Odds and Ends 

This Real-Time Visual Shows How Slow Light Travels in the Vastness of Space

In this brilliant real-time visualization, we start with our planet to grasp just how fast light travels (300,000 km per second/186,000 miles per second). However, things quickly get mind-boggling when we use nearby objects in space like the moon, mars, and sun. The visualization was created by Dr. James O’Donoghue who is a Planetary Scientist at the Japanese Space Agency, JAXA. Before that, the good doc worked at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. I love how elegantly a simple visualization can explain concepts like these. Read more: https://twistedsifter.com/videos/real-time-visual-of-how-slow-light-travels-in-space/

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Oxford professor accused of selling ancient Bible fragments

Dirk Obbink allegedly sold artefacts to US chain Hobby Lobby without permission An Oxford University professor has been accused of selling ancient Bible fragments to a controversial US company that has been involved in several high-profile scandals related to its aggressive purchases of biblical artefacts. Dirk Obbink, one of the worlds most celebrated classics professors, has been named after an investigation by staff associated with Oxfords project. He is accused of selling without permission a number of ancient fragments to the US arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby. Its owners,…

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A Neo-Noir Short Made from Actual Photos of Rosettas Historic Comet Landing

In 2016 an exciting mission came to its planned end. The Rosetta spacecraft made its final maneuver—a controlled hard-landing on the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67p). Before that, Rosetta accompanied the Comet for more than 2 years. It researched valuable scientific data, brought a lander to the comet’s surface and took a vast number of images. In 2017, the ESA released over 400,000 images from Rosetta’s historic mission. Based on this incredible source material, motion designer Christian Stangl and composer Wolfgang Stangl, worked together to create this neo-noir short film. Read more:…

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This is What Happens When You Teach an AI to Play Hide and Seek

The team at OpenAI observed agents discovering progressively more complex tool use while playing a simple game of hide-and-seek. Through training in their new simulated hide-and-seek environment, agents build a series of six distinct strategies and counterstrategies, some of which we did not know our environment supported. The self-supervised emergent complexity in this simple environment further suggests that multi-agent co-adaptation may one day produce extremely complex and intelligent behavior. You can find a detailed analysis and breakdown of this experiment at OpenAI Read more: https://twistedsifter.com/videos/teaching-an-ai-to-play-hide-and-seek/

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Artificial womb: Dutch researchers given 2.9m to develop prototype

Model from Eindhoven University will surround baby with fluid and deliver oxygen and nutrients via umbilical cord Attempts to create an artificial womb for premature babies have been given a boost by the award of a 2.9m (2.6m) grant to develop a working prototype for use in clinics. The model, which is being developed by researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology, would provide babies with artificial respiration. However, unlike current incubators the artificial womb would be similar to biological conditions, with the baby surrounded by fluids and receiving oxygen…

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Guy Fills Jar with Seawater, Seals it For a Year, and Documents the Results

YouTube channel Life in Jars made this large natural native saltwater ecosphere in a jar and fastidiously documented the results. The ecosphere has housed crabs, starfish and a lot more and is currently still housing a lot of crustaceans, paramecium, worms, other invertebrates and even spionid worms. He also answered some of the most frequently asked questions which I have copied and pasted below: Q: How can you ‘accidentally’ catch those animals? A: As you’ve noticed I collected a lot of seaweed and algae. The animals were probably hidden somewhere…

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Black hole at centre of galaxy is getting hungrier, say scientists

Scientists say Milky Ways Sagittarius A* has been more active in recent months Unseeable and inescapable, black holes already rank among the more sinister phenomena out in the cosmos. So it may come as disconcerting news that the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way appears to be growing hungrier. Astronomers monitoring the colossal object, called Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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Visualizing the Earths Rotation With a Timelapse of the Milky Way

In this intriguing timelapse by Aryeh Nirenberg, the Earth’s imperceptible rotation is visualized by keeping the Milky Way Galaxy centered for the timelapse’s duration. As Aryeh described on YouTube: A timelapse of the Milky Way that was recorded using an equatorial tracking mount over a period of around 3 hours to show Earth’s rotation relative to the Milky Way.   I used a Sony a7SII with the Canon 24-70mm f2.8 lens and recorded 1100 10″ exposures at a 12-second interval. All the frames were captured at F/2.8 and 16000iso. Read…

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The Aerosols of Earth

Image Credit: NASA/Joshua Stevens/Adam Voiland [NASA, Yvette Smith] Take a deep breath. Even if the air looks clear, it is nearly certain that you will inhale millions of solid particles and liquid droplets. These ubiquitous specks of matter are known as aerosols, and they can be found in the air over oceans, deserts, mountains, forests, ice and every ecosystem in between. If you have ever watched smoke billowing from a wildfire, ash erupting from a volcano or dust blowing in the wind, you have seen aerosols. Satellites like NASA’s Earth-observing…

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The Unsung 3rd Member of the Apollo 11 Crew Reflects on the 50th Anniversary

On July 21st, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to ever set foot on the moon. The third member of the historic Apollo 11 mission was Command Module Pilot, Michael Collins, whose mission was to bring everyone home. In this animated Google Doodle, Collins reflects on the 50th anniversary of the mission that changed our world forever. Read more: https://twistedsifter.com/videos/michael-collins-reflects-on-50th-anniversary-moon-landing/

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‘No doubt left’ about scientific consensus on global warming, say experts

Extensive historical data shows recent extreme warming is unprecedented in past 2,000 years The scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming is likely to have passed 99%, according to the lead author of the most authoritative study on the subject, and could rise further after separate research that clears up some of the remaining doubts. Three studies published in Nature and Nature Geoscience use extensive historical data to show there has never been a period in the last 2,000 years when temperature changes have been as fast and extensive…

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Brain scans of US embassy staff to Cuba may show abnormalities

Diplomats had reported falling ill after what was thought to be acoustic attack Brain scans of US embassy staff who became ill in mysterious circumstances while serving in Cuba have found potential abnormalities that may be related to their symptoms. The scans taken from 40 US government workers who suffered strange concussion-like symptoms during their deployment to Havana revealed that particular brain features looked different to those in healthy volunteers. Images of the diplomats brains found that on average they had lower volumes of white matter, the tissue made from…

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Scientists turn to ‘laser accurate’ model to test Stonehenge acoustics

Salford team explores sound qualities of ancient Wiltshire monument using 1:12 replica based on data from scans A diminutive model of Stonehenge could help crack the acoustic secrets of the ancient site, according to scientists who have built a version of the megaliths at a 12th of their size. The team say the 1:12 model, with a stone circle spanning 2.6 metres, has an edge over other replicas of Stonhenge, such as the full-scale one near ,sound interacts with the stones depends critically on the shapes, said Trevor Cox, professor…

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This Crazy Tech Can Turn Anybody in a Photo Into a Moving Animation

Photo Wake-Up is a research project by Chung-Yi Weng, Brian Curless, and Ira Kemelmacher-Shlizerman of the University of Washington. Per their paper’s abstract: We present a method and application for animating a human subject from a single photo. E.g., the character can walk out, run, sit, or jump in 3D. The key contributions of this paper are: 1) an application of viewing and animating humans in single photos in 3D, 2) a novel 2D warping method to deform a posable template body model to fit the person’s complex silhouette to…

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Glacial melting in Antarctica may become irreversible

Thwaites glacier is likely to thaw and trigger 50cm sea level rise, US study suggests A Nasa-funded study found instability in the Thwaites glacier meant there would probably come a point when it was impossible to stop it flowing into the sea and triggering a 50cm sea level rise. Other Antarctic glaciers were likely to be similarly unstable. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal found it was likely to succumb to instability linked to the retreat of its grounding line on the seabed that would lead to it…

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