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Why You Should Stop Trying to Find Your Soulmate—And What to Do Instead
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Relationship experts discuss why looking for your soulmate might be a lost cause and offer insights on what you can do instead.
Friend Who Helped Boston Bomber Get Rid of Evidence Deported to Kazakhstan
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Dias Muratovich Kadyrbayev was sentence to six year in federal prison for throwing away Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's computer and backpack.
These Races for Governor Are Really Tight — And Could Impact You Even If You Don't Live There
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Here are the governor's races to watch in the 2018 midterms
Police Say Saudi Sisters Found Duct Taped in the Hudson River Would 'Rather Commit Suicide than Return to Saudi Arabia'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
"There are still gaps to fill in," Shea said. "This is a tragedy all the away around, we want to get justice for the victims. At this point in time, everything we've seen thus far leads to something other than a crime taking place, but were not ruling it out. "
Genetic code of every animal and plant on Earth to be mapped to end extinction
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The genetic code of all 1.5 million known species of animals, plants and fungi living on Earth will be mapped to save help species from extinction and boost human health. In a multi-billion pound collaboration involving scientific institutes from around the globe the genomes of all eukaryotic species - organisms with complex cell structures - will be sequenced to learn more about their biology. It could also help bring them back from the dead if they do go extinct. Scientists are already attempting to use the stored DNA from the northern white rhino to restore the species, which became functionally extinct earlier this year with the death of the last male. And researchers at Harvard University have used genetic sequencing to map the genome of the extinct wooly mammoth in the hope it could be resurrected. Scientists also hope that unpicking the genetic code from plants could help uncover new treatments for infectious diseases, slow ageing, improve crops and agriculture, and create new bio-materials. In Britain, organisations including the Natural History Museum, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and the Wellcome Sanger Institute have joined forces to sequence Britain’s 66,000 species of animals, plants, protozoa and fungi. Dubbed the Darwin Tree of Life Project it is expected to take ten years and cost £100 million. Once completed all the information will be publically available to researchers. Professor Sir Mike Stratton, Director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said: “Globally, more than half of the vertebrate population has been lost in the past 40 years, and 23,000 species face the threat of extinction in the near future. “Using the biological insights we will get from the genomes of all eukaryotic species, we can look to our responsibilities as custodians of life on this planet, tending life on Earth in a more informed manner using those genomes, at a time when nature is under considerable pressure, not least from us.”   Britain is embarking on the Darwin Tree of Life project to sequence 66,000 animals and plants  Credit: Andrew Brookes Many scientists believe that Earth has now entered the sixth mass extinction with humans have created a toxic mix of habitat loss, pollution and climate change, which has already led to the loss of at least 77 species of mammals, 140 types of bird since and 34 amphibians since 1500. They include creatures like the dodo, Steller’s Sea Cow, the Falkland Islands wolf, the quagga, the Formosan clouded leopard, the Atlas bear, the Caspian tiger and the Cape lion. It is the biggest loss of species since the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction which wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. The Wellcome Sanger Institute already has a head start, after beginning a project to sequence the genomes of 25 of Britain’s species earlier this year, including red and grey squirrels, the European robin, the Fen raft spider and the blackberry. Scientists say that sequencing every eukaryotic species will revolutionise the understanding of biology and evolution, bolster efforts to conserve as well has helping protect and restore biodiversity. The project could save species from extinction and even help bring them back Credit:  Leon Neal Getty Dr Tim Littlewood, Head of Life Sciences Department at the Natural History Museum, said: “Whether you are interested in food, disease, or speciation, the history of how every organism on the planet has diverged and adapted to its environment is recorded in its genetic makeup. “How you then harness that is dependent on your ability to understand it.  “We will be using modern methods to get a really good window on the present and the past. And of course a window on the past gives you a prospective model on the future.” Sir Jim Smith, Director of Science at Wellcome, said: “Try as a I might I can’t think of a more exciting more relevant more timely or more internationally inspirational project or one that will create such a legacy for scientists in the future. “Since 1970, humanity has wiped out 60 per cent of animal populations. About 23,000 of 80,000 species surveyed are approaching extinction. “We are in the midst of the sixth great extinction event of life on our planet, which not only threatens wildlife species but also imperils the global food supply. “As scientists we all realise we desperately need to catalogue life on our fragile planet now.I think we’re making history.”
Saudis host WWE wrestlers in shadow of critic's murder
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Greased-up and trash-talking WWE stars clashed on Friday at the Crown Jewel extravaganza in Riyadh, which took place in the shadow of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Wrestling stars such as Shane McMahon, Seth Rollins and AJ Style brawled and snarled in the ring, sending a roar rippling through a soccer stadium packed with thousands of fans in Riyadh's King Saud University. The evening offered little trace of the raging crisis over the killing of Khashoggi –- a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman -- inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
What a troubled power plant tells us about the future of nuclear energy in the U.S.
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Nuclear energy in the United States is at an impasse. American reliance on nuclear power has steadily increased from 11 percent to 30 percent of the country’s electrical output since the 1970s. However, three decades have gone by without a successful attempt to build any modern reactors, a fact that threatens the country’s position as world’s largest producer of nuclear power. And that matters in the battle against global warming. According to some proponents of nuclear energy, if the U.S. pulls back even more on nuclear power, it's possible that efforts to curb climate change could fall flat. "We need all renewable technologies. If the U.S. lost nuclear, it would be a global loss in the fight to mitigate against climate change," nuclear engineer Todd Allen said in an interview.  SEE ALSO: Recycling in the United States is in serious trouble. How does it work? Nuclear power, unlike most things in the U.S., is a talking point that both sides of the political spectrum champion, even though members of the public are less enthusiastic about it, polls show.  Republican and Democratic senators alike support expanding nuclear power, and even President Donald Trump has stated his support for it. So why then, with all of this federal support, is nuclear in the United States an endangered energy source? The answer might lie in Georgia. Plant Vogtle is a 2-unit nuclear power plant located in  Waynesboro, Georgia.Image: Pallava Bagla/Corbis via Getty ImagesBetween 2006 and 2008, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the construction of four brand new nuclear reactors. The plan was to add two reactors each to the Alvin W. Vogtle Plant in Waynesboro, Georgia and Virgil C. Summer in Jenkinsville, South Carolina.  The projects were supposed to be America’s attempt at building a brand new style of advanced nuclear power reactors called the AP1000 — the first of which was successfully built by China at the end of September 2018.  Instead, the projects have become a stain on the country's otherwise outstanding reputation in nuclear energy; one that may never come out.  In July 2017, the South Carolina project failed. Project owners SCANA and Santee Cooper realized how behind schedule the project was and effectively tossed out the $16 billion investment, scrapping the power plant and triggering an FBI investigation in the process.   Georgia’s Plant Vogtle is not faring much better.  Investigations through the Georgia Public Services Commission — which oversees telecommunications, electric, and natural gas services — revealed that Georgia Power claimed that 60 percent of Plant Vogtle was complete, when the project was truly only 36 percent complete nearly a decade into construction.  Plant Vogtle is also $13 billion over the proposed budget. Bringing the project's price tag to a staggering $27 billion and counting.  Vogtle was meant to be the site of the rebirth of nuclear power, but the project has been riddled with issues.Image: Pallava bagla/Corbis via Getty ImagesEarly on in the Georgia investigation, chairman Stan Wise admitted that abandoning the project was on the table, saying in a statement that “it’s possible…that Plant Vogtle just doesn’t get finished at all.” Opponents of nuclear power have long held that the power source is too expensive and takes too much time.  In the case of Vogtle and Summer, that seems to be true. “You can’t ignore the time and the cost it takes to develop a new nuclear reactor design. There’s no cheap and dirty way to build nuclear power,” physicist and nuclear expert Edwin Lyman said in an interview.  He and his colleagues at the Union of Concerned Scientists have become some of the leading skeptics of nuclear energy expansion.  “There are a lot of people out there saying we need nuclear power to mitigate climate change. But we are already in such a deep hole with carbon emissions that what it would take to avert a two degree increase... you’ve gotta say we’re not going to get there by building nuclear power plants,” Lyman said.  “How are you going to build 1,000 [reactors] around the world in the next 20 years?” Lyman asked.  And we might not even have that much time. A report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that we have less than 20 years to avert the worst effects from climate change. According to the report, carbon pollution would have to be cut by 45 percent by 2030 to keep the planet from warming 2 degrees Celsius — a temperature that scientists warn will devastate ecosystems. Electricity production accounts for the largest portion of carbon pollution at 32 percent in the United States.  In theory, nuclear energy expansion is one of the best options to reduce carbon emissions since it releases almost no CO2. In practice, it's more complex. Construction of the new reactors could be the first step to the modernization of nuclear energy in the United States.Image: Corbis via Getty ImagesWhen it comes to big power plant projects, at least in the United States, there has to be public support since consumers pay for a portion of the project costs. But Americans do not have the stomach for anything nuclear near their homes, even if it is the safest form of energy production. Adding more time and more money to a project that has teetering public support is dangerous. Georgians may not have the stomach for another 10 years of construction.  And if the plant isn't finished, the public will certainly turn against undertaking any more projects of this magnitude. The Atlanta Journal Constitution, a local news source, has found that residents are already starting to turn their backs now.  Also, nuclear power plants provide well-paying jobs. If Vogtle fails, the 7,000 promised jobs will fall through, leaving those who traveled the country to work stranded, according to a tweet from state governor Nathan Deal.  In a larger sense, a failure would signal to leadership both here and around the world that the United States is not able to modernize its nuclear capabilities.  SEE ALSO: The rise of renewable energy will change everything “We would be proving that we can’t build a plant on time. Which means that if we can’t figure it out ourselves, we will have to buy them from another country,” Allen said.  That country could be China, which is poised to open another 15 nuclear facilities in the next decade and has been licensed to begin building another 30. So in a sense, the future of nuclear energy in the United States depends on Plant Vogtle's success.  “There’s a lot of money committed to Vogtle. They’ve got loans from DOE. It’s the last nuclear new build project in the U.S. and everything seems to be back on track. [The co-owners] all seem to be committed,” Allen said.  If they finish, no one is going to look back and think the project was pretty, he said, but at least it will be done.  Plant Vogtle already has two older generation nuclear reactors in operation.Image: Corbis via Getty ImagesDespite all of the bad, Vogtle is meant to be good.  “Each of the power plants should be able to roughly be able to supply electricity to roughly 1.75 million houses,” nuclear and radiation engineer Steve Biegalski said. The energy from Vogtle would help to displace energy from coal-fired power plants, which is the third largest energy source in Georgia.  “Over the lifetime of the power plants, 300 million tons of CO2 admissions will be displaced from the atmosphere,” Biegalski said.  Nuclear energy emits even less carbon than other renewables like solar power. And if we plan on stopping climate change, we will need every tool in the tool shed, Allen explained.  “Climate is the issue, not technological favoritism,” Allen said. “There’s no need to throw out renewable sources totally." SEE ALSO: The most damning conclusions from the UN's special climate change report “In order to go low carbon, you can’t ignore any [renewable] source... There is market space for all sources,” Allen explained.  As projects become successful, companies will be able to learn from other mistakes and projects will take less and less time Biegalski explained.  Basically, there is hope.  Even Lyman, who is skeptical of nuclear energy, believes there is a chance.  "If [Plant Vogtle] can really rein in the management problems and construction issues, they might finish building," he said.  But if they don't do it now, Waynesboro, Georgia could be the final resting place of nuclear power in the United States. WATCH: This company is creating a fusion reactor, which is how stars produce energy
Christian Woman Spared From Death Sentence in Pakistan Plans to Leave the Country
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A Christian woman acquitted in Pakistan after eight years on death row for blasphemy plans to leave the country, her family said
High court declines to extend halt to climate change lawsuit
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Friday declined for now to stop a lawsuit filed by young activists who say the government isn't doing enough to prevent climate change. But the high court told the Trump administration that the government can still petition a lower court to dismiss the case as the government had asked the high court to do.
Ilana Glazer Cancels Event at New York Temple After It Was Defaced With Anti
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
"I can’t put these 200 people, who came to listen in a safe space—I can’t put them in that danger."
Trump's target audience for migrant caravan scare tactics: Women
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
The president makes the case that the Central American migrant caravan is an issue that will lure female voters to the polls.
'Everything Feels More Intense.' The Game of Thrones Cast Discusses Ramped Up Season 8
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Every aspect of the show was ramped up a notch
Maryland's Firing of Football Coach DJ Durkin Marks a Watershed Moment for Athlete Activism
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Maryland fired head football coach DJ Durkin one day after reinstating him
Bohemian Rhapsody Doesn't Straightwash Freddie Mercury. But Is It Edgy Enough?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
In an attempt to cover all the bases, Bohemian Rhapsody sometimes drops the ball.
Paleontologists discover new sauropod species in Argentina
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A team of Spanish and Argentine paleontologists have discovered the remains of a dinosaur that lived 110 million years ago in the center of the country, the National University of La Matanza revealed Friday. The remains came from three separate dinosaurs from the herbivorous group of sauropods, the best known of which are the Diplodocus and Brontosaurus. "We found most of the cranial bones: the snout, the jaws, a lot of teeth, also the bones that define the eye sockets for example and, in that way, we were able to create an almost complete reconstruction," said Jose Luis Carballido, a researcher at the Egidio Feruglio museum and the national council of scientific investigations.
Watch the Moment a Damaged Sensor Caused the Soyuz Rocket to Fail
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The moment everything went wrong in the near-disaster.
Obama on the stump in Florida: 'They're coming after your health care'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
The former president calls out Republicans over what he sees as their hypocrisy on protecting people with preexisting conditions.
Battle for the soccer
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
The congressional race between Republican Lena Epstein and Democrat Haley Stevens in suburban Detroit is a model for the battle for the key demographic of white, college-educated, suburban women.
RISE UP: CELEBRATING YOUTH LEADERS – Marley Dias, age 13
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
For our fifth and final installment, we talk to 13-year-old Marley Dias of West Orange, NJ. Marley Dias has been in love with books for as long as she can remember, and thanks to some help from Mom and Dad, was exposed to various fables and adventures involving people of diverse backgrounds. One day over lunch with her mother, Marley revealed how she felt about the lack of diversity in the books available at school and how she felt the need to do something about it.
Montana woman rescues wandering llama from Yellowstone park
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — A pack llama that escaped from a guided hike in southern Yellowstone National Park in August was rescued by a Montana outfitter last weekend, just days before most of the park's entrances were to close for winter preparations.
A record in ‘diversity’ of candidates
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
It’s taken a civil war and other struggles but America’s democracy is now clearly more welcoming of diversity in its political candidates, at least in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity. In the 2018 midterm elections on Tuesday, candidates are more diverse than ever at the federal level and in most state races, according to the Reflective Democracy Campaign. One candidate is on track to be the first Native American woman in Congress.
Study: violence or adversity experienced in childhood may affect biological aging
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
According to a new study, when children are exposed to violence early in life, pubertal development can happen more quickly, and faster biological aging in turn may be associated with increased symptoms of depression. A study from Jennifer Sumner, Natalie Colich, Monica Uddin, Don Amstrong and Katie McLaughlin reveals an associated between violence experienced early in life and biological aging. The study, published in Biological Psychiatry, found that physical, emotional and sexual abuse is associated with faster biological aging.
‘I’m Kind of a Big Deal, Too.’ Pence Responds to Oprah's Endorsement of Stacey Abrams
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Vice President Mike Pence told a crowd in Georgia on Thursday that he was “kind of a big deal,” after railing against “Hollywood liberals”
University's new £15m supercomputer could unlock secrets of human brain
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A "human brain" supercomputer with 1 million processors has been switched on by British scientists for the first time. Built by Manchester University, the £15m "SpiNNAker" machine is able to complete more 200 million actions per second and has 100 million moving parts. Its creators hope that it will be able to "unlock some of the secrets of how the human brain works". Unlike traditional computers, it doesn’t communicate by sending large amounts of information from point A to B. Instead it mimics the communication architecture of the brain, sending billions of pulses - small amounts of information - simultaneously to thousands of different destinations. Scientists have simulated a region of the brain called the Basal Ganglia, an area affected in Parkinson's disease, raising hopes that it may have potential for neurological breakthroughs in future pharmaceutical testing.  Steve Furber, professor of computer engineering at Manchester University, said: "Big pharma companies have largely stopped investing in diseases of the brain because they don't have the models to develop the drugs. "We are trying to build the infrastructure upon which these models can be constructed." Professor Furber said that the technology powering this supercomputer, which acts like a brain rather than a machine, could help understand speech patterns and develop artificial intelligence. The computer's creators eventually plan to scale up to a billion biological neurons in real time, which would make it the equivalent of 1pc of the scale of the human brain.  The machine has been used to control a robot called SpOmnibot, which uses the system to interpret real-time information and navigate towards certain objects while ignoring others.
ArtScience Museum’s new exhibition breaks down the curious life of Nobel Prize
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The art of the science behind the man's works. The post ArtScience Museum’s new exhibition breaks down the curious life of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman appeared first on Coconuts.
The oceans, the true keepers of climate change, may meet our grimmest estimates
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Earth, our ocean-dominated world, stores away a vast majority of the planet's accumulating heat in the seas.  In fact, over 90 percent of the planet's rising warmth — specifically trapped by human-created greenhouse gas emissions — is absorbed by the deep, salty waters. For the last half-century, scientists have worked to put a more precise number on just how much heat the oceans take up each year, and for good reason: More heat absorption might provide evidence that our pale blue dot is increasingly sensitive to the heat-trapping carbon amassing in our atmosphere — which is likely at its highest levels in 15 million years.   And now, new research published in the scientific journal Nature supports the highest — or most problematic — of those ocean heat estimates.   "We found it's really in the top range of the estimates," Laure Resplandy, a Princeton University geoscientist who led the novel study, said in an interview.  The Earth is warming, and most heat ends up in the ocean.Image: NasaResplandy's research is a unique approach to gauging the accumulating warmth in the oceans. (There's a somewhat spotty record documenting that accumulation before 2007.) Rather than measuring ocean waters directly with thermometers (which, of course, can't be done retrospectively), the oceanographers used records of how much of two common gasses — oxygen and carbon dioxide — were expelled specifically from the ocean over a 25-year period, between 1991 and 2016. A warmer ocean holds fewer gases, noted Resplandy.  The results have stoked considerable interest in the scientific community, because they match with higher-end estimates of ocean warming over the past decades — which were based on directly measuring water temperatures.  "What’s significant is that it’s an independent, indirect measure that’s consistent with the direct measure," Dean Roemmich, a physical oceanographer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said in an interview.  SEE ALSO: This scientist keeps winning money from people who bet against climate change "But the best way of measuring ocean heat gain is directly with thermometers," added Roemmich, who had no involvement with the study. Critically, Resplandy's results are considerably higher than the estimates accepted by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — the global agency tasked with providing objective analyses of the societal impacts of climate change. Often the IPCC — made up of diverse groups of scientists from around the globe —  often "meet in the middle" to compromise on their final climate estimates, on topics ranging from future ocean temperatures to how staple crops might be impacted by warming climes.  Imagine all electricity we produce yearly. Multiply by 150. That's how much heat oceans absorb annually bc of #fossilfuel use. In @nature, our Ralph Keeling, fmr postdoc Laure Resplandy @Princeton, others on novel way they estimated that. https://t.co/FzLz3Tm0WM Pic: B. Jack Pan pic.twitter.com/qaGoMA72en — Scripps Oceanography (@Scripps_Ocean) November 1, 2018 "It's a reminder that scientists, as a whole, are a little bit conservative — we don’t like to overstate things," Josh Willis, a NASA oceanographer who had no role in the study, said in an interview.  Many climate scientists and oceanographers, like Willis and Roemmich, were well aware that the ocean's warming could fall into the higher range of their estimates. Roemmich cites the American Meteorological Society's 2017 State of the Climate Report, which found high estimates that directly overlapped with Resplandy's results. "There is not a significant disagreement here," said Roemmich. "There’s plenty of papers that say the ocean is warming this fast — and this estimate is among those," added Willis.   But now, there's compelling research supporting these higher results. Though, like any new research, it's deserving of proper scrutiny. "The issue here is that this independent measure found a rate of warming that’s on the high end — but this is a new piece of work," noted Willis. "It's going to need some scrutiny." "But it's really exciting and interesting that it agrees so well with other [direct] measurements," he added. And these direct measurements are getting better, said Roemmich. An Argo float adrift in Antarctica's Weddell Sea.Image: noaaSince 2007, an international collaboration of 30 nations has unleashed a fleet of over 3,500 temperature-measuring buoys into the ocean. Called the Argo program, the devices take temperatures at different depths, mostly between 750 to 1250 meters (2460 to 4,100 feet). The Argo fleet has been "one of the biggest steps forward in understanding climate-scale changes in the ocean,” Rick Lumpkin, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) oceanographer, said in a statement.  Compared to our terrestrial world and ocean waters near the surface — which can be hit with extreme, record-breaking heat events — ocean temperatures in the dark, depths are less dramatic. But they add up. "They are significant," said Roemmich. "You’re accumulating kilometers of water column. The rise is strongest at the sea surface, but it extends all the way to the ocean bottom." How an Argo float measures the ocean.Image: noaaThe accumulating heat in the ocean is consequential for a variety of reasons.  For one, as the authors argue, it raises implications for how Earth is responding to climate change, specifically that the planet could be quite sensitive to greenhouse gas emissions — or more sensitive than some widely-accepted estimates, like those of the IPCC.  Closer to the surface, more heat means greater odds of marine heat waves, which have been catastrophic to marine life in places like Australia's Great Barrier Reef.   Additionally, more heat means greater ocean expansion — just like heating up water in a pot. Naturally, this "thermal expansion" contributes to sea level rise — a real threat to the hundreds of millions of people inhabiting coastal areas.  Already, the planet is the warmest it's been in some 120,000 years, and now has the highest carbon dioxide levels — a potent greenhouse gas — in millions of years.  And as NASA's Willis has repeatedly emphasized, "Global warming is really ocean warming." "If there's more heat coming into the system, it's going into the ocean," said Roemmich. WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?
Tolerance and the Gun Debate
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Perhaps, there is an opportunity to truly begin a conversation and bring enlightenment to all sides
13 Dead After Angry Passenger Causes Bus to Plunge Off 160
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A bus plunged off a bridge in China, killing at least 13 people on board after a passenger appeared to attack the driver, video released to Chinese media shows.
South Africans make bricks from human urine
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The grey bricks are produced in a lab over eight days using urine, calcium, sand and bacteria. The bricks are made using urea -- a chemical found naturally in urine and also synthesized around the world to make fertilizer. The process of growing bricks from urea has been tested in the United States with synthetic solutions, but the new brick uses real human urine for the first time, the researchers said.
Significant Digits For Friday, Nov. 2, 2018
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. 60,000 new crossword or cooking subscribers The “failing” New York Times topped 4 million total paid subscribers last quarter. That was achieved thanks in part to 203,000 new digital-only subscribers, 60,000 of whom joined just for the paper’s crossword or cooking […]
The Kepler Space Telescope Found Science and Art in Exoplanets
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The retired Kepler space telescope helped NASA and astronomers discover thousands of exoplanets, some, perhaps, with the capacity for life.
The Pentagon has prepared a cyberattack against Russia
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
U.S. military hackers have been given the go-ahead to gain access to Russian cyber systems as part of potential retaliation for any meddling in America’s elections.
Nationalists of the world, unite? Steve Bannon's populist path proves rocky.
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
“Be it resolved, the future of Western politics is populist, not liberal.”
A border, a bus, then school begins in New Mexico
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
With her backpack slung over one shoulder, Gabriela Corona strolls toward the US-Mexico border as casually as if she is crossing the street to school. Gabriela passes walls of barbed wire, camouflage-clad Mexican officers carrying big guns, and US border patrol agents who sit on stools inside the entry building with their arms crossed. None of this fazes Gabriela.
To the Moon and beyond: Airbus delivers powerhouse for NASA's Orion spacecraft
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Europe's Airbus on Friday delivered the "powerhouse" for NASA's new Orion Spaceship that will take astronauts to the Moon and beyond in coming years, hitting a key milestone that should lead to hundreds of millions of euros in future orders. Engineers at the Airbus plant in Bremen, Germany on Thursday carefully packed the spacecraft into a special container that will fly aboard a huge Antonov cargo plane to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a first step on its way to deep space. In Florida, the module will be joined with the Orion crew module built by Lockheed Martin, followed by over a year of intensive testing before the first three-week mission orbiting the Moon is launched in 2020, albeit without people.
Mary Anning: how a poor, Victorian woman became one of the world's greatest palaeontologists
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Fossil hunter Mary Anning didn't get the recognition she deserved during her lifetime. Now her home town wants to raise a statue in her honour.
'Human brain' supercomputer switched on for the first time
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A "human brain" supercomputer with 1 million processors has been switched on by British scientists for the first time. Built by Manchester University, the £15m "SpiNNAker" machines is able to complete more 200 million actions per second and has 100 million moving parts. Its creators hope that it will be able to "unlock some of the secrets of how the human brain works". Unlike traditional computers, it doesn’t communicate by sending large amounts of information from point A to B. Instead it mimics the massively parallel communication architecture of the brain, sending billions of small amounts of information simultaneously to thousands of different destinations. Scientists have simulated a region of the brain called the Basal Ganglia, an area affected in Parkinson's disease, meaning it has massive potential for neurological breakthroughs in future pharmaceutical testing.  Steve Furber, professor of computer engineering at Manchester University, said: "Big pharma companies have largely stopped investing in diseases of the brain because they don't have the models to develop the drugs. "We are trying to build the infrastructure upon which these models can be constructed." Professor Furber said that the technology powering this supercomputer, which acts like a brain rather than a machine, to understand speech pattern and develop artificial intelligence. The computer's creators eventually plan to scale up to a billion biological neurons in real time, which would make it the equivalent of 1pc of the scale of the human brain.  The machine has been used to control a robot called SpOmnibot, which uses the system to interpret real-time information and navigate towards certain object while ignoring others.
Google Doodle Celebrates Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) With Hand
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Day of the Dead is every Nov. 1 and 2
NASA’s Dawn probe falls silent, ending mission to mysterious dwarf planet Ceres
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Dawn is dead, but Dawn is not gone: Today NASA said that the Dawn spacecraft has fallen out of contact with Earth, presumably because it’s run out of the thruster fuel that was used to keep its antennas oriented toward Earth and its power-generating solar panels oriented toward the sun. After Dawn missed out on communications sessions on Wednesday and today, NASA declared an end to the mission. During its 11 years in space, Dawn sent back unprecedented closeups of the asteroid Vesta as well as Ceres, which is the largest known asteroid and the smallest confirmed dwarf planet. Dawn… Read More
Airline Worker Falls Asleep in Plane Cargo Hold in Kansas City, Wakes Up in Chicago
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
An airline worker fell asleep in the cargo hold of an American Airlines flight in Kansas City and woke up in Chicago.
A Pakistan Court Overturned a Christian Woman's Death Sentence for Blasphemy. Now, Protests Are Spreading Across the Country
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Asia Bibi was cleared after nine years on death row, but she still isn't free
People Can't Stop Laughing About Twitter's Hilarious Election Countdown Glitch
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
'Twitter wants me to remind you that you need to go back 49 years and vote'
A House rematch in a suburban Republican district sheds light on how landscape changed from 2016
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
The Second District is just one of 435, but the rematch from 2016 may offer clues to how the political landscape has shifted in a district that was almost evenly split between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. (Trump won it by a point.)
In Texas, Beto and Cruz take the fight to the border
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
As President Trump delivered an alarmist speech from the White House on Thursday, warning of a looming immigration crisis from an approaching caravan of Central American migrants still weeks away, Beto O’Rourke stood barely two miles from the nation’s southern border here, in a serene city park where the only impending conflict was over parking spaces for the hundreds of people who came to hear the Democratic Senate hopeful speak. “There’s never been a better time for us to be alive, to be from Texas and to be from the U.S.-Mexico border,” O’Rourke, a congressman from El Paso, declared as he took the stage, offering an unusual split screen moment in the final days of a contentious midterm election where Republicans, including his rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, have sought to make the campaign a referendum on immigration.
NY family thinks bones under home are long
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
BROOKHAVEN, N.Y. (AP) — A New York family says they've found human bones beneath their basement, and they believe the remains are those of their patriarch who disappeared half a century ago.
Python presents slithery situation at Texas Goodwill store
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A Goodwill worker collecting clothes and other items at a Texas sorting center was surprised to find an albino python clinging to the side of a bin.
Arming election officials: How cyber sensors are boosting ballot security
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Susan Gill has never met Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev. The supervisor of elections in Florida’s Citrus County wouldn’t know Mr. Kovalev from a television repairman if he walked into her office on Election Day. Kovalev is a Russian military intelligence officer assigned to Unit 74455.
Everyone’s making money using NASA logos except NASA
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Like a kid getting ready for space camp, you could, if you wanted, throw on some NASA-branded tech pants by New York designer Heron Preston in the morning, pair them with a NASA t-shirt from Urban Outfitters, and maybe add a Coach letterman jacket with a NASA patch if you grabbed one last year. Or,…