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Closest black hole is not in our galaxy's center

A newly discovered black hole in Omega Centauri, a star cluster near the Milky Way, has been found to have a mass between 20,000-50,000 times that of the Sun, making it the closest black hole to Earth, even closer than the one at the center of our galaxy. This finding is significant for astronomers as it confirms the existence of intermediate-sized black holes, which are crucial for understanding the evolution of supermassive black holes. The discovery was made possible by tracking the movements of stars within Omega Centauri using images from the Hubble Telescope. Dr. Holger Baumgardt of the University of Queensland believes this finding will lead to further research and speculation about the formation and existence of black holes in the universe. The study detailing this discovery has been published in the journal Nature. sources

Jul 10 2024, 10 pm

Rare whale found on New Zealand beach

A spade-toothed whale, the world's rarest whale species, has been discovered washed ashore on a beach in Otago, New Zealand, marking only the sixth documented specimen of this elusive creature. Experts from the Department of Conservation and The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa were surprised by the find, as sightings of this species alive have never been reported. The 5-meter-long male beaked whale is believed to be a spade-toothed whale, known for their elusive nature and scarcity. While DNA testing is still needed to confirm its identity, this discovery is considered significant for scientific and conservation purposes. The Department of Conservation is working with local authorities to ensure appropriate respect for this rare species as they continue to learn more about it. sources

Jul 15 2024, 7 pm

Differentiating and combating pseudoscience and anti-science

The internet, once envisioned as an "information superhighway," has become a breeding ground for pseudoscience and anti-science beliefs, as highlighted in a recent paper. Pseudoscience, exemplified by practices like acupuncture, relies on the placebo effect rather than scientific evidence. On the other hand, anti-science movements, such as the anti-vax movement and Flat Earth conspiracy, outright reject scientific authority. While countering pseudoscience involves fact-checking and debunking, anti-science arguments are more resistant to rational arguments and may require a different approach. The key is to engage with these beliefs on their own terms, rather than trying to rationalize them out of existence. Ultimately, the rise of pseudoscience and anti-science poses a challenge to the dissemination of accurate information and highlights the importance of addressing these beliefs in a nuanced manner. sources

Jul 15 2024, 6 pm

Five people drive into acidic lake in Yellowstone Park

Five visitors accidentally drove their SUV into the Semi-Centennial Geyser, a hot, acidic pond in Yellowstone National Park. The geyser, inactive since 1922, has water temperatures of 105 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH just above three. The car was fully submerged under nine feet of hot, acidic water, but all occupants escaped with non-life-threatening injuries. The roadway was temporarily closed for car retrieval, and the incident is under investigation. With over 10,000 hydrothermal features in the park, tourists are reminded to stay informed about road conditions and stay safe. Yellowstone also faces a high fire danger, but the biggest threat to tourists may be their own risky behavior, as seen in previous incidents involving dangerous geysers and bison encounters. Park rangers continue to face challenges in ensuring visitor safety. sources

Jul 15 2024, 4 pm

High school student creates vertical landing model rocket

A high school student, Aryan Kapoor, has successfully created a model rocket that can land vertically after three years of hard work. This impressive feat, akin to SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster, showcases Kapoor's innovative approach using thrust vector control instead of traditional fins for stability. The rocket's flight is controlled by software, making it a remarkable achievement for a student project. Despite initial challenges with altitude measurement during test flights, Kapoor persevered and finally achieved a successful landing in May 2024. His accomplishment has garnered attention and admiration, with many suggesting that someone at SpaceX should consider hiring this talented young engineer. sources

Jul 15 2024, 5 pm

Effects of Long-Haul Flights on Body and Coping Strategies

Flying can be exciting, but it can take a toll on our bodies. Spending hours in a plane can lead to dry skin, lips, nose, and eyes due to the low humidity in the cabin. While dehydration is a concern, the risk is minimal if you stay hydrated. Blood clots, known as deep vein thrombosis, can also form during long flights, especially if you remain immobile for extended periods. To prevent this, it is recommended to move around the plane, do exercises, and wear compression stockings. Additionally, jet lag can occur after crossing multiple time zones, causing disrupted sleep and fatigue. To minimize its effects, adjusting your sleep schedule before the trip and strategically managing sleep and caffeine intake can help. Overall, staying hydrated, moving around, and adjusting to time zone changes can make air travel more comfortable and healthier for passengers. sources

Jul 13 2024, 4 pm

Discovering the meaning behind QR codes

QR codes, initially developed in 1994 by Masahiro Hara and his team at DENSO, have recently experienced a resurgence during the COVID-19 pandemic as a touchless way to relay information. The code system, which stands for "Quick Response," was inspired by the strategic game Go and was created to address the limitations of traditional barcodes. Hara, the inventor, expressed surprise at the diverse applications of QR codes, including financial payments and tracking infections. With the ability to store a significant amount of information and remain scannable even when distorted, QR codes have proven to be highly practical. Looking ahead, Hara has hinted at developing a new version of the QR code, potentially incorporating colors and a rectangular shape to store even more data. sources

Jul 13 2024, 4 pm

Long-term COVID symptoms persist years after initial infection

A recent study has found that signs of the COVID virus can linger in the body for years after the original infection, shedding light on the mysterious condition known as Long COVID. The study, which followed 24 COVID patients over a period of up to 900 days, revealed a potential factor that has previously gone unnoticed: T cells. These immune cells have been linked to COVID-19 in previous studies, with the latest research showing patterns of long-term T cell activation that may explain the persistence of Long COVID symptoms. While the study isn't definitive, it represents a significant step in understanding the disease process and could pave the way for new treatments. The findings were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, offering hope to the millions of patients suffering from Long COVID. sources

Jul 13 2024, 5 pm

Don't Dig Holes on the Beach - Here's Why

Digging deep holes on the beach can be more dangerous than you think, with statistics showing that more people die from sand suffocation than shark attacks. The stability of dry sand is crucial, as slopes beyond 33 degrees can become unstable, leading to collapses that can be deadly. Unlike in movies, where quicksand seems like a major threat, in reality, it is difficult for a human to become completely submerged. A 2005 study found that humans are about half the density of quicksand, making it unlikely for someone to be sucked completely under. If caught in quicksand, the best course of action is to ditch heavy items and distribute weight evenly to make it easier to escape. So, while quicksand may not be as deadly as once thought, it's still important to avoid digging deep holes on the beach to prevent accidents and suffocation. sources

Jul 11 2024, 12 am

Reasons for small penises on ancient Greek statues

Ancient Greek statues are known for their small penises, but it's not just a matter of historical accuracy. Audience attitudes towards nudity have changed over the years, with 19th-century curators even removing genitalia from classical sculptures to make them suitable for public display. In ancient Greece, smaller penises were actually seen as more desirable, reflecting a culture that valued male self-control in matters of sexuality. Today, the preference for larger genitals in modern contexts like commerce and advertising contrasts with the ancient Greek ideal. While penises haven't physically grown larger over time, societal perceptions have shifted, allowing for a more open display of nudity in art without the need for fig leaves. sources

Jul 13 2024, 3 am

People finally understand the meaning of "Google."

Google, the ubiquitous search engine, was not always known by its current name. Originally called "Backrub," the founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin quickly realized the need for a change. The name "Google" was eventually settled upon, derived from the term "googol," representing a massive number. Contrary to popular belief, Google does not stand for "Global Organization of Oriented Group Language of Earth." The name change was a result of a spelling error while checking domain availability, leading to the creation of one of the most recognizable brands in the world. This revelation has left many people astonished, as they come to understand the origins of the name that has become synonymous with internet searches. sources

Jul 13 2024, 11 am

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