A look back at 25 years of the Hubble Space Telescope

The space telescope created by NASA and ESA has taught us countless things about the universe that surrounds us, and its breathtaking images have inspired a whole new generation of scientists. (And yes, they also make great computer wallpapers.) For much of Hubble’s early life in space, however, it was easy to look at the project as a failure. Outlets at the time called it “a national joke.” A tiny imperfection in the mirror meant that all of the images it took were fuzzy and out of focus, and it took five separate repair missions to get it to the excellent shape it’s in today.

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Girl, 8, strikes blow for equality over ‘boys only’ books

An eight-year-old who asked, “What if a girl wanted a pirate book?” has won a victory for equality, after children’s publisher Scholastic stopped labelling books as “for girls” or “for boys”. Els, from Bounds Green school in London, decided to get in touch with the publisher after spotting the title, Amazing Things for Boys to Make and Do – the “Cap’n of pirate fun books. Pure gold” – in a catalogue for the Scholastic book fair coming to her school. She wrote a petition, arguing that no books should be “for girls” or “for boys”.

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Exercising equality: The story of the sports bra

Pamela Anderson, in her Baywatch role as lifeguard CJ Parker, would patrol the beaches of Los Angeles County, spot a swimmer in distress and spring into action – sprinting across California’s golden sands and into the glittering sea. So quick was her reaction to danger, that viewers needed slow motion to watch their big-bosomed hero bound along, her breasts swinging from side to side, nothing but a red swimsuit to support them. Not once did her face contort in pain. Never was there any sign of bleeding nipples or sores. This was an all-American woman who did not let her DD cups get in the way of saving lives.

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I am a cook in the US Senate but I still need food stamps to feed my children

Every day, I serve food to some of the most powerful people on earth, including many of the senators who are running for president: I’m a cook for the federal contractor that runs the US Senate cafeteria. But today, they’ll have to get their meals from someone else’s hands, because I’m on strike.

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Disappearing Glasgow: documenting the demolition of a city’s troubled past

He was one of the tens of thousands of Glaswegians who were uprooted from the worst slum conditions in Europe to a “completely new life”. “There is an old saying in Glasgow that went: ‘We never knew how poor we were until someone told us.’ It was only then, when we entered our new home on the 14th floor, that we realised the slum-like conditions we had been living in.”

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Everything wrong with Game of Thrones Monopoly

There’s free parking — probably because there are no cars. In lieu of murder and / or mutilation, a grump, blue uniform-clad cop will put you in jail. No nudity, a Game of Thrones staple. The dragon egg token lands on House Targaryen but never turns into a dragon. … on a related note, the White Walker token roams free without anyone batting an eye and without first buying the Wall. … also, a direwolf can own property. Maybe that’s not a problem so much as a potential spoiler. Winterfell is the third most expensive property in the game (300) behind only Braavos (350) and King’s Landing (400). Have you seen Winterfell lately? Every player has a stipend. Survive long enough, and you’ll definitely get paid fairly. Game of Thrones Monopoly has a single, unified currency from the Iron Bank of Braavos. There is no mechanism for winning through violence.

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Can the internet of things save us from traffic jams?

Once computers are in full control of our cars, do we even need traffic lights at intersections? That’s the idea behind AIM – autonomous intersection management – at the artificial intelligence laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin. Rather than stop at red lights, self-driving cars would schedule a slot through an intersection in real-time, speeding up or slowing down to ensure they’re in the right place at the right time – and not smashing into another car. In black and white text, that seems eminently sensible. But it won’t be for the fainthearted – at least not until passengers have learnt to entirely trust their automated pilots:

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