Science & Technology

How Clinical Trials Work

Prescription medications undergo rigorous rounds of testing and approval before hitting the consumer market. The Onion breaks down the steps involved in this process

Scientists Develop New Extra-Sloppy Peach

DAVIS, CA—Explaining that the latest strain of the fruit was far softer and runnier than previous varieties, agricultural scientists at the University of California, Davis announced Thursday the successful development of a new extra-sloppy peach.

SpaceX’s Plan To Colonize Mars

SpaceX founder Elon Musk continues to lay the groundwork to attempt the human colonization of Mars. Here’s a step-by-step guide to his plan:

The Pros And Cons Of Self-Driving Cars

With Uber’s robot cars debuting this week in Pittsburgh, many wonder whether driverless technology will improve or endanger our lives. The Onion weighs the pros and cons of self-driving cars

How Animals Go Extinct

With an estimated 40 percent of species on earth now considered endangered, many wonder how it’s possible for these animals to be wiped out. The Onion provides a step-by-step breakdown of how species go extinct

Horrible Facebook Algorithm Accident Results In Exposure To New Ideas

MENLO PARK, CA—Assuring users that the company’s entire team of engineers was working hard to make sure a glitch like this never happens again, Facebook executives confirmed during a press conference Tuesday that a horrible accident last night involving the website’s algorithm had resulted in thousands of users being exposed to new concepts.

Team Of Vatican Geneticists Successfully Clone God

VATICAN CITY—Describing the groundbreaking work as a major step forward for theological research, a team of Vatican geneticists held a press conference Tuesday at the Apostolic Palace to announce they had successfully cloned God.

Dad Shares Photo Album Through Never-Before-Seen Website

SECAUCUS, NJ—Wondering aloud how the father of three even managed to find the online image-hosting service, family members of local dad Phil Yates told reporters Monday the 57-year-old had shared a photo album with them through a never-before-seen website.

NASA Discovers Distant Planet Located Outside Funding Capabilities

WASHINGTON—Noting that the celestial body lies within the habitable zone of its parent star and could potentially harbor liquid water, NASA officials announced at a press conference Thursday they have discovered an Earth-like planet located outside their funding capabilities.

‘DSM-5’ Updated To Accommodate Man Who Is Legitimately Being Ordered To Kill By The Moon

ARLINGTON, VA—Saying they were committed to ensuring the influential reference text accurately represented all known psychological conditions, leading members of the American Psychiatric Association announced Monday they would update the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition to accommodate a man who is legitimately being ordered by the moon to kill those around him.

NASA Launches First Cordless Satellite

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL—In what experts are calling a breakthrough achievement that is poised to revolutionize American space exploration and telecommunications, NASA announced Friday it has successfully launched its first cordless satellite into orbit.

What Is Pokémon Go?

Since its debut last Thursday, the augmented-reality smartphone app Pokémon Go has been downloaded millions of times and has grown publisher Nintendo’s stock by 25 percent. The Onion answers some common questions about the game and its unprecedented success.

Factory Robot Working On Some Of Its Own Designs After Hours

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC—Saying it had been mulling over the “fun little side project” for a while, an Electroimpact Quadbot reportedly put in some extra work after hours at the Boeing assembly plant Wednesday to try out a few of its own original designs.

Books Vs. E-Readers

Though e-readers have increasingly supplanted books in the digital age, many bibliophiles defend the importance of physical texts. Here is a side-by-side comparison of physical books and e-books
End Of Section
  • More News

Hubble Kaleidoscope Finds Evidence Of Space Looking All Crazy

Images from the kaleidoscope reveal that the Crab Nebula actually looks totally, like, freaky and everything.
Images from the kaleidoscope reveal that the Crab Nebula actually looks totally, like, freaky and everything.

BALTIMORE—Astronomers analyzing the first images captured by the new Hubble Space Kaleidoscope, which went online Tuesday, announced that they've acquired the first concrete evidence that the universe is in a constant state of total weirdness.

"With their unprecedented resolution, the latest images from the new kaleidoscope reveal that space, once thought to be isotropic, is actually continuously expanding, unfolding, and rearranging in a series of freaky patterns," said astronomer Douglas Stetler, head of the Space Kaleidoscope Science Institute in Baltimore. "It's an exciting time for the field of astrokaleidoscopics, or anyone interested in the vast, wacked-out nature of space."

Hubble Kaleidoscope

At $200 billion, the HSK, as scientists designate it, is the most expensive kaleidoscope ever built. Orbiting 300 miles above the Earth, the high-powered, 12-ton optical device has revealed unexpected discoveries at the farthest reaches of the universe, including a multitude of brilliantly colored interlocking and rotating diamond things never before observed by scientists.

HSK features three fine-guidance optical control sensors, a wide field and planetary camera, a faint object spectrograph, and three primary rectangular plane mirrors inside a rotating 30-meter titanium tube. The object chamber, located on the end that gathers and focuses incoming light from the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum as well as the infrared and ultraviolet continua, is filled with 10,000 pounds of marbles, costume jewelry, beads, and the largest bits of colored glass ever produced.

"This new data will forever change how we look at the cosmos," said Stetler, who admitted he was "amazed" to learn that all galaxies rotate in a counterclockwise direction and never look the same way twice. "Before this, we couldn't even see the Lagoon Nebula, but now we are capable of detecting up to 254 constantly changing fractal versions of it at once. The further we probe the depths of space, the better we might understand just how vastly bonkers it looks."

Construction of the Hubble Space Kaleidoscope involved incredible technical challenges. According to NASA head engineer Nathan Howard, assembling components for the object chamber was particularly exacting, since it was necessary to create baubles that would still remain pretty despite the harsh environment of space. The project also faced controversy over fears that the device would be unable to record the continuously changing symmetrical forms of solar masses, after early calculations predicted that the $898 million in trinkets would not tumble properly in a zero-gravity environment.

"Despite those setbacks, the project is an unqualified success," Howard said. "The completed Hubble Kaleidoscope allows researchers to view the sharpest, most refracted displays of light, color, and shape to date."

Looking at a kaleidoscopic image of a dwarf star, Howard added, "Oooooo!"

Unlike the Hubble Telescope, which has allowed astronomers to view remote objects millions of light years away, the orbital kaleidoscopic observatory has taken humankind's knowledge of the cosmos one step further: Scientists now have access to clear images of the multicolored polygons and sparkling glitter now believed to cover up to 99.999 percent of the known universe.

The new data have challenged nearly every assumption about astrophysical phenomena.

"When we trained the powerful kaleidoscope lens on the massive eye of Jupiter, we expected to see a swirling behemoth of red and orange gas," said Dr. Mae Ling-Turlington, who works at the observatory. "What we found instead was a dazzling hexagonal array of variegated prismatic configurations, changing our very understanding of the atmospheric patterns there on the solar system's spikiest-looking planet."

Their findings are so startling, in fact, that kaleidoscopists are calling for standard models of the structure of the universe to be revamped. According to the new data, the so-called asteroid "belt" is actually an asteroid squiggle; and Mars is only red "some of the time," vacillating between purplish-blue, orange, and turquoise with specks of green as it moves along its six separate orbits around the sun.

Despite excitement over the discovery that space is all crazy-looking, a number of legislators have threatened to cut funding for NASA's kaleidoscopic program. An outspoken critic of the agency, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said she hopes NASA scientists don't just use the kaleidoscope a few times and then lose interest and never touch it again, like they did with the Brookhaven Neutrino Spirograph, Fermilab's Particle Slingshot, and the Very Large Slip 'n Slide Array in New Mexico.


Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.