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The Sculpted Head Is Exquisite, but Packs a Mystery

The Free Press WV

An enigmatic sculpture of a king’s head dating back nearly 3,000 years has set off a modern-day mystery caper as scholars try to figure out whose face it depicts. The 2-inch sculpture is an exceedingly rare example of figurative art from the Holy Land during the 9th century BC—a period associated with biblical kings. Exquisitely preserved but for a bit of missing beard, nothing quite like it has been found before. While scholars are certain the stern bearded figure donning a golden crown represents royalty, they are less sure which king it symbolizes, or which kingdom he may have ruled. Archaeologists unearthed the diminutive figurine in 2017 during excavations at a site called Abel Beth Maacah, located just south of Israel’s border with Lebanon, near the modern-day town of Metula, reports the AP.

Nineteenth-century archaeologists identified the site, then home to a village called Abil al-Qamh, with the similarly named city mentioned in the Book of Kings. During the 9th century BC, the ancient town was situated in a liminal zone between three regional powers: the Aramean kingdom based in Damascus to the east, the Phoenician city of Tyre to the west, and the Israelite kingdom, with its capital in Samaria to the south. The field of potential candidates is large. Dig leader Naama Yahalom-Mack posited it could be kings Ben Hadad or Hazael of Damascus, Ahab or Jehu of Israel, or Ithobaal of Tyre. “We’re only guessing here, it’s like a game,“ she said. As scholars debate whether the head was a stand-alone piece or part of a larger statue, the Hebrew University team is set to restart digging this month at the spot where the mystery king’s head was found.

Lightning Strikes on Jupiter Differ From Ours in One Way

The Free Press WV

Astronomers have been intrigued at the notion of lightning strikes on Jupiter since Voyager 1 detected flashes nearly four decades ago, notes Space.com. Now the Juno orbiter has revealed a surprise: Those strikes are more similar to lightning strikes on Earth than previously thought. For one thing, Jupiter’s lightning can strike at the same rate as lightning on Earth—Juno’s more sensitive equipment picked up about six times more strikes than Voyager did, detecting up to four lightning strokes per second, reports Gizmodo. And while Voyager and subsequent NASA spacecraft detected strikes only in the relatively low-frequency kilohertz range, Juno has revealed that Jupiter also has strikes in the higher-frequency megahertz and gigahertz ranges, just like Earth.

“Given the very pronounced differences in the atmospheres between Jupiter and Earth, one might say the similarities we see in their thunderstorms are rather astounding,“ the University of Iowa’s William Kurth, co-author of one of two new studies in Nature, tells Space.com. But Juno also revealed a key difference in the two planets, regarding where the strikes occur. “There is a lot of activity near Jupiter’s poles but none near the equator,“ says NASA scientist Shannon Brown in a release. “You can ask anybody who lives in the tropics—this doesn’t hold true for our planet.“ Among the things to be resolved: why the strikes occur so often at the north pole in particular. Juno has been orbiting Jupiter since 2016, and it will make its 13th flyby over the planet’s clouds on July 16.

Latest Facebook Glitch: Millions of ‘Private’ Posts Made Public

The Free Press WV

Facebook said Thursday that a software bug made some private posts public for as many as 14 million users over several days in May, the AP reports. The problem, which Facebook said it has fixed, is the latest privacy scandal for the world’s largest social media company. It said the bug automatically suggested that users make new posts public, even if they had previously restricted posts to “friends only” or another private setting. If users did not notice the new default suggestion, they unwittingly sent their post to a broader audience than they had intended. Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, said the bug did not affect past posts. Facebook is notifying users who were affected and posted publicly during the time the bug was active, advising them to review their posts. Facebook says the bug was active from May 18 until May 27. While the company says it stopped the error on May 22, it was not able to change all the posts back to their original privacy perimeters until later.

The news follows recent furor over Facebook’s sharing of user data with device makers, including China’s Huawei. The company is also still recovering from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which a Trump-affiliated data-mining firm got access to the personal data of as many as 87 million Facebook users. One professor noted on Twitter that this latest privacy gaffe “looks like a viable Federal Trade Commission/state attorney general deception case.“ That’s because the company had promised that the setting users set in their most recent privacy preferences would be maintained for future posts. In this case, this did not happen for several days. Facebook’s 2011 consent decree with the FTC calls for the company to get “express consent” from users before sharing their information beyond what they established in their privacy settings. Even if the bug was an accident on Facebook’s part, Mayer said in an email that the FTC can bring enforcement action for privacy mistakes.

YouTube Power Couple’s Breakup Video a Phenomenon

It’s 2018, which means that when a 21-year-old and a 22-year-old who have become YouTube stars together break up, they don’t—they can’t—do so privately. And that’s how a six-minute video in which popular comedy vloggers David Dobrik and Liza Koshy tearfully discuss their split became, on Wednesday, the top trending content on YouTube. As the Verge (which calls Koshy and Dobrik “one of the most visible power couples on the platform”) explains for those unfamiliar, Koshy rocketed to YouTube stardom thanks to prank videos often filmed at stores, while Dobrik’s popular video blogs often featured him and Koshy goofing around. Thanks to the intensely public nature of their relationship, it was necessary to come clean to fans about their breakup, which happened six months ago but about which they didn’t feel ready to vlog until now. They had been together since 2015 and have a combined 20+ million YouTube followers, the BBC reports. Their breakup video, appropriately titled “we broke up,“ has received more than 22 million views so far. The coverage is fascinating:

  • The breakup itself: Dobrik says in the video that Koshy broke up with him because she felt they were growing “distant” due to their busy schedules, with which he agreed. Koshy said she also realized she needs to learn to love herself before she can truly love someone else, acknowledging through tears and laughter that the idea is cliche. Both stressed multiple times that they remain best friends. The Huffington Post calls the video “six minutes of forced humor and genuine sadness.“
  • The internet age: Many outlets are commenting on how breakups have evolved thanks to the increased intermingling of the social media lives of romantic partners. “Lovers in 2018 have to think about what it means to merge your brand with someone else’s,“ writes Patricia Hernandez at the Verge. Meanwhile, CNET re-ran its 2017 article, “When breaking up is a public affair,“ in light of the breakup. And Men’s Health went with the headline, “These YouTube Stars Made a Break-Up Video Because Modern Dating Is Super Weird.“
  • The public is brokenhearted: BuzzFeed has a sampling of social media reactions to the breakup, like one person who says it ruined their whole year. And here’s Elite Daily‘s headline: “Liza Koshy & David Dobrik’s Breakup Video Has Emotionally Destroyed Me, Goodbye.“
  • Why so devastated? The New Statesman explains “Why David and Liza are the Ross and Rachel of the digital age,“ noting that their breakup is the type to lead people to wonder, if these two people can’t make it work, “what hope is there for the rest of us?“
  • Will this impact their brands? A social branding expert tells the BBC he doesn’t think their earnings will be hurt by this: “I don’t see the break-up being a negative thing for either of them,“ he says, adding that he doubts there will be any “backlash.“
  • Case in point: StudyBreaks says the video is being praised for its “authenticity” and “maturity.“
  • Not just YouTube: Dobrik and Koshy also addressed their breakup on Instagram (HERE and HERE) and Twitter (HERE and HERE).
  • Getting back together? There’s already talk of a reunion, with a source telling Hollywood Life that friends and family members of the couple are urging them to give their relationship another try.
  • Another big announcement: The day after the breakup video, Koshy posted another video announcing the premiere of her upcoming YouTube series, “Liza on Demand,“ JustJared reports.

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