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Monday, July 6

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Distant star vanishes without a trace — and panicked scientists don’t know where it went
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Distant star vanishes without a trace — and panicked scientists don’t know where it went

A massive star in a distant galaxy has baffled astronomers by disappearing without a trace. Scientists have been observing the star for decades as it was in the late stages of its lifespan meaning a huge supernova explosion could happen. It was observed shining brightly between 2001 and 2011 but 2019 data revealed its absence. Confused by how such a big star could mysteriously disappear, scientists looked back at data from 2016 and found the star was also missing back then. Somehow, it seems to have disappeared sometime after 2011. Now, scientists are wondering whether the star skipped the supernova stage, previously thought to be a necessary step in the end of a star’s life. Instead, they think it could have just collapsed into a black hole. Astrophysicist Andrew Allan said: ...
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Scientists in Kenya working to develop environmentally-friendly way to get rid of locusts

NAIROBI, – Eat them, poison them, and use scent to drive them to cannibalism – as a second wave of locusts threatens to devour East Africa’s crops, scientists in a Nairobi lab are experimenting with novel ways to kill them. Swarms are the worst for three generations, encouraged by unseasonably wet weather and dispersed by a record number of cyclones. The destructive pests could cost East Africa and Yemen $8.5 billion this year, the World Bank has said. Locusts are usually controlled by spraying them with pesticides before they can fly, but the chemicals can damage other insects and the environment. So scientists at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) are experimenting with biopesticides and the use of locusts as human and animal food as the
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Most Americans think esports should be included in the Olympics

Over half of Americans think video games should be considered a part of the Olympics, according to new research. The survey looked at 2,000 Americans’ opinions on video games and asked them to examine their own gaming habits. Three in four respondents agree it’s more socially acceptable to play video games now than it was just five years ago. SWNS Video games are so acceptable, in fact, that 56 percent believe they should be included in the Olympics. Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of World of Warships ahead of National Video Game Day, the survey also found 56 percent of those surveyed said that it takes more skills to play video games than contact sports. Fifty-four percent of respondents even said they believe esports will eventually overtake contact sports in society. The top skil
Ocean on Jupiter’s moon ‘could be habitable,’ researchers say
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Ocean on Jupiter’s moon ‘could be habitable,’ researchers say

With NASA slated to explore Jupiter’s moon Europa sometime in the next decade, researchers are increasingly confident that the ocean on the celestial satellite “could be habitable.” Speaking at the 2020 Goldschmidt Conference earlier this month, NASA researchers said they have developed a model that shows Europa, the sixth largest moon in the Solar System, could support life. “We were able to model the composition and physical properties of the core, silicate layer, and ocean,” NASA JPL researcher and the study’s lead author, Mohit Melwani Daswani, said in a statement. “We find that different minerals lose water and volatiles at different depths and temperatures. We added up these volatiles that are estimated to have been lost from the inter...
India bans TikTok, other Chinese apps amid border clashes
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India bans TikTok, other Chinese apps amid border clashes

Indian TikTok users awoke Tuesday to a notice from the popular short-video app saying their data would be transferred to an Irish subsidiary, a response to India’s ban on dozens of Chinese apps amid a military standoff between the two countries. The quick workaround showed the ban was largely symbolic since the apps can’t be automatically erased from devices where they are already downloaded, and is a response to a border clash with China where 20 Indian soldiers died earlier this month, digital experts said. “They want to send a message. This is a decision based on a geopolitical situation,” said digital rights activist Nikhil Pahwa. Indian protesters have been calling for a boycott of Chinese goods since the June 15 confrontation in the remote Karakoram mountain border region. Lat
Teen invents watch that warns you before you touch your face
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Teen invents watch that warns you before you touch your face

Here’s a “hands-off” approach to coronavirus prevention. As the coronavirus continues to threaten public health, we have been asked to take up new habits, such as wearing face masks in public, frequent hand-washing and avoiding contact with our faces. But if you just can’t seem to resist the urge, the Vybpro watch could help remind you to keep your hands away from your face. The digital watch and alarm system was created by 15-year-old Max Melia from the United Kingdom. “Watching this pandemic unfold on the news, it was clear the devastating effect it was having on people’s lives across the world,” he tells CNN. “However it wasn’t until I saw the severity of the virus firsthand, when both my parents contracted COVID-19, that I tr...
Reddit bans pro-Trump group for breaking hate speech rules
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Reddit bans pro-Trump group for breaking hate speech rules

WASHINGTON — Reddit on Monday banned its largest forum, or subreddit, dedicated to President Trump, accusing it of consistently breaking its ‘hate speech’ rules, according to a new report. The move by the social media giant is the latest a string of recent steps by social media companies such as Twitter to censor the president and his campaign by removing tweets or flagging them as misinformation. On Monday, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman announced that a community board named “The_Donald” where 790,000 members posted viral videos, memes and other supportive content about the president would be banned from the website. “Reddit is a place for community and belonging, not for attacking people,” said Huffman in a call with reporters first made public...
Tech community rallies against ‘racial bias’ of facial-recognition programs
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Tech community rallies against ‘racial bias’ of facial-recognition programs

Here’s a facial-recognition algorithm that critics say shouldn’t be taken at face value. On Tuesday, a group of more than 1,000 tech professionals — including artificial intelligence, machine learning, law and anthropology researchers — published a public letter bashing a forthcoming paper detailing the development of a facial-recognition program that claimed to predict if someone would be a criminal. The issue? The letter’s many signers agreed that criminality can’t be predicted without prejudice, despite the report’s claim of “80% accuracy and with no racial bias,” and compared the method to long debunked “race science.” The paper — by two professors and a graduate student at Harrisburg University in Pennsylvania — was set be p
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NASA releases 10-year time lapse of the sun

The sun is the star responsible for life on Earth. Without it, we wouldn’t be here and it’s a constant fixture in our everyday lives. With all that in mind, it’s a real shame you’re not supposed to look directly at it. The sun is an incredible thing and astronomers have come up with ways to observe it without scorching their retinas. One of those tools is the Solar Dynamics Observatory, an “unblinking eye” that observes the sun constantly. Images from the SDO are produced by capturing only a specific ultraviolet wavelength that lets scientists see the star’s corona, which is its outermost layer. For a decade, the SDO has been staring at the sun and recording every blip of activity it can spot. Now, we can enjoy it all for ourselves. The timelapse video NASA just released is absolute
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Satellites document coronavirus impact in new initiative from NASA, Japan, Europe

In addition to being a public health crisis, COVID-19 has also had a dramatic impact on the environment and the economy. Three space agencies — NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) — are keeping track of how the novel coronavirus has altered the world environmentally and economically with the help of a new dashboard that was unveiled Thursday. The COVID-19 Earth Observation Dashboard allows users to explore how the pandemic has impacted a range of things by looking at satellite imagery — such as airport and shipping traffic, a city’s night lights and agricultural production. “The pandemic was not only leaving a staggering toll of human suffering. It was having a global impact that we could document from space