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Space Photos of the Week: Home Is Where the Supermassive Black Hole Is

This week we’re spending some time at home, in our own Milky Way galaxy. But wait, you say: How can we take photos of our own galaxy from the inside? It’s not easy, to be sure: Scientists are left looking up and down, left and right trying to image pieces as best they can. This week, NASA released a visualization of the galactic core of the Milky Way. Most galaxies have black holes near their centers, and our is no exception. One reason to study the center of our galaxy…

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Largest prime number discovered with more than 23m digits

With nearly one million more digits than the previous record holder, the new largest prime number is the 50th rare Mersenne prime ever to be discovered At more than 23m digits long, the number is something of a beast. But for mathematicians, the latest discovery from a global gang of enthusiasts is a thing of beauty: the largest prime number ever found. Known simply as M77232917, the figure is arrived at by calculating two to the power of 77,232,917 and subtracting one, leaving a gargantuan string of 23,249,425 digits. The…

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Want to Learn How to Mine in Space? Theres a School for You

Hunter Williams used to be an English teacher. Then, three years into that job, he started reading the book The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. The 1966 novel by Robert Heinlein takes place in the 2070s, on the moon, which, in this future, hosts a subterranean penal colony. Like all good sci-fi, the plot hinges on a rebellion and a computer that gains self-awareness. But more important to Williams were two basic fictional facts: First, people lived on the moon. Second, they mined the moon. “I thought, ‘This is it….

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Grad Students Are Freaking Out About the GOP Tax Plan. They Should Be

Amanda Coston was preparing for a meeting with her advisor Monday afternoon when her friend, another first-year PhD student in Carnegie Mellon's machine learning department, knocked on her door. Had she seen the email? A few minutes earlier, the university's Graduate Student Assembly had sent a Google Doc to department representatives across the university, and those reps had forwarded the document to their grad students. That document, which you can see for yourself here, details the devastating impact the GOP's recently unveiled tax-reform plan could have on the university's PhD…

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Odds and Ends 

Major Breakthrough: Scientists At MIT Have Trapped Cancer Underneath A Bowl

Well, this is officially the best news you’ll read all day! After decades of research, we’re officially closer than ever to finding a cure for one of the most deadly disease on earth: Scientists at MIT have made a major medical breakthrough and have trapped cancer underneath a bowl! So much yes! This could be the end of cancer as we know it! The miraculous development was reportedly made last week, when five scientists in MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research stood together and corralled cancer into a corner…

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Ban on killer robots urgently needed, say scientists

Technology now exists to create autonomous weapons that can select and kill human targets without supervision as UN urged to outlaw them The movie portrays a brutal future. A military firm unveils a tiny drone that hunts and kills with ruthless efficiency. But when the technology falls into the wrong hands, no one is safe. Politicians are cut down in broad daylight. The machines descend on a lecture hall and spot activists, who are swiftly dispatched with an explosive to the head. The Convention on Conventional Weapons hosted by theclear…

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In search of the neutrino, ghost particle of the universe

A huge, extraordinary machine will soon begin to study an elusive particle in a bid to reveal some of the deep secrets of the cosmos On the outskirts of Karlsruhe, in south-west Germany, engineers have buried a giant, stainless steel device, bigger than a blue whale, inside the towns institute of technology. The machine looks for all the world like a grounded zeppelin or a buried blimp. In fact, the apparatus is one of the worlds biggest vacuum chambers. Air pressure inside it is lower than that on the surface…

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Resistance to changes in grammar is futile, say researchers

Linguists say that random chance plays a bigger role than previously thought in the evolution of language but also that English is weird When it comes to changes in language, theres no point crying over spilt milk: researchers charting fluctuations in English grammar say the rise of certain words, such as spilled, is probably down to chance, and that resistance is futile. Comparisons have long been drawn between evolution and changes in language, with experts noting that preferences such as a desire for emphasis can act as a type of…

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Astronauts finally brought a fidget spinner to space

People wait in their cars in line to collect water nearly one month after Hurricane Maria struck on October 19, 2017 in San Pedro, Puerto Rico.Image: Getty Images The Weather Channel has a message for Americans: Puerto Rico is still in crisis.  The popular website of the IBM-owned company on Friday used its entire front page to remind visitors that the situation in Puerto Rico remains dire, exactly one month after Category 4 Hurricane Maria struck the island. Millions of residents remain without power, and many still lack access to…

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‘It’s able to create knowledge itself’: Google unveils AI that learns on its own

In a major breakthrough for artificial intelligence, AlphaGo Zero took just three days to master the ancient Chinese board game of Go … with no human help Googles artificial intelligence group, DeepMind, has unveiled the latest incarnation of its Go-playing program, AlphaGo an AI so powerful that it derived thousands of years of human knowledge of the game before inventing better moves of its own, all in the space of three days. Named AlphaGo Zero, the AI program has been hailed as a major advance because it mastered the ancient…

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Here’s your first look at Lego’s official Women of NASA set

(L-R) Nancy Grace Roman, Margaret Hamilton, Sally Ride and Mae Jemison.Image: Lego Next month, you’ll be able to buy a little bit of space history in Lego form.  Starting on Nov. 1, space fans of all ages will be able to buy Lego’s Women of NASA set featuring four essential women who made space science history. SEE ALSO: Lego’s next release screams girl power and we’re totally here for it The new set plays homage to astronauts Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, and Mae Jemison, the first…

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Dyslexia: scientists claim cause of condition may lie in the eyes

In people with the condition, light receptor cells are arranged in matching patterns in both eyes, which may confuse the brain French scientists claim they may have found a physiological, and seemingly treatable, cause for dyslexia hidden in tiny light-receptor cells in the human eye. In people with the condition, the cells were arranged in matching patterns in both eyes, which may be to blame for confusing the brain by producing mirror images, the co-authors wrote in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. In non-dyslexic people, the cells…

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