Whoa
March 17, 2014

Physicists have long speculated that a massive, universe-creating explosion would produce some sort of enormous observable shockwave. But they've never been able to find proof that such an aftershock — which would indicate an event like the Big Bang actually happened — did indeed ripple through space billions of years ago.

That is, until now. Harvard scientists announced Monday that they found evidence of gravitational waves — "ripples in the universe," as Scientific American's Clara Moskowitz put it. Such a finding could help prove the decades-old theory of inflation, which holds that the entire observable universe hurtled outward into existence after an initial explosion. Using a high-powered telescope based at the South Pole to conduct an experiment known as Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization, the scientists detected signs of gravitational waves just a teensy fraction of a second after the Big Bang is believed to have happened.

The finding has yet to be confirmed by other experts, but if it holds up, it would be a groundbreaking revelation in the field. So to all the physicists out there:

Jon Terbush

Watch this
2:57 a.m. ET

Whether or not you're a Deadhead, Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann has a madcap and highly entertaining story on Conan about the time the Dead played a Hugh Hefner TV show on CBS, Playboy After Dark. As the band was setting up, Kreutzmann told Conan O'Brien, he started to hear crazy things from the TV crew, about cameras out of focus and mics not on. After looking around, "I had this strange suspicion," he said, and he finally figured out that famed LSD maker Owsley Stanley had dosed the 150-cup crew coffee pot. The entire crew was tripping on acid. "It wasn't illegal in 1967," Kreutzmann said when Conan suggested that must be some kind of crime.

Kreutzmann, who has a new memoir out, also discussed how Jerry Garcia came up with the name for The Grateful Dead, how everybody hated it, and geeked out on Dungeons & Dragons with Patton Oswald. Watch below. —Peter Weber

Quotables
2:08 a.m. ET

Sgt. Craig Harrison, a retired British army soldier, killed two Taliban fighters more than 1.5 miles away in 2009, making him one of the most accurate known snipers in the world. But his decades as a sniper have left a deep mental scar, and he has "flashbacks all the time" of "the people the I've killed," he told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire in an interview, his back turned to the camera. Harrison said he is on a lot of medication, has trouble sleeping, and is suffering from PTSD related to being shot in the helmet and being injured in an anti-tank mine explosion.

"Anyone who says they don't feel anything for the people they've killed are not telling the truth," he told Derbyshire. And that's doubly true for snipers, who see their victims up close. "You see them spit on the floor, you see them talking," he said. "You own their life, basically. You're their god for that split second, and then you take them out." Watch below. —Peter Weber

happy birthday
1:34 a.m. ET

The ubiquitous Pyrex measuring cup in your kitchen made its debut in 1925, but the first Pyrex dish hit the market 10 years earlier, after a Corning scientist brought home a sawed-off industrial-glass jar to his wife, who baked a sponge cake it in. At least that's Corning's story, and they're sticking to it at a Pyrex centennial celebration at the Corning Museum of Glass, starting June 6. Pyrex is still around — and still "hot," as Associated Press reporter Michael Hill notes in the video below — but Corning hasn't made the iconic heat-resistant glass since it sold its consumer products division in 1998; it's now made by World Kitchen, based in Rosemont, Illinois. For more Pyrex facts, watch below or read AP's fact sheet. —Peter Weber

last night on late night
12:37 a.m. ET

The two kids with the lowest GPAs in the Oneonta High Class of 1989 know the word "prerogative," thanks to Bobby Brown, so you know Jimmy Fallon and Dwayne Johnson did their homework — or, more likely, remember 1989 pretty well (also, let's be honest, 1989's Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure). The conceit of this bit from Thursday's Tonight Show is that high schools sometimes let the low-achievers give commencement addresses, too, and that they would make horrible predictions from the future. Such as: "Don't get caught up in fads that won't last, like 'computers,'" says Johnson's character, Logan Duffy. The kicker is the '80s-style "this is what happened to..." wrap-up before the closing credits. Watch and bask in the nostalgia below. —Peter Weber

This just in
May 21, 2015
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Police in Washington, D.C., say that Daron Dylon Wint, 34, the suspect in a bloody quadruple homicide in the capital, is in police custody. An arrest warrant accuses Wint, 34, of murdering a former employer, Savvas Savopoulos 46, along with his wife and 10-year-old son and their housekeeper, Veralicia Figuaroa, at the family's mansion in Northwest Washington. Police say that the victims had been bound and kept hostage overnight before being murdered; their bodies were found May 14. According to CNN, Wint's girlfriend had told authorities he planned to turn himself in. Peter Weber

freddie gray
May 21, 2015
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Marilyn Mosby, the state attorney for Baltimore, Maryland, on Thursday announced that the six officers arrested in connection with the death of Freddie Gray have been indicted by a grand jury. Gray died in April while in police custody, setting off violent protests in Baltimore.

Read more at CNN. Ryu Spaeth

ISIS Crisis
May 21, 2015

The Islamic State on Thursday fortified its hold on Palmyra, seizing a prison and airport while leaving behind a trail of decapitated bodies in the Syrian city it captured one day prior.

After taking over the city, ISIS now controls around half of Syria, according to The New York Times. Palmyra is home to 2,000-year-old ruins that observers fear ISIS will soon destroy and loot.

The fall of Palmyra came days after ISIS seized Ramadi from Iraqi troops, though President Obama, in an interview with The Atlantic, dubbed the losses merely "a tactical setback." Jon Terbush

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