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Why it matters: A look at the scientific breakthroughs changing the world, explorations in space and in worlds beyond our own and the threats posed to us by our own planet, both out of our control and of our own making.

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3 hours ago - Science

Pentagon unveils Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Defense Department revealed its Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF) on Friday, charging the group with examining unexplained encounters with unidentified flying objects, per a statement.

Why it matters: The task force, to be led by the Navy, comes after the Pentagon earlier this year released a number of videos of "unidentified aerial phenomena" captured by Navy pilots over the last decade.

2020 is on pace to be one of the hottest years on record

A glacier in Norway's Svalbard Archipelago. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

2020 is on pace to be among the hottest years on record, and last month was tied with 2016 for the second-warmest July, per NOAA data.

Why it matters: It shows the march of human-induced global warming.

Aug 14, 2020 - Science

Scientists discover blue whirl fire is made from three flames

Blue whirl. Photo: Sriram Bharath Hariharan/University of Maryland

A fire phenomenon known as the blue whirl can emerge from fire tornadoes. This week scientists reported new details of the structure of the mysterious clean-burning flame.

Why it matters: Researchers hope to one day harness the blue whirl as a source of energy and to clean up fuel spills. To do that, they need to understand the flame's form — and how it might be controlled.

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