The Scientist Behind The First Ever Image Of A Black Hole Is A 29-Year-Old MIT Genius



This week, the first ever image of a supermassive black hole was introduced to the world.

The celestial phenomena had previously yet to be captured by mankind because it would need an earth-sized telescope dish to even attempt it. The largest telescope dish in the world is just a 1,000 feet in diameter.

So how was one of the great scientific breakthroughs of our era made possible?

By the work of a 29-year-old MIT graduate and computer scientist named Katie Bouman.

Dr. Bouman, who is a postdoctoral researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, led the development of a computer program she began in 2013 that ended up creating the algorithm that rendered the historic image. When she began the project, she knew nothing about black holes and understood the immense challenge of capturing something that is 55 million light years away and as small as a black hole, comparing it to trying to take a photo of “an orange on the moon.”


Bouman claims that she and her team of scientists at Event Horizon Telescope took eight telescopes, in locations ranging from Antarctica to Chile, that were already built for other purposes and merged them together into one computational telescope. It took 200 scientists and Bouman’s algorithm, which converted data from the telescope network, to capture the historic image.

Heino Falcke, a German professor of radio astronomy and astroparticle physics, lauded the breakthrough:

“You have probably seen many, many images of black holes before. But they were all simulations or animations. And this [image] is precious to all of us, because this one is finally real.”

“It has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun. And it is one of the heaviest black holes that we think exists. It is an absolute monster, the heavyweight champion of black holes in the Universe,” Falcke said at the European Research Council’s news conference in Brussels. “What we see is larger than the size of our entire Solar System.”

Props to Dr. Bouman. Now if she can direct her energy to finding out what happens to socks when they enter the dryer, that’d be great for me personally.

[h/t BBC]


Falcon Heavy successfully completes triple-booster landing


SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy rocket on Thursday evening, following a one-day delay due to inclement weather. The plan is for the rocket’s side boosters and central core stage to return to Earth, which will be particularly challenging. Space X failed on the center core part during last year’s launch. If they are successful his evening, it will be the world’s first successful triple rocket landing.

Now that Falcon Heavy has launched, the plan is for the boosters to return any time between 7 and 9 minutes from now.


Update: 04/11/19 6:44 ET: SpaceX pulled off the world’s first triple rocket landing on Thursday evening; both side boosters and the central core stage successfully returned to Earth.

Source: SpaceX

from Engadget

Trifecta! SpaceX launches first mission on Falcon Heavy and lands all three boosters


SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launch vehicle successfully undertook its first commercial mission today, taking a communications satellite to orbit and proving the viability of its heavy-lift rocket platform. And as a piece de resistance, all three rocket cores autonomously landed themselves back on Earth and will soon be ready to fly again.

The mission is still underway, but the most dangerous moments are over with, and the system passed with flying colors. It’ll be some time before the next second stage burn and separation from the payload, at which point the mission will be considered a success.

Update: Arabsat-6A has detached in the desired orbit and the mission is a success!

The launch is a powerful endorsement of Falcon Heavy, which provides far more payload capacity, at far lower cost, than any competitor. New launch vehicles are being tested by SpaceX’s numerous competitors, but Falcon Heavy has the advantage of already existing and working as designed.

All planned launch events went as planned, though high winds delayed takeoff yesterday. After takeoff at about 6:35 local time in Cape Canaveral, the two first stages detached and made a picture-perfect landing at LZ-1 and LZ-2; the center core landed on the the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You. The latter was a bit of a nailbiter, as the video cut out just as the center core booster’s retro began to light the pad. But good signal a handful of seconds later revealed the final third of the trifecta.

It must be said that the crowd was going absolutely wild basically from T-0 to T+10 minutes, when the center core landed. Landing all three has never been done, and drone ship landings have led to some of SpaceX’s most public (not to say embarrassing) failures.

No word on whether SpaceX caught or attempted to catch the fairings that covered the payload during launch — we may hear about this later, depending on whether it’s a success or not.

from TechCrunch

How to Pose Women Who Aren’t Models [video]


The post How to Pose Women Who Aren’t Models appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

In this video by Anita Sadowska, you’ll learn how to pose people who are not models so they look more relaxed and natural in photos with a little help from photographer-turned-model for the video, Irene Rudnyk.

General tips

  • Always give the model encouragement.
  • Talk to them throughout the shoot to help them relax. If you like a pose they are making, tell them so.
  • Try to get your subject to laugh and smile to make them more comfortable in front of the camera. Tell jokes.

Standing poses

  • Get your model to stand on tip toes and move one leg forward, and shift hip forward.
  • When someone is shorter, shoot from lower to the ground, shooting upwards so the model looks taller.
  • Get the model to separate their arms to open up the body.
  • Don’t squash arms up against the body.

Sitting poses

  • Place one leg lower than the other. Bring one leg upward and turned inwards towards the body. Elongate the longer leg.
  • Keep the model using tip toes when seated too as it elongates the feet and legs.
  • Place arm outwards to lean on.
  • Sit more sideways to push the hip out a little more.
  • Also, place the chin up to elongate the body.
  • No crossed arms.
  • Lean backwards on the back arm, resting the front arm loosely on the front leg.

Facial positions

  • Push out the chin and then pull it down to create more definition.
  • Move their face around on different angles, tilting works well.
  • Try chin up and chin down. If using chin down, it is important to have strong eye contact.


  • Always ensure the model has good posture.
  • Move shoulders down, stand tall and suck in the tummy for a strong core.
  • Lean against something to feel more relaxed.


  • Accessorize. Using an accessory can give the model something to play with/hold.
  • If you don’t have accessories, you can get your model to play with their hair and have fun with it.


You may also find the following articles helpful:

The post How to Pose Women Who Aren’t Models appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

from Digital Photography School

The Chinese Connection: What’s Behind ASIC’s Crusade against Brokers


If there is was any doubt about ASIC’s motives behind the latest crackdown on the industry, this morning’s news about firms getting an urgent letter from the regulator dispelled any suspicions. Australian retail brokers were asked by the regulator to suspend on-boarding clients from overseas, where the firms are not regulated.

While at first glance, the focus of the regulator’s message could be pointing at the EU, yesterday’s communique, which explicitly mentioned China is where we should be looking at. Memorandums of understanding have been long established between EU and Australian financial regulators, and rumors that ASIC representatives are to visit China in the coming months are spreading across.

The iFX EXPO is Back in Limassol!

In the Name of Good Trade Relations

China is a lucrative trading partner of Australia and is probably the core reason why the country managed to avoid a recession for almost three decades. Industry figures in the land down under are instinctively tying the ASIC’s abrupt move this week to a response to requests on the part of Chinese authorities to protect local broker businesses which are well-connected.

In contrast to traditional practices, the Australian regulator sidestepped any consultations with the industry and went on a full frontal assault, asking brokers to submit a boatload of detailed business data early in the week and outright banning them from accepting new clients from overseas jurisdictions where the firms are not regulated.

The unprecedented move has some industry experts voicing an opinion that the brokerage industry can fight the Australian regulator’s decisions in court. While that indeed could be the case, any legal process could be very lengthy and costly for many brokers in the industry to be able to survive.

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Regulatory Arbitrage is Gone

While the abrupt action on part of ASIC this week was indeed a surprise, the outcome wasn’t that far from an anticipated closure of some regulatory arbitrage opportunities. European clients which flocked to Australia last year, have been a welcome growth opportunity for the local industry, making the region a lucrative place to do business.

Technology providers, affiliate marketers, and regulatory license dealers are all about to experience the profound effects of ASIC’s actions directed to curtail the activity of local brokers. As of six months ago, some parties were asking exorbitant amounts for an Australian license. As of this week, the market has been virtually closed, as the offers are now surpassing demand by a big margin.

Another Flight Offshore

As in the EU case from last year, the most detrimental result is for end-clients which are still looking to trade with high leverage. Those will now look once again to brokers located offshore, in remote jurisdictions that provide questionable protection.

While Australian brokers have remained largely outside of this industry trend, the times are changing fast. Companies which don’t have offshore subsidiaries will start looking to open new ones to be able to mitigate the impact of the new restrictions which the ASIC demands.

In the meantime, EU brokers could breathe a sigh of relief – they will no longer be undercut by Australian firms offering better trading conditions to their clients. As is the case in any market – one party’s pain is another one’s gain. Regardless, the industry will once again need to adapt to yet another sharp turn. If history is any guide, this too shall pass.

from Finance Magnates

A team of scientists linked to Elon Musk appear to be making progress putting chips into brains


elon musk

  • A group of researchers affiliated with Elon Musk’s brain-computer interface company, Neuralink, published a paper about a new technique for inserting probes into brains.
  • They describe the technique as a "sewing machine" and it is being on lab rats.
  • The paper is still a long way off becoming a reality.
  • Visit for more stories.

A group of scientists linked to Elon Musk’s company Neuralink published a paper last month about a new system they’re developing for inserting chips in brains.

First spotted by Bloomberg, the paper describes its new technique as a "sewing machine" for inserting probes into subjects’ brains, for the purposes of non-invasive monitoring of brain activity.

Bloomberg reports that all five authors behind the paper have either been employed by or "loosely associated" with Neuralink, Elon Musk’s brain-computer interface company.

Read more: Why Elon Musk’s plan to give us "superhuman" brains is doomed to fail

The researchers tested the new technique on lab rats. "This approach points the way toward a new generation of scaleable, stable, and safe neural interfaces, both for the basic scientific study of brain function and for clinical applications," the paper reads.

A piece of a rat’s skull was removed by the scientists. The machine then works by using a needle to rapidly insert many flexible polymer electrodes into the brain, which were connected to a circuit board on the back of the rat’s head, which recorded information about the rat’s brain activity.

The diagram below shows how it works. A and C depict elements of the so-called sewing machine, while B shows the electrodes that are inserted into the brain. Finally, D shows a needle that guides the electrodes into the brain.

Brain sewing machine

The sewing machine technique is a long way off being a reality for humans. The paper has yet to be peer reviewed, and the technique itself is not yet foolproof even for rats. While the implant lasted more than two months for two of the test rats, others’ circuit boards prematurely fell off their heads.

Neuralink is one of Musk’s more secretive ventures. The company was founded in 2016, but Musk’s involvement wasn’t public knowledge until March 2017 when The Wall Street Journal revealed he was the founder. Since then Musk has become more vocal about Neuralink, saying he hopes the company might one day enable AI-assisted augmentation of human cognition.

SEE ALSO: The non-profit org founded by Elon Musk and Sam Altman to save the world from artificial intelligence has decided to pursue profits

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The US won’t let Huawei, China’s biggest smartphone maker, enter the US market

from SAI

How to Thrive Under Stress with Confidence & Compassion Meditations by @


“It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others.” – The Dalai Lama

We’ve all faced tough personal situations like having a new baby, a loved one’s passing, or even broken plumbing.

Inflexible work environments often exacerbate these situations, leaving us feeling drained and undervalued.

What can we do as individuals when we find ourselves in a fix?

How do we train our mind, body, and spirit to adapt, get stronger, and become more resilient?

I have discovered that thriving under stress begins with a mindset of confidence and compassion.

Gratitude as a Daily Ritual

In typical Indian tradition, I grew up in a joint family with my parents and extended family.

Every evening, my grandmother would ask each of us to mention one thing that we were thankful for.

While verbalizing gratitude was uncomfortable, it helped me feel more connected with my family right after.

As I grow older, I practice this more often. Giving thanks for everyday things keeps things in perspective and builds a strong foundation.

Cultivating Confidence Through Gratitude & Positive Affirmations

Confidence helps us express ourselves, ask tough questions, and take on new challenges.

Over time, it helps us become well-connected, successful leaders of organizations. We all have an energy center for confidence called the Muladhara.

Muladhara combines two Sanskrit words: Mula meaning “root” and Adhara meaning “platform” or “support”.

This Confidence Center governs our sense of safety and security. It represents our roots and internal support system.

It’s a gauge for our historical feelings of security and current levels of trust. Positive affirmations and expressions of gratitude can balance and boost this energy center.

Meditation 1: The Confidence Meditation

Whenever I find myself withdrawing, losing focus or worrying about things out of my control, I practice the Confidence Meditation.

Firstly, I tap into an early childhood memory to feel more secure.

Secondly, I find a comfortable position to remain in for about five minutes.

Thirdly, I use a variation of this meditation:

  • Starting in a comfortable position, I breathe deeply for 1-3 minutes. I feel the air energize and anchor my connection with the ground.
  • Visualizing a bright red cube right above the tailbone, I deepen my breath and sit up a little straighter.
  • Deliberating on patience, stability, and security, I meditate on this positive affirmation:

Today, I’m thankful for my ancestors. I welcome all the trials and tribulations that have brought me this far in life. I’m exactly where I need to be. I’m thankful for nature, for life, for food and the safety of my surroundings.

  • Continuing to breathe deeply for a few more minutes, I transition back to my surroundings.

A weekly practice of this meditation often starts a flywheel of confidence and success.

I even mix things up by trying a simple Child’s pose, sitting in a chair vs. cross-legged, or wearing red clothing.

Building Compassion Through Empathy & Kindness

As with anything, true empathy for me began at home.

When my daughter was little, I remember reading that it’s easy to misconstrue toddler tantrums. So I learned to see things from her point of view.

I started to listen and become more patient. This, in turn, helped her become more cooperative as she felt understood and loved.

Now, I extend this empathy to business relationships by asking questions, listening actively, and finding similarities.

Compassion takes this one step further: it combines empathy with kindness.

The Loving Kindness meditation is a great exercise in compassion. It activates the heart and solar plexus energy centers. Based on ancient Tibetan wisdom, it aids compassionate thoughts and actions.

Meditation 2: The Loving-Kindness Meditation

Despite teaching yoga, I often find myself strapped for time when it comes to self-care.

This is my go-to meditation when I need to achieve quick harmony of mind, body, and breath.

Practicing this meditation, either alone or in groups, always brings an immediate feeling of warmth and collective harmony:

  • Taking a comfortable posture, I focus my attention between my heart and the solar plexus.
  • Breathing from that area, I practice a state of gentle self-inquiry without judgment. What is my state of mind? What tasks are top of mind?
  • Gently, casting thoughts aside, I notice any areas of tightness or numbness in the body; any self-judgment or self-criticism.
  • Once again, focusing on the heart center, I sink into a brief meditation:

May I be safe and free from physical harm. May I be protected from danger.

May I be free of mental suffering. May I be happy and strong.

May my relationships be healthy and fulfilling.

May I find happiness, joy, and love.

  • Next, I repeat the phrases for someone that I love: “May they be safe and free from physical harm…”
  • Next, I move on to a neutral person. I notice the differences in my body and breathe as my thoughts move from person to person.
  • Finally, I repeat the phrases for someone I dislike.

It’s noteworthy that Loving Kindness emphasizes self-compassion as the first step before loving others.

Still, it’s impossible to love everyone – in such cases, I choose to define better boundaries or walk away while wishing that person well.   


Quoting the Dalai Lama once again, a single positive thought can transform any day.

So when I find myself getting stressed by a deadline, I weave in these meditations in the morning or at night.

Above all, I make it a habit to express direct and personal gratitude to the ones that matter most.

More Resources:

from Search Engine Journal

SpaceX will assist NASA’s first-ever mission to redirect an asteroid


NASA has chosen SpaceX to help out on its first-ever attempt to deflect an asteroid. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will blast off on a Falcon 9 rocket in June 2021 from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Its mission: To smash a satellite into the Didymos asteroid’s small moon in a bid to knock it off its orbit. What sounds like the plot of a Michael Bay movie could turn out to be NASA’s first line of defense against Earth-bound asteroids.

This is batting practice. But the stakes are still high: Failure could derail NASA’s so-called "kinectic impactor technique," success will provide the crucial data that will inform its deployment against an actual asteroid on a collision course with Earth.

NASA plans to intercept Didymos when it’s within 11 million kilometres (7 million miles) of our planet — in comparison, the moon is 240,000 miles and the sun is 93 million miles away. According to the DART website, the probe won’t reach its target until October 2022, upon which it will slam into Didymos’ moon at a speed of nearly 13,500 mph (6 kilometers per second).

The total cost for the mission is expected at around $69 million including the launch service, which NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida will manage. Fresh off the back of its successful Falcon Heavy launch and triple landing, SpaceX’s involvement in DART sees its relationship with NASA evolving beyond its commercial payloads and resupply missions to the ISS. As usual, Elon Musk shared his reaction in a tweet: "Thanks on behalf of the SpaceX team. We ♥️♥️♥️ NASA!"

Source: NASA

from Engadget