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Frances Hill 2021-07-19
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Audience entertainment should always be the main goal of any sales pitch.
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Frances Hill 2021-05-05
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The parents argued a Snapchat filter encouraged their boys to drive recklessly.
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Frances Hill 2021-01-27
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Europol-led op knocks 700 servers offline

EU police agency Europol has boasted of taking down the main botnet powering the Emotet trojan-cum-malware dropper, as part of a multinational police operation that included raids on the alleged operators’ homes in the Ukraine.…

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Frances Hill 2020-10-11
Martin Sheen reprises his role as President Bartlet | HBOMax

I know I am very late to the party (by like five years) but just started watching Grace and Frankie on Netflix and can I just say how wonderful it is to see amazing actresses like Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin at the height of their powers? Goals, I tell you.

Lots of new trailers this week, including one I am extremely excited for: The new series based on Stephen King’s 1978 book The Stand, about a deadly pandemic that forces survivors to choose between good and evil factions. Hey, how’s that for newly relevant?! One of the characters in the trailer even remarks about someone who will “keep us safe in these uncertain times,” so.

The Stand

The Stand remains one of King’s best novels, a massive tome with more than a hundred characters and...

Continue reading…

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Frances Hill 2021-07-02
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Self-signed invoices let him cream off hundreds of thousands

An IT manager who defrauded an Essex hospital trust out of more than £800,000 using two fake companies set up to commit his crimes has been jailed – after a court heard that he had previous convictions for dishonesty.…

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Frances Hill 2021-04-09
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Digital mortgage lender Better.com has raised a $500 million round from Japanese investment conglomerate SoftBank that values the company at $6 billion. The financing is notable for a few reasons. For one, that new $6 billion valuation is up 50% from the $4 billion it was valued at last November when it raised $200 million […]
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Frances Hill 2021-01-26
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Searching for a great show to watch? Here are some of the best Netflix has to offer.
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Frances Hill 2020-08-22
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Olly Murs has spoken candidly about the death of close friend Caroline Flack, saying he is “still struggling” to come to terms with it. 

The singer – who presented The Xtra Factor with Caroline for two years before they then fronted one series of The X Factor together in 2015 – said the Love Island star had left “a massive hole” after taking her own life in February. 

“When you do lose someone that you care about and you love, I’m still struggling,” he told Vicky Pattison’s The Secret To… podcast (via The Sun). 

Olly Murs and Caroline Flack

“It still hurts every day thinking about what she must have gone through.

“When you’re grieving you’re just finding things. I had voice notes from Caroline for years.

“I had a three-year WhatsApp conversation and somehow it had been deleted.

“I’d only got the last year of our conversation and I was going through my phone looking for voice notes just wanting to hear her voice again, hear her conversation, just searching for things.”

The pair hosted The Xtra Factor together before being promoted to the main show

Olly continued: “Me and Caz didn’t speak or message every day but there’s a massive hole in my life without Caz in it.

“I just miss those moments of crazy stories where we’d WhatsApp or ring each other and have the most random conversations about the most random things. I’m going to miss that forever.

“I know that goodbyes are not forever. I know I’ll see her again at some point so I look forward to that day.”

Olly and Caroline were first paired together in 2011

Olly also opened up about the undeniable chemistry he had with Caroline, after they were first paired up to host The Xtra Factor in 2011. 

He said: “We had fights. We had great moments together. We argued. We had everything.

“We just had a special chemistry. People thought we were together. We weren’t together. We never, ever got together. We never ever pulled each other. We never did. 

“We were just always like brother and sister. I don’t know, it was a weird friendship. I’ve never experienced that level of friendship before. We had a chemistry and connection.”

Caroline and Olly had a special chemistry that extended beyond TV screens

Olly added: “For Caz to not be here any more, it’s hard. It’s difficult.

“It doesn’t get easy but I’m just fortunate I have so many great memories with her and have so many amazing times with her that I can look back on, and I’m very fortunate a lot of it is documented and a lot of it is on TV.”

Caroline was found dead at her home in Stoke Newington, north-east London, in February this year.

She was awaiting trial after pleading not guilty to charges of assault, following a row with her boyfriend Lewis Burton in December 2019.

At an inquest into her death earlier this month, her mother said Caroline had been “seriously let down by the authorities” and was “hounded” by the press over her forthcoming trial in the weeks before she died.

A coroner later ruled her death as suicide, saying she had “no doubt” that the star intended to take her own life.

Useful websites and helplines

Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.

Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).

CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) offer a helpline open 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58, and a webchat service.

The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email [email protected]

Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on rethink.org.

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Frances Hill 2021-06-22
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You definitely want the ability to side-load apps on your phone.
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Frances Hill 2021-03-02
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Two sexologists debunk 17 myths about sex and sexuality. They talk about condoms, STIs, gender, Mountain Dew, masturbation, lube, hymens, and more.
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Frances Hill 2021-01-14
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Even as the console generation ends, the Xbox One versus PS4 battle rages on. In this guide, we compare the two in games, performance, storage, and more.
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Frances Hill 2020-07-31
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In Google’s early years, users would type in a query and get back a page of 10 “blue links” that led to different websites. “We want to get you out of Google and to the right place as fast as possible,” co-founder Larry Page said in 2004. Today, Google often considers that “right place” to be Google, an investigation by The Markup has found. We examined more than 15,000 recent popular queries and found that Google devoted 41 percent of the first page of search results on mobile devices to its own properties and what it calls “direct answers,” which are…

This story continues at The Next Web
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Frances Hill 2021-05-26
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Boris Johnson's former chief aide Dominic Cummings took aim at his former boss's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Frances Hill 2021-02-25
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Some people call it “cancel culture”. Others call it accountability. Rightly or wrongly, your Twitter feed can get you in trouble at work, or worse. But we’ve now learned that members of our government are not held to the same standards as the rest of us.

It’s almost a month since Britain’s equalities minister posted an eight-tweet thread filled with false allegations about the conduct of HuffPost reporter Nadine White. Nadine had asked Kemi Badenoch, as one of parliament’s most senior Black MPs and the minister with the portfolio for race and inequality, why she hadn’t appeared in a video aimed at increasing uptake of the vaccine among Black people. She emailed the MP’s office, and the Treasury press team, where Badenoch also holds a ministerial role. Rather than respond via either of those channels, the minister fired off a Twitter tirade about how this routine press enquiry was a “sad insight into how some journalists operate”, describing it as “creepy and bizarre”. Nadine was forced to lock her Twitter account after she received abuse.

It took us a couple of hours to file a formal complaint with the Cabinet Office. It took them three and a half weeks to reply, but at last the government has seen fit to answer our complaint. 

Their letter is short and to the point. “I note that the tweets were not issued from a government Twitter account but instead from a personal Twitter account,” writes Cabinet Office permanent secretary Alex Chisholm. “The minister is personally responsible for deciding how to act and conduct herself, and for justifying her own actions and conduct. As such, this is a matter on which the minister would be best placed to offer a response.”

The ministerial code states that “ministers of the Crown are expected to maintain high standards of behaviour and to behave in a way that upholds the highest standards of propriety”. But not, it seems, on their ministerial Twitter accounts. 

We were not alone in mistakenly thinking that the minister’s verified Twitter account, in which she describes herself as “Treasury & Equalities Minister”, was in some way linked to her job

How stupid of us. It is cold comfort that we were not alone in mistakenly thinking that the minister’s verified Twitter account, in which she describes herself as “Treasury & Equalities Minister”, was in some way linked to her job. The National Union of Journalists called Badenoch’s original outburst about Nadine “frankly weird, completely out of order and an abuse of her privilege”. The Council of Europe’s Safety of Journalists Platform flagged the incident as a potential threat to media freedom under the European Convention on Human Rights. The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, recorded the attack as a “violation of media freedom”. I wonder how many of Kemi Badenoch’s 40,000 followers are also under the impression that her Twitter account is a reflection of her professional role and work as an elected representative.

Also mistaken was No.10’s race adviser Samuel Kasumu, who was so upset about Kemi Badenoch’s behaviour that he handed in, but was then persuaded to withdraw, his resignation. Apparently unaware of that Kemi Badenoch’s official parliamentary Twitter account is only “personal”, he wrote: “I believe the Ministerial Code was breached. However, more concerning than the act was the lack of response internally. It was not OK or justifiable, but somehow nothing was said. I waited, and waited, for something from the senior leadership team to even point to an expected standard, but it did not materialise.”

Nadine is a reporter who has done crucial work for HuffPost UK on racial inequality in the UK, not least during the Covid pandemic. So it’s just as well that it was not in a ministerial capacity, but from her “personal Twitter account”, that the minister for equalities made a show of not understanding how news works. Had she only had her professional hat on, she might have remembered that journalists send literally hundreds of requests for comment every day to every institution in the UK in order to find out if a story is accurate. We don’t publish stories without doing this – indeed, no story was published in this case.

It is a little confusing that Kemi Badenoch published screenshots of messages sent to her professional address and the Treasury press office in a “personal” capacity. But it’s certainly a relief that, when she declared to her 39,000 followers that Nadine’s conduct was a “sad insight into how some journalists operate”, and accused HuffPost and Nadine of “looking to sow distrust”, she wasn’t speaking as a government minister – because these claims are not only unbecoming of a senior politician, but betray either an alarming ignorance of how the press fits into our democratic system or a cynical display of bad faith.

In the end, Kemi Badenoch broke her silence by contacting a journalist – not Nadine or anyone from HuffPost, but a reporter at her local paper, the Saffron Walden Reporter. In a statement, she repeated her defamatory allegations about Nadine, this time claiming we had “stoked” a “false story” on social media, claims that were withdrawn from publication when it was pointed out that there was no evidence for them.

This apparently did not trouble her ministerial employers in the Cabinet Office or No.10. Perhaps they might like to clarify whether someone is speaking in an official capacity when they begin a statement with the words “as Equalities Minister”. 

It is absurd to any reasonable person to suggest the words of a minister are somehow less accountable if they are written by them on Twitter than a press release, or were given in an interview.

So who is responsible for the actions of the government’s ministers, if not the government? The Cabinet Office was clear: “This is a matter on which the minister would be best placed to offer a response.” No.10 agreed, with the prime minister’s press secretary saying it was “a matter for Kemi Badenoch” –although she added: “That would not be how we in No.10 would deal with these things.” 

Kemi Badenoch’s office, however, does not agree that it her responsibility, telling Nadine this week: “She has nothing further to add beyond what is included in the letter sent earlier today from Alex Chisholm to your editor.” The same Alex Chisholm who made it very clear it was for her to respond.

This story is not just about a government machine that is out of touch with the realities of our digital lives. It is absurd to any reasonable person to suggest that the words of a minister are somehow less accountable if they are written by them on Twitter than if they appeared in a press release, or were given in an interview. If any member of the public were to tweet out emails sent to their work address, accompanied by a slew of false allegations, they would expect a swift call from HR. Indeed, someone might like to tell transport secretary Grant Shapps, who formally announces weekly updates to the government’s travel and quarantine policies through his own Twitter account, whose handle he literally read out in Parliament. 

The ministerial code, which the government concluded Kemi Badenoch had not breached with her public attack on a journalist doing her job, is built around the loftily-titled Seven Principles of Public Life. Hopefully ministers are asked to read it when they enter office. “Accountability,” reads one principle. “Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny necessary to ensure this.”

We’re a long way from David Cameron’s famously cringeworthy comment that “too many tweets might make a twat” – ministers of Kemi Badenoch’s generation are all too aware of how useful a platform Twitter is for their political and personal profile. But where they are rightly accountable for their conduct as elected representatives elsewhere in their lives, this effectively allows them impunity online.

The Cabinet Office themselves “noted” to us in their response that “the prime minister’s press secretary has already provided comments on this matter”, suggesting a tacit endorsement of their belief that this is not how a minister should behave. But both institutions apparently felt it was not their place to get involved.

Like a parent banning their teenager’s laptop but leaving them with a phone, Whitehall feels dangerously out of touch in providing such an obvious loophole. Remember next time you see a prospective candidate or councillor cancelled online for tweets they sent at university – our government ministers are allowed to say whatever they like.

Jess Brammar is editor-in-chief of HuffPost UK. Follow her on Twitter @jessbrammar

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Frances Hill 2020-10-25
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The Project Zero reverse engineer shuts down some of the world's most dangerous exploits—along with antiquated hacker stereotypes.
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Frances Hill 2020-07-24
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Chemistry Class Students Science

  • Science is an ongoing process, which means new discoveries often upend old theories.
  • Contrary to what many people learned in school, Pluto is not a planet (well, sort of), dinosaurs didn't look like the pictures in your textbook, and atoms aren't the most basic components of matter.
  • Here are some science "facts" you may have learned in school that aren't true.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

If you were to file into a classroom and open your notebook for science class today, the subject matter might be a little different from when you were in school.

Our body of scientific knowledge is constantly growing and changing. New discoveries or studies often lead to changes in old theories and sometimes even invalidate them altogether. That means some of the "facts" you learned in school aren't necessarily true anymore.

For example, dinosaurs probably didn't look the way your textbook depicted them. The origins of Homo sapiens aren't as neat as the timeline you might have learned. And many of the nutrition and exercise guidance from your health classes has been debunked.

Here are some science facts you may have learned in school that aren't true anymore.

SEE ALSO: 9 things that aren't helping the environment as much as you think they are, from recycling to carbon offsets

Myth: We don't know what caused the dinosaurs' mass extinction.

Scientists used to scratch their heads about what caused the extinction that ended the age of dinosaurs — theories ranged from low dino sex drives to a world overrun by caterpillars.

But in 1978, geophysicists stumbled upon Chicxulub, a crater in the Yucatan Peninsula made by the 6-mile-wide asteroid that likely triggered the dinosaurs' demise.

Since that discovery, researchers have uncovered more details about the asteroid's impact. The collision caused a mile-high tsunami, sparked wildfires, and released billions of tons of sulfur into the atmosphere, blotting out the sun for years.



This year, new climate modeling laid a popular competing theory about the dinosaurs' extinction to rest.

Many scientists had previously suggested that eruptions of a giant range of volcanoes in modern-day India — called the Deccan traps — contributed to the dinosaurs' downfall. The sulfur gases they released were thought to have rapidly cooled the climate, much like the asteroid's global dust cloud.

But recent climate-modeling research found that those eruptions weren't a big factor. A January study found that the major temperature changes at the time only aligned with the asteroid impact.

"It was the asteroid 'wot done it," Paul Wilson, a paleoclimatologist who co-authored that paper, told the BBC.

Another study found that the Deccan volcano eruptions may have actually helped re-warm the climate after the asteroid hit.



Myth: Dinosaurs were scaly, earthy-colored lizards.

Dinosaurs likely had feathers.

Feathers are rarely preserved in the fossil record, but scientists have uncovered feathered dino fossils in China and Siberia, suggesting plumage was common across the great lizards.

"Probably that means the common ancestor of all dinosaurs had feathers," Pascal Godefroit, a paleontologist who wrote a 2014 study on a key Siberian fossil, told National Geographic.

Underneath the feathers, dinos could have had brightly colored scales, like many modern-day lizards.



Feathers have never been found on a T. rex specimen, but fossils of other tyrannosaur species do have preserved feathers. So paleontologists can assume the T. rex had them too.

Though adult T. rexes were mostly covered in scales, scientists think they had patches of feathers on attention-getting areas like the head and tail.



Myth: The T. rex was a running, roaring lizard like the one you saw in "Jurassic Park."

Though a terrifying predator, the "king of the dinosaurs" probably did not roar or sprint.

The dinosaur's long stride could carry it as fast as 25 mph, but it never reached a suspended gait, since it always had at least one leg on the ground.

A 2016 study suggested that instead of roaring, the T. rex probably cooed, hooted, and made deep-throated booming sounds like the modern-day emu.



Myth: Dinosaurs laid eggs with hard shells.

Early dinosaurs may have laid leathery, soft-shelled eggs, like turtles do today. Paleontologists recently found fossils of such eggs from two dinosaur species in the Gobi Desert.



Myth: Neanderthals were dumb brutes who didn't mingle with Homo sapiens.

Evidence of Neanderthal cave art in Europe significantly predates similar paintings by Homo sapiens.

Our extinct cousins also crafted tools and ornaments out of stone and bone, made tar glue from birch bark that allowed them to attach wooden handles to stone tools, and cooked with fire (though they may have relied on lightning strikes to start the flames).

Perhaps this intelligence is what inspired early humans to breed with Neanderthals and Denisovans, another early hominin species.



Myth: Homo sapiens first emerged 200,000 years ago in east Africa.

Groups of Homo sapiens may have evolved at the same time all over Africa instead of in one primary location, a 2018 paper suggested. A skull discovered in 2017 also showed that was happening about 300,000 years ago, further back in history than previously thought.

Not all of these groups would have looked identical, but they may have been close enough to all be considered Homo sapiens. The groups would have interacted with one another and migrated across the continent.

So instead of emerging in one area in eastern or southern Africa and then spreading from there, distantly related groups of humans across the continent could have become more similar over time.

Read more: A handful of recent discoveries has transformed our entire understanding of human history



Myth: Humans first reached North America 13,000 years ago by crossing the Bering land bridge.

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of much earlier human presence. Most recently, they uncovered nearly 2,000 stone tools, ash, and other human artifacts in a high-altitude cave in Mexico, some of which date back 30,000 years.

Scientists have also found fossilized human poop that's about 14,000 years old in an Oregon cave. Artifacts from a settlement in southern Chile were dated to between 14,500 and 19,000 years old. And a horse jaw bone that bore human markings suggested humans occupied the Bluefish Caves of Yukon, Canada 24,000 years ago.

But none of these discoveries pushed the timeline as far back as the Mexican cave artifacts.



The evidence from the cave suggests humans lived in North America during the last Ice Age — long before the Bering land bridge existed.

Lorena Becerra-Valdivia, an archaeological scientist at the Universities of Oxford and New South Wales, told Business Insider that "the new findings suggest that humans likely took a coastal route."

That means they were probably seafarers who arrived by boat, possibly from modern-day Russia or Japan. Then they expanded south by sailing down the Pacific Coast.



Myth: Camels store water in their humps.

Camels humps store fat, which the animals burn for fuel when traveling long distances with limited resources. A camel can use that fat to replace about three weeks' worth of food, according to Animal Planet.

It's the camel's red blood cells that enable it to go a week without drinking water. Unlike other creatures, camels have oval-shaped blood cells that are more flexible and enable them to store large quantities of water.



Myth: Bats are blind.

Many bats rely on echolocation to navigate, but that doesn't mean they can't see.



Myth: The food pyramid is the gold standard of nutrition.

The US Department of Agriculture released the Food Guide Pyramid in 1992, but much of the nutritional advice it offered has since been debunked.

The pyramid made no distinction between refined carbs like white bread and whole grains like brown rice. There is also no distinction between the healthiest proteins (like beans, nuts, and fish) and red meat, which can increase one's risk of cancer and heart disease.

The chart also banished healthy fats to the "use sparingly" tip of the pyramid, lumping them in with added sugars and trans fats from processed oils and packaged foods. In the mid-1990s, Harvard researchers estimated that trans fats led to roughly 50,000 preventable deaths each year in the US. However, research has found that the healthy unsaturated fats found in foods like nuts, seeds, and avocados are crucial to a balanced diet.



Myth: Milk is good for your bones.

Much of the hype about milk comes from dairy industry marketing campaigns, though the USDA helped too. A page on the department's website tells us that adults should drink three cups of milk per day, mostly for calcium and vitamin D, and that kids should drink two to three cups to build strong bones.

However, multiple studies have found no association between drinking more milk (or taking calcium and vitamin D supplements) and experiencing fewer bone fractures. Some studies have even found an association between drinking milk and higher overall mortality; that doesn't mean milk consumption was the cause, but it's not an endorsement.

Another page on the USDA's website has changed the three-cup recommendation to encompass the entire dairy category, which includes yogurt and cheese.



Myth: Crunches and sit-ups are great for your core.

A lot of us practiced this move in gym class, but many experts have told Business Insider that crunches are not efficient core-builders and that they can damage your back and neck if you do them wrong.

The nonprofit American Council on Exercise says that when it comes to crunches, a lot of people "perform this movement too rapidly" and cheat by using their hip flexors.

"This technique tilts the pelvis anteriorly, increasing the stress on the low back, and should be avoided," the council says on its website.

Read more: Traditional sit-ups and crunches are terrible for you, according to personal trainers — here's what they suggest instead



Myth: Drinking alcohol kills your brain cells.

Alcohol can damage the connections between your brain cells, but it doesn't actually kill them.

Still, many studies have found that excessive drinking over long periods can damage the brain, and children with fetal alcohol syndrome often have fewer brain cells.

Studies have also found that heavy (and even moderate) drinkers can have increased brain shrinkage.



Myth: Diamonds come from coal.

Diamonds and coal are both made from carbon, but most of Earth's diamonds are much older than its coal.

Diamonds also form much deeper in the Earth's high-pressure mantle, via a process that has nothing to do with coal.

Coal, meanwhile, is found in Earth's crust.



Myth: There's a dark side of the moon.

There is a side of the moon that we never see from Earth, but it's not dark all the time.

The moon is tidally locked with Earth, which means that we are always looking at the same side of it. As Earth spins, and our cold rock satellite rotates around it, sunlight falls across all sides of the moon.



Myth: Pluto is the ninth planet. (Well, this one's complicated.)

The International Astronomical Union originally classified Pluto as the ninth planet that orbits the sun.

But in 2005, Eris, another really big space rock that orbits the sun, was discovered. It's 27% more massive than Pluto, though a 2015 finding later revealed Pluto to be slightly larger. That forced the IAU to rethink what a planet actually is.



The IAU decided on criteria that neither Pluto nor Eris met, so neither could be considered one of the major planets that orbits the sun. Instead, they're both dwarf planets.

So yes, Pluto is a planet — it's just a dwarf planet.



Myth: Mars is a desert of red dust with no water.

Three years' worth of radar data suggests that a lake of liquid water might lurk beneath Mars' polar ice caps, a study published last year said.

Previous findings also indicated that liquid water might flow seasonally across Mars' surface, though the discovery has been thrown into question.



Myth: Black holes are invisible.

In school, you may have learned that black holes swallow everything around them, including light. That's sort of true.

A black hole is an extremely compact, massive object with a powerful gravitational pull — so powerful that not even light can escape. But that reach only extends a few billion miles.

The dark center that swallows up light is called the event horizon, and it's usually surrounded by a glowing circle of dust, rock, and other space debris that is slowly falling towards it. This region of the black hole, called the accretion disk, produces plenty of visible light. That's how scientists got the first picture of a black hole last year.

Sometimes collisions or reactions within the accretion disk even produce explosions of bright light.



Myth: Nothing moves faster than light.

Light moves at 299,792,458 meters per second in a vacuum, but it slows down when it travels through various substances. For example, light moves at about 75% of that speed through water and about 41% of that speed through diamond.

Electrons, neutrons, or neutrinos can outpace photons of light in such media — though they have to bleed off energy as radiation when they do.

The expanding fabric of space also once exceeded light-speed during the Big Bang, and physicists think wormholes and quantum entanglement might defy the rule as well.

Read more: The speed of light is torturously slow, and these 3 simple animations by a scientist at NASA prove it



Myth: The phases of matter are liquid, solid, and gas (and maybe plasma).

This may not be elementary-school-science material, but there are many more states of matter, including quark-gluon plasma, superfluids, Bose-Einstein condensates, fermionic condensates, photonic matter, and possibly even supersolids — just to name a few.

Liquid, solid, and gas are just the states you can observe in everyday life.

Plasma, which some people learned about as the state of matter for lightning, is the most abundant form of matter in the universe.



Myth: Atoms, the building blocks of matter, can be broken down only into electrons, protons, and neutrons.

Matter gets much smaller and more complex than that. Quantum physics predicts 18 types of elementary particles, 16 of which have been detected by experiments.

Protons and neutrons are made up of quarks, which are held together by gluons.

Dave Mosher and Aylin Woodward contributed reporting to this post.

This article has been updated to include new information. It was originally published on September 19, 2019. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Eris is larger than Pluto.



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Frances Hill 2021-07-19
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Audience entertainment should always be the main goal of any sales pitch.
Frances Hill 2021-06-22
img
You definitely want the ability to side-load apps on your phone.
Frances Hill 2021-05-05
img
The parents argued a Snapchat filter encouraged their boys to drive recklessly.
Frances Hill 2021-03-02
img
Two sexologists debunk 17 myths about sex and sexuality. They talk about condoms, STIs, gender, Mountain Dew, masturbation, lube, hymens, and more.
Frances Hill 2021-01-27
img

Europol-led op knocks 700 servers offline

EU police agency Europol has boasted of taking down the main botnet powering the Emotet trojan-cum-malware dropper, as part of a multinational police operation that included raids on the alleged operators’ homes in the Ukraine.…

Frances Hill 2021-01-14
img
Even as the console generation ends, the Xbox One versus PS4 battle rages on. In this guide, we compare the two in games, performance, storage, and more.
Frances Hill 2020-10-11
Martin Sheen reprises his role as President Bartlet | HBOMax

I know I am very late to the party (by like five years) but just started watching Grace and Frankie on Netflix and can I just say how wonderful it is to see amazing actresses like Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin at the height of their powers? Goals, I tell you.

Lots of new trailers this week, including one I am extremely excited for: The new series based on Stephen King’s 1978 book The Stand, about a deadly pandemic that forces survivors to choose between good and evil factions. Hey, how’s that for newly relevant?! One of the characters in the trailer even remarks about someone who will “keep us safe in these uncertain times,” so.

The Stand

The Stand remains one of King’s best novels, a massive tome with more than a hundred characters and...

Continue reading…

Frances Hill 2020-07-31
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In Google’s early years, users would type in a query and get back a page of 10 “blue links” that led to different websites. “We want to get you out of Google and to the right place as fast as possible,” co-founder Larry Page said in 2004. Today, Google often considers that “right place” to be Google, an investigation by The Markup has found. We examined more than 15,000 recent popular queries and found that Google devoted 41 percent of the first page of search results on mobile devices to its own properties and what it calls “direct answers,” which are…

This story continues at The Next Web
Frances Hill 2021-07-02
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Self-signed invoices let him cream off hundreds of thousands

An IT manager who defrauded an Essex hospital trust out of more than £800,000 using two fake companies set up to commit his crimes has been jailed – after a court heard that he had previous convictions for dishonesty.…

Frances Hill 2021-05-26
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Boris Johnson's former chief aide Dominic Cummings took aim at his former boss's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Frances Hill 2021-04-09
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Digital mortgage lender Better.com has raised a $500 million round from Japanese investment conglomerate SoftBank that values the company at $6 billion. The financing is notable for a few reasons. For one, that new $6 billion valuation is up 50% from the $4 billion it was valued at last November when it raised $200 million […]
Frances Hill 2021-02-25
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Some people call it “cancel culture”. Others call it accountability. Rightly or wrongly, your Twitter feed can get you in trouble at work, or worse. But we’ve now learned that members of our government are not held to the same standards as the rest of us.

It’s almost a month since Britain’s equalities minister posted an eight-tweet thread filled with false allegations about the conduct of HuffPost reporter Nadine White. Nadine had asked Kemi Badenoch, as one of parliament’s most senior Black MPs and the minister with the portfolio for race and inequality, why she hadn’t appeared in a video aimed at increasing uptake of the vaccine among Black people. She emailed the MP’s office, and the Treasury press team, where Badenoch also holds a ministerial role. Rather than respond via either of those channels, the minister fired off a Twitter tirade about how this routine press enquiry was a “sad insight into how some journalists operate”, describing it as “creepy and bizarre”. Nadine was forced to lock her Twitter account after she received abuse.

It took us a couple of hours to file a formal complaint with the Cabinet Office. It took them three and a half weeks to reply, but at last the government has seen fit to answer our complaint. 

Their letter is short and to the point. “I note that the tweets were not issued from a government Twitter account but instead from a personal Twitter account,” writes Cabinet Office permanent secretary Alex Chisholm. “The minister is personally responsible for deciding how to act and conduct herself, and for justifying her own actions and conduct. As such, this is a matter on which the minister would be best placed to offer a response.”

The ministerial code states that “ministers of the Crown are expected to maintain high standards of behaviour and to behave in a way that upholds the highest standards of propriety”. But not, it seems, on their ministerial Twitter accounts. 

We were not alone in mistakenly thinking that the minister’s verified Twitter account, in which she describes herself as “Treasury & Equalities Minister”, was in some way linked to her job

How stupid of us. It is cold comfort that we were not alone in mistakenly thinking that the minister’s verified Twitter account, in which she describes herself as “Treasury & Equalities Minister”, was in some way linked to her job. The National Union of Journalists called Badenoch’s original outburst about Nadine “frankly weird, completely out of order and an abuse of her privilege”. The Council of Europe’s Safety of Journalists Platform flagged the incident as a potential threat to media freedom under the European Convention on Human Rights. The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, recorded the attack as a “violation of media freedom”. I wonder how many of Kemi Badenoch’s 40,000 followers are also under the impression that her Twitter account is a reflection of her professional role and work as an elected representative.

Also mistaken was No.10’s race adviser Samuel Kasumu, who was so upset about Kemi Badenoch’s behaviour that he handed in, but was then persuaded to withdraw, his resignation. Apparently unaware of that Kemi Badenoch’s official parliamentary Twitter account is only “personal”, he wrote: “I believe the Ministerial Code was breached. However, more concerning than the act was the lack of response internally. It was not OK or justifiable, but somehow nothing was said. I waited, and waited, for something from the senior leadership team to even point to an expected standard, but it did not materialise.”

Nadine is a reporter who has done crucial work for HuffPost UK on racial inequality in the UK, not least during the Covid pandemic. So it’s just as well that it was not in a ministerial capacity, but from her “personal Twitter account”, that the minister for equalities made a show of not understanding how news works. Had she only had her professional hat on, she might have remembered that journalists send literally hundreds of requests for comment every day to every institution in the UK in order to find out if a story is accurate. We don’t publish stories without doing this – indeed, no story was published in this case.

It is a little confusing that Kemi Badenoch published screenshots of messages sent to her professional address and the Treasury press office in a “personal” capacity. But it’s certainly a relief that, when she declared to her 39,000 followers that Nadine’s conduct was a “sad insight into how some journalists operate”, and accused HuffPost and Nadine of “looking to sow distrust”, she wasn’t speaking as a government minister – because these claims are not only unbecoming of a senior politician, but betray either an alarming ignorance of how the press fits into our democratic system or a cynical display of bad faith.

In the end, Kemi Badenoch broke her silence by contacting a journalist – not Nadine or anyone from HuffPost, but a reporter at her local paper, the Saffron Walden Reporter. In a statement, she repeated her defamatory allegations about Nadine, this time claiming we had “stoked” a “false story” on social media, claims that were withdrawn from publication when it was pointed out that there was no evidence for them.

This apparently did not trouble her ministerial employers in the Cabinet Office or No.10. Perhaps they might like to clarify whether someone is speaking in an official capacity when they begin a statement with the words “as Equalities Minister”. 

It is absurd to any reasonable person to suggest the words of a minister are somehow less accountable if they are written by them on Twitter than a press release, or were given in an interview.

So who is responsible for the actions of the government’s ministers, if not the government? The Cabinet Office was clear: “This is a matter on which the minister would be best placed to offer a response.” No.10 agreed, with the prime minister’s press secretary saying it was “a matter for Kemi Badenoch” –although she added: “That would not be how we in No.10 would deal with these things.” 

Kemi Badenoch’s office, however, does not agree that it her responsibility, telling Nadine this week: “She has nothing further to add beyond what is included in the letter sent earlier today from Alex Chisholm to your editor.” The same Alex Chisholm who made it very clear it was for her to respond.

This story is not just about a government machine that is out of touch with the realities of our digital lives. It is absurd to any reasonable person to suggest that the words of a minister are somehow less accountable if they are written by them on Twitter than if they appeared in a press release, or were given in an interview. If any member of the public were to tweet out emails sent to their work address, accompanied by a slew of false allegations, they would expect a swift call from HR. Indeed, someone might like to tell transport secretary Grant Shapps, who formally announces weekly updates to the government’s travel and quarantine policies through his own Twitter account, whose handle he literally read out in Parliament. 

The ministerial code, which the government concluded Kemi Badenoch had not breached with her public attack on a journalist doing her job, is built around the loftily-titled Seven Principles of Public Life. Hopefully ministers are asked to read it when they enter office. “Accountability,” reads one principle. “Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny necessary to ensure this.”

We’re a long way from David Cameron’s famously cringeworthy comment that “too many tweets might make a twat” – ministers of Kemi Badenoch’s generation are all too aware of how useful a platform Twitter is for their political and personal profile. But where they are rightly accountable for their conduct as elected representatives elsewhere in their lives, this effectively allows them impunity online.

The Cabinet Office themselves “noted” to us in their response that “the prime minister’s press secretary has already provided comments on this matter”, suggesting a tacit endorsement of their belief that this is not how a minister should behave. But both institutions apparently felt it was not their place to get involved.

Like a parent banning their teenager’s laptop but leaving them with a phone, Whitehall feels dangerously out of touch in providing such an obvious loophole. Remember next time you see a prospective candidate or councillor cancelled online for tweets they sent at university – our government ministers are allowed to say whatever they like.

Jess Brammar is editor-in-chief of HuffPost UK. Follow her on Twitter @jessbrammar

Frances Hill 2021-01-26
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Olly Murs has spoken candidly about the death of close friend Caroline Flack, saying he is “still struggling” to come to terms with it. 

The singer – who presented The Xtra Factor with Caroline for two years before they then fronted one series of The X Factor together in 2015 – said the Love Island star had left “a massive hole” after taking her own life in February. 

“When you do lose someone that you care about and you love, I’m still struggling,” he told Vicky Pattison’s The Secret To… podcast (via The Sun). 

Olly Murs and Caroline Flack

“It still hurts every day thinking about what she must have gone through.

“When you’re grieving you’re just finding things. I had voice notes from Caroline for years.

“I had a three-year WhatsApp conversation and somehow it had been deleted.

“I’d only got the last year of our conversation and I was going through my phone looking for voice notes just wanting to hear her voice again, hear her conversation, just searching for things.”

The pair hosted The Xtra Factor together before being promoted to the main show

Olly continued: “Me and Caz didn’t speak or message every day but there’s a massive hole in my life without Caz in it.

“I just miss those moments of crazy stories where we’d WhatsApp or ring each other and have the most random conversations about the most random things. I’m going to miss that forever.

“I know that goodbyes are not forever. I know I’ll see her again at some point so I look forward to that day.”

Olly and Caroline were first paired together in 2011

Olly also opened up about the undeniable chemistry he had with Caroline, after they were first paired up to host The Xtra Factor in 2011. 

He said: “We had fights. We had great moments together. We argued. We had everything.

“We just had a special chemistry. People thought we were together. We weren’t together. We never, ever got together. We never ever pulled each other. We never did. 

“We were just always like brother and sister. I don’t know, it was a weird friendship. I’ve never experienced that level of friendship before. We had a chemistry and connection.”

Caroline and Olly had a special chemistry that extended beyond TV screens

Olly added: “For Caz to not be here any more, it’s hard. It’s difficult.

“It doesn’t get easy but I’m just fortunate I have so many great memories with her and have so many amazing times with her that I can look back on, and I’m very fortunate a lot of it is documented and a lot of it is on TV.”

Caroline was found dead at her home in Stoke Newington, north-east London, in February this year.

She was awaiting trial after pleading not guilty to charges of assault, following a row with her boyfriend Lewis Burton in December 2019.

At an inquest into her death earlier this month, her mother said Caroline had been “seriously let down by the authorities” and was “hounded” by the press over her forthcoming trial in the weeks before she died.

A coroner later ruled her death as suicide, saying she had “no doubt” that the star intended to take her own life.

Useful websites and helplines

Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.

Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).

CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) offer a helpline open 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58, and a webchat service.

The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email [email protected]

Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on rethink.org.

Frances Hill 2020-07-24
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Chemistry Class Students Science

  • Science is an ongoing process, which means new discoveries often upend old theories.
  • Contrary to what many people learned in school, Pluto is not a planet (well, sort of), dinosaurs didn't look like the pictures in your textbook, and atoms aren't the most basic components of matter.
  • Here are some science "facts" you may have learned in school that aren't true.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

If you were to file into a classroom and open your notebook for science class today, the subject matter might be a little different from when you were in school.

Our body of scientific knowledge is constantly growing and changing. New discoveries or studies often lead to changes in old theories and sometimes even invalidate them altogether. That means some of the "facts" you learned in school aren't necessarily true anymore.

For example, dinosaurs probably didn't look the way your textbook depicted them. The origins of Homo sapiens aren't as neat as the timeline you might have learned. And many of the nutrition and exercise guidance from your health classes has been debunked.

Here are some science facts you may have learned in school that aren't true anymore.

SEE ALSO: 9 things that aren't helping the environment as much as you think they are, from recycling to carbon offsets

Myth: We don't know what caused the dinosaurs' mass extinction.

Scientists used to scratch their heads about what caused the extinction that ended the age of dinosaurs — theories ranged from low dino sex drives to a world overrun by caterpillars.

But in 1978, geophysicists stumbled upon Chicxulub, a crater in the Yucatan Peninsula made by the 6-mile-wide asteroid that likely triggered the dinosaurs' demise.

Since that discovery, researchers have uncovered more details about the asteroid's impact. The collision caused a mile-high tsunami, sparked wildfires, and released billions of tons of sulfur into the atmosphere, blotting out the sun for years.



This year, new climate modeling laid a popular competing theory about the dinosaurs' extinction to rest.

Many scientists had previously suggested that eruptions of a giant range of volcanoes in modern-day India — called the Deccan traps — contributed to the dinosaurs' downfall. The sulfur gases they released were thought to have rapidly cooled the climate, much like the asteroid's global dust cloud.

But recent climate-modeling research found that those eruptions weren't a big factor. A January study found that the major temperature changes at the time only aligned with the asteroid impact.

"It was the asteroid 'wot done it," Paul Wilson, a paleoclimatologist who co-authored that paper, told the BBC.

Another study found that the Deccan volcano eruptions may have actually helped re-warm the climate after the asteroid hit.



Myth: Dinosaurs were scaly, earthy-colored lizards.

Dinosaurs likely had feathers.

Feathers are rarely preserved in the fossil record, but scientists have uncovered feathered dino fossils in China and Siberia, suggesting plumage was common across the great lizards.

"Probably that means the common ancestor of all dinosaurs had feathers," Pascal Godefroit, a paleontologist who wrote a 2014 study on a key Siberian fossil, told National Geographic.

Underneath the feathers, dinos could have had brightly colored scales, like many modern-day lizards.



Feathers have never been found on a T. rex specimen, but fossils of other tyrannosaur species do have preserved feathers. So paleontologists can assume the T. rex had them too.

Though adult T. rexes were mostly covered in scales, scientists think they had patches of feathers on attention-getting areas like the head and tail.



Myth: The T. rex was a running, roaring lizard like the one you saw in "Jurassic Park."

Though a terrifying predator, the "king of the dinosaurs" probably did not roar or sprint.

The dinosaur's long stride could carry it as fast as 25 mph, but it never reached a suspended gait, since it always had at least one leg on the ground.

A 2016 study suggested that instead of roaring, the T. rex probably cooed, hooted, and made deep-throated booming sounds like the modern-day emu.



Myth: Dinosaurs laid eggs with hard shells.

Early dinosaurs may have laid leathery, soft-shelled eggs, like turtles do today. Paleontologists recently found fossils of such eggs from two dinosaur species in the Gobi Desert.



Myth: Neanderthals were dumb brutes who didn't mingle with Homo sapiens.

Evidence of Neanderthal cave art in Europe significantly predates similar paintings by Homo sapiens.

Our extinct cousins also crafted tools and ornaments out of stone and bone, made tar glue from birch bark that allowed them to attach wooden handles to stone tools, and cooked with fire (though they may have relied on lightning strikes to start the flames).

Perhaps this intelligence is what inspired early humans to breed with Neanderthals and Denisovans, another early hominin species.



Myth: Homo sapiens first emerged 200,000 years ago in east Africa.

Groups of Homo sapiens may have evolved at the same time all over Africa instead of in one primary location, a 2018 paper suggested. A skull discovered in 2017 also showed that was happening about 300,000 years ago, further back in history than previously thought.

Not all of these groups would have looked identical, but they may have been close enough to all be considered Homo sapiens. The groups would have interacted with one another and migrated across the continent.

So instead of emerging in one area in eastern or southern Africa and then spreading from there, distantly related groups of humans across the continent could have become more similar over time.

Read more: A handful of recent discoveries has transformed our entire understanding of human history



Myth: Humans first reached North America 13,000 years ago by crossing the Bering land bridge.

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of much earlier human presence. Most recently, they uncovered nearly 2,000 stone tools, ash, and other human artifacts in a high-altitude cave in Mexico, some of which date back 30,000 years.

Scientists have also found fossilized human poop that's about 14,000 years old in an Oregon cave. Artifacts from a settlement in southern Chile were dated to between 14,500 and 19,000 years old. And a horse jaw bone that bore human markings suggested humans occupied the Bluefish Caves of Yukon, Canada 24,000 years ago.

But none of these discoveries pushed the timeline as far back as the Mexican cave artifacts.



The evidence from the cave suggests humans lived in North America during the last Ice Age — long before the Bering land bridge existed.

Lorena Becerra-Valdivia, an archaeological scientist at the Universities of Oxford and New South Wales, told Business Insider that "the new findings suggest that humans likely took a coastal route."

That means they were probably seafarers who arrived by boat, possibly from modern-day Russia or Japan. Then they expanded south by sailing down the Pacific Coast.



Myth: Camels store water in their humps.

Camels humps store fat, which the animals burn for fuel when traveling long distances with limited resources. A camel can use that fat to replace about three weeks' worth of food, according to Animal Planet.

It's the camel's red blood cells that enable it to go a week without drinking water. Unlike other creatures, camels have oval-shaped blood cells that are more flexible and enable them to store large quantities of water.



Myth: Bats are blind.

Many bats rely on echolocation to navigate, but that doesn't mean they can't see.



Myth: The food pyramid is the gold standard of nutrition.

The US Department of Agriculture released the Food Guide Pyramid in 1992, but much of the nutritional advice it offered has since been debunked.

The pyramid made no distinction between refined carbs like white bread and whole grains like brown rice. There is also no distinction between the healthiest proteins (like beans, nuts, and fish) and red meat, which can increase one's risk of cancer and heart disease.

The chart also banished healthy fats to the "use sparingly" tip of the pyramid, lumping them in with added sugars and trans fats from processed oils and packaged foods. In the mid-1990s, Harvard researchers estimated that trans fats led to roughly 50,000 preventable deaths each year in the US. However, research has found that the healthy unsaturated fats found in foods like nuts, seeds, and avocados are crucial to a balanced diet.



Myth: Milk is good for your bones.

Much of the hype about milk comes from dairy industry marketing campaigns, though the USDA helped too. A page on the department's website tells us that adults should drink three cups of milk per day, mostly for calcium and vitamin D, and that kids should drink two to three cups to build strong bones.

However, multiple studies have found no association between drinking more milk (or taking calcium and vitamin D supplements) and experiencing fewer bone fractures. Some studies have even found an association between drinking milk and higher overall mortality; that doesn't mean milk consumption was the cause, but it's not an endorsement.

Another page on the USDA's website has changed the three-cup recommendation to encompass the entire dairy category, which includes yogurt and cheese.



Myth: Crunches and sit-ups are great for your core.

A lot of us practiced this move in gym class, but many experts have told Business Insider that crunches are not efficient core-builders and that they can damage your back and neck if you do them wrong.

The nonprofit American Council on Exercise says that when it comes to crunches, a lot of people "perform this movement too rapidly" and cheat by using their hip flexors.

"This technique tilts the pelvis anteriorly, increasing the stress on the low back, and should be avoided," the council says on its website.

Read more: Traditional sit-ups and crunches are terrible for you, according to personal trainers — here's what they suggest instead



Myth: Drinking alcohol kills your brain cells.

Alcohol can damage the connections between your brain cells, but it doesn't actually kill them.

Still, many studies have found that excessive drinking over long periods can damage the brain, and children with fetal alcohol syndrome often have fewer brain cells.

Studies have also found that heavy (and even moderate) drinkers can have increased brain shrinkage.



Myth: Diamonds come from coal.

Diamonds and coal are both made from carbon, but most of Earth's diamonds are much older than its coal.

Diamonds also form much deeper in the Earth's high-pressure mantle, via a process that has nothing to do with coal.

Coal, meanwhile, is found in Earth's crust.



Myth: There's a dark side of the moon.

There is a side of the moon that we never see from Earth, but it's not dark all the time.

The moon is tidally locked with Earth, which means that we are always looking at the same side of it. As Earth spins, and our cold rock satellite rotates around it, sunlight falls across all sides of the moon.



Myth: Pluto is the ninth planet. (Well, this one's complicated.)

The International Astronomical Union originally classified Pluto as the ninth planet that orbits the sun.

But in 2005, Eris, another really big space rock that orbits the sun, was discovered. It's 27% more massive than Pluto, though a 2015 finding later revealed Pluto to be slightly larger. That forced the IAU to rethink what a planet actually is.



The IAU decided on criteria that neither Pluto nor Eris met, so neither could be considered one of the major planets that orbits the sun. Instead, they're both dwarf planets.

So yes, Pluto is a planet — it's just a dwarf planet.



Myth: Mars is a desert of red dust with no water.

Three years' worth of radar data suggests that a lake of liquid water might lurk beneath Mars' polar ice caps, a study published last year said.

Previous findings also indicated that liquid water might flow seasonally across Mars' surface, though the discovery has been thrown into question.



Myth: Black holes are invisible.

In school, you may have learned that black holes swallow everything around them, including light. That's sort of true.

A black hole is an extremely compact, massive object with a powerful gravitational pull — so powerful that not even light can escape. But that reach only extends a few billion miles.

The dark center that swallows up light is called the event horizon, and it's usually surrounded by a glowing circle of dust, rock, and other space debris that is slowly falling towards it. This region of the black hole, called the accretion disk, produces plenty of visible light. That's how scientists got the first picture of a black hole last year.

Sometimes collisions or reactions within the accretion disk even produce explosions of bright light.



Myth: Nothing moves faster than light.

Light moves at 299,792,458 meters per second in a vacuum, but it slows down when it travels through various substances. For example, light moves at about 75% of that speed through water and about 41% of that speed through diamond.

Electrons, neutrons, or neutrinos can outpace photons of light in such media — though they have to bleed off energy as radiation when they do.

The expanding fabric of space also once exceeded light-speed during the Big Bang, and physicists think wormholes and quantum entanglement might defy the rule as well.

Read more: The speed of light is torturously slow, and these 3 simple animations by a scientist at NASA prove it



Myth: The phases of matter are liquid, solid, and gas (and maybe plasma).

This may not be elementary-school-science material, but there are many more states of matter, including quark-gluon plasma, superfluids, Bose-Einstein condensates, fermionic condensates, photonic matter, and possibly even supersolids — just to name a few.

Liquid, solid, and gas are just the states you can observe in everyday life.

Plasma, which some people learned about as the state of matter for lightning, is the most abundant form of matter in the universe.



Myth: Atoms, the building blocks of matter, can be broken down only into electrons, protons, and neutrons.

Matter gets much smaller and more complex than that. Quantum physics predicts 18 types of elementary particles, 16 of which have been detected by experiments.

Protons and neutrons are made up of quarks, which are held together by gluons.

Dave Mosher and Aylin Woodward contributed reporting to this post.

This article has been updated to include new information. It was originally published on September 19, 2019. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Eris is larger than Pluto.