Science X Newsletter Monday, Nov 25

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for November 25, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A new type of hybrid colloidal quantum dot/organic solar cells

Determining topographical radiation dose profiles using gel nanosensors

Drag can lift birds to new heights, researchers find

Structurally designed DNA star creates ultra-sensitive test for dengue virus

Light-trapping nanocubes drive inexpensive multispectral camera

New flu drug drives drug resistance in influenza viruses

Photometric study sheds more light on the properties of the intermediate polar V1033 Cas

Researchers report first recording of a blue whale's heart rate

A little prairie can rescue honey bees from famine on the farm, study finds

Coated seeds may enable agriculture on marginal lands

Forests face climate change tug of war

How diversity of respiratory quinones affects microbial physiology

Scientists identify the cells behind nicotine aversion in the mouse brain

Researchers uncover key reaction that influences growth of potentially harmful particles in atmosphere

Discovery increases chance of improving iron content in plants

Physics news

Light-trapping nanocubes drive inexpensive multispectral camera

Researchers at Duke University have demonstrated photodetectors that could span an unprecedented range of light frequencies by using on-chip spectral filters created by tailored electromagnetic materials. The combination of multiple photodetectors with different frequency responses on a single chip could enable lightweight, inexpensive multispectral cameras for applications such as cancer surgery, food safety inspection and precision agriculture.

Optimal archery feather design depends on environmental conditions: study

When it comes to archery, choosing the right feathers for an arrow is the key to winning. This necessity for precision makes it crucial to understand how environment and design effect arrows in flight.

Shaking head to get rid of water in ears could cause brain damage, physicists find

Trapped water in the ear canal can cause infection and even damage, but it turns out that one of the most common methods people use to get rid of water in their ears can also cause complications. Researchers at Cornell University and Virginia Tech show shaking the head to free trapped water can cause brain damage in small children.

Not all changeups are created equal; seam shifted wake baffles hitters

While changing the rotation rate/axis of a thrown baseball has long been a weapon in a pitcher's arsenal, some pitchers, like Washington Nationals star Stephen Strasburg, manipulate the baseball's wake to create unexpected movement from a familiar delivery (his changeup).

Fossils reveal swimming patterns of long extinct cephalopod

Computational fluid dynamics can be used to study how extinct animals used to swim. Scientists studied 65 million-year-old cephalopod fossils to gain deeper understanding of modern-day cephalopod ecosystems.

Ultrafast quantum simulations: A new twist to an old approach

Billions of tiny interactions occur between thousands of particles in every piece of matter in the blink of an eye. Simulating these interactions in their full dynamics was said to be elusive but has now been made possible by new work of researchers from Oxford and Warwick.

Researchers reach milestone in quantum standardization

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have developed a method that could pave the way to establishing universal standards for measuring the performance of quantum computers.

Heating techniques could improve treatment of macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is the primary cause of central vision loss and results in the center of the visual field being blurred or fully blacked out. Though treatable, some methods can be ineffective or cause unwanted side effects.

Fluid dynamics taught through dance

A collaboration at University of Michigan is taking a unique approach to fluid mechanics by teaching it through dance. Fluid mechanics professor Jesse Capecelatro and choreographer Veronica Stanich, both from the University of Michigan, teamed up to create Kármán Vortex Street, a dance improvisation guided by physics properties.

ESA see-through security in worldwide service

The odds are high that you have already interacted with one of ESA's most-far-reaching inventions without realising it. Terahertz security cameras—currently employed in 18 countries including many major airports and the LA Metro—scan passengers for concealed weapons or contraband in their clothing from up to 10 meters away, operating on an entirely passive, non-invasive basis.

Study details final breakthroughs of late Nebraska physicist

An internationally renowned career that began in New York City and Chicago and London before taking him, finally and for good, to Lincoln, would end on the sixth floor of the Bryan Medical Center's East Campus.

Low-frequency sound may predict tornado formation

How can you tell when a storm is going to produce a tornado even before the twister forms? Research from Oklahoma State University and University of Nebraska-Lincoln indicates prior to tornado formation, storms emit low-frequency sounds.

Frustration explains differences in superconductivity in molecular conductors and cuprates

A significant difference between the superconductivity in two important unconventional superconducting systems has been found by three theoretical physicists at RIKEN. This finding provides physicists with valuable clues for gaining a better understanding of how superconductivity works in these systems.

Astronomy & Space news

Photometric study sheds more light on the properties of the intermediate polar V1033 Cas

Using the Kourovka Astronomical Observatory, Russian astronomers have conducted an extensive photometric study of the intermediate polar V1033 Cas (also known as IGR J00234+6141). Results of the new research, presented in a paper published November 15 on arXiv.org, provide more details about the properties of this peculiar system.

Carbon soccer ball with extra proton probably most abundant form in space

It is one of the most common forms of carbon in space: C60, a soccer ball-shaped carbon molecule, but one that has an extra proton attached to it. This is the conclusion of research carried out at Radboud University, which has succeeded for the very first time in measuring the absorption spectrum of this molecule. Such knowledge could ultimately help us to learn more about the formation of planets. The researchers will publish their findings on November 25th in Nature Astronomy.

Ice fossils found in meteorite

A team of researchers from Japan, China and the U.K. has found evidence of ice fossils on the surface of a meteorite. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes their close-up study of the Acfer 094 meteorite and what they found.

Reports of Jupiter's Great Red Spot demise greatly exaggerated

The shrinking of the clouds of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter has been well documented with photographic evidence from the last decade. However, researchers said there is no evidence the vortex itself has changed in size or intensity.

NASA rockets study why tech goes haywire near poles

Each second, 1.5 million tons of solar material shoot off of the Sun and out into space, traveling at hundreds of miles per second. Known as the solar wind, this incessant stream of plasma, or electrified gas, has pelted Earth for more than 4 billion years. Thanks to our planet's magnetic field, it's mostly deflected away. But head far enough north, and you'll find the exception.

NASA's Webb to unveil the secrets of nearby dwarf galaxies

In two separate studies using NASA's upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, a team of astronomers will observe dwarf galaxy companions to the Milky Way and the nearby Andromeda galaxy. Studying these small companions will help scientists learn about galaxy formation and the properties of dark matter, a mysterious substance thought to account for approximately 85% of the matter in the universe.

Magnetic storms: A window to the past

Audrey Schillings recently defended her doctoral thesis about atmospheric loss from Earth and how it varies with solar wind conditions. Audrey was employed at the Swedish Institute of Space Physics and enrolled at Luleå University of Technology as a member of its Graduate School in Space Technology.

Planets around a black hole? Calculations show possibility of bizarre worlds

Theoreticians in two fields defied the received wisdom that planets only orbit stars like the sun. They proposed the possibility of thousands of planets around a supermassive black hole.

How to build a 3-D map of the universe—and why

One of the biggest mysteries in science began with a dying star.

Effects of the solar wind

The wind speed of a devastating Category 5 hurricane can top over 150 miles per hour (241km/hour.) Now imagine another kind of wind with an average speed of 0.87 million miles per hour (1.4 million km/hour.) Welcome to the wind that begins in our sun and doesn't stop until after it reaches the edge of the heliosphere: the solar wind.

Probing exoplanet atmospheres could reveal telltale signatures of life

It may be that life is lurking out there on other planets. But stuck here on Earth, how can we ever know for sure? A good place to start is by looking for the compounds on other worlds that are known to be the key ingredients of life as we know it.

Technology news

A new type of hybrid colloidal quantum dot/organic solar cells

Solution-processed semiconductors, including materials such as perovskites and quantum dots (i.e., small particles of matter in the quantum size regime), are substances with a conductivity ranging between that of insulators and that of most metal. This type of semiconductors has been found to be particularly promising for the development of new optoelectronic devices that perform well and have low manufacturing costs.

Drag can lift birds to new heights, researchers find

Future aerial design may owe a nod of thanks to five parrotlets flapping around in an instrumented flight chamber at Stanford University. They revealed that counter to conventional understanding of how animals and planes fly, the birds can utilize drag to support their body weight during takeoff and employ lift as a brake in their landings.

Wearable sweat sensor detects gout-causing compounds

There are numerous things to dislike about going to the doctor: Paying a copay, sitting in the waiting room, out-of-date magazines, sick people coughing without covering their mouths. For many, though, the worst thing about a doctor's visit is getting stuck with a needle. Blood tests are a tried-and-true way of evaluating what is going on with your body, but the discomfort is unavoidable. Or maybe not, say Caltech scientists.

Microscope kit transforms smartphones into lab tools

Your phone as camera, check, your phone as fitness counter, check, your phone as GPS, check...and now your phone as microscope? Diple is a portable kit that transforms any smartphone into a microscope. Its makers have turned to Kickstarter to help make it real for those who may want an affordable and portable scientific tool.

Mystery blurs dump of over 1 billion people's personal data

Two security sleuths last month discovered an enormous amount of data that was left exposed on a server. Data found on the server belonged to around 1.2 billion people.

Using machine learning techniques to identify Shakespeare's and Fletcher's writing in Henry VIII

Petr Plecháč, a researcher at the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague has used machine-learning techniques to identify which parts of the play "Henry VIII" were written by William Shakespeare and which were written by John Fletcher. He has written a paper describing his findings and has uploaded it to the arXiv preprint server.

Researchers create new metallic material for flexible soft robots

'Origami robots' are state-of-the-art soft and flexible robots that are being tested for use in various applications including drug delivery in human bodies, search and rescue missions in disaster environments and humanoid robotic arms.

New material captures and converts toxic air pollutant into industrial chemical

An international team of scientists, led by the University of Manchester, has developed a metal-organic framework, or MOF, material that provides a selective, fully reversible and repeatable capability to capture a toxic air pollutant, nitrogen dioxide, produced by combusting diesel and other fossil fuels.

Amazon sues Pentagon over $10B contract awarded to Microsoft

Amazon is suing the Pentagon over a $10 billion cloud-computing contract awarded to Microsoft.

Tesla cybertruck orders near 150,000 just days after chaotic launch

Tesla's new electric pickup truck has secured almost 150,000 orders, the company's chief executive Elon Musk boasted on Twitter, just two days after its big reveal went embarrassingly wrong.

Watch this: China surveillance tech seeks to go global

Chinese firms are omnipresent at a Paris homeland security trade show, capitalising on their vast experience in developing surveillance systems for Beijing to conquer the global market despite concerns the technology has been used to violate human rights.

French NGOs slam Amazon environmental impact ahead of 'Black Friday'

Two French environmental NGOs and a union group on Sunday slammed the environmental impact of Amazon, vowing to disrupt its "Black Friday" sale campaign later this week.

China sets tougher guidelines to protect patents, copyrights

China issued new, tougher guidelines for protection of patents, copyrights and other intellectual property in a move that may be timed to help along halting progress in trade talks with the United States.

Grocery-carrying robots are coming. Do we need them?

The first cargo-carrying robot marketed directly to consumers is on sale this holiday season. But how many people are ready to ditch their second car to buy a two-wheeled rover that can follow them around like a dog?

Human-machine interaction enables development of highly accurate decision-making systems

Machines can be trained to classify images and thus identify tumors in CT scans, mineral compositions in rocks, or pathologies in optical microscopy analyses. This artificial intelligence technique is known as machine learning and has gained new applications in recent years.

Tracking the eye of the pilot

In a collaboration with Swiss International Air Lines, NASA and other partners, researchers at ETH Zurich have developed eye-tracking software for use in pilot training. This allows instructors to analyze the gaze behavior of student pilots in the cockpit.

Novel tactile display using computer-controlled surface adhesion

A group of researchers at Osaka University developed a novel two-dimensional (2-D) graphical tactile display to which one-dimensional (1D) adhesive information could be added by controlling adhesion of designated portions of the display surface.

Why smartphone gambling is on the up among African millennials

When one talks about young Africans using smartphones, the dominant narrative is that these gadgets serve mostly as platforms for connection so that users can communicate and share greetings and information via text and images. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp and Signal take pride of place in that description, despite their murkier side. What has perhaps been overlooked is how smartphones are also affecting other facets of young people's lives. One area is the ever-growing community of sports betting in Africa.

145 years after Jules Verne dreamed up a hydrogen future, it has arrived

In 1874, science fiction author Jules Verne set out a prescient vision that has inspired governments and entrepreneurs in the 145 years since.

A new tool to help one billion people at risk due to lack of access to cooling

The Cooling for All Needs Assessment has been launched today, Thursday, November 7 to help governments, non-governmental organizations and development institutions to accurately size the market for cooling demands based on comfort, safety, nutrition and health needs.

For the sake of the planet, refrigeration tech needs an update

Refrigeration has been such an integral part of our everyday lives for so long that we rarely think of it. Our food is fresh and our offices and living rooms are temperature-controlled thanks to vapor compression technology developed over a century ago, which has become an integral part of medical care, transportation, military defense, and more.

Wayve unveils self-driving car trials in central London

Wayve, a machine learning company, founded in 2017 by alumni Dr. Alex Kendall, who completed his Ph.D. in Professor Roberto Cipolla's Machine Intelligence group, and Dr. Amar Shah, who completed his Ph.D. in Professor Zoubin Ghahramani's Machine Learning group.

Kids may need more help finding answers to their questions in the information age

Children ask lots of questions. Even before children can put together words, they point at things that they want to learn about.

Hey Google? Is it you or Alexa?

OK, Google, so what's it going to be? You or Alexa?

Before you buy, consider privacy please

This weekend, many folks will be poring over retail circulars, online ads and promotions, doing their research to get ahead on the best deals for Black Friday gifts.

Sharing accounts in the workplace is a mess

Last year, a team of CyLab researchers explored the account-sharing behaviors of romantic couples and found that some of their practices could compromise security. Building off that study, the team wanted to explore the account-sharing behaviors of another subset of people: employees within a company or organization.

Uber loses license in London over safety, vows to appeal

London's transit authority on Monday refused to renew Uber's operating license over concerns about impostor drivers, with the ride-hailing company vowing to appeal the decision as it struggles to secure its future in the British capital.

Bosch to stop motor scooter-sharing service Coup in Europe

German engineering firm Bosch is shutting down its motor scooter-sharing service Coup, currently operating in four European cities.

New Facebook app pays people to take part in surveys

Facebook on Monday introduced a "Viewpoints" app in the US that pays members of the social network for taking part in surveys.

eBay to sell StubHub for $4 bn to Swiss rival

US online giant eBay agreed to sell its ticket marketplace StubHub to Swiss-based rival Viagogo for $4.05 billion in cash, the two firms announced Monday.

HP rejects Xerox takeover offer again

Computer and printer maker HP on Sunday reiterated its rejection of Xerox's $33 billion takeover bid, saying the sum "significantly undervalues" the company.

Tech service provider for nursing homes a ransomware victim

A Milwaukee-based company that provides technology services to more than 100 nursing homes nationwide is the victim of a ransomware attack, and hackers are demanding $14 million before they'll restore the company's access to its hijacked servers.


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