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Hubble image showcases cluster with mass of three million billion suns

Hubble image showcases cluster with mass of three million billion suns

Science
Jan. 16 (UPI) -- A new image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope shows what the mass of three million billion suns looks like. The image, shared Tuesday by NASA, features ACT-CLJ0102-4915, a massive cluster known as El Gordo -- Spanish for "The Fat One."El Gordo is the biggest, brightest and hottest galaxy cluster found in the distant universe. It's located 7 billion light-years from Earth.As revealed by a trio of telescopes in 2012, including NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, El Gordo is actually the product of two galaxy clusters, which are in the millions-of-years-long process of colliding.The formation and evolution of galaxy clusters is thought be heavily influenced by dark matter. The study of galaxy clusters can help astrophysicists better understand dark matter and dark energy."...
US hits record for costly weather disasters: $306 billion

US hits record for costly weather disasters: $306 billion

Technology
With three strong hurricanes, wildfires, hail, flooding, tornadoes and drought, the United States tallied a record high bill last year for weather disasters: $ 306 billion. The U.S. had 16 disasters last year with damage exceeding a billion dollars, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday. That ties 2011 for the number of billion-dollar disasters, but the total cost blew past the previous record of $ 215 billion in 2005. Costs are adjusted for inflation and NOAA keeps track of billion-dollar weather disasters going back to 1980. Three of the five most expensive hurricanes in U.S. history hit last year. Hurricane Harvey, which caused massive flooding in Texas, cost $ 125 billion, second only to 2005's Katrina, while Maria's damage in Puerto Rico cost $ 90 billion, r...
The SEC busted an alleged $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme. Here's how not to be victimized.

The SEC busted an alleged $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme. Here's how not to be victimized.

Finance
The Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday announced charges against a group of unregistered funds and their owner, for allegedly fleecing retail investors through a $ 1.2 billion Ponzi scheme. The victims include more than 8,400 individuals, many of whom are elderly.In a Ponzi scheme, the perpetrator generally takes money from one set of investors to pay off others, often earlier investors or simply diverts the proceeds for private gain.Fraud complaints have increased by 60 percent in the last five years, according to the Federal Trade Commission. "The frightening truth about fraud is scammers scam and liars lie," said Gerri Walsh, senior vice president of investor education at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, which regulates brokerage firms.To lessen the cha...
Banks squeeze India firms harder in $207 billion bad loan fight

Banks squeeze India firms harder in $207 billion bad loan fight

Finance
By Anurag Joshi and Anto AntonyRoiled by India’s high-profile corporate defaults, the nation’s lenders are tightening the screws on borrowers with stricter debt covenants and greater enforcement as the battle to curb delinquent loans intensifies. Banks are asking for collateral that may amount to one-and-a-half times the value of the debt on new loans extended and are insisting on contracts that allow loans to be turned to equity if the account becomes stressed, said Prabal Banerjee, chief financial officer at Bajaj Group. Borrowers in telecom, thermal power and steel businesses are among those facing strict terms, said S&P Global Ratings analyst Abhishek Dangra. “Banks are trying their level best to recover what they can upfront at the first sign of trouble,” said Rethish Varma, a B
The $10.4 billion cost of the flu on the US economy

The $10.4 billion cost of the flu on the US economy

Finance
There's something even scarier than Halloween ghosts and goblins lurking around the corner: The flu.Every year around this time, the ever-evolving influenza virus begins descending upon the Northern Hemisphere, bringing misery to the millions of Americans who end up suffering from it.On top of the wretched physical symptoms it causes — including fever, chills, muscle aches, cough and fatigue — the cost of getting the flu is generally greater than a dose of prevention.Yet most people apparently don't mind the risk. In the 2015-2016 flu season, just 43.3 percent of U.S. adults got the flu vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For those under age 18, the rate was 59 percent. (Click on CDC chart below to enlarge.)At the same time, an estimated 24.5 million were