What is the meaning of life? WIRED (tries to) explain

Whether you are on your way to work on a rainy morning, lying awake at night unable to sleep, or just gazing up at the stars, you might sometimes find yourself contemplating the meaning of life. It is one of humanity’s biggest questions, and there is no simple answer, but WIRED has spoken to a philosopher and a physicist to try and get closer to one…

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A ‘cold spot’ in our Universe could reveal clues about alternate realities

Our Universe could be one of an infinite number of Universes, and, in its early stages, might have collided with one of these other worlds, according to a recent discovery.

A mysterious ‘cold spot’ in the Universe is not caused by a massive void, according to a recent paper.

According to the authors of the paper, the most likely explanation for the spot is our Universe, in its early stages, collided with another ‘bubble’ Universe – so-called because it grows like a bubble out of a vacuum.

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A faint galaxy 1.3 billion light years away reveals what the early Universe looked like

Most scientific papers on the discovery of new galaxies are notable because they find something out of the ordinary. Now, a new galaxy has been discovered which is special because it is so average.

Astronomers from the University of California, Davis, who spotted the star cluster 13.1 billion light years away, say it is much more representative of galaxies from the time when compared to the usual bright objects found at such distances, meaning we can learn much more from it. “Other most distant objects are extremely bright and probably rare compared to other galaxies,” said Austin Hoag, lead author. “We think this is much more representative of galaxies of the time.”

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This is the most detailed ‘map’ of dark matter ever seen

Dark matter, the elusive substance thought to account for 84 per cent of the mass in the Universe, is one of the largest mysteries in astrophysics. Its presence has been known for almost 100 years, inferred through the gravitational effects it exerts on the mass we can see, but what it actually looks like and how it behaves remains unknown.

For decades, the search for the dark matter particle – the most basic building block making up the elusive substance – has consistently drawn blanks.

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Ancient signals from the early Universe could unlock secrets of the Big Bang

For the first time, physicists have revealed what the gravitational waves produced at the start of our Universe would have looked like.

Models show that signals from the ancient Universe, recorded just fractions of a second after the Big Bang, stand out as peaks against a broad background of gravitational wave signals and give astronomers a better idea of what they should be looking for in the cosmic record.

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