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NWT_Earth

Surprising find: Olive ridley sea turtle found near California

Scientists were amazed after spotting an olive ridley sea turtle near Point Reyes in California this week.

This endangered sea turtle isn’t supposed to be anywhere close to that area, it should be thousands of miles away, and scientists think El Nino could be to blame, according to a San Jose Mercury News report.

The turtle was found by people viewing elephant seals at Point Reyes National Seashore, where it was found paddling about 20 feet from shore before diving out of site. Observers noted that the turtle appeared healthy and had a shell measuring about three feet in length.

There are about seven species of sea turtles, with the olive ridley being the most common of it. Even so, it is classified as an endangered species.

The turtles is typically found thousands of miles south of the California region by the winter, making this a puzzling sighting. It seems natural to blame this on the weather phenomenon known as El Nino, which warms the waters in the area and could result in sea turtles getting confused.

Olive ridley sea turtles grow to about three feet and can weigh up to 100 pounds. They typically live about 15 years, and subsist on a diet of mollusks, shrimps, fish, lobster, and crabs. They will also dine on algae.

Sea turtles has certainly been one species scientists have worried will suffer due to the phenomenon of global warming. With the species already endangered due to human activities, the destruction of habitats as a result of global warming could further tilt things against them.

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Physics TECH

Researchers create ‘Nadine,’ a sociable robot

Meet Nadine, a new robot created at the Nanyang Technology University in Singapore — you might not be able to tell the difference between her and a human.

That’s because Nadine is a socially intelligence robot that actually looks like a human, too. It has her own personality, as well as moods and emotions, according to an ABC News report.

Nadine was created by Professor Nadia Thalmann as a receptionist for a new media showcase at NTU. Thalmann envisions the robot as becoming commonplace in the coming years as a receptionist in offices and homes.

Nadine was created to look like Thalmann, featuring soft skin and brunette hair, smiling when greeting a person and engaging in eye contact during conversation. She can even shake hands.

The software behind Nadine is as powerful as Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana, NTU claims.

Nadine can express emotions like happiness or sadness depending on the subject of the conversation. She also has the ability to remember things.

Social robots could represent an important development as societies have populations that grow ever older in average age. The social robots could help a shrinking workforce and become personal companions for the elderly, assisting with elderly services.

NTU also developed a robot named EDGAR. He was designed to be a tele-presence robot that can project upper-body movements and facial expressions of his user, and basically act out a script.

Although robots have a long way to go before they enter conventional use, experts think we may be getting closer to seeing them on a day to day basis.

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Physics

Marines kill loud, four-legged robot

The U.S. Marine Corps killed a four-legged robot that resembled a dog after they decided it was just too noisy to be taken onto the battlefield.

The giant robot built by Boston Dynamics is larger than a human and bounds about like a dog on four legs, with the aim of carrying cargo for troops in the field and lightening the burden, according to a Fortune report.

It was an interesting concept that caught the attention of the public when it was first introduced, but it was recently killed by the Pentagon after they decided it was just way too noisy to make for an effective tool on a battlefield where stealth is paramount.

That said, it’s an interesting concept that could get resurrected down the line should engineers figure out how to make it significantly less noisy, or at least figure out some other kind of application for it.

Marines simply didn’t buy in. They saw the robot as a loud robot that would give them away on the battlefield, something they couldn’t afford and wasn’t worth the potential advantages.

It was dubbed the Legged Squad Support Systems (LS3) robot, and was built by Boston Dynamics, which is owned by Google. It received $32 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the U.S. Marine Corps. The robot can carry loads of up to 400 pounds in order to assist troops.

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SPORT_NHL

Rangers beat Lightning 5-2, Tanner Glass slams Brian Boyle

It was a rough-and-tumble rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning — and one of the signature plays of the game involved Ranger Tanner Glass slamming former Ranger Brian Boyle over the boards.

Glass’s Ranger teammates liked it so much they gave him the celebratory black fedora after the game, which they won 5-2 in Tampa. Boyle is not an easy person to send over the boards, weighing in at 243 pounds and standing at 6 feet 7 inches tall.

Because Boyle never touched the puck, Glass was whistled for interference, and the Lightning managed to tie the game at 2-2 thanks to Glass’s penalty. But no matter: despite the fact that the play hurt the Rangers on the ice, seeing him smash former teammate Boyle was enough to earn him post-game honors.

The New York Rangers are hoping this latest win will help pull them out of a long slump that has seen them tumble from far atop the Metropolitan Division to far below current Metro leaders, the Washington Capitals.

After a torrid start to the season, the Rangers lost most of the games they played in recent weeks and even had to pull All-Star goalie Henrik Lundquist several times. The team is still only 3-6-1 in its last 10 games, including their most recent win. Their struggles have been chiefly on the road, where they sport a 7-8-3 record, compared to a 14-5-1 home record.

Currently, the Rangers are just one points ahead of the New York Islanders, who have a game in hand, and just three points ahead of the New Jersey Devils.

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SPORT_NFL

After Eagles fire Chip Kelly, more coaches could be on their way out

Chip Kelly is gone in Philadelphia — so who is the next coach to get the ax?

As usual, there are plenty of candidates. Coach firings are an annual spectacle in the NFL, and this year is no exception.

Chuck Pagano is definitely on the hot seat after failing to lead the Indianapolis Colts to a playoff birth in arguably the worst division in football — a disappointing finish for a team that many believed was on the rise behind QB Andrew Luck. Pagano’s contract expires at the end of the season after turning down a one-year extension in the offseason.

It’s not surprising that another team in the AFC South has been a tremendous disappointment, and it could result in Mike Mularkey of the Tennessee Titans losing his job. He’s been the interim coach only half the season, but he’s only managed two wins in eight games, making him unlikely to parlay the appointment into a contract in the offseason.

The Miami Dolphins have put together a disappointing season, and that could be bad news for Dan Campbell, another interim head coach who hasn’t done much with the team after being promoted in Week 5. He is just 4-7 with the team.

With a normally dominant Green Bay Packers team struggling for much of this season, this would be the ideal time for the Detroit Lions to put together the season that everyone hoped they could. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the case, and it could cost Jim Caldwell his job.

With the Redskins surprisingly winning the division, could the other two NFC East teams besides Philadelphia also can their coaches? Tom Coughlin has won two Super Bowls with the Giants, but the last one was years ago and his teams have been terrible since. The team may decide to finally move on. And the Cowboys finished in dead last despite high hopes this season, meaning Jason Garrett could be in jeopardy. Not likely, considering the fact that he signed a five-year, $30 million contract last January and that he isn’t to blame for Tony Romo going down with injuries, but should 2016 be a disaster, Garrett may not finish out his contract.

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NONE

Canadiens, Bruins ready to do battle for Winter Classic

It’s that time of year: the Winter Classic is upon us, and it’s featuring one of the greatest rivalries out there.

The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens will lace up to do battle at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, home of the New England Patriots, for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

The two Original Six teams have certainly seen plenty of each other as division foes and playoff rivals.

The Bruins have been hot as of late, just beating the Ottawa Senators in a 7-3 win. However, they’ll be without David Krejci because of injury and Brad Marchand because of a suspension from a hit made on a Senator in that win. Meanwhile, the Canadiens will still be without reigning MVP Carey Price. And winger Brendan Gallagher remains out of action. So a lot of star power that the NHL may have thought it was going to showcase won’t be on the ice.

The Canadiens remain mired in a slump and are 2-8 in their last 10 games. They are just a point above Boston for second place in the Atlantic, so there is a lot to play for this game.

Boston beat the Canadiens in their last match up at the Bell Centre on December 9.

The weather should be good for the game, with a strong chance of sunshine and highs at 42 degrees with no precipitation. Still, sun can be a problem as it can create a glare on the ice. During last year’s Winter Classic, the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks switched sides during the middle of the first period in order to share the glare problems equally.

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SPORT_NHL

Alex Ovechkin scores two goals, Caps win 9th straight

Alex Ovechkin notched his 19th and 20th goals of the season, and the surging Washington Capitals enjoyed a four-goal third period to down the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 Wednesday night.

The league-leading Capitals have now won nine straight, and are 28-6-2, posting one of the best starts in NHL history.

Justin Williams was the first to put the Capitals on the board in the second period after taking advatnage of a mistake by Sabres goalie Chad Johnson, who gave it away behind his own net and left Williams with an easy goal.

The Sabres had taken a 1-0 lead in the first period off a Brian Gionta goal, and regained the lead after Williams goal thanks to Zemgus Girgensons.

However, the third period was all Capitals, and rising star Evgeny Kuznetsov was instrumental in their dominance, first setting up Ovechkin with the game-tying goal, and then assisting on Johansson’s power-play goal. Marcus Johansson followed that up with a nice assist of his own — a heads-up pass to Andre Burakovsky, who rifled it past Johnson. Ovechkin scored an empty-netter to close out the game.

After two consecutive losses to the Caps in regulation, Buffalo falls to 15-8-4 on the season.

Several Capitals players were injured in the tilt, with Nicklas Backstrom and Jay Beagle both leaving due to injury, although only Beagle is expected to stay out a while.

With 58 points, Washington has opened up a huge lead not only over the Metropolitan Division, but over the Eastern Conference, with the two closest teams being the Florida Panthers and the New York Rangers with 46 points apiece. The Capitals have at least a game in hand on both teams. The Caps have also passed Dallas for the most points in the NHL. The Stars have 57 points, and have played two more games than the Caps have.

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Business NONE

Shares skyrocket after huge month for U.S. automakers

Shares of major American automakers appear poised to rise after what many are calling a record month of sales this May. According to the Next Digit, Americans bought nearly 1.6 million new cars and trucks over the past month.

According to chief investment strategist at Mainstay Management in Grand Blanc Michigan, David Kudla, sales for the month of May in Michigan crept towards $40 billion. Kudla added that May 2015 is set to be one of the best months for auto sales ever, coming close to the August 2014 record of $40.3 billion.

A senior analyst at Edmunds.com, Jessica Caldwell, reported that the timing of Memorial Day weekend was a large factor in the increase in car sales observed this May. The recent nationwide plunge in gasoline prices, largely due to an American boom in oil production over the past few years, also contributed to the heightened demand for new cars and SUVs. Caldwell noted that since Memorial Day came a week before the month ended this year, Americans were able to take advantage of sales deals for an extended window of time.

Chief investment officer Jack Ablin at BMo bank in Chicago noted that credit for car loans had also improved. A strong dollar has created “headwind” for consumers, who felt more confident about making a big purchase like a car.

 

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SPORT_NFL

Are the New England Patriots ready for the playoffs?

The New England Patriots certainly appear to be limping into the playoffs, but perhaps all is not as it seems.

The Patriots are still in line to lock up the No. 1 seed this final week of the season if all goes well, but a team that had at one point looked to possible go 16-0 struggled with several losses in recent weeks.

The Patriots have a whopping 20 players on injured reserve, but one should keep in mind that 10 of those never made the 53-man roster and only two are regular starters, according to a NESN report.

It’s an indication that things aren’t as bad as theey seem, and perhaps the Patriots’ offense will be just fine when the postseason rolls around.

The Patriots have already won the AFC East and can clinch the No. 1 seed with a win against the 5-10 Miami Dolphins. If they lose, they need a little help in order to keep their No. 1 seed against the 11-4 Denver Broncos and 11-4 Cincinnati Bengals, both one game back.

It will certainly be nice if the Patriots can at least hang on to the first-round bye, allowing them to rest some of their banged-up starters. But in any event, those starters will be back and should be able to provide Tom Brady with the weapons he needs to turn the Patriots back into a high-scoring threat that can go deep in the playoffs and potentially become repeat champions, as the organization did many years ago.

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NONE

Does Liverpool need to make some signings soon?

Things are getting a bit problematic for Liverpool, and it may be time for manager Jurgen Klopp to start looking to make some January signings.

Liverpool finished the year with a 1-0 win to lowly Sunderland. With 30 points, Liverpool is certainly within striking distance of the top four, currently held by Arsenal (39), Leicester City (39), Manchester City (36), and Tottenham (35), but injuries combined with the weak finish to the year may indicate that more needs to happen to turn the Reds into a contender.

Christian Benteke scored the goal that won the game for Liverpool. He scored just 22 seconds after the second half kicked off, setting the tone for the rest of the game and ultimately proving to be the winner. Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was brilliant again, getting his 16th clean sheet of 2015, the most of any goalkeeper.

The transfer window is looming in January, and it may be time for the team to look at picking up some players that will get Liverpool over the hump.

The team is still missing James Milner and Jordan Rossiter in the midfield due to injury. Joe Allen was out with a virus.

Just ahead of Liverpool but not quite in the top four is Crystal Palace and Manchester United, while West Ham, Watford, and Stoke City lurk close behind.

Liverpool has posted a disappointing goal differential, scoring 22 goals but allowing 22 as well. They are the only team in the top 12 of the league to post a goal differential lower than one. By comparison, league leaders Arsenal are +15.