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Top40 News for 03/21/2018

Buzz Aldrin is deploying the Solar Wind Collector (SWC), a foil sheet which he is pointing at the Sun. Note the word 'Shade' printed on the bottom of the back side. The word 'Sun' is printed on the sunward side. At the end of the EVA, after leaving the SWC exposed to the Sun for about 1 hour and 17 minutes, Buzz will roll up the foil and pack it in a bag for analysis back on Earth. Note the considerable clearance between the bottom of the Descent Engine bell and the surface beneath it. Little West Crater is near the horizon on the lefthand side of the image. Note the pattern of scratch marks running from the MESA toward the lower left that were created by the TV cable as Neil Armstrong took the camera away from the LM on the tripod. Neil's footprints are generally to the right of the cable scratches as he moved sideways out from the Lunar Module. Several potentially foot-grabbing loops remain in the cable. The rendezvous radar and various antennas on the top of the ascent stage are labeled in a detail ( 223k ). To learn more about Apollo 11 go to: http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/apollo11_40/ Credit: NASA/APOLLO 11 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is home to the nation's largest organization of combined scientists, engineers and technologists that build spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study the Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe.

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#1 AI bests humans at mapping the moon

BRACE FOR IMPACT Artificial intelligence paints a portrait of the moon that’s even more pockmarked than previously thought.

NASA

Artificial intelligence is helping draw a more detailed map of the moon.

An AI that studied lunar images to learn what craters look like has discovered thousands of new pockmarks on the moon’s surface. This program could also be used to catalog impact scars on other moons or planets, which might improve scientists’ understanding of how various objects roamed our solar system in the past.

The new algorithm is an artificial neural network that attempts to mimic the way the brain processes information. After training on Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter images covering about one-third of the moon’s surface, the program was shown another third of the lunar landscape. The AI identified 92 percent of known craters in that region and found about 6,000 new ones.

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#2 Tree rings tell tale of drought in Mongolia over the last 2,000 years

TIMBER  A scientist cuts into an ancient pine tree in Mongolia to examine its rings, which are offering new insights into the region’s past climate.

Neil Pederson

A new analysis is shedding light on drought in Mongolia, both past and future.

By studying the rings of semifossilized trees, researchers constructed a climate history for the semiarid Asian nation spanning the last 2,060 years — going 1,000 years further back than previous studies.

It was suspected that a harsh drought from about 2000 to 2010 that killed tens of thousands of livestock was unprecedented in the region’s history and primarily the result of human-caused climate change. But the tree ring data show that the dry spell, while rare in its severity, was not outside the realm of natural climate variability, researchers report online March 14 in Science Advances.

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#3 How obesity makes it harder to taste

BYE BYE BUDS  Mice that became obese on a high-fat diet (right) lost a quarter of their taste buds (stained red) and also had fewer progenitor cells (stained green) — which give rise to new taste buds — than mice of a healthy weight on a regular diet (left).

A. Kaufman et al/PLOS Biology 2018

As mice plumped up on a high-fat diet, some of their taste buds vanished. This disappearing act could explain why some people with obesity seem to have a weakened sense of taste, which may compel them to eat more.

Compared with siblings that were fed normal mouse chow, mice given high-fat meals lost about 25 percent of their taste buds over eight weeks. Buds went missing because mature taste bud cells died off more quickly, and fewer new cells developed to take their place. Chronic, low-level inflammation associated with obesity appears to be behind the loss, researchers report March 20 in PLOS Biology.

Taste buds, each a collection of 50 to 100 cells, sense whether a food is sweet, sour, bitter, salty or umami (savory). These cells help identify safe and nourishing food, and stimulate reward centers in the brain. The tongue’s taste bud population is renewed regularly; each bud lasts about 10 days. Special cells called progenitor cells give rise to new taste bud cells that replace old ones.

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#4 Austin bomber blows self up; fears of more explosives remainSenate to take another look at the 2001 ‘war on terror’ resolutionWhy aren’t Western sanctions stopping Putin?Former Playboy Model Karen McDougal Sues to Break Silence on Relationship With TrumpBen Carson Denies Trying to Mislead Public About $31,000 Dining SetZuckerberg asked to testify; data firm’s CEO suspended

ROUND ROCK, Texas (AP) -- The suspect in a series of bombing attacks that terrorized Austin over the past few weeks blew himself up early Wednesday as law enforcement closed in on him. Authorities warned of concern that more explosives might still be out there.

Authorities had zeroed in on the suspect in the last 24 to 36 hours and located his vehicle at a hotel on Interstate 35 in the suburb of Round Rock, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference. They were waiting for ballistic vehicles to arrive to move in for an arrest when his vehicle began to drive away, Manley said. Authorities followed the vehicle, which ran into a ditch on the side of the road, the police chief said.

When members of the SWAT team approached, the suspect detonated an explosive device inside the vehicle, the police chief said. The blast knocked back one officer, while a second officer fired his weapon, Manley said.

Authorities identified the suspect only as a 24-year-old white man and wouldn't say if he was from Austin.

Austin has been targeted by four package bombings since March 2 that killed two people and seriously wounded four others. A fifth parcel bomb detonated at a FedEx distribution center near San Antonio early Tuesday.

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#5 PoliticsWhite House defends Trump’s congratulations to PutinSenate to take another look at the 2001 ‘war on terror’ resolutionWhy aren’t Western sanctions stopping Putin?Former Playboy Model Karen McDougal Sues to Break Silence on Relationship With TrumpBen Carson Denies Trying to Mislead Public About $31,000 Dining SetZuckerberg asked to testify; data firm’s CEO suspended

WASHINGTON — The White House on Tuesday defended President Trump’s decision to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin on winning reelection, saying that Washington has no business criticizing the way other countries pick their leaders and wants a more constructive relationship with Moscow.

“We don’t get to dictate how other countries operate,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters. “What we do know is Putin has been elected in their country, and that’s not something that we can dictate to them — how they operate.”

Sanders continued, “We can only focus on the freeness and the fairness of our elections, something we 100 percent fully support, and something we’re going to continue to do — everything we can to protect to make sure bad actors don’t have the opportunity to impact them in any way.”

The spokeswoman also said that Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and allegations that Moscow used a nerve agent in the attempted assassination of a Russian double agent on British soil did not come up in the telephone conversation.

“We want to continue to have a dialogue with Russia, continue to talk about some of the shared interests we have, whether it’s North Korea, Iran — and particularly, as the president noted today — slowing the tensions when it comes to an arms race,” Sanders said.

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#6 U.S.Officer Charged With Murder In Shooting Death Of Justine DamondStephen Colbert Congratulates Putin for His Win ‘by the Most Made-up Votes’ (Video)McCain: Trump’s Congratulations to Putin ‘Insulted Every Russian Citizen’

The Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an Australian woman in July after she called 911 for help has been charged with murder by Hennepin County prosecutors, officials announced.

Mohamed Noor, the officer who shot Justine Damond, turned himself in after authorities issued an arrest warrant Tuesday on charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said during a press conference.

Noor was booked at Hennepin County Jail around 11 a.m. on Tuesday, and prosecutors requested a judge set his bail at $500,000, according to Freeman. Noor’s attorney did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

Damond’s family applauded the charges in a statement, calling them “one step toward justice.”

“No charges can bring our Justine back,” the family wrote. “However, justice demands accountability for those responsible for recklessly killing the fellow citizens they are sworn to protect, and today’s actions reflect that.”

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#7 PoliticsGrown man Ben Carson blames his wife for the $31,000 dining room setMan accused of leaving mom for dead on floor to get her $30KDamond Shooting: Minneapolis Officer Noor Charged With Murder

One of the most powerful men in government, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, is terrified of desks.

Carson disclosed his highly un-understandable anxiety in a House Appropriations Committee hearing on Tuesday. The Secretary was asked to speak about the $31,000 dining set he recently tried to purchase for his office. Carson then used the opportunity to pass the buck. First, he blamed formidable desks. 

Then, he blamed his wife, who... does not serve in government.

SEE ALSO: Donald Trump's 'pee tape' controversy, explained

Here's Carson's version of events:

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#8 PoliticsTrump corrupting Mueller probe by attacking witnesses, officialsBen Carson says old furniture was ‘dangerous’Ben Carson: Trans People in Homeless Shelters Make Others Uncomfortable

Neal Katyal, former U.S. acting solicitor general, talks with Rachel Maddow about how out of line Donald Trump is with his attacks on law enforcement officials and witnesses in Robert Mueller's Trump Russia investigation.

Watch TV shows, movies and more on Yahoo View.

About The Rachel Maddow Show

Launched in 2008, “The Rachel Maddow Show” follows the machinations of policy making in America, from local political activism to international diplomacy. Rachel Maddow looks past the distractions of political theater and stunts and focuses on the legislative proposals and policies that shape American life - as well as the people making and influencing those policies and their ultimate outcome, intended or otherwise. See More

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#9 Suspected Texas bomber kills self as police close in-officials

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - The 24-year-old man who terrified residents of Austin, Texas, with a three-week bombing campaign that killed two people blew himself up on the side of a highway north of the city as police closed in on him early Wednesday, police officials said.

Police had tracked the suspect to a hotel near Austin, the state’s capital city, and were following his vehicle when he pulled to the side of the road and detonated a device, killing himself, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told reporters near the scene. “The suspect is deceased and has significant injuries from a blast that occurred from detonating a bomb inside his vehicle,” Manley told reporters.

He said the suspect was white but declined to give his name. Manley said the suspect was believed to be responsible for six bombs around Austin, including five that detonated, since March 2. He said what motivated the bombing campaign or whether the suspect had help was not yet known.

Most important, Manley warned that it was not clear whether any more bombs had been left in place around the city.

The series of bombings killed two people and injured at least five others, unnerving residents of Austin, a city of some 1 million people. The first bombings occurred as the state capital was hosting the annual South By Southwest music, film and technology festival. Police found the suspect at a hotel in Round Rock, Texas, about 20 miles (32 km) north of Austin.

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#10 More than 70 million people brace for nor’easter

A nor'easter already closing schools and canceling thousands of flights Wednesday is set to bring record-setting snow to the region.

The fourth nor'easter in three weeks will dump heavy snow, winds and even coastal flooding to some areas. It has potential to be one of the most significant and most disruptive snowstorms this late in the season, CNN meteorologists said.

Snow has begun to fall and it will pick up while more than 70 million people are under a winter storm watch, warning or advisory from the southern Appalachians to Boston.

The storm will move away from the region by Thursday but not without first hitting coastal New England and Maine.

•More than 3,200 flights are canceled Wednesday due to storm, according to Flightaware.com.

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