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Why Gravitational Waves Are The Most Important Discovery Of The Century

Black Holes Gravitational Waves

A computer simulation of the collision of two black holes, the event responsible for our historic new understanding of gravitational waves. Image Source: Caltech

1.3 billion years ago, two enormous black holes — with masses of 29 and 36 times that of the Sun — crashed into each other, creating a burst of power 50 times greater than the output of all the stars in the universe. And finally, last September, that gargantuan force made a pair of antennas in Louisiana and Washington vibrate.

What those vibrators were detecting were gravitational waves, a phenomenon that does nothing short of reveal ripples in the fabric of spacetime, finally proving Einstein’s 100-year-old predictions about the nature of the universe and illuminating the mysteries of how the universe began.

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NASA Releases Gorgeous New Retro Space Travel Posters To Remind Us The Next Golden Age Of Space Travel Is Now

Pick your signpost: Is it the fact that NASA’s new, appropriately-named Dream Chaser spacecraft could usher us into an era of regular civilian spaceflight? The fact that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket recently completed the first safe landing of a reusable rocket?

Or is it the fact that, since November, NASA has been accepting applications that could allow any American with the ability to pass the NASA physical, a bachelors degree in engineering, science, or math, and three years of flight experience, to join the next class of astronauts — the class that will almost certainly be going to Mars?

No matter where you look, the clues are everywhere — the second golden age of space travel is here. What better way to celebrate this bold future, and its echoes of our triumphant past, than with these brand new retro-futurist NASA space travel posters, courtesy of their Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Exoplanet Travel Bureau:

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Europa

Image Source: NASA/JPL

Titan

Image Source: NASA/JPL

Ceres

Image Source: NASA/JPL

Jupiter Auroras

Image Source: NASA/JPL

Earth Oasis

Image Source: NASA/JPL

Enceladus

Image Source: NASA/JPL

Exoplanet

Image Source: NASA/JPL

Grand Tour

Image Source: NASA/JPL

Hd 40307g

Image Source: NASA/JPL

Kepler 16b

Image Source: NASA/JPL

Kepler 186f

Image Source: NASA/JPL

Mars Historic Sites

Image Source: NASA/JPL

Nightlife

Image Source: NASA/JPL

Venus

Image Source: NASA/JPL

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Was Abraham Lincoln Our First Gay President?

It’s a persistent rumor, and one that has some basis in historical fact: Was Abraham Lincoln gay?

Gay Lincoln Gallery Color

A color portrait of Abraham Lincoln. Image Source: YouTube

Abraham Lincoln was such a pivotal figure in American history that he’s inspired a field of scholarship devoted to him alone. Serious historians with advanced degrees have spent their whole professional lives poring over the most minute details of Lincoln’s life. Few of us would fare well under that level of scrutiny, and every few years a new theory arrives that supposedly explains this or that unresolved question about the man who was arguably America’s greatest president.

Scholars have debated whether Abraham Lincoln — whose birthday is today — suffered from a host of physical ailments, whether or not he was clinically depressed, and — perhaps most intriguingly to some — if he was gay…

What We Loved This Week, Feb. 7 – 13

Terrifying vintage flying machines, inside one of the world’s largest river caves, inspirational Nelson Mandela quotes, gorgeous Czech castles now selling for cheap, and a Syrian wedding among the ruins.

Active River Cave

Image Source: Colossal

Stunning Photographs Of One Of The Largest Active River Caves On The Planet

Active River Cave

Image Source: Smithsonian

Laos is home to one of the world’s largest active river caves, Tham Khoun Xe, carved by the incredible Xe Bang Fai River. With a ceiling as high as 200 feet and a width of 250 feet, the immensity of the cave is astounding.

Beijing-based photographer Ryan Deboodt spent two days exploring the cave system, venturing to regions beyond where most tourists are normally allowed to go. Equipped with an arsenal of camera and video equipment, a vast amount of back-up flashlights, and a drone, Deboodt set off on a kayak to explore the cavern’s depths and captured these breathtaking shots now at Smithsonian.

Active River Cave 2

Image Source: Smithsonian

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