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►  Farthest Galaxy Ever Spotted, Astronomers Say

Astronomers say they have discovered a hot, star-popping galaxy that is far, far away—farther than any previously detected, from a time when the universe was a mere toddler of about 400 million years old. By employing a different technique—one that has raised some skepticism—a team of astronomers exposed a time period they’d thought was impossible to observe with today’s technology, the AP reports. They used the Hubble Space Telescope and found the light wave signature of an extremely bright galaxy 13.4 billion light-years away, according to a study published Thursday by Astrophysical Journal. It shatters old records for distance and time in a big way, and may remain the farthest that can be seen for years, until a new space telescope is launched, the team of astronomers said.

With that light signature, astronomers were able to produce a photo of this galaxy that’s fuzzy and all-too deceptive in color. It appears darkish red and indistinct, when in reality it’s so hot it is bright blue, but the light has traveled so long and far that it has shifted to the very end of the color spectrum, to dark red. And that fuzziness masks an incredible rate of star formation that’s 10 times more frenetic than our Milky Way, said study co-author Gabriel Brammer, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute. “It really is star bursting,“ Brammer said. “We’re getting closer and closer to when we think the first stars formed. ... There’s not a lot of actual time between this galaxy and the Big Bang.“


►  The Apple Support Twitter Account Just Had a Huge First Day

“We’re here to provide tips, tricks, and helpful information when you need it most,“ reads the bio for the @AppleSupport Twitter account, which launched Thursday. Many, many people needed it. Business Insider reports that within 24 hours Apple’s new customer service account had more than 121,000 followers and had tweeted them more than 2,200 times. Since it’s only operational 15 hours a day, that’s two to three hopefully helpful tweets per minute. “Turns out, there was quite a bit of pent-up demand for Apple support on social media,“ Business Insider concludes.

Apple’s nascent Twitter account is already outpacing similar support accounts from Comcast and Dell, though it trails the 300,000 followers of @MicrosoftHelps, Network World reports. The existence of @AppleSupport is a bit of a surprise, as Apple as a company tends to avoid social media, lacking both a main Twitter account and Facebook page. But Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey claims companies who use Twitter for customer service show a 19% improvement in customer satisfaction. Plus it gives bored Twitter pranksters an outlet. “I need help unlocking an iPhone 5c running iOS 9 that I forgot the passcode to,“ @JamesComeyFBI tweeted @AppleSupport on Thursday.

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►  Mark Zuckerberg May Face Hate Speech Charges in Germany

A pair of German lawyers are hoping to squeeze a $163 million fine out of Mark Zuckerberg by claiming Facebook allows users to post anti-Semitic messages and other hate speech, Vice reports. “I think Facebook has changed German society—not for the good,“ attorney Chan-jo Jun says. It’s against German law to incite hatred using Nazi symbolism, yet such symbolism occasionally finds its way onto Facebook. In Germany, only people—not companies—can be charged with a crime, which is why the lawyers are setting their sights on Zuckerberg, according to Fortune. As evidence for the criminal complaint they filed against Zuckerberg last month, they point to more than 300 Facebook posts and pages that include swastikas, threats against migrants, and more.

Zuckerberg addressed the issue at a meeting last month in Germany. “Hate speech has no place on Facebook and in our community,“ Vice quotes the CEO as saying. “Until recently in Germany, I don’t think we were doing a good enough job, and I think we will continue needing to do a better and better job.“ Facebook has removed some of the posts cited by the lawyers but claims others—such as a user wondering why Obama isn’t “sitting in a concentration camp”—don’t violate its community standards. The attorneys already tried suing German Facebook executives, but prosecutors refused the case. They’re currently also trying to get a European Facebook executive charged with being an accessory to inciting racial hatred. Vice notes that’s unlikely to happen.


►  Astronaut Scott Kelly Grew 2 Inches in Space

NASA will be studying how Scott Kelly’s body reacted to almost a year in space, using his twin brother Mark Kelly, who stayed on Earth, as a control. One big difference to note right away: The brothers will no longer be the same height, as they were before Scott went into space, because he grew 2 inches while aboard the International Space Station, CNN reports. “Astronauts get taller in space as the spine elongates,“ NASA’s Jeff Williams explains.

That’s because “without the full strength of gravity pressing down on gel-filled discs between the vertebrae, they expand and lengthen the spine,“ the Washington Post explains. But Scott won’t be able to lord it over Mark for too long: Astronauts “return to preflight height after a short time back on Earth,“ Williams says.

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►  Geographic Profiling Backs Theory on Identity of Banksy

His name is Robin Gunningham. That’s the finding of British scientists who think they’ve confirmed the identity of Banksy using geographic profiling, the BBC reports. In the study published in the Journal of Spatial Science (one that was temporarily delayed by the artist’s lawyers because he apparently didn’t like the way the study was originally being promoted), scientists from Queen Mary University of London applied the statistical technique to map the locations of the mysterious artist’s alleged works throughout London and Bristol, then matched them up to places where a short list of suspects live, work, and congregate. The Economist notes the researchers pinpointed 140 locations where artwork believed to be Banksy’s appeared—including a pub, playing fields, and four different residential addresses—and those locations all matched up with Gunningham.

“What I thought I would do is pull out the 10 most likely suspects, evaluate all of them, and not name any,“ co-author Steven Le Comber tells the BBC. “But it rapidly became apparent that there is only one serious suspect, and everyone knows who it is.“ Gunningham has long been named as that “serious suspect”: The Daily Mail IDed him as such back in 2008. “If you Google ‘Banksy’ and ‘Gunningham,‘ you get something like 43,500 hits,“ Le Comber tells the BBC. Geographic profiling is most often used in criminology—tagging minor incidents that could be terrorist-based (e.g., graffiti) to stop more-severe attacks is one example—but the BBC notes it’s also increasingly being used for other purposes, such as tracking infectious disease outbreaks.

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►  Scott Kelly Returns to Earth

Astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Earth on Wednesday after an unprecedented year in space for NASA, landing in frozen Kazakhstan with a Russian cosmonaut who shared his whole space-station journey. Their Soyuz capsule parachuted onto the central Asian steppes and ended a science-rich mission at the International Space Station that began last March and was deemed a steppingstone to Mars. It was a triumphant homecoming for Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko after 340 days in space. Kelly pumped his fist as he emerged from the capsule, then gave a thumbs-up. He smiled and chatted with his doctors and others as photographers crushed around him in the freezing cold, the AP reports.

“The air feels great out here,“ a NASA spokesman at the scene quoted Kelly as saying. “I have no idea why you guys are all bundled up.“ Clearly animated and looking well, he said he didn’t feel much different than he did after his five-month station mission five years ago. Kelly and Kornienko had checked out of the space station a few hours earlier. In total, they traveled 144 million miles through space, circled the world 5,440 times and experienced 10,880 orbital sunrises and sunsets during the longest single spaceflight by an American. The two spacemen faced a series of medical tests following touchdown. Before committing to even longer Mars missions, NASA wants to know the limits of the human body for a year, minus gravity.


►  Scientists Find Gene Linked to Gray Hair

Those unhappy with their gray hair now have to turn to a bottle of dye to cover it up, but a new study raises the possibility of being able to prevent hair from going gray in the first place. London researchers have identified a gene that causes hair to lose its natural color, reports the BBC. The culprit is called IRF4, and the revelation comes from the most comprehensive study of its kind involving more than 6,000 people from five different countries and different backgrounds. “We already know several genes involved in balding and hair color but this is the first time a gene for graying has been identified in humans,“ says lead author Kaustubh Adhikari of University College London. Don’t look for a magic pill anytime soon, but the discovery at least points scientists in the right direction.

As CNN explains: “If more studies can confirm the role of this cellular pathway in graying, researchers could look for proteins or enzymes that might be lacking in the pathway among those salt-and-pepper cases and perhaps find a way to supplement them with a pill or cream.“ The study in Nature Communications also identified genes related to curly hair, beard thickness, eyebrow thickness, and, yes, the monobrow, reports Medical Daily. The findings might have more serious uses beyond cosmetics, notes Popular Science. Insights into the genes that affect appearance can improve police forensics work and thus result in better profiles of suspects, and they can give anthropologists a better understanding of ancient civilizations.


►  We’ll Soon Know If Tut’s Tomb Holds Secrets

First came the theory, then a dribble of updates: In August 2015, University of Arizona archaeologist Nicholas Reeves made the case that Tutankhamun’s tomb also holds the remains of Nefertiti. Egyptian authorities had no comment at the time, but three months later, a duo of stories seemed to lend credence to the idea, at least of a hidden chamber. A “preliminary analysis indicates the presence of an area different in its temperature than the other parts of the northern wall,“ announced Egypt’s antiquities minister; further scans that month led Egyptian officials to say they were “approximately 90%“ certain a previously unknown chamber is present. Now, the next step in the process has been established.

Additional radar exams will take place April 2, and the Ministry of Antiquities will hold a subsequent press conference to share the findings. That update was provided in an emailed statement to Live Science in an apparent attempt to discredit a story picked up by the media last week (see the Independent’s version   H E R E ) in which the country’s tourism minister supposedly told Spanish media that the hidden chamber was packed with “treasures.“ Counters the statement, “The Ministry of Antiquities has not issued any statement concerning the results that have been reached so far.“

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