Science X Newsletter Friday, Mar 5

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for March 5, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Study shows that the GW190521 event could be explained by primordial black holes

New tool finds and fingerprints previously undetected PFAS compounds in watersheds on Cape Cod

New study suggests humans evolved to run on less water than our closest primate relatives

Microsoft's new Power Fx offers developers an open source, low-code programming language

Learning hierarchical sequence representations across human cortex and hippocampus

Tantalizing signs of phase-change 'turbulence' in RHIC collisions

Comet Catalina suggests comets delivered carbon to rocky planets

The collapse of Northern California kelp forests will be hard to reverse

Antarctic seals reveal worrying threats to disappearing glaciers

Fine particulate matter from wildfire smoke more harmful than pollution from other sources

New quantum theory heats up thermodynamic research

Researchers discover new way to halt excessive inflammation

Putting a protein into overdrive to heal spinal cord injuries

Coastal changes worsen nuisance flooding on many US shorelines, study finds

'Fungal ghosts' protect skin, fabric from toxins, radiation

Physics news

Study shows that the GW190521 event could be explained by primordial black holes

In September 2020, the LIGO/Virgo collaboration, a large team of scientists working at different universities worldwide, announced that they had detected most massive gravitational wave binary signal observed to date, which they called GW190521. In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, they explored the hypothesis that this signal was produced by the merger of two black holes, with at least the primary component mass in the mass gap predicted by the pair-instability supernova theory.

Tantalizing signs of phase-change 'turbulence' in RHIC collisions

Physicists studying collisions of gold ions at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science user facility for nuclear physics research at DOE's Brookhaven National Laboratory, are embarking on a journey through the phases of nuclear matter—the stuff that makes up the nuclei of all the visible matter in our universe. A new analysis of collisions conducted at different energies shows tantalizing signs of a critical point—a change in the way that quarks and gluons, the building blocks of protons and neutrons, transform from one phase to another. The findings, just published by RHIC's STAR Collaboration in the journal Physical Review Letters, will help physicists map out details of these nuclear phase changes to better understand the evolution of the universe and the conditions in the cores of neutron stars.

New quantum theory heats up thermodynamic research

Researchers have developed a new quantum version of a 150-year-old thermodynamical thought experiment that could pave the way for the development of quantum heat engines.

Particle detector at Fermilab plays crucial role in Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment

A century ago, physicists didn't know about the existence of neutrinos, the most abundant, elusive and ethereal subatomic particles of matter in the universe.

Researchers propose novel dichroic laser mirror design with mixture layers and sandwich-like-structure interfaces

Recently, a research team from the Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) proposed a new design with mixture layers and novel sandwich-like-structure interfaces to meet the challenging requirements of the ideal dichroic laser mirrors. The research article was published in Photonics Research on Jan. 27, 2021, and was highlighted as an Editor's Pick.

Taking 2-D materials for a spin

Scientists from the University of Tsukuba and a scientist from the Institute of High Pressure Physics detected and mapped the electronic spins moving in a working transistor made of molybdenum disulfide. This research may lead to much faster computers that take advantage of the natural magnetism of electrons, as opposed to just their charge.

An ultra-degree-of-freedom structured vector beam

Optics Express recently published research demonstrating a laser that is able to produce a new type of vector beam. This so-called vector-ray-wave beam with 5 degrees of freedom breaks the paradigm of the conventional vector vortex beam, which opens the way to manipulating new quantum-to-classical phenomena for high-capacity communications.

Astronomy and Space news

Comet Catalina suggests comets delivered carbon to rocky planets

In early 2016, an icy visitor from the edge of our solar system hurtled past Earth. It briefly became visible to stargazers as Comet Catalina before it slingshotted past the Sun to disappear forevermore out of the solar system.

Spacewalkers finish solar panel prep for station power boost

Spacewalking astronauts completed the first round of prep work Friday for new solar panels, part of a major power upgrade at the International Space Station.

Biden lauds NASA team for giving US 'dose of confidence'

President Joe Biden on Thursday congratulated the NASA team responsible for last month's successful landing of an six-wheeled rover on Mars and for giving the country a "dose of confidence" at a moment when the nation's reputation as a scientific leader has been tattered by the coronavirus pandemic.

SpaceX: more risks, better rockets?

A prototype of SpaceX's unmanned rocket Starship exploded on Wednesday, the third time a test flight ended in flames.

Planet-hunting eye of Plato

Key technology for ESA's exoplanet-hunting Plato spacecraft has passed a trial by vacuum to prove the mission will work as planned. This test replica of an 80-cm high, 12-cm aperture camera spent 17 days inside a thermal vacuum chamber.

Engineering marvel: Sixth mirror cast for Giant Magellan Telescope

The Giant Magellan Telescope announces fabrication of the sixth of seven of the world's largest monolithic mirrors. These mirrors will allow astronomers to see farther into the universe with more detail than any other optical telescope before. The sixth 8.4-meter (27.5 feet) mirror—about two stories high when standing on edge—is being fabricated at the University of Arizona's Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab and will take nearly four years to complete. The mirror casting is considered a marvel of modern engineering and is usually celebrated with a large in-person event with attendees from all over the world. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, work on the sixth mirror began behind closed doors to protect the health of the 10-person mirror casting team at the lab.

Mining water and metal from the moon at the same time

In-situ resource utilization (ISRU) is becoming an increasingly popular topic as space exploration begins to focus on landing on the surface of other bodies in the solar system. ISRU focuses on making things that are needed to support an exploration mission out of materials that are easily accessible at the site being explored, like European explorers in the New World building canoes out of the wood they found there.

Technology news

Microsoft's new Power Fx offers developers an open source, low-code programming language

During its 2021 Ignite conference, Microsoft announced the launch of Power Fx, a low-code and completely open source programming language.

Beauty is in the brain: AI reads brain data, generates personally attractive images

Researchers have succeeded in making an AI understand our subjective notions of what makes faces attractive. The device demonstrated this knowledge by its ability to create new portraits that were tailored to be found personally attractive to individuals. The results can be used, for example, in modeling preferences and decision-making as well as potentially identifying unconscious attitudes.

Key task in computer vision and graphics gets a boost

Non-rigid point set registration is the process of finding a spatial transformation that aligns two shapes represented as a set of data points. It has extensive applications in areas such as autonomous driving, medical imaging, and robotic manipulation. Now, a method has been developed to speed up this procedure.

Simple tools reveal high-fidelity truth in lithium-ion batteries

Acceleration due to gravity here on Earth is about 9.8m/s2, but if you're trying to build a rocket that will escape Earth's pull, you're going to have to do better than that. You would need to factor in wind resistance, heat and other factors. In the real world, forces affect each other and sometimes you can't understand how until you watch a rocket in motion.

Honda launches advanced self-driving cars in Japan

Honda launched the world's most advanced self-driving car licensed for the road on Friday, releasing an initial batch of 100 models in Japan.

Germany faces tough questions as nuclear exit nears

The Bavarian village of Gundremmingen is so proud of its nuclear power station that its coat of arms is graced with a giant golden atom.

The Chrome browser leans in with more personal profiles

Space: It is a final frontier for astronauts and astronomers to search and explore other worlds, but for many of us, it is about personal space—a place where you have the freedom to be yourself, form an identity, and extend yourself into public areas in unique, creative and memorable ways.

The science behind frozen wind turbines and how to keep them spinning through the winter

Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power—the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.

Speeding up commercialization of electric vehicles

Researchers in Korea have developed a high-capacity cathode material that can be stably charged and discharged for hundreds of cycles without using expensive cobalt (Co). The day is fast approaching when electric vehicles can drive long distances with Li- ion batteries.

A new and non-intrusive method for preventing cyber attacks on Android devices

Cyber attacks on mobile devices are on the rise, with over 100 million attacks reported per year since 2018.

VW brand doubles sales targets for electric vehicles

The flagship VW brand of German automobile giant Volkswagen said Friday it hoped electric vehicles would account for 70 percent of its European sales by 2030, doubling its previous target in the face of ever stricter legislation.

How the world ran out of semiconductors

There's a global shortage in semiconductors, and it's becoming increasingly serious. The US is currently reviewing of its supply of the technology, following a landmark executive order from President Joe Biden.

Google flags higher ad rates in France, Spain after digital tax

Google has told customers that it will raise the rates for advertisements on its French and Spanish platforms by two percent from May to help offset the impact of a digital tax on profits.

Twitter working on a way to 'undo' fresh tweets

Twitter on Friday confirmed that it is working on a button that would give people a chance to take back freshly fired-off tweets before they are posted.

Hackers thwart F1 team Williams' innovative car launch

Formula One team Williams scrapped an "augmented reality" launch of its new car on Friday after its smartphone app was hacked.

Defending smart systems on the machine learning framework level

While smart cities and smart homes have become mainstream buzzwords, few people outside the IT and machine learning communities know about TensorFlow, PyTorch, or Theano. These are the open-source machine learning (ML) frameworks on which smart systems are built to integrate Internet of Things (IoT) devices among other things.

Bringing AI into the real world

Even before countries began rolling out their vaccination campaigns, Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca's announcements had already proved fortifying shots. Stocks rallied and healthcare workers celebrated in the wake of the vaccine news late last year. But months on, that early euphoria has evaporated, replaced by uncertainty and debate over vaccine safety, possible side effects and varying degrees of citizen reluctance.

The complexity of artificial intelligence

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, makes us look better in selfies, obediently tells us the weather when we ask Alexa for it, and rolls out self-drive cars. It is the technology that enables machines to learn from experience and perform human-like tasks.

Switzerland's energy transition

Can Switzerland, as planned, cut its CO2 emissions to zero by 2050? In a study, researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have investigated what measures would be necessary to achieve this reduction and how much it might cost per person.

Antivirus software creator charged with cheating investors

Antivirus software entrepreneur John McAfee was indicted on fraud and money laundering conspiracy charges alleging that he and cohorts made over $13 million by fooling investors zealous over the emerging cryptocurrency market, authorities said Friday.

US, EU hail 'fresh start' with truce in planemaker feud

Washington and Brussels hailed an opportunity to restore frayed ties as US President Joe Biden and EU leader Ursula von der Leyen on Friday suspended tit-for-tat trade tariffs in a longstanding aircraft dispute.


This email is a free service of Science X Network
You received this email because you subscribed to our list.
If you do not wish to receive such emails in the future, please unsubscribe here.
You are subscribed as phys.org@quicklydone.com. You may manage your subscription options from your Science X profile

ga

Science X Newsletter Thursday, Mar 4

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for March 4, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

MeInGame: A deep learning method to create videogame characters that look like real people

Research uncovers new potential target for ovarian cancer therapies

Dramatic decline in western butterfly populations linked to fall warming

Apparent Atlantic warming cycle likely an artifact of climate forcing

Soft robot swims in the Mariana Trench

Social distancing in nature

Hubble solves mystery of monster star's dimming

Masters of mimicry, male lyrebirds use their skill to deceive potential mates

Neuroimaging reveals how ideology affects race perception

Pericardial injection effective, less invasive way to get regenerative therapies to heart

SpaceX Starship lands upright, then explodes in latest test

Chinese astronauts training for space station crewed flights

Higher income predicts feelings such as pride and confidence

Ancient DNA reveals clues about how tuberculosis shaped the human immune system

Collagen plays protective role during pancreatic cancer development

Physics news

New microcomb could help discover exoplanets and detect diseases

Tiny photonic devices could be used to find new exoplanets, monitor health, and make the internet more energy efficient. Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, now present a game-changing microcomb that could bring advanced applications closer to reality.

Doubling creation of antimatter using same laser energy

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists have achieved a near 100 percent increase in the amount of antimatter created in the laboratory.

A potential model for a real physical warp drive

A pair of researchers at Applied Physics has created what they describe as the first general model for a warp drive, a model for a space craft that could travel faster than the speed of light, without actually breaking the laws of physics. Alexey Bobrick, and Gianni Martire have written a paper describing their ideas for a warp drive and have published it in IOP's Classical and Quantum Gravity.

Terahertz waves from electrons oscillating in liquid water

Ionization of water molecules by light generates free electrons in liquid water. After generation, the so-called solvated electron is formed, a localized electron surrounded by a shell of water molecules. In the ultrafast localization process, the electron and its water shell display strong oscillations, giving rise to terahertz emission for tens of picoseconds.

'Egg carton' quantum dot array could lead to ultralow power devices

A new path toward sending and receiving information with single photons of light has been discovered by an international team of researchers led by the University of Michigan.

Twistoptics—A new way to control optical nonlinearity

Nonlinear optics, a study of how light interacts with matter, is critical to many photonic applications, from the green laser pointers we're all familiar with to intense broadband (white) light sources for quantum photonics that enable optical quantum computing, super-resolution imaging, optical sensing and ranging, and more. Through nonlinear optics, researchers are discovering new ways to use light, from getting a closer look at ultrafast processes in physics, biology, and chemistry to enhancing communication and navigation, solar energy harvesting, medical testing, and cybersecurity.

Research contributes to understanding of hypersonic flow

Using data collected in a NASA Langley Mach 6 wind tunnel, researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign replicated the hypersonic flow conditions of a compression ramp flow by means of Direct Numerical Simulation. The simulation yielded an abundance of additional data, which can be used to better understand the phenomena that occur surrounding vehicles traveling at hypersonic speeds.

Thin explosive films provide snapshot of how detonations start

Using thin films—no more than a few pieces of notebook paper thick—of a common explosive chemical, researchers from Sandia National Laboratories studied how small-scale explosions start and grow. Sandia is the only lab in the U.S. that can make such detonatable thin films.

Factoring in gravitomagnetism could do away with dark matter

Observations of galactic rotation curves give one of the strongest lines of evidence pointing towards the existence of dark matter, a non-baryonic form of matter that makes up an estimated 85% of the matter in the observable Universe. Current assessments of galactic rotation curves are based upon a framework of Newtonian accounts of gravity, a new paper published in EPJ C, by Gerson Otto Ludwig, National Institute for Space Research, Brazil, suggests that if this is substituted with a general relativity-based model, the need to recourse to dark matter is relieved, replaced by the effects of gravitomagnetism.

Astronomy and Space news

Hubble solves mystery of monster star's dimming

Last year, astronomers were puzzled when Betelguese, the bright red supergiant star in the constellation Orion, dramatically faded, but then recovered. The dimming lasted for weeks. Now, astronomers have turned their sights toward a monster star in the adjoining constellation Canis Major, the Great Dog.

SpaceX Starship lands upright, then explodes in latest test

SpaceX's futuristic Starship looked like it aced a touchdown Wednesday, but then exploded on the landing pad with so much force that it was hurled into the air.

Chinese astronauts training for space station crewed flights

China said Thursday a cohort of astronauts is training for four crewed missions this year as the country works to complete its first permanent orbiting space station.

Chinese volunteers live in Lunar Palace 1 closed environment for 370 days

Volunteer students at Beihang University have reportedly lived in the Lunar Palace 1 biosphere environment for 370 days. Media outlets have reported that two groups of students took turns living in the biosphere over the course of 370 days, and required minimal supplies from the outside.

Volcanoes might light up the night sky of this exoplanet

Until now, researchers have found no evidence of global tectonic activity on planets outside our solar system. Under the leadership of the University of Bern and the National Center of Competence in Research NCCR PlanetS, scientists have now found that the material inside planet LHS 3844b flows from one hemisphere to the other and could be responsible for numerous volcanic eruptions on one side of the planet.

Organic materials essential for life on Earth are found for the first time on the surface of an asteroid

New research from Royal Holloway, has found water and organic matter on the surface of an asteroid sample returned from the inner Solar System. This is the first time that organic materials, which could have provided chemical precursors for the origin of life on Earth, have been found on an asteroid.

Super-Earth discovered: Data will characterize planetary atmosphere models

During the past 25 years astronomers have discovered a wide variety of exoplanets, made of rock, ice and gas, thanks to the construction of astronomical instruments designed specifically for planet searches. Also, using a combination of different observing techniques they have been able to determine a large number of masses, sizes, and hence densities of the planets, which helps them to estimate their internal composition and raises the number of planets which have been discovered outside the Solar System.

Testing instruments for Artemis astronauts

NASA's Artemis program will establish a sustainable presence at the Moon as we prepare to venture on to Mars. To empower the success of these missions, terrestrial engineers must furnish astronauts with the tools they need to make new discoveries on their journeys.

New 'eyewear' to deepen the view of NASA's Roman Space Telescope

NASA's Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will be able to explore even more cosmic questions, thanks to a new near-infrared filter. The upgrade will allow the observatory to see longer wavelengths of light, opening up exciting new opportunities for discoveries from the edge of our solar system to the farthest reaches of space.

Technology news

MeInGame: A deep learning method to create videogame characters that look like real people

In recent years, videogame developers and computer scientists have been trying to devise techniques that can make gaming experiences increasingly immersive, engaging and realistic. These include methods to automatically create videogame characters inspired by real people.

Soft robot swims in the Mariana Trench

A team of researchers affiliated with multiple institutions in China has developed a soft robot that can successfully swim in the Mariana Trench. In their paper published in the journal Nature,, the group describes their soft robot and its capabilities. Cecilia Laschi and Marcello Calisti with the National University of Singapore and the University of Lincoln, respectively, have published a News & Views piece in the same journal issue outlining the work by the team in China.

PowerPoint Live helps Microsoft Teams users present remotely

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations around the globe have had to implement remote work policies, creating the need to address new challenges like virtual presentations and meetings.

Study reveals extent of privacy vulnerabilities with Amazon's Alexa

A recent study outlines a range of privacy concerns related to the programs that users interact with when using Amazon's voice-activated assistant, Alexa. Issues range from misleading privacy policies to the ability of third-parties to change the code of their programs after receiving Amazon approval.

Field study shows icing can cost wind turbines up to 80% of power production

Wind turbine blades spinning through cold, wet conditions can collect ice nearly a foot thick on the yard-wide tips of their blades.

Will Paramount+ be a mountain or a molehill in streaming?

Paramount+ debuts Thursday as the latest—and last—streaming option from a major media company, this time from ViacomCBS. It's betting that consumers are willing to add yet another paid streaming service in an increasingly crowded field.

Online commerce and social networks: Is Facebook the storefront of the future?

Online shopping has been with us for many years. The World Wide Web opened up to the commercial world back in the mid-1990s. However, the web itself has been displaced to a large degree by social networking and online life for many exists almost exclusively on these apps and sites rather than the broader internet. As such, commercial concerns hoping to keep pace with constant change must adapt to take advantage of social networking in the same way that bricks-and-mortar shops had to adapt to the emergence of web rivals. Could the social network be the new shopping mall?

Cutting off stealthy interlopers: A framework for secure cyber-physical systems

Cyber-physical systems (CPS), which combine modern networking with physical actuators, can be vulnerable against hackers. Recently, researchers at DGIST developed a new framework for CPSs that is resilient to a sophisticated kind of cyberattack. Unlike existing solutions, the proposed approach allows for real-time detection and recovery from the attack while ensuring stable operation. This paves the way for secure and reliable CPSs across various application domains, such as smart cities and unmanned public transportation.

This is how we create the age-friendly smart city

Senior citizens need help and encouragement to remain active as they age in their own communities. Given the choice, that's what most would prefer. The smart city can provide the digital infrastructure for them to find and tailor the local neighborhood information they need to achieve this.

Can the city cycling boom survive the end of the COVID-19 pandemic?

When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2019-20, it had an immense impact around the world, but particularly in urban areas, where it was particularly transmissible. Lockdowns and curfews were imposed, as well as distance work and remote learning, in an attempt to reduce infection rates. As car and plane travel dropped precipitously, air quality improved unintentionally due to an "unprecedented decline in CO2 emissions." At the same time, because cycling was a form of "safe mobility", leading cities created "pop-up" cycling lanes to encourage socially distanced mobility.

Researchers' robots designed to avoid environmental dangers, deliver data quickly

A University of Texas at Dallas research group has developed an autonomous robotic team of devices that can be used at hazardous or difficult-to-reach sites to make surveys and collect data—providing more and faster insights than human beings are able to deliver.

Britain launches competition probe into Apple's App Store

Britain's competition regulator on Thursday launched an investigation into Apple that will focus on the US technology giant's use of its App Store.

The 2021 AI Index: Major growth despite the pandemic

The last decade was a pivotal one for the AI industry, and 2020 saw AI substantially increase its impact on the world despite the chaos brought about by the COVID pandemic: Technologists made significant strides in massive language and generative models; the United States witnessed its first drop in AI hiring ever—pointing to a maturation of the industry—while hiring around the world increased; more dollars flowed to government use of AI than ever before, while colleges and universities offered students double the AI courses from a few years ago.

Virtual reality helps people stay fit and well through lockdown

People who use virtual reality headsets as a way of passing the time during lockdown are exercising more vigorously and feeling better about life.

No tills? No problem. Amazon opens 'contactless' UK grocery store

Amazon on Thursday launched its first "just walk out shopping" outlet outside the United States, as the online retail giant steps up its competition with traditional supermarkets and other retailers.

US infrastructure gets C- from engineers as roads stagnate

America's infrastructure has scored near-failing grades for its deteriorating roads, public transit and storm water systems due to years of inaction from the federal government, the American Society of Civil Engineers reports. Its overall grade: a mediocre C-.

Lufthansa posts record annual loss, sees long recovery

German flag carrier Lufthansa said Thursday it lost a record 6.7 billion euros ($8.1 billion) in 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic wiped out demand for travel and left aircraft grounded.

Decade after Fukushima, Japan's nuclear industry stalled

Ten years after the Fukushima disaster, Japan's nuclear industry remains crippled, with the majority of its reactors halted or on the path towards decommissioning.

Takeaway app Deliveroo picks London for share listing

Takeaway meals app Deliveroo on Thursday said it had chosen London for its stock market listing, a major boost for the capital's financial sector which has been roiled by Brexit.

Airbus says won't lay off staff in Germany, France or UK

Airbus said Thursday that it would be able to avoid forced redundancies in Germany, France and Britain as the European aircraft maker reels from the fallout of Covid-19 on air travel.

GM looking to build 2nd US battery factory, Tennessee likely

General Motors says it's looking for a site to build a second U.S. battery factory with joint venture partner LG Chem of Korea.

Square unveils deal for Jay-Z's Tidal music platform

Digital payments firm Square said Thursday it was buying a controlling stake in the streaming music platform Tidal from a group led by rap star Jay-Z for $297 million in cash and stock.

US to suspend some Boeing-Airbus retaliatory UK tariffs

Britain and the United States said Thursday they had agreed that Washington will temporarily suspend retaliatory tariffs on various UK goods and jointly de-escalate the longstanding fight over Boeing and Airbus subsidies.

Assessing the costs of major power outages

Little is known about the full impact of widespread, long duration power interruptions, especially the indirect costs and related economy-wide impacts of these events. As a result, the costs of such power interruptions are generally not or only incompletely considered in utility planning activities.


This email is a free service of Science X Network
You received this email because you subscribed to our list.
If you do not wish to receive such emails in the future, please unsubscribe here.
You are subscribed as phys.org@quicklydone.com. You may manage your subscription options from your Science X profile

ga