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This Week in Science: Exploding Stars, Black Holes, and a Rocket vs. Lightning

We’re bringing you a new segment this week called “Nerd News,” covering the most important news for your brain that you may have missed over the last few days.  Here’s a quick rundown of this week in science . . .

1.  Researchers are closer to proving Stephen Hawking right about black holes.  He had a theory that small amounts of radiation . . . called “Hawking radiation” . . . leak out of them.  So a new study used a simulated black hole that traps sound instead of light.  And the findings suggest he was probably correct.

2.  A bolt of lightning hit a Russian ROCKET while it was taking off on Monday, and there’s a pretty cool video of it.  No, it did not explode.  The same thing happened in 1969, when the Apollo 12 rocket was struck twice during take-off.

3.  Big animals like elephants and giraffes could go extinct over the next century, because they have the hardest time dealing with climate change.  In the past 130,000 years, the body mass of the average mammal has dropped about 14%.  And a new simulation found it could drop another 25% over just the next hundred years or so.

4.  Did humans start walking on two legs because of EXPLODING STARS?  A new study at the University of Kansas claims cosmic rays from a supernova may have caused an uptick in lightning 2.6 million years ago, which caused more wildfires.

Then forests gave way to open fields.  And suddenly, it was a much bigger advantage to stand upright, so we could see over tall grass and look for predators.

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