Here’s the view from humanity’s furthest spacecraft

Already 14 billion miles from the Sun, Voyager 1 is speeding away at 38,000 mph.

The view from Voyager 1, the furthest human-made object in space.

Credit: NASA's Eyes, public domain
  • Jimmy Carter was U.S. president and Elvis Presley was still alive in 1977, the year Voyager 1 was launched.
  • Back in 1990, Voyager 1's last picture showed Earth as nothing more than a 'Pale Blue Dot'.
  • Voyager 1 is now traversing interstellar space – here's what our solar system looks like from there.
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How New York's largest hospital system is predicting COVID-19 spikes

Northwell Health is using insights from website traffic to forecast COVID-19 hospitalizations two weeks in the future.

Credit: Getty Images
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • The machine-learning algorithm works by analyzing the online behavior of visitors to the Northwell Health website and comparing that data to future COVID-19 hospitalizations.
  • The tool, which uses anonymized data, has so far predicted hospitalizations with an accuracy rate of 80 percent.
  • Machine-learning tools are helping health-care professionals worldwide better constrain and treat COVID-19.
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Four scenarios for the next supercontinent

The arc of geological history is long, but it bends towards supercontinents – so, what will the next one look like?

Four plausible scenarios for the supercontinent of the future.

Credit: Pilgrim-Ivanhoe, reproduced with kind permission
  • We're halfway through a 'supercontinent cycle'.
  • The next one is due in 200-300 million years.
  • Here are four plausible scenarios of what it will look like.
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Why East Germany is a map zombie

Three decades after the demise of the GDR, its familiar contours keep coming back from the dead.

Cold-War Europe (1949-1990), easily recognisable by the two Germanies. Although it's now 30 years gone, East Germany keeps coming back.

Credit: Pixabay
  • East Germany has been dead for a little more than three decades.
  • But the former GDR just keeps popping up on all kinds of maps.
  • It's a sign that life in the east of Germany is still very different from the west.
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How young is the oldest building in your state?

Map shows oldest buildings for each U.S. state – but also hints at what's missing.

Map of the oldest building for each U.S. state

Credit: Malcolm Tunnell, reproduced with kind permission
Strange Maps
  • How old is the oldest building in your state? This map will tell you.
  • While the East Coast has some pretty ancient stuff, the oldest buildings elsewhere are many centuries older.
  • The Pueblo dwellings in the Four Corners states go back to 750 CE.
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How Europeans wear wedding rings, and what it says about them

For a purely binary choice, wearing a ring either on the left or right hand can say a lot about the wearer.

A map of wedding ring-wearing traditions in Europe. Green: on the left-hand ring-finger; red: on the right-hand one; hatched: varying by region or religion.

Credit: Reddit/MapPorn
Strange Maps
  • Europeans are getting married less, but wearing a wedding ring is more standardised than ever.
  • Standardised doesn't mean homogenised: some countries prefer rings on the left, others on the right.
  • However, this map does not capture the range of subtleties that wearing a ring on either side can convey.
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Finally, a world map for bees

First picture of worldwide bee distribution fills knowledge gaps and may help protect species.

Relative bee species richness from the Old World to Australia.

Credit: Current Biology, open access
Strange Maps
  • The first global picture of the world's 20,000 bee species holds a few surprises.
  • Unlike most other species, bees are less abundant at the tropics and more in dry, temperate zones.
  • Bees are endangered but crucial as pollinators – this study will help protect them.

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