How the First Black Holes Were Born
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have discovered that a steady diet of cold, fast food is what caused the rapid growth of early supermassive black holes at the dawn of the universe.
What's the Latest Development?
A powerful computer simulation has shown researchers that supermassive black holes, with masses billions of times greater than our sun, did exist at the dawn of the universe, while most others took over 13 billion years to develop. The explanation has to do with the feeding system of black holes: The thin stream of gas that contributes to a black hole's mass is typically heated up by surrounding gases, but this wasn't the case in the early universe. The formation of the earliest supermassive black holes relied on this diet of cold gas.
What's the Big Idea?
Cosmologists believe that supermassive black holes typically develop when two galaxies collide, merging the black holes at both their centers. But hundreds of millions of years after the big bang, matter was still so spread out that existing stars and galaxies were relatively small, which would imply that black holes were equally small. Now that scientists know how supermassive black holes formed, they may have an insight into how the first large galaxies were brought together, drawn in by the gravity of these first supermassives.
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It's got more to do with sending insects on terrifying trips than it does making Phish sound good.
- Fungi species that produce psilocybin—the main hallucinogenic ingredient in "magic" mushrooms—aren't closely related to one another.
- Researchers have discovered that the way these fungi independently gained the ability to produce psilocybin is because of horizontal gene transfer.
- Based on how uncommon horizontal gene transfer is in mushroom-producing fungi and the types of fungi that produce psilocybin, it seems likely that the hallucinogenic chemical is meant to be scrambled the brains of insects competing with fungi for food.
- The minimum wage debate rages on
- The same study authors in 2017 famously argued that raising the wage to $15/hr. in Seattle and Tacoma actually cost jobs
- This study says something else, though study authors are quick to say they don't necessarily contradict each other. Ummm ...
Calling all big thinkers!
The 72-page report makes a case against modern policy proposals like "Medicare for All" and free college tuition.
- The report comes from the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), which is run by professional economists.
- It attempts to make direct connections between modern-day progressives and past socialist figures like Stalin and Mao.
- The report comes in the wake of other explicitly anti-socialist sentiments expressed by the Trump administration.
Her husband died in 2009 of the disease.
- Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
- She was a deciding vote on a number of cases that came before the court.
- Watch her interview from 2015 about her upbringing and desire to see more women in all parts of government.
The road from college dropout to billionaire is paved with an overwhelming amount of failures along the way.
- Sensational news stories and anecdotes about people like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates would have you believe that quitting school is the answer.
- Many of these dropouts were already attending elite universities and either had incredible family connections or other professional backing.
- College dropouts make up a slim minority of the world's richest and most powerful.
Want to feel better? Try helping others, but your motivation matters.
- A meta-analysis of studies on altruism reveals that giving of any kind makes us feel good, but that our brain knows if we are being altruistic or are looking for a reward.
- This is the first study to separate findings on the brain's response to giving based on motivation.
- This has implications for how to best reward those who help you, as misjudging their motivations may have negative effects.
Turns out those violent video games might be a blessing in disguise.
- Looking at data in the U.K. suggests that the more girls play video games, the greater the chances they'll pursue a STEM degree, regardless of what kind of game they play.
- Currently, there is a dearth of women taking up STEM degrees.
- Although it isn't clear whether there is a causal relationship here, encouraging girls to play more video games may also encourage them to study STEM subjects.
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