Souped-Up Robots Will Soon Be Able To Tell Us What’s Happening In The Middle Of The Ocean

Earlier this week, the National Science Foundation awarded a $53 million grant to a team of institutions in the United States conducting oceanic research. The funds will be used to deploy 500 autonomous sensors that will collect oceanographic data across the world’s oceans, known as the Global Ocean Biogeochemistry Array (GO-BGC Array).

Once deployed, the robots will collect information about the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the local ocean environment. And, within a day of being collected, the data will be accessible from the robotic float and streaming worldwide. These floats provide additional resolution on complementary data that are aggregated by satellites, but are only able to collect information from the ocean’s surface.

The sensors will also be descending from the ocean surface to 2,000 meters below (a little over 1 mile deep), making observations along the way. Measurements across this depth range are especially critical because recent research indicates that the temperature of seawater in this segment of the ocean is rapidly increasing. The oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon data they collect will not only be critical for climate change research, but will also inform our understanding of more fundamental mechanisms, such as how these elements cycle through the ocean and atmosphere.

The GO-BGC Array expands on the international Argo program that was launched in 2000, where 3,900 floats were deployed to measure temperature and salinity profiles across the ocean (but none of the biological or chemical metrics this newly funded array will gather). The data from the Argo sensors have since been used in over 4,000 scientific publications.

Over the next five years, scientists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), Princeton University, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, University of Washington, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will be working together to launch the autonomous sensors approximately 1,000 kilometers (over 600 miles) apart from one another. And, the eventual plan is to double the number of floats so that 1,000 of them deployed across the planet.

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People who are incarcerated may now be eligible for stimulus checks. Here’s what’s happening


A federal judge has ordered the IRS to issue stimulus checks to eligible people even if they’re incarcerated. 

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Since the IRS began issuing stimulus checks back in April, incarcerated people throughout the US have had to navigate confusing and often contradictory information about whether or not they could collect the money. First, the IRS sent money to people in jail and prison, then the agency asked for the money back (cached IRS website). On Oct. 19, a federal judge ruled that nothing in the CARES Act, which authorized stimulus checks of up to $1,200 per individual, prohibits payments to many of the 2.3 million people residing in US jails and prisons. The judge ordered the IRS to send the checks.

The results of the class-action lawsuit bring some clarity to the issue, but the IRS has already appealed the decision and requested an injunction against the current ruling, which could possibly upend things yet again down the road. For now, the IRS has extended the deadline for incarcerated individuals to request their stimulus checks until Nov. 21. However, with little to no internet access and unreliable means of communication with family and friends at home, filing that claim still presents some hurdles.

We’ll tell you what you need to know about how to notify the IRS about an incarcerated person’s eligibility, where to send the money and answer other questions you may have about stimulus checks being sent to those who are incarcerated. Here’s what we know about qualifications for the second stimulus check, where negotiations stand on a new stimulus bill and when a second stimulus check could arrive.


The IRS had requested incarcerated people return any stimulus checks they received, but reversed course after a federal judge ruled against the agency.

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Can people in jail or prison get a stimulus check?

Right now, the answer is yes, but that could change if a judge rules in favor of the IRS with regard to its appeal.

Who is eligible to receive the first check?

Anyone who’s eligible to receive a stimulus check is eligible to receive one even if they are incarcerated. Check our complete stimulus guide for more details.

How does someone who is incarcerated request a check?

The IRS says information can be provided using the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here online tool by Nov. 21, or you can file a 2019 simplified paper tax return following the instructions on the File a Simplified Paper Tax Return page. The deadline for filing a paper return is Nov. 4.


Incarcerated people rarely if ever have access to the internet, yet IRS instructions for notifying the agency require it.

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Can someone else request a stimulus payment for the incarcerated person?

Most jails and prisons do not allow internet access to those incarcerated in them, so it seems improbable if not impossible

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