Tech titans team up on academic search

Academic search engines

Academic search engines include Microsoft Academic, Google Scholar, Baidu Scholar and Semantic Scholar. (GeekWire Graphic)

Microsoft, Google and Baidu may be competitors in the business world, but when it comes to open-access academic resources, they’re all working together – thanks to a collaboration created by Seattle’s Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

The Open Academic Search working group, or OAS, was set up to unite a wide spectrum of researchers working on academic search tools.

“It’s a number of connected initiatives, but all centered on how we promote discovery,” said Marie Hagman, OAS product manager as well as product lead for Semantic Scholar at the Allen Institute.

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Lessons learned from Einstein’s ‘Genius’

Geoffrey Rush as Einstein

An elderly Albert Einstein, played by Geoffrey Rush, blows out a candle on a birthday cake in the final episode of National Geographic Channel’s “Genius” TV series. (National Geographic Channel Photo)

Don’t expect to hear a lot about relativity in the final chapter of Albert Einstein’s life story, as told tonight in the season finale of National Geographic Channel’s “Genius” TV series.

But do expect to see a lot about the humanitarian – and all-too-human – side of the 20th century’s best-known scientist.

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Small is big in Boeing’s 20-year plan

777 production line

A Boeing worker pushes a cart through the 777 production line at the company’s Everett plant. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

EVERETT, Wash. – Boeing’s 20-year outlook for the airplane market is as sunny as ever, even though some analysts worry about a shift from more profitable wide-body jets to smaller, more economical single-aisle jets.

The way Boeing sees it, a steady rise in commercial air traffic and the start of a new replacement cycle in the 2021-2023 time frame will take care of any glut in the wide-body market. And between now and then, a hefty backlog of orders should bridge the gap, according to Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Tinseth accentuated the positive in Boeing’s latest Current Market Outlook, a 20-year forecast that was released today in connection with the Paris Air Show. He previewed the forecast for reporters earlier this month at Boeing’s Everett plant, on the condition that the information was held back until the show.

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Ooh-la-la! Boeing’s 737 MAX 10 wows Paris

Boeing 737 MAX 10

An artist’s conception shows a 737 MAX 10 jet flying over Paris. (Boeing Illustration)

This week’s Paris Air Show started off with a zoom, in the form of Boeing’s launch of the 737 MAX 10 jet  — the longest version of its fuel-efficient single-aisle airplane family.

Today’s kickoff of the sales campaign was totally unsurprising, but the more than 240 orders announced at launch made for a “surprisingly strong showing” on its face, Leeham News and Comment’s Scott Hamilton reported.

He added that “the 240 orders were more than had been expected — and less than advertised.”

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Mars rover’s roll echoes moonshot stroll

Opportunity view of Mars crater

NASA’s Opportunity rover snapped a picture of its own tread marks as it passed by Orion Crater on Mars. (NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell / ASU)

Forty-five years after the astronauts of Apollo 16 rode out on a rover to look over a crater on the moon, NASA’s Opportunity rover looked over a crater on Mars – and sparked a chain of coincidences.

To mark the linkage, Opportunity’s science team named the feature on Mars “Orion Crater.” That pays tribute to the Apollo 16 astronauts, who named their lunar module Orion. It’s also the name of the future NASA spaceship that may help astronauts get to Mars someday.

Orion Crater is about 90 feet wide and thought to be no more than 10 million years old.

“It turns out that Orion Crater is almost exactly the same size as Plum Crater on the moon, which John Young and Charles Duke explored on their first of three moonwalks taken while investigating the lunar surface using their lunar rover,” the Planetary Science Institute’s Jim Rice, a member of Opportunity’s science team, said in a NASA image advisory issued today.

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Air show teaser shows off Boeing’s ballet

737 MAX 9 and 787-10 Dreamliner

Boeing’s 737 MAX 9 and 787-10 Dreamliner fly in formation for a teaser video. (Boeing via YouTube)

If you like airplanes, you’ll love Boeing’s teaser video for the Paris Air Show, which puts a 787-10 Dreamliner and a 737 MAX 9 jet through a series of moves worthy of a ballet.

The video preview has become a tradition for Boeing’s presence at the big show, which plays out next week. In the video, the planes take off at dizzyingly steep angles and fly in close formation with Pacific Northwest peaks serving as a backdrop.

Don’t expect those kinds of aerobatics in Paris – but do expect the 737 MAX 9, which made its first flight in April, to participate in a flying display. (Lockheed Martin’s controversial F-35 fighter jet will also take to the air.)

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Elon Musk promises update on Mars plan

Mars spaceship

An artist’s conception shows SpaceX’s Interplanetary Transport System lifting off with a refueling tanker sitting beside it. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s vision to send a million people to Mars is now in print, but the billionaire visionary says he’s already working on an update.

The newly published print version, appearing on the New Space website, recaps Musk’s 95-minute talk at the International Astronautical Congress in Mexico last September – during which he laid out a decades-long plan to develop and launch fleets of giant spaceships to Mars, each carrying 100 passengers at a time.

The presentation has been online in video form for months, with accompanying slides, but the text-plus-graphics version is arguably easier to scan and digest.

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