Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Dec 31

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for December 31, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Nearly quantized conductance plateau of vortex mode in an iron-based superconductor

Extending El Niño event predictions to a year

Simulations show thousands of lakes in Himalaya Mountains at risk of flooding due to global warming

Samsung C-Lab's gee-whiz results to draw looks in Vegas

Best of Last Week – Long distance qubit interactions, a zero-emission airplane and a possible cure for baldness

Wind conditions influence water circulation and carbon dioxide concentrations in the Southern Ocean

Rewriting quantum mechanics in their spare time

New study reveals higher microplastics in London air compared to other cities

Plants model more efficient thermal cooling method

Giant magnetic ropes seen in Whale Galaxy's halo

Buzzing through the blood-brain barrier

Betrayed by bile: bile acids help norovirus sneak into cells

Blazar variability

Physics news

Nearly quantized conductance plateau of vortex mode in an iron-based superconductor

When a semiconducting nanowire is coupled to a superconductor, it can be tuned to topological quantum states thought to host localized quasiparticles known as Majorana Zero Modes (MZM). MZMs are their own antiparticles, with promising applications in topological quantum computing. Due to particle-antiparticle equivalence, MZMs exhibit quantized conductance at low temperatures. While many theoretical proposals exist to realize MZMs in solid state systems, their experimental realization is confronted by non-idealities.

Rewriting quantum mechanics in their spare time

As students, Jussi Lindgren and Jukka Liukkonen had found one element of their quantum mechanics lectures unsatisfying. "When we were taught physics, there were some fundamental elements you were told were true, and you had to accept they were true without it being shown why," said Jussi Lindgren, "and I didn't really like this".

Radiophysicists study the properties of composites for 5G devices

TSU radiophysicists are forming a database of properties of composite materials that can be used to create 5G and space communication devices operating in the terahertz range. The scientists are creating composite materials from ABS plastic and nanotubes and measuring their properties in a frequency range from 10 MHz to 1 THz.

Astronomy & Space news

Giant magnetic ropes seen in Whale Galaxy's halo

Using the National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array radio telescope, a team of astronomers has captured for the first time an image of large-scale, coherent, magnetic fields in the halo of a faraway spiral galaxy, confirming theoretical modeling of how galaxies generate magnetic fields and potentially increasing knowledge of how galaxies form and evolve.

Blazar variability

Active galactic nuclei (AGN) are supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies that are accreting material. These AGN emit jets of charged particles that move at speeds close to that of light, transporting huge amounts of energy away from the central black hole region and radiating across the electromagnetic spectrum. Blazars are extreme examples of AGN in which the collimated jets are coincidentally aligned towards us. Blazar jets have two peak emission wavelengths, one that spans the range from the radio to the X-ray, the result of charged particle acceleration, and one at extremely short wavelength, high energy gamma ray bands usually (and somewhat controversially) attributed to the charged particles scattering infrared "seed" photons from a variety of other sources. All these bands manifest strong and unpredictable variability. Simultaneous, long-term observations across multiple bands therefore, by modeling the relative timing of flares and other variable emission, offer a valuable way to investigate the numerous possible physical mechanisms at work.

Image: Hubble views a galaxy with an active center

This swirling mass of celestial gas, dust and stars is a moderately luminous spiral galaxy named ESO 021-G004, located just under 130 million light-years away.

Technology news

Samsung C-Lab's gee-whiz results to draw looks in Vegas

Skunkworks is the tag given to big companies that let creative thinkers have their freedom to work on projects, away from the others who put their heads down to satisfy product launch dates.

Microsoft seizes web domains used by North Korean hackers

Microsoft said Monday it obtained a court order allowing it to seize web domains used by North Korean hacking groups to launch cyberattacks on human rights activists, researchers and others.

Feds: No evidence hackers disrupted North Carolina voting

A federal investigation didn't turn up any evidence that cyber attacks were responsible for computer errors that disrupted voting in a North Carolina county in 2016, according to a report issued Monday.

Trump signs law to reduce robocalls, though they won't end

An anti-robocalls measure signed into law Monday by President Donald Trump should help reduce the torrent of unwanted calls promising lower interest rates or pretending to be the IRS, though it won't make all such calls disappear.

Physicists create highly efficient rocket fuel

Scientists at the Faculty of Physics and Engineering, working with the Tomsk company Scientific and Production Center Chemical Technologies, have created and tested an improved model of a hybrid rocket engine. The team synthesized new fuel components that increased its calorie content, and therefore its efficiency.

Engineers create drones based on digital twins

The TSU Supercomputer Center staff has developed a method for the automated design of drones based on mathematical modeling using the computing power of the SKIF Cyberia supercomputer. The new approach includes the creation of a digital twin and its prototyping—the production of a functioning UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) model. This method can be used to construct aircraft models and to optimize the performance of existing aircraft.

India to let Huawei take part in 5G trials

New Delhi has said it will let Chinese telecoms giant Huawei take part in trials for the rollout of 5G services in the huge Indian market, giving the firm a major boost as it battles US sanctions.

Scientists improve signal and image processing algorithms

TSU mathematicians have completed a project on mathematical methods for analyzing signals and images in complex telecommunication and navigation systems that are affected by random noise. The methods they created make evaluating information 10 times more accurate and help to restore the image or signal with high quality. The next step will be the application of the algorithm to "big data" analysis.

If you think the millennium bug was a hoax, here comes a history lesson

It's not hard to find echoes of the late 1990s in the zeitgeist. Now as then, impeachment is on many peoples' minds, and films such as The Matrix and The Sixth Sense continue to influence culture. Another feature of the same era that perhaps has a more important, if subtler, influence is the infamous Y2K bug.

Ring, Amazon sued by man who says hacker bothered his kids

A man is suing doorbell maker Ring and its parent company, Amazon, after he says a hacker communicated with his children over the internet-connected camera he had bought as "additional security" for his family.

Beware of the smart device: Ways to stay private and safe

Did someone invite a spy into your home over the holidays? Maybe so, if a friend or family member gave you a voice-controlled speaker or some other smart device.

Uber, Postmates sue to challenge California's new labor law

Ride-share company Uber and on-demand meal delivery service Postmates sued Monday to block a broad new California law aimed at giving wage and benefit protections to people who work as independent contractors.

Huawei says sales rose 18% in 2019 despite US pressure

Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies said Tuesday that its sales rose about 18% in 2019 despite U.S. moves to restrict its business.

Facebook fined $1.65 mn by Brazil

Brazil on Monday fined Facebook $1.65 million for improperly sharing users' data in a case linked to the global Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Ghosn: A tycoon full of surprises

Former auto tycoon Carlos Ghosn, once-revered boss of three huge car companies, has masterminded an exit from Japan as stunning as his arrest that shocked the world more than a year ago.

Bot or not? Mystery over anonymous user retweeted by Trump

The Twitter user goes by Gigi, though sometimes Sophia, Emma or Leona. The occupation is listed at various times as teacher, historian, documentary writer and model. There's been speculation about whether this person is really a woman—or even human. But bot or not, the account has gotten the attention of the president and his Twitter followers.


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Science X Newsletter Monday, Dec 30

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for December 30, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

The experimental demonstration of a spin quantum heat engine

New class of crosslinker-free nanofiber biomaterials from Hydra nematocyst proteins

The mysterious case of the ornamented coot chicks has a surprising explanation

How fish fins evolved just before the transition to land

Life could have emerged from lakes with high phosphorus

New study investigates properties of the Melotte 105 cluster

See that blue car in D8? A robot is charging it

Mars 2020 rover to seek ancient life, prepare human missions

Intel at CES to spring laptop cooling news?

Short or long sleep associated with Pulmonary Fibrosis

Learning from the bears

Scientists link La Niña climate cycle to increased diarrhea

Replacing one gas with another helps efficiently extract methane from permafrost

Combining neurologic and blood pressure drugs reduces breast tumor development in mice

Harnessing hot carriers for high efficiency solar cells

Physics news

The experimental demonstration of a spin quantum heat engine

The theoretical notion of a 'quantum heat engine' has been around for several decades. It was first introduced around sixty years ago by Scovil and Schulz-DuBois, two physicists at Bell Labs who drew an analogy between three-level masers and thermal machines.

Scientists have developed a new concept of mathematical modeling

A team of scientists from the Research Center "Fundamental Problems of Thermophysics and Mechanics," of Samara Polytech is engaged in the construction of new mathematical models and the search for methods for their study in relation to a wide range of local nonequilibrium transport processes in various physical systems. An innovative approach developed not so long ago is based on a modern version of third-generation thermodynamics. The project of these scientists, "Development, theoretical research and experimental verification of mathematical models of oscillatory processes, heat and mass transfer and thermomechanics with two- and multiphase delays" was among the winners of the RFBR contest. Recent research results are published in the journal Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications.

Astronomy & Space news

New study investigates properties of the Melotte 105 cluster

A new study recently conducted by astronomers has investigated the Melotte 105 open cluster with the aim on uncovering its fundamental properties. The research, presented in a paper published December 18 on arXiv.org, provides more accurate measurements of the cluster's distance, age and metallicity.

Mars 2020 rover to seek ancient life, prepare human missions

The Mars 2020 rover, which sets off for the Red Planet next year, will not only search for traces of ancient life, but pave the way for future human missions, NASA scientists said Friday as they unveiled the vehicle.

US astronaut sets record for longest spaceflight by a woman

A U.S. astronaut set a record Saturday for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, breaking the old mark of 288 days with about two months left in her mission.

Technology news

See that blue car in D8? A robot is charging it

OK, this is the future and it is just a normal day at a parking garage where the new norm is the electric vehicle. A little blue car pulls in and ambles over to the lane space of D8.

Intel at CES to spring laptop cooling news?

What does Intel have up its sleeve for CES 2020? One of the surprises, say a bunch of recent articles, might well be a thermal module solution for laptops. The new design could allow vendors to create fanless notebooks and can further shrink their thickness, said DigiTimes.

Spotify says will skip political ads in 2020

Online music giant Spotify said Friday it would suspend political advertising in early 2020, becoming the latest digital giant to act on concerns over disinformation ahead of the US election.

UAE denies developing popular Mideast app as spy tool

The United Arab Emirates on Saturday denied reports that a popular mobile application developed in the country was used for government spying.

Why you're receiving all those privacy update emails

You knew that every time you went online and typed away, companies took every one of your inputs to study, market and share with others.

Calif. vastly expands digital privacy. Will people use it?

Forty million Californians will soon obtain sweeping digital privacy rights stronger than any seen before in the U.S.—rights that could pose a significant challenge to Big Tech and the data economy it created.

Musk sees people-moving Las Vegas tunnel opening in 2020

A nearly mile-long tunnel in Las Vegas meant to showcase a "traffic busting" alternative for overcrowded cities should be completed next year, innovative entrepreneur Elon Musk said on Twitter.

As robots take over warehousing, workers pushed to adapt

Guess who's getting used to working with robots in their everyday lives? The very same warehouse workers once predicted to be losing their jobs to mechanical replacements.

Tesla delivers first batch of China-made cars

Tesla delivered its first batch of China-made cars on Monday, less than a year after the electric vehicle company broke ground on its first plant outside the United States.

Coming for iPhone 11 from Anker: An Apple-approved external flash to light up your photos

The Chinese electronics company Anker is reportedly planning to release an Apple-approved external flash for smartphones, so the iPhone 11 you got for Christmas can be used more like a camera.

Homeowners in North Carolina called 911 to report an intruder. It turned out to be a rogue Roomba

Several police officers stormed into a home in North Carolina after the startled homeowners called to report an intruder in the middle of the night. The suspected burglar turned out to be a rogue robot vacuum cleaner.

NYU doctor Joseph Wiesel claims Apple used his patented heartbeat-monitoring tech without permission in lawsuit

Over the past year, Apple Watches have been credited with detecting heart complications and saving lives on multiple occasions.

Swiss minister says Facebook's Libra has 'failed' in current form

The Swiss president and finance minister has delivered the latest blow to Facebook's planned Libra cryptocurrency, saying it has "failed in its current form," Swiss network SRF reported Friday.

UN backs Russia on internet convention, alarming rights advocates

The United Nations on Friday approved a Russian-led bid that aims to create a new convention on cybercrime, alarming rights groups and Western powers that fear a bid to restrict online freedom.

States charge more for electric cars as new laws take effect

The new year will bring new charges for some owners of electric vehicles, as an increasing number of states seek to plug in to fresh revenue sources to offset forgone gas taxes.


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Science X Newsletter Week 52

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 52:

Injection of virus-delivered gene silencer blocks ALS degeneration, saves motor function

Writing in Nature Medicine, an international team headed by researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine describe a new way to effectively deliver a gene-silencing vector to adult amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) mice, resulting in long-term suppression of the degenerative motor neuron disorder if treatment vector is delivered prior to disease onset, and blockage of disease progression in adult animals if treatment is initiated when symptoms have already appeared.

First chip-to-chip quantum teleportation harnessing silicon photonic chip fabrication

The development of technologies which can process information based on the laws of quantum physics are predicted to have profound impacts on modern society.

Finally, machine learning interprets gene regulation clearly

In this age of "big data," artificial intelligence (AI) has become a valuable ally for scientists. Machine learning algorithms, for instance, are helping biologists make sense of the dizzying number of molecular signals that control how genes function. But as new algorithms are developed to analyze even more data, they also become more complex and more difficult to interpret. Quantitative biologists Justin B. Kinney and Ammar Tareen have a strategy to design advanced machine learning algorithms that are easier for biologists to understand.

In leap for quantum computing, silicon quantum bits establish a long-distance relationship

Imagine a world where people could only talk to their next-door neighbor, and messages must be passed house to house to reach far destinations.

Chimpanzees spontaneously dance to music

A pair of researchers at Kyoto University has found that chimpanzees will spontaneously dance to music. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Yuko Hattori and Masaki Tomonaga describe observing spontaneous dancing in chimps and how one chimp behaved when tested on dancing tendencies.

A medical insight in Michelangelo's David, 'hiding in plain sight'

Michelangelo's David is perhaps the world's most famous statue, gazed upon by millions over centuries.

Forces from Earth's spin may spark earthquakes and volcanic eruptions at Mount Etna

New research suggests forces pulling on Earth's surface as the planet spins may trigger earthquakes and eruptions at volcanoes.

'Ring of fire' eclipse wows across Asia

Skywatchers from Saudi Arabia and Oman to India and Singapore were treated to a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse Thursday.

Electronics at the speed of light

A European team of researchers including physicists from the University of Konstanz has found a way of transporting electrons at times below the femtosecond range by manipulating them with light. This could have major implications for the future of data processing and computing.

Archaeological discoveries are happening faster than ever before, helping refine the human story

In 1924, a three-year-old child's skull found in South Africa forever changed how people think about human origins.

A new tomato ideal for urban gardens and even outer space

Farmers could soon be growing tomatoes bunched like grapes in a storage unit, on the roof of a skyscraper, or even in space. That's if a clutch of new gene-edited crops prove as fruitful as the first batch.

Calculating the time it will take spacecraft to find their way to other star systems

A pair of researchers, one with the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, the other with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at CIT, has found a way to estimate how long it will take already launched space vehicles to arrive at other star systems. The pair, Coryn Bailer-Jones and Davide Farnocchia have written a paper describing their findings and have uploaded it to the arXiv preprint server.

Diet has rapid effects on sperm quality

Sperm are influenced by diet, and the effects arise rapidly. This is the conclusion of a study by researchers at Linköping University, in which healthy young men were fed a diet rich in sugar. The study, which has been published in PLOS Biology, gives new insight into the function of sperm, and may in the long term contribute to new diagnostic methods to measure sperm quality.

Snowmageddon warnings in North America come from tropics more than Arctic stratosphere

Winter weather patterns in North America are dictated by changes to the polar vortex winds high in the atmosphere, but the most significant cold snaps are more likely influenced by the tropics, scientists have found.

Waiting for Betelgeuse: what's up with the tempestuous star?

Have you noticed that Orion the Hunter—one of the most iconic and familiar of the wintertime constellations—is looking a little… different as of late? The culprit is its upper shoulder star Alpha Orionis, aka Betelgeuse, which is looking markedly faint, the faintest it has been for the 21st century.

The coolest LEGO in the universe

For the first time, LEGO has been cooled to the lowest temperature possible in an experiment which reveals a new use for the popular toy.

New rules illuminate how objects absorb and emit light

Princeton researchers have uncovered new rules governing how objects absorb and emit light, fine-tuning scientists' control over light and boosting research into next-generation solar and optical devices.

Scientists create a 'crystal within a crystal' for new electronic devices

Liquid crystals have enabled new technologies, like LCD screens, through their ability to reflect certain color wavelengths.

Mars 2020 rover to seek ancient life, prepare human missions

The Mars 2020 rover, which sets off for the Red Planet next year, will not only search for traces of ancient life, but pave the way for future human missions, NASA scientists said Friday as they unveiled the vehicle.

New study suggests 'enigmatic hominoid' did not walk upright and was not a tree climber

An international team of researchers has concluded that the so-called "enigmatic hominoid" did not walk upright and was also not a tree climber. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their in-depth study of the skeletal remains of Oreopithecus bambolii and what they learned from it.


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