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The kilogram will no longer be measured against an actual weight, after scientists voted to start using an electromagnetic current. Since 1889, a kilogram has been defined by a single lump of platinum-iridium which is housed inside three glass bell jars at the headquarters of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) , just outside Paris. But the master copy, known as ‘Le Grand K’, has been picking up microparticles of dust, or losing mass in cleaning, causing consternation for scientists using it to measure ever more accurate weights. Now, after a week-long meeting at the Palace of Versailles representatives of 60 nations agreed to redefine the kilogram based on the unchanging value of the ‘Planck constant.’ Instead of checking it against an actual weight, scientists can now find an exact kilogram by measuring the amount of electricity needed to lift it, using a special set of scales known as The Kibble balance. Scientists have been trying for decades to define a constant value for the kilogram that is derived from laws of physics, in the same way they have done for other standard units. For example, a metre is not defined as 100 centimetres but "the length of the path travelled by light in a vacuum during a time interval of 1/299,792,458 of a second". Scientists Yuning Duan and Gert Rietveld celebrate after the vote on the redefinition of four base units of the International System of Units Credit: Reuters Describing what impact the new kilogram would have, the BIPM said: "In the same way that if you replaced the decaying foundations of a house with robust new ones, it may not be possible to identify the difference from the surface, but some substantial changes would have taken place to ensure the longevity of the property." The BIPM also voted to update definitions for the ampere (electrical current), the kelvin (thermodynamic temperature) and the mole (amount of a substance). Martin Milton, director of the BIPM, said: “The SI redefinition is a landmark moment in scientific progress. "Using the fundamental constants we observe in nature as a foundation for important concepts such as mass and time means that we have a stable foundation from which to advance our scientific understanding, develop new technologies and address some of society's greatest challenges." Barry Inglis, who heads the committee for weights and measures, said the implications were immense. "We will now no longer be bound by the limitations of objects in our measurement of the world, but have universally accessible units that can pave the way to even greater accuracy, and even accelerate scientific advancement," he said. The new definitions agreed by the BIPM will come into force on May 20, 2019.
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An international team of scientists said Friday they had detected silica -- the main component of glass -- in the remnants of two distant supernovae billions of light years from Earth. Researchers used NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to analyse the light emitted by the collapsing mega-cluster and obtain silica's "fingerprint" based on the specific wavelength of light the material is known to emit. A supernova occurs when a large star burns through its own fuel, causing a catastrophic collapse ending in an explosion of galactic proportions.
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As Joni Mitchell pointed out, “You don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.” Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Solar System. Sure, day to day, most of us probably don’t think much about the massive celestial bodies that share this corner of the universe with us. Pluto, once the smallest of the nine planets in the Solar System, was also the most recently discovered, spotted by 23-year-old astronomer Clyde Tombaugh in 1930.
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Organized Crime Lurks Everywhere in My Brilliant Friend. Here's the Real Story of the Rise of the Naples Underworld
Since 1889, a kilogram has been defined by a shiny lump of platinum-iridium kept in a special glass case and known as the International Prototype of the Kilogram. It is housed at the headquarters of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (whose French acronym is BIPM), just outside Paris. Members of the BIPM, which groups some 60 nations, agreed on Friday after a week-long meeting at the nearby Palace of Versailles to redefine a kilogram in terms of a tiny but unchanging value called the "Planck constant".
German auto giant Volkswagen said Friday it will invest 44 billion euros by 2023 in the smarter, greener cars of the future as it ramps up efforts to shake off the "dieselgate" emissions cheating scandal. Over the coming five years, VW said it aims to spend "almost 44 billion euros" ($50 billion) on electric, self-driving and connected cars as well as mobility services like car sharing. The figure represents roughly a third of the group's planned expenditure between now and 2023, and the bulk of it will go on developing e-cars, VW said following a supervisory board meeting on future strategy.
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