Now Anyone Can Hunt For Exoplanets

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

To find new exoplanets, just turn to Google.

Last year, an artificial intelligence (AI) network, equipped with data from the Kepler space telescope, discovered two new exoplanets. Now, citizen scientists looking to support discovery at home can use the exoplanet-hunting neural network — Google plans to make it open source, a Google engineer announced recently in a blog post.

Exoplanets are difficult to find and harder to directly observe – most of the time scientists only know these celestial bodies exist when they block some light from their closest star. To help scientists learn more about exoplanets, including those in the “Goldilocks Zone” (the “just right” zone in which planets are most likely to host life), NASA launched the Kepler spacecraft in 2009. Its mission: make observations that might lead to the discovery of exoplanets.

It has already succeeded, and has returned a ton of data. Astronomers have been sifting through the most promising data Kepler returned, specifically 30,000 of its strongest stellar signals from 150,000 stars. Out of those, they discovered 2,500 exoplanets.

There was a lot more data, though, weaker signals too messy or subtle for humans to identify. That’s where the AI comes in. AI can discover previously unknown exoplanets because it can recognize patterns in the Kepler data humans couldn’t see. That’s how the algorithm found the two exoplanets — by analyzing 700 of the weaker signals.

This means there are still 119,300 of those weaker signals left to analyze. And the more computational power used to analyze them, the more exoplanets will be discovered.

This AI allows you to use Kepler's data to find exoplanets. Image Credit: NASA
This AI allows you to use Kepler’s data to find exoplanets. Image Credit: NASA

For those looking to add their computers to the mix, the code for this algorithm and instructions on how to use it can be found and downloaded on Github. Users will have to train the algorithm before they can use it to find new planets. Unfortunately, though, the program isn’t exactly the most user-friendly. You’ll probably need some understanding or experience with Google’s machine learning software, TensorFlow, and also Python.

Citizen scientists are playing an increasingly important role in processing the amount of data it takes to discover a new exoplanet. Recently, a group known as the Exoplanet Explorers discovered the planetary system K2-138, marking the first time that a multi-planet system was discovered entirely by the public.

The post Now Anyone Can Hunt For Exoplanets appeared first on Futurism.


Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Cops will use decoy buses in hunt for Apple shuttle shooter

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

California cops will use decoy buses and undercover officers to try and catch the person who keeps shooting at Apple employee shuttles. Google shuttle buses have also been targeted by pellet guns, and at least 20 incidents have been reported since January of this year. The FBI has been called in to help with the […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

Cult of Mac

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Researchers Want to Hunt Unknown Viruses Before They Cause the Next Pandemic

Searching For Viral Threats

Scientists believe there are more than 1.6 million viruses in birds and mammals that we haven’t discovered yet. Approximately half of those viruses could potentially infect and cause illnesses in humans.

All it would take is one to unleash the next global pandemic.

That’s why a global cooperative, led by researchers at the University of California, Davis, has set out to identify them. In a paper published on Friday, the researchers established their goals for the Global Virome Project, an initiative to identify the unknown viruses lurking on Earth.

Beyond finding these elusive zoonotic threats — meaning the viruses are found in animals but could potentially make the leap to humans — the cooperative also envisions putting a stop to them. By knowing what we’re up against, humanity could be far better prepared to handle deadly viruses outbreaks across large areas; this project might be the key to preventing the next pandemic.


The number of viruses known to infect people is less than 0.1 percent of the total that could potentially do so. Image Credit: D. CARROLL ET AL/SCIENCE 2018
The number of viruses known to infect people is less than 0.1 percent of the total that could potentially do so. Image Credit: D. Carroll et al./Science 2018.

“It is time to move from reactionary mode, chasing the last horrible virus, to a proactive one,” said Jonna Mazet, Executive Director of the One Health Institute at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine and the paper’s lead author in a press release. “We can and will finally be able to identify future threats and take the steps necessary to prevent the next pandemic.”

A Pound of Cure

Over the next decade, the $ 1.2 billion Global Virome Project will work to identify about 70 percent of those potential threats. The cooperative plans to build on previous work done by the United States Agency for International Development’s PREDICT program, once of the agency’s four Emerging Pandemic Threats projects. PREDICT has identified more than 1,000 previously unknown viruses… but that accomplishment falls far short of the Global Virome Project’s ambitious goal.

The are several key pieces of information researchers need to know about a virus in order to establish its “ecological profile”: where it originates, where it thrives, what — or who — it infects, and how it’s transmitted, to name a few.

The sooner the team establish these characteristics, the sooner medical professionals can target people who are at the highest risk of emerging diseases that we don’t even know exist yet.

The number of viruses known to infect people is less than 0.1 percent of the total that could potentially do so. Image Credit: D. CARROLL ET AL/SCIENCE 2018
Image Credit: The Global Virome Project.

With its significant funding, and the commitment of scientists around the world, the Global Virome Project has the potential to achieve far more than what’s been laid out in its initial scope. As stated on the project’s website, the team is excited about the potential for their work to “lead to unrelated and often unexpected advances in human and animal health and in science.”

The benefits of preventing outbreaks go far beyond global health, though: as the team points out, preventing an outbreak could cost less than reacting to one. Pandemics are costly to wrangle — not just in terms of lives lost, but their immediate and lasting impact on a nation’s financial circumstances. Prevention, then, is not only an investment in global health — but also in the global economy.

The post Researchers Want to Hunt Unknown Viruses Before They Cause the Next Pandemic appeared first on Futurism.


Product Hunt launches no-spam tech news digest app Sip

The Best Guide To Selling Your Old Phones With High Profit

 “We didn’t want to create another app thirsty for attention” writes Product Hunt CEO Ryan Hoover. So instead of a constant stream of fresh stories and alerts, Product Hunt today is releasing what’s essentially a tech industry newsletter in iOS and Android form. Sip distills the day’s big headlines into a set of Twitter Moments-esque slideshows delivered via… Read More
Mobile – TechCrunch

Exile sues Facebook in hunt for Cambodian leader’s paid ‘likes’

Facebook doesn't normally have to answer questions about government leaders' public pages, but it might have to very shortly. Exiled Cambodian politician Sam Rainsy has sued Facebook insisting that it provide any information that might show Cambodia…
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How to effectively launch your product on Product Hunt, according to science

Product Hunt is an essential venue for whoever wants to showcase products to an audience of investors, journalists, and tech fanatics in general. Launching on PH at the right time and in the right way can determine the success of a product. For this reason, social media analytics startup Popsters conducted a thorough statistical research on how to effectively launch your product on the popular website. We’re happy to share the insights of this research. Methodology The data was gathered thanks to Product Hunt’s API between August and October 2017. In total, the researchers analyzed 32,657 products that appeared on…

This story continues at The Next Web

Or just read more coverage about: Product Hunt
The Next Web

Apple hires Jay Hunt to serve as European creative director for original video

Article Image

Apple has reportedly picked the former chief creative officer of Channel 4, Jay Hunt, as its new creative director for European video, further signalling that it intends to spend some of its $ 1 billion programming warchest overseas.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

How to Play Verizon’s iPhone 8 Giveaway Scavenger Hunt on Snapchat

Sure, Verizon may be offering petty deals to those purchasing one of Apple’s latest iPhone 8 flagships, but to make right, Big Red apparently wants to give away 256 iPhone 8 devices for free instead.

The company announced its new “Find the 8” promotion yesterday, which is styled in the form of an exclusive augmented reality (AR)-based contest on Snapchat, and is going on now through the handset’s official launch on Friday, September 22.

Of course, as with any contest there are caveats and limitations to be aware of — and so we’ve gone ahead and consolidated all the rules and everything you need to know if you want try scoring a VZW-powered iPhone 8 of your very own.

How to Play

The theme of the contest is “8” (you know, as in iPhone 8), and Verizon is giving eight lucky people in each of the following eight cities — Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Dallas, and Atlanta — an opportunity to win one of 256 iPhone 8 devices every day between now and Friday.

  • Players will start off by scanning a Snapcode on Verizon’s website, which will direct them to a link containing instructions, and ultimately, their first clue, before they venture out in search.
  • By using your smartphone’s location information, Snapchat will them determine where you are in relation to the prize and give you clues on how to get there.
  • Players will be given clues specific to their city, and by following them correctly, they’ll ultimately lead to the final clue — after which they’ll be able to unlock an AR-based iPhone 8 lens.

To win, players need only take a selfie with this virtual lens and then send it to Verizon, at which point the company will pick and announce its winners based on the following criteria: “The more creative you get, the better your chances.”

Warnings and Caveats

The whole thing is clearly a massive, calculated advertising push for the telecom-giant; and as such, those who actually win an iPhone 8 through the contest can expect that they’ll have to activate it on Verizon’s network. Another caveat is that the contest is only going on between now and Friday, so if you happen to live in one of the aforementioned cities and want to try your luck at scoring a brand-new iPhone 8, you’d better get out there now and start Snapping.

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How NASA’s New Telescope Will Advance Our Hunt for Life on Other Planets

Life by Proxy

According to a NASA statement late last month, in addition to the hunt for life on exoplanets, the imminent launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has us bracing for next-gen imaging of two of our solar system’s major candidates suspected to host life: the frozen moons Europa and Enceladus. With five-layer, tennis-court sized mirrors, the JWST will be 100 times stronger than its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope.

Europa and Enceladus — one of Jupiter’s and Saturn’s moons, respectively — may house subsurface oceans of liquid water below their seemingly barren surfaces. Both moons have been observed shooting massive plumes of liquid out of criss-crossing chasms between shifting ice-masses. These liquid ejections may be caused by underground geysers, which could be a source of nutrients and heat to underlying lifeforms, according to scientists.

“We chose these two moons because of their potential to exhibit chemical signatures of astrobiological interest,” said Heidi Hammel, executive vice president of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), in a statement.

Colloquially known as “Webb,” the JWST will collect infrared light, which provides evidence of heat-generating objects too cool to emit visible light (e.g., humans, and other mammals, hence the use of night-vision technology). Astrobiologists hope Webb will identify areas on and below the surfaces of these moons where possibly life-supporting chemicals erupt.

Webb’s contribution to our understanding of the icy moons will precede the Europa Clipper mission, a $ 2 billion orbital flight to the Europa slated for a launch sometime in the 2020s. That mission is set to seek out new life on the icy moon, so the more we learn beforehand with Webb, the more areas of interest we’ll already have identified for Europa Clipper to investigate.

The successor to Hubble will also check out Proxima b, the tidally-locked exoplanet suspected to be hospitable to life (at least around its solar terminus). It will also tell us which (if any) planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system have oxygen-rich atmospheres.

Cosmic Mystery

The JWST has more in store for us than the potential discovery of extraterrestrial life: one of its first missions will be to locate Planet Nine — if it actually exists, that is. It will peer back at the entirety of our universe’s 13.5-billion year history. We’ll learn how the earliest galaxies formed and evolved. It could even allow us to comprehend dark energy and dark matter, the mysterious mechanism behind the expansion of the universe.

However much further Webb extends our gaze into the frontier, it will usher in a new age for space exploration, once it launches this October atop the Ariane 5 rocket.

The post How NASA’s New Telescope Will Advance Our Hunt for Life on Other Planets appeared first on Futurism.