Daily Archives: June 5, 2017

[ 3 June 2017 ] Black holes crash together and make waves News – Astronomy Now Online

Posted: June 5, 2017 at 8:03 am

STORY WRITTEN FORCBS NEWS& USED WITH PERMISSION

Three billion years ago, in a third of a second, two black holes crashed into each other and merged into a single entity, converting two solar masses into energy that shook the fabric of spacetime, sending gravitational ripples across the universe that were detected on Earth last January, researchers announced Thursday.

It was the third confirmed detection of coalescing black holes detected so far by the U.S.-led Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, a project made up of two observing stations, one near Hanford, Washington, and the other 1,800 miles away near Livingston, Louisiana.

As the gravitational waves passed by, they caused space to lengthen in one direction and compress in the other, squeezing and stretching the LIGO detectors ever so slightly and causing laser beams to cover slightly different distances as they bounced back and forth between massive mirrors.

Exhaustive tests and analyses confirmed the reality of the signal in another milestone for the growing field of gravitational wave astronomy.

We have observed, on the fourth of January, 2017, another massive black hole-to-black hole binary coalescence, the merging of black holes roughly 20 and 30 times the mass of our sun, David Shoemaker, the spokesperson for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, told reporters.

The key thing to take away from this third event is were really moving from novelty to new observational science, a new astronomy of gravitational waves.

The discovery was detailed in a paper accepted by the journal Physical Review Letters.

The ripples detected by LIGO indicate the single black hole formed by the merger has a mass of about 49 times that of the sun, midway between the black holes detected by LIGO in September and December 2015. Two times the mass of Earths sun was converted directly into energy in a fraction of a second.

Black holes are among the most bizarre objects in the known universe. They are believed to form when massive stars run out of nuclear fuel at the end of their lives. Without the outward pressure generated by nuclear fusion to offset the inward pull of gravity, the core suddenly collapses as the star is blown apart.

For stars similar to the sun, core collapse stops due to quantum mechanical effects and a white dwarf remains, a compact remnant that slowly radiates its residual heat away into space. The cores of more massive stars can collapse even further, crushed to the point where protons merge with electrons. The result is a city-size ball of neutrons with the density of an atomic nucleus.

The cores of even more massive stars can collapse past the neutron star state, disappearing from the observable universe. Their gravity is so strong not even light can escape.

A major question mark is how binary black hole systems like those observed by LIGO form.

One school of thought holds the binary black holes form when two already paired stars explode and collapse to the ultimate state, spiraling into each other in a cataclysmic crash. The spins of each pre-merger black hole likely would be aligned with respect to their orbital motion.

A second theory holds that black holes form separately and later became gravitationally bound. In that case, the spins would be more randomly oriented.

LIGOs latest discovery likely favors the theory that these two black holes formed separately in a dense stellar cluster, sank to the core of the cluster and then paired up rather than being formed together from the collapse of two already paired stars, said Laura Cadonati, a LIGO researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

This is an important clue in understanding how black holes form, she said. We have found a new tile to put in the puzzle of understanding the formation mechanism.

Gravitational waves were predicted in 1916 by Einsteins general theory of relativity. The equations showed that massive bodies under acceleration, like binary black holes or the collapsing cores of huge stars in supernova explosions, would radiate gravitational energy in the form of waves distorting the fabric of space.

The waves would spread out in all directions, traveling at or near the speed of light. But detecting them is a major challenge. By the time a wave from an event many light years away reaches Earth, its effects are vastly reduced, becoming hard-to-detect ripples rather than powerful waves.

To detect those ripples, the LIGO observatories were designed to measure changes in distance that are vastly smaller than the width of an atomic nucleus.

Gravitational waves are distortions in the metric of space, in the medium that we live in, said Michael Landry, director of the LIGO observatory near Hanford. Normally, we dont think of the nothing of space as having any properties at all, so its quite counter intuitive that it could expand or contract or vibrate.

But thats what Einsteins relatively tells us. When a gravitational wave passes, the medium that we live in is distorted, and that causes what looks to us like length changes.

By way of analogy, Landry likened spacetime to the canvas of a painting.

If I stretch the medium of a painting, I can see the painting get distorted, he said. Its the medium thats vibrating, thats really what a gravitational wave is, and so we register the passage of those gravitational waves by comparing the length of the two long arms of our L-shaped detector.

Each LIGO observatory features a pair of 2.5-mile-long vacuum tubes arranged in an L shape in which precisely tuned laser beams flash back and forth between multiple mirrors that effectively increase the distance each beam travels to nearly 1,000 miles. The laser beams then are recombined and directed into a sensor.

If the laser beam in each vacuum tube travels exactly the same distance before it is recombined, the LIGO detectors do not see anything. But if gravitational waves pass through, that distance would change very slightly in a very predictable way, affecting the path of the laser beams.

The resulting interference patterns allow scientists to compute the masses involved and, in some cases, how the initial black holes were spinning with respect to their orbital motion.

The LIGO system features two widely separated observing stations to make sure a local vibration is not misinterpreted. A confirmed gravitational wave must be seen by both stations at roughly the same time.

And thats precisely what the LIGO researchers found in the three confirmed cases to date. The first two events happened 1.3 and 1.4 billion light years away respectively. The collision that generated the waves detected in January occurred some 3 billion light years away.

It is remarkable that humans can put together a story, and test it, for such strange and extreme events that took place billions of years ago and billions of light-years distant from us, Shoemaker said in a statement.

LIGOs current observing campaign runs through the summer. After that, upgrades are planned to increase the sensitivity of the detectors, possibly bringing less powerful events like neutron star mergers into view. And theres always a chance a nearby supernova or merger might occur, one that would give space a major shake.

If one of this size were to actually coalesce in the Milky Way, it would make a marvelous signal for us, it would be enormously strong, said Shoemaker. But the likelihood theres one in our Milky Way thats about to coalesce is very, very low, so thats not something that were betting on.

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[ 3 June 2017 ] Black holes crash together and make waves News – Astronomy Now Online

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Jupiter and the moon tonight with summer constellations – AccuWeather.com (blog)

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Astronomy blog By Dave Samuhel, AccuWeather senior meteorologist 6/03/2017, 8:52:05 PM

The moon will appear close to Jupiter tonight. The pair will be in the night sky through about 3 a.m.

While you are outside, take a look for some of the major constellations. Below you will see several maps looking at different parts of the sky. This is the night sky view from Pennsylvania. It will vary some across the country, but not significantly.

Here is the view if you are looking west during the evening. These constellations will set rather early.

The constellations vary by season. The simple reason is that the Earth is on the opposite side of the sun during the winter. So, the night sky faces a different part of the universe. Basically, in the winter, we are looking at the stars that would appear during the daylight during the summer. But, the sun is so bright, they cannot be seen.

Here is the view towards the northern part of the sky. The entire sky appears to rotate around “celestial north”

These constellations will be in the sky most of the night. Here is the view this evening if you are looking straight up at the sky.

If you are up before dawn, you can see a few constellations more common to the Southern Hemisphere.

This is the view looking south before dawn.

I hope this can serve as a guide to enjoying a few of the major constellations in the night sky this summer. Thanks for reading and just look up, you never know what you will see!

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SU grad key in major astronomy breakthrough – WSYR

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – An alert from a Syracuse graduate studying in Germany was crucial in expanding another major breakthrough in astronomy recently.

Alex Nitz – who earned a Ph.D. in physics – was examining data from one of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatorys two massive detectors in Louisiana in January when he observed the gravitational wave.

Shortly after noting the data from the Louisiana detector, Nitz confirmed what he was seeing with a second detector in Washington state.

What I saw made my heart jump, Nitz said.

He then alerted LIGO, which confirmed the phenomena.

I alerted the group, beginning a process that woke up a lot of people a bit early in the United States. We compared the waveform to data we got from the detectors instruments, hunting for a small signal buried amid the noise. The analysis confirmed both instruments saw the same kind of signal at nearly the same time, Nitz said.

LIGO announced the detection earlier this week.

According to LIGO, the collision of two massive black holes billions light years away sparked the gravitational wave.

They say one of the black holes was 31 times the mass of the sun, while the other was 19 times the mass of the sun.

If the energy produced was visible light, instead of gravitational waves, the collision would have been brighter than all the stars in the universe combined, said SU physics professor Peter Saulson.

Researchers at SU said that the detection – LIGOs third since 2015 – demonstrates that a new window into astronomy is fully open.

Nitz began developing software at SU that was critical in the detection process.

Nitz says the work helped helped him get in on the ground floor with people looking for gravitational waves from binary black hole mergers.

We are extremely proud of Alex for helping detect the furthest binary black hole merger that LIGO has seen. These black holes are over 2.8 billion light-years away, said SU physics professor Duncan Brown.

Syracuse University Gravitational Wave Group from Duncan Brown on Vimeo.

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How Cloud Computing Can Be a Change Agent in Your Enterprise – CIO

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Part of the CIOs job is to keep the lights on, but increasingly business colleagues are turning to the CIO to lead digital transformations, win customers, and drive revenue. Its a tall order.

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Are you an enabler or a digital leader? Do you view the CIOs role as that of a change agent or more like an IT triage surgeon?

Many CIOs are conflicted by the need to maximize the value of existing infrastructure while laying the path for digital transformation. Some CIOs may think that the key to effective digital leadership lies in simply clearing the way for business units to quickly innovate by freely consuming cloud services. Grasping a leadership role may be a better option.

Gartner says that 29% of IT spend comes from business units, and that rate is going to increase. This business-driven IT was often a means of getting around traditional slow-paced IT processes, Gartner states. However, in todays world, it is more often designed to provide technically savvy business people a means of implementing new ideas quickly, while adapting to, or entering, new markets as effortlessly as possible.

But simply stepping out of the way of business units is not likely to meet the needs of the boss. According to Gartners 2017 survey of CEOs, 47% say they are being challenged by boards of directors to make progress in digital business.

CIOs should help CEOs set the success criteria for digital business,” said Mark Raskino, vice president and Gartner Fellow. It starts by remembering that you cannot scale what you do not quantify, and you cannot quantify what you do not define. You should also ask yourself: What is digital for us? What kind of growth do we seek? What’s the No. 1 metric and which KPIs must change?

While many CIOs strive to shape digital success within their organizations, they struggle with perceptions that theyre solely transactional IT actors. One of the most accelerated paths to digital transformation in recent years is a cloud-based infrastructure, which is helping drive the adoption of mobile technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) across enterprises and organizations large and small.

To be seen as change agents, CIOs need to play a central role in developing a cloud strategy that enables business units efforts to more effectively consume cloud services. This ensures that lines of business can be more agile and support their specific computing needs, while the overall cloud computing services help achieve corporate objectives for:

A company with 10 different business units doesnt need 10 lines of business leaders haphazardly going off in various directions. Instead, it needs a clear overall technology strategy and vision driven by the CIO that individual leaders can buy into and adopt.

The reality is that most organizations will be using hybrid IT environments for years to come. Its the CIOs role to set overall guidelines on how to balance traditional infrastructure with new capabilities in the cloud, based on the desired outcomes the CEO wants to achieve. Thats the difference between an enabler and a leader.

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Tata Communications, Bahrain’s Batelco tie up for cloud computing, connectivity solutions – Daily News & Analysis

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Tata Communications and Bahrain’s Batelco have signed an agreement to collaborate in the field of cloud computing and connectivity solutions to their customers.

The agreement allows Tata communications to extend its data centre footprint in locations like Bahrain, Jordon, among others enabled by Batelco.

“Batelco has chosen Tata Communications as a cloud partner to ensure high levels of flexibility and reliability for its customers through Tata Communications’ IZO Cloud Enablement Platform,” Tata Communications said in a requlatory filing.

The agreement was signed by Batelco Chief Global Business Officer Adel Al-Daylami and Tata Communications’ Senior Vice President for Middle East, Central Asia and Africa Radwan Moussalli, on the sidelines of International Telecoms Week (ITW) which took place in Chicago, USA from May 14-17.

Tata Communications said its IZO Cloud Enablement Platform empowers enterprises to connect and build their cloud, their way be it private, public or hybrid.

“This allows Tata Communications’ customers to have a one stop, seamless solution for their network, cloud and collocation requirements,” it added.

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It’s widely abused as a buzzword. But can quantum mechanics explain how we think? – National Post

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National Post
It's widely abused as a buzzword. But can quantum mechanics explain how we think?
National Post
But deterministic physics is outdated. The core of quantum mechanics is that there is not much certain at the subatomic level. Everything is more or less potential, probabilistic, at least until you observe and measure it. Then, the various

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Quantum physics is oppressive – Patheos – Patheos (blog)

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Quantum physics is oppressive, according to a feminist scholar, because it promotes binary and absolute differences. This makes it hierarchical and exploitative. As such, it is part of the system that enables oppression.

This is an example of the anti-intellectualism and Stalinism that is plaguing the academic world. Stalinist because it subjects all knowledge and cultureincluding scientific findingsto a political critique. It then seeks to silence and punish scientists, artists, and intellectuals who do not conform to the Marxist, or, in this case, post-Marxist worldview.

But it raises another issue. The scholar contends, in effect, that the structure of natureas physicists have studied itteaches that there are binary differences. For example, positive and negative charges, which she contends encourages people to think in terms of male and female.

She believes that conclusions drawn from nature should be suppressed in the name of social causes.She thinks we should replace quantum physics with what she calls quantum feminisms.

But what if society, culture, and human beings are tied to nature? Maybe nature really has binary differences and this is why society and the human mind also have them. This is part of what classical thinkers mean by natural law, that human social and moral life are not arbitrary or humanly-made constructions; rather, they are connected to nature; that is, to reality.

From Katherine Timpf,Quantum Physics: Oppressive to Marginalized People | National Review:

A feminist scholar has published a paper claiming that quantum physics is oppressive and that we must use quantum feminisms to make the science more intersectional.

In a paper for The Minnesota Review, culture and gender-studies researcher Whitney Stark argues that physics is oppressive because it has separated beings based on their binary and absolute differences a structure that she calls hierarchical and exploitative and the same kind of system is embedded in many structures of classification, making it part of the apparatus that enables oppression.

Stark explains: This structural thinking of individualized separatism with binary and absolute differences as the basis for how the universe works seeped into/poured over/ is embedded in many structures of classification, which understand similarity and difference in the world, imposed in many hierarchical and exploitative organizational structures, whether through gender, life/nonlife, national borders, and so on.

According to Stark, the tendency to categorize in this way particularly hurts marginalized people because it can cause the activist efforts of minority groups to be overshadowed by the efforts of dominant groups

[Keep reading. . .]

Illustration: Propaganda Poster of Joseph Stalin (1941), from the collection of the National Archives UK Marshall Stalin, No restrictions, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20461157

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The London terror tweets prove Donald Trump is never going to be ‘presidential’ – CNN

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Did he release a statement offering condolences to the victims? Did he grant an interview with a TV network to insist that the US remains resolute in our fight against terror even in the wake of these latest attacks? Nope! He tweeted! Five times, to be exact.

On Saturday night, Trump kicked off his tweetstorm with this: “We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!”

After a night’s sleep, Trump woke up Sunday morning and, around 8 a.m., fired off three more tweets.

“We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people. If we don’t get smart it will only get worse,” Trump started.

“At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is “no reason to be alarmed!,” he continued.

“Do you notice we are not having a gun debate right now? That’s because they used knives and a truck!,” he ended.

Of those five, one is the sort of thing you can imagine a president not named Donald Trump saying in the wake of a major terrorism event like the one in London; that’s the second one Saurday night in which he pledges to help London in whatever way they need it and insists America stands with them.

ISIS claims responsibility for London attack 01:59

The other four tweets are pure Trump — and the exact opposite of what we have long considered “presidential.”

In one — the first he sends out — he uses the just-breaking terror attacks as a way to make the case for his travel ban, which continues to be hung up in the courts.

In another, he suggests political correctness is responsible for the attack, a common Trump refrain during the campaign.

In a third, he takes on those pushing gun control — noting that they are silent because these attacks didn’t involve guns.

And, finally and most Trumpian, he attacks the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, for allegedly insisting that the people of London have “no reason to be alarmed.”

Witnesses saw bodies ‘flipped into the air’ 01:47

Khan is clearly referring not to the threat from terrorists but to the increased police presence when he uses the words “no reason to be alarmed.” Trump chooses to misunderstand him for political purposes.

Trump tweeting things to forward his own agenda in the wake of terrorist attacks is nothing new. Following shootings in an Orlando nightclub that left 49 people dead, Trump offered this: “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!” After an incident of a knife-wielding man at the Louvre Museum in Paris, Trump tweeted: “A new radical Islamic terrorist has just attacked in Louvre Museum in Paris. Tourists were locked down. France on edge again. GET SMART U.S.”

In short, the tweetstorm following the London attacks isn’t the exception, it’s the rule for Trump. Using these attacks to prove his political point is his default position not a one-time popping off.

Trump tweets response to incidents in London 01:35

Trump’s responses are the latest example of how he is radically altering the idea of what it means to be “presidential.” During the 2016 campaign, Trump’s attacks on John McCain’s war hero status, his savaging of a Gold Star family, his wild exaggerations about his wealth and his seeming disinterest in the truth were all taken, at one point or another, as signs that he simply wasn’t “presidential” enough to actually win anything. That, while voters liked his unorthodox style, they would eventually tire of him as they looked for the sort of statesman who had traditionally held the nation’s top political job.

It didn’t happen. And Trump has never stopped. His quintet of tweets on London are not only something that no previous American president would ever have said, they’re also statements that it’s hard to imagine any other leader in any other democracy around the world saying.

They are more the statements of a conservative talk radio show host than they are of what we have come to think of as a president — bombastic, over the top and out of context. They are, by traditional standards, anti-presidential.

Which, come to think of it, is a good way to describe Trump. He is sort of an anti-president — at least in terms of how we have always defined those terms. Trump’s attitude and approach in office is closer to Jerry Springer than to Gerald Ford. He’s more Limbaugh than Lincoln.

What we know: Trump isn’t going to stop Trumping. The only question now is whether voters want an anti-president as their president.

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Donald Trump makes Ford’s Theatre gala his first Washington social outing – Washington Post

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This post has been updated.

President Trump is no dewy-eyed debutante, but Sunday marked his coming-out party.

The noted homebody since coming to Washington, he has socialized only at the White House and at Trump-branded properties attended his first big outing amid the citys social and philanthropic crowd, the annual gala raising money for Fords Theatre, the historic venue where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.

Trump and his wife, Melania, hosted a warm-up reception before a show at the downtown theater, which marked the return of a tradition that dates back to the Carter administration. (The President and Mrs. Trump request the pleasure of your attendance read the invite to the late-afternoon event). Typically, the president hosts the black-tie gathering, which draws a crowd heavy on CEOs, lawmakers and the citys professional-partying class. So important is the exclusive mingle for donors at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., that when the Obamas werent available for last years shindig, the theater canceled the whole evening.

[No POTUS, no party: Fords Theatre cancels annual gala after White House says too busy]

I am proud to continue the tradition in honor of such a historic and cherished landmark, Melania Trump said in a statement.

The first couple she in a drapey champagne-colored Monique Lhuillier gown; he in a tux then attended a performance at the theater, in what was their first foray into the wilds of social Washington. At the gala, the president made remarks about the terrorist attack in London in which seven people were killed. Of the theater, he sounded a rare bipartisan note. Its a place where Americans of all backgrounds, from all parts, all over the world, from both parties can you believe that, from both parties; this may be one of the few times we unite; but well get there, you watch can come together and enjoy the arts in unity and in peace, Trump told the well-heeled crowd that included Vice President Mike Pence and Karen Pence, Sens.Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Though they have entertained at the White House and Mar-a-Lago, Trump has skipped the handful of premiere events that a president typically attends at least a few times during their tenure, notes Washington Life Senior EditorKevin Chaffee, a longtime observer of the citys galas-and-cocktails circuit. First, he snubbed the annual dinner put on by the Alfalfa Club, a group made up of corporate execs, military brass and senior pols. And another nope RSVP went out to the Gridiron Club, an elite group of Washington journalists and he famously turned down the White House Correspondents Dinner in April, something no president had done since Ronald Reagan (who only declined because hed been shot).

Trumps decision to attend the Fords gala was seen as a sign that perhaps the unpredictable commander-in-chief is prepared to engage in at least some of the social rites of the swamp he routinely derides.

This should certainly give hope to the folks at the Kennedy Center that he and the first lady will attend the honors gala in December, Chaffee says, mentioning another event at which the presidents attendance is a long-standing tradition.

So why this gala? Well, its not put on by the FAKE NEWS media, for one. And Trump has long expressed an affinity for Lincoln. Who could forget his praise of the Great Emancipator: Great president, Trump said at a GOP fundraising dinner in March. Most people dont even know he was a Republican, right? Well, the members of the folks who like to call themselves the party of Lincoln probably did.

He even once tweeted about the theater itself (theres a Trump tweet for everything, it seems), wondering why the 2012 biopic Lincoln didnt film there.

Perhaps, mused one longtime attendee, the often-contrarian president wanted to indicate another break with the Obamas, whose decision not to host last year was seen by some as a slight. Whatever the reason, the attendee was glad to see a glimmer of engagement: At least hes supporting the arts.

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Vladimir Putin Denies Having Compromising Information on Donald Trump – Newsweek

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Russian President Vladimir Putin strongly denied he had any compromising material about U.S. President Donald Trump in a sometimes combative televised interview broadcast on Sunday.

“Well, this is just another load of nonsense,” Putin said on NBC News’ Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly,when asked whether he had any damaging information on the Republican president.

The remarks were the latest in a series of denials from Moscow that have had little impact so far on a political crisis in the United States over potential links between Russia and Trump’s inner circle.

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The issue will be front and center this week in Washington, where former FBI Director James Comey is due to testify on whether Trump tried to get him to back off an investigation into alleged ties between Trump’s election campaign and Moscow.

Putin was interviewed by NBC News’s Megyn Kelly Sunday, and denied having compromising information on President Trump. screenshot

Comey, who was leading the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe into alleged Russian meddling in last year’s U.S. presidential election, was fired by Trump last month, four years into his 10-year term.

Putin also told NBC that regardless of Trump’s previous travel to Russia as a businessman, he had had no relationship with him and had never met him. Putin noted that executives from perhaps 100 American companies were currently in Russia.

“Do you think we’re gathering compromising information on all of them right now or something?” Putin asked, before saying: “Have you all lost your senses?”

Trump has offered contradictory accounts of his relationship with Putin over time but has also said the two never met. They have spoken several times by phone since Trump’s election.

Trump has called an FBI investigation into alleged ties between his campaign and Russia a “witch hunt” designed to undermine the legitimacy of his 2016 election win.

Trump has also disparaged a dossier of unsubstantiated allegations that purported to show Russian intelligence operatives had compromising information about him, but which he has described as a “hoax.”

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in January that Moscow tried to tilt the election campaign in Trump’s favor, including by hacking into the emails of senior Democrats, a charge the Kremlin denies.

“They have been misled,” Putin told NBC, in an interview NBC said was recorded on Friday. “And they aren’t analyzing the information in its entirety. I haven’t seen, even once, any direct proof of Russian interference in the (U.S.) presidential election.”

Trump has denied any collusion but the FBI and congressional probes into the Russia matter have dogged the early months of his presidency.

Former CIA director John Brennan said last month he had noticed contacts between Trump’s campaign associates and Russia during the 2016 election and grew concerned Moscow had sought to lure Americans down “a treasonous path.”

After Comey’s dismissal, news reports emerged that Trump asked Comey to end the probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn during a February meeting in the Oval Office, the day after Flynn was fired for misrepresenting his contacts with the Russian ambassador, Sergei Kislyak.

Flynn has declined to testify to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee about his Russian ties, invoking his constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination.

Putin downplayed Flynn’s appearance with him at a December 2015 gala dinner in honor of the Russian television network Russia Today (RT), which U.S. officials consider a state-run propaganda outlet.

“I made my speech. Then we talked about some other stuff. And I got up and left. And then afterwards I was told, ‘You know there was an American gentleman, he was involved in some things. He used to be in the security services’,” Putin said.

“That’s it. I didn’t even really talk to him. That’s the extent of my acquaintance with Mr Flynn,” he added.

Reuters has reported that Flynn and Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, discussed with Kislyak the idea of creating a back channel between Trump and Putin that could have bypassed diplomats and intelligence agencies.

Putin said he was unaware of any such discussion and criticized NBC for asking about contacts between the ambassador and the Trump administration.

“You created a sensation out of nothing. And out of this sensation, you turned it into a weapon of war against the current (U.S.) president,” Putin said.

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