Archive for March, 2014

Texas-based gun company allows customers to make purchases using bitcoin

Texas-based gun company allows customers to make purchases using bitcoin
Published March 30, 2014


Tracking Point has announced that it is now letting customers buy its firearms using bitcoin. (

A Texas-based gun company has announced that it is now allowing its customers to use bitcoins as payment for its products, which include rifles that it says can hit targets at extreme distances using “jet fighter lock-and-launch technology.”

Although bitcoin is a currency that is notorious for being difficult to trace, buyers still have to undergo background checks before purchasing any firearms, according to TrackingPoint Vice President Oren Schauble. The Austin company is working with payment processor Coinvoice to carry out bitcoin transactions.

“The recent advent and success of cryptocurrency has the potential to redefine our monetary system,” TrackingPoint CEO John Lupher said in a press release.

The rifles are priced beginning at $9,995, which would cost around 22 bitcoins, based off the current exchange rate.

The company says its rifles – which can hit objects 1,000 yards away – tag targets with laser dots and then “calculates an exact firing solution factoring in range, wind, target velocity, shot angle, rifle cant, temperature, barometric pressure and other factors.”

Schauble told Ars Technica that the company is also looking into the possibility of creating a price guarantee to potentially compensate customers who buy rifles during unfavorable fluctuations in the bitcoin exchange rate.

Besides TrackingPoint, another Austin-based gun shop, Central Texas Gun Works, has been accepting bitcoins as payment.

Michael Cargill, the store’s owner, told CNN Money that customers at his store also have to go through background checks before being allowed to purchase firearms, but he has made 20 bitcoin transactions this year alone.

Craft Brewery Releases Beer Made With Goat Brains

American craft brewing just got a little stranger, and a little less animal-friendly. The brewsters at Philadelphia’s Dock Street Brewing Co. have announced the release of a new beer inspired by AMC’s zombie smash hit “The Walking Dead”: an American Pale Stout made with wheat, oats, flaked barley, organic cranberry and, of course, smoked goat brains. Yes, that’s right — smoked goat brains.

According to a press release, the line of thinking underpinning the brewery’s decision was, “Screw it, let’s use brains!”:

Gourmet mushrooms and potentially hallucinogenic herbs are one thing, but smoked brains… really? Believe it or not, much of the world considers brain to be a true delicacy. Think Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but not ridiculous. Many also believe that using every part of an animal not only increases and encourages sustainability, but also honors the animal’s life and death.

Apparently, consuming an animal’s brain is also a way to honor one’s favorite television show. Dock Street Brewing Co. says their new brew is “quite possibly the smartest beer you’ll ever drink” — and we already know that goats are smarter than we’re wont to give them credit for being — but it’s unclear if there are benefits to adding the organ to beer.

Guy Replaces Food With Beer for Lent

Guy Replaces Food With Beer for Lent
Canadian Chris Schryer is surviving on a special brew
By John Johnson, Newser Staff

Posted Mar 29, 2014 7:29 AM CDT

(Newser) – It’s 40 days and 40 nights of … beer? A Canadian man is giving it a shot for Lent, reports the National Post. Chris Schryer, 33, has sworn off solid food in favor of a calorie-laden brew called dopplebock. Time notes that he is supplementing a bit with water, juice, and tea to stay hydrated and, well, sober, but it’s the beer that is quite literally keeping him alive. Schryer is about halfway through his unusual fast, which he is writing about at his TorontoBeerBlog. “Without being dramatic, it definitely is not fun; it’s challenging,” he says. “Every meal time there’s challenge.”

Generally, Schryer has a bottle for breakfast, another for lunch, and a larger one at dinner. But this isn’t the frat-boyish stunt it might sound like at first blush. Schryer is a devout Anglican, and in a Huffington Post column, he explains that he sees Lent as a time of spiritual “training.” He chose to forgo food as his method and used his knowledge of beer to make it happen—with help from a Toronto brewery that whipped up a special batch with extra oatmeal. “One thing is clear,” writes a columnist for the QMI News Agency. “Drinking all day is not fun and games.” (In other odd beer stories, click to read about a man whose gut is essentially a natural brewery.)

Goats are way smarter than you thought, study finds

Goats are way smarter than you thought, study finds


Published March 29, 2014

Goats aren’t known for being the Einsteins of the animal kingdom, but they’re highly adaptable to challenging environments—and that may be because they’re a lot smarter than researchers had believed, reports.

Scientists in London and Switzerland gave goats what they called a “complex foraging task,” per their paper published in Frontiers in Zoology: First, the animals had to pull on a rope to get at a lever.

Next, they had to lift that lever to get a fruity snack, the Smithsonian reports. Nine of 12 goats tested were able to learn to do so within four tries.

Two others tried to cheat using their horns, while one poor sap simply couldn’t figure it out after 22 tries. Ten months later, the nine champs were given the task again.

Seems they hadn’t forgotten what they’d learned: They all got to the fruit within about a minute. “Our results challenge the common misconception that goats aren’t intelligent animals; they have the ability to learn complex tasks and remember them for a long time,” says the study’s co-author.

“This could explain why they are so successful in colonizing new environments, though we would need to perform a similar study with wild goats to be sure.” Speaking of goat smarts, Smithsonian notes that some goats in Morocco are known to climb trees, and they’re not the only animal to surprisingly do so.
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Did the story of Noah really happen?

Did the story of Noah really happen?

By Christopher Snyder

Published March 28, 2014

The story of Noah’s flood in the Bible’s Old Testament has been popular for centuries, but the opening of the big-budget Hollywood film “Noah” has reignited fascination. Religious scholars and pundits are asking, did the flood actually happen?

In an interview with Fox News’ Lauren Green, author Larry Stone gave his take on the biblical story. Stone is the author of “Noah, The Real Story,” an account of both the flood and search for Noah’s ark centuries later.

There are over 300 different ancient accounts of flood stories. Stone explained how these reports come from all over the globe.

“Floods do happen all over the world and some say that’s why there are so many flood stories,” Stone said. “But the other alternative is that all these flood stories all over the world are a collective memory of one great, worldwide flood.”

He points out that up until the early 20th century, geologists believed floods of any size couldn’t have tremendous devastation on a global scale. “Yet a geologist found evidence out in the Western United States in the Northwest … that yes, the floods can affect the world,” Stone said.

Stone said there are three scenarios that could explain the flood told in Noah’s story: a “freak flood” on the Euphrates River in Ancient Samaria, Mediterranean Sea floods into the Black Sea, or a substantial flood that covered the world.

Each possibility, Stone says, can relate to actual geological or climate patterns noted in our world’s history.

Watch the full interview above for Larry Stone’s explanation of the three scenarios.