Is the universe controlled by gigantic structures?

The idea that celestial objects exist within utterly immense cosmic structures is becoming inescapable.

  • New findings in astronomy are making some astronomers doubt our basic model of the universe.
  • Alignments of celestial objects suggest that they may be embedded in large-scale structures.
  • Galaxies too far apart to be influencing each other are moving through space together.
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The right to know: How does censorship affect academics?

When academics and journalists forego sharing their findings, out of intimidation, we all lose out.

Videos
  • Academic freedom is what makes a university space work as a setting to develop students' capacities. It is the permission to think freely, and have contrarian discussions, that leads to new insights.
  • There are whole zones of knowledge that we never get to because of intimidation put on academics: "We simply don't know what we haven't even thought to ask."
  • Self-censorship, especially regarding sensitive topics, is the dark matter of the academic freedom universe. Out of fear of being attacked, or their families being harmed, some journalists and scholars will forego publishing their findings.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.

‘The Anti-Facebook’: Wikipedia co-founder launches ad-free social media platform

WT:Social promises never to sell your data or run advertisements.

  • The social media platform features a Facebook-style newsfeed, but content is prioritized by recency instead of engagement.
  • Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales said he was inspired to create WT:Social because advertising had allowed "low-quality" content to dominate Facebook and Twitter.
  • Facebook and Twitter have recently adopted opposing strategies in how to handle political advertising.
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Two-thirds of U.S. students attend diverse schools

School diversity is less widespread in central and northern states

  • In 2020, there will be more children of color than white children in the U.S.
  • These maps indicate how racial diversity is changing the demographics of America's schools
  • Diversity has massively increased, but more so in the south and on the coasts than elsewhere
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Neil deGrasse Tyson: Want to prove aliens exist? Do this.

Neil deGrasse Tyson wants to believe. He just needs to see the evidence first.

Videos
  • Are UFOs actually alien spacecraft visiting Earth? They might be, says Neil deGrasse Tyson, but if you want to make that claim you better bring the evidence to support it.
  • Eyewitness testimony is the lowest form of evidence. To measure what is true or not true in the world, we require data -- and when it comes to alien appearances, it's as astronomer Carl Sagan said: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
  • So what can you do to prove your alien abduction story? Take selfies, live-stream video to the internet, and if you happen to find yourself in a spacecraft getting your "gonads poked", then grab an item from the alien lab as evidence before they release you back on Earth. Neil deGrasse Tyson wants to believe, but not until he sees the data.
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Scientists want to use mountains like batteries to store energy

Researchers propose a gravity-based system for long-term energy storage.

Credit: IIASA
Surprising Science
  • A new paper outlines using the the Mountain Gravity Energy Storage (or MGES) for long-term energy storage.
  • This approach can be particularly useful in remote, rural and island areas.
  • Gravity and hydropower can make this method a successful storage solution.
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Scientists find a new way to measure gravity

Researchers develop a novel method to measure gravity that can get much more information.

Credit: Sarah Davis / Victoria Xu
Surprising Science
  • Scientists use lasers that suspend atoms in air to measure gravity.
  • This method can be more precise and allow for gathering of much more information.
  • Portal devices using this technique can help find mineral deposits and improve mapping.
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