Scientists have just confirmed one of Einstein’s most important theories. Using the high-tech, billion-dollar “Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory,” the team of astronomers and researchers were able to detect actual gravitational waves for the first time ever. Einstein theorized that ripples could be created in the fabric of space-time, and with the new detection technology, the researchers were able to observe one of these waves caused when two black holes—more than a billion light-years from earth—smashed into each other. Sure, it might sound a little confusing, but it’s a really big deal for potentially learning more about the universe.
As Columbia University astrophysicist Szabolcs Marka explained to the AP, "Until this moment, we had our eyes on the sky and we couldn't hear the music. The skies will never be the same." Here's a cool, quick primer from Science magazine: Discuss
A new report from the Syrian Centre for Policy Research has detailed just how devastating the ongoing Syrian civil war has been for the country’s citizens. In the last five years of violence, 470,000 have been killed and nearly 2 million have been injured—that’s 11.5 percent of the entire population. As The Guardian notes, since the outbreak of war, the life expectancy dropped dramatically in the country, from 70 in 2000 to under 56 in 2015. Nearly half of the country’s entire population—45 percent—have been forced from their homes. The new numbers are significantly higher than casualty estimates released by the U.N. Discuss
Suicide bombers linked to the radical Islamic group Boko Haram killed at least 58 people living in Nigerian camps set up for those who fled their homes in an attempt to escape the terrorists. The victims were almost all women and children waiting in line to receive food rations. Nearly 80 others were injured in the attack. According to a New York Times report, the three girls, who were concealing suicide bombs, were welcomed to the camp when they showed up, and were even offered places to sleep. One of the three young bombers gave herself up to authorities after she recognized her own family members at the camp. Since 2009, Boko Haram has undertaken campaigns of bombings, mass murders and abductions that have killed more than 20,000 people and displaced tens of thousands more. Discuss
According to reports from a South Korean news agency, officials in North Korea have executed the army’s chief of staff. The reports say that Ri Yong Gil was executed because the regime of Kim Jong Un said he was guilty of charges of corruption and conspiracy. Since taking power, the dictator has somewhat routinely had fellow government leaders—even members of his own family—executed, often on somewhat ambiguous charges. Tensions in the region are especially elevated after the military successfully launched a long-range rocket over the weekend. Discuss
Here’s some tragic and altogether unusual news: Officials said yesterday that a man in India died over the weekend when a rock from outer space hit ground near him. Three others were injured, too. The meteoroid—that’s right, a meteoroid—somehow survived entry into the earth’s atmosphere and smashed a four-foot crater into the ground. If verified, this would be the first time in recorded history that a person was killed by a meteor. “There was a noise like a big explosion,” G. Baskar, principal of the college in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore district where the asteroid landed, told the Wall Street Journal. “It was an abnormal sound that could be heard till at least 3 kilometers [about 2 miles] away.” The explosion, according to authorities, broke windows of the school’s classrooms and windshields of cars parked nearby. The man who died, V. Kamaraj, drove a bus for the college. Discuss
The highest ranking member of China’s officially recognized Protestant church has been imprisoned after he vocally opposed the government’s plan to demolish crosses displayed on churches in the province of Zhejiang. According to reports from the group China Aid, Pastor Gu Yuese has been placed in a “black jail” and is under “residential surveillance.” Gu’s wife and several family members are also now missing.
In a statement, the president and founder of the group China Aid, Bob Fu, said, “His arrest marks a major escalation in the crackdown against those who oppose the forced demolition of crosses. He will be the highest-ranking national church leader arrested since the Cultural Revolution.” Government officials have disputed the details of his imprisonment, saying that he is being investigated for “suspicions of economic issues, including embezzling money.” Activists and supporters, however, have said that the arrest was motivated by Gu’s opposition to the government’s recent crackdown. Discuss