The real BLOB is on display in Paris

Had to repost this after Ursa found this lovely photo of the actual display at the Paris Zoo

❝ It is bright yellow, can creep along at a speed of up to 4 centimeters (1.6 inches) per hour, can solve problems even though it doesn’t have a brain and can heal itself if it is cut in two.

Meet the “blob,” an unusual organism which will go on display Saturday at the Paris Zoological Park, as part of a first-of-its-kind exhibition intended to showcase its rare abilities.

❝ The slime mold, which is known officially as physarum polycephalum (or “the many headed slime”) is neither a plant, an animal or a fungus. It doesn’t have two sexes — male and female — it has 720. And it can also split into different organisms and then fuse back together, according to a press release from the Zoological Park.

The unicellular being is believed to be around a billion years old, but it first came to the public’s attention in May 1973, after a Texas woman discovered a rapidly-expanding yellow blob growing in her backyard.

Where’s the spirit of Steve McQueen when you need him?

How to hack a buttplug

❝ Voting machines weren’t the only thing getting penetrated at DEF CON this year.

When most people think of the Internet of Things, they think about light switches, voice controllers, and doorbell cameras. But over the past several years, another class of devices has also gained connectivity — those used for sexual pleasure. One such device, the Lovense Hush, advertised as the “world’s first teledildonic buttplug,” became the subject of a Sunday morning DEF CON talk this year after a hacker named “smea” managed to exploit not only the device and its associated computer dongle, but software used with it for social interaction (read: people remotely playing with each other’s buttplugs)…

❝ The talk in Las Vegas’ Paris Hotel & Casino drew hundreds of largely hungover conference-goers who couldn’t help but chuckle at every mention of the word “buttplug.” But the implications for the sex toy industry are obviously quite serious, especially if exploiting a device enables an attacker to compromise the computer they’re linked to or spread malware via the buttplug’s accompanying social software — all of which smea demonstrated was possible live on stage.

That’s about as far as I let my curiosity wander on this topic. :-]

Our Galaxy’s Supermassive Black Hole Has Pooped Out a Big Bright Flare

❝ The supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A*, is relatively quiet. It’s not an active nucleus, spewing light and heat into the space around it; most of the time, the black hole’s activity is low key, with minimal fluctuations in its brightness.

Most of the time. Recently, astronomers caught it going absolutely bananas, suddenly growing 75 times brighter before subsiding back to normal levels. That’s the brightest we’ve ever seen Sgr A* in near-infrared wavelengths…

❝ “I was pretty surprised at first and then very excited,” astronomer Tuan Do of the University of California Los Angeles told ScienceAlert.

“The black hole was so bright I at first mistook it for the star S0-2, because I had never seen Sgr A* that bright. Over the next few frames, though, it was clear the source was variable and had to be the black hole. I knew almost right away there was probably something interesting going on with the black hole.”

The explosions in the video up top from DOCTOR STRANGELOVE are little pinpricks compared to the energy from interaction with a black hole. Luckily, not a neighborhood happenstance.