President Obama talks climate change and environmental stewardship – LIVE BLOG

LIVE coverage of President Obama’s address to the Pacific Island Conference of Leaders
5:50 PM: Aloha Discover readers! I’m here in the press pool at the University of Hawaii’s East West Center, ready to hear President Obama remark on the expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Stay tuned for live coverage of the event!

6:00 PM: Want to watch while the president speaks? Check out the live YouTube feed!

6:30 PM: It’s

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Reflecting on decades of exoplanets

Three decades ago, the only planets that we had ever seen were those in our solar system. Then two decades ago, humankind knew of a dozen planets orbiting stars other than the Sun. These types of worlds became known as exoplanets. At that time, I was in high school and I was already hooked on the universe and astronomy, but the idea of finding new worlds outside of our home solar system was an intriguing draw to study physics and astronomy.

Ultimately, I didn’t continue down the exoplanet

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Strong Alien signal coming from nearby sunlike star sets SETI on alarm

SETI researchers are buzzing about a strong spike in radio signals that seemed to come from the direction of a sunlike star in the constellation Hercules, known as HD 164595.

The signal conceivably fits the profile for an intentional transmission from an extraterrestrial source – but it could also be a case of earthly radio interference, or a microlensing event in which the star’s gravitational field focused stray signals coming from much farther away.

In any case, the blip is interesting enough to merit discussion by those who specialize in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, or SETI – including Centauri Dreams’ Paul Gilster, who brought the case into the public eye.

Gilster reports that the signal spike was detected more than a year ago, on May 15, 2015, by the RATAN-600 radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya. That facility is in the Russian republic of Karachay-Cherkessia, not far from the Georgian border.

Researchers who are working out the strength of the signal say that if the signal came from an isotropic beacon, it would have been transmitted by a Kardashev Type II civilization.

The Kardashev scale is a method of measuring a civilization’s level of technological advancement, based on the amount of energy a civilization is able to use for communication.

The scale has three designated categories:

A Type I civilization – also called planetary civilization – can use and store energy which reaches its planet from the neighboring star.

A Type II civilization can harness the energy of the entire star (the most popular hypothetic concept being the Dyson sphere—a device which would encompass the entire star and transfer its energy to the planet).

A Type III civilization can control energy on the scale of their entire host galaxy.

At least two SETI research groups are aiming to track HD 164595. The SETI Institute is using the Allen Telescope Array in northern California, while METI International is looking to the Boquete Optical SETI Observatory in Panama.

 

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Snapping Slo-Mo Sneezes for Science

We humans are walking clouds of bacteria, traveling in our own effluvium as we pinball among our day-to-day activities, cross-pollinating our family and friends with our own microbial flora.

But what about sneezing, one of man’s sillier bodily functions, and one that seems tailor-made for direct inoculation of friend and foe? This protective reflex that clears irritants from our nasal passages also serves as a wet phlegmy bullet train for bacteria and viruses to travel upon as they escape th

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About That ‘Promising’ SETI Signal…

It’s easy for the public to get excited about the thinnest hints of anything alien. After all, there are dozens of “Earth-like” planets (which aren’t confirmed to be anything like us) and there’s that “alien megastructure” star (which is probably comets or a very strange variable star.)

So when news hit this week of a potential alien signal, it hit hard, spreading across the media — including here, because who can resist a good alien story? To recap: a strong signal in the 11 Ghz band was

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Lightning’s Strange Physics Still Stump Scientists

Every day on this planet, roughly 4 to 8 million bolts of electricity the width of a finger connect heaven to earth, discharging a current of 30,000 amperes and heating the air to 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s no wonder ancient cultures believed lightning was the chosen weaponry of pissed-off gods. You’ve probably seen the grizzly aftermath of a recent strike in Norway that killed 323 reindeer. Wired’s Megan Molteni published an excellent run-down on why centuries of Santa’s sleigh-pull

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Lightning’s Strange Physics Still Stump Scientists

Every day on this planet, roughly 4 to 8 million bolts of electricity the width of a finger connect heaven to earth, discharging a current of 30,000 amperes and heating the air to 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s no wonder ancient cultures believed lightning was the chosen weaponry of pissed-off gods. You’ve probably seen the grizzly aftermath of a recent strike in Norway that killed 323 reindeer. Wired’s Megan Molteni published an excellent run-down on why centuries of Santa’s sleigh-pull

The Remarkably Simple Way This Picture Frame Slows Down Time

A designer picture frame seems to bend reality: Everything inside it moves in slow motion, seemingly defying the laws of physics.

But, as with most mysteries, there’s more than meets the eye. Or, put more accurately, there’s more than meets the brain.
When Fast Becomes Slow
Jeff Lieberman, a designer and engineer, created an analog version of a movie camera that creates illusory movements without a shutter. His design, called Slow Dance, relies on the interplay between a set of rapidly

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