Stephen Hawking wants a world government to fight robots

Famed physicist Stephen Hawking has warned us repeatedly that mankind will probably make robots smart enough that they will overthrow us. But it always comes off as a threat. Now we know why he’s been pushing this agenda.

According to Hawking, unless there is a more concerted, worldwide effort to avoid the rise of the machines, we are likely to fail. And that’s why we need a world government, he said, noting that such a thing could lead to tyranny. So it’s a damned-if you-do-damned-if-you-don’t scenario.

The good news is that there is no secret world government already in existence, otherwise Hawking would definitely be part of it.

Update: People are the worst

“Only you can stop starting forest fires. Or peeing in the pool. Seriously. Stahp.”

As a species, we humans live in a constant state of denial. We’re programmed that way. For instance, an observable phenomenon known as Dunning-Kruger effect causes us to inflate how great we are to avoid depression, resulting in not understanding why we take bad pictures or sound weird in voicemail. (It’s because that’s how everyone else hears/sees us, please stop singing.)

This level of denial also applies to things that we definitely do, but would never cop to. Well, the science is in and, yep, we’re awful.

Lest anyone tries to deny peeing in the pool: we’re busted. Everyone knows now. We all thought it was the perfect crime — everyone’s wet, bathing suits don’t show pee, anything amiss is killed by chlorine … except artificial sweeteners. And they’re in everything, not just diet soda. You’re not fooling anyone, person who hasn’t left the pool for six hours except for new beers, and the chlorine smell is only getting stronger to kill your foul excretions.

Also, we’re the ones setting most forest fires. And not like just over half of them, and the other half is droughts, wind and Jerry Bruckheimer’s production logo. Five out of six forest fires — 84 percent — are started by us. We’re doing it so much that we stretched that normal 46 days per year of nature claiming California homes to 154 days, every year. Smokey’s too busy fighting the Trump administration, people. This one’s on us.

So, yeah. It’s time to face facts: people may overwhelmingly mean well, but we don’t act that way.

You’re not who you were, science says

Ever wonder why people you haven’t talked to since high school seem so different on Facebook now? If you think those people changed, science says you’re right.

According to a personality study in the U.K., pretty much everyone changes over time. In 1947, researchers conducted personality tests on a bunch of 14-year-olds, grading them on self-confidence, perseverance, stability of moods, conscientiousness, originality, and desire to excel. Then a new team caught up with those same subjects 63 years later and found that basically none of them kept the same levels of those six traits as they did all those years ago.

Science just suggested that Batman wouldn’t be Batman because he would have gotten over it. Thanks for ruining our fun, science.

#MPGA

Eat sh*t, My Very Energetic Mother who Just Served Us Nachos. This isn’t a ballgame — we demand Pizza.

Can you believe that, 10 years ago, Pluto stopped being a planet? Well, a planet planet. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) made it a dwarf planet, along with Ceres (OPA, represent!), Makemake and Eris. Yes, it’s been a decade since the only time Neil deGrasse Tyson disappointed anyone who isn’t a creationist. Everyone above a certain age beat their breasts and tore at their clothes because My Very Energetic Mother no longer Just Served Us any Pizzas, much less Nine of them.

But, the world, solar system, our universe and even the rest of us moved on. Except for some NASA scientists who allege that Pluto’s demotion has reduced interest and possibly even funding into projects like New Horizons to explore it. So, they’re proposing yet another definition for planets: any self-gravitational spheroid object that’s never undergone nuclear fusion. Or, round, but not a star.

Seems good enough, right? Let’s #MakePlutoGreatAgain!

Except … that means that we won’t have just nine planets again. The new definition will encompass moons, asteroids, balls of ice past Pluto and possibly even comets as planets. Oh, the things we’ll have to make our mothers do to memorize that list!

If these scientists think dwarf planets bore people, imagine how boring planetary exploration will become if everything’s a planet. Or, stated more simply: if everything is exciting, nothing is. Such is life.

Study: Cats not making crazy cat ladies crazy

Cats have long held us under their spell, and science has done a lot of important work trying to explain why. In recent years, researchers have linked a parasite from our feline friends to slowed reaction times and mental illness. And now none of that may actually be true.

According to researchers in the U.K., studies that have linked the parasite Toxoplasma gondii are flawed because they had a small sample size, or failed to account for other factors where exposure to the parasite was caused by having a cat in the house. Basically, they’re not saying cats do make you crazy via parasite, they just don’t have enough information to definitively say that having a cat increases your odds of exposure to T. gondii.

That sounds suspiciously like what a scientist whose brain is under the control of cats would conclude.

Woolly mammoth will return by 2019, researcher says

For years, science has been threatening us with unleashing one of our long-vanquished foes, the woolly mammoth. And luckily for humanity, it hasn’t happened yet, but it’ll be a reality by 2019.

At a conference this week, the leader of a team of  Harvard University researchers boasted that his people are just a couple years away from having a de-extinctified woolly mammoth. Much like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, the mammoth wouldn’t be 100% original parts, some of the genes would have to come from a similar creature. That creature in this case is an Asian elephant. So the thing that they make will actually be a hybrid.

We killed all the woolly mammoths thousands of years ago, and we’re pretty close to finishing off the elephant population. We need to step it up to ensure this abomination is never made.

Scientists, Imogen Heap design baby mind control

Babies are sociopaths. They are concerned with nothing but their own needs and desires, and they will emotionally manipulate adults any way they can to get what they want. But what if we could manipulate them right back? Science finally has the answer.

Researchers teamed up with Grammy winner Imogen Heap to create a song that would absolutely make babies smile or laugh. From previous work, the scientists knew that babies preferred uptempo music, and a female singer, because babies are sexist. Heap recorded a few different melodies and a test group of babies clearly preferred one of them. The next step was adding the right words. This meant including words with plosive sounds (made by B’s, P’s, etc.) because that’s what the kids are into these days.

The end result got an overwhelmingly positive response from the test babies. We have now created a song that will make them laugh — or did they trick us into making music they like?

Listen if you don’t mind songs stuck in your head.

Museum displays body of animal that tried to kill us all

Just before Thanksgiving last year, the animals tried to end the world. Perhaps you hadn’t heard about that.

On Nov. 20, 2016, the Large Hadron Collider was under attack. Authorities say that a weasel-like animal called a marten climbed over a fence protecting the enormous particle accelerator. It was a suicide mission, an attempt to sabotage the LHC and hopefully blow up the Earth. The marten touched a transformer and was instantly killed as 18,000 volts coursed through its body. Luckily, the LHC didn’t blow up.

Why is this news now? Because the marten’s charred remains are now on display in the Netherlands at the Museum of Natural History Rotterdam. Make sure to stop by if you’re in town.

New thing to worry about: Cannibal hamsters

In the 1990s, we knew hamsters as things that danced in gifs. But today, things are much darker. Now the hamster populations of Europe are collapsing because the adults keep eating their young.

According to scientists, the reason for this isn’t that baby hamsters are so tasty, it’s because of corn, the devil’s grain. The theory is that many wild hamsters don’t get the diversity of food that they used to get. It’s less common for them to find roots, insects or different types of grains to snack on. Instead, all they eat is corn. Corn all day every day, thanks to modern farming practices. That means they don’t get many of the vitamins they need. Researchers found that hamster mothers with an all-corn diet ate 95% of their babies. The corn hamster moms would actually store their young with their corn supplies before eating them. So that’s sufficiently gruesome.

One other thing we learned, there are populations of wild hamsters in Europe, for now.

Dogs: Mons best friend

Wait — reggae and soft rock? Maybe Scottish dogs are just really into The Police.

Maybe this isn’t news to you (The Guys don’t have dogs), but apparently dogs like music? And Scottish researchers have narrowed down their preference to either reggae or soft rock. So, that explains why your dog sleeps all day, loves snacks and doesn’t seem like its brain is firing on all cylinders: they. are. high.

But, it’s important to note that reggae and soft rock weren’t the first choices of all individual dogs tested. According to one of the researchers, professor Neil Evans said, “the response to different genres was mixed, highlighting the possibility that like humans, our canine friends have their own individual music preferences.”

We’re guessing that dogs are just into slight variations on what they listened to back in obedience school.

[Hat tip to Beth K.]