Germany's Leader Saves Europe

German Chancellor Angela Merkel proved instrumental yesterday in brokering a deal with banks to write down Greek debt and create a continent-wide bailout fund. 

What's the Latest Development?

You might call it the Merkel market rally. Global stocks jumped yesterday as Europe reached an agreement over how to approach its continent-wide debt problem. German Chancellor Angela Merkel led the negotiations, defying critics who have long said she lacked the initiative to lead Europe and didn't grasp the importance of financial markets. While European banks were prepared to accept a 20 percent loss on the Greek debt they hold, Merkel brokered a 50 percent write down and also expanded the continent's bailout fund. 

What's the Big Idea?

Merkel's background and personality are where some of her critics begin their attack. Born in Communist East Germany and educated in physics, it is said that the German Chancellor remains unfamiliar with how financial markets function and fails to see the primacy of irrationality and emotions in market confidence. But it seems that she is quite capable of leadership when she sees that nobody else is capable of taking a stand. Her negotiating skill, on display yesterday, has shored up her European and domestic support. 

How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less