Astronomers are using new techniques to discover previously hidden planets in the Milky Way in a study co-led by Thayne Currie from NASA’s Ames Research Center. The team used observable photographs of HIP 99770 b, taken via SCExAO direct imaging at Hawaii’s Mauna Kea Subaru Telescope, to gain insights into the atmospheres of the planet, which is the first to have its orbit, mass and atmosphere determined using the combination of astrometry and direct imaging. The method features images that allow better observation of planets and, compared with earlier efforts to discover new worlds, opens up the possibility of finding planets that are not so young, hot and wide-orbiting. It also means that researchers can eliminate some of the guesswork in discovering stars’ physical properties, including orbit and mass, by revealing data on a newfound planet’s atmosphere too. Some exoplanets are too close to the glare of a star to be measured accurately via imaging, curbing scientists’ ability to determine their orbit, mass and density. Direct imaging allows them to be captured in infrared images and for models to be developed estimating their mass, among other data sets.
Sentiment is turning on the use of “exploding” dummies, which are used to simulate crashes and help with the development of self-driving cars. Geoffrey Woodman from the Department of Psychology at Vanderbilt University said previous findings suggested the current design of crash-test dummies could lead to “overly optimistic” projection of car crashes where humans are concerned. He added that as autonomous vehicles approach deployment, it is vital that they can cope with human behaviour. The comments follow a video by Nvidia, which tackles the problem of deep learning for self-driving cars, indicating that advances in this area are building up a picture of complexity that rivals the brains of animals. The computation required to drive such vehicles goes beyond even cutting-edge systems, Nvidia said.
Codecademy has launched a Pro version of its popular coding courses at the price of $19.99 per month. Since the company’s founding five years ago, Codecademy has taught over 25 million learners to code at no cost, but the aim of Codecademy Pro is to provide a more structured, intensive experience that gives users access to step-by-step guidance and perks such as quizzes and a community support system. “Our focus with Codecademy Pro is to offer users the assurance of a structured program and the opportunity to access exclusive quizzes and community support, all for the price of one fancy coffee each month,” said co-founder and CEO Zach Sims. The company’s decision to introduce a paid version is thought to be linked to investment firm and owner of the Financial Times, Nikkei’s acquisition of technology publisher and coding platform, Financial Times FT.