June 25, 2014

NASA's Chandra X-ray observatory has found a mysterious X-ray signal that astronomers are speculating could signal the presence of dark matter some 240 million light years away from Earth.

A leading theory, NASA reports, is that the X-rays are a result of decaying "sterile neutrinos," which are particles that could potentially produce dark matter. Astronomers believe dark matter accounts for 85 percent of all matter in the universe, but dark matter does not emit or absorb light as does the "normal" matter in planets, stars, and galaxies, so its detection is much more difficult.

NASA notes that normal matter may also have created the emission line, which appeared in the Perseus galaxy cluster, but astronomers are excited at the prospect that the sterile neutrinos may be at play. The scientists' next step will be combining the data with results from other missions to see if the same X-ray signal appears in other galaxy clusters. Thus far, the line has also been found in 73 other galaxy clusters using NASA's XMM-Newton.

"We know that the dark matter explanation is a long shot, but the pay-off would be huge if we're right," Esra Bulbul, leader of the study and a fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told NASA. "We're going to keep testing this interpretation and see where it takes us."

Astronomers have yet to determine what caused the emission, but for now, check out an image of the signal below. --Meghan DeMaria

10:37 a.m. ET

In the future, we might not watch TV on screens. It might be all in our heads.

That, at least, is the theory held by Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, The Telegraph reports. Hastings warned audiences at a Wall Street Journal event earlier this week that technology and entertainment have a funny way of making the mediums that came before go bust — for example, how cinema and TV have made "the opera and the novel" less appealing to consumers. Streaming, he said, could face the same fate.

"In 20 or 50 years, taking a personalized blue pill you just hallucinate in an entertaining way and then a white pill brings you back to normality is perfectly viable," Hastings said. "And if the source of human entertainment in 30 or 50 years is pharmacological, we'll be in real trouble."

Other tech billionaires, like Elon Musk and Sam Altman, think we're already living in a simulated universe. Life itself, they have alleged, could be one giant drug-induced hallucination, like it is in The Matrix. Jeva Lange

10:21 a.m. ET

Donald Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway wants to know where the outrage was when Hillary Clinton took time off the campaign trail to go to an Adele concert. While defending Trump's Wednesday morning stop at his hotel opening in Washington, D.C., Conway argued that his "pit stop" there 13 days ahead of Election Day just really "shows Americans the tangible accomplishments of Donald Trump." "He's somebody who builds things. He's somebody who fixes things," Conway said in an interview with NBC's Today show Wednesday morning. She added: "And you know, respectfully, Hillary Clinton has time to go to an Adele concert and everybody thinks that's really cool."

And, Conway pointed out, Clinton has diverted her attention from the campaign for more than just some soulful tunes. "Hillary Clinton took five days off to prepare for one debate and everybody looked at that as some kind of noble exercise, with 23 days to go. Nobody covered that as: Where is she? Why doesn't she campaign much? What is she doing? Where is she hiding?" Conway said.

It's hard to imagine anyone would've been upset if Trump had done the same prep work. Watch Conway defend her candidate, below. Becca Stanek

10:01 a.m. ET

Donald Trump's Hollywood Walk of Fame star has been wrangled behind a wall, muted, stomped, and flipped off, but with two weeks left to go before the presidential election, a vandal decided to take a drastic next step.

A man dressed as a city construction worker pulverized the star with a sledgehammer around 5:45 a.m. PT Wednesday. The culprit, Jamie Otis, said he had wanted to actually remove the star to auction it off as a means of raising money for the women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual assault, Deadline reports. Trump has threatened to sue his accusers.

Otis failed, to say the least. The star ended up smashed into pieces but couldn't be removed:

Trump was awarded the star in 2007 for his work on The Apprentice. Jeva Lange

9:38 a.m. ET
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Victoria Gotti may be the daughter and former wife of Gambino Mafia bosses, but she said even they didn't talk about women the way Donald Trump has. "I was married to the #1 gangster and would have cut his throat if he ever said such a foul thing to me," Gotti told a pen pal at The Daily Beast, referring to the Access Hollywood tapes in which Trump brags about kissing and groping women.

Gotti, who was also a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice in 2012, added that she considers Trump a "spoiled, rich brat" and "an embarrassment to the country." On Facebook, Gotti added she was "hoping you women out there who have any ‘class or dignity’ remember what this ‘crude obnoxious megalomaniacal mutt’ really thinks about women." Jeva Lange

9:22 a.m. ET

In a tweet Tuesday night, Donald Trump aide Dan Scavino Jr. declared former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) the winner of his on-air squabble with Fox News' Megyn Kelly. The two got into a heated argument during Tuesday night's episode of the The Kelly File, after Kelly brought up the sexual misconduct allegations made against Trump, a claim Gingrich insisted Kelly couldn't defend.

Though Kelly got the last word, advising Gingrich to "spend some time" working out his "anger issues," Scavino was certain Gingrich, who accused Kelly of being "fascinated with sex," had emerged victorious:

After thoroughly insulting Kelly's intelligence, Scavino fired off this ominous warning:

During her fiery exchange with Gingrich, Kelly said she brought up the allegations against Trump because she is concerned with the "protection of women and understanding what we're getting in the Oval Office." Becca Stanek

8:59 a.m. ET

Now here is a face we haven't seen on late night television in quite some time — former President George W. Bush. Although Bush, in his Tuesday night "appearance" on @Midnight With Chris Hardwick, happened to look suspiciously similar to Will Ferrell, who impersonated the Texan to hilarious ends throughout the last Republican presidency.

On the show, Bush/Ferrell insisted on saying a few words to defend the family honor after his cousin, Billy Bush, was caught making lewd comments on an Access Hollywood tape with Donald Trump (or, as he is known in the Bush family, "that disgraced pumpkin").

"I just want to say one thing. We Bushes don't act like that, okay," explained "Bush," but what specifically he is talking about you probably won't guess. Watch for the punchline, below. Jeva Lange

8:36 a.m. ET
Wu Hong-Pool/Getty Images

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte declared Wednesday that he will seek to expel foreign military troops from his country within the next two years, Reuters reports. "I have declared that I will pursue an independent foreign policy," he said. "I want, maybe in the next two years, my country free of the presence of foreign military troops. I want them out."

Duterte's predecessor had agreed to visiting U.S. military troops in a security deal that was arranged in response to China's military forwardness; those troops now reside in five Philippine military camps. But Duterte has increasingly turned to China for support, claiming at a talk there last week that he would "separate" from the United States.

Duterte and President Obama have exchanged harsh words in the past, with Duterte calling Obama a "son of a b----" and telling him to "go to hell." Obama, for his part, has been outspoken against Duterte's violent and bloody war on drugs: "We're not going to back off on our position that if we're working with a country, whether it's on anti-terrorism, whether it's on going after drug traffickers, as despicable as these networks may be, as much as damage as they do, it is important from our perspective to make sure that we do it the right way," Obama said.

In his speech Wednesday, Duterte added "if I have to revise or abrogate agreements, executive agreements, this shall be the last maneuver, war games between the United States and the Philippines military." Jeva Lange

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