By monitoring the number of times people look for flu information on Wikipedia, researchers may be better able to estimate the severity of a flu season, according to a new study. Researchers created a new data-analysis system that looks at visits to Wikipedia articles, and found the system was able to estimate flu levels in the United States up to two weeks sooner than the flu data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were released. The new system examined visits to Wikipedia articles that included terms related to flulike illnesses, whereas Google Flu Trends looks at searches typed into Google. The research team wanted to use a database that is accessible to everyone and create a system that could be more accurate than Google Flu Trends, which has flaws.
For the first time, scientists have discovered an Earth-sized alien planet in the habitable zone of its host star, an "Earth cousin" that just might have liquid water and the right conditions for life. The newfound planet, called Kepler-186f, was first spotted by NASA's Kepler space telescope and circles a dim red dwarf star about 490 light-years from Earth. "One of the things we've been looking for is maybe an Earth twin, which is an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a sunlike star," Tom Barclay, Kepler scientist and co-author of the new exoplanet research, told Space.com.
With little fanfare, Iran has taken faster steps than required to comply with an interim nuclear deal that substantially limits its capacity to make a nuclear weapon. Today, the United Nations nuclear watchdog reported that Iran has significantly reduced its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium – the material that is a few technical steps from bomb-grade – and is ahead of schedule to completely dispose of remaining stocks by mid-July. Iran has two incentives to move quickly on the terms of the deal, which took force on Jan. 20. It is eager to show it can abide by all its nuclear commitments, as Iran and world powers begin drafting a comprehensive nuclear deal after three rounds of talks, with a fourth due to begin on May 13.