TIME space

See a Rare View of Saturn’s Rings

It's the best time of year to view Saturn's rings

Saturn will come closer to earth this weekend than at any other time of the year, giving us earthbound creatures an incomparable view of its rings. For a closer look, “community observatory” Slooh trained Internet-connected telescopes on the planet during peak viewing hours. The images are shown in the video above, which includes expert commentary from Slooh astronomer Will Gater and Cornell University planetary scientist Dr. Jonathan Lunine.

TIME Innovation

Watch: This Real-Life Hoverboard Is Almost Impossible to Believe

But it's real, according to the Guinness Book of World Records

Eat your heart out Marty McFly.

According to the Guinness World Record organization, this video shows the furthest recorded flight ever made on a overboard. (You know, in real life as opposed to in the movies.) This “astonishing world record,” according to Guinness, was set by Canadian inventor Catalina Alexandru Duru.

In the video above, Duru rises 16 feet in the air and then flies forward 905 feet and 2 inches. Under him, only air and a lake. To set the Guinness World Records title, Duru had to achieve a distance of more than 50 meters. The inventor travelled over five times that distance.

“I wanted to showcase that a stable flight can be achieved on a hoverboard and a human could stand and control with their feet,” he told Guinness.

TIME innovations

Watch What It’s Like to Get Blasted to 100MPH in 1.2 Seconds

We'd almost definitely vomit

If you ever wondered what it’s like to get blasted off a launch pad going at 100 miles per hour, this SpaceX video does the trick.

The video, posted Friday, shows point-of-view footage of SpaceX’s May 6 pad abort test of its Crew Dragon vehicle. Essentially, the private space company, headed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, was testing a system that could safely eject astronauts aboard a just-launched rocket should anything go wrong.

The Dragon vehicle reached 100mph in 1.2 seconds, before topping out at a peak velocity of 345mph.

“The successful Pad Abort Test was the first flight test of SpaceX’s revolutionary launch abort system, and the data captured here will be critical in preparing Crew Dragon for its first human missions in 2017,” SpaceX wrote following the successful test.

In March, SpaceX launched the world’s first completely electric satellites into space.

TIME energy

Memorial Day Weekend Gas Prices at Lowest Point Since 2009

The average retail gas price on May 18 was nearly a dollar lower than on the same day last year

Consumer gas prices are at a lower point heading into this Memorial Day weekend than any comparable weekend since 2009, according to a government report.

The average retail gas price was $2.74 per gallon on May 18, nearly a dollar lower than on the same day last year, the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) reported. Gas prices vary across the country, from highs of above $3.4o throughout California and in parts of Alaska to below $2.50 throughout much of the South and Midwest.

Read More: The Cost of Cheap Gas

Cheap consumer gas has been driven by low crude oil prices, though have prices have risen in the last few months. The EIA predicted that gas prices will fall in June as refineries across the country increase production. Retail gasoline prices is expected to average $2.51 per gallon during the third quarter of 2015.

Memorial Day, when many Americans take road trips, marks the approximate start of the summer driving season when gas prices often increase. The increase is at least in part due to oil companies complying with requirements that they produce a more expensive summer-grade gasoline.

 

TIME psychology

What the Josh Duggar Fiasco Can Teach Us About Pedophilia

It raises familiar questions with no easy answers

Want a challenge? Try feeling sorry for a pedophile—those guys (and they’re almost always guys) who lust for children, stalk children and may eventually molest or rape children. Even in prison they’re targets of violence from other inmates. When a murderer finds you morally repugnant, you know you’ve fallen far.

That universal loathing is on display again with public outrage around the news that reality TV star Josh Duggar, 27, of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting, responded to allegations that he molested five underage girls when he was 15, saying that he “acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret.”

There is more unknown about these charges than known: How old were the girls? What did the molestation involve? These and other questions are critical to understanding both the psychology and the alleged criminality at play.

But let’s address the worst possibility—that the girls were not teens like Duggar, but much younger. That he was drawn to them as an adult pedophile is drawn to a child, and that under the care of a psychiatrist or psychologist, he would be diagnosed with clinical pedophilia. What does that mean for him—and for society?

Pedophilia is thought to be a relatively rare condition, afflicting from 1% to 5% of men, and a vanishingly small number of women. Admittedly 1% to 5% is a wide range, but unlike people suffering from, say, depression or phobias, people with pedophilic stirrings are not likely to step forward for treatment. Pedophiles are sexually drawn to children exclusively and as a group, prey on same sex and opposite sex children more or less equally. The condition has nothing at all to do with homosexuality.

Psychologists stress that not all child molesters are pedophiles and not all pedophiles molest. Only about 10% of known child abusers are thought to be clinical pedophiles. In most non-pedophilic cases of child abuse, the crime is an act of violence, of rage, sometimes a result of trauma. Often molesters were themselves molested in childhood—anywhere from one third to three quarters of them—though the studies on which these findings are based are often called into question because they rely on trusting the abusers to tell the truth about their past.

What’s barely in dispute anymore is that true pedophilia is a disorder with physiological roots. Scans of pedophiles’ brains show less connective white matter than the brains of other people; other studies show that pedophiles have a greater tendency to be left-handed, that they score poorly on visual and spatial tests and that they may even be shorter, on average, than other males. All of this points either to the genes or prenatal womb environment, or both, meaning that pedophilia is innate, unchosen and as fixed as anyone else’s sexuality.

“None of us decides the sorts of people we’re going to be attracted to,” says Dr. Fred Berlin of the National Institute for the Study, Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Trauma, in Baltimore. “We discover that, and that’s true too of people who discover they’re attracted to children. This is not the result of a choice.”

That’s where treatment becomes hard, and where sympathy—if you’re inclined to feel it—may be warranted. In the days in which homosexuality was punished, gays and lesbians spent their entire lives either denying themselves a sexual outlet or doing so furtively and fearfully. That led to profound suffering—made all the worse because it was unjust suffering. In a sexual encounter with another consenting adult, no one generally gets hurt—and the laws in most countries have finally come around.

But there will be no such coming around in the case of pedophilia, nor should there be, because by definition a child incapable of consent will always be hurt by the act. That means therapy for pedophiles—with luck before they act, but certainly afterwards.

Part of this may involve libido-lowering drugs; part involves an abstinence strategy similar to what’s used in day-at-a-time groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. And part involves other kinds of group support, such as the website Virtuous Pedophiles, for people who recognize their disorder and are determined not to act on it. That can work.

“Virtuous pedophiles make the point that pedophilia is by no means synonymous with child molestation,” says Berlin. “Some people can control their urges on their own or with a group. Others who have those attractions with perhaps a higher degree of desire may need more intervention, including medicine.”

In one study of 300 patients Berlin treated, only 3% who fully complied with treatment re-offended within five years. Among men who receive no treatment, 18% re-offend within three years.

There are no good answers for pedophilia, only less bad ones. Fury at men who hurt children is not misplaced, but nor is appreciation for those who struggle with their disorder and keep it under control. No one would choose to leave a child alone with an untreated pedophile. But no one would choose to be that pedophile either.

Read next: Arkansas Police Destroy Record of Josh Duggar Investigation

TIME A Year In Space

Watch This Stunning Video of Astronauts Docking at the Space Station

It took six hours and 100,000 miles to get there

Commuting to work isn’t easy in space. After Scott Kelly, Gennady Padalka and Misha Kornienko blasted off from Kazakhstan aboard their Soyuz spacecraft in the early morning hours of March 29, it took them six hours to reach the International Space Station.

Six hours doesn’t seem like much—barely a flight from New York to London. But New York to London is a trip of only 3,459 miles (5,567 km). The Soyuz crew had to make four complete revolutions of the Earth–putting a cool 100,000 miles (161,000 km) on the odometer, in a high-speed chase that, at the end, turned into a delicate pas de deux.

NASA has now released the video footage of the final 15 minutes of that approach, shot from the cockpit of the Soyuz. The clip has been sped up here to just two and a half minutes, but even at that rate, it reveals what a precision job a rendezvous and docking is.

The spinning object in the foreground of the image is the Soyuz’s docking radar. The red light that flashes in the window midway through the clip is a reflection from the camera that is recording the approach. What you can’t see are the crewmembers, both in the Soyuz and aboard the station, who were responsible for the cosmic choreography. Their work has to speak for itself—and that work was remarkable.

TIME climate change

Glaciers Are Crumbling in Southern Antarctica Faster Than Previously Thought

Previously stable glaciers have been melting rapidly since 2009

Multiple large glaciers that were previously not thought to be in danger of melting have been crumbling since 2009, according to a new study published in Science. Researchers have discovered that glaciers on the southern Antarctic Peninsula’s coastline have been steadily thinning over the past several years, with some dwindling by as much as 13 feet per year. The glaciers had not shrunk significantly before 2009.

The rate of melting makes the region “the second most important contributor to sea level rise in Antarctica,” lead study author Bret Wouters told NBC News. Overall, 80 trillion gallons of water were added to ocean by the Southern Antarctic Peninsula between 2009 and 2014. Continued melting could raise sea levels by another 14 inches.

[NBC News]

 

TIME animals

These Are the Top 10 New Species Discovered Last Year

Including a frog that gives birth to live tadpoles

Scientists named 18,000 new species in 2014—but these 10 are a notch above the rest.

From a spider that cartwheels away from its predators to a frog that gives birth to live tadpoles, the newly discovered animals on the top 10 list compiled by an international committee of taxonomists at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry each have something that stands out.

The list is released each year to honor the May 23 birthday of Carolus Linnaeus, an 18th-century Swedish botanist who is considered the father of modern taxonomy.

“The Top 10 is a reminder of the wonders awaiting us,” said Dr. Quentin Wheeler, ESF president and founding director of the International Institute for Species Exploration.

  • Feathered Dinosaur

    Mark A. Klingler, Carnegie Museum of Natural History

    Dubbed the “chicken from hell,” the feathered dinosaur, anzu wyliei, made nests and sat on eggs until they hatched. It was a contemporary of the Tyrannosaurus Rex and lived in North America, and it had many bird-like qualities including hollow bones, feathers and a beak.

  • Coral Plant

    P.B. Pelser & J.F. Barcelona

    The coral plant was immediately dubbed endangered when it was discovered last year. That’s because scientists have only discovered about 50 instances of this parasitic plant, which has branching, above-ground tubers that resemble coral. All of the plants were found between specific elevations on the southwestern side of Mt. Mingan in the Philippines.

  • Cartwheeling Spider

    Prof. Dr. Ingo Rechenberg, Technical University Berlin

    This desert spider from Morocco has a speedy way to run from danger: it cartwheels. The cartwheeling is a last resort. First the spider assumes a threatening posture. If that doesn’t work, it will run away, and if that still isn’t fast enough the arachnid can spin and cartwheel its way across the sand.

  • X-Phyla

    Jørgen Olesen

    The X-Phyla are the so-called “mysterious newcomers” of the group. That’s because these mushroom-like creatures are possibly related to the phylum Cnidaria, which contains jellyfish, corals, and sea anemones, but they are missing some unique properties, which means they could represent an entirely new phylum. So stay tuned on the X-Phyla.

  • Bone-house Wasp

    Michael Staab

    The bone-house wasp is on the list for a morbid reason: she feeds and protects her young with carcasses of other dead insects. The female bone-house wasps, found in Eastern China, construct nests that have multiple chambers. The female kills and deposits spiders in each cell to provide food for her babies, then seals off the front door of the nest with bodies of dead ants. The chemicals from the dead ants mask the scent of her larvae from potential enemies.

  • Indonesian Frog

    Jimmy A. McGuire

    The Indonesian frog made the list because, unlike most other frog species, it does not lay eggs. Instead, it gives birth to live tadpoles, which are deposited in the water. Less than 12 of the world’s 6,455 frog species have internal fertilization, and the Indonesian frog is the only one that gives birth to tadpoles; the others either lay fertilized eggs or give birth to frogs.

  • Walking Stick

    Dr. Bruno Kneubühler

    The walking stick is the newest member of a family known as giant sticks. Given that this species was just discovered, despite being 9 inches long and living in a national park in Vietnam frequented by entomologists, it shows that there could be many other camouflaged giant sticks that are yet undiscovered. These new walking sticks aren’t the biggest in the family: that title belongs to Chan’s megastick, which measures 22 inches.

  • Sea Slug

    Robert Bolland

    This new species of sea slug, which photographs beautifully in shades of blue, red and gold and lives in Japan, is a missing link between the sea slugs that feed on hydroids and those that feed on corals.

  • Bromeliad

    A. Espejo

    Tillandsia religiosa, a red and green bromeliad plant found in Mexico, was officially recognized by science last year, but it had long been known to locals in the region. Its festive coloring meant the bromeliad was often used in altar scenes assembled by villagers around Christmas.

  • Pufferfish

    Yoji Okata

    This new species of pufferfish solved a decades-old underwater mystery. Scientists had seen crop circle-type etchings in the undersea sand off the coast of Japan but didn’t know what was creating the geometric designs, about 6 feet in diameter. It turns out they are made by this fish and used as spawning nests. The designs both attract females and minimize the ocean current at the center.

TIME Environment

Here’s What a Massive 5-Year Study of Ocean Life Reveals

tara ocean expedition plankton
Courtesy of Sacha Bollet/Fonds Tara The Tara ship at sea.

Scientists don't know how climate change may affect life in the ocean

In 2009, the research schooner Tara set sail on a three-year journey. The crew would be facing rough waters and the threat of pirates in the name of studying plankton—microscopic organisms that can serve as a proxy for the overall health of an ocean ecosystem. Now, five studies in the journal Science offer a new take on the state of the oceans, the largest ecosystem in the world, and one that’s under enormous strain.

“We provide the most complete description yet of the organisms together with their genetic repertoires,” said Chris Bowler, a scientific coordinator on the expedition, on a call with the media. “Thanks to the treasure in Tara‘s holds, life in the ocean is a little less murky than it was before.”

Plankton diversity was higher than anticipated. Differences in ocean temperature—as opposed to geography or some other environmental factor—seem to chiefly determine which kind of plankton survives, according to the study. Because plankton play an essential role in sustaining life on Earth by propping up the bottom of the food chain, rising temperatures could have grave implications for other sea life, in part because scientists don’t yet know how plankton overall will respond as ocean temperatures increase with global warming. In addition to their role as the primary food source for many fish and whales, plankton also provide half the oxygen produced on the planet each year through photosynthesis.

Viruses also play a role determining what species of ocean life survive in a given spot. Research identified more than 5,000 types of viruses in the upper ocean, only 39 of which had been known previously. Many of the viruses have spread around the ocean, meaning you’re likely to find a surprising diversity of viral life almost anywhere you look in the ocean.

“The most abundant and widespread viral populations in the oceans have yet to be characterized, but now we have an idea of what viruses are important targets for future investigations,” says Jennifer Brum, a researcher at the University of Arizona.

An editorial accompanying the issue draws further attention to climate change and its unknown impact on the ocean ecosystem. Oceans play an important role in protecting the ecosystem from global warming by absorbing the excess heat released due to greenhouse gas, according to the editorial. In the short term, oceans have yet to shown significant damage, but researchers fear that we may not know the true effects.

“Take a moment to thank the ocean for supplying half of your oxygen,” writes Science Editor-in-Chief Marcia McNutt in the editorial. “It is time to start valuing the ocean and stop using it as a dump for waste heat, CO2, sewage, pollutants, and other trash.”

Scientists once considered much of the vast oceans to be largely barren of life—seawater, and little less. The research from Tara underscores just how untrue that is—everywhere we look in the watery world, there is life of some kind. And the five studies released this week are just the beginning of what promises to be a trove of new research. Scientists on the expedition analyzed only 579 of 35,000 collected samples for this issue of Science.

TIME discoveries

First Dinosaur Bone Found in Washington State

Dr. Christian Sidor (right), Burke Museum curator of vertebrate paleontology, and Brandon Peecook (left), University of Washington graduate student, show the size and placement of the fossil fragment compared to the cast of a Daspletosaurus femur.
Burke Museum Dr. Christian Sidor (right), Burke Museum curator of vertebrate paleontology, and Brandon Peecook (left), University of Washington graduate student, show the size and placement of the fossil fragment compared to the cast of a Daspletosaurus femur.

The bone was discovered in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Seattle

A piece of a massive thigh bone discovered underwater shows that dinosaurs walked in what is now Washington state.

The 80-million-year-old bone was found in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Seattle, Live Science reports, and it has just been identified as a 17-inch fragment of the femur bone of a theropod. Theropods were a two-legged, mostly carnivorous group of dinosaurs related to modern-day birds. And yes, T. Rex was one (although this bone did not come from a Tyrannosaurus).

It’s unknown what species of dinosaur the bone came from. “That’s it,” Christian Sidor, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Burke Museum at the University of Washington, told Live Science. “We’re lucky we got what we got.”

The bone was found in 2012, but it took scientists about a year and a half to prepare the fossil. This makes Washington the 37th U.S. state with known dinosaur fossils.

 

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