Trending December 2023 # This Giant Demon Plant Gives You Burns If You Touch It, And It’s Spreading # Suggested January 2024 # Top 20 Popular

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This horrifying nightmare of a plant mostly grows in the northeastern part of the U.S., but recently it’s been spreading. Folks recently found a patch of giant hogweed in Virginia, considerably farther south than the plant has crept in the past. Unlike many other invasive species, it’s not just harmful to the environment—it’s directly harmful to humans.

The demon plant otherwise known as giant hogweed isn’t physically hot, and doesn’t even contain a chemical that causes an immediate burn. It hurts you in a more sinister way. Giant hogweed releases a sap containing chemicals called furanocoumarins, which sensitize human skin (as well as that of many other animals) to sunlight. And we’re not just talking about a little extra redness if you stay out in the sun all day—we’re talking probably the worst sunburn you’ve had in your life (seriously, go look at those pictures). The reaction depends a lot on how much sap you get on your skin, how much you’re sweating, and how hot the day is (moisture and heat make it worse). Within 15 to 30 minutes of contact with the plant, you’ll start to feel the reaction, and then you’ll keep burning for another couple hours. The burns can be so severe that it takes months for affected skin to heal fully.

Furanocoumarins are so effective at giving us sunburn because they basically act via a similar mechanism. Sunburns are our skin’s reaction to getting DNA damage from ultraviolet radiation in sunlight. This is why severe sunburns give you peeling skin—the cells are dying from the genetic damage they’ve suffered, and as they die they flake off. Furanocoumarins react with DNA when under UV-A radiation, and are able to produce a bunch of cross-links between DNA bases that shouldn’t be there. These linkages prevent the normal cellular machinery from accessing genetic information the cell needs to continue living, and though it’s possible to repair some cross-links, the cell will probably die. All that cell death produces a lot of inflammation and activity as your body ferries away bits of waste and regrows missing parts of your skin, which is where all that redness and irritation comes from.

Giant hogweed is a particularly nasty example of furanocoumarins at work, but it’s not the only one. Limes also do it. So do grapefruits and carrots and several other fruits and veggies. They all just do it to a much lesser degree. But if you’re a person who handles those kinds of produce a lot, like bartenders who handle limes daily or workers picking celery, you may find that you develop a rash—that’s the furanocoumarins at work.

It takes a lot of produce handling to give you any kind of rash, but just one brush against a giant hogweed plant can give you a serious burn.

Beware the hogweed. Gavin Edmondstone

It is possible to stave off most of the reaction if you realize you’ve come in contact with one of the plants. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recommends that you wash the whole area with soap and cold water (remember that heat makes it worse!) and stay out of the sunlight for 48 hours. If you do get a reaction, see a doctor—they might recommend a topical steroid that can help. Here’s the kicker, though: you may also have to keep the affected area out of sunlight for a few years—apparently the reactivity can stick around for that long. So if you got it on your hand say hello to summertime gloves as your new go-to accessory.

The best thing to do is to avoid giant hogweed in the first place. In the U.S., growth is mostly confined to the northeast (and, as of recently, Virginia), but it’s also been spotted as far west as Oregon and Washington. It’s an invasive plant, having been brought over to North America as a decorative garden ornament. To be fair, it is quite striking. But let that be a tool to identify it, not a reason to plant it in your yard.

Giant hogweed can grow to be anywhere from 7 to 14 feet tall (yes, seriously) and has umbrella-shaped clusters of white flowers that can be up to 2.5 feet across. Individual leaves can be 5 feet wide. The real tell-tale sign is the stem, which is covered in purple splotches and thick, white hairs. Unfortunately there are lots of plants that look a lot like giant hogweed, mostly because other hogweed plants have a similar look. Some of the relatives also have furanocoumarins, so you should steer clear no matter what, but to tell the difference it’s often best to look at the stem and the flower clusters. The flowers should grow in a rounded shape rather than with a flat top, and there should be many tiny flowers rather than about a dozen larger ones. There’s a complete guide here as well.

If you spot the plant, don’t try to remove it yourself. Call your state’s department of conservation and let them do it safely. To fully get rid of the plant you need to take out the whole root and make sure you don’t accidentally spread any seeds, on top of avoiding the sap, so it’s best left to the professionals.

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If You Can Imagine It, This Ai Generator Will Draw It

There are now a lot of AI image generators which will produce images based on text descriptions. This means you can dream up anything at all, type it in and mere seconds later see a selection of images matching that description.

For example, the image at the top was generated using the description “steam train going across a curved viaduct on rolling green hills with a river running below, cloudy blue skies.”

But you can go into as much detail as you like. For example, the following produced these variations “A beach on a cloudy day. In the distance, people are walking towards cliffs in the background”.


Or even “1970s Porsche racing car on track leading a pack of period cars with crowds of spectators in stands in the background”.


AI is good at generating images of people. For example “a 35 year old IT officer working at his desk, wearing glasses and a blue blazer” led to this:


These generators vary in quality and usually allow you to generate only a few images before you have to pay to use their services.

But it’s fun to do, and well worth trying out as there’s every chance you’ll be blown away by the results.

Regardless of which generator you decide to use, the process is the same: type a detailed description of what you want. The longer that description, the better.


Shorter descriptions can still generate incredible images, as demonstrated by the birds above, but they may not be quite what you wanted. Plus, AI isn’t human – duh! –  so although some of the images appear flawless, others have clear errors, and AI struggles with text in particular.

Really, you also need to specify the style of image you want. That’s because the AI needs to understand whether you want a photorealistic images, a cartoon, a sketch or something else. If you don’t specify, it may choose at random.

Since the images are created by powerful servers, you can use these generators on whatever device you have: a phone, laptop, tablet or PC.

Some generators are available only as mobile apps, but others work in a web browser. Here are some to try out now.

Midjourney – Runs on Discord

Fotor – works in a browser

Photoleap – Android and iPhone

DALL-E – works in a browser

DALL-E is one of the best known, and is from the same people – OpenAI – that made ChatGPT. Unfortunately, its popularity means it’s all but impossible to use: we could barely create an account without the website falling over, presumably due to being overloaded.

However, Midjourney stands out from the crowd, partly because of the sheer quality of the images it creates, but also because you’re given 25 minutes of GPU time for free: you’re not restricted to a specific number of images.

The only snag is that it uses Discord, which can be a little bewildering to use if you’re not familiar with it. You’ll also need to create a Discord account if you don’t have one.

How to use Midjourney


Create a Discord account


Join the server


Find a Newbie room


Generate an image


In the message box at the bottom type /imagine and press Enter. A prompt box will appear. Type into this any description you like and press Enter. Here we’ve typed ‘photorealistic close-up of a stained glass bird’


Wait for your image


Specify aspect ratio


If you don’t want a square image, you need to tell Midjourney the aspect ratio you want. Do this by adding -—ar 16:9 if you want a TV-sized image. You can specify any ratio, including the common ones such as 3:2, 4:3 and 3:4.


Find your images


Wow! Google Gives You Some Tips And Tricks About Android (2.3!)

So, let’s check out what (Googler) Jonathan Rosenberg, Senior Vice President, Product Management, gave us under the various hoods named as Tips, Keyboard Tricks and Applications (in official words, below):


Visual cue for scrolling: When you are in a scrollable list (like your Gmail inbox) and you reach the end of the list it shows an orange hue—a visual cue that you can’t scroll anymore.

Notification bar icons (Wi-Fi, network coverage bars, etc.): Turn green when you have an uninhibited connection to Google, white when you don’t. Hint: if you’re in a hotel or airport using Wi-Fi, the bars won’t turn green until you launch the browser and get past the captive portal.

Voice actions: Tell your phone what to do by pressing the microphone icon next to the search box on the home screen, or long press the magnifying glass. You can tell it to send an email or text message (“send text to mom, see you for pizza at 7”), call someone (“call mom”), navigate somewhere (“navigate to pizza”), or listen to music (“listen to Mamma Mia”).

Look at Maps in 3D: With the latest release of Google Maps, you can now look at 3D maps. Tilt the map by sliding two fingers vertically up/down the screen, and rotate it by placing two fingers on the map and sliding in a circular motion, e.g., from 12 and 6 o’clock to 3 and 9.

Cool shutdown effect: When you put the phone to sleep, you’ll see an animation that resembles an old cathode tube TV turning off.

Keyboard tricks

Shift+Key to capitalize a word: In Gingerbread (and supported hardware), you can Shift+Key to capitalize a letter instead of going to a separate all caps keyboard.

Auto-complete: The space bar lights up when auto-complete can finish a word.

Quick replace: Tap on any previously typed word, then tap on a suggestion to automatically replace it with the suggested word.

Easy access to special characters (like numbers, punctuation): Press and hold any key to go to the special character keyboard. You can also press and hold the “,” key for an extensive punctuation keyboard.


Angry Birds: Popular game that lets you knock down blocks by slingshotting birds.

Flash: Install from Android Market to watch Flash videos embedded throughout the web. Runs even better on Gingerbread.

Fruit Ninja: A juicy action game that tests your ability to smash flying fruit. A fun time-killer on the bus or train.

Instant Heart Rate: Measure your heart rate using your camera.

Phoneanlyzr: Track your phone usage: who you text most, call most, average call length distribution, etc.

RemoteDroid: Control your computer from your phone. Gives you a mobile wireless mouse and keyboard. Great if you’re using your computer for music or movies.

Shazam: Identifies virtually any song you are listening to.

SoundHound: Record a snippet of a song and get it identified instantly. You can even hum (if you can carry a tune!).

Tango: A free, high-quality video call app that works on both 3G and Wi-Fi. If your device has a front facing camera (e.g., Nexus S), you will love this app.

If that was all too easy for you and you felt kind of been there done that, here is a bit of hack you would really feel proud about: an android market (v2.2.7) in black, blue or red color.

Source: Official Google Blog

Overclock Your Smartphone, If You Dare

WARNING: Overclocking is not for the faint of heart. Do not attempt to hack your phone unless you understand and accept the risks of turning it into a useless “brick.”

However, Android phones typically allow everything from overclocking the processor for speed boosts to installing entirely different operating systems.

We have open source to thank for such cell phone hacks; the fact Android is built on Linux allows people to view the code and make modifications entirely legally, albeit without the blessing of handset manufacturers.

Of all the tweaks, overclocking–which involves tweaking the phone’s processor to run at a higher clock rate than its maker intended–seems to offer significant rewards. A previously laggy phone can be turned into a truly responsive handset and for a zero-dollar outlay.

But is it wise to overclock a phone that cost several hundred dollars and is tied to a lengthy and expensive contract?

The question might seem to answer itself, but the real-world issues to consider are heat generation and decreased battery life between charges. After all, some phones struggle with these problems at stock speeds set by manufacturers.

Although warnings are always given about possible hardware damage arising via overclocking, most PCs get away with it provided adequate cooling is provided. Essentially, the faster a chip runs, the more heat gets generated.

In most cases you can set upper and lower clock speeds for your phone, and the phone will scale between the two extremes depending on user demands. It’s even possible to under-clock to stretch out battery life, although the phone may be punishingly slow to use.

However, while overclocking presents risks, they’re nothing compared to installing a custom firmware. If anything goes wrong there’s a real chance your phone will become little more than an expensive paperweight. For obvious reasons this is known as “bricking” a phone. You upgrade at your own risk, and should only do so with the power lead attached to the phone. Double and triple-check to make sure you have the correct files for your make, model, and perhaps even hardware revision of phone, if applicable.

You might lose any data stored in the phone, such as text messages and contacts, so perform a backup beforehand.

The Profiles section of the app lets you set CPU speeds for various phone modes. You can set the phone to always run overclocked when the charger is attached, for example, or ramp down the speeds when battery life goes below 50 percent. Many users claim they’ve even extended their battery life by setting very low CPU speeds for “Screen Off” periods, when the phone goes into hibernation mode after it’s been slipped into a pocket or bag, for example.

When overclocking watch out for the heat issue, which might take a few minutes to show after the change has been made. Try doing processor-intensive tasks, such as browsing Websites with a lot of content, for example, or playing video files.

If you decide overclocking isn’t for you, it should be possible to perform a factory restore by resinstalling your phone’s original firmware. Visit the phone manufacturer’s Website for details.

Keir Thomas has been writing about computing since the last century, and more recently has written several best-selling books. You can learn more about him at

and his Twitter feed is


How To Enable Directx 12 Ultimate & Use It If It’s Disabled

How to Enable DirectX 12 Ultimate & Use It if It’s Disabled Learn how to turn on a disabled DirectX 12 Ultimate, the newest iteration of the API




One of the first things you can do is ensure your Windows PC platform is fully updated in order to avoid

DX12 is not supported on your system.

How to use DirectX 12 Ultimate?

To use DirectX 12 Ultimate on Windows, you must ensure that you have the latest drivers installed.



To fix Windows PC system issues, you will need a dedicated tool

Fortect is a tool that does not simply cleans up your PC, but has a repository with several millions of Windows System files stored in their initial version. When your PC encounters a problem, Fortect will fix it for you, by replacing bad files with fresh versions. To fix your current PC issue, here are the steps you need to take:

Download Fortect and install it on your PC.

Start the tool’s scanning process to look for corrupt files that are the source of your problem

Fortect has been downloaded by


readers this month.

What is DirectX 12 Ultimate? DirectX 12 is Microsoft’s multimedia API (application programming interface) for rendering game and video graphics and playing audio.

That API is primarily for Windows 10, supporting older DirectX 11, 10, and 9 versions.

Windows 10 doesn’t include any specific option for enabling DirectX 12 Ultimate. However, you can do a few things to ensure you have the latest DirectX 12 version installed.

Furthermore, you might also need to configure specific in-game settings to enable DirectX 12 for some games. This guide will give you some quick ways to enable DirectX 12 Ultimate on your PC.

Can I get DirectX 12 Ultimate?

One important criterion to get DirectX 12 Ultimate is ensuring that your PC is running Windows 10 version Version 2004 or higher to be eligible to install DirectX 12 Ultimate.

If your PC isn’t the version mentioned above, then you can only install DirectX 12.

What are DirectX 12 Ultimate requirements?

Windows 10, version 2004 or above

Windows 10 SDK, version 2004

AMD Radeon RX 6000 series

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 series

You can head over to the official Microsoft website for more complete details.

Do I have DirectX 12 Ultimate?

How do I enable DirectX 12 Ultimate on my computer? 1. Enable DirectX 12 for Windows 7

A few select Windows 7 games, such as World of Warcraft, support DirectX 12. You can enable DX12 for selected Windows 7 games by ensuring your NVIDIA or AMD GPU has the most up-to-date driver.

Some users might also need to update GPU drivers to enable DX12 Ultimate in Windows 10. To ensure your graphics card driver is up-to-date, run a driver updater utility software.

Keeping all drivers up-to- date and error-free is the key to play intense games without any crashes, lags, or freezes.

Since manual checks are challenging to do, we suggest using an automated assistant that will regularly check for new driver versions. Here is how to use it:

Download Outbyte Driver Updater.

Launch it on your PC to find all the problematic drivers.

Restart your PC for the changes to take effect.

Outbyte Driver Updater

Do not let a faulty driver disrupt your gaming experience, use Outbyte Driver Updater to run them without any issues.

Free trial Download now

Disclaimer: this program needs to be upgraded from the free version in order to perform some specific actions.

2. How to enable DirectX 12 Ultimate in Windows 10

Expert tip:

However, you might still need to configure some games to utilize Direct12’s graphics settings. Below are two examples of how to enable DX12 for Fortnite and Battlefront 2.

Although a DirectX End-User Runtime Web Installer is available, that only reinstalls DX9, 10, and 11. Therefore, to enable DirectX12 on your Windows 10, you must follow the guidelines described above.

However, you might still need to configure some games to utilize Direct12’s graphics settings. Below are two examples of how to enable DX12 for Fortnite and Battlefront 2.


If you wonder how to download DirectX 12 Ultimate on Windows 11 , we’ve got you covered with our dedicated article.

3. Enable DirectX 12 for Fortnite

As you can see, it’s simple to enable DirectX 12 in Fortnite, as long as you follow the instructions from above.

4. Enable DirectX 12 for Battlefront 2

This is the only way to enable DirectX 12 in Battlefront 2, so try it out.

We also have an article on how to fix Battlefront 2 error codes that you can check out.

Is DirectX 12 and DirectX 12 Ultimate the same?

DirectX 12 Ultimate is the newest version of DirectX and is considered a gold standard for new-age gaming and is different from DirectX 12.

It comes equipped with a new API version and supports ray tracing, mesh shaders, variable rate shading, and sampler feedback; all meant to take the gaming experience to the next level.

We hope that this article helped you enable DirectX 12 Ultimate on your devices and games.

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Nearshore Outsourcing: What Is It And How Do You Use It?

“Outsourcing” refers to contracting work to an outside party like a freelancer or a BPO organization. Services like software development and customer assistance that fall outside of a company’s core strength or would be too costly to handle in-house are examples of the kinds of tasks that are commonly outsourced in particular sectors. However, delivery time, service costs, and accessibility can affect where you choose to outsource.

Nearshore Outsourcing

Nearshore outsourcing, in its most basic form, is working with a contractor based in a neighboring nation rather than staffing in-house. Below, we’ll compare it with onshore and offshore outsourcing to better understand the differences. A corporation in the United States may, for instance, contract with an outsourcing provider located in Mexico, Honduras, or another Latin American country.

Western European companies sometimes seek to outsource software development to Eastern European countries like Romania. In addition to saving money, nearshore outsourcing also improves productivity. Finding an outsourcing partner in a neighboring nation might save money compared to working with a local service provider.

Also read:

Top 10 Best Artificial Intelligence Software

How Do You Use It?

The first step in nearshore outsourcing is determining the tasks that will be outsourced. An on-demand outsourcing approach allows you to hire workers whenever you need them, making it ideal for handling low volumes of jobs like customer service inquiries. This might help reduce labor expenses and facilitate periodic staffing adjustments.

However, suppose you’re a young company with sophisticated outsourcing requirements. In that case, you might want a separate team that deals only with your company and works closely with your in-house employees. This guarantees that your nearshore partners are accessible throughout your business hours and aren’t juggling too many tasks simultaneously.

Distinguishing Between Nearshore and Offshore Outsourcing

How about expanding your search to include offshore outsourcing and nearshore service providers? It all comes down to what you value most and what your business aims to grow. Labor expenses in nearshore locales like Brazil and Argentina can be cheaper than in popular outsourcing hubs in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, supporting employees in different time zones allows you to provide service to customers around the clock. Real-time cooperation might be difficult when people are in different time zones.

Final Thoughts

After learning the answer to “what is nearshore outsourcing?” and how it works, you can better evaluate whether or not this strategy is suitable for your business. Nearshore outsourcing might be the best option for a company looking to save expenses and boost the quality of its contact center. A good nearshore call center will have enthusiastic and competent representatives, making you feel good about having them represent your company.

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