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Astronomers find hottest giant planet



Astronomers find hottest giant planet

Washington, June 6: Astronomers have discovered the hottest planet ever known, with a dayside temperature of more than 4,300 degrees Celsius.

In fact, this planet, called KELT-9b, is hotter than most stars, according to a study published in the journal Nature.

“This is the hottest gas giant planet that has ever been discovered,” said Scott Gaudi, Professor at the Ohio State University in Columbus who led a study.

KELT-9b is 2.8 times more massive than Jupiter, but only half as dense.

It is nowhere close to habitable, but Gaudi said there is a good reason to study worlds that are unlivable in the extreme.

“As has been highlighted by the recent discoveries from the MEarth collaboration, the planet around Proxima Centauri, and the astonishing system discovered around TRAPPIST-1, the astronomical community is clearly focused on finding Earthlike planets around small, cooler stars like our sun,” Gaudi said.

“They are easy targets and there’s a lot that can be learned about potentially habitable planets orbiting very low-mass stars in general. On the other hand, because KELT-9b’s host star is bigger and hotter than the Sun, it complements those efforts and provides a kind of touchstone for understanding how planetary systems form around hot, massive stars,” he explained.

Because the planet is tidally locked to its star — as the moon is to Earth — one side of the planet is always facing toward the star, and one side is in perpetual darkness.

Molecules such as water, carbon dioxide and methane cannot form on the dayside because it is bombarded by too much ultraviolet radiation.

The properties of the nightside are still mysterious — molecules may be able to form there, but probably only temporarily.

“It’s a planet by any of the typical definitions of mass, but its atmosphere is almost certainly unlike any other planet we’ve ever seen just because of the temperature of its dayside,” said Gaudi, worked on this study while on sabbatical at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

Its star, called KELT-9, is even hotter — in fact, it is probably unravelling the planet through evaporation. It is only 300 million years old, which is young in star time.

It is more than twice as large, and nearly twice as hot, as our sun.

Given that the planet’s atmosphere is constantly blasted with high levels of ultraviolet radiation, the planet may even be shedding a tail of evaporated planetary material like a comet.

“KELT-9 radiates so much ultraviolet radiation that it may completely evaporate the planet,” said Keivan Stassun, Professor at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee.

The KELT-9b planet was found using the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope, or KELT.

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Mark Zuckerberg regrets, says ready to testify




San Francisco, March 22: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has apologised for the data debacle that has upended the social media giant and said he was ready to testify before Congress, a media report said.

“The short answer is I’m happy to if it’s the right thing to do,” Zuckerberg said in a CNN interview on Wednesday night.

“What we try to do is send the person at Facebook who will have the most knowledge.

“If that’s me, then I am happy to go,” he added.

Although Facebook employs a small army of lawyers and lobbyists in Washington, Zuckerberg himself has never testified before a congressional committee.

Politicians have called for Zuckerberg to testify before their legislative bodies in the five days since the Cambridge Analytica scandal erupted.

The data firm, which has ties to President Donald Trump’s campaign, reportedly accessed information from about 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge, CNN reported.

Facebook has said that the data was initially collected by a professor for academic purposes in line with its rules. The information was later transferred to third parties, including Cambridge Analytica, in violation of Facebook’s policies.

Zuckerberg broke his silence on the issue earlier on Wednesday with a post on his personal Facebook page laying out a series of steps the company would take to better protect user data.

“I want to share an update on the Cambridge Analytica situation — including the steps we have already taken and our next steps to address this important issue. I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” the CEO wrote.

“The good news is that the most important actions to prevent this from happening again today we have already taken years ago. But we also made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it,” he added.

In the CNN interview, Zuckerberg suggested that the question was not whether Facebook should be regulated so much as how best to do it.

“I’m not sure we shouldn’t be regulated,” Zuckerberg said. “There are things like ad transparency regulation that I would love to see.”

Zuckerberg was criticised by some on social media for his post for stopping short of an outright apology. He rectified that in the CNN interview.

“This was a major breach of trust, and I’m really sorry that this happened… We have a basic responsibility to protect peoples’ data.”

The CEO was now pledging to further restrict developers’ access to user data. Facebook will also investigate all apps with access to large amounts of user data.

Zuckerberg also expressed regret for not doing more to take action against Cambridge Analytica when the issue came to the company’s attention in 2015.

“We need to make sure we don’t make that mistake ever again,” he told CNN.


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All about Cambridge Analytica data scandal

The users were paid to take a psychological test and the app collected the data. It also gathered data on a person’s Facebook friends.



Cambridge Analytica data scandal

New Delhi, March 21 : Cambridge Analytica, the London-based data consultancy firm in the midst of a global row, has allegedly been using Facebook users’ data to unfairly influence election results by psychological manipulation, entrapment techniques and fake news campaigns.

But Britain’s Channel 4 News on Monday exposed how senior executives at Cambridge Analytica were caught on camera suggesting that the firm could use sex workers, bribes and misinformation in order to try and help political candidates win votes around the world.

The Channel 4 News investigation followed articles published by The New York Times and The Observer that outlined how the data of millions of Facebook profiles ended up being given to Cambridge Analytica. The companies have denied any wrongdoing.

According to reports, Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan and his company Global Science Research created an app called “thisisyourdigitallife” in 2014.

The users were paid to take a psychological test and the app collected the data. It also gathered data on a person’s Facebook friends.

Kogan has admitted harvesting the personal details of 30 million Facebook users via the app. He was quoted by the Guardian as saying that he passed the data to Cambridge Analytica who assured him this was legal.

In this way, millions of Facebook profiles were mined for data.

Whistleblower Christopher Wylie told The New York Times and The Observer that Kogan along with Cambridge Analytica then created a software solution to help influence choices in elections.

He claimed that the Facebook data was used to develop “psychographic” profiles of people and deliver pro-Trump material to them online during the 2016 US elections.

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It’s time to delete Facebook, says WhatsApp co-founder



New York, March 21: In the wake of rising speculations of Facebook’s involvement in the alleged misuse of users’ personal data, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton said its time to delete social media major. 

Acton, whose product was purchased by Facebook in 2014 for a whopping USD 16 billion, taking to the microblogging platform said “It is time. #deletefacebook” following the concerns were flagged on data privacy after Cambridge Analytica’s alleged misuse of user data.

The rise of false and fake news and the disclosure recently that numbers of Facebook profiles had been harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a voter-profiling firm that worked on United States President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, are the prime issues which have emerged.

The revelations have resulted in a significant downfall in the company’s shares over the last five days.

In the meantime, yesterday  Cambridge Analytica suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix, amid a furor over the access it gained to private information on more than 50 million Facebook users.



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