By Lauren Hockenson, Giga Om
Facebook on Thursday announced the final phase of removing an old privacy feature from the social media platform. The feature, which allows users to be hidden from search, will finally be taken away for users who have it enabled.
The feature, called "Who can look up your Timeline by name?" was removed from Privacy settings last year (noted in a December blog post) for those who didn't have it enabled. When enabled, the setting removes the ability for users to access a Timeline profile via search, even when a user puts in the exact name of the person he or she is locating. Now, users that still have that feature enabled will begin to see removal notices from Facebook, indicating that they will be present and visible in Graph Search along with the rest of the Facebook user base.
Facebook says in the blog post that the feature is a vestigial precaution that reaches back before the platform had a sophisticated search algorithm. When Facebook search acted as a mere directory, removing oneself from search made it more difficult for strangers to access a given profile. But now, as Open Graph opens up to search more settings and there is greater visibility of Timelines for friends of friends, the importance of finding a person through search has diminished while controlling the content on any given Timeline has become more important. Facebook says that the feature also caused hiccups in the user experience:
"People told us that they found it confusing when they tried looking for someone who they knew personally and couldn't find them in search results, or when two people were in a Facebook Group and then couldn't find each other through search."Of course, the sunsetting of this feature for those who care about it the most only stresses the importance of checking and updating Facebook privacy settings often. Now, it's more important to consider the content of the Timeline itself: a "private Timeline" is only such when content is marked explicitly "Friends Only." As Facebook continues to make search easier, it's important to keep in mind how these changes impact social media privacy at large.
BY JASON MAJOR
One of the more well-known objects within our galaxy, the Ring Nebula has been observed by astronomers since the late 1700s. It is a definitive planetary nebula, visible from Earth as a bright and multi-colored ring of material violently expelled from a sun-like star reaching the end of its life. Looking like a gigantic cosmic eye, the Ring Nebula has been imaged countless times — but new observations with the Hubble Space Telescope have finally revealed its true shape.
It’s a big donut.
VIDEOS: The Hubble Space Telescope
Cosmic perspectives can be tricky. It’s often difficult to tell exactly how far away objects are in space, and sometimes the closer things are, the less precise the measurements get — mostly due to a lack of convenient distance markers.
The Ring Nebula (cataloged as Messier 57) is thought to be a little over 2,000 light-years away within our galaxy, which is relatively close by… again, give or take a few tens of light-years. And even though it might look like a flat ring of material expanding out into space (not unlike the “enhanced” explosion of the Death Star) it actually has much more depth to it — we just happen to be looking at it almost straight down from the top.
Astronomers investigating the Ring Nebula using Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 have obtained the image above, the clearest and most detailed view yet of the structure, which is about a light year across. Further studies with ground-based telescopes show that not only is there material around the edges but also in the center, moving toward and away from us. And it’s all surrounded by an outer halo.
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So actually the Ring Nebula is shaped like a football wrapped by a donut around its middle… inside a bubble.
“With Hubble’s detail, we see a completely different shape than what’s been thought about historically for this classic nebula,” said team leader C. Robert O’Dell of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. “The new Hubble observations show the nebula in much clearer detail, and we see things are not as simple as we previously thought.”
Watch a video of M57′s structure here.
And even though the Ring Nebula may seem static and serene from our point of view, it’s the result of a very catastrophic event — and it’s still quite dynamic.
As vast shells of rapidly outward-expanding material slam into slower-moving material, they become ionized and glow brightly, creating the nebula as we see it. And all that stuff is still movingvery quickly through space — over 43,000 mph (69,200 km/h)!
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According to the team, the material in the Ring Nebula will continue to expand for another 10,000 years, becoming fainter and fainter as it fades into interstellar space.
(I don’t know about you, but donuts certainly don’t last that long in my house.)
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