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NASA captures unprecedented images of supersonic shockwaves

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NASA has captured unprecedented photos of the interaction of shockwaves from two supersonic aircraft, part of its research into developing planes that can fly faster than sound without thunderous “sonic booms”.

When an aircraft crosses that threshold — around 1,225 kilometers (760 miles) per hour at sea level — it produces waves from the pressure it puts on the air around it, which merge to cause the ear-splitting sound.

In an intricate maneuver by “rock star” pilots at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, two supersonic T-38 jets flew just 30 feet (nine meters) apart below another plane waiting to photograph them with an advanced, high-speed camera, the agency said.

NASA/AFP / HO The mesmerizing images will help boost research into planes that can fly faster than sound without causing ear-splitting ‘sonic booms’

The rendezvous — at an altitude of around 30,000 feet — yielded mesmerizing images of the shockwaves emanating from both planes.

With one jet flying just behind the other, “the shocks are going to be shaped differently”, said Neal Smith of AerospaceComputing Inc, an engineering firm that works with NASA, in a post on the agency’s website.

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“This data is really going to help us advance our understanding of how these shocks interact.”

Sonic booms can be a major nuisance, capable of not just startling people on the ground but also causing damage — like shattered windows — and this has led to strong restrictions on supersonic flight over land in jurisdictions like the United States.

NASA/AFP / HO The images were produced by an advanced camera carried on another aircraft, which flew above the two supersonic jets

The ability to capture such detailed images of shockwaves will be “crucial” to NASA’s development of the X-59, the agency said, an experimental supersonic plane it hopes will be able to break the sound barrier with just a rumble instead of a sonic boom.

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A breakthrough like that could lead to the loosening of flight restrictions and the return of commercial supersonic planes for the first time since Concorde was retired in 2003.

Some countries and cities banned the Franco-British airliner from their airspace because of its sonic booms.


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Nazis ‘feed off of’ Trump’s statements: MSNBC law enforcement analyst warns of the president inciting violence

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An MSNBC law enforcement analyst warned of President Donald Trump inciting violence with his racist targeting of women of color in Congress.

Anchor Joy Reid interviewed Jim Cavanaugh, a retired ATF special agent-in-charge on Friday evening's "The Last Word."

"So those threats beginning about two years ago, increases in white nationalist activity. Have you ever heard of these kinds of increases in hate and potential hate crimes being tied to a president of the United States?" Reid asked.

"No," he replied. "That’s very, very unusual, Joy, to have that happen."

"You know, when you get more power, your words carry more weight. When you get into this undercurrent of the Nazis and the white nationalists and the klansmen, they feed off of this. They feed off of public figures -- on the regular media, in the government, congressmen, senators, the president -- saying the things they always say," he explained. "It bolsters them. It gives them strength and power."

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The Robert Mueller standard must be overthrown — for the sake of democracy

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Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report is a meticulous and compelling document recounting President Donald Trump’s actions and the informational warfare carried out during the 2016 election by the Russian government. But it contains a serious flaw — and it sents a terrible precedent for the country.

We’re now confronted with that flaw once again as the Justice Department has revealed that the case of the 2016 criminal hush money payments meant to benefit Trump’s campaign has closed. Michael Cohen has already been imprisoned for his part in the scheme, but his testimony, public evidence, and common sense all indicate that Trump, too, was just as culpable.

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Rush Limbaugh admits his attacks on Obama were ‘bogus’ as he attempts to defend Trump

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Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh admitted that Republican fear-mongering over the federal deficit under President Obama was “bogus,” while defending the deficit's explosive rise to $1 trillion under President Trump.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

During Limbaugh’s show on Tuesday, a caller suggested that Republicans should nominate a young fiscal conservative instead of Trump, citing the rising deficit. Limbaugh dismissed the concerns, declaring that fiscal conservatism was basically a sham all along.

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