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We May Finally Learn If Black Holes Destroy Information

Nothing can escape a black hole, but the laws of quantum mechanics state that information can never be totally erased. Now, scientists are trying to find out if information inside a black hole is preserved — or lost forever.

According to physicist Stephen Hawking, if a particle falls into a black hole, the black hole will lose a bit of mass in the form of energy. Black holes radiate small amounts of energy and evaporate over time. Logically, if something falls into a black hole, it will be lost. This creates the information paradox.

It’s possible that information is preserved via entangled photons, photons which have quantum states linked to the other, no matter how far they are. In this theory, information is released in a burst of energy as the black hole evaporates.

Pisin Chen of National Taiwan University and Gerard Mourou of École Polytechnique in France published a paper in Physical Review Letters Monday on how they can solve the information paradox using using a next-generation particle accelerator called a plasma wakefield accelerator. These accelerators shoot pulses of laser light into plasma to create a wave of electrons rippling through a cloud of ionised gas. This will keep building in intensity.

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This accelerator works as a mirror that mimics a black hole’s event horizon. When the mirror stops moving, it would create a sudden burst of energy, similar to a black hole evaporating.

Chen and Mourou also came up with a way to accelerate the plasma wakefield itself. They haven’t conducted the experiment yet, but they believe this could help model other properties of the black hole, like how it distorts space-time.

On the other hand, Hawking says information doesn’t enter the black hole in the first place. “I propose that the information is stored not in the interior of the black hole as one might expect, but on its boundary, the event horizon,” Hawking said at a conference in August 2015.

In other words, the physical information about an object and its particles get trapped at a spherical threshold around the black hole. Instead of getting pulled into a black hole, Hawking says the information changes into a kind of hologram that stays on the surface of the event horizon.

Since we can’t get close to a black hole, we don’t know for sure what happens to information at a black hole and if Hawking is right, but a plasma tidal wave may inform us soon.

Steve Irwin: He Gave Attention to One of Nature's Saltiest Big Boys

The endangered saltwater crocodile received a helping hand from Irwin.

The late icon of conservation Steve “The Crocodile Hunter” Irwin would have been 57 years old on Friday, and Google chose the day to mark his extraordinary life with a touching Google Doodle slideshow. Irwin was deeply involved with animals, reptiles especially, from an early age, as his parents ran a reptile park when was a child in Australia.

Steve Irwin Is Still Protecting Animals Worldwide, 13 Years After His Death

The Crocodile Hunter's legacy lives on in thousands of acres of protected land.

In 2004, the late conservationist Steve Irwin caught a lot of heat for feeding a crocodile while simultaneously holding his baby. The incident captured his lifelong approach to animal conservation, which began with his animal-filled childhood and continues even after his death with the conservationist legacy he left behind. Irwin’s 57th birthday would have been on Friday, and he was commemorated with a front-page Google Doodle.

Steve Irwin: How He Rose to Fame as the Crocodile Hunter

Google paid tribute to the star.

Google commemorated the life of Steve Irwin on Friday with a homepage doodle on what would have been the Australian’s 57th birthday. Irwin became a household name through his animal activism and television appearances, first launching onto screens of Animal Planet viewers with his show The Crocodile Hunter.

Irwin was born in the Essendon near Melbourne in 1962 to parents Lyn and Bob Irwin. His parents famously gave him an 11-foot scrub python for his 6th birthday which he named Fred. The young Steve learned a lot from his parents about animals, and they laid the foundations for Beerwah Reptile Park when they bought some land in 1970. Steve learned to wrestle crocodiles from the age of 9, and helped manage the family-owned park. The park was renamed Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park, and in 1990, it was renamed Australia Zoo — the same year Steve met producer John Stainton. He met his future wife, Oregonian Terri Raines, when she was visiting the park the following year. Their croc-filled honeymoon in 1992 formed the first episode of The Crocodile Hunter.

The Incredible Science Behind This Self-Warming, Self-Cooling Bed

Eight Sleep’s new bed will make tossing and turning a thing of the past.

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Sleep tracking can unquestionably help you establish better habits which allow for a more restful night’s sleep. By keeping track of the nights that you toss and turn, you can identify potential explanations for your sub-optimal slumber. Maybe it’s the time of week that’s got you anxious. Maybe it was the cheeseburger you had for lunch. Paying attention is just the start, though.

The 'Stoned Ape' Theory Might Explain Our Extraordinary Evolution

A scientist resurfaces a psychedelic retelling of human evolution.

Imagine Homo erectus, a now-extinct species of hominids that stood upright and became the first of our ancestors to move beyond a single continent. Around two million years ago, these hominids, some of whom eventually evolved into Homo sapiens, began to expand their range beyond Africa, moving into Asia and Europe. Along the way, they tracked animals, encountered dung, and discovered new plants.