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Category Archives: Futurism

Newly Discovered Blinking Space Lights Could Be Signs of Aliens – Futurism

Posted: December 18, 2019 at 9:05 pm

Flashing Lights

With rare exception, stars die in one of two ways: they either slowly transition into white dwarfs or quickly explode as supernovae.

But some stars appear to temporarily die without a whimper or a bang they just disappear from the night sky and then appear again later and the scientists behind a newly published study believe this strange phenomenon could have one of two explanations: were either witnessing something brand new in astrophysics or seeing signs of alien activity.

On Thursday, the scientists involved in the Vanishing and Appearing Sources during a Century of Observations (VASCO) project published their first study in The Astronomical Journal, a prestigious and peer-reviewed publication. It details their hunt for objects that appeared in surveys of the night sky dating as far back as the 1950s, but that no longer appear in modern surveys.

That hunt turned up a hundred red objects that have blinked in and out of existence over the past 70 years.

Study co-author Martin Lpez Corredoira noted in a press release that the VASCO team hasnt found any direct evidence linking the lights to extraterrestrial intelligence but the studys abstract implies that the authors arent ruling out the possibility, either.

The implications of finding [vanishing and appearing sources] extend from traditional astrophysics fields to the more exotic searches for evidence of technologically advanced civilizations, they wrote.

READ MORE: Unexplained Lights in Sky Could Be Alien Structures or Communication Lasers, Scientists Say [The Independent]

More on aliens: Penn States SETI Center Could Legitimize Alien Research

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Astronomers May Have Been Wrong About The Milky Way’s History – Futurism

Posted: at 9:05 pm

Rewriting History

A new image of the center of the Milky Way has astronomers rewriting the history of our galaxy.

Thats because the image, which reveals new information about 700,000 stars near the galaxys core, contradicts scientists assumption that new stars are constantly forming in that region, CNET reports. Rather, it suggests that star formation in the galactic center occurred mostly in our galaxys infancy before dying down for most of its life.

Existing scientific dogma holds that there was a more constant stream of star formation, but the new data suggests that 80 percent of stars in the region were created during the first high-activity period.

The Very Large Telescopes new survey found that the center of the Milky Way sprang back to life and began rapidly churning out new stars again about a billion years ago, accordingto research published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy.

This burst of activity, which must have resulted in the explosion of more than a hundred-thousand supernovae, was probably one of the most energetic events in the whole history of the Milky Way, lead author Francisco Nogueras-Lara of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy said in a press release.

But other astronomers arent quite ready to rewrite history one new paper isnt necessarily enough to overturn everything they know. Monash University astronomer Michael Brown, who didnt work on the study, told CNET that the particularly-complex methodology of the new research didnt fill him with confidence.

I find the evidence presented tentative rather than absolutely compelling, he said.

READ MORE: This unreal image of the Milky Ways center could rewrite galactic history [CNET]

More on the Milky Way: The Milky Ways Supermassive Black Hole Just Did Something Wild

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Study: Just Three Years of Vaping Increases Lung Disease Risk – Futurism

Posted: at 9:05 pm

A first-of-its-kind health study has yielded bad news for e-cigarette users and even worse news for those who both vape and smoke conventional cigarettes.

On Monday, a team from the University of California, San Francisco, published the results of the first long-term study focused on the relationship between e-cigarettes and respiratory illness in theAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine.

For the study, they analyzed data collected as part of a study called the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH), which tracked the tobacco usage of more than 32,000 American adults from 2013 to 2016, noting any new lung disease diagnoses they received.

The UC San Francisco team looked at people who had no reported lung disease at the beginning of the PATH study and found that vaping alone increased their chances of developing chronic lung disease by about a third over the course of the studys three years.

We concluded that e-cigarettes are harmful on their own, researcher Stanton Glantz said in a press release, and the effects are independent of smoking conventional tobacco.

Using traditional cigarettes made a person 2.6 times more likely to develop lung disease, so it would seem that vaping is comparatively safer than smoking, as some vape manufacturers have claimed.

The problem, though, is that the vast majority of e-cigarette users dont fully give up smoking cigarettes and using both forms of tobacco more than triples a persons risk of developing lung disease.

Switching from conventional cigarettes to e-cigarettes exclusively could reduce the risk of lung disease, but very few people do it, Glantz said. For most smokers, they simply add e-cigarettes and become dual users, significantly increasing their risk of developing lung disease above just smoking.

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Check Out This Hypnotic Array of Colossal Storms on Jupiter – Futurism

Posted: at 9:05 pm


Even putting its Great Red Spot aside for the moment, Jupiter is a bizarre place covered in gigantic, swirling storms.

NASA recently discovered another storm this one the size of the United States on the planets south pole, joining an array of six others that were already swirling around in abeautiful hexagonal pattern, according to an agency press release.

NASA first observed the new storm when the space agencys Juno spacecraft flew past the south pole in late November.

The flyby, which marked the 22nd time Juno checked up on Jupiter, was actually a bit of an evasive maneuver: NASA had to reroute Juno to keep it from dying in an eclipse that would have blocked its solar panels and ended the mission.

We realized that the orbit was going to carry Juno into Jupiters shadow, which could have grave consequences because were solar powered, Juno principal researcher Scott Bolton said in the release. No sunlight means no power, so there was real risk we might freeze to death.

Lo and behold, first thing out of the gate on the other side, we make another fundamental discovery, he added.

READ MORE: NASAs Juno Navigators Enable Jupiter Cyclone Discovery [NASA]

More on Jupiter: Scientists: Jupiters Great Red Spot Isnt Dying After All

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Russia Is Working on Its Own Plan to Blow up Killer Asteroids – Futurism

Posted: at 9:05 pm

Space Rocks

Russian space agency Roscosmos is creating a center devoted to monitoring meteors, comets, and asteroids to ensure they dont collide with Earth even it means having to blow them up in space.

As part of the creation of a monitoring system and information support for the safety of space activities in near-Earth space, we plan to launch the Russian Center for Small Celestial Bodies, whose main task will be to detect and track celestial bodies approaching Earth, Igor Bakaras, a senior official at Roscosmos subsidiary TsNIIMash, told Russian-owned news agency Sputnik.

Pakistani news agency UrduPoint News has reported that officials are expected to approve the center in mid-2020. It will go online shortly after and then remain in operation until 2030.

Russia also recently announced plans to build a series of telescopes on the Moon to help it track potentially hazardous space rocks, so it seems likely the new center will play a role in bringing that effort to fruition.

Before Russia can blast any dangerous asteroids out of the sky, itll need to do a lot of research. To that end, Bakaras told Sputnik that Russian scientists are currently exploring a variety of ways to destroy or redirect a space rock heading toward Earth, including through the use of satellites, rocket engines, and solar sails.

At present, work in these areas is limited largely to theoretical research and the mathematical modeling of various countermeasures, Bakaras said and that research could be key to saving the planet if an asteroid does make its way toward Earth.

READ MORE: Russia Working on Means to Destroy Dangerous Asteroids Hurtling Toward Earth [Sputnik]

More on asteroids: Russia Wants to Build an Observatory on the Moon

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Scientists Spot One of the Most Distant Galaxies Ever: MAMBO-9 – Futurism

Posted: at 9:05 pm

Star Light

Scientists just observed a new galaxy for the first time, and at 13 billion lightyears away, its one of the most distant galaxies spotted to date.

The galaxy, MAMBO-9, isnt setting any long-distance records. Scientists have found galaxies at similar and even greater distances from us. But MAMBO-9 is nearly as old as the universe, CNN reports, so the new finding could help astronomers reveal more information about the earliest days of the cosmos.

MAMBO-9 is only about 970 million years younger than the universe itself, according to research published Wednesday in The Astrophysical Journal. Thats an unfathomable length of time for humans, but a mere blip in the cosmic calendar.

The new discovery presents a rare opportunity to watch a galaxy form. Light from MAMBO-9 that just reached Earth which portrays things that actually happened 13 billion years ago reveals a vast cloud of dust that will someday form into new stars and exoplanets.

We expect 100 times more stars than dust, lead researcher Caitlin Casey from the University of Texas at Austin told CNN. But MAMBO-9 has not produced that many stars yet, and we want to find out how dust can form so fast after the Big Bang.

READ MORE: Meet MAMBO-9, one of the most distant galaxies to ever be observed [CNN]

More on space: Something Very Strange Seems to be Synchronizing Distant Galaxies

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Stare Into the Brutal Maw of This Barbarous Neutron Star – Futurism

Posted: at 9:05 pm

Imaging Pisces

For the first time, NASA managed to map the entire surface of a neutron star (read: the cosmic carcass of a massive star after it detonates in a massive supernova explosion).

The neutron star, J0030+0451 is found within the Pisces constellation. Its only 16 miles wide, according to Astronomy, but still has at least 1.3 times the mass of our Sun. By using NASAs x-ray-measuring satellite NICER, scientists managed to construct a map of unprecedented detail, helping them build out their (and our) understanding of the universe like never before.

The discovery, described in a new series of papers published in The Astrophysical Journal, took about a month to assemble with NASAs supercomputers. Compiling the various recordings and measurements from this project into a coherent map was such a complex task that it wouldve taken about a decade to do on a standard computer, according to Astronomy.

Its unclear what exactly what scientists want to use the new map for. NASA announced plans to recreate the map with more neutron stars, Astronomy reports, but in the meantime, its worth taking a minute and just appreciating how cool this astronomical accomplishment is.

READ MORE: Astronomers map a neutron stars surface for the first time [Astronomy]

More on neutron stars: Scientists Have Learned Why Neutron Stars Shine So Bright

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Survey Finds That Water Is Common Around Exoplanets – Futurism

Posted: at 9:05 pm

Yeah, Got That Water

After surveying 19 exoplanets, a University of Cambridge-led research team found 14 had water vapor in their atmospheres more than theyd expected. The amount of water vapor, meanwhile? Less than theyd anticipated. Yet: These new insights could go a long way toward narrowing our hunt for extraterrestrial life.

Its important to know about even the most remote presence of water elsewhere [given] that water is a key ingredient to our notion of habitability on Earth, project leader Nikku Madhusudhan said in a press release,

For their survey results of which were published on Wednesday in The Astrophysical Journal Letters the researchers gathered spectroscopic data on the 19 exoplanets using numerous telescopes, including Hubble and Chiles Very Large Telescope.

Using that data, they were able to estimate amounts of various chemicals in the exoplanets atmospheres and hope to do the same for additional exoplanets in the future.

We look forward to increasing the size of our planet sample in future studies, Madhusudhan said. Inevitably, we expect to find outliers to the current trends as well as measurements of other chemicals.

READ MORE: Water common yet scarce in exoplanets [University of Cambridge]

More on exoplanets: Exoplanet Water Worlds Could Hold Unfathomably Deep Alien Oceans

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Change or have change happen to you, says futurist – RealAgriculture

Posted: at 9:05 pm

Be the change or be changed, saysNikolas Badminton, futurist and TechTour alumnus.

What does that mean for agriculture? Well, according to Badminton, it means that farmers are either going to have to adapt and evolve their practices, technology, and equipment, or someone else willing to do so will be the one farming and not them.

Its perhaps a strong message for an industry steeped in tradition like agriculture, but history shows that farmers have always been able to adapt, change, and move forward. The rate of that change and the costs associated with it is increasing, however, and farmers are going to have to be nimble in the face of rapidly advancing technology, urbanization, and social shifts.

According to Badminton there are some key areas of advancement that farmers need to pay attention to and adapt with. These are:

All of these areas have big money behind them for research and development, and change is happening at a rapid pace. That said, Badminton doesnt agree with those that are calling for a very abrupt end to how much of the worlds protein is raised as livestock.

Data, too, is already re-defining how most businesses operate and farming is no different. Sensor technology is growing in leaps and bounds, he says, and its this data that will shape technology and push change.

We shouldnt be scared of the opportunity. Yes, we need to work out the business casebut lets pilot projects, lets see what can work, he says, If farmers evolve, theyll flourish, if they dont, businesses will move in and do the work required, Badminton says.

Hear more about what Badminton sees happening and not happening in agriculture in the next 10 years:

Related: What will farmers do when they no longer drive tractors?

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The Co-Founder of Google Is Quietly Trying to Cure the Flu – Futurism

Posted: December 13, 2019 at 3:00 pm

Larry Page, one of Googles co-founders who recently stepped down as CEO, has been funneling millions of dollars into flu vaccine research in recent years.

First, Page pumps cash into his charity, the Carl Victor Page Memorial Foundation. Then the Foundation gives it to two companies, Shoo the Flu and Flu Lab, according to TechCrunch, which traced Pages money across the organizations. While its unclear exactly how the money is being used, the two companies both focus on flu shot distribution and research, working toward the ultimate goal of developing a universal flu vaccine.

Shoo the Flu, which provides free flu shots in Oakland, California schools, is run by the same person as Flu Lab, and the two groups will soon formally merge, per TechCrunch.

A universal flu vaccine, which would effectively cure a disease responsible for the death of about 80,000 Americans in 2018, is probably still years away, The Verge reports. But if it works, scientists would no longer have to do the annual guesswork of predicting which strains will emerge in a given year while preparing vaccines.

While spending millions on medical research is an undeniably good way to use ones fortune, TechCrunch notes that the way Page has gone about supplying the funds is inherently questionable while his charity has to make its finances public, the private companies to which it basically redirects his money do not.

Even if Page were to choose in the most exceptionally wise and effective way, I would object to the creation of LLCs in which billionaires can hide the exercise of their power, Stanford philanthropy expert Rob Reich told TechCrunch.

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