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Bored during the Christmas break? Get creative with science
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Citizen science isn't just about charity – new research shows there are some quite unexpected benefits for participants.
Space photography puts 2017’s biggest news events in perspective
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Thanks to the massive scale of 2017’s various disasters and crises, satellites and astronauts captured more than a few major news events while orbiting Earth this year. The resulting images offer a sharp “before and after” contrasts, crystallizing and simplifying complex events with arresting clarity and offering fresh perspectives on a long year. Here’s our…
What will net neutrality FCC repeal vote mean?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Technology and politics reporter for The Hill provides insight.
Soccer Coach Accused of Running Away With Teen Girl Returns to Florida
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A Florida soccer coach arrested in New York after accusations that he ran away with a teenage girl has been returned to his home state
Democrats Are Excited by Doug Jones' Win. But They Still Face a Tough Fight Next Year
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The map favors Republicans
'All Dogs Can Smell Marijuana, But Only A Few Of Them Are Snitches'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Separated from their cellphones, standing under running water often allows people’s minds to run free.
Three months to halt war on the Korean Peninsula?, Will the Republican tax plan really boost the economy?, World powers must stop passing the buck on
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
THREE MONTHS TO HALT DEVASTATING WAR ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA? “The drumbeat for a potentially devastating war on the Korean peninsula ... has grown louder in the wake of North Korea’s latest missile test...,” writes Mark Seddon.
‘It’s Just Bigger Than It’s Ever Been.’ Kit Harington on Filming Game of Thrones’ Final Season
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The actor, who produced and stars in HBO's Gunpowder, on playing his real-life ancestor
Peter Jackson: Harvey Weinstein Made Me Blacklist Accusers Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
"There it is, confirmation that Harvey Weinstein derailed my career," Sorvino tweeted.
This Couple Lost 8 Family Members in the Texas Church Massacre. But They’re Still Finding Joy at Christmas
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
"It won’t be long until we’ll be there with the rest of the family," Joe, 86, said
‘Alien probe’ asteroid is dead quiet, but is that good news or bad news?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A couple of months back, a really, really weird asteroid flew through our Solar System. It looked nothing like any object humanity had ever spotted in space, and was moving might fast. First it was identified as a comet, then an asteroid, and most recently scientists have been wondering if maybe it was actually an alien spacecraft. Now, after spending hours listening to the strange visitor with powerful radio telescopes, scientists say they haven't heard a peep. The object, named Oumuamua, is shaped like a cigar. If it's really an asteroid it would be the very first interstellar asteroid — that is, a rock that originated outside of our Solar System — to be observed by humans, but its bizarre form and speedy entry and exit gave alien hunters reason to believe it might actually be otherworldly technology. Now, it seems, that question will have to wait a little longer to be answered. Earlier this week scientists from the Breakthrough Listen project pointed their ears towards Oumuamua in the hopes of hearing something, anything, that couldn't be explained by some natural process. After a preliminary review of the data, they haven't found anything that would suggest the object is actually an alien probe, but whether or not we should be happy about that is up for debate. Humanity has been hastily attempting to make contact with intelligent extraterrestrial civilizations for decades now. We've sent spacecraft out of our Solar System with directions on where to find us, and shot radio wave messages to distant stars in the hopes that someone is listening. If we're going to meet aliens, these are probably our best shots at making first contact, but should we even be trying? Every scientist with an itch to find alien life has a counterpart who fears what that meeting may bring. Many astronomers and physicists, including Stephen Hawking, have warned that contact aliens could result in the utter destruction of mankind. We simply don't know whether intelligent beings living elsewhere in the universe will see us as a friendly neighbor, a threat, or simply a nuisance that should be wiped out simply because we're annoying them. "Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they could reach," Hawking famously said. "If so, it makes sense for them to exploit each new planet for material to build more spaceships so they could move on. Who knows what the limits would be?" For now, it appears that the strange object that just visited us isn't relaying messages with alien handlers on a distant star system, and maybe that's for the best.
'Absolutely Grisly.' A Woman Was Mauled to Death by Her Own Dogs
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
She was out walking her pit bulls
Three months to halt war on the Korean Peninsula?, Will the Republican tax plan really boost the economy?, World powers must stop passing the buck on
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
THREE MONTHS TO HALT DEVASTATING WAR ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA? “The drumbeat for a potentially devastating war on the Korean peninsula ... has grown louder in the wake of North Korea’s latest missile test...,” writes Mark Seddon.
'This Has Gone Too Far.' Tavis Smiley Vows to Fight Back After PBS Suspension
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
'This has gone too far'
J. K. Rowling Wrote the Hogwarts Houses in a Very Unconventional Way and 3 Other Things We Learned
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Proof that inspiration can come from anywhere
That interstellar asteroid probably isn't aliens, but the hunt continues
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Well, it should come as no surprise, but the interstellar asteroid astronomers discovered in October doesn't appear to be a piece of alien technology.  According to initial observations made by a radio telescope on Wednesday, the asteroid, named ‘Oumuamua, doesn't appear to have any obvious "artificial signals" coming from it.  But the hunt isn't over yet. SEE ALSO: A group of scientists will listen for alien signals coming from that interstellar asteroid Researchers still have to comb through a fair bit of the data gathered by the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia to see if there might be some sign of alien technology to be found. However, it's not exactly looking promising. Scientists with the alien-hunting Breakthrough Listen project are still planning to listen in on the object three more times to see if there's anything they can pick up. Even if ‘Oumuamua — which is about 1,312 feet long — wasn't sent to our solar system by aliens, listening in on it with radio telescopes could still give astronomers valuable information about a newfound object.  That data could help scientists learn more about what the asteroid is made of.  This diagram shows the orbit of the interstellar asteroid ‘Oumuamua.Image: ESO/K. Meech et al.“It is great to see data pouring in from observations of this novel and interesting source,” Breakthrough Listen's Andrew Siemion, said in a statement. “Our team is excited to see what additional observations and analyses will reveal." ‘Oumuamua is the first interstellar asteroid seen and mapped by astronomers, but it isn't necessarily one of a kind. NASA estimates that one interstellar asteroid like ‘Oumuamua per year crosses through our solar system after traveling millions of miles across the galaxy.  Scientists, for their part, haven't given much credence to the idea that ‘Oumuamua is some kind of spacecraft.  From the beginning, the researchers working at the Pan-STARRS observatory in Hawaii who found the object have said that all indications point to the fact that it's likely a natural object. But still, the idea of some alien technology just dropping in to say hi to an alien solar system sparks the imagination.  WATCH: NASA created a playlist of creepy space sounds
Holiday Shipping Deadlines For You Last
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
If you’re anything like us, you probably waited until now to finish up your holiday shopping.
Oil change turns into owl sighting, bird named 'Shazam'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
SALEM, N.H. (AP) — A routine oil change has turned into an unusual owl sighting for one car owner.
Three months to halt war on the Korean Peninsula?, Will the Republican tax plan really boost the economy?, World powers must stop passing the buck on
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
THREE MONTHS TO HALT DEVASTATING WAR ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA? “The drumbeat for a potentially devastating war on the Korean peninsula ... has grown louder in the wake of North Korea’s latest missile test...,” writes Mark Seddon.
A Trump Judicial Nominee Couldn't Answer Basic Questions About The Law
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
"I would probably not be able to give you a good definition right here"
Three months to halt war on the Korean Peninsula?, Will the Republican tax plan really boost the economy?, World powers must stop passing the buck on
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
THREE MONTHS TO HALT DEVASTATING WAR ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA? “The drumbeat for a potentially devastating war on the Korean peninsula ... has grown louder in the wake of North Korea’s latest missile test...,” writes Mark Seddon.
Barack Obama Dressed Up As Too
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The former president dropped by a Boys & Girls Club branch in D.C. in a statement outfit — with a festive touch.
Deadly 6.5
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The quake killed an unknown number of people
Tick fossil found. Dinosaur traces inside. Theme park doubtful
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Scientists have proven that ticks once fed on the blood of dinosaurs, thanks to a 99-million-year-old piece of fossilized amber. Sadly, there's no chance of using it to gather dino DNA.
The Real Life 'Star Wars'? The World Is Already Planning For Cosmic Combat
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The prospect of war in space might seem farfetched at this point and a topic better suited for science fiction films like "Star Wars," but academics around the world are already writing a guide for how countries should "use the force," so to speak, if such conflicts arise. Experts from universities in Australia, Canada, the U.K., Russia and China are currently involved in a multi-year project on how to apply international law to military uses of outer space.
President Trump Bashed the FBI Again. An Hour Later, He Praised Its Agents as 'Heroes'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
He said people were "very angry," then called agents "great, great people"
Why We Should Be Worried about a War in Space
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
This article is edited from a story shared exclusively with members of The Masthead, the membership program from The Atlantic. Find out more.
The U.S. Special Envoy Backs Rex Tillerson's Offer of Unconditional Talks With North Korea
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The White House, however, has been quick to contradict the offer
SpaceX makes history by launching first NASA mission with...
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
SpaceX is now the first private company to launch a NASA resupply mission with a used rocket.
'We'll See What Happens.' President Trump Won't Rule Out Michael Flynn Pardon
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
"We'll see what happens"
Grand Jury Slams Penn State for 'Rampant and Pervasive' Fraternity Hazing After Tim Piazza's Death
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
"No fraternity’s existence is worth more than the life of Tim Piazza"
Immigration Groups Push Congress to Protect Dreamers Before the End of the Year
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Immigration advocacy groups are pressuring Congress to protect immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children before the year ends.
Young computer experts exploited video game for mayhem
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The hackers were targeting the server hosts that provide protection against botnet attacks for 'Minecraft' players, hoping then to provide such protection themselves and make millions; James Rosen has the story for 'Special Report.'
A Man Accused of Driving into a Crowd of Protestors Faces a First
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The Aug. 12 attack in Charlottesville left 32-year-old Heather Heyer dead and dozens injured
Eighth planet found in faraway solar system, matching ours
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
An 8th planet has been found in a faraway solar system, matching ours in numbers
Fuller House Actor John Stamos to Be a First
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The "Fuller House" actor says he's been "practicing for a long time”
Facebook Will Now Let You Mute Your Most Annoying Friends for 30 Days
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Your friends won't get a notification about it, either
MU69: NASA New Horizon's Furthest Ever Destination Could be Hiding a Moon
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The next stop for NASA’s New Horizons probe, a spacecraft on a mission to explore areas of space not yet seen by astronomers, may be hiding a mysterious mini “moonlet.” Strange signals from distant body MU69 alerted astronomers to the small moon. New Horizon has chalked up quite a few achievements since its launch in 2006. Earlier this year, NASA released a video of Pluto's surface captured by the New Horizons flyby.
Massive Great White Shark, Mary Lee, Tracked For Five Years, Goes Silent
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
In September 2012, researchers put a tracking device on a 3,456-pound great white shark and named her Mary Lee. Probably not, says Chris Fischer, who leads ocean research expeditions and was part of the team that caught and tagged her. Mary Lee when she was first captured and tagged on a research vessel.
What science says about why we get déjà vu
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
It's the sense of familiarity that feels misplaced because you know you haven't experienced the same thing before. For no apparent reason, you feel like you're reliving a past experience. It's called déjà vu, which is French for "already seen," and it happens to an estimated 70% of the population, according to How Stuff Works, with people aged between 15 and 25 years old experiencing it most.
SpaceX 1st: Recycled rocket soars with recycled capsule
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
SpaceX racked up another first on Friday, launching a recycled rocket with a recycled capsule on a grocery run for NASA. The unmanned Falcon rocket blasted off with a just-in-time-for-Christmas delivery ...
Google discovers new planet which proves Solar System is not unique 
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Google has previously discovered lost tribes, missing ships and even an forgotten forest. But now it has also found two entire planets. The technology giant used one its algorithms to sift through thousands of signals sent back to Earth by Nasa’s Kepler space telescope. One of the new planets was found hiding in the Kepler-90 star system, which is around 2,200 light years away from Earth. The discovery is important because it takes the number of planets in the star system up to eight, the same as our own Solar System. It is the first time that any system has been found to have as many planets ours. Andrew Vanderburg, astronomer and Nasa Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Texas, Austin, said:  "The Kepler-90 star system is like a mini version of our solar system. You have small planets inside and big planets outside, but everything is scrunched in much closer. The Kepler-90 star system has eight planets, like our own  Credit: Nasa “For the first time we know for sure the Solar System is not the sole record holder for the number of planets. “Maybe there are systems out here with so many planets they make ours sound ordinary. It’s very possible that Kepler-90 has even more planets we might not even know about. “There is a lot of unexplored real estate in Kepler-90 system and it would almost be surprising if there were not more planets in the system.” The new planet Kepler-90i is about 30 per cent larger than Earth and very hot Credit: Nasa  The planet Kepler-90i, is a small rocky planet, which orbits so close to its star that the surface temperature is a ‘scorchingly hot’ 800F (426C). It orbits its own sun once every 14 days. The Google team applied a neural network to scan weak signals discovered by the Kepler exoplanet-hunting telescope which had been missed by humans. Kepler has already discovered more than 2,500 exoplanets and 1,000 more which are suspected. The telescope spent four years scanning 150,000 stars looking for dips in their brightness which might suggest an orbiting planet was passing in front. The Kepler space telescope  Credit: Nasa Although the observation mission ended in 2013, the spacecraft recorded so much data during its four year mission that scientists expect will be crunching the data for many years to come. Christopher Shallue, senior software engineer at Google AI in Mountain View, California, who made the discovery, said the algorithm was so simple that it only took two hours to train to spot exoplanets. Test of the neural network correctly identified true planets and false positives 96 percent of the time. They have promised to release all of the code so that amateurs can train computers to hunt for their own exoplanets. “Machine learning will become increasingly important for keeping pace with all this data and will help us make more discoveries than ever before,” said Mr Shallue. “This is really exciting discovery and a successful proof of concept in using neural networks to find planets even in challenging situations where signals are very weak. “We plan to search all 150,000 stars, we hope using our technique we will be able to find lots of planets including planets like Earth.” Previously Trappist-1 was found to have the most planets outside of our own Solar System Credit: Nasa  Before the new discovery, Trappist-1 was the star system with the most planets, with seven. Paul Hertz, Astrophysics Division director at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said: “When we launched Kepler in 2009 we didn’t know if planets were common or rare. We now know every star in the night sky has a family of planets orbiting it. “The archive Kepler data is a treasure trove of information which will bring many more discoveries. Today’s announcement is one such discovery. “It shows what happens when new scientific methods are applied to archival data.” Jessie Dotson, Kepler’s project scientist at Nasa’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, added: "These results demonstrate the enduring value of Kepler’s mission. “New ways of looking at the data – such as this early-stage research to apply machine learning algorithms – promises to continue to yield significant advances in our understanding of planetary systems around other stars. I’m sure there are more firsts in the data waiting for people to find them.”  
'Star Wars:' Could Lightsabers Really Take Down the Dark Side?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Read the original article. With the latest film in the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi, hitting cinemas this week, it got me thinking about lightsabers —the iconic weapon of Jedi and Sith alike. As I’ve previously shown, real-life lightsabers would theoretically be possible, though horrendously impractical and somewhat beyond our current technological capabilities.
Here's what Elon Musk has to say about Donald Trump’s plan to send Americans to the moon and Mars
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The SpaceX boss publicly supported the president’s most recent space announcement.
Patagonia founder invited to testify to Congress over Trump spat
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
On Friday, Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, invited Yvon Chouinard, founder of the ourtdoorwear retailer Patagonia, to testify before Congress about its rebuke of President Trump's decision to reduce the extent of the Bears Ears National Monument.
A bird, a plane, a polar bear? Wild guests at Alaska airport
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Scott Babcock was wrapping up an early morning runway inspection at America's farthest north airport when he saw what he thought were a couple of wolves.
When ‘culture clash’ gets in the way
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
This fall marked the 25th anniversary of a famous lecture by Samuel Huntington. The late Harvard University professor predicted that world events would revolve around a “clash” of cultures and religions, or “civilizations,” rather than ideas. The problem with this theory and its bold categories – other than distilling trends down to a phrase like “clash of civilizations” – is that there are too many exceptions.
Why did Broward destroy 2016 ballots? Sanders ally seeks US probe
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
A South Florida law professor, running to unseat Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is calling for a federal investigation into the destruction of all ballots cast in the August 2016 Democratic primary in Broward County. The challenger, Tim Canova, has made repeated public records requests and filed a lawsuit seeking access to paper ballots cast in his unsuccessful race last year against the former Democratic National Committee chair in Florida’s 23rd congressional district. Over the past year, the Broward supervisor of elections, Dr. Brenda Snipes, has taken no action on Mr. Canova’s requests to examine the ballots, and she has urged a judge to throw Canova’s lawsuit out.
Climate change experts emitted 30,000 tonnes of CO2 flying to conference, NASA expert says
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
More than 25,000 scientists flew to New Orleans
U.S. Prosecutors Are Rushing to Cash In on a Drug
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The bitcoin cache was worth less than $500,000 a year ago, but has exploded in value to about $8.5 million