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Weird science news of the week


Yes, there is such a thing as "too easy." editor Scott Stein learned that the funny way while he and fellow tech editor Dan Ackerman were demonstrating some Apple Watch apps over Periscope.

"During a demo of the Amazon app on the Apple Watch," the duo wrote on CNET, "Scott used voice commands to search for a couple of items, getting the best result when he searched for an Xbox One gaming console. He saved the item to a wish list, while specifically warning against tapping the very large one-click ordering button that took up most of the screen."

But in this midst of his warning, Stein did exactly what he was warning against and hit the button, instantly and inadvertently buying himself a $300 gaming console.

Watch the hilarious moment above. And read the full story here.


Earthquake moves a city, literally

Nepalese police personnel and volunteers clear the rubble while looking for survivors at the compound of a collapsed temple, following Saturday's earthquake, in Kathmandu, Nepal, April 27, 2015. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit Nepal Saturday killed more than 6,000 people, rocking the region around Kathmandu. The quake packed about 10 hydrogen bombs' worth of energy and took place just five miles beneath the surface.

"If it was much deeper into the earth, the effect of it would have been minimal, but because it was so close to the surface of the earth, people got the brunt of the shaking," CBS News science contributor Michio Kaku said. "The city of Kathmandu shifted 10 feet -- an entire city was shifted by the force of this earthquake."

Meanwhile, radar data suggest that the quake also may have caused Mount Everest to shrink by about an inch.

Read the whole story here.


T-rex's long-necked, vegetarian cousin


Fossils of a dinosaur discovered in Chile would fit nicely alongside Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor except for one thing -- this one was a vegetarian.

The 9-foot-long, plant eater thrived around 150 million years ago and had features typical of several different dinosaur groups, including teeth the shape of leaves, short arms, a small head, but a long neck. Researchers said the dinosaur was "so bizarre, so unique in its features" that they had trouble classifying it.

Read the full story here.


Suds from sewage

In this photo taken on Friday, April 24, 2015, Clean Water Services spokesperson Mark Jockers shows sealed containers of highly purified water from their facility in Forest Grove, Ore. The utility plans to release 300 gallons of highly purified water to roughly 20 home brewers from the Oregon Brew Crew. AP PHOTO/DON RYAN

In its upcoming Pure Water Brew Challenge, an Oregon wastewater treatment operator has asked home brewers to make great-tasting beer from hops, barley, yeast and the key, not-so-secret ingredient: treated sewer water.

The point of the contest is not to find Portland's next trendy craft beer. Rather, it's an effort to get people talking about how a vital resource can be reused thanks to advanced water-filtration systems.

"We need to be judging water by its quality, and not by its history," said Mark Jockers, a spokesman for Clean Water Services, which runs four wastewater treatment plants in the Portland suburbs. "The water we're producing is significantly cleaner than what the safe drinking standards are for water that comes out of taps across the United States."

Read the full story here.


Stephen Hawking weighs in on One Direction

Stephen Hawking Flickr/NASA HQ PHOTO

During the question and answer period of a talk at the Sydney Opera House (in which he appeared via hologram from Cambridge University in the U.K.), Stephen Hawking was asked for his thoughts on the cosmological effect of Zayn Malik leaving the group One Direction and "consequently breaking the hearts of millions of teenage girls across the world."

"Finally, a question about something important," Hawking joked.

"My advice to any heartbroken young girl is to pay close attention to the study of theoretical physics. Because one day there may well be proof of multiple universes," he said, according to Buzzfeed. "It would not be beyond the realms of possibility that somewhere outside of our own universe lies another different universe. And in that universe, Zayn is still in One Direction."

And, if that wasn't enough to get 1-D fans to pick up their physics textbooks, Hawking added, "This girl may like to know that in another possible universe, she and Zayn are happily married."

Read the full story here.


A dinosaur with bat wings

Artist's impression of the new dinosaur Yi qi. DINOSTAR CO. LTD.

A bat-like dinosaur has been unearthed in China that had wings made of skin rather than feathers, showing there may have been different ways of flying before the emergence of birds. Similar features have been found in bats and flying squirrels but never before in a dinosaur.

The tiny dinosaur discovered by a local farmer from Jurassic rocks in northeast China has been named Yi qi, which means "strange wing" in Mandarin.

"We thought giving this animal a name meaning 'strange wing' was appropriate, because no other bird or dinosaur has a wing of the same kind," said Xu Xing of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology, and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) in Beijing, co-author of a study published in Nature Wednesday. "We don't know if Yi qi was flapping, or gliding, or both, but it definitely evolved a wing that is unique in the context of the transition from dinosaurs to birds."

Read the full story here.


Site guesses age, tests self-esteem


Upload if you dare.

A new site from engineers over at Microsoft called will take a photo of you and use facial recognition software and machine learning to guess your age. Prepare to be amazed. Or devastated. Or possibly flattered.

Microsoft is keeping the details of exactly how the software works under wraps, but it leverages the power of existing facial-recognition technology and machine learning that uses the data it amasses to improve performance. The more people who try it, the better it will get.

Do you dare?

Read the full story here.

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