Space station crew returns to full strength

Two days after their launch, a fresh trio of spacefliers floated through the International Space Station’s hatch today to start a five-month tour of duty in orbit.

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Video captures anglerfish in a sexual hookup


A video still shows a female anglerfish with whiskery fin-rays glowing in the deep-sea dark. The rays may be bioluminescent, or they may be reflecting light from a submersible’s lamps. The male of the species can be seen hanging from the female’s belly. (Rebikoff-Niggeler Foundation Photo)

Scientists studying deep-sea anglerfish have long known about the bizarre mismatch between the species’ whiskered females and teeny-tiny males. But they’ve never captured video of live fish mating — until now.

A newly released video, captured by researchers Kirsten and Joachim Jakobsen during a five-hour dive in a submersible off the Azores in the mid-Atlantic, documents the sexual hookup for the first time.

Ted Pietsch, a University of Washington professor emeritus of aquatic and fishery sciences and curator emeritus of fishes at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, was stunned by the footage.

“This is a unique and never-before-seen thing,” Pietsch said in a UW news release issued March 22. “It’s so wonderful to have a clear window on something only imagined before this.”

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Elon Musk deletes SpaceX and Tesla from Facebook

SpaceX on Facebook

This is an archived Portuguese-language version of SpaceX’s Facebook page, which has been deleted. (SpaceX / Facebook via

Facebook suffered another blow today: Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, had those two companies’ official pages removed from the embattled social network.

Musk’s action came after it was pointed out to him on Twitter that SpaceX actually had an official Facebook page. “I didn’t realize there was one,” he tweeted.

The context for Musk’s wild and woolly tweetstorm is the controversy over Facebook’s handling of personal data from users. A series of reports found that the information was mishandled, and ended up being used inappropriately to micro-target voters in the 2016 presidential election.

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Facebook escalates AI talent wars

Facebook Seattle

Facebook already has a significant presence in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Facebook has made a high-profile hire as part of a plan to expand its AI research team in Seattle — adding to an already-fierce competition for talent in the artificial intelligence field.

The social network has signed up Luke Zettlemoyer, a computer science professor at the University of Washington who was most recently a senior research manager at Seattle’s Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, or AI2.

Zettlemoyer is considered a rising star in the AI field, and was among the researchers featured last November in a New York Times article about the bidding war for artificial intelligence talent. He left AI2 last week and began at Facebook this week.

His move comes as the Allen Institute, created by Paul Allen, looks to ramp up its own hiring in a tight market for AI talent with help from an additional $125 million in funding from the Microsoft co-founder.

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Spending bill contains good news for science

U.S. Capitol

Congress has approved an omnibus spending bill. (USGS Photo / Toni Smith)

The $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill approved by Congress today preserves several of the scientific initiatives that the Trump administration wanted to kill, including a West Coast earthquake warning system and the WFIRST space telescope.

It may not be popular with Senate GOP conservatives such as Rand Paul, but the bill’s a hit with the likes of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“The scientific community is over the moon with the bipartisan omnibus bill in Congress that significantly increases funding for research and development,” AAAS CEO Rush Holt, a physicist who served in the House from 1999 to 2015, said in a statement.

AAAS’ analysis shows that total R&D spending would reach its highest point ever in inflation-adjusted dollars, amounting to $176.8 billion.

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Tech experts get real about automation and jobs

Automation panel

Artefact Group CEO Rob Girling moderates a panel on the social effects of automation. The panelists include Google Research’s Dan Liebling, Uber’s Caleb Weaver, Microsoft Research’s Ece Kamar, Microsoft veteran Cesar Keller and Avanade’s Aaron Reich. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

It’s a thrilling time for technology, with innovations in artificial intelligence and robotics propelling society ever faster forward. But is it too fast?

That’s a question that came up more than once on March 21 during a panel discussion on automation’s impacts on society and work, presented at Seattle University by the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Northwest.

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Boeing delivers first 737 MAX 9 to Lion Air

Boeing 737 MAX 9

Lion Air’s Boeing 737 MAX 9 takes to the air. (Boeing Photo)

Boeing made its first delivery of a 737 MAX 9 jet to Lion Air Group today — less than a year after the same holding group got in on the debut of the plane’s smaller sibling, the MAX 8.

Last year’s first-ever 737 MAX delivery went to Malaysia’s Malindo Air, a low-fare airline that’s now known as Batik Air Malaysia and is under the wing of Lion Air Group. The jet that took the spotlight today at Boeing’s Seattle Delivery Center went to a different Lion Air Group carrier, Thai Lion Air.

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