Astronomers make a breakthrough; plus affordable AI robots and edging towards a measles record

US Measles Cases Continue to Climb Toward Record High

(Ashley Yeager, The Scientist, 4/9/19)

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 465 cases of measles as of April 4th. Since measles was purported to be eradicated in the US in 2000, the record highest number of cases occurred in 2014 at 667. If current infection rates continue, that record will be surpassed by June of this year. (For further information on measles and herd immunity, listen to Eureka’s Sounds of Science podcast.)

Meet Blue, the low-cost, human-friendly robot designed for AI

(Kara Manke, Berkeley News, 4/9/19)

University of California, Berkeley researchers have built a relatively cheap, durable, and safe robot called Blue that can be used to perform delicate tasks such as folding laundry. The robot looks like two body-builder sized arms on a shaft; and could prove useful and cost-effective for AI researchers. Some researchers are hoping that safe, trainable robots will provide an alternative workforce to combat potential nursing shortages.

Astronomers Capture First Image of a Black Hole

(Event Horizon Telescope, 4/10/19)

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project released the first ever image of a black hole this week. Previous black hole images were only models or renderings, whereas this new image is of the actual black hole at the center of the galaxy Messier 87. EHT represents an international collaboration of eight terrestrial radio telescopes, linking them through Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) to form what is essentially an Earth-sized radio telescope.

—Stories compiled by Senior Scientific Writer Mary Parker