Will Obamacare Fix be the Biggest Hackathon in History?

HealthCare.gov contains an estimated 500 million lines of code. To put that in context, that is five times the amount of code as contained in a large bank's computer system. 

There is no doubt that millions of Americans are "looking for quality, affordable health coverage, and want to find it online," as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proclaimed in a blog post. 

The problem, however, is that HHS's own website, HealthCare.gov., is a disaster. Many Americans have been unable to create accounts on the site, which would then allow them to shop for insurance plans or apply for federal assistance. 

And so a "tech surge" is underway.

According to a New York Times report, "as many as five million lines of software code may need to be rewritten before the Web site runs properly." The entire site contains an estimated 500 million lines of code. To put that in context, that is five times the amount of code as contained in a large bank's computer system. 

That means the government is going to need some extra help. Hence, the "surge." According to an HHS blog post:

"Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve HealthCare.gov."

In the meantime, HHS wants you to join the conversation, and you can do so here:


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.
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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.
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