Scientists Across the Globe Are Hunting for Pure Randomness

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You take the interstate to get home and rely on the water utility for a drink. But have you ever felt the need for some publicly available randomness?

Governments and researchers around the world think you might, with projects in the works to produce public sources, or "beacons," of randomness. From quantum-physics experiments to distributed projects that anyone with a laptop could help produce, a wide range of efforts aim to bring randomness to your fingertips.

Publicly available randomness helps ensure online security, free elections and fair immigration practices — and may even help address deep questions about the nature of the universe. But producing these randomness beacons ­­— secure, truly random numbers that the public can trust — ­poses huge challenges, sending researchers into the quantum realm and beyond in search of fundamentally unpredictable phenomena. Here's why scientists see randomness as a public utility — and how they're trying to make a mess for your sake.

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While you’re here, how about this:

Across The Arctic, Lakes Are Leaking Dangerous Greenhouse Gases

Katey Walter Anthony has studied some 300 lakes across the tundras of the Arctic. But sitting on the mucky shore of her latest discovery, the Arctic expert said she’d never seen a lake like this one.

Set against the austere peaks of the Western Brooks Range, the lake, about 20 football fields in size, looked like it was boiling. Its waters hissed, bubbled and popped as a powerful greenhouse gas escaped from the lake bed. Some bubbles grew as big as grapefruits, visibly lifting the water’s surface several inches and carrying up bits of mud from below.


As the permafrost thaws across the fast-warming Arctic, it releases carbon dioxide, the top planet-warming greenhouse gas, from the soil into the air. Sometimes, that thaw spurs the growth of lakes in the soft, sunken ground, and these deep-thawing bodies of water tend to unleash the harder-hitting methane gas.

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  • Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2018 07:44:17 +0530
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How Do You Take a Picture of a Black Hole? With a Telescope as Big as the Earth

A planet-spanning virtual observatory, years in the making, could change how we think about space, time and the nature of reality. Will it work?


We live 26,000 light-years from the center of the Milky Way. That’s a rounding error by cosmological standards, but still ‘ it’s far. When the light now reaching Earth from the galactic center first took flight, people were crossing the Bering Strait land bridge, hunting woolly mammoths along the way.

Astronomers found Sagittarius A* in 1974, when the notion of holes in space was still new and unsettling. Since then, they have probed it with every appropriate observational and theoretical instrument. Indirectly, they have weighed it, measured its girth, monitored its feeding habits. They now talk about it with measured confidence, like villagers describing a dragon that lives in a cave in the hills, an animal whose existence no one doubts, but which no one has ever seen.

The best co-op games

Nothing beats a good blaster at your side, kid—except a friend who also has a good blaster, so you have two blasters and can blast twice as many things at once. That’s just math, really. And it’s also the joy of playing games co-op, whether that means jumping in with a single friend or putting together a squad of four.

These are our favorite co-op games on PC right now. For more of our favorites played solo or with a pal, check out our top 100 best PC games.


You can play through all of Monster Hunter solo, or with random strangers from the internet, but co-op is where this game truly shines. Combat channels the combos of Capcom action games like Devil May Cry but feels more risky and deliberate, forcing you to learn the attacks of these giant beasts. Tougher monsters force you to collaborate and stay constantly on your feet, and fights go much better when you and your hunting party specialize with different weapons. And grinding for the rare drops you need to make gear out of monster parts is just so much more fun with a few friends in Discord.

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