Texas Board Revises Sex Education Standards to Include More Birth Control

“Texas is a very diverse state, obviously, and the 200-plus rural school districts that I represent, I wanted to give them the freedom and the latitude to include some of those items in their curriculum, in their teaching, if they choose to do so,” he said at Friday’s meeting.

More than 20 hours of public comment, from across the political spectrum, were heard in June and September over revisions of the state’s health education standards. Ricardo Martinez, the chief executive of Equality Texas, an L.G.B.T.Q. advocacy group, testified multiple times ahead of Friday’s vote and said that excluding language about gender identity, sexual orientation and consent hindered students’ ability to navigate the world.

“You change hearts and minds by educating people about the lived experiences of those around them,” he said in an interview. “Robbing folks, especially at this age, from receiving their vital information of how you can make

Read More

For the First Time Ever, Scientists Witnessed the Birth of a Supermassive Magnetar After Two Stars Collided | Smart News

This year, astronomers witnessed a cosmic spectacle when two neutron stars—the dense remains of collapsing stars—crashed into each other billions of lightyears away. Their gargantuan collision lit up the galaxy with a flash and gave rise to a magnetar—a supermassive star with a hyper-powerful magnetic field. Astronomers have known about magnetars, but this event marks the first time they’ve ever witnessed one being born, reports Rafi Letzer for Live Science.

Using remarkably powerful equipment, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the Swift Observatory, the scientists observed a quick flash of light on May 22. The stars’ collision certainly didn’t occur that night—instead, it occurred 5.47 billion years ago, and its light had just reached Earth, according to a press release.

The team observed a quick flash of gamma radiation, the result of the stars crashing and sending space matter blasting through the galaxy to settle among the stars. Then

Read More

Astronomers watched two neutron stars slam together and give birth to a magnetar

Two neutron stars slammed together far away from Earth. The energy of their collision lit up their corner of the sky with a brief flash of gamma radiation, followed by a softer, longer-lasting glow across the electromagnetic spectrum. Peering into that fading light, researchers spotted an unusual infrared signal — the first-ever recorded signature, they believe, of a newborn cosmic behemoth, a magnetar.

A magnetar is a neutron star with an unusually strong magnetic field. Astronomers have spotted magnetars elsewhere in the universe, but they’ve never before seen one being born. This time, researchers suspected they’d spotted a newborn magnetar because of an unusual pattern of flashing light. First, there was a short, ultrabright burst of gamma radiation (GRB). Then there was a longer-lasting, glowing “kilonova,” a telltale sign of neutron stars colliding. And that glow was much brighter than usual, suggesting a phenomenon astronomers had never seen

Read More

Astronomers may have just witnessed the birth of a magnetar for the first time

When two neutron stars collide, the universe winces. The extreme crash is explosive and creates a “kilonova,” which sends out a bright, rapid burst of gamma rays. It also sends ripples through the fabric of space-time. Then, scientists believe, the cosmic smash likely creates a newly merged object that quickly collapses into a black hole. But… what if it survives? 

A new study, set to be published in The Astrophysical Journal but available as a preprint on arXiv, describes the brightest kilonova yet and suggests a neutron star collision might sometimes give rise to a magnetar, an extreme neutron star with dense magnetic fields.

On May 22, NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, a space telescope, spotted a gamma-ray burst in an extremely distant corner of space, dubbed GRB 200522A. Scientists believe these types of short bursts occur when two neutron stars collide, so when a telescope sees one, there’s

Read More

Did A Black Hole Give Birth To Our Universe?

When it comes to our understanding of the Universe, the 20th century was full of surprises. A little over 100 years ago, we thought that the Milky Way galaxy was home to everything we could see in the sky. We thought the Universe was static, unchanging, and possibly eternal, governed by Newton’s law of universal gravitation.

All of that changed dramatically in the span of a few short years. Einstein’s General Relativity superseded Newton’s gravitation, showing us the relationship between matter-and-energy and the fabric of spacetime. According to his equations, the

Read More