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Scientists Find New Evidence Europa Is Shooting Water Into Space

A new study led by the ESA found new evidence that Jupiter's moon Europa was indeed spouting plumes of water into space during a Galileo flyby.

Super Soaker

A new study led by the European Space Agency (ESA) found new evidence that Jupiter’s moon Europa is indeed spouting plumes of water into space, suggesting the icy moon could hold vast subsurface oceans — which some researchers suspect could possibly harbor life.

Astronomers have long suggested that the icy moon leaks water. Now, a new analysis of data collected by the ESA’s Galileo probe, back in the year 2000, lends fresh evidence that it really is.

Proton Dip

Galileo found a strange dip in recorded protons, positively charged particles, near Europa. Previous studies suggested the dip was caused by the moon itself obscuring the detector on the spacecraft.

But the new ESA-led study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters late last month, has a new explanation for the lack of recorded protons: Plumes of water shooting into space could be disrupting the moon’s thin atmosphere and disturbing the magnetic fields in the area, according to new computational models.

Juicy

The icy moon has astronomers excited. The existence of water plumes could point towards a possible way inside to study the moon’s oceans below, and even probe them for evidence of extraterrestrial life.

In fact, ESA is planning its next flyby of Jupiter’s icy moons as soon as 2029, as part of its “JUICE” (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer) mission. The explorer will spend three whole years studying Jupiter and three of its largest moons, including Europa.

READ MORE: New evidence of watery plumes on Jupiter’s moon Europa [European Space Agency]

More on Europa: UNIVERSITY CHANCELLOR PREDICTS “HIGHER FORMS OF LIFE” ON EUROPA

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The Pandemic Has Seriously Confused Machine Learning Systems

The machine learning algorithms that recommend products online can't keep up with how rapidly the pandemic has changed our lives.

AI Fail

The chaos and uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic have claimed an unlikely victim: the machine learning systems that are programmed to make sense of our online behavior.

The algorithms that recommend products on Amazon, for instance, are struggling to interpret our new lifestyles, MIT Technology Review reports. And while machine learning tools are built to take in new data, they’re typically not so robust that they can adapt as dramatically as needed.

Took a 180

For instance, MIT Tech reports that a company that detects credit card fraud needed to step in and tweak its algorithm to account for a surge of interest in gardening equipment and power tools. An online retailer found that its AI was ordering stock that no longer matched with what was selling. And a firm that uses AI to recommend investments based on sentiment analysis of news stories was confused by the generally negative tone throughout the media.

“The situation is so volatile,” Rael Cline, CEO of the algorithmic marketing consulting firm Nozzle, told MIT Tech. “You’re trying to optimize for toilet paper last week, and this week everyone wants to buy puzzles or gym equipment.”

The Turk

While some companies are dedicating more time and resources to manually steering their algorithms, others see this as an opportunity to improve.

“A pandemic like this is a perfect trigger to build better machine-learning models,” Sharma said.

READ MORE: Our weird behavior during the pandemic is messing with AI models [MIT Technology Review]

More on AI: An AI “Vaccine” Can Block Adversarial Attacks

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US Officials: Chinese Hackers Are Targeting Vaccine Research

According to a new report by The Wall Street Journal, Chinese and Iranian hackers are targeting US efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine.

According to a new report by The Wall Street Journal, Chinese and Iranian hackers are targeting US efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine.

“China has long engaged in the theft of biomedical research, and COVID-19 research is the field’s Holy Grail right now,” assistant attorney general for national security John Demers told the WSJ. “While its commercial value is of importance, the geopolitical significance of being the first to develop a treatment or vaccine means the Chinese will try to use every tool — both cyber intrusions and insiders — to get it.”

US officials told the newspaper that the two countries have been hacking a range of American businesses and institutions since as early as January — though it’s important to note that intelligence agencies have yet to show any evidence of the cyberattacks.

Some officials are worried that the alleged attacks could be viewed as an act of war, since the hacks could be getting in the way of finding a cure to the ongoing pandemic.

A vaccine is of paramount importance in our efforts to fight the coronavirus, since it could stop its spread and allow societies around the world to go back to normal — but experts are warning a vaccine is still at least 12 to 18 months out.

An announcement published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) today notes that the agency is “investigating the targeting and compromise of U.S. organizations conducting COVID-19-related research by [China]-affiliated cyber actors and non-traditional collectors.”

According to the FBI, these actors have been “attempting to identify and illicitly obtain valuable intellectual property and public health data related to vaccines, treatments, and testing from networks and personnel affiliated with COVID-19-related research.”

According to White House intelligence, Iran or state-affiliated actors have also been targeting some US facilities, the WSJ reports.

Officials have yet to publicly release any evidence of such hacks or if they have hampered any attempts to find a vaccine, and China is already pushing back against the accusations.

“It is immoral for anyone to engage in rumor-mongering without presenting any evidence,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a briefing Monday, as quoted by WSJ.

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Out-of-Control Chinese Rocket Reportedly Dropped Debris on Africa

Debris from China's Long March-5 rocket may have touched ground on the Ivory Coast after uncontrollably hurtling through the Earth's atmosphere.

On Monday, the core of China’s colossal Long March 5B rocket made an uncontrolled descent back to Earth. Massive chunks of the rocket screamed over and over several major US cities before splashing down in the Atlantic Monday afternoon, as confirmed by the US Air Force.

Now, it sounds as though parts falling off it may have left a trail of debris. According to The Verge, bits of the rocket appear to have touched ground on the Ivory Coast. Local media reported that mysterious metallic objects were raining from the sky.

“When you have a big chunk of metal screaming through the upper atmosphere in a particular direction at a particular time, and you get reports of things falling out of the sky at that location, at that time, it’s not a big leap to connect them,” Harvard-Smithsonian astronomer Jonathan McDowell, who has closely followed the story about the falling rocket, told The Verge.

McDowell pointed out that the reported location of the debris aligns with the rocket’s path.

The reported debris fall at Mahounou is near the town of Bocanda, which as you can see on this image is right on the projected ground track of the CZ-5B. pic.twitter.com/a0HVRlRKCn

— Jonathan McDowell (@planet4589) May 12, 2020

Some of the parts were as long as 12 meters (39 feet).

Reports of a 12-m-long object crashing into the village of Mahounou in Cote d'Ivoire. It's directly on the CZ-5B reentry track, 2100 km downrange from the Space-Track reentry location. Possible that part of the stage could have sliced through the atmo that far (photo: Aminata24) pic.twitter.com/yMuyMFLfsv

— Jonathan McDowell (@planet4589) May 12, 2020

The events surrounding the messy reentry remain mysterious.

“Did they perhaps have a plan to de-orbit it that went wrong?” McDowell told The Verge. “The Chinese have not discussed whether they had any plan of the sort, so therefore we’re forced to assume that they didn’t.”

According to McDowell, the 21 metric ton rocket core was “the most massive object to make an uncontrolled reentry since the 39-tonne Salyut-7 [spacecraft] in 1991,” as he pointed out in a tweet last week.

It might not be the last time we’ll see Chinese rocket parts raining from the sky. China is currently working on its new space station, to be completed by 2022.

That means plenty of new objects will be “reentering a few days after launch,” as McDowell explained to The Verge. “And that’s not good.”

READ MORE: An out-of-control Chinese rocket may have dumped debris in Africa after falling from space [The Verge]

More on the rocket: Oops: China Just Dropped a Huge Rocket Piece Back to Earth

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Neuroscientist: Conventional Computers Will Never Be Conscious

Renowned neuroscientist Christof Koch argues that developing conscious artificial intelligence will require entirely new hardware.

Upper Limit

Researchers dream of one day creating artificial general intelligence (AGI), the sort of all-encompassing, emotionally-intelligent algorithms from science fiction.

But they’ll never reach that goal using conventional computers, argues neuroscientist Christof Koch, president and chief scientist of the Allen Institute for Brain Science. First, he told ACM News, engineers will need to develop entirely new computing hardware — perhaps even relying on quantum technology.

Careful Distinction

The main issue, Koch argues, is that conventional computers can run specialized algorithms, but that making the leap into consciousness requires something else altogether: hardware that’s structured with the complexity of a conscious entity in mind.

“Our theory says that if we want to decide whether or not a machine is conscious, we shouldn’t look at the behavior of the machine, but at the actual substrate that has causal power,” Koch told ACM News. “For present-day AI systems, that means we have to look at the level of the computer chip.”

Underlying Problem

Even simulating the complete biology of a human brain on conventional computer chips wouldn’t be enough to generate consciousness, Koch said. He argues that consciousness is defined by the underlying physics of that brain’s architecture, not its processing power.

“Any AI that runs on such a chip, however intelligent it might behave,” Koch told ACM News, “will still not be conscious like a human brain.”

READ MORE: Can AI Become Conscious? [ACM News]

More on artificial intelligence: Artificial Consciousness: How To Give A Robot A Soul

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Facebook Will Pay Mods $52M For Trauma From Gore, Sexual Abuse

Facebook just agreed to pay $52 million to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging that its content moderators suffered psychological trauma on the job.

Pay Up

Facebook just agreed to settle with its content moderators, who filed a class-action lawsuit after being forced to watch extremely graphic media under abject working conditions.

Moderators, who were contractors for the company Cognizant rather than Facebook staffers, were tasked with rapidly flagging and removing the absolute worst content users uploaded. A typical day could mean exposure to child sexual abuse, animal abuse, beheadings, and gun violence. Now, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports that Facebook is paying $52 million for psychological damages.

Years Later

The class-action lawsuit was first filed in 2018, and more moderators signed on over time. Facebook leadership has long known how grueling the job was — CEO Mark Zuckerberg once quickly deflected when Congress asked if he would consider moderating the social media site for a day.

But because the moderators were technically hired by Cognizant and didn’t work on Facebook’s property, the company generally avoided claiming any responsibility for their work conditions, which included high quotas and reportedly lacked proper professional or psychological resources.

Pay Day

Now, each of the moderators who were part of the lawsuit gets $1,000, according to ABC News. But whose who were diagnosed with medical conditions due to the stressful, traumatic work can get up to $50,000 in medical treatment and damages.

Facebook’s official statement said that the company is “grateful to the people who do this important work to make Facebook a safe environment for everyone. We’re committed to providing them additional support through this settlement and in the future.”

READ MORE: Facebook to pay moderators $80 million for psychological damages [Australian Broadcasting Corporation]

More on Facebook moderation: Facebook Moderators Are Dying at Their Desks

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This Hyper-Realistic Game Engine Looks Almost Like Real Life

Software developer Epic Games just released a stunning and near photorealistic tech demo of its latest video game engine called Unreal Engine 5.

Software developer Epic Games, the company behind “Fortnite,” just released the first look at Unreal Engine 5, the next generation of its popular game engine — and it looks genuinely spectacular.

Epic Games’ flashy new demo, “Lumen in the Land of Nanite,” runs in real-time on a PlayStation 5 and looks extraordinarily impressive. The company claims it could “achieve photorealism on par with movie CG and real life.”

The demo offers a tantalizing glimpse of the fidelity that next-gen consoles — the long-awaited PlayStation 5 and Xbox One Series X — could offer.

Epic highlighted two new technologies in an official blog post.

First off, “Nanite virtualized micropolygon geometry” gives artists the ability to create art “comprising hundreds of millions or billions of polygons” that can be directly imported into Unreal Engine.

Second, “Lumen” offers developers a “fully dynamic global illumination solution that immediately reacts to scene and light changes.” That means individual rays of light can bounce many times from surfaces, creating “indirect specular reflections in huge, detailed environments, at scales ranging from kilometers to millimeters.”

Of course, it’s easy to be taken in by a showy new demo. Back in 2016, we were wowed by a demo of Unreal Engine 4 that now looks — well, not that impressive.

Still, this latest version, at first bluff, is majestic — a step along the way to games that could be almost indistinguishable from reality.

A preview of the new engine will be available in early 2021 and will support both next-gen and current-gen consoles, as well as PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.

READ MORE: A first look at Unreal Engine 5 [Epic Games]

More on Unreal Engine: The Future of Gaming? Check Out the Remarkable Graphics of Unreal Engine 4

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Microsoft Is Buying COVID-19 Patients’ Blood for Biotech Research

Microsoft and the biotech company Adaptive are launching a study on coronavirus patients' T cells, and they're buying blood samples to get started.

Microsoft and the biotech company Adaptive are launching a new study on how the immune system fends off the coronavirus — and they’re paying patients for bags of their blood.

The goal is to learn how T cells, which function as the foot soldiers of the immune system, contribute to the body’s overall response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

While other scientists are already investigating the body’s immune response, Business Insider reports that Microsoft and Adaptive believe a specific emphasis on T cell research is a blindspot in other ongoing coronavirus research.

In order to fill in that gap, Microsoft and Adaptive are reportedly preparing to send phlebotomists to the homes of people who were exposed to the coronavirus, those who are currently sick, and those who recovered from it, to draw blood.

Those who might be interested can fill out an online questionnaire to enroll in the study. Microsoft will compensate participants who are selected with at $50 gift card, and those who are selected for blood drawings will get another $50 for each one of up to four blood drawings they agree to.

Once they’ve bought and paid for those blood bags, the two companies hope to compare the T cells of sick and recovered coronavirus patients. The ultimate goal, Business Insider reports, is to ascertain whether T cells that were already exposed to and fought SARS-CoV-2 can contribute to long-term immunization against future infections.

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WHO: The Coronavirus Might Be Here Forever

Bad news, according to the World Health Organization (WHO): even if scientists invent a vaccine, the coronavirus that causes the sometimes-deadly COVID-19 might be here for good.

“It is important to put this on the table: this virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away,” WHO emergencies expert Mike Ryan said during a Thursday briefing, as reported by Reuters.

He noted that other illnesses, such as measles, already have a vaccine but have yet to be completely defeated.

“HIV has not gone away — but we have come to terms with the virus,” Ryan said.

And timelines, he cautioned, are not much more than educated guesses.

“I think it is important we are realistic and I don’t think anyone can predict when this disease will disappear,” Ryan added. “I think there are no promises in this and there are no dates. This disease may settle into a long problem, or it may not be.”

Ryan also argued that finding a vaccine would be a “massive moonshot,” according to Reuters.

Luckily, it’s not all doom and gloom. On the plus side, according to a WHO survey, scientists are working on more than 100 vaccine candidates worldwide, ranging from more traditional vaccines that use an inactivated version of the virus to more experimental attempts that hijack your DNA to build up a resistance.

Rather than rushing into reopening economies and borders and restarting air travel, the WHO says that a safe return to normalcy will require patience.

“We need to get into the mindset that it is going to take some time to come out of this pandemic,” WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove said during the briefing.

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US Military Releases New Info About Navy UFO Videos

The Pentagon has released

The Pentagon has released new information about a series of fascinating encounters between US Navy pilots and unidentified flying objects.

The “hazard reports” include details about the size and shape of the “unidentified aerial phenomena.”

“The unknown aircraft appeared to be small in size, approximately the size of a suitcase, and silver in color,” reads a report describing a 2014 incident. At the time, the Navy aircraft “passed within 1000 [feet] of the object, but was unable to positively determine the identity of the aircraft.”

A different report, in 2013, describes another object that “had an approximately 5 foot wingspan and was colored white with no other distinguishable features. Due to the small size, the aircraft was determined to be a [unidentified aerial system].”

The report noted that the objects could be drones, although no nearby operators could be identified.

The news comes after a series of UFO videos surfaced thanks to a 2017 investigation by The New York Times. The three videos showed strangely shaped objects zipping across the surface of the ocean, while others appeared to shoot up into the sky without any apparent methods of propulsion.

Last month, the pentagon finally formally released the three unclassified videos, noting that “after a thorough review, the department has determined that the authorized release of these unclassified videos does not reveal any sensitive capabilities or systems.”

“[The Department of Defense] is releasing the videos in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos,” Sue Gough, a Defense Department spokeswoman, told CBS News last month. “The aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterized as ‘unidentified.'”

Just over a year ago, the US Navy also announced it started working on new guidelines for its personnel to report sightings and other encounters with “unidentified aircraft,” as Politico reported at the time.

READ MORE: Newly released incident reports detail US Navy’s ‘UFO’ encounters [CNN]

More on the mysterious videos: PENTAGON OFFICIALLY RELEASES THREE UFO VIDEOS

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Scientists Have a Promising New Idea to Defeat the Coronavirus

A team of scientists figured out how the coronavirus takes over cells, and they think they found potential treatments that stop it.

In order to find new treatments for COVID-19, scientists are probing how the coronavirus alters human cells when it infects and hijacks them.

Medical virologists at the Frankfurt University hospital have been culturing cells of SARS-CoV-2 since February, learning as much as they could about how it affects them, according to a Goethe University Frankfurt press release. Now, they’ve identified a number of compounds — available in existing drugs including the metabolism-inhibiting cancer medication WP1122 — that seem to stop the coronavirus from reproducing inside a host.

The team’s findings were published Thursday in the journal Nature. With those in hand, pharmaceutical companies are already launching clinical trials in a bid to develop new pharmaceuticals that could block the deadly virus.

Some viruses force cells to dedicate all their resources to churning out copies of the virus, but the virologists found that SARS-CoV-2 takes a less extreme approach. Instead of taking over all protein production within the cell, it increases the amount of proteins the cell synthesizes and helps itself to the surplus.

As a result, the team found that they could stop viral reproduction by taking away the building blocks of proteins, and found a number of compounds that did the trick.

“The successful use of substances that are components of already approved drugs to combat SARS-CoV-2 is a great opportunity in the fight against the virus,” lead author and Frankfurt virologist Jindrich Cinatl said in the release. “These substances are already well characterized, and we know how they are tolerated by patients. This is why there is currently a global search for these types of substances. In the race against time, our work can now make an important contribution as to which directions promise the fastest success.”

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This Delightful AI Generates Words That Sound Real But Aren’t

A website called thisworddoesnotexist uses AI to generate fake but believable definitions for made-up words like

Algorithmic Nonsense

Have you ever heard of a lachetous vine? Maybe you just finished up some worryless tasks?

Those words sound vaguely familiar — perhaps you think you’ve heard them before but aren’t sure you could explicitly define them. That’s because they’re gibberish — part of an endless stream of words conjured up by an algorithm programmed to make new words that sound as believable as possible.

Technobabble

The made-up words are generated by the website thisworddoesnotexist.com, which is a creation of former Instagram engineer Thomas Dimson, The Verge reports. Each time the site is refreshed, it comes up with a new word — with varying degrees of success.

Thisworddoesnotexist uses the OpenAI-created algorithm GPT-2, which generates plausible text that’s been used to algorithmically create everything from text-based adventure games to grad school essays.

Crowdsourced

Because GPT-2 wasn’t trained on dictionaries — The Verge­ reports that it instead scraped 8 million websites from popular Reddit links — some of the new definitions are still a little bit off.

But AI-generated dictionary is still a notable accomplishment, given that understanding the meanings of words has long been one of the major limitations of modern-day artificial intelligence.

READ MORE: ThisWordDoesNotExist.com is rewriting the dictionary with the help of AI [The Verge]

More on GPT-2: This Grad Student Used a Neural Network to Write His Papers

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Tesla Leak Describes Upcoming “Million Mile” Battery

According to a new report, Tesla's

Million Mile

Tesla will soon announce a “million mile” battery that it says will bring down the cost of electric vehicles to the price point of gas engine cars and greatly improve the longevity of batteries, according to a Reuters exclusive.

The battery will be used in the company’s Model 3 luxury sedan made and sold in China later this year or early next year. According to Reuters, the battery is a collaboration between Tesla and a team of academic battery experts recruited by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Low Cobalt

The new batteries will rely on low-cobalt and cobalt-free battery technologies that reduce the stresses on the inside of the batteries, making them last much longer, according to Reuters. Cobalt remains the most expensive metal in the production of electric car batteries.

Thanks to a heavily automated manufacturing process, production cost will reportedly drop as well. Tesla is planning on opening even larger “Terafactories” that will dwarf its existing — and already massive — gigafactories to produce the batteries.

Terafactories

Musk has also been teasing that Tesla will be holding a “Battery Day” later this month, which may be when the company officially announces the new battery.

“We’ve got to scale battery production to crazy levels that people cannot even fathom today,” Musk told investors in January.

READ MORE: Exclusive: Tesla’s secret batteries aim to rework the math for electric cars and the grid [Reuters]

More on Tesla: Defying Shelter-in-Place, Tesla Is Building New Cars Today

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This Wiggly Mars Rover Is the Silliest Thing We’ve Ever Seen

Engineers are building experimental rovers that can vibrate intensely to escape from dangerous, wheel-clogging sand traps on Mars.

Shake It Off

To a hapless Mars rover, getting stuck in a slippery sand trap can be a death sentence. That’s what happened to NASA’s Spirit rover ten years ago: its wheels got trapped and the robot was immobilized until it eventually ran out of power.

To prevent that from happening future exploration robots, The New York Times reports that engineers from the Georgia Institute of Technology are testing rovers that vibrate intensely to avoid becoming ensnared by alien landscapes.

Jitterbug

In order to keep future rovers moving, the engineers are programming prototype robots to shake, gyrate, and army crawl across the top of sandy terrain — which they simulated by filling a glass tank with poppy seeds, according to research published in the Science Robotics on Wednesday.

“This combination of wheels and paddling and lifting, if sequenced properly, is really powerful,” Georgia Tech physicist Daniel Goldman told the NYT. “No longer just wheels at the end of sticks but they are actually active appendages, and I think that’s exciting.”

Want To Break Free

Not only can the bizarre dance prevent a sandy death, but the NYT reports that it could enable next-generation rovers to explore previously-inaccessible regions of Mars, like loose-terrained inclines.

“When you only have wheels,” Goldman told the NYT, “that limits your ability to go anywhere.”

READ MORE: Watch These Rover Models Wiggle Out of Alien Sand Traps [The New York Times]

More on rovers: The White House Is Trying to Shut Down NASA’s Last Mars Rover

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Brain Implant Allows Blind People to “See” Letters

Scientists have developed a brain implant that allowed the blind and previously sighted participants who lost their sight in adulthood

A team of scientists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston has developed a brain implant that allows both blind and sighted participants “see” the shape of letters.

As detailed in a new paper published in the journal Cell, the device works by skipping the eye and relaying visual information from a camera straight to electrodes implanted in the brain.

It’s a step toward a “visual prosthetic” that would allow the blind to fully regain vision — though such a device is likely still many years out.

But what the researchers created is nonetheless remarkable: participants were able to “see” the outlines of shapes, thanks to complex sequences of electrical pulses sent to their brains.

“When we used electrical stimulation to dynamically trace letters directly on patients’ brains, they were able to ‘see’ the intended letter shapes and could correctly identify different letters,” senior author Daniel Yoshor from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston said in a statement. “They described seeing glowing spots or lines forming the letters, like skywriting.”

The new device differs from previous visual aids that treated each electrode like a pixel.

“Rather than trying to build shapes from multiple spots of light, we traced outlines,” first author Michael Beauchamp, professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said in the statement.

“Our inspiration for this was the idea of tracing a letter in the palm of someone’s hand,” Beauchamp added.

Such a device could have a major impact on the lives of the blind and visually impaired.

“The ability to detect the form of a family member or to allow more independent navigation would be a wonderful advance for many blind patients,” Yoshor told Live Science.

But the development of the device is still in its early stages, as the brain is an extremely complex organ.

“The primary visual cortex, where the electrodes were implanted, contains half a billion neurons,” Beauchamp said in the statement. “In this study we stimulated only a small fraction of these neurons with a handful of electrodes.”

Therefore “an important next step will be to work with neuroengineers to develop electrode arrays with thousands of electrodes, allowing us to stimulate more precisely,” he added. “Together with new hardware, improved stimulation algorithms will help realize the dream of delivering useful visual information to blind people.”

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Astronomers: Some Stars Have Something Akin to a Heartbeat

New research reveals that a certain class of star gives off rhythmic pulsations that are similar to a person's heartbeat.

Resting Heartrate

For the first time, astronomers were able to cut through all the background noise of the universe and discover that a particular class of star gives off rhythmic pulsing, not unlike a person’s heartbeat.

The internal fluctuations of a type of star known as a “Delta Scuti” eluded astronomers for decades, but new data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) revealed distinct patterns coming from inside 60 nearby stars relatively close to our solar system, according to research published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Fine Tuning

Scientists already knew that Delta Scuti stars pulsated, but they’d never before been able to find any pattern to the beats.

“Previously we were finding too many jumbled up notes to understand these pulsating stars properly,” University of Sydney researcher Tim Bedding said in a press release. “It was a mess, like listening to a cat walking on a piano.”

“The incredibly precise data from NASA’s TESS mission have allowed us to cut through the noise,” Bedding added. “Now we can detect structure, more like listening to nice chords being played on the piano.”

Cosmic Shazam

It turns out that the pulsations are sound waves originating from inside each star. Each internal sound wave causes a region of the star to expand or contract, giving off different frequencies.

This asteroseismological discovery, the researchers said in the release, basically lets them peer inside a star, revealing what it’s made of and what changes are happening inside.

READ MORE: Astronomers find regular rhythms among pulsating stars [University of Sydney]

More on stars: A Star Is Circling a Black Hole and its Orbit is Absolutely Nuts

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Amazing Vid Shows What You’d See If Rockets Were Transparent

A new video shows what it would look like if four rocket types were transparent during liftoff and stage separation — even showing how the fuel drains as the rockets keep firing.

The fascinating animation compares the following four rockets from left to right:

  • Saturn V, a US-made super heavy-lift vehicle used by NASA between 1967 and 1973
  • The Space Shuttle, NASA’s space plane that retired back in 2011
  • SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, a super heavy-lift vehicle
  • NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), the space agency’s upcoming heavy lift rocket that has been under development since the Space Shuttle retired in 2011

The video color-codes a number of different rocket fuel types being used up by the rockets’ various stages.

  • Red is kerosene RP-1, a highly refined form of kerosene similar to jet fuel.
  • Orange is liquid hydrogen (LH2), a common rocket fuel used by NASA. Interestingly, it first cools the nozzle of the rocket before being ignited by an oxidizer.
  • Blue is liquid oxygen (LOX), the liquid form of diatomic oxygen that often is used as oxidizer for the liquid hydrogen in rockets such as NASA’s workhorse RS-25, an engine that was used for the Space Shuttle.

NASA’s upcoming SLS will mix both LH2 and LOX to produce a massive amount of energy — and water.

Due to the extremely low density of LH2, NASA’s SLS would need a gigantic fuel tank. To mitigate that, designers gave the rocket two boosters on either side, a design derivative of NASA’s retired Space Shuttle.

Both SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy and the Saturn V use a refined version of kerosene as a first stage, a stage that gets jettisoned at a certain altitude.

Burning kerosene comes with a heavy toll on the environment as burning it creates immense amounts of carbon dioxide — a problem that could be compounded if SpaceX’s plan to launch a rocket every two weeks ever comes to fruition.

The animator behind the video even thought to include a tiny little red Tesla Roadster — a car famously launched into space in 2018 by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

Editor’s note 5/14/2020: A previous version of this story wrongly stated that SpaceX’s Heavy Falcon will carry NASA astronauts into space later this month. It will in fact be a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

READ MORE: If Rockets were Transparent [YouTube]

More on rockets: Dock a SpaceX Spacecraft to the ISS in This Amazing Simulator

The post Amazing Vid Shows What You’d See If Rockets Were Transparent appeared first on Futurism.

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Amazing Vid Shows What You’d See If Rockets Were Transparent

Stressed Out? Get These Delicious, High Quality CBD Gummies Delivered to Your Door.

cbd gummies

We’re getting close to the halfway point of 2020, and so far this year has been…well, you know. But believe it or not, things could actually be a lot worse. If this were, say, 2005, there would be no Netflix. There would be no Tik Tok. There would be no UberEats. There would be no Amazon Prime. There would be no Animal Crossing. And perhaps worst of all, there would be no CBD gummies to order off the internet and have delivered right to your door.

As you probably know, people take CBD because they believe it provides gentle, side-effect-free relief from a wide variety of conditions, including stress, anxiety, insomnia, pain, and inflammation. According to a Gallup poll conducted last summer, 20 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 said they used CBD products on a regular basis, while 16 percent of adults between the ages of 30 use it. Chances are, if they conducted another poll right now, the numbers would be much higher.

Shorthand for cannabidiol, CBD is one of 113 cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis and hemp plants. However, unlike THC, which is the active ingredient in marijuana, CBD does not get you high. Instead, it works by modulating your endocannabinoid system, which is a kind of inter-cellular communications system that helps the brain regulate immune function, stress, anxiety, pain, inflammation, and memory.

Of course, these days there are lots of different ways to take CBD. You can get it in pills, ointments, energy shots, tinctures, bath oils—you name it. However, the most delicious way to get your daily dose of calming, stress-reducing CBD is via gummies. And when it comes to CBD gummies, nothing beats Penguin CBD Gummy Worms.

Penguin CBD Gummies

cbd gummies

With so many different CBD products on the market, it can be difficult for consumers to figure out which brands they can trust. That’s why Penguin is completely transparent about how they make their products.

The CBD used in Penguin gummies is produced using the most advanced isolation process in the industry. It all starts with 100-percent organic, 100-percent THC-free industrial hemp, which is grown locally in Oregon without the use of toxic chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Penguin then uses advanced machinery and CO2 to extract CBD from the hemp. The CBD extract then undergoes a cutting-edge nanoemulsification process that breaks it down into microscopic particles that are easily absorbed by human cells.

Once the production process is complete, all Penguin CBD products undergo third-party testing by ProVerde Laboratories. This ensures that their gummies are certified to be clear of any unwanted chemicals and totally safe to consume.

Each Penguin CBD Gummy Worm contains 10mg of their potent CBD extract, and each jar contains 30 worms. If you love sour candy loaded with tropical flavors and coated on sweet and sour sugar crystals, you will love these gummies. But if you don’t, Penguin offers a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not satisfied, simply return them within 30 days and they’ll give you a full refund. Penguin will even pay for the return shipping.

So if you’re looking for a high-quality CBD product that tastes as good as it makes you feel, give Penguin CBD Gummy Worms a try. If you love them, you can subscribe to monthly shipments and save 15-percent off the regular price. So really you’ve got nothing to lose.

Futurism fans: To create this content, a non-editorial team worked with Verma Farms, who sponsored this post. They help us keep the lights on. This post does not reflect the views or the endorsement of the Futurism.com editorial staff.

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Stressed Out? Get These Delicious, High Quality CBD Gummies Delivered to Your Door.

Research Spacecraft May Pass Through Tail of Dead Comet

In a stroke of incredible luck, a NASA/ESA spacecraft is on the right pass to fly right through the tail of a passing comet.

Happy Accident

Astronomers hoped to study a comet named ATLAS when it passed through our solar system, but in April it started to disintegrate.

But Space.com reports that NASA and the European Space Agency may have an extremely fortuitous opportunity to analyze it all the same. That’s because Solar Orbiter, a spacecraft operated by the two agencies that studies our Sun, happens to be on the exact right course to pass through the comet’s tail in the next few weeks.

Ships In The Night

Solar Orbiter could pass through the outer layers of the tail of ATLAS’s rubble either on May 31 or Jun 1, Space.com reports, and it could hit the remnants of its dust trail by June 6.

Once it makes contact, the instruments on Solar Orbiter that were built to study the ionized particles on the Sun’s atmosphere could instead get an up-close look at how comets — or their debris — ionize their surroundings, according to research published earlier this month in the journal Research Notes of the AAS.

Ships In The Night

Aside from the excitement around the potential discoveries associated with the flyby, the researchers seem blown away by the fantastic luck necessary for Solar Orbiter and ATLAS’ trajectories to line up so well.

“If Solar Orbiter instruments detect material from Comet ATLAS, it will be the first predicted serendipitous comet tail crossing by an active spacecraft carrying appropriate instrumentation for the detection of cometary material,” the researchers wrote in their paper.

READ MORE: A sun-watching spacecraft just might fly through tail of Comet ATLAS in rare encounter [Space.com]

More on comets: Watch NASA’s New Footage of a Comet Exploding

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Research Spacecraft May Pass Through Tail of Dead Comet

For the First Time Ever, the Price of Oil is Now Negative – Futurism

Type Oil Negative

For the first time in history, the price of crude oil has gone negative as a result of plummeting demand amid the coronavirus outbreak, Bloomberg reports. Oil traders are literally running out of space to store excess oil.

In a single day, the price of oil dropped far below the previous record, set in 1946, when the world was still recovering from World War 2.

So what does this mean?

Theres no storage left for oil, so extra oil becomes worthless, wrote author and climate advocate Eric Holthaus on Twitter.

Oil companies are storing extra oil every way possible: filling oil tankers and parking them offshore, putting oil into pipelines and turning them off. At this rate global oil storage will be full in a few weeks, Holthaus added.

Despite the record drops, investors are still pumping money into oil futures, according to Bloomberg.

Refiners are rejecting barrels at a historic pace and with U.S. storage levels sprinting to the brim, market forces will inflict further pain until either we hit rock bottom, or COVID clears, whichever comes first, but it looks like the former, Michael Tran, managing director of global energy strategy at RBC Capital Markets, told Bloomberg.

READ MORE: Oil Plunges Below Zero for First Time With May Contract Ending [Bloomberg]

More on the pandemic: THIS HEATMAP SHOWS SEVERITY OF COVID OUTBREAK IN EVERY US COUNTY

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For the First Time Ever, the Price of Oil is Now Negative - Futurism


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