davecl writes "ESA's Herschel Space Telescope has released its first spectroscopic results. These include observations of VYCMa, a star 50 times as massive as the sun and soon to become a supernova, as well as a nearby galaxy, more distant colliding starburst galaxies and a comet in our own solar system. The spectra show more lines than have ever been seen in these objects in the far-infrared and will allow astronomers to work out the detailed chemistry and physics behind star and planet formation as well as the last stages of stellar evolution before VYCMa's eventual collapse into a supernova. More coverage is available at the Herschel Mission Blog, which I run."
An anonymous reader writes: Stephen Wolfram, creator of Mathematica and author of A New Kind of Science, is offering a 25k prize to anyone who can prove or disprove his conjecture that a particular 2-state, 3-color Turing machine is universal. If true, it would be the simplest universal TM, and possibly simplest universal computational system — even simpler than rule 110. The announcement comes on the 5-year anniversary of the publication of NKS, where among other things Wolfram introduced the current reigning TM champion.