Magnetic Secrets of Mysterious Radio Bursts in a Faraway Galaxy

Snap, crackle or pop?

Nature keeps coming up with new and baffling ways to blow things up.

Astronomers have been baffled lately by the mysterious pulses of cosmic energy known as fast radio bursts that seem to pepper the cosmos. In a few unpredictable milliseconds, they typically emit as much energy as the sun does in a day. About 30 of these objects have been discovered deep in space since the first was detected in 2007, all but one burping out a cataclysmic radio pulse exactly once and then disappearing into the night.

Only one burster, known as FRB121102, after the date it was discovered (Nov. 2, 2012), has repeated itself, hundreds of times now.

That allowed Shami Chatterjee of Cornell and his colleagues to track it to a galaxy 3 billion light years away. But that only deepened the mystery of the powers of these objects, and why none are closer to us.

Among the more out-there explanations proffered was that they are lasers propelling alien interstellar spacecraft. That is a scheme that Earthlings themselves are considering to launch a fleet of miniature space probes to Alpha Centauri later this century.

Digital essay

Powerful Hollywood Women Unveil Anti-Harassment Action Plan

Driven by outrage and a resolve to correct a power imbalance that seemed intractable just months ago, 300 prominent actresses and female agents, writers, directors, producers and entertainment executives have formed an ambitious, sprawling initiative to fight systemic sexual harassment in Hollywood and in blue-collar workplaces nationwide.

The initiative includes:

— A legal defense fund, backed by $13 million in donations, to help less privileged women — like janitors, nurses and workers at farms, factories, restaurants and hotels — protect themselves from sexual misconduct and the fallout from reporting it.

— Legislation to penalize companies that tolerate persistent harassment, and to discourage the use of nondisclosure agreements to silence victims.

— A drive to reach gender parity at studios and talent agencies that has already begun making headway.

— And a request that women walking the red carpet at the Golden Globes speak out and raise awareness by wearing black.

Called Time’s Up, the movement was announced on Monday with an impassioned pledge of support to working-class women in an open letter signed by hundreds of women in show business, many of them A-listers. The letter also ran as a full-page ad in The New York Times, and in La Opinion, a Spanish-language newspaper.

“The struggle for women to break in, to rise up the ranks and to simply be heard and acknowledged in male-dominated workplaces must end; time’s up on this impenetrable monopoly,” the letter says.

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Kansas Survives a Late Scare From Clemson to Advance, 80-76

OMAHA — Kansas’ most important player is the senior guard Devonte’ Graham. But entering Friday’s round-of-16 matchup against a physical Clemson team, the Jayhawks’ X factor was the sophomore 7-footer Udoka Azubuike, whose knee injury had kept him out of the Big 12 tournament and limited him in the N.C.A.A. tournament’s first two rounds.

Doubts about whether the 280-pound Azubuike would be at full strength evaporated early as No. 1-seeded Kansas defeated fifth-seeded Clemson, 80-76, in the Midwest Region.

Graham — playing in the tournament’s second weekend for the third straight year — leapt with excitability just before tipoff. But on Kansas’s first possession, it was Azubuike who got the ball.

Several inches taller and considerably heavier than anyone on Clemson’s roster, he maneuvered for an easy basket, the first of his five in the half.

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A Groundbreaking Show Presents a New, Inclusive Vision of American Art

WASHINGTON — Anyone interested in American modernism should see “Outliers and American Vanguard Art” at the National Gallery of Art. Flaws and all, this groundbreaking adventure highlights outstanding, sometimes rarely-seen artworks; revives neglected histories; and reframes the contributions of self-taught artists to this country’s rich visual culture.

In recent decades the greatness of these marginalized artists has become increasingly undeniable — whether you call their work folk, primitive, amateur, naïve or, lately, outsider — and demands have gotten louder to include them in a more flexible integrated version of modernism.

The show’s predecessors include ambitious surveys like “Parallel Visions: Modern Artists and Outsider Art” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1993 and “The Encyclopedic Palace of the World,” at the 2013 Venice Biennale. But “Outliers” is different. Limiting its scope to American art, it tries to map the intersections of taught and untaught over the last century, examining not only the place of self-taught art now but how it got here.

“Outliers” represents some five years of meticulous research by Lynne Cooke, senior curator for special projects in modern art at the National Gallery. It is extensive: about 280 artworks by 84 artists — and Ms. Cooke has organized them chronologically, in three sections. Each examines a period when mainstream artists and curators were especially involved with self-taught: 1924-43, 1968-92 and 1998-2013.

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Trump Endorses G.O.P. Fight to Keep Gerrymandered Congressional Map

WASHINGTON — President Trump added his voice on Saturday to the continued conservative outcry over the court-ordered redistricting of the Pennsylvania congressional map, calling the decision “very unfair to Republicans and to our country.”

“Democrat judges have totally redrawn election lines in the great State of Pennsylvania,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “This is very unfair to Republicans and to our country as a whole. Must be appealed to the United States Supreme Court ASAP!”

The Supreme Court this month denied a request from Pennsylvania Republicans to stop the state’s highest court from requiring lawmakers to redraw the map of the state’s 18 House districts. The new map, released by the state court this past week, effectively eliminates the Republican advantage in Pennsylvania, endangering several incumbent Republican seats and bolstering Democrat standings in two open races.

Pennsylvania is typically a swing state, and the new map, if it stands, could play a crucial role in efforts by the Democratic Party to gain control of the House in the midterm elections.

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In Larry Nassar’s Case, a Single Voice Eventually Raised an Army

Rachael Denhollander had the first word and the last one.

A former gymnast who became a lawyer and a coach, Ms. Denhollander told The Indianapolis Star in 2016 that Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar had molested her as a child.

She had just read a report in The Star about U.S.A. Gymnastics’ mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations against coaches. But no one had yet spoken up about Dr. Nassar, who molested young athletes for about two decades while pretending the abuse was therapy.

The Star soon published an article about the doctor, based on reports from two former gymnasts. One remained anonymous. The other was Rachael Denhollander — front and center, all alone there.

Back

It is my privilege to sentence you to 40 years. And when I look at my cheat sheet, 40 years, just so you know and you can count it off you calendar, is 480 months. The tail end, because I need to send a message to the parole board, in the event somehow God is gracious, and I know he is. And you survive the 60 years in federal court first and then you start on my 40 years. You’ve gone off the page here, as to what I’m doing. My page only goes 100 years. Sir, I’m giving you 175 years, which is 2,100 months. I’ve just signed your death warrant.

Lawrence G. Nassar, the former team doctor for the American gymnastics team, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years for sexual abuse. More than 150 victims, many of whom are former gymnasts, spoke at the sentencing hearing.CreditCredit…Brendan Mcdermid/ReutersBack

“You may find it harsh that you are here listening. But nothing is as harsh as what your victims endured for thousands of hours at your hands.” “Spending four or five days listening to them is significantly minor.” “You are so strong and brave. And you are not broken — you are glued back together perfectly.” “Thank you, your honor.” “Thank you for being part of the sister survivors. Your voice means everything.” “Red flags may have been there, but they were designed to be hidden. You aren’t alone in this.” “Your priority should have been my health. Yet your priority was solely to molest me.” “You used my vulnerability at the time to sexually abuse me. I reported you to police immediately. And you had the audacity to tell them I had misunderstood this treatment because I was not comfortable with my body. How dare you.”

After opening her courtroom to athletes, coaches and parents, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina has prompted dozens more to share their stories of sexual abuse by the former sports doctor Lawrence G. Nassar.CreditCredit…Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal, via Associated Press

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Peak Sneaker: Inside Sneaker Con

As a Styles editor, I try to keep up with the latest sneaker drops, but it feels as if I am always playing catch-up.

Sure, trends change in clothing from season to season, but the pace and variety of the sneaker economy is out of the ordinary. And “keeping them fresh” is a large part of keeping up. There seems to be a never-ending barrage of new shoes coming out, and it’s nearly impossible to walk through downtown Manhattan without passing groups of boys lining up to get them.

Yeezy Waverunners! Nike Air Max 97s! OFF-WHITE x Air Jordan 1s! With each drop more pressing than the last, sneaker culture might have hit a peak in 2017.

Sneaker Con, a gathering of shoe fanatics founded by Yu Ming Wu, has been taking place for nine years. This year, the organizers moved it to an expanded space at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and expected nearly 20,000 people, a huge increase from the 600 people who attended it the first year. My experience with covering events like this is that, although we can add analysis, reporting and insight into the event, most of the “kids” will follow it on Instagram and YouTube, so by Monday morning, it’s old news. I wanted to find a new way to cover it that helped non sneaker heads, like myself, get a grasp on the culture. So I thought of the idea to solicit the experts for their various sneaker tips. I pitched it to my editor, Choire Sicha, on Slack.

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Spring

What are the first signs of spring where you live? Are there starting to be changes in nature, the activities people do or the clothes they wear?

What are your favorite things to do in spring? Do you have any family or community holidays or traditions?

What is your favorite season and why?

Tell us in the comments, then view the related photo essay to see what the first day of spring looked like in New York City.

Find many more ways to use our Picture Prompt feature in this lesson plan.

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