Posts by Grant Burningham, Yahoo! News
Banksy, the British street artist and prankster, is on the loose in New York City. But what do you make of it when this international phenomenon lands in your average Queens neighborhood?
Banksy has spent the last week around the city posting stencil prints with bold messages — his once unique, now ubiquitous style. This morning, Gothamist reported that the artist's latest work appeared in Woodside, just blocks from my apartment. So after work, I got off the subway a stop early and strolled over to see his latest opus. There was no crowd of toughs demanding money, no jealous graffiti hastily sprayed over it — just a thick but polite gaggle spilling into the dead-end street, staring at a quote from the movie “Gladiator” on the back of the most common of common buildings.
Kawanyoung Park, a software engineer is Seoul, South Korea, is that rare exception of a parent who can point to objective evidence for why he may have the cutest baby in the world.
At 6 months, his daughter, Yerin, rocketed to fame in that unique 21st century way — through YouTube — after a video of her smiling and sleeping, sometimes at the same time, went viral. Yerin's video was covered by CNN, NHK and Korea TV and has over 8.5 million views. She even has a Facebook fan page.
You learn to deal with mosquitoes at Toolik Field Station, Alaska , a tiny research facility near the Arctic Circle . Shannan Sweet, a PhD candidate studying Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University, has spent four months at the station for the last three years as she studies the dramatic changes to the vegetation as the area warms. She hikes onto the permafrost 6 or 7 days a week. You have to make other adjustments that far north -- the sun never goes down, it's miles to the nearest town and there's only one road. But the mosquitoes; those require real stamina. "100-percent DEET," Sweet says, "We don't even bother with the 20-percent stuff." And then there's the head nets, like the kind worn by beekeepers, and the latex gloves that the little buggers can't bite through. Despite the precautions, this year's crop of mosquitoes has taken Sweet and the other scientists off guard. "It was the most anyone has ever seen," she says. A perfect storm of a really wet year, late snowpack and then blazing high temperatures seem to have created the largest brood of the annoying flying bugs that anyone has seen there. She...
Todd Culos, an IT worker from Seattle, expected to see a lot of wildlife on his fishing trip to British Columbia for his dad's 70th birthday, but nothing like this. After spying otters, a gray whale and even a humpback, he spotted something brown in the water. "For a couple of seconds, I thought it was an otter," Culos said, "but no, this thing has ears and is doing a doggy paddle." It was a cougar, Culos said, crossing one of the saltwater inlets that serrate the edge of Vancouver Island, only minutes from the small town of Tahsis. Apparently while the sight is quite rare, it's not that unusual for a cougar to take to the water. Cougars are known to swim from island to island, mostly to hunt deer, which also take to the water, sometimes to avoid cougars. The large cats also are known to eat seals, so that might have been another target, Culos said. Todd's brother, Adam, stretched his hand out toward the cougar. "My father was freaking out," he said. Adam has run into cougars before, as part of his job as a forester, and felt safe inside the boat. The Culos family ended their trip with more than just compelling video. They also walked away ...
Grant Burningham, Yahoo! News at The Lookout 2 yrs ago
The Sistine Chapel may be best known for its elaborate ceiling painted by Michelangelo, but for much of this week the world's attention will be focused on an ungainly addition to its roof: a copper spout from which a telltale wisp of smoke will alert observers that the Roman Catholic Church has chosen a new leader.
The College of Cardinals, 115 men gathered to pick a new pope, use the chimney as a form of communication known to humans long before Christ's birth. Papal voting often goes several rounds at the conclave, a Latin word meaning "without keys," dating to a time when the vote was so contentious, it required locking cardinals in a room until they made a decision.
At the end of each voting round, the ballots are burned. The color of smoke coming from the chimney tells the results: black if no candidate reaches a two-thirds majority, white if there's a winning candidate.
Traditionally, black smoke was created by adding wet straw to burning ballots. But in 2005 science stepped in to add some, well, clarity. A chemical is now added to make black smoke.