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Betelgeuse Imagined

Why is Betelgeuse fading? No one knows. Betelgeuse, one of the brightest and most recognized stars in the night sky, is only half as bright as it used to be only five months ago. Such variability is likely just normal behavior for this famously variable supergiant, but the recent dimming has rekindled discussion on how long it may be before Betelgeuse does go supernova. Known for its red color, Betelgeuse is one of the few stars to be resolved by modern telescopes, although only barely. The featured artist’s illustration imagines how Betelgeuse might look up close. Betelgeuse is thought to have a complex and tumultuous surface that frequently throws impressive flares. Were it to replace the Sun (not recommended), its surface would extend out near the orbit of Jupiter, while gas plumes would bubble out past Neptune. Since Betelgeuse is about 700 light years away, its eventual supernova will not endanger life on Earth even though its brightness may rival that of a full Moon. Astronomers — both amateur and professional — will surely continue to monitor Betelgeuse as this new decade unfolds. via NASA https://ift.tt/2SHw3Yt
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Amyloid plaques may not cause Alzheimer’s disease, suggests new study (n=747), which found that early declines in memory and thinking in Alzheimer’s patients tend to occur before amyloid plaques begin to appear, not after. This is “pretty strong evidence that amyloid-lowering is the wrong target.”

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The 100 Most Popular io9 Posts of 2019

Another year has come and gone and with it so, so, so many nerd blogs. Here are the ones you, dear io9 readers, clicked on the most. A big thank you and a Happy New Year to all of you.

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Microsoft Seizes ‘Hotrnall.com’ and Other Copycat Domains From North Korea-Linked Hackers

On Monday, Microsoft announced that it had taken control of 50 domains associated with a hackers believed to be operating out of North Korea. Unsealed court documents show that the domains include “hotrnall.com,” “office356-us.org,” and “mai1.info,” among other copycat URLs.

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Guy Gets Severed Arm Preserved by Taxidermist: ‘I Wanted to Do Something Cool’

Lots of people have two arms. Far fewer can say they have one on a shelf by their sink. A 37-year-old Canadian man recently joined this exclusive club, turning his amputated limb into a unique conversation piece thanks to a helpful taxidermist—and a hungry colony of beetles.

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This Was the Decade Climate Scientists Stopped Being Polite

Scientific warnings about the risks of unchecked global warming have reached a crescendo in the past couple of years, with urgent messages from researchers on social media, in congressional testimony, and even directly in the text of research papers.

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Anti-Robocall Bill That, in a Perfect World, Fines Spammers $10,000 Per Call Is Now Law

President Donald Trump on Monday signed into law a bill that aims to curb annoying spam robocalls that have saturated our recent-call lists over the past few years. And it might help! At the very least, it will make us feel like someone is trying to do something about this relentless mess.

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I Never Knew How Much I Needed a Star Wars TV Series Before The Mandalorian

In the last week and a half, two Star Wars sagas have come to a close. First The Rise of Skywalker wrapped up the sequel trilogy, followed this past Friday by season one finale of the first live-action Star Wars TV series, The Mandalorian. Only one of these stories managed to unite and delight the bulk of the…

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