On Friday the 21-day shutdown was tied for the longest in U.S. history, and it appeared poised to break the record as elected officials adjourned for the weekend early in the afternoon. Federal agencies that have not been funded for the remainder of the 2019 fiscal year, including the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Department of Agriculture, closed in late December. Other agencies, whose 2019 budgets were approved by Congress and signed by President Trump, are open.
The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the second worst on record, having topped 600 cases. But the case count would be much higher still if an experimental Ebola vaccine were not being used to contain spread of the disease, the director-general of the World Health Organization said Thursday. “One thing I am really certain of now is: If it wasn’t for the vaccine we’re using, the number of cases we have could have been really high, high, high,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus … [said] upon his return to Geneva from the DRC after spending three days meeting with Ebola response teams and assessing the situation.
Something strange is going on at the top of the world. Earth’s north magnetic pole has been skittering away from Canada and towards Siberia, driven by liquid iron sloshing within the planet’s core. The magnetic pole is moving so quickly that it has forced the world’s geomagnetism experts into a rare move … they are set to update the World Magnetic Model, which describes
the planet’s magnetic field
and underlies all modern navigation, from the systems that steer ships at sea to Google Maps on smartphones.
A team of researchers has stumbled on a question that is mathematically unanswerable because it is linked to logical paradoxes discovered by Austrian mathematician Kurt Gödel in the 1930s that can’t be solved using standard mathematics. The mathematicians, who were working on a machine-learning problem, show that the question of ‘learnability’ — whether an algorithm can extract a pattern from limited data — is linked to a paradox known as the continuum hypothesis. Gödel showed that the statement cannot be proved either true or false using standard mathematical language.
Fast Radio Bursts are extremely powerful bursts of energy coming from far beyond the Milky Way. No one knows what's causing them but a new telescope in Canada should help find an explanation.