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The Odd Physics of Rey’s Backflip in Star Wars: Episode IX

The vertical acceleration. On Earth, this is -9.8 m/s2. The distance scale. How many pixels of video in one meter of distance? The time scale. What is the length of time for each frame? If you know two of these three things, you can find the third. Here you can see there is a problem. I'm pretty sure I can get a distance scale by using the height of Rey (or the size of the TIE fighter). But what about the other two? It seems I should stay away from…

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The Incredible Teamwork Behind the First Ever Image of a Black Hole

EHT Collaboration In coordinated press conferences across the globe, EHT (Event Horizon Telescope) researchers unveiled the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow. The image reveals the black hole at the centre of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. This black hole resides 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun. Messier 87 Messier 87 The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international…

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Prep for Your Toughest Races Like a Master Marathoner

On Wednesday, I spoke with Mebrahtom Keflezighi, perhaps the most successful American marathoner of all time. He won the New York City marathon in 2009 and the Boston Marathon in 2014. He won an Olympic silver medal and was internationally competitive until the age of 42, in a sport where people tend to peak much younger than that. On Monday, he will be the grand marshall of the Boston Marathon. Keflezighi possesses a wealth of running wisdom, much of which he shares in his book 26 Marathons. We spoke mainly…

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Researchers Want to Link Your Genes and IncomeShould They?

The UK Biobank is the single largest public genetic repository in the world, with samples of the genetic blueprints of half a million Brits standing by for scientific study. But when David Hill, a statistical geneticist at the University of Edinburgh, went poring through that data, he wasn’t looking for a cure for cancer or deeper insights into the biology of aging. Nothing like that. He was trying to figure out why some people make more money than others. Along with a team of European collaborators, Hill sifted through the…

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What makes somebody change their mind about Brexit? | Andre Spicer

Leading Brexiter voice Peter Oborne has done a U-turn, showing that even locked-in beliefs have a tipping point, says professor of organisational behaviour Andr Spicer Its nearly three years since I, along with 17. 4 million other Britons, voted for Brexit. Today I have to admit that the Brexit project has gone sour. So began the Daily Mail columnist Peter Obornes widely shared piece on why he Leon Festinger and his colleagues. They studied a cult that believed planet Earth would be destroyed by a great flood on 21 December…

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Worlds Smallest Boy (Born 268g/9.45oz) Gets Discharged From Hospital

© Reuters The world’s smallest-known baby boy to be born and survive was just discharged from the hospital after spending 5 months in neonatal intensive care. Born in Tokyo, Japan 16 weeks early last August, the baby boy weighed just 268 grams (9.45 ounces) at birth. According to The Telegraph: Doctors performed an emergency caesarean section at 24 weeks when he failed to grow during the pregnancy and experts feared his life was in danger. Now weighing 3.2 kg (7.05 pounds), the amazing little baby was sent home from the…

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Age is no barrier: meet the world’s oldest top athletes

Richard Godwin catches up with five pensioners, aged up to 108, who thrive on extreme exercise Edwina Brocklesby: triathlete, 76, Kingston-upon-Thames I didnt do any exercise at all until I was 50. I remember trying out for the long-jump team at university for a laugh and I couldnt move for two weeks afterwards. So that was the end of my athletics career. And then I had three children and I was busy with my job. I was a social worker and ran two adoption agencies. One day, I went to…

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How hermit crabs shake off competitors for shells

House hunters are deterred from evicting incumbents by strong vibrations from inside Hermit crabs shake in their shells to ward off competitors who have designs on their homes, scientists have found. Field tests conducted on a beach in Costa Rica showed Pacific hermit crabs are swiftly deterred from ousting an incumbent when they sense strong vibrations coming from inside. Researchers at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire set out to investigate the role of vibrations after noticing that the land-dwelling crabs performed a shunting motion when others climbed on their backs.…

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Deep Learning Smart Paintbrush Turns Doodles Into Photorealistic Images

A deep learning AI model developed by NVIDIA Research has been seen turning rough doodles into photorealistic images with astonishing ease. The tool leverages generative adversarial networks, or GANs, to convert segmentation maps into lifelike images. The interactive app using the model, in a lighthearted nod to the post-Impressionist painter, has been christened GauGAN. Post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin GauGAN could offer a powerful tool for creating virtual worlds to everyone from architects and urban planners to landscape designers and game developers. With an AI that understands how the real world looks,…

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Pendulum Waves Make the Most Mesmerizing Physics Demonstrations

Check out this amazing homemade pendulum wave made with 15 billiard balls. More scientifically, what you are seeing is: Fifteen uncoupled simple pendulums of monotonically increasing lengths dance together to produce visual traveling waves, standing waves, beating, and random motion. One might call this kinetic art and the choreography of the dance of the pendulums is stunning! Aliasing and quantum revival can also be shown. [source] If you want to delve deeper into the science of what you are watching check out this post from Harvard Natural Sciences Lecture Demonstrations…

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The Failure of NASA’s Spacewalk Snafu? How Predictable It Was

When Saralyn Mark heard the news earlier this month that NASA was planning the first all-women spacewalk at the International Space Station on March 29, she started to worry. Mark, an endocrinologist by training, was a senior medical advisor to NASA for 18 years. In that role, she studied the way men and women’s bodies differ, on space and on earth. Within the agency, she advocated for spacesuit and technological design that took these differences to account. She led two separate decadal reviews into how NASA handled sex and gender…

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Your Apples May Soon Be Picked By Laser-Shooting Robots

A bowl of salad is a beautiful collection of human ingenuity. The lettuce requires its own specialized agricultural process, as do the tomatoes, as do the garbanzo beans. Then comes the simple act of pulling these ingredients out of the ground, a challenge our dextrous human hands complete with ease. As for robots? Not so much. This is why roboticists are creating crop-specific machines to harvest fruits and veggies. There’s the robot that harvests lettuce with a knife made of water. Now comes the apple-picking robot, a metallic farmer that…

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We Might Be Reaching ‘Peak Indifference’ on Climate Change

Something weird is happening around climate change. Republicans are deciding it’s real. Three years ago, only 49 percent of Republicans thought so, but by last December it was 64 percent, as a Monmouth University poll found. That’s a huge jump in a short time and is all the more astonishing given that the Republican president and many of his party’s politicians pooh-pooh the global emergency. Meanwhile, other parts of the electorate are really freaking out. Last year, the percentage of those who say they’re “very worried” about global warming shot…

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Those Midwestern Floods Are Expected to Get Much, Much Worse

The record-setting floods deluging the Midwest are about to get a lot worse. Fueled by rapidly melting snowpack and a forecast of more rainstorms in the next few weeks, federal officials warn that 200 million people in 25 states face a risk through May. Floodwaters coursing through Nebraska have already forced tens of thousands of people to flee and have caused $1.3 billion in damage. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued its spring flood outlook Thursday, predicting that two-thirds of the country is at risk of "major to moderate…

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Finally! A DNA Computer That Can Actually Be Reprogrammed

DNA is supposed to rescue us from a computing rut. With advances using silicon petering out, DNA-based computers hold the promise of massive parallel computing architectures that are impossible today. But there’s a problem: The molecular circuits built so far have no flexibility at all. Today, using DNA to compute is “like having to build a new computer out of new hardware just to run a new piece of software,” says computer scientist David Doty. So Doty, a professor at the University of California, Davis, and his colleagues set out…

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