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Science: Scientists Confused By “Alien Superstructure.”

alien superstructure

image courtesy NASA, JPL-Caltech

Scientists Are Now Even More Confused By Potential "Alien Superstructure"

Within our own galaxy, some astronomers believe there may be a massive piece of alien technology, built to harvest energy from a distant star.

The star, KIC 8462852, also known as Tabby's Star, exhibits strange behavior, flickering and dimming, that can't be explained by any known astronomical phenomena.

A new, unpublished study posted to arXiv, reports the results of studying images of the star from the Kepler Telescope over the past four years.

The paper shows shocking results: the star's luminosity varied, sometimes dipping by 20% over the course of the study period. Even more perplexingly, its total luminosity, or flux, diminished by 4% overall over that time.

"The part that really surprised me was just how rapid and non-linear [the dimming] was," study author Ben Montet of Caltech told Gizmodo. "We spent a long time trying to convince ourselves this wasn't real. We just weren't able to."

Tabby's Star was first observed in the 19th century, providing scientists plenty of data to reference in their search for answers. Another researcher, Bradley Schaefer of Louisiana State University, published a study earlier this year claiming that the light output of the star has decreased by 19% in 100 years.

His claims were highly disputed. Now, this data seems to back up the assertion that the star is dimming at an astonishingly rapid rate, even if Schaefer's data is not totally accurate.

One of the explanations for this phenomena, and the one that has received the most press, is the idea that the star could be flickering and dimming due to an "alien superstructure" that extraterrestrial beings are building around their star as a way, perhaps, to collect energy (these hypothetical structure are known as Dyson spheres).

Though there's been no proof of this hypothesis, it also can't be ruled out. The other theories, including that the star is blocked by the debris of a smashed planet, or what's known as "gravity darkening," would go towards explaining parts of the phenomenon, but no current theory could explain it entirely.

"The new paper states, and I agree, that we don't have any really good models for this sort of behavior," Jason Wright, the Penn State astronomer who first suggested the alien superstructure theory said. "That's exciting!"

Source: Gizmodo

Original article can be viewed here

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Tennessee To Become Income-Tax-Free State No. 8

You retire to an income-tax-free state and you don’t expect to pay any income tax.

So imagine the surprise a former California couple in their 60s got when they went to a tax preparer in Tennessee for help with their 2015 federal tax return, and she gave them the news that they owed $1,200 in taxes to Tennessee on their capital gains, interest and dividend income, thanks to the 6% state “Hall Tax.”

“A lot of seniors come to Tennessee, and they get a surprise: We have a tax on people who have done things correctly by saving for retirement,” says Friday Burke, an enrolled agent in Brentwood, Tenn.

The retired California couple had $125,000 in overall taxable income, including $28,000 in interest, dividends and capital gains, $20,000 of which was subject to the Hall Tax. “That’s $1,200 they hadn’t budgeted,” says Burke.

The good news she was able to deliver to the couple is that the Hall Tax is on its way out.


It was one of a trifecta of taxes that kept Tennessee on the list of states unfriendly to business owners and retirees. The state’s gift tax was repealed effective Jan. 1, 2012.

The state’s estate tax was repealed effective Jan. 1, 2016. And now the Hall Tax is repealed—as of Jan. 1, 2022.

In the meantime, the tax rate was cut from 6% to 5% retroactive to Jan. 1, 2016, and the legislature is meant to decrease the rate one percentage point a year, assuming the state meets certain revenue targets.

“It adds to a positive business climate and appeals to the executives of companies the state is trying to bring in,” says Jamie Yesnowitz, a state and local tax expert with Grant Thornton.

“It will make Tennessee an awesome state,” gushes Burke.

​Tennessee’s move leaves New Hampshire as the only state with a quirky tax on interest and dividends. When the Hall Tax disappears, the state will join 7 other no-income-tax states.

That sounds good, but watch out for other tax gotchas in these income-tax-free states. Tennessee has the highest average combined state-local sales tax rate of all states at 9.46%, according to the Tax Foundation.

You could still be on the hook for the Hall Tax. Some 200,000 Tennesseans paid the Hall Tax in 2014, at an average $1,446 per return (the median was $266). Tax pro Burke guesses there have been more people who should have been paying who haven’t.

The Tennessee Department of Revenue recently started partnering with the Internal Revenue Service to ferret out non-filers.

One new client couple, a hospital executive and his retired wife who had done their own returns previously, brought in an audit “love letter” from the state tax department this year, demanding Hall Tax payments for the last five years to the tune of $655 a year plus interest and penalty charges.

Their federal income varied from $275,000 to $185,000 over the time period.

That puts them squarely in Hall Tax territory. Who’s exempt? If you’re 65 or older and have total income from all sources of $37,000 or less ($68,000 or less for joint filers), you’re completely exempt from the tax.

Separately, there’s a $1,250 exemption per person, so a couple over the income threshold owes Hall Tax only if taxable interest and dividend income exceeds $2,500.

Tennessee Department of Revenue Guidance lists more exclusions, such as interest or dividends from credit unions, dividends from stock in Tennessee chartered state banks.

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Listerine: 10 Incredible And Surprising Uses

By Phil Mutz

Because I like to be prepared for any situation, my medicine cabinet is absolutely overflowing with all kinds of natural and drugstore products.

And while I’ve used several of these bathroom items for surprising health and household hacks — like my ever-useful container of VapoRub — I never thought that my bottle of Listerine was anything more than simple mouthwash… until now.

There are actually quite a few unexpected alternative uses for Listerine. I can use it as underarm deodorant, toenail fungus remover, and flea repellent for my dog. I never knew how helpful this mouthwash could really be.

 Scroll through this exclusive list below to see how many unbelievably creative ways there are to utilize ordinary Listerine. I’m definitely going to be trying them out myself!

Which of these surprising uses of Listerine will you be trying out at home? How else have you used this versatile mouthwash to improve your life? Let us know in the comments.

Why Listerine?

Why Listerine?

Céline Haeberly for LittleThings

You may only use Listerine as a mouthwash, but its inventors had so much more in mind.

The Krazy Coupon Lady writes: “Did you know Listerine, which was formulated in 1879, was originally developed as a surgical antiseptic and, historically, has been used for all sorts of things? It actually wasn’t marketed for bad breath until the 1970s!”

And with so many helpful ingredients in Listerine — such as thyme, eucalyptus, and alcohol — it’s no wonder this product is being used in so many creative ways.

Keep scrolling to see just how many surprising ways there are for you to use Listerine in your life!

Surprising Use #1: Rub It Under Your Arms

Surprising Use #1: Rub It Under Your Arms

Céline Haeberly for LittleThings

Have you ever found yourself without deodorant at a very inopportune moment?

Well, Listerine is great for fighting underarm odors whenever you are in a pinch!

Simply pour some Listerine onto a cotton ball and gently dab it under your arms.

Surprising Use #2: Soak Your Feet In It

Surprising Use #2: Soak Your Feet In It

Céline Haeberly for LittleThings

According to Top 10 Home Remedies, Listerine can be great for getting rid of toenail fungus.

Simply make yourself a Listerine foot bath and allow your toes to soak for half an hour.

Some even recommend mixing in a little bit of white vinegar for particularly bad cases.

Surprising Use #3: Pour It Down The Toilet

Surprising Use #3: Pour It Down The Toilet

Céline Haeberly for LittleThings

It might seem like you are throwing money down the toilet, but Listerine can actually clean and deodorize your bowl.

All you have to do is pour a little in and use your toilet brush to give things a light scrub.

The Examiner writes, “Not only will it clean your toilet, but it will also give it a great shine and a good smell.”

Surprising Use #4: Dab It On Your Itches

Surprising Use #4: Dab It On Your Itches

Céline Haeberly for LittleThings

As weird as it sounds, dabbing Listerine on your itchy bug bites can give you some much-needed relief.

Dental hygienist Carrie Ibbetson writes, “Listerine is my go-to source for stopping bug bites from itching like crazy.”

She also recommends using it for itchy reactions to poison ivy or poison oak!

Surprising Use #5: Wet Your Hair With It

Surprising Use #5: Wet Your Hair With It

Céline Haeberly for LittleThings

Surprisingly, Listerine was once marketed as a way to get rid of dandruff!

Though it never became quite popular enough for this use, many (such as suggest giving it a try.

Simply massage some Listerine onto the scalp, wrap your hair in a towel, and wash it out after you’ve allowed it to do its work!

Surprising Use #6: Rub It On Your Dog

Surprising Use #6: Rub It On Your Dog

Heeral Chhibber for LittleThings

Many pet owners skip expensive flea sprays and products, instead opting for a little bit of Listerine.

This flea-fighting method is a surprising alternative to sometimes harsh chemicals.

According to the Krazy Coupon Lady, try “mixing it with shampoo in a bath or diluting it with water and using it as a spray.”

Surprising Use #7: Put It On Your Face

Surprising Use #7: Put It On Your Face

Céline Haeberly for LittleThings

Many will use this mouthwash as a way to battle acne!

One happy Listerine user writes in the Seattle Times: “I have tried all types of antibiotics and topical prescriptions on the market.

“Nothing has worked as well as applying Listerine morning and night.”

Surprising Use #8: Stick Your Toothbrush In It

Surprising Use #8: Stick Your Toothbrush In It

Céline Haeberly for LittleThings

Just as Listerine is able to battle germs in your mouth, it can take care of the yucky germs on your toothbrush as well.

Fill your nightstand glass with a little bit of the mouthwash and let your toothbrush soak.

A couple of hours should be more than enough to do the trick!

Surprising Use #9: Spray It On Your Screen

Surprising Use #9: Spray It On Your Screen

Céline Haeberly for LittleThings

People might think you are crazy to spray Listerine onto your computer or television screen, but it is a great way to clean things off.

Spray some on and use a soft cloth to wipe away fingerprints and unwanted gunk.

An added bonus will be the minty smell, as opposed to the “chemical smell” often accompanying normal cleaning products.

Surprising Use #10: Toss It In The Trash

Surprising Use #10: Toss It In The Trash

Céline Haeberly for LittleThings

Powerful garbage can odors can make your kitchen smell absolutely terrible.

But before you throw any garbage in the bag, put a Listerine-soaked paper towel in the very bottom.

This will keep things smelling fresh and minty!

These unexpected uses of Listerine may seem strange, but if they can make your life better or easier, why not give them a try?

Which of these incredible ideas worked for you? Can you think of any other uses for Listerine? Let us know in the comments.

Please SHARE these unbelievable Listerine uses with friends and family!

original article taken from

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Solar roadways to make first public US appearance on Route 66

The US state of Missouri has decided to test solar paving technology on America’s most famous road, Route 66.

The state’s transportation department will use tough, electricity-generating panels developed by the pioneering husband-and-wife team Scott and Julie Brusaw, founders of the company Solar Roadways, who captivated the US in 2014 with their plan to pave America with solar panels.

The department hopes that the Historic Route 66 Welcome Center at Conway will get the country’s first solar roadway panels on a public right of way, in a move one official said would bring “the history and the future together”.

The plan was unveiled this week in Kansas City as one of four pilot schemes to probe future highways technology in the state.

“If their version of the future is realistic, if we can make that happen, then roadways can begin paying for themselves,” said Tom Blair, leader of the department’s Road to Tomorrow Initiative, according to newspaper The Kansas City Star.

“We expect them to be in place, I’m hoping, by the end of this year, maybe before snow flies,” Blair said, adding the project could generate a lot of interest by bringing “the history and the future together”.

It was not revealed how large an area would be paved with the panels. According to the newspaper, to get the most out of the project the department will seek crowd funding.

solar roadways

In this the department will be hoping to replicate the success of Solar Roadways’ 2014 crowd funding campaign, in which they raised $2.2m in two months, more than double their target of $1m.

The Brusaws, of Sandpoint, Idaho, have been working on their system for 12 years, and got a boost in 2009 in the form of a $100,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration to build a prototype solar road panel.

They have since received two more research grants from the US Department of Transportation, the latest in November 2015, worth $750,000, to study freeze-thaw cycling, moisture conditioning, shear testing, and advanced loading on their third-generation panel prototype.

They have claimed that paving all of America’s roads and parking lots with the panels would generate 13,385 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, more than three times the amount the whole country consumed in 2009.

“We are going to go out there publicly and on the internet … and ask for money to make our solar roadway pilot project even bigger and better,” Tom Blair said.

More information about Solar Roadways can be found here.

In January this year GCR reported that the government of France intends to pave 1,000km of road with photovoltaic panels over the next five years.

The idea drew strong criticism from readers, who questioned the viability of paving roads with solar panels.

Top photograph: A concept rendering of a solar-paved highway (Solar Roadways)

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Hasbro makes ‘Chewbacca Mom’ her own figurine

By Cox Media Group National Content Desk

chewbacca mom

In what could be the crowning achievement for her viral fame, “Chewbacca Mom” now has her own action figure.

Toy maker Hasbro unveiled the one-of-a-kind figurine to Candace Payne at its headquarters Friday.

The toy has 13 catch phrases including “That’s not me making that noise, it’s the mask.” “I am such a happy Chewbacca,” as well as her signature laughter, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Payne, who is from Texas, donned a talking Chewbacca mask and broke Facebook viewing records with her viral video. It has been seen more than 114 million times since she posted it May 19.

The internet fame has earned her an estimated $420,000 in gift items including gift cards, TV offers and college scholarships for her children.


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