He wraps the wound with tape, and as it heals the bud grows into a new branch.

"It's a metaphor for a lot of things," Van Aken told The Post-Standard in 2011, when he planted a tree on the SU quad. He added that he specifically chose 40 because it appears often in the Bible: "It's a number that represents bounty."





Van Aken describes the project as a living work of art, though he has admitted it could have implications for genetic engineering and preserving different fruit varieties against food monocultures. He adds more branches from other varieties each year, and a completed Tree of 40 Fruit takes nearly a decade, but the wait is worth it.



He said it began when he stumbled upon an abandoned orchard growing wild and not when he had meglomaniacal delusions of grandeur.

Ahmed Best said Michael Jackson wanted to be Jar Jar Binks.
Via: Vice
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Yousa not going to believe this.

In an interview with Vice July 23, the actor who did al l the voice and motion capture for Jar Jar Binks admitted that he beat out Michael Jackson for the role.

While Amhed Best briefly touched on the subject during a Reddit AMA last year, he went into even greater depth for the extended profile.

Me, Natalie Portman, and George's kids—we were at Wembley arena at Michael Jackson's concert. We were taken backstage and we met Michael. There was Michael and Lisa Marie [Presley]. George introduced me as "Jar Jar" and I was like, That's kind of weird. Michael was like, "Oh. OK." I thought, What is going on?



Really though, would you expect a conversation with the King of Pop to be anything less than super weird?

Best continues:

After Michael had driven off, we all go back up to a big afterparty. I'm having a drink with George and I said, "Why did you introduce me as Jar Jar?" He said, "Well, Michael wanted to do the part but he wanted to do it in prosthetics and makeup like 'Thriller.'" George wanted to do it in CGI. My guess is ultimately Michael Jackson would have been bigger than the movie, and I don't think he wanted that.



If you need help imagining it, it might look a little something like this:



Best himself seems to have come to terms with his history as a character that has met with so much public hatred.

At the end of the day it is the movie business, and if the character doesn't work for the people who watch the movie then the character doesn't work. I can't take that personally. It's up to the filmmaker to make sure that not only does the film work for the filmmaker but it also works for the audience. So, because he wasn't fan favorite, I can understand why he was scaled back. And, narratively, they moved on to something else.



You can read the full interview, and some of Best's thoughts on Oscars for motion capture actors, here.

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Via: shapiro127
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Maybe this deer can help revitalize Adam Sandler's career.

There's a town in Japan called Nara where relatively tame deer hang out like they're teenagers in a parking lot.

One walked up to some tourists and just straight up started yelling at them. Luckily they posted a video of it on YouTube July 22.



Does that sound like anyone to you?

Maybe this will jog your memory.



Yes, that cranky deer sounds EXACTLY like the classic Adam Sandler we knew and loved. Recent times have hit him hard however, from his Native American Netflix movie kerfuffle to the dismal response that his most recent movie The Cobbler received.

His newest film Pixels opens July 24 and isn't off to a great critical start either.

We don't know if he'll ever find his comedic footing again, but until then, we'll always have this crazy deer video to remind us of Adam Sandler yelling in decent movies.

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