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Category Archives: Hubble Telescope

How a Portland nonprofit is using artificial intelligence to help save whales, giraffes, zebras – Seattle Times

Posted: February 29, 2020 at 10:58 pm

To the untrained eye, zebras in Kenya probably all look alike. But each animals black and white markings are like a fingerprint, distinct and invaluable for scientists who need to track the animals and information about them, including their births, deaths, health and migration patterns.

Traditionally, getting this kind of information has been an invasive and labor-intensive process. But breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI) and crowdsourcing of photos of individual animals are beginning to change the conservation game.

Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit Wild Me has developed AI to pick out identifying markers the stripes on a zebra, the spots on a giraffe, the contours of a flukewhales fin and catalog animals much faster than a human can. Photo surveys are increasingly used as the backbone for population estimates, and Wild Mes Wildbooks, which catalog various species, are giving conservation groups, governments and citizen scientists a faster way to monitor animals around the world.

We can use this information to track diseases and poaching threats, look at manifestations of diseases, said Michael Brown, a conservation science fellow at the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, who has been working with Wild Me for the past few years. It lets us piece together an understanding of how these threats to giraffes are spatially situated (and) how the giraffes are utilizing different landscapes over time.

Founder Jason Holmberg launched the first iteration of Wild Me in 2003 after swimming with whale sharks off the coast of Djibouti. He wanted to find a different way to track the animals other than invasive tagging, so he teamed up with a biologist and a NASA astronomer, adapting the algorithm for the Hubble telescope to match the sharks spot patterns.

For years, Holmbergs endeavors were a side project he didnt leave his full-time job in tech until recently. Wild Mes work gradually expanded, then it really kicked into gear with a 2018 grant from Microsofts AI for Earth. Today, Wild Me has a team of six full-time staffers, with plans to add more soon.

Wild Mes process of creating and training algorithms takes serious time. Thousands of photos of the species must be manually annotated so that the algorithm learns what a given animal is, what the distinguishing characteristics are and whats just background noise.

The model relies largely on photographs taken by scientists or everyday people who upload their photos to the corresponding Wildbook. It uses AI to find things in the picture and then hand it to algorithms or machine learning to suggest IDs which whale, which giraffe, etc., Holmberg said.

Christin Khan runs aerial surveys of North Atlantic right whales for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and had sought an AI-based solution for years. She said she watched Facebook implement facial recognition and wanted to use similar technology to help identify whales within the endangered species (there are only about 400 North Atlantic right whales left).

We needed a really simple, user-friendly web-based interface where a biologist who knows nothing about AI could upload a photograph and get a result back, she said. Eventually we realized the developers at Wild Me had already done a lot of what we needed, and it wouldnt require us to reinvent the wheel.

The Wildbook for whales, called Flukebook, encourages collaboration, which is particularly useful for whales that travel long distances because it can be difficult for one research group to effectively monitor one area.

The more people on the water, the more photos, the more its decentralized, (the better), said Shane Gero, who founded and runs the Dominica Sperm Whale Project. By doing the matching themselves, by contributing their own data, not only do they get to know the animals, but it creates a locally motivated community of people that can react when conservation actions come up.

Before the introduction of AI, Gero said it would take about a month to process a months worth of photos.

(Now), we have our numbers of individuals sighted and population estimates faster, so we can report (almost) in real time, he said.

That means his group is able to provide the government of Dominica with more up-to-date information and offer better advice on how to shape conservation efforts.

One of Wild Mes more recent innovations is an AI-driven feature that datamines YouTube videos of whale sharks and sea turtles, using user-generated videos (often taken by tourists) to get a better sense of the populations. This has been a great way to increase the amount of photos coming in and provide researchers with more data. But it also creates even more work for people on the ground, who have to manually check the AIs suggestions and accept the results.

Were flooding the whale shark community with more data than it can handle, said Holmberg.

So Wild Me is now building the capacity to automate the identification process and scaling the tech that combs social media for relevant videos.

The nonprofit recently received a two-year grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to develop the new algorithm that will make the animal IDs on its own.

Its focusing the initial work on zebras because it already has an incredibly rich dataset. Every two years since 2016, the Great Grvys Rally in Kenya has used hundreds of citizen scientists spread out over thousands of kilometers to photograph Grvys zebras over two days. Wild Mes AI analyzes the zebra markings on all the photos to come up with a total population, which the Kenyan government treats as the official census for Grvys zebras.

This type of work is a huge upgrade from the traditional capture-mark-recapture process, which is both invasive and time consuming, with studies done every five to 10 years.

You can only make very coarse-grained conservation decisions, Holmberg said. The point of going to a fully automated system is to shorten that cycle so we can take all of the data over the past week or two weeks and have a continuous prediction of population size. Its fine-grained, which helps researchers understand and lobby for better conservation activities.

For Khan, meanwhile, the existing technology is still in its early days. The algorithm for North Atlantic right whales became operational in November 2019, and she said theyre still working out the kinks and figuring out how best to use it. But, she said, she sees the incredible potential that it holds.

My dream is that we get to the point where the worlds oceans will be trolled by satellite photos and we can understand the worlds whale population, she said. Combining AI with satellite imagery and drones we have the potential to exponentially understand the worlds oceans thats just not possible with manned aircraft.

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Things To Do In London This Week: 2-8 March 2020 – Londonist

Posted: at 10:58 pm

All weekLast chance to visit Kew's Orchids Festival

SHAPE THE WORLD: All this week, LSE hosts Shape The World, a festival of free events looking at how the social sciences can make the world a better place. Highlights throughout the week include Tottenham MP David Lammy on exploring his own heritage, a preview of the American presidential race, and a look at how factors such as economic growth are shaping London. LSE (Holborn), free, book ahead, 2-7 March

WOMEN'S DAY WALKS: Ahead of International Women's Day on Sunday, Katie Wignall from Look Up London runs a series of guided walks celebrating the history of London's women. Topics include Ladies of Marylebone, and Female Rebels at the Tate Modern. Everyone's welcome on the walks, regardless of gender. Various locations, 15, book ahead, 3-8 March

MADE IN ITALY: Cinema Made In Italy is an annual film festival celebrating Italian films, and this year, focus is firmly on female directors. Highlights include If Only, about three siblings sent to live with their unconventional, broke Italian father, and Stolen Days, about a father and son road trip back to Southern Italy. Cine Lumiere (South Kensington), various prices, book ahead, 4-9 March

TROY: It's the final week of the British Museum's blockbuster exhibition, Troy: Myth and Reality. It's a huge and fascinating show about the famous city, and worth setting aside a couple of hours to explore thoroughly.British Museum, 20, book ahead, until 8 March

JEWISH BOOK WEEK: The 68th Jewish Book Week has an impressive programme, covering everything from cookery to fashion to spies to politics to trees. Former Children's Laureate Michael Rosen, celebrated novelist Elif Shafak and historian Helen Fry are among the many participants across the 80+ events celebrating Jewish themes and writers. Kings Place (King's Cross), various prices, book ahead, until 8 March

ORCHIDS: It's your last chance to visit Kew's beautiful Orchids Festival and it's a great excuse to warm up in the tropical glasshouse. Wander through rainbow floral arches, ogle the volcano centrepiece floating on a pond, and look out for model orang utans, rhinos, and other wildlife from this year's chosen country, Indonesia. Kew Gardens, included in admission, book a time slot, until 8 March

UNREAL CITY: Explore a virtual metropolis using the latest tech on the market with Unreal City. This pioneering collaboration between dreamthinkspeak and Access All Areas blends live performance and VR to explore what happens to human connection in an increasingly digital world. Battersea Arts Centre (Battersea), 10-15, book ahead, until 28 March (sponsor)

BEYOND BORDERS: This one is right up the street of cartography fans. Hear author Travis Elborough, cartographer Mary Spence and writer Zoran Nikolic discussing and exploring maps showing some of the most unusual and peculiar corners of the globe. British Library, 13/6.50, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm

HOUNSLOW AS ONE: Two primary school choirs, a huge brass band, a street band, a guitar orchestra and an Indian dance group all take to the stage to celebrate Hounslow's musical talent. Familiar tunes, and a newly commissioned piece are played by some of the 10,000 Hounslow Music Service pupils. Southbank Centre, 8-25, book ahead, 7pm

PRIMADONNA PRIZE: Attend the first ever Primadonna Prize ceremony, hosted by Sandi Toksvig and celebrating brilliant writing. Enjoy an evening of poetry and performances before the judges including author Joanne Harris and Irish novelist Neil Hegarty reveal the winner. Conway Hall (Holborn), 15/10, book ahead, 7.45pm

JURASSIC PARK: Could the premise behind Jurassic Park really happen? Hear from Dr Susie Maidment, curator of non-avian archosaurs at The Natural History Museum, about the science behind the film, and her research on the geological preservation of soft tissues. It's a Babble Talks event, which means it's aimed at parents and carers with babies under a year old. George IV (Chiswick), 10, book ahead, 11am-12pm

WOMEN AT WAR: Author Maaza Mengiste hosts a night of readings and conversation about the women soldiers written out of African and European history. Her new book, The Shadow King, explores what it means to be a woman at war, based in Ethiopia in 1935 with the impending invasion of the Italian army. British Library, 11/5.50, book ahead, 7.15pm-8.30pm

LOST BROTHERS: Folk duo The Lost Brothers perform a live show based on music from their five studio albums, and a sixth due to be released soon. Expect to hear some impressive vocal harmonies from the Irish pair. Southbank Centre, 15, book ahead, 7.45pm

TWILIGHT TOURS: There's a rare chance to visit the Royal Hospital Chelsea by twilight on a guided tour, led by one of the Chelsea Pensioners themselves. Visit the State Apartments and the Chapel, hearing the stories of former residents, and finish up with a drink at the Chelsea Pensioners Club. Royal Hospital Chelsea, 28, book ahead, 6pm/7pm

OUTER SPACE: NASA scientist and astronaut Kathryn Sullivan was the first American woman to walk in space. Hear her telling stories about her career, including her experiences of living in space, taking off in a space shuttle, and making repairs to complex scientific instruments. Conway Hall (Holborn), 30-42.50, book ahead, 6.45pm-8pm

MISBEHAVIOUR: Catch a preview screening of new film Misbehaviour, about a team of women who plan to disrupt the 1970 Miss World competition in London. The screening launches British Librarys new Unfinished Business: The Fight for Womens Rights events season, and is followed by Q+A with its director Philippa Lowthorpe and Sally Alexander, who was central to the real-life story the film depicts. Regent Street Cinema, 15, book ahead, 7.30pm-10.30pm

FOUND FOOTAGE FESTIVAL: Organisers of The Found Footage Festival have sorted through America's thrift stores and charity shops to dig out old VHS tapes. Watch the resulting footage, including the 1987 Miss Junior America Wisconsin pageant, and a fitness video called Jugglercise. Soho Theatre, from 12.50, book ahead, 5-7 March

SILENT DISCO: Celebrate Women's Day at a silent disco workshop. Release your inner diva by learning moves from the likes of Madonna, Beyonce and the Spice Girls, before you're free to pick your own channel and dance to music from either the 70s and 80s or 90s and noughties. Antidote London (Belsize Park), 7, book ahead, 7.15pm-9pm

BLOODY BRILLIANT WOMEN: Author and Channel 4 presenter Cathy Newman hosts a talk, document display and book signing about the women of the 20th century who are often overlooked. Hear bits of British history you didn't learn in school, including a spy princess and an aeronautical engineer. The National Archives (Kew), 20/16, book ahead, 7.30pm-9pm

WOMEN OF THE WORLD: Southbank Centre's annual Women of the World Festival begins today, with three days of events looking at the state of gender equality across the globe today. Highlights include appearances by feminist activist and journalist Caroline Criado Perez, and anti-racism educator Layla Saad. Southbank Centre, various prices, book ahead, 6-8 March

AMERICAN CULTURE: Based on current NT production The Visit, Professor of American Studies Martin Halliwell offers an introduction to American culture in the 1950s. He uses examples of 1950s theatre, literature, film and the visual arts to demonstrate the politics of the decade. National Theatre, 9/6, book ahead, 5.30pm

HUBBLE: If you missed astronaut Kathryn Sullivan on Wednesday, there's another chance to hear from her tonight. This time she focuses on the launch of the Hubble Telescope, recounting her experiences in launching and maintaining the powerful telescope which has greatly furthered our understanding of the universe. Royal Institution (Mayfair), 16/10/7, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm

SCIENCE WEEKEND: Cutty Sark celebrates British Science Week with family-friendly events taking place on board all weekend. Learn how cargo was loaded onto the ship and have a go at building your own winch, or find out how gold leaf is applied to the gilded decorative elements. Cutty Sark (Greenwich), included in admission, book ahead, 7-8 March

PROTEST AND POWER: The Royal Parks celebrate Women's History Month with a guided walk through Hyde Park. Hear stories of women in the park throughout history, from pickpockets to queens, all of whom shaped the park into what it is today. Hyde Park, 10, book ahead, 10.30am-12pm

CLIMBING FESTIVAL: Celebrate all aspects of the climbing scene at London Climbing Festival. Meet fellow climbers, hear talks about the sport, watch demos, and stock up on all the gear you need at the stalls. HarroWall Climbing Centre (Harrow), 75, book ahead, 12pm-8.30pm

FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE: 2020 marks 200 years since the birth of The Lady With The Lamp, and The Florence Nightingale Museum is celebrating with a special programme of events. Exhibition Nightingale in 200 Objects, People and Places opens today, showcasing little-known aspects of her life, as well as objects including the famous lamp which gave her the nickname Florence Nightingale Museum, included in admission, book ahead, from 8 March

PAINT STREET ART: Wind down your weekend by attempting to create your own version of the above painting, Coming of Spring. No experience is necessary, and all materials and guidance are included and it takes place in a bar, so plenty of drinks are available to get your creative juices flowing. Horniman at Hays (London Bridge), 32.99, book ahead, 5.30pm-7.30pm

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Things To Do In London This Week: 2-8 March 2020 - Londonist

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The Galaxy S20 Ultra had one job and Samsung screwed it up – Tom’s Guide

Posted: at 10:58 pm

When did it become acceptable for companies to expect us to pay good money for devices with fundamental flaws?

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is now the companys third high-end smartphone in four years to arrive with significant issues either prior to launch or immediately following. In the case of the Galaxy S20 Ultra, its the phones much vaunted quadruple rear cameras. While those lenses produce some impressive shots, there are some equally maddening flaws with the S20 Ultras cameras most notably issues with autofocusing when capturing both video and still images.

While the S20s focusing issue is the worst since the Hubble telescope, at least this time it doesnt appear to be a hardware problem, and Samsung is promising a fix. However, its unclear if that update will arrive before the new Galaxy S20 models arrive in stores March 6.

Samsungs other oopsies in recent years have included the Galaxy Fold and its easy-to-damage folding screen and the Galaxy Note 7 and its explosive battery. (The latter problem appeared once the Note 7 was in shoppers hands and proved so significant that Samsung had to recall that phablet and ultimately scrap the entire release.)

While Samsung has had its share of pricey products that shipped before they were ready, it isnt the only company to make this mistake. Apple was able to make super-slim MacBooks when it debuted its butterfly keyboard in 2015. Its just too bad that the keyboards could be undone by Cheeto dust. It was even worse that it took the company four years to come up with a viable solution in the 16-inch MacBook Pro. Even now, the new keyboard isnt yet on all the companys laptops.

Whats worse is that all of these products cost well north of $1,000. If Im spending $150 on the Moto G7 Power, I can tolerate it if its less than perfect. (Not for nothing, but the G7 Power has the best phone battery life, outperforming even the S20 Ultra on our test.) But if Im spending nearly ten times as muchor moreon a smartphone, such flaws are not as easily overlooked. Even more so when that smartphone is the flagship for your company.

I get and like that Samsung is being very ambitious with both the Galaxy S20 Ultra and the Fold, but when you have something thats bound to garner all sorts of scrutiny, I find it surprising that these smartphones werent subjected to every test imaginable. Samsung had to know that reviewers were going to test the hell out of the S20 Ultras camera; are you telling me no one in the company bothered to check how fast this thing focuses?

Perhaps its that these companies test their products in sanitized, Star Trek-type environments. Unfortunately, most people treat their workspace more like Dennis Nedry in Jurassic Park.

Heres a modest proposal: If youre going to make a smartphone, laptop, or any other device with some awesome new featurebe it a camera, a folding screen, or a keyboard and charge consumers thousands of dollars, better make sure it works first.

Samsung - Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G...

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G -...

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G...

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G...

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The Galaxy S20 Ultra had one job and Samsung screwed it up - Tom's Guide

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Mini-moon and the biggest bang in space are two of the latest astronomy finds – The National

Posted: at 10:58 pm

IN a week of startling developments in space observation and exploration, two major events stand out.

The first is the discovery of a mini-moon which is orbiting the Earth and has been since 2017, only that nobody spotted it until a fortnight ago. Minimoon is an appropriate name as the object is about the size of a car.

The second announcement was about the biggest explosion ever found by mankind, and since no one has ever seen the Big Bang, it can be safely said that this latest explosion is the biggest ever detected.

READ MORE:Turkey's lost kingdom discovered in new archaeological find


DISCOVERED on February 15 and confirmed as a mini-moon earlier this week, astronomers know very little about the object it may even be an artificial object, such as a dead satellite, but its most likely a small asteroid just 2m wide.

Found at three-quarters of the distance to the Moon, its going to miss Earth by a huge distance and will probably only be with us until April, but technically speaking it is a moon orbiting around the Earth.

Minimoon is just the second asteroid known to have been captured by Earth.

The first was given the uncharming name of 2006 RH120, and orbited around our planet between September 2006 and June 2007 before going off into the dark yonder.

READ MORE:Christina Koch sets female space record after landing

This latest object has also been given a bland name 2020 CD3. It was discovered by Kacper Wierzchos, a senior research specialist for the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona.

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatorys Minor Planet Center announced the find earlier this week.

The Center stated: Orbit integrations indicate that this object is temporarily bound to the Earth. No link to a known artificial object has been found. Further observations and dynamical studies are strongly encouraged.


DONT worry it wont affect us as it happened hundreds of millions of light-years away.

The explosion was detected by a new range of radio telescopes. Astronomers and astrophysicists concluded that the blast came from a supermassive black hole at the centre of a galaxy.

According to the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, this explosion released five times more energy than the previous record holder.

Professor Melanie Johnston-Hollitt of Curtin University in Perth, Australia, said the event was extraordinarily energetic.

Weve seen outbursts in the centres of galaxies before but this one is really, really massive, said the professor. And we dont know why its so big.

But it happened very slowly like an explosion in slow motion that took place over hundreds of millions of years.

The explosion occurred in the Ophiuchus galaxy cluster, about 390 million light-years from Earth.

It was so powerful it punched a cavity in the cluster plasma the super-hot gas surrounding the black hole.

People were sceptical because the size of outburst, she said. But it really is that. The Universe is a weird place.

The scientists themselves may not be wired but they have a sense of humour. Their website address features the word "kaboom".


ITS an exciting time for space exploration with discoveries occurring on an almost weekly basis.

Particularly exciting is the potential for radio telescopes, especially in large arrays such as the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) in Australia of which professor Johnston-Hollitt is the director.

Its a low-frequency radio telescope and is the first of four Square Kilometre Array (SKA) which The National recently profiled installations to be completed.

Johnston-Hollitt feels theres a lot more to come: Its a bit like archaeology.

Weve been given the tools to dig deeper with low-frequency radio telescopes so we should be able to find more outbursts like this now.

We made this discovery with Phase 1 of the MWA, when the telescope had 2048 antennas pointed towards the sky.

Were soon going to be gathering observations with 4096 antennas, which should be 10 times more sensitive.

I think thats pretty exciting.

Other than radio telescopes, the next big development will be the James Webb Space Telescope, the replacement for the Hubble Telescope which revolutionised our view of the universe.

Webb will be launched next year and is an international programme led by NASA with its partners, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

Its first job will be to look at the so-called ice giants of the Solar System, the planets Neptune and Uranus which lie beyond the orbits of the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn.

Leigh Fletcher, associate professor of planetary science at the University of Leicester, will lead the study of the two planets.

He said: The key thing that Webb can do that is very, very difficult to accomplish from any other facility is map their atmospheric temperature and chemical structure.

We think that the weather and climate of the ice giants are going to have a fundamentally different character compared to the gas giants. Thats partly because

theyre so far away from the Sun, theyre smaller in size and rotate slower on their axes, but also because the blend of gases and the amount of atmospheric mixing is very different compared with Jupiter and Saturn.

With Webb due to stay in service for 10 years or more, many more space discoveries will be made.

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The Hubble telescope detects "smaller" groups of dark matter that contain clusters of galaxies, says NASA – The Media Hq

Posted: January 17, 2020 at 3:46 am


Astronomers have revealed that dark matter forms much smaller groups than previously known. The study of astronomers was carried out using the NASA Hubble Space Telescope and a new observation technique.

Dark matter, an invisible substance, forms the temporal structure upon which galaxies are built. Basically, it is the gravitational glue that holds galaxy clusters together. Invisible matter is composed of barionic matter, which consists of electrons, protons and neutrons.

The result obtained from the study of dark matter establishes the truthfulness of one of the fundamental predictions of the widely accepted theory of cold dark matter, which says that all galaxies are formed and rooted in clouds of dark matter.


Astronomers came to the conclusion by measuring how the light of distant quasars, the bright nuclei of very distant galaxies fed by black holes, behaves as it passes through space. The study revealed that light while traveling through space was magnified by the severity of massive foreground galaxies due to the gravitational lens, which led to the detection of groups of dark matter.

Although astronomers cannot see dark matter, they can observe its presence by noticing how its gravity affects galaxies and stars. Before the results of this study came out, the researchers, in the absence of information on small groups, had developed alternative theories, including warm dark matter. Warm dark matter says that invisible matter particles move too fast to merge and form smaller concentrations.

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How technology is allowing us to see further – SciTech Europa

Posted: December 13, 2019 at 2:27 pm

As Head of Innovation and Ventures Office, Frank Salzgeber is overseeing the largest Space entrepreneurship network in the world. His team has initiated over 320 industry transfers and supported over 720 start-ups. The team support the exploitation of the ESA patent portfolio and promote the ESA Business Application offer of ESA. Over 500 business have been supported and SME and industry to applied Space solutions for their business. SciTech Europa speaks to Salzgeber about ESAs approach to astrophysics, and the importance behind this.

My background is in industrial engineering; I used to work for Apple and later in my own IT start up. In 2003, ESA hired me as the Head of commercial development of human spaceflight and exploration. This involved working with astronauts and bringing the science and the commercial world together. After three years, the management moved me to another position which was as the Head of technology transfer and business incubation. What we do is bringing all the elements of research technology development, together with the non-space world. Sometimes the space world and the non-space world are in two different orbits and our job is to bring them together. I think a lot of scientific researchers have a similar approach, or at least they try to do that. On the one side you have to speak with the market and users, which is out there, and on the other side we see what we have to do you have to bridge that. Its not only good enough to make this dialogue and bring it together, sometimes you have to prove that its working; this is where we chip in on money. We support around 200 start-ups per year; 15% of these are in the UK with our partner STFC (the Science and Technology Facilities Council) and UK Space, and we support around 150 cases where industry applies the technology, services and/or applications which we have developed in space.

To be honest, the smallest part of ESA is the science part. The science part is really where they explore the universe, where stars are growing and dying etc. This is a small but important part of ESA where a fraction of the budget goes to. I think the exciting part is that we have to build our machinery in order to do the actual exploration. Take the Hubble telescope for example, this is an instrument that you have to build, and you build them on the edge of possibility in terms of technology.

The other big part that ESA are doing which may be different to other space agencies, we help industry to develop the backbone of our digital society. There are three big pillars: communication (such as satellites and 5G technologies), navigation (for instance GPS from America, and Galileo from Europe), and Earth observation. In terms of the second pillar, navigation, this is crucial because we have a generation which never gets lost besides when their phone battery runs out. You use it in your car, but you use also the time signal really managing the electrical grid. This is crucial for Europe, because you want to have a secure system and not a system which is may be manipulated by one country.

The third, started in research. This has moved really to a commercial activity, because in the past Earth observation was really rather either for military use, or it was for monitoring the Earth in terms of climate and weather. However, this has turned out to be more and more commercial. I would say that these are the three technology areas which are the backbone of our digital society future.

What the technology allows at the moment is that you can see further; you see a bigger building full of telescopes in space by our colleagues of the Directorate of Science. This is not only done by us but also with our sister organisation: the European Southern Observatory if we are looking on the ground Telescopes. We have a series of satellites and missions which are planned in the next years. There was one crazy thing which did not work, but this was one of my favourite ones, it was the idea of a start-up to create a public telescope internet orbit to allow everybody to buy airtime. What we have to see is that Space is not really governmental anymore. It has really become a normal industry, and I think this is the biggest trend.

We have also one start-up company in Germany, who was writing a software which we supported in giving airtime for public telescopes in the southern hemisphere, because you have a lot of universities which have a telescope but they have a funding problem, so they sell airtime through their telescope to private researchers or hobby researchers of the North. I really like this; with digitisation, you can really start not a shared economy, but a shared research society.

I think that this will be empowered because its the same when we are looking at maps. There is one start-up company in the Netherlands that are detecting special structures on Earth but also on Mars. It can be used as a gate to get people looking at it because sometime artificial intelligence (AI) does not pick up everything. However, if a human makes a point that that is a crater/object which looks strange, that still works better than any computer. Its really a shared research and sharing the results and bringing it back to the crowds; and that is a very nice way to do it.

When we talk about limitations of computers, a lot of people say AI will solving everything I think thats misleading. I always describe it as like when we were in the school and you were allowed to use a calculator. Everybody thought it would become easy, but actually it was becoming harder. I think this is what AI algorithms will do; a good doctor will become a better doctor, a bad doctor will not become a good doctor because of AI. Therefore, it will empower us but in a certain area, humans will be always be better. The joint working with algorithms and computers will allow us things better and brighter, and we will be able to see further in terms of what the impact is. I think that when you take a step back you will see the bigger picture, and sometimes you have to do that. I think AI will allow you to take a step back.

When you combine the data which we have with the computer capabilities we will have in the future, we will see more things because also in science and Earth observation as well as the big missions we have a lot of data which we have to manage. Last but not least, this is why a lot of people work in space, not only in ESA but also in another organisations; it is the curiosity which drives us, not the money. I think that this is a pity that we may have lost that within schools.

We have learnt that there are no crazy technologies out there; even the Catholic Church is using a technology we have developed together with NASA they use it for their old books in the Vatican library. Research is everywhere, and they should start to look at what else they could do with this technology. What else you can use the algorithm or the sensor for because there is always a second or the third use. I think that we should do this because that would be fun. Curiosity is driving research and the same curiosity is also the driver of innovation.

Frank Salzgeber, Head of Innovation and Ventures Office, Directorate of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, European Space Agency.

Disclaimer: This article is featured in the December issue of SciTech Europa Quarterly.

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Recreate The Hubble Space Telescope Missions In VR With Shuttle Commander – UploadVR

Posted: November 17, 2019 at 2:32 pm

A new VR title, Shuttle Commander, will let you recreate the Hubble Telescope Missions. Shuttle Commander is planned for all major VR platforms in 2019 but currently does not have a specific release date.

The experience will offer accurate recreations of the space missions, the shuttle cockpit and Hubble Space Telescope and allow you to play through various different aspects of the Hubble missions. Youll be able to play as a member of the Shuttle crew, take part in deployment, upgrade and servicing of the telescope and land the Shuttle back on Earth. There will even be scoreboards and achievements for shuttle landings.

Shuttle Commander is developed by Immersive VR Education the creators behind a series of educational VR projects including Apollo 11 and the new project also allows you to experience the discoveries of the Hubble Telescope and how it changed our understanding of the universe around us. According to the description on their YouTube video, Shuttle Commander will be available on all major VR platforms this year and trailer itself also features the Oculus, Vive, SteamVR logo and PlayStation logos.

Will you be launching off into space when Shuttle Commander lifts off later this year?Let us know in the comments below.

Recreate The Hubble Space Telescope Missions In VR With Shuttle Commander - UploadVR

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Five Mesmerizing Images Captured By Hubble Space Telescope Of Our Universe – News Nation

Posted: at 2:32 pm

Updated On : 17 Nov 2019, 11:48:12 AM


Right from taking images of aeging to dying stars, Hubble Space Telescope has given us a visual treat of the Outerspace. Hubble Space Telescope belongs to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA). News Nation brings to you the five breathtaking images of our universe captured by Hubble Telescope.

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Hubble Space Telescope captured two galaxies of equal size in a collision that appears to resemble a ghostly face. Hubble described the two galaxies of equal size as "The Red Spider Nebula might look like a cosmic arachnid, but it's actually the cast-off outer layers of a dying Sun-like star. The hot star's powerful stellar winds create waves in the expelled gas.

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Five Mesmerizing Images Captured By Hubble Space Telescope Of Our Universe - News Nation

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Spooky face spotted in space by Hubble Telescope – FOX 31 Denver

Posted: November 6, 2019 at 12:42 pm

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. Although it looks a bit like an eerie, floating face suspended in space, the optical illusion spotted by theHubble Space Telescopeis really the result of two galaxies colliding.

Hubble took the image in June as part of its snapshot program, using gaps in its observation schedule to take photos of other intriguing targets.

The two glowing eyes of the face each represent the center of a galaxy.

Young blue stars help make up the outline of the face, while other groupings of new stars seem to sketch out a mouth and nose.

Galaxies arent the kindest of neighbors. They can crash into each other or one can cannibalize parts of another that comes too close.

But this system was formed by a relatively rare, head-on collision.

That means the ring we see that makes up the face is ephemeral, only lasting about 100 million years a short time on the universal time scale.

The ring formed when each galaxys disk, which is filled with gas, dust and stars, was pulled and stretched out by the collision.

This is the Arp-Madore 2026-424 system 704 million light-years from Earth, as noted in the Catalogue of Southern Peculiar Galaxies and Associations.

The Arp-Madore catalog is the result of work published by astronomers Halton Arp and Barry Madore, who both searched for unique galactic interactions.

Their combined work detailing thousands of galaxies was released in 1987.

Rings are rare because there are only a few hundred of them known in our corner of the universe. The circumstances that create them have to happen in a certain way for the ring to form.

And because the galactic centers of each one seen in the image appear to be the same size, that means the galaxies were equal in proportion before they collided. Usually, larger galaxies cannibalize smaller galaxies.

Hubbles growing collection of images, those of including unusually interacting galaxies, can provide astronomers with information about how galaxies evolve.

Hubblesobservationscan also help determine targets for future space telescopes, like the James Webb Space Telescope launching in 2021.

Spooky face spotted in space by Hubble Telescope - FOX 31 Denver

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Can blind auditions help women succeed? Yes. – BusinessWorld Online

Posted: at 12:42 pm

By Faye Flam

ITS BECOME a kind of sport to shoot down social science claims, whether its the notion that you can ace interviews if you stand like Wonder Woman or charm your next date by reading two pages of Moby Dick before you leave.

And now critics have taken aim at a prize target a much-cited claim that symphony orchestras hire more women when they audition musicians behind a screen. There are big implications here, since the study has been used in diversity efforts across industries, which is why the take-down has taken off in the media.

But the blind auditions wont go the way of the other results that have vanished into air upon a more critical analysis. One reason is that blind auditions really exist; they were not a contrivance set up by scientists in a lab, as with the studies that have become infamous in the so-called replication crisis. Those mostly relied on experiments from which researchers made oversized and often counterintuitive claims. Some, it turned out, incorporated errors in statistical analysis that made random noise look like surprising new findings.

In contrast, blind auditions were independently adopted by real orchestras, starting with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, in the latter part of the 20th century. The purpose was to prevent conductors from choosing their own students, or their personal favorites, and instead force them to focus entirely on the music. Its also been adopted for awarding astronomers time on the Hubble Space Telescope a limited resource that has only gone to a small fraction of astronomers who submit proposals.

In the 1990s, two economists Claudia Goldin, an Economics professor at Harvard, and Cecilia Rouse, now an economics professor at Princeton University set out to investigate whether blind selection in orchestras was the direct cause of a concurrent increase in the number of women hired for orchestra positions.

Goldin and Rouse went around the country to different orchestras to observe their auditioning practices and collect data on past practices as well as records of who auditioned and who got hired. Much of that data was buried in files in basements. They learned interesting things on the journey including the fact that some orchestras used carpeting or other measures to disguise the difference in sound between male and female footsteps.

The results, published in 2000, were complicated. There are different rounds of selection preliminary, semi-finals, and finals, and women did better in blind selections in some rounds but not others. This was reflected in the abstract of their paper, which admits up front that their data are noisy and some of their numbers dont pass standard tests of statistical significance.

In an interview, Goldin said that they were particularly interested in seeing what happened to the subset of people who applied to both blind and non-blind auditions. Asking people to audition behind a screen might bring in a different, more diverse group of applicants, she said, but there were some musicians who applied to both kinds. Comparing how they performed in blind versus non-blind auditions would offer a kind of natural experiment. And thats where those controversial numbers surface.

The paper says that, using the audition data, we find that the screen increases by 50% the probability that a woman will be advanced from certain preliminary rounds and increases by severalfold the likelihood that a woman will be selected in the final round. The results were cited by politicians and TED talk speakers, and often referenced by other researchers.

One of the critiques came from Columbia University statistics professor Andrew Gelman, whose blog posts have become known for identifying and explaining the kinds of statistical errors or cheats that have led to erroneous or misleading conclusions in social science and medical research.

He criticized the lack of clarity in the paper, writing that he could not figure out how they calculated the much-touted 50% figure, let alone the several-fold difference mentioned, so it was impossible for him to see whether these numbers stand up to statistical tests.

Thats a fair criticism. But even if their data were too noisy to determine that blind auditions increased female hires, that doesnt prove that theres no effect, or that discrimination didnt exist. Goldin said that their number comes from isolating just the cases where the same people applied in both kinds of auditions, and applies, as the paper says, only to certain stages in the process.

A similar study of the Hubble Telescope time got a comparable result. When identifying information was removed from proposals, women became more likely than men to get approved for the first time in the 18 years the data were tracked. As described in detail in Physics Today, the blinding also resulted in more time going to researchers from lesser-known institutions. Reviewers had to look at the substance of the proposals in more depth rather than relying on the track record of the proposers.

A third study looked at coders and found that in gender-blind submissions, womens code was more likely to be accepted than mens; but when the coders gender was known, womens code was accepted less often.

We shouldnt lump a study that examined decades of hiring data at real orchestras in with the headlines that oversold findings that forced smiles make you happier, that hearing words associated with aging make you walk more slowly, and that women are much more likely to vote for Republicans at certain points in the menstrual cycle.

Unlike those other disappearing findings which blustered about a whole new understanding of human nature or offered people too-easy-to-be-true life hacks this blind audition paper was modest, claiming only to shed light on a cultural phenomenon at a particular place and time. Theres no reason to throw it into the trash heap of bad science.


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