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Ciro Villa
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Testing this Universe - Philomath
Testing this Universe - Philomath

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Save the Date: June 10-11, 2017

The SETI Institute invites all citizen data scientists and technologists to join us as collaborators in our mission to find radio signals from intelligence beyond our solar system.

We are issuing a worldwide, public code challenge and accompanying hackathon for the purpose of expanding our radio telescope signal classification tools using the latest developments in machine- and deep learning. With help from our partners at IBM and Galvanize, we will be launching this code challenge and hackathon this summer.

The hackathon will last two full days at the Galvanize office in San Francisco. It will include presentations on SETI research and data analysis, and hands-on help from SETI researchers, including Jill Tarter, and IBM data scientists. Also, guests from the UC Berkeley SETI Research Center will present their work on the Breakthrough Listen project.

We are really excited about this event, and are very much looking forward to working with you, meeting you online and in person at Galvanize, San Francisco in June! #ML4SETI

More info:

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d Cephei (d Cep) is the newly discovered star and prototype star of a new class of Cepheid stars, at a distance of about 890 light years away

(Thanks to +NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory)

"A surprising new class of X-ray pulsating variable stars has been discovered by a team of American and Canadian astronomers led by Villanova University's Scott Engle and Edward Guinan.

Part of the Villanova Secret Lives of Cepheids program, the new X-ray observations, obtained by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and published Thursday, March 23rd in the Astrophysical Journal, reveal that the bright prototype of Classical Cepheids, d Cephei, is a periodic pulsed X-ray source."

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-03-discovery-class-pulsating-x-ray-stars.html

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Entangling Quantum entanglement

"Our understanding of the world is mostly built on basic perceptions, such as that events follow each other in a well-defined order. Such definite orders are required in the macroscopic world, for which the laws of classical physics apply. The current work by a team of physicists from the University of Vienna is the first experimental quantification of such a superposition. It will be published in an upcoming issue of Science Advances."

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-03-quantum-winner-loser.html

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Parallel Computation Provides Deeper Insight into Brain Function

New computational software developed by OIST researchers is hundreds of times faster than conventional tools, opening up new opportunities to understand how individual neurons and networks of neurons function.

The research is in Frontiers in Neuroinformatics. (full open access)

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Friday FAQ: What is stellar magnitude? http://bit.ly/2nHz64p
Brightest stars to the eye are 1st magnitude, dimmest stars are 6th magnitude
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Need to change what I teach! unexpected finding: The lungs, not bone marrow, house most cells that make platelets. 

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Gullies in Winter Shadow

This is an odd-looking image. It shows gullies during the winter while entirely in the shadow of the crater wall. Illumination comes only from the winter skylight.

We acquire such images because gullies on Mars actively form in the winter when there is carbon dioxide frost on the ground, so we image them in the winter, even though not well illuminated, to look for signs of activity. The dark streaks might be signs of current activity, removing the frost, but further analysis is needed.

NB: North is down in the cutout, and the terrain slopes towards the bottom of the image.

The map is projected here at a scale of 50 centimeters (19.7 inches) per pixel. [The original image scale is 62.3 centimeters (24.5 inches) per pixel (with 2 x 2 binning); objects on the order of 187 centimeters (73.6 inches) across are resolved.] North is up.

The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Larger image: http://buff.ly/2mygOCt
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“We like to extrapolate our Universe back to a singularity, but inflation takes the need for that completely away. Instead, it replaces it with a period of exponential expansion of indeterminate length to the past, and it comes to an end by giving rise to a hot, dense, expanding state we identify as the start of the Universe we know. We are connected to the last tiny fraction of a second of inflation, somewhere between 10^(-30) and 10^(-35) seconds worth of it. Whenever that time happens to be, where inflation ends and the Big Bang begins, that’s when we need to know the size of the Universe.”

13.8 billion years ago, the Universe as we know it came into existence. Today, the part we can observe is 46 billion light years in radius, having grown tremendously thanks to the expansion of the Universe. But if we extrapolate that backwards, we find that the Universe couldn’t have been infinitely small at the moment of its birth, but rather was a finite size at all finite times. We know an awful lot about the moment the Universe can first be described by the hot Big Bang thanks to the last 50 years of modern cosmology. People used to think the Universe could be contained in a volume no bigger than a marble, or that the part accessible to us could have been the size of the Solar System at birth. No more!

Between the size of a soccer ball and a skyscraper-filled city block is the only range left, and the more we learn about inflation, the smaller that range will get. Find out the science behind it today!
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