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Here Are The Most Mind-Blowing Science Facts We’ve Learnt in 2018 So Far

Here Are The Most Mind-Blowing Science Facts We've Learnt in 2018 So Far 86

1. SpaceX didn’t just launch a Tesla Roadster into space back in February – there was a second payload hidden inside the car. A small Arch (pronounced ‘Ark’) designed to last for millions, if not billions, of years in the extreme environments of space is now making its way across our Solar System, carrying with it a library’s worth of information about humanity.

2. Bitcoin is in a precarious legal position following the discovery of links to child pornography hidden within the blockchain code. As of right now, the legal status of the most famous cryptocurrency is unclear.

3. The largest underwater cave system exists below Mexico spanning an incredible 347 kilometres (216 miles) – and it’s filled with hidden Maya treasures.

4. It’s official – birds of prey in Australia deliberately start dangerous forest fires. This is something that’s long been observed by Indigenous populations, but only confirmed by science in January this year.

5. Scientists have identified the physical source of anxiety in the brain… and figured out how to control it with light.

6. There’s a weird anomaly underneath Africa that’s dramatically weakening Earth’s magnetic field. In case you think we’re exaggerating, the effect is so pronounced, it’s now hazardous for Earth’s satellites to enter it – the magnetic field is so weak in the area it can’t guarantee protection for electronics from damaging space radiation. More worryingly, this could be an early sign that Earth’s magnetic poles are getting set to flip.

7.  And if Earth’s poles do flip, we’re unprepared for the side effects.

8. A review of 6,000 studies across two decades has given us yet another solid, peer-reviewed verdict on the health impacts of genetically modified corn. The verdict? It isn’t bad for you.

9. For the first time ever, astronomers were able to detect planets outside our galaxy. Researchers used a technique known as gravitational microlensing to detect extragalactic planets ranging in masses as small as the Moon to as great as Jupiter in a galaxy 3.8 billion light years away. Just wrap your tiny noggin around that.

10. We were wrong – rats definitely didn’t spread the black plague back in the 14th century. After centuries of blaming rodents, science has now shown once and for all that it was most likely human lice and fleas that spread the disease, killing tens of millions of people.

11. An incredibly popular herbal supplement is actually an opioid. And a dangerous one at that.

12. Black holes are weirder than we thought. It turns out not only do they eject matter, they can belch it out twice. For the first time, astronomers have observed a black hole gobble up a star and then burp out two giant jets of particles.

13. There’s now “very strong evidence” that alcohol can directly damage DNA in crucial stem cells, which could explain the link between drinking and increased cancer risk. 🙁

14. Biologists counted all the protein molecules in a single yeast cell and the answer really is 42… million.

15. Ancient humans were super promiscuous. Not only did they have lots of sex with Neanderthals, new research has shown they also bred with a mysterious human-like species called the Denisovans. The evidence remains in our gene pool to this day.

16. Naked mole rats have yet another superpower. In addition to being immune to cancer, they also DO. NOT. AGE. If you’re a naked mole rat, your chances of dying don’t increase as you get older. As you might imagine, scientists are eagerly investigating further.

17. Scientists can now generate “negative mass” in the lab. A team of physicists says they’ve built a device that’s capable of generating mysterious particles known as ‘polaritons‘ that behave as if they have negative mass.

18. A small pebble discovered in south-west Egypt is not only extraterrestrial in origin, it doesn’t appear to come from our Solar System at all. Known as the Hypatia stone, it contains micro-mineral compounds not known to occur anywhere on Earth, not found in any other meteorites, and not known to occur anywhere in the Solar System. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

19. Speaking of Egypt, a scientist thinks he’s figured out the secret to the pyramids’ uncannily perfect alignment. By simply using shadows that fall on the autumnal equinox, the researcher showed that ancient Egyptians would have been able to align the pyramids almost perfectly along the cardinal points – north-south-east-west.

20. Experiments have shown the effects of a fourth spatial dimension.

21. We’ve finally found something that can kill cockroaches – one of the world’s longest and creepiest worms, known as the bootlace worm. Or, more affectionately, living horror noodle.

22. In case you were wondering, we also now know exactly what deep-sea anglerfish look like after they mate, and, yeah, it’s weird.

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New Physics: Mysterious radiation pointed to the verge of discovering a “ghost” particle that makes up dark matter

New Physics: Mysterious radiation pointed to the verge of discovering a "ghost" particle that makes up dark matter 99
Photo: Daniel Molybdenum, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Physicists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the United States have found that the mysterious high-energy radiation emitted from the vicinity of a group of neutron stars may indicate the existence of axions – not yet discovered particles within the framework of New Physics, the search for which has been going on since 1977. It is assumed that special types of axions form dark matter. This is reported in an article published in the journal Physical Review Letters. The research is summarized in a press release on Phys.org.

It is believed that axions can form in the core of neutron stars and transform into photons in the presence of a powerful magnetic field. To detect the electromagnetic radiation associated with axions, you need to find stars that do not emit radiation at different wavelengths that can mask the desired signal. 

These objects include the Magnificent Seven neutron stars that emit only X-ray and ultraviolet radiation. They are located at a distance of 200-500 parsecs from the Earth.

The researchers ruled out the scenario that the excess X-rays produced by the Magnificent Seven are actually emitted by other, more distant objects. These sources would be found in datasets from the XMM-Newton and Chandra X-ray space telescopes.

The extra X-rays likely originate from axions hitting an extremely strong electromagnetic field billions of times stronger than the magnetic fields that could be created on Earth, the scientists concluded. The axions themselves resemble neutrinos in their properties, since both have insignificant masses and rarely and weakly interact with matter.

The axion is currently viewed as the most promising candidate for dark matter particles, since another hypothetical candidate, the massive WIMP particle, has gone unnoticed in experiments aimed at detecting it. 

In addition, there may be a whole family of axion-like particles that form dark matter, as suggested by string theory. If axions are found, it will prove that there is a whole new area of ​​physics outside the Standard Model describing the properties of all known particles.

To find out, the next step will be to study white dwarfs, which are not expected to emit X-rays.

“If we see an abundance of X-rays there too, our arguments will be pretty compelling,” said lead author Benjamin Safdie.

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The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear?

The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear? 100

Various sources often talk about civilizations that lived long before us. They all developed, prospered for a while, and then disappeared in an incomprehensible way. 

What is the reason for their decline, we probably will not know. All we can do is admire the remains of stone buildings, over which time has almost no power.

While looking for an answer, we somehow accidentally stumbled upon an interesting saying about the life of Japanese samurai: “A samurai has no goal, but a path.” In the end, the “path of the samurai” ended in what is known – death. The path of any civilization ended in the same way.

If you look at the issue through the prism of a samurai saying, then there is no point in looking for why and how civilization ended its existence. Probably, the process itself and its result are important here. But to whom is it important and what result does it expect?

Mysterious director

Apparently, behind the curtains of this “ancient theater” there is a mysterious “director” who periodically makes necessary adjustments to the history of civilization.

To figure out what’s what, you need to look at current trends in science. Where does a person strive with such an irresistible desire to “play God.” This attracts him and at the same time frightens him, but in no way turns him away from the intended path. Most likely, artificial intelligence (AI) is the purpose of our civilization’s existence.

About 50 years ago it would have seemed nonsense, but to someone, perhaps even now. However, if you trace the last 100 years of the life of our civilization, you get the feeling that most of the discoveries were given to mankind at the same time. A powerful leap has taken place in a hundred years. Why did it happen?

At the beginning of the last century, scientists recognized the existence of fields that have memory and the ability to store and transmit information. It is very likely that such or a similar field can be around the Earth and, more interesting, possess intelligence. Isn’t this the same “Director” hiding behind the screen of the “ancient theater”?

If this is so, then at a certain moment the “Director” gives the selected scientist “access” to certain knowledge (perhaps even in a dream, like Mendeleev), and another scientific breakthrough occurs in the world. Step by step, discovery after discovery, humanity is steadily moving towards the creation of AI. The trend is already well visible.

The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear? 101

AI is probably the next “Babylon”, which will combine all the knowledge, culture and accumulated experience of civilization. In the future, the neural network will enter into a connection with the general information field and leave humanity without knowledge, technology, and even a spoken language. This will be the next decline of civilization. And the “Director” will receive another array of new data (experience) in order to start creating a new civilization.

If someone believes that past civilizations ended in large-scale conflicts, then most likely this is already the consequences of “turning off” AI.

Co-founder of Skype talked about the threat of AI to humanity

One of the creators of the Skype internet call service, Jaan Ta

The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear? 102
Photo: 
© still from the movie “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”

llinn, said that the development of artificial intelligence (AI) threatens humanity. According to him, humans face three key threats, but it is AI that should be feared most of all, the expert said. 

Tallinn explained that at the moment, no one can predict what development AI will achieve in the next decades. In addition, the fact that scientists are creating artificial intelligence that can form a new AI without human intervention is also a cause for concern.

In addition, as the co-founder of the popular video calling service noted, the development of synthetic biology also causes concern. According to him, this direction in science allows the creation of artificial DNA sequences and biological systems that may not exist in nature.

Tallinn also drew attention to the fact that he fears we are entering an era of “unknown unknowns”, things that people are not even able to imagine right now.

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Volkswagen robot will autonomously charge cars: a working prototype presented

Volkswagen robot will autonomously charge cars: a working prototype presented 103
Copyright: © VW

The renowned German car manufacturer announced a new development. This time, engineers have created a unique robot capable of autonomously charging electric vehicles. 

For more than a year, specialists have been developing this project, but only now the concern was ready to demonstrate the first working prototype. The robot is ready to charge electric vehicles and has shown the high efficiency of this process.

It is called the Mobile Charging Robot, and experts have already compared it to the R2-D2 droid from Star Wars, including squeaks and clangs. Indeed, there is a similarity. Before implementing this idea, the engineers decided that robots should be allowed to charge cars parked in large residential complexes.

This will save their owners from leaving in order to find a gas station. Another advantage is that large parking lots and garages do not have to contain several expensive charging points for electric cars. The car company said in a press release that the robot works exclusively autonomously.

It independently controls and interacts with the vehicle being charged. It opens the cover of the charging socket and independently connects the power plug, then disconnects it. The robot looks like a trailer, which is a mobile energy storage.

It is capable of charging multiple electric vehicles at the same time. Despite the fact that the manufacturer confidently praises its concept, experts saw inefficiency in the fact that first it is necessary to charge the robot’s battery, which is then used to recharge electric cars.

Volkswagen Group Components CEO Thomas Schmall noted that creating an efficient charging infrastructure for the cars of the future is an important step in the company’s development.

Its engineers focus on finding solutions to avoid costly do-it-yourself measures. The mobile robot is only part of the concept that will continue to be developed.

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