#447 February 15, 2016 – Einstein was Right!

This week’s headline story: Einstein was Right!

einsteinA team of scientists announced last Thursday that they had heard and recorded the sound of two black holes colliding a billion light-years away, a fleeting chirp that fulfilled the last prediction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. The Waves were detected at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, better known as LIGO, where L-shaped antennae 2.5 miles long located in Washington State and Louisiana, use lasers and optics to detect minute fluctuations in gravitational waves, translated into sounds.

That faint rising tone heard by the researchers, is the first direct evidence of gravitational waves, the ripples in the fabric of space-time that Einstein predicted a century ago. It completes his vision of a universe in which space and time are interwoven and dynamic, able to stretch, shrink and jiggle. And it is a ringing confirmation of the nature of black holes, the bottomless gravitational pits from which not even light can escape, which were the most foreboding (and unwelcome) part of his theory.

More generally, it means that a century of innovation, testing, questioning and plain hard work after Einstein imagined it on paper, scientists have finally tapped into the deepest register of physical reality, where the weirdest and wildest implications of Einstein’s universe become manifest. Read all about it in the New York times article sited in the show notes.

Other Headline News…

  • Study: Nobody Wants Social Robots That Look Like Humans Because They Threaten Our Identity [IEEE Spectrum]
    Perhaps you are already aware that the closer a robot resembles a human, in both appearance and behavior, the more people are creaped out. This response is what robotics experts refer to as the Uncanny Valley (you can Google it). Researchers at University of Trento, in Italy, and University of Queensland, in Australia recently conducted a study to determine WHY people don’t like anthropomorphic robots. The research revealed that the more the robot’s appearance resembles that of a real person, the more the boundaries between humans and machines are perceived to be blurred, and the more our unique human identity is threatened. In short, people don’t like anthropomorphic robots because they undermine our sense of being human.

in Information Security News…

  • Microsoft Warns Users To Update Internet Explorer, Edge Browsers [NewsFactor]
    Microsoft released 13 security bulletins in last week’s Patch Tuesday. Six of them are rated as critical because they allow a hacker to execute malicious code on a machine from a remote location. The company is urging users of Internet Explorer and Edge browsers to update as soon as possible.
  • Google.com Extends ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ for Europeans [NewsFactor]
    Europeans who want to exercise their “right to be forgotten” will have those requests honored across all of Google’s domains rather than just across the search giant’s European extensions, according to reports. The change comes after Google’s informal appeal of a right-to-be-forgotten delisting order was rejected in September by the agency that regulates data privacy issues in France.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • AT&T To Test 5G Wireless, 100 Times Faster than 4G LTE [NewsFactor]
    AT&T is testing the next generation of “superfast” wireless technology. The company has rolled out a 5G roadmap that showcases its patented technologies that increase data connection speeds between 10 to 100 times faster than average 4G LTE. To put the upgrade in context, speeds will be measured in gigabits per second not megabits per second. AT&T isn’t the only carrier testing 5G. Verizon announced its 5G technology road map in September, predicting the technology would hit mainstream markets in 2020.
  • LinkedIn Stock Tanks Despite Company’s Professed Confidence [Ecommerce Times]
    LinkedIn is in trouble! The company lost about $11 billion in market valuation last week after it provided a 2016 revenue forecast that fell short of analysts’ expectations LinkedIn stock fell by as much as 44 percent, with shares hitting a three-year-low of $108.
  • Disappearing Act: Twitter Reports Flatlining User Growth [NewsFactor]
    Twitter isn’t doing so hot either. The San Francisco company showed no user growth at all in its fourth-quarter report, a clear signal that the one-time trendsetter is struggling to remain relevant. That leaves it with 320 million monthly users – roughly one-fifth the size of Facebook.
  • Twitter Rolls Out New Algorithmic Timeline After All [NewsFactor]
    Despite massive user complaints, Twitter has rolled out a new algorithm-driven format designed to show more important updates first. The feature would cause Twitter to behave more like Facebook, but is so-far optional. The usual reverse chronological order presented in real-time continues to be the default view.
  • Court: Facebook Can Be Sued in France in Nude Painting Case [NewsFactor]
    Facebook lost a crucial legal battle Friday as a Paris court ruled the social network can be sued in France over its decision to remove the account of a French user who posted a photo of a famous 19th-century nude painting. The ruling by the Paris appeals court could set a legal precedent in France, where Facebook has more than 30 million regular users. It can be appealed to France’s highest court.

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