Category: science

From: GeekWire - Electroimpact to pay $485,000 over claims of workplace harassment against Muslims

SAL cell
Mukilteo-based Electroimpact, one of Boeing’s best-known suppliers for aerospace tools and automation, will pay $485,000 after an investigation into allegations of anti-Muslim hiring practices and other discriminatory behavior, the Washington state attorney general’s office announced today. “The conduct outlined in our complaint is outrageous,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. The complaint cites a hiring process that screened out applicants who were perceived to be Muslims, anti-Muslim postings that popped up on internal email forums, and bonuses that were paid out to employees who got married or had children. Under the terms of a consent decree filed on Thursday in Snohomish County Superior… Read More

From: Gizmodo - Reminder: The Chair of the House Science Committee Has Almost No Experience With Science 

As congresspeople deliberated yesterday—before the GOP bid to destroy the Affordable Care Act devolved into a colossal train wreck this afternoon—Lamar Smith, the Chair of the House Committee on Space, Science and Technology, slipped away from the discussions so he could go hang out with climate change deniers and…

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From: GeekWire - Outcry rises when Trump’s treasury chief, Steve Mnuchin, scoffs at AI impact on jobs

Donald Trump and Steven Mnuchin
Experts say the potential impact of automation and artificial intelligence could be one of the biggest economic issues of the 21st century, but Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says it’s not on his radar screen. Mnuchin made his comments during a “News Shapers” sitdown with Axios’ Mike Allen. His observations are pointed enough, and brief enough, that they’re worth an extended quote: Mnuchin: “In terms of artificial intelligence taking over American jobs, I think we’re like so far away from that, not even on my radar screen.” Allen: “How far away?” Mnuchin: “Far enough that it’s …” Allen: “Seven more years?” Mnuchin:… Read More

From: BGR - There’s officially a whole new kind of cloud

How many different kinds of clouds can you name? Zero? Great, that means we’re on the same page. Sure you might rattle off some science-sounding words while pointing to a white blob in the sky in a feeble effort to appear intelligent every now and again, but you don’t really know what they are, right? That is, unless you’re a meteorologist or hobbyist skywatcher, in which case you can probably rattle off quite a few. If that sounds like you, it’s time to get studying, because there’s a whole new type of cloud to add to your knowledge base.

Today, for the first time since 1987, the World Meteorological Organization is releasing an updated version of its International Cloud Atlas, which it calls “the single most authoritative and comprehensive reference for identifying clouds.” That’s some pretty serious stuff, and the ICA is used by everyone from pilots to weather reporters as the end-all, be-all guide to those big fluffy balls of water vapor we call clouds.

Of particular interest in the newly updated atlas is an all new classification of cloud called “asperitas.” Asperitas clouds are those eye-catching, lumpy blanket type clouds that appear both ominous and interesting at the same time. The World Meteorological Organization describes them thusly:

Asperitas is characterized by localized waves in the cloud base, either smooth or dappled with smaller features, sometimes descending into sharp points, as if viewing a roughened sea surface from below. Varying levels of illumination and thickness of the cloud can lead to dramatic visual effects.

Now quick, go impress your friends with your new cloud knowledge before you completely forget it.


From: BGR - This rogue black hole is flying through space, eating everything in its path

Supermassive black holes are one of the scariest, most destructive and utterly intimidating forces in the universe, but the good news is that they usually don’t do a whole lot of moving around. They often reside at the center of large galaxies, like our own Milky Way, with a gravitational pull keeps us all swirling around it. So what could be more frightening than a stationary black hole? How about one that is flying through space like a colossal vacuum, sucking up whatever it happens upon? Astronomers think they’ve spotted one doing exactly that.

Researchers using the ever reliable Hubble Space Telescope compiled data gathered by the device and compared it with readings from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, all of which support the theory that the supermassive black hole at the center of quasar 3C 186 has gone rogue. The quasar — which is the cloud of gas and material surrounding a black hole — was spotted a significant distance from the center of the galaxy it is believed to have helped form, meaning that some extremely powerful force has caused it to fly free.

Using the positional readings of the quasar the scientists were able to calculate an estimated speed that they believe the black hole is moving, and it’s pretty insane. The giant celestial object is cruising along at a breakneck speed of approximately 4.7 million miles per hour. If we were able to travel at that speed, astronauts could travel from Earth to Mars in just over seven hours. Thankfully, space is big, and the rogue black hole doesn’t pose any immediate threat to our own galaxy. At least for now.