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Astronomers Are About to Unveil the First-Ever Photo of a Black Hole

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Photograph Black Hole

The consensus among the scientific community is that black holes are real. However, we have never actually seen one. Their existence was predicted by Einstein’s theory of relativity and subsequent measurements concerning the speed of orbiting stars and gravitational waves have provided strong corroboration. Astronomers may finally be on the cusp of getting their first photographic glimpse of a black hole—a direct view of the space-time crushing monster from the heart of galaxy M87.

On Wednesday, astronomers across the globe will hold “six major press conferences” simultaneously to announce the first results of the Event Horizon Telescope, when they are expected to unveil the first-ever photograph of a black hole.

The effort conscripted a team of astronomers from around the world and an interconnected web of telescopes known as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). These telescopes collectively have the strength to peer far enough into the core of the Milky Way to collect visual data from Sagittarius A, which has the mass of four million suns. With a five night window of viewing earlier this month—which was dependent on weather conditions—the Event Horizon Telescope observed the millimeter radio waves emanating from Sagittarius A.

Once the images are received, scientists will have to aggregate an enormous amount of data—which is likely happening at this very moment—using a technique called interferometry, equivalent to using about ten thousand laptops, to combine radio waves.

Since black holes emit no light, they can’t directly be seen, but astronomers expect the resulting image to basically be the shadow of a black hole reflected off its super-heated accretion disk—which should look something like an asymmetrical halo of light surrounded by a dark circle.

While the image will be haunting and incredible in its own right, the knowledge gained may be more important. A direct visual observation of a black hole, even though it’s only the shadow, could help answer the question of whether general relativity breaks down close to a black hole. If the image suggests as much, it could provide evidence for alternative theories of gravity and potentially progress toward resolving some of the contradictions between relativity and quantum theory.

The image—which astronomers have been attempting to capture for a decade—could also help answer whether or not pulsars orbit black holes and how their accretion disks eject vast jets of subatomic particles.

Astrophysicist Thomas Krichbaum of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy says understanding the nature of black holes will have crucial ramifications. “It is important to understanding the evolution of galaxies, from the early formation of black holes to the formation of stars and later to the formation of life,” he says. “This is a big, big story. We are just contributing with our studies of black hole jets a little bit to the bigger puzzle.”

Science & Tech

Small American company makes production car that shatters world records at 316 miles per hour

Elias Marat

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An obscure American car manufacturer can now boast that it has produced the fastest car in the world, putting rivals such as Bugatti, Lamborghini, and McLaren to shame.

SSC North America, an American automaker, announced on Monday that its SSC Tuatara hypercar has shattered the world speed limit for cars and gained the much-coveted title of “Fastest Production Vehicle.”

The beast of a vehicle was tested Saturday on a seven-mile stretch of highway just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada, and managed to accelerate to the highest-ever speed achieved on a public road, maxing out at 331.15 mph (532.93 km/h).

The vehicle’s average speed was 316.11 mph (508.73 km/h), which was the result of the Tuatara traveling in opposite directions to take into account variations in wind and road conditions.

Independent officials were on site to witness the world record-setting achievement.

Shelby SuperCars, or SSC, was founded in 1998 in Richland, Washington, by current CEO Jerod Shelby with an aim to become “America’s first hypercar company.” Since then the team’s performance has exceeded the founder’s expectations despite a few years of setbacks and challenges.

Since 2005, Shelby has been hyper-motivated by his own rivalry with Volkswagen’s elite division, Bugatti, to attain the title of the world’s fastest car, with the entrepreneur comparing himself to “David” versus the “Goliath” luxury sports car brand.

Indeed, the SSC Tuatara boasts some major hardware. The hypercar manages to pump out 1,750 horsepower from its turbocharged V8 engine, making it the second vehicle built by the plucky automaker to earn the title of world’s fastest production car.

“It’s been ten years since we held this record with our first car, the Ultimate Aero, and the Tuatara is leagues ahead,” said Shelby. “Its performance reflects the dedication and focus with which we pursued this achievement.”

However, just last year, Bugatti managed to reach 304.8 mph with a specially modified Bugatti Chiron in two test runs on a German track. The French subsidiary of Volkswagen said that it was the first auto manufacturer to make a car exceeding 300 miles per hour (an important distinction from cars built solely to beat speed records, which have exceeded 700 mph in some cases).

Shelby has now achieved the upper hand over the French competitor, at least for the time being.

 “We came pretty close to meeting the theoretical numbers, which is astonishing to do in a real world setting on a public road. America’s new claim to victory in the ‘land-based space race’ is going to be tough to beat,” Shelby added.

The butterfly-doored Tuatara has an aerodynamic design inspired by fighter jets that is the product of over a decade of research and development, according to the company.

The company plans to produce 100 Tuatara hypercars to sell – and it’s positive that its car can exceed even the record-breaking speeds it reached in its weekend test run.

 “There was definitely more in there,” said driver Oliver Webb. “And with better conditions, I know we could have gone faster … the car wasn’t running out of steam yet – the crosswinds are all that prevented us from realizing the car’s limit.”

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Scientists Discover New Organ In The Center Of The Human Head

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Medical researchers have made a shocking historical anatomical discovery by finding a new organ located at the center of the human head that has been lurking there all along.

The finding was reported in Radiotherapy and Oncology. Researchers discovered the organ by accident thanks to doctors in the Netherlands, who were examining 100 patients for prostate cancer while performing an advanced type of scan called PSMA PET/CT. This diagnostic process when paired with injections of radioactive glucose highlights tumors in the body.

However, in this case, the researchers found something else entirely, nestled in the rear of the nasopharynx. The nasopharynx functions as an airway in the respiratory system. Also contained within the nasopharynx are the adenoids, or pharyngeal tonsils.

The new organ looks to be a mysterious set of salivary glands that have been hidden inside the human head. How this was discovered in 2020, missed for centuries is unknown, but until now, the human body has had three major salivary glands — parotid, submandibular, and sublingual glands.

“People have three sets of large salivary glands, but not there,” explains radiation oncologist Wouter Vogel from the Netherlands Cancer Institute. “As far as we knew, the only salivary or mucous glands in the nasopharynx are microscopically small, and up to 1,000 are evenly spread out throughout the mucosa. So, imagine our surprise when we found these.”

Now, we can add a fourth located behind the nose and above the palate, close to the center of the human head.

“The two new areas that lit up turned out to have other characteristics of salivary glands as well,said one of the first author of the study, oral surgeon Matthijs Valstar from the University of Amsterdam.

“We call them tubarial glands, referring to their anatomical location [above the torus tubarius].”

These tubarial glands were seen to exist in the PSMA PET/CT scans of all the 100 patients, revealing visible draining duct openings towards the nasopharyngeal wall.

“To our knowledge, this structure did not fit prior anatomical descriptions,” the researchers explained in their paper.

It’s worth noting that there are an additional approximately 1,000 minor salivary glands situated throughout the oral cavity and the digestive tract. Although, these are not seen without a microscope according to Scientific Alert.

The researchers suggest the organ is found at a poorly accessible anatomical location under the skull base, which explains why it has been missed all of these centuries. The medical professionals note that it’s possible they may have noticed the duct openings, but it’s unlikely they would have realized the structures were apart of a larger gland system. But thanks to newer technology allowing advanced PSMA-PET/CT imaging techniques, seeing the macroscopical organ was possible.

The study needs to be replicated and validated. However, pathologist said that the team may be on to something and if its real it could change the way we view diseases in that region of the skull.

“It seems like they may be onto something,” pathologist Valerie Fitzhugh from Rutgers University, who wasn’t involved with the study, told The New York Times.

“If it’s real, it could change the way we look at disease in this region.”

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Smoothie Robot In Walmart Signals Continued Rise Of Automated Fast Food Workers

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A robot that makes smoothies was showcased at a Walmart in California signaling the rise of automated workers.

The Mind Unleashed has previously reported on how automated robots were beginning to take over various different jobs, including flipping burgers with Miso Robotics’ Flippy. Now, Walmart has partially got involved in the trend. A new start-up company called, Blendidshowcased its product at the Fremont Walmart in California this week opening a kiosk, Yahoo News reported.

The stall is open seven days a week and is pitched as a way for customers to place contactless orders for a smoothie. Customers place their orders for a 12-ounce delicious drink and then an autonomous robot whips it up. What’s more, the drink is made in just 3 minutes or less from the time it’s placed.

Digital Trends recently questioned the CEO Vipin Jain about how the robot works. Jain explained that customers use an app scanning a simple QR code at the kiosk or via the Blendid app to order. If that doesn’t impress you, how about artificial intelligence that remembers your taste preferences?

“Consumers use their cell phone to order by scanning a QR code at the kiosk or via the Blendid app,” Vipin Jain, Blendid’s CEO and co-founder, told Digital Trends. “They browse our menu of smoothies made from whole fruits, and vegetables. Once they select a drink, they customize it to their personal taste and health preferences, by modifying the amount of each ingredient as desired. Then they place their order, and Blendid robot gets to work preparing their drink. Once the drink is ready, they receive a text with instructions for a contactless drink pickup. The robot serves the drink to them when they confirm the pickup.”

While a robot taking over a job like making a smoothie might seem small, the fact Walmart has an automated kiosk in one of its California stores is a larger signal of the automation trend to come.

In fact, it was previously reported by Fox News in July that, Walmart was looking to remove all cashiers and standard conveyor belt lines from its stores and is testing a pilot in one of its superstores in Fayetteville, Arkansas in the short term.

CNN previously reported that grocers – big and small chains alike – are turning to robots for performing various tasks like cleaning floors, stocking shelves, and delivering groceries to shoppers. The CV crisis could even prompt online retail warehouses like Amazon to invest more into automation technology as well.

Walmart also isn’t the first business to discuss using automation. Last year international fast-food chain McDonald’s reported they would begin employing automated fryer robots throughout their different branches across the world. Former McDonald’s USA CEO Ed Rensi told Fox Business, “It’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fries.” McDonald’s has also introduced touchscreen ordering kiosks to some of its stores.

Restaurant chains that are using automation include McDonalds, KFC, Panera, Wendys, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Arbys according to Business Insider.

Robots aren’t just taking over restaurants, a report by the McKinsey Global Institute indicates there are 800 million careers (or 30 percent of the global job force)—from doctors to accountants, lawyers to journalists—that will be lost to automation by 2030. The report concludes that hundreds of millions of people worldwide will have to find new jobs or learn new skills.

A report by the University of Oxford suggests we will face a robot job apocalypse predicting that 47 percent of U.S. jobs are at risk of being replaced by robots and Artificial Intelligence over the next fifteen to twenty years. However, with the current ongoing pandemic workers might find they are replaced quicker. Especially, any type of work that requires physical contact with a customer.

It shouldn’t be surprising for the reader that’s exactly what a report by A3, Association For Advancing Automation, detailed earlier this year. Stating all the ways that artificial intelligence and automation is being used in different industries to combat CV. Oxford Economics also published its own report warning that accelerating technological advances in automation, engineering, energy storage, artificial intelligence, and machine learning have the potential to reshape the world in 2020 through 2030s, displacing at least 20 million workers.

With CV as a catalyst to speed up the deployment of automated machines, we can probably safely say that number will be much more severe. It seems I am not the only one to share that opinion; a recent MarketWatch article written by Johannes Moenius, a professor of global business and the director of the Institute for Spatial Economic Analysis at the University of Redlands, agrees with this author’s conclusion stating “at least 50 million jobs could be automated in just essential industries.”

In fact, the Brookings Institution said in a report last month that “any CV-related recession is likely to bring about a spike in labor-replacing automation … Automation happens in bursts, concentrated especially in bad times such as in the wake of economic shocks, when humans become relatively more expensive as firms’ revenues rapidly decline.”

You can watch a video of Blendid in action below.

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