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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.

FaceApp Uncannily Captures These Classic Biological Signs of Aging 

A guide to what it is, exactly, that makes faces look so old.

This week, celebrities ranging from the Jonas Brothers to Ludacris gave us a peek into what they might look like in old age, all with the help of artificial intelligence. But how exactly has FaceApp taken a stable of celebrities and transformed them into elderly versions of themselves? The app may be powered by A.I., but it’s informed by the biology of aging.

Hexagons Are as Close as Science Gets to Magic

Sacred Geometry may be popular online, but the natural world favors certain shapes for a reason.

Believers in sacred geometry ascribe power and significance to naturally occurring shapes. They see them as evidence of organization — likely by a higher power. Within this small group, there is a smaller group obsessed with hexagons. There are entire online communities dedicated to literal and figurative hexagon worship. There’s even something called Hexagonal Awareness Month. Phrases like “transcendental hexagonal future” get tossed around.

NASA Technology Uncovers Never-Before-Seen Text on Dead Sea Scrolls

They raise the possibility of a "still unknown manuscript."

In 1947, in a cave one mile west of the Dead Sea, a Bedouin shepherd stumbled upon large clay jars filled with ancient scrolls. A series of further excavations of the neighboring caves by archaaeologists in the 1950s revealed these scrolls were a small fragment of the 800-plus manuscripts we now know as the Dead Sea Scrolls. These are the only known surviving Biblical documents written before the second century — and according to a discovery announced Tuesday, they may contain more revelations than previously known.

Uncanny Valley Researchers Pinpoint What Makes the 'Cats' Trailer So Creepy

"I personally did not find it to be creepy, but I think I have a pretty high threshold."

Cats, a sung-through 1981 Andrew Lloyd Webber fever dream based on a T.S. Eliot book of children’s poems about cats and sociology, is the latest musical to get the live-action treatment. It’s not the best idea. As weirded-out responses to the surreal trailer released Thursday suggested, the world is not ready for humanoid cats, which seem to have crept directly out of the uncanny valley. Valley guides agree.

2024 Moon Timeline Is "Extremely Tight," Says Former NASA Flight Director

"American industry, if it gets turned on, can do just about anything."

Whether or not you recognize Milt Windler’s name, you have definitely heard about his escapades. A retired NASA Flight Director, Windler was one of four flight directors on the Apollo 13 operations team, all of whom were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon for their work in guiding the crippled spacecraft safely back to Earth.