Astronomers spot only the 2nd interstellar object ever seen

An amateur astronomer discovers an interstellar comet on its way to our Sun.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
  • The comet C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) was spotted by an amateur astronomer.
  • The object is moving so fast, it likely originated outside our solar system.
  • The comet should be observable for another year.
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Michio Kaku: Feedback loops are creating consciousness

Our ability to make predictions about the future distinguishes our level of consciousness.

  • One of the great questions in all of science is where consciousness comes from.
  • When it comes to consciousness, Kaku believes different species have different levels of consciousness, based on their feedback loops needed to survive in space, society, and time.
  • According to the theoretical physicist, human beings' ability to use past experiences, memories, to predict the future makes us distinct among animals — and even robots (they're currently unable to understand, or operate within, a social hierarchy).
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If reality is a data structure, can the simulation theory hold up?

Exploring the idea that objects we perceive in everyday life do not reflect objective reality.

  • Professor of cognitive science Donald Hoffman presents his theory that the world we perceive is a virtual reality. Hoffman has tested this theory by running successful computer simulations that suggest there is no objective reality.
  • When it comes to Nick Bostrom's simulation theory, Hoffman agrees with parts and disagrees with others. Hoffman argues that, while space time and physical objects do not correspond with objective reality, conscious experiences like the smell of garlic and the feel of velvet cannot be produced by the simulation.
  • "You can't start with unconscious ingredients and boot up consciousness," Hoffman says.
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Russia sends humanoid robot to space, fails to dock with ISS

The Russian-built FEDOR was launched on a mission to help ISS astronauts.

Photos by TASS\TASS via Getty Images
  • Russia launched a spacecraft carrying FEDOR, a humanoid robot.
  • Its mission is to help astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
  • Such androids can eventually help with dangerous missions likes spacewalks.
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Physicist advances a radical theory of gravity

Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.

Photo by Willeke Duijvekam
  • The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
  • The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
  • While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
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