Megalodons Are So Massive Because of Cannibalism in the Womb (Literally)

A new study suggests that megalodons grew over time to be as big as they did due to cannibalism taking place inside their wombs.In a scientific journal from Historical Biology, as reported by Science News, a team of researchers led by paleobiologist Kenshu Shimada of DePaul University claim that cannibalism in the womb is the reason the megalodon species was so gigantic compared to other shark species. This discovery came after the team wasn’t satisfied with the prevailing explanation of their size, which is that as warm-blooded sharks, their body temperature enabled them to swim faster and catch more energetic prey leading to a larger overall mass. The warm-blooded nature of these sharks did contribute to the megalodon’s gigantism, but Shimada’s team believes there must have been more to it. The team published a report in 2018 about the sheer size of the megalodon tooth, which is all that researchers have to study of these sharks because the rest of their body is made of cartilage and cartilage is not nearly as resistant to the passing of time as bone or teeth.

Shimada’s team determined that megalodons must have been at least 14 meters long, twice as long as any other shark that isn’t a filter feeder, using their fossilized teeth. Other now-extinct species that exhibited traits of gigantism like the megalodon weren’t nearly as long though, only growing to be about six meters in length. It was that discrepancy between megalodons and similar species that led Shimada’s team to believe there must be more to the story, and that’s how the team arrived at cannibalism.

Sharks reproduce through ovoviviparity, which is a reproductive method where embryos develop inside eggs and stay inside their mother’s womb until they hatch. This method of reproduction is inherently cannibalistic in this species because the first baby shark, or pup, to hatch then eats the rest of the eggs in the womb in a behavior known as intrauterine cannibalism. That’s why when the pup finally leaves its mother’s womb, it’s already grown to be quite large and capable of defending itself.

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Shimada’s team believes that the intrauterine cannibalism combined with the environmental conditions the species experienced, like favorable water temperatures and the availability of food, led some shark species like the megalodon to grow into such a gigantic size. Calvert Marine Museum paleontologist, Stephen Godfrey, says that still doesn’t explain the greater gigantism the megalodon experienced versus other gigantic shark species though.

University of Bristol paleontologist, Humberto Férron, told Science News that he believes the megalodon’s unique gigantism must have been the result of its ovoviparity reproductive strategy coupled with intrauterine cannibalism, as well as the species’ endothermy and access to large prey for food.

While the megalodon species is extinct, nothing’s stopping you from watching Jason Statham battle a megalodon in The Meg. You can read about why we think that movie was good in our review of The Meg. If you’re looking for some more underwater science to read about, check out this story about how scientists resurrected 100 million year-old underwater lifeforms and then read this story about a bionic moon jellyfish created by scientists.

Wesley LeBlanc is a freelance news writer and guide maker for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @LeBlancWes.Source

Jurassic World: Dominion Delayed to 2022

The dinosaurs will have to stay extinct for another year as Jurassic World: Dominion gets delayed by a year to 2022. Universal originally planned to release the Jurassic Park sequel in summer 2021.Jurassic World: Dominion was set to be released next summer, but Universal Pictures announced that it will now be released on June 10, 2022. Universal also released a new poster with the updated 2022 release date.

Jurassic World: Dominion shut down production back in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but resumed production over the summer. Filming required strict new COVID protocols such as regular testing, temperature checks, and isolating cast members. Variety reports that Dominion is about less than a month away from wrapping.

Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard will return for Dominion, and will be joined by original Jurassic Park stars Sam Neil, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum. Colin Trevorrow returns as director.

Jurassic Park: Dominion is the latest film to be delayed as a result of the pandemic, and the slower than anticipated recovery of the theater industry, if it can recover at this point.

Every Delayed Movie Due to Coronavirus (So Far)

Warner Bros. announced The Batman will be delayed to 2022, while Dune will be pushed back to 2021. Check the slideshow above for a full list of delayed films. Matt T.M. Kim is a reporter for IGN.Source

Genshin Impact: How to Use Cross Save

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Genshin Impact is available on a variety of platforms, and so cross save was always going to be a highly requested feature. It is present in the game, but that comes with caveats. Here, we’ll run through what those caveats are, the likelihood of them being removed, and how to utilize cross save despite those issues.

If you’re new to Genshin Impact in general, it’s a part gacha game, part Breath Of The Wild style JRPG which sees you collecting different character and weapons as you complete your quest. It’s currently available on PC, mobile, and PS4, but only two of those three are compatible with cross save.

Which Platforms Have Cross Save In Genshin Impact?

Cross save is only available on PC and mobile right now, not PS4. We explain why further down, but focusing on the good stuff for now, the current level of cross save means you can play it out and about on a mobile device, then get home and start playing it on PC with barely an interruption. We recommend stopping to eat or get some hydration, but other than that, zero interruption.

How To Use Cross Save In Genshin Impact

Cross save is linked to your email address, so it’s a very straight forward process. As long as you use the same email for your mobile version as you do the PC version, you’ll be able to pick right up where you left off. Unfortunately, the PS4 version works differently, so can’t currently be synced with either PC or mobile.

Why Doesn’t PS4 Have Cross Save In Genshin Impact?

As explained above, the cross save feature is linked to your email address, which is why PC and mobile cross save is fairly seamless. For PS4 however, your account is not linked to your email but to your PSN account, which is not on PC or mobile, meaning no cross save for you. It’s the same reason PS4 players can’t take advantage of rerolls in Genshin Impact.

Can PS4 Players Use Cross Play?

Thankfully, cross play with friends is linked to your UID, which is the string of numbers in the bottom corner of the screen. This feature is present on PlayStation, PC, and mobile, so whatever device your friends are playing on, you’ll be able to jump into co-op with them. For more details on how to use co-op in Genshin Impact, check out our guide on that.


Border aid group raided again; experts say it’s a pattern

The U.S. Border Patrol has once again made arrests at a camp operated by a faith-based volunteer group that seeks to end migrant deaths in the desert

PHOENIX — The Border Patrol raided a humanitarian group’s aid camp on Monday, following a pattern of criminalization that has grown under the Trump administration.

Agents apprehended 12 immigrants and detained seven volunteers at a No More Deaths camp near the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona in what was the second raid since the summer. The volunteers were eventually released without charges. The raid follows the two trials the federal government has brought against Scott Warren, a volunteer with No More Deaths who was eventually acquitted of harboring immigrants.

No More Deaths is a faith-based group that formed in 2004 in response to a large number of migrants who were dying while attempting to cross the brutal Sonoran Desert. Dramatically increased enforcement and deterrent tactics that began in the mid 1990s, along with the increasingly limited ways in which someone could legally migrate to the U.S., resulted in tens of thousands of people dying while trying to cross through treacherous and dangerously hot desert areas where they were less likely to be detected.

No More Deaths has two aid camps in Arizona, and volunteers leave water jugs and lead search and rescue or recovery operations in the desert.

Their work and the work of other humanitarian groups around the world has increasingly come under attack as nationalistic and xenophobic viewpoints become more prevalent, experts say.

Even after years of coexisting with the Border Patrol mostly peacefully, No More Deaths has seen its water jugs destroyed by border agents, and several of its volunteers have faced federal charges. The Border Patrol also executed a search warrant at the camp near Arivaca, Arizona, on July 31.

Paige Corich Kleim, a volunteer who was present on Monday, said agents destroyed much of the camp’s infrastructure, including a window to a locked office and dishes. A low-flying helicopter also caused several tarps to blow over, and a storage shed was ripped apart, Corich Kleim said. She described the raid as “violent.”

The U.S. Border Patrol declined to answer questions from The Associated Press.

In several tweets, however, Tucson Sector Chief Roy D. Villareal said that agents had executed a warrant at the No More Deaths camp near Arivaca and that the group was harboring immigrants “with unknown health status.” He said some of the immigrants were wearing camouflage.

“Multiple sex offenders, multiple gang members apprehended this year attempting to illegally enter our country. You don’t know who you’ll encounter,” Villareal said.

Calling it a “so called Samaritan camp,” Villareal added: “Huge risk to themselves, our communities, and our country.”

Corich Kleim said seven volunteers were who were on site were detained for several hours but were not criminally charged. She said the camp helps migrants who are often dehydrated or have severe blisters from walking so much.

“We have tried to keep open relationships and open communication with Border Patrol but have seen a dramatic shift in their enforcement tactics over the last few years,” Corich Kleim said. She added that although the group previously had written and verbal agreements with the agency that allowed them to carry out their work, there hasn’t been an agreement in place for a while.

Since the Trump administration took office, several No More Deaths volunteers have faced criminal charges.

Scott Warren, whose case galvanized international support, was first tried in June 2019 for helping two Central American men who had crossed the border illegally. A jury deadlocked on charges, but the government went forward with a second trial. Warren was acquitted a year ago.

Rachel Gore Freed, the vice president and chief program officer for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, said the pattern of criminalizing humanitarian work is a global phenomenon and has grown over the last few years as nationalistic views have risen.

“I think racism and xenophobia and scarcity mentality kind of dictate why there’s so much attention to our southern border,” Freed said. Her group partners with No More Deaths.

“To me, compassionate, humanitarian assistance is the fundamental part of protecting someone’s dignity and of protecting human rights. It’s a basic part of protecting both our individual and collective human rights,” Freed said.

Corich Kleim, the volunteer, said No More Deaths will continue to carry out its work.

“I think we don’t really have a choice. As long as there is a need, we’re gonna try our best to be there and help folks,” she said.


Man who wouldn’t wear mask on plane claims unfair treatment

A man who refused to wear a face mask on a Utah-bound Allegiant flight and was escorted off the plane claims he was treated unfairly by flight attendants

PROVO, Utah — A man who refused to wear a face mask on a Utah-bound Allegiant flight and was escorted off the plane claims he was treated unfairly by flight attendants and wants an apology from the airline.

Rio Honaker was removed from the Provo-bound flight in Mesa, Arizona, on Saturday after an argument with a flight attendant resulted in Honaker and another passenger getting into a physical altercation.

Honaker says he was following the airline’s face covering rules and that he was not responsible for the fight, KSL-TV reported Tuesday.

Honaker said he wore a face shield and a mask covering only his mouth because wearing a mask over his nose gives him anxiety. Before the flight, Honaker said, he received a message from Allegiant saying he needed to wear a face covering over his mouth and nose. Honaker didn’t think that meant he needed to wear a face mask.

A fight broke out between Honaker and another man who asked him to comply with the rules. Honaker was removed from the plane and cited for disorderly conduct. Video taken by another passenger shows the man in front choking Honaker, pulling his hair and hitting him in the back.

Allegiant Air has said passengers are required to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth at all times when traveling.


Mother, boyfriend charged in 2-year-old Houston girl’s death

Police say the mother of a 2-year-old girl whose body was found in a Houston bayou in August and the woman’s boyfriend have been arrested for their roles in her death

HOUSTON — The mother of a 2-year-old girl whose body was found in a Houston bayou in August and the woman’s boyfriend have been arrested for their roles in her death, police announced Tuesday.

Maliyah Bass was reported missing by her family after she played in her apartment complex’s playground on Aug. 22. A day later, a jogger spotted the body in Brays Bayou in an area southeast of the University of Houston that is about 17 miles (27 kilometers) west of Maliyah’s home.

Houston police said Tuesday that Maliyah’s mother, 20-year-old Sahara Ervin, and her boyfriend, 21-year-old Travion Thompson, have each been charged with injury to a child and tampering with evidence.

Both Ervin and Thompson remained jailed on Tuesday. Court records did not list attorneys for them.

Court documents detailing additional information about the case were not immediately available.

Online records with the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences indicated Tuesday that a cause of death for Maliyah was still pending in the case.

When Maliyah’s body was found, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo had said that investigators had suspected foul play and they were treating the case as a murder investigation.


The Top Universities for Blockchain – Methodology

CoinDesk’s 2020 Blockchain University Rankings are by no means the first attempt to create such a list. However, it is, to our knowledge, the most comprehensive and nuanced consideration of universities’ impact on the blockchain field. As we collected data, sent out surveys and spoke with schools across the country, our primary goal was to produce a ranking using a methodology that was not only rigorous and reflective of the landscape but also externally defensible.

We want to make it clear to readers both what the ranking affirmatively measures and what it fails to capture. No ranking can reflect the full complexity and nuance of a university’s strengths and impact in a particular subfield. And the scope here is necessarily limited – something we will improve upon and expand in future years. For this year, we focused on universities in the U.S. and we limited our field to the schools appearing in the top 30 in the most recent rankings published by U.S. News and World Report, Times Higher Education, Academic Rankings of World Universities or Quacquarelli Symonds.

We believe rankings of this nature are valuable. The top schools are at the top for a reason, and a well-executed ranking provides a snapshot of the current state of the field. We are also committed to integrity and transparency throughout the ranking process (i.e., we are willing to discuss and share our data, anonymized, upon request).

To determine final scores, we looked at four primary categories: (1) an institution’s strength in research and contributions to advancing the field; (2) the existing blockchain offerings on campus; (3) employment and industry outcomes; and (4) overall academic reputation. Each category comprises multiple sub-categories, offering a holistic picture of a university’s presence in the blockchain space.

Reuben Youngblom is a legal scholar (JD), computer scientist, and a fellow at the Stanford Law School’s CodeX Center for Legal Informatics, where he leads the blockchain education initiative. He is also a coordinator for the Stanford RegTrax Blockchain Regulatory Tracking Initiative and a co-host of the “Our Data” podcast.

Scholarly impact: To determine a school’s scholarly impact score, we relied on the Clarivate Web of Science, a publications and citations database. We took the total number of publications (all subjects) from each school between 2018-2020 and narrowed them to include only blockchain- or cryptocurrency-related papers. From this set, we generated citation reports and created subsets in which the first author of the publication was affiliated with the university in question at any point between 2017-2020. Also factored in was the aggregated H-Index of the blockchain publications.

Campus blockchain offerings: To determine a school’s blockchain offerings score, we examined the existing campus infrastructure – whether or not they have a dedicated blockchain research center, any smaller blockchain-focused initiatives, student clubs, etc. We also looked at each school’s course offerings for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 academic years (as listed in their official catalog or, when no catalog was available, as listed on their published schedule of classes), as well as any blockchain-specific degrees, minors, or concentrations. We also considered the breadth of these class offerings.

Employment and industry outcomes: A student’s primary goal in obtaining a college education is often to secure a job in industry. To discover which schools are placing the most graduates in the blockchain field, we looked at the LinkedIn footprint of over 100 of the largest and most influential blockchain companies (as well as their 12,000+ employees). We also surveyed industry stakeholders to get a sense of how institutions are subjectively viewed on a spectrum ranging from “Elite” to “Well Below Average.” This qualitative data was normalized into a numerical scale.

Academic reputation: In a perfect world, rankings would emphasize merit, but the reality is that a university’s subjective reputation affects everything from job prospects to the availability of opportunities for current students to a school’s ability to attract prominent speakers for campus events. However, in an effort to acknowledge the subjectivity inherent in a “reputation” score, we weighted this category less than the quantitative, blockchain-specific research contributions and campus offerings (i.e. categories 1 and 2). To determine an institution’s reputation score, we looked at two items: (a) existing, overall reputation as calculated by USNWR, THE, ARWU, and QS; and (b) reputation as determined by our own qualitative surveys, which asked both practicing academics and current students to evaluate schools on a spectrum from “Elite” to “Well Below Average.” This qualitative data was normalized into a numerical scale.

There are two common threads in our methodology. First, in keeping with our goal of building the most rigorous rankings possible, we used external, quantitative data whenever such data was available, and requested individual confirmation from every institution to ensure accuracy. When we required qualitative data, we sent out surveys through all available channels (including via partnerships with external organizations, such as the Blockchain Education Network and MouseBelt University) to cast as wide a net as we could.

Second, we made every attempt to examine each data point from as many angles as possible. For instance, consider a school’s research impact. The data may show that a given university has produced 25 blockchain-related publications between the years of 2018 and 2020. But what does that actually mean? Is a school with 25 publications “worse” than a school with 30 publications? As with most subjective and complex questions, the answer is a resounding “Maybe.” 

If a school has an enormous faculty and a titanic endowment, 30 publications might be a very small percentage of the institution’s overall output. It might be much more impressive (or, at least, possibly indicative of the level of blockchain focus) for a smaller school to have 25 publications (comprising a larger percentage of its overall output) than for a larger school to have 30. 

On the other hand, 30 papers is still an objectively larger contribution to the body of blockchain scholarship than 25 papers. A multifaceted approach helps account for this type of incongruity by considering each data point from both a net impact standpoint and a relative standpoint, because both calculations are important. 

This strategy may also be extrapolated beyond research. For instance, when trying to decide which school supplies a student the best chance of getting a job in the blockchain industry, it’s important to consider both the fact that large schools may have a larger number of graduates in blockchain (and, therefore, a larger alumni network, greater name recognition, etc.). But smaller schools may place a higher percentage of their total student body (though significantly fewer graduates overall).  The two metrics – raw placement number and placement as a percentage of the total student body – are different but equally worthy of consideration.

As a final note, we’d like to address the project of creating university rankings in a general sense. In important ways, ordinal rankings are like statistics: incredibly useful for showing very specific data but also both narrow and inherently malleable. Even small changes to the methodology can have outsized effects on the final result.

To state that rankings are vulnerable to manipulation is not intended to marginalize our data or the larger project at hand; rather, we hope to draw a critical distinction between the data itself and the ranking methodology, which is little more than a (subjective) vehicle for interpretation. Our goal is to present these rankings as exactly what they are: valuable and rigorous but not indisputable. We believe we captured the current state of blockchain in higher education. But perfection is impossible. We acknowledge the limitations of any (and every) ranking.

Lastly, we would like to express our gratitude towards those who made this project possible, particularly the Blockchain Education Network and MouseBelt University. We also offer our profoundest thanks to Michael Bastedo (director of the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan) and Nick Bowman (a professor with the College of Education at the University of Iowa), both of whose expertise in the field of university rankings was invaluable, and whose guidance was instrumental in prioritizing fairness, usefulness and objectivity in this project.

We are very willing to discuss our methodology, answer questions and address concerns. Interested readers are encouraged to contact us.

Police accused of beating porcupines to death with batons

Official say two Maine police officers accused of beating porcupines to death are facing animal cruelty charges and have been fired

ROCKLAND, Maine — Two police officers in Maine were fired and are facing animal cruelty charges after using their batons to beating porcupines to death, authorities said.

Former Rockland Officers Addison Cox, 27, of Warren, and Michael Rolerson, 30, of Searsmont, also face charges of hunting at night, according to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Rockland Police Chief Chris Young confirmed the firing of two officers but declined to divulge details, asking members of the community to trust that he handled the situation appropriately.

“A tremendous amount of power is given to those who wear a badge and are tasked with protecting their communities; it’s a power that I do not take lightly,” he wrote in a posting on social media.

But WGME-TV reported that police say the animal cruelty charges stem from the officers using retractable batons to kill porcupines while on duty; a third officer recorded the killings with a cellphone camera.

A prosecutor didn’t return a message from The Associated Press seeking details.

Both former police officers are working with the union that represents them to appeal their dismissals.

Paperwork filed in court in Rockland didn’t indicate whether either officer had an attorney. The AP was unable to locate phone numbers for either of the officers.


China Central Bank Official Reveals Results of First Digital Yuan Pilots

An official for China’s central bank has unveiled usage statistics of state-backed digital currency trials that were conducted in three Chinese cities.

Speaking virtually at the Sibos 2020 conference on Monday, Fan Yifei, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, said the bank opened 113,300 consumer digital wallets and 8,859 corporate digital wallets for residents of Shenzhen, Suzhou and Xiong’an to pilot a digital yuan.

The digital wallets processed RMB 1.1 billion ($162 million) across 3.1 million digital yuan transactions between April and August when the pilots launched and ended, Fan said, making it the most widely used central bank digital currency (CBDC) in a commercial setting. 

Hooked up to facial recognition, barcode scanning and tap and go payment technologies, the digital yuan transactions spanned over 6,700 types of use cases. These applications included retail, hospitality, transportation, utility payments, government services and electronic versions of red envelopes gifted to healthcare workers in Shenzhen’s Luzhou district, Fan detailed.

Also known as DC/EP, an acronym that stands for digital currency/electronic payment, the digital yuan is a part of a longstanding initiative by the Chinese government since 2014 — when it established a digital currency research institute — to use cryptocurrency-inspired technology to modernize payments, bypass international trade networks and exert geopolitical strength.

“To protect fiat currency from crypto-assets and safeguard monetary sovereignty, it is necessary for the central banks to digitize bank notes through new technologies,” Fan stressed in his Sibos talk about the importance of a digital yuan.

The digital yuan’s use in tourism will also be explored in a forthcoming pilot at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in the nation’s capital of Beijing, the People’s Bank of China said in April, when it announced Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an and Chengdu were chosen as the first sites for trials.

The trials have expanded to Beijing, the Yangtze River Delta region, the provinces of Tianjin, Hebei and Guangdong, and the cities of Hong Kong and Macau, the country’s Commerce Ministry said in August, and they could roll out to central and western China in the future.

SEC Commissioner Peirce Chats About DeFi, Tokens and Her Unikrn Dissent at LA Blockchain Summit

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissioner Hester Peirce discussed some major trends in the digital asset world during a chat with journalist Laura Shin, at the LA Blockchain Summit on Tuesday. 

While the talk kicked off with Peirce’s letter of dissent against the recent SEC decision to levy a $6.1 million fine on Unikrn, the commissioner spoke about a range of topics including decentralised finance (DeFi), her safe harbor proposal for token issuers, and, whether token airdrops and DeFi governance tokens could run into securities regulations. 

Right at the beginning of the talk, Peirce noted the views laid out in the chat were her own and in no way represent the SEC or her fellow commissioners.