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This text message can crash your iPhone - without you even opening it

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This may be a good reason not to give out your phone number.

A certain string of characters – including Arabic characters – sent through a text message can crash your iPhone’s messaging app or even shut down your phone, CBS News reports.

If you text the code to another iPhone, it can block the user from sending or receiving any text messages. If the text message is received while the person’s phone is on the lock screen, the phone will reboot.

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Reddit users have reported that this text can also affect the messaging app WhatsApp and Apple Watches, according to CBS News.

Jeff Bakalar, senior editor of CNET, told CBS News that only someone who has your phone number can perform this "popular prank." There is also a way to undo the damage.

“If you have a Mac, you can log into your computer and have Siri send you a text message to wake it up,” Bakalar said to CBS News.

Some Reddit users posted that the prank can also be avoided by disabling notification alerts. Apple said it is working on a solution to the problem.

Read more here.

Hubble Space Telescope still dazzles 25 years later

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If walking on the moon was one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind, then NASA's achievement with the Hubble Space Telescope should be seen as one huge grin.

On April 24, 1990, space shuttle Discovery launched the telescope into orbit, and NASA scientists and people around the globe have been amazed ever since.

The telescope has tallied more than 1.2 million observations of more than 38,000 celestial objects since its launch, according to the Associated Press.

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It is occasionally pampered with maintenace work, most recently in 2009, the wire service reports.

Hubble's unobstructed view of the universe has provided spectacular images for two and a half decades and is one of the many reasons it is one of NASA's greatest achievements. 

What are some of your fondest Hubble memories?

Pi Day: Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson and other stars celebrate 'holiday'

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"Science Guy" Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, William Shatner and other celebrities took to Twitter this weekend to celebrate this year's once-in-a-century Pi Day.

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Click here or scroll down to see what they had to say.

<iframe src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/pi-day-bill-nye-neil-degrasse-tyson-and-other-star/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/pi-day-bill-nye-neil-degrasse-tyson-and-other-star.js?header=false&amp;border=false"></script>[View the story "Pi Day: Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson and other stars celebrate 'holiday'" on Storify]

Apple's latest MacBook has a new USB port – but only one

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The all-new, ultra-thin MacBook. Just 2 pounds light and 13.1 mm thin. A gorgeous 12-inch Retina display, with — wait, what is that? 

Yes, in their quest to produce the most svelte notebook on the market, Apple has cut off some of the old familiar ports we know and trust. There's just one port on the new MacBook, and it's for a new format you've probably never heard of.

"The technology behind this is a brand new standard called USB-C," Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller told the crowd.

Apple's new MacBook will be an early adopter of the USB Type-C port, a format designed to improve upon the old USB connectors of yesterday.

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USB-C boasts a top transfer speed of 10 Gbps and supports a power output of up to 20 volts. It's also more versatile than the old USB, able to send power through both ends of the cable. And it's reversible, which means no more fumbling with upside-down cables. (Video via CNETCypress Semiconductors)

But all early adoption comes at a price. In this case, Apple's shiny new port is going to need a lot of adapters.

The MacBook port will support a variety of inputs, but obviously you can't just jam a VGA cable into that tiny slot, or hook up more than one device at a time without some external help.

To solve this, Apple's offering two adapters — one for VGA cables, one for HDMI — which also come with two different USB ports. These adapters will add on $79 each to the cost of your shiny new $1,300+ MacBook.

And since USB-C isn't backwards compatible with all past USB iterations, there's also a USB-C-to-USB cord for $19.

Plus, if Apple's cables are too pricey, there's still hope: since USB-C is an open standard, cheaper third-party adapters could be on the way soon. 

This video includes an image from Getty Images and music from Chris Zabriskie / CC BY 4.0.

Apple Watch prices, new MacBook revealed

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Apple's big Spring Forward event came and went, and, like everyone expected, the Apple Watch was the big highlight of the show.

CEO Tim Cook and company waxed poetic about how we can use the Apple Watch, finally letting us in on the big secret: How in the world the watch can fit into our daily lives. (Video via Apple)

But the big reveal — the one we've all been waiting for — was the final pricing for the device.

 

  • The aluminum Sport starts at $349 for the smaller size; add 50 bucks for the larger model.
  • The stainless steel Apple Watch starts at $549 and can cost up to $1,099.
  • And then there was the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition, which will run you — at the very least — $10,000.

 

The event also answered the last, big lingering question about Apple Watch: battery life. All models of the device will have what Apple calls "all-day battery life," which apparently translates to 18 hours.

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Pre-orders for the Apple Watch start April 10, and the device will go on sale April 24.

The next big thing was Apple's all-new MacBook. It's Apple's thinnest version yet and weighs just 2 pounds.

The device sports an upgraded and redesigned keyboard and trackpad and ships in three familiar colors — think iPhone. Apple's new MacBook starts at $1,299 and goes on sale April 10.

Last but not least, Apple surprised us all with a bit of news that admittedly started out kind of dull but ended up being one of the most exciting announcements.

The company went into great detail about ResearchKit, an open-source framework that helps connect volunteers to research studies. Apple featured several apps using ResearchKit to track health data.

And although we would’ve loved to get a look at the rumored iPad Pro the company's supposedly working on, we were happy to settle for a $14.99 a month HBO subscription on a newly discounted $69 Apple TV.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

Mars One's mission looks a lot like reality TV

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It plays more like a movie trailer than anything else: This is how Mars One announced the 100 finalists for its 2024 mission to Mars.

Of these 100 people, as many as 40 will ultimately be selected for the privately funded mission, and their bios on the website read something like those of participants in a reality TV show.

There's a reason for that. Mars One wants to make the entire process of the mission, from selecting its astronauts to landing on the red planet, an "on-going global media event" in order to draw in funds for the project.

And the cast of characters it's selected for the final 100 is very, very broad: The group includes representatives from 36 different countries, with ages spanning from 19 to 60 and occupations ranging from stand-up comedy to astrophysics.

A quick look at the final 100 reveals the U.S. provided the most candidates with 33, followed by Australia, with seven; South Africa, with six; and the United Kingdom and Russia tied with five each. 

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The diversity is partly down to the fact Mars One issued an open invitation to anyone in the world who met its base criteria, including this man from Poland, who says he is a Martian. (Video via YouTube / Mikolaj Zielinski)

Of all 100, only four have ever worked with a space program, and all four of those have worked with NASA in some capacity. (Video via RTEManifest Motion PicturesNASAYouTube / oskirrii)

On top of that, seven members of Mars One's 24-member advisory board have worked with NASA in the past.

But NASA as a whole hasn't really gotten involved directly in Mars One's mission, and it seems the agency thinks the project is, at the very least, harmless.

NASA officials said last year that although the agency doesn't really have any regulatory power, it would speak out if it saw a company doing something it saw as risky. (Video via The Royal Institution)

Still, a group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate students put out a paper last October saying the project wasn't only risky, but with current technologies, it would also be deadly. 

The paper found without supplementary oxygen, astronauts would suffocate just 68 days into the mission, but Mars One's plan to counterbalance that using crops to provide both food and oxygen for the colony would create unsafe levels of oxygen within the colony. (Video via Mars One)

Despite this, Mars One's timeline currently has the project beating NASA to Mars by at least 10 years, although that's subject to change. (Video via NASA)

The project originally aimed to reach Mars by 2023, instead of 2024, and not only planned to select its 40 final astronauts by 2013 but also planned to have them in training by 2014.

What to expect from the Large Hadron Collider's second run

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By finding the Higgs boson in 2012, CERN's Large Hadron Collider made the discovery it was built to make.

But with a machine capable of simulating what the universe looked like less than a billionth of a second after the Big Bang, physicists have plenty left to discover.

Tara Shears, a physicist working on experiments at the LHC, told New Scientist, "We're doing this because we've got unfinished business when it comes to understanding the universe."

The Higgs boson was the last missing piece of the Standard Model of particle physics, a theory that's been making accurate predictions about the subatomic world for decades.

"It explains how the atoms that make up the world around us — this table, these chairs, the fruit in this bowl — how they're held together and interact," says a BBC science reporter.

But there are problems the Standard Model doesn't address, like gravity or dark matter. So what's beyond the Standard Model?

The LHC went offline in early 2013, so it could be upgraded. Workers spent nearly two years refitting the powerful magnets that control the particle beams and testing the new equipment. 

The upgrades mean the LHC's second round of experiments, beginning in spring 2015, will be able to smash protons together with around 60 percent more energy than before. Higher energy means more opportunities for CERN physicists to discover something new.

CERN spokesperson Dave Charlton told the BBC: "We don't know, really, what new physics we're going to find when we switch on again. It's really a pure science endeavor."

One of the more important things the LHC could discover this time around is evidence for supersymmetry, a popular idea that expands the Standard Model and makes some interesting predictions. (Video via CERN)

The main prediction is that all of the particles we know of from the Standard Model should have nearly identical twins out there somewhere. When physicists assume supersymmetry is true, some of the toughest problems in physics work themselves out. That makes the idea really attractive.

Stephen Hawking said at a 2013 conference, "I think the discovery of supersymmetric partners for the known particles would revolutionize our understanding of the universe." (Video via The Guardian)

There's just one problem: To date, not a single supersymmetric particle has ever been detected, either in the LHC or any other particle accelerator, and many physicists are starting to abandon the idea in search of a better one. (Video via CERN)

In a way, the LHC's second run puts supersymmetry on trial. If no evidence of it turns up, a majority of physicists might move on to something else. And even if evidence is found, it's likely supersymmetry doesn't work the way physicists first thought.

CERN physicist John Ellis said, "I believe that whether we discover supersymmetry or not, there is potential for a rich new spectrum of particles to be discovered at the LHC."

This video includes images from CERNFrank Weber / CC BY SA 2.0NASAHeiko S / CC BY 2.0Nuno Castro / CC BY NC SA 2.0Luigi Selmi / CC BY 2.0 and Getty Images and music from Broke For Free / CC BY NC 3.0 and Lee Rosevere / CC BY NC 4.0

 

Must-see photo: Hubble telescope captures space smiley

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Did the Hubble telescope capture a photo of an outer-space smiley face? Well, sort of.

http://twitter.com/washingtonpost/status/564822830706343937

According to a Washington Post blog published Monday, Judy Schmidt spotted this image among Hubble's data and submitted it to Hubble's Hidden Treasures competition. 

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Although the image resembles an eerie extraterrestrial grin, it's just a photo of galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849. The "eyes" are two galaxies.

Click here to learn more.

Malaysia Airlines hack: Lizard Squad, ISIS involved?

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On Sunday, Malaysia Airlines' website faced what appears to be a series of hackings.

When we first visited the site, it displayed an image of a lizard in a top hat, suit and monocle with the heading "404 - Plane Not Found." The purported "Lizard Squad Anthem" played in the background.

Hacker group Lizard Squad took credit for the breach on the site and on the group's Twitter account. There's no clear indication why the group chose to target Malaysia Airlines, but a tweet a few hours before the hack said the group was looking to "have some fun today."

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Lizard Squad is the group that claimed responsibility for both Playstation and Xbox online service outages over Christmas Day. 

Repeat visits to the Malaysia Airlines site returned several different versions as the airline worked to regain control.

Initially, a report from The Wall Street Journal displayed an entirely different version of the site from what we observed when visiting. At the same time, the group claiming responsibility for the hack called themselves the "Cyber Caliphate." The page was later updated with the top-hat-wearing lizard, and the text was changed, as well; Lizard Squad referred to themselves as the "official Cyber Caliphate."

The Journal also noted the site's title contained the phrase "ISIS will prevail." That text was replaced with the phrase "Lizard Squad will prevail." Despite the changes made to the website, it remains unclear if Malaysia Airlines was indeed attacked by two separate groups. 

This video includes music from Kevin MacLeod / CC BY 3.0.

WATCH: Bill Nye weighs in on 'deflate-gate,' calls out Belichick

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Is New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick the new "science guy" after Saturday's press conference about "deflate-gate"?

Bill Nye doesn't seem to think so.

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The TV host, scientist and former mechanical engineer weighed in on Belichick's claim that rubbing the footballs caused them to deflate:

“I’m not too worried about coach Belichick competing with me," Nye told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Sunday. "What he said didn’t make any sense. Rubbing the football, I don’t think you can change the pressure. To really change the pressure, you need one of these – the inflation needle.”

To be fair, Nye also appears to be rooting for the Seahawks.

Click here or scroll to the top of the page to watch the full video.

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