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FOR WRITERS: Too Much Research?

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FOR WRITERS Today’s writer topic comes from QSFer Janet Gershen Siegel: How much research is too much? Writers: This is a writer chat – you are welcome to share your own book/link, as long as it fits the chat, but please do so as part of a discussion about the topic. Join the chat: FB: MeWe:

FOR WRITERS: Finding historical terms

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FOR WRITERS Today’s writer topic comes from QSFer Tinnean: One of our readers recently asked me what a fifties human might have called an alien of indeterminate gender. So yeah, that first. But then more generally, how do you find historical terms for things, especially LGBTQ+ and sexually-related things? Writers: This is a writer chat – you are welcome to share your own book/link, as long as it fits the chat, but please do so as part of a discussion about the topic. Join the chat

SPACE: Why Is the Universe Moving Too Fast?

The universe is moving too fast and nobody knows why. Back in the early years of the universe, right after the Big Bang, everything blasted away from everything else. We can still see the light from that blast, by observing very faraway parts of the universe where light takes billions of years to reach our telescopes. And we can measure how fast things were moving in those faraway spotsBased on that speed, we can calculate how fast the universe should be expanding today. But when astronomers have tried to directly measure how fast the universe is expanding today — a … Read more

How to Find a Time Warp

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It may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but scientists have already detected a time warp. But what does this mean? Basically, a time warp is some phenomenon that changes the flow of time by speeding it up or making it run more slowly. Physicists have known about time warps for over 100 years: In fact, you’re standing on a kind of time warp right now. In 1905, Albert Einstein published his theory of special relativity, followed a decade later by his sequel on general relativity, which stated that gravity is a property of the curving of space and … Read more

Quantum Computer Can See Sixteen Possible Futures

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When Mile Gu boots up his new computer, he can see the future. At least, 16 possible versions of it — all at the same time. Gu, an assistant professor of physics at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, works in quantum computing. This branch of science uses the weird laws that govern the universe’s smallest particles to help computers calculate more efficiently. Unlike classical computers, which store information as bits (binary digits of either 0 or 1), quantum computers code information into quantum bits, or qubits. These subatomic particles, thanks to the weird laws of quantum mechanics, can exist in … Read more

STUDY: 1 Million People = 1 Vengeful God

“For we know Him who said, ‘And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.’” Ezekiel 25:17. The God depicted in the Old Testament may sometimes seem wrathful. And in that, he’s not alone; supernatural forces that punish evil play a central role in many modern religions. But which came first: complex societies or the belief in a punishing god? A new study suggests that the formation of complex societies came first and that the beliefs in such gods helped unite … Read more

Physicists Break the Rules of Light

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Physicists have built a ring in which pulses of light whip circles around each other and the normal rules that govern light’s behavior no longer apply. Under normal circumstances, light displays certain kids of physical symmetry. First, if you were to play a tape of light’s behavior forward and then backward, you would see it behave in the same way moving in both directions in time. This is called time-reversal symmetry. And second, light, which can move through the world as a wave, has what is called polarization: how it oscillates relative to the motion of the wave. That polarization usually … Read more

TECH: US Air Force Enters the Hypersonic Weapons Race

hypersonic weapons

The arms race is picking up considerable speed, and the United States doesn’t want to get left behind. Over the past four months, the U.S. Air Force has awarded two contracts for hypersonic weapons worth a maximum of $1.4 billion to aerospace giant Lockheed Martin. The first contract, announced in April, awards $928 million to develop something called the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW). And last week, the Air Force disclosed another deal, worth up to $480 million, to begin designing the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW). “We are going to go fast and leverage the best technology available to … Read more

SCIENCE: There’s a Brain in Your Butt

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You’re reading these words because you have a brain in your head. But did you know you also have a brain in your butt? OK, not a literal brain — more of an autonomous matrix of millions of neurons that can, somehow, control intestinal muscle movements without any help from your central nervous system. And these neurons don’t actually live in your butt, but they do live in your colon, or large intestine — that tube-like organ that connects the small intestine to the rectum and shepherds what remains of the food you ate through the final leg of the … Read more

SCIENCE: Scientists Find Young Cells in Old Brains

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Your brain keeps making new nerve cells, even as you get older. That’s a big deal. For decades, researchers believed that aging brains stop making new cells. But recent research has offered strong evidence to the contrary, and a new paper published today (April 5) in the journal Cell Stem Cell tries to put the notion to bed entirely. Aging brains, the researchers showed, produce just as many new cells as younger brains do. “When I went to medical school, they used to teach us that the brain stops making new cells,” said lead study author Dr. Maura Boldrini, a … Read more