Skip to main contentSkip to main content

    The scientific nonprofit that tracks the white shark population in Cape Cod waters identified 55 new individual sharks during its most recent research season, but experts say that’s no reason to be afraid of going in the water this summer. Atlantic White Shark Conservancy scientist Megan Winton says they have now documented more than 600 of the apex predators since they began monitoring the population in 2014. Many return to the area year after year to feed on the abundant seals that call Cape Cod home. She says the fear that people have felt about white sharks is largely misplaced.

      Virgin Orbit says it is pausing all operations amid reports that the company is furloughing almost all its staff as part of a bid to seek a funding lifeline. The U.S.-based satellite launch company confirmed it is putting all work on hold but didn't say for how long. A statement on Thursday said the company “is initiating a company-wide operational pause." It said it would provide an update on operations in the coming weeks. The company didn't comment on reports that all but a small number of workers will be temporarily put on unpaid furlough. A mission by Virgin Orbit to launch the first satellites into orbit from Europe failed in January after its rocket’s upper stage prematurely shut down.

        Scientists are digging into why a few people escape the rarest form of Alzheimer's, which is inherited and strikes young. Every so often, someone dodges their family's genetic fate. Doug Whitney of Port Orchard, Washington, is one of those lucky “escapees.” He's a healthy 73 despite a gene that gave generations of his family Alzheimer's symptoms by age 50. Scientists in St. Louis are scouring Whitney's DNA and looking for other escapees for clues to their resilience. The hope is that mimicking what protects them might one day help not just these families but more common old-age Alzheimer's, too.

          Chinese search giant Baidu has unveiled its artificial intelligence chatbot Ernie Bot, presenting its rival to the Microsoft-backed ChatGPT in a pre-recorded video presentation that appeared to disappoint investors. Baidu CEO Robin Li said Ernie Bot was still not perfected, but the company went ahead with presenting it due to high demand. Baidu’s shares fell as much as 10% during the demonstration and were down 7.4% by late afternoon. Li said that 650 companies have signed up to use Ernie Bot, which can be implemented applications such as search, AI cloud, autonomous driving and in smart devices.

            As part of a yearlong investigation, The Associated Press obtained the data points underpinning several algorithms deployed by child welfare agencies to understand how they predict which children could be at risk of harm. They offer rare insight into the mechanics driving these emerging technologies. Among the factors they use to measure a family’s risk outright or by proxy are race, poverty rates, disability status and family size. The tools' developers say that their work is transparent and that they make their models public. The AP has learned the Justice Department is investigating one Pennsylvania county’s child welfare system to determine whether its use of an algorithm discriminates against people with disabilities or other protected groups.

              The Webb Space Telescope has captured the rare and fleeting phase of a star on the cusp of death. NASA released the picture Tuesday at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. The observation was among the first made by Webb following its launch in late 2021. Its infrared eyes observed all the gas and dust flung into space by a huge, hot star 15,000 light-years away. Such a transformation occurs only with some stars and normally is the last step before they explode, going supernova. Astrophysicists say they've never seen this phase before in such detail.

                Moonwalking astronauts will have sleeker, more flexible spacesuits that come in different sizes when they step onto the lunar surface later this decade. The spacesuits will be white like they were during NASA’s Apollo program more than a half-century ago to reflect heat and keep future moonwalkers cool. The company behind the next-generation spacesuits said Wednesday the design is proprietary. NASA awarded Axiom Space a $228.5 million contract to provide the moonsuits. The space agency is targeting late 2025 at the earliest to land two astronauts on the moon’s south pole.


                Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


                News Alerts

                Breaking News