Science X Newsletter Week 50

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 50:

Scientists find cheaper way to make hydrogen energy out of water

Hydrogen-powered cars may soon become more than just a novelty after a UNSW-led team of scientists demonstrated a much cheaper and sustainable way to create the hydrogen required to power them.

In surprise breakthrough, scientists create quantum states in everyday electronics

After decades of miniaturization, the electronic components we've relied on for computers and modern technologies are now starting to reach fundamental limits. Faced with this challenge, engineers and scientists around the world are turning toward a radically new paradigm: quantum information technologies.

Alcohol, 'Asian glow' mutation may contribute to Alzheimer's disease, study finds

A common mutation in a key enzyme involved in alcohol metabolism increases damage in cells from patients with Alzheimer's disease and in mice, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Earth was stressed before dinosaur extinction

New evidence gleaned from Antarctic seashells confirms that Earth was already unstable before the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.

The X17 factor: A particle new to physics might solve the dark matter mystery

A team of scientists in Hungary recently published a paper that hints at the existence of a previously unknown subatomic particle. The team first reported finding traces of the particle in 2016, and they now report more traces in a different experiment.

Heat energy leaps through empty space, thanks to quantum weirdness

If you use a vacuum-insulated thermos to help keep your coffee hot, you may know it's a good insulator because heat energy has a hard time moving through empty space. Vibrations of atoms or molecules, which carry thermal energy, simply can't travel if there are no atoms or molecules around.

Greenland ice losses rising faster than expected

Greenland is losing ice seven times faster than in the 1990s and is tracking the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's high-end climate warming scenario, which would see 400 million more people exposed to coastal flooding by 2100.

In a split second, clothes make the man more competent in the eyes of others

People perceive a person's competence partly based on subtle economic cues emanating from the person's clothing, according to a study published in Nature Human Behaviour by Princeton University. These judgments are made in a matter of milliseconds, and are very hard to avoid.

Last remaining glaciers in the Pacific will soon melt away

The last remaining tropical glaciers between the Himalayas and the Andes will disappear in the next decade—and possibly sooner—due to climate change, a new study has found.

Phase 1 clinical trials for psilocybin show no adverse effects

A team of researchers from King's College London and mental healthcare company Compass Pathways has released the results of a Phase 1 clinical trial for the drug psilocybin. In addition to announcing the results at the annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, team members also spoke with the press. They reported that thus far, they have found no adverse effects in volunteers who were given the drug.

Newly identified jet-stream pattern could imperil global food supplies, says study

Scientists have identified systematic meanders in the globe-circling northern jet stream that have caused simultaneous crop-damaging heat waves in widely separated breadbasket regions-a previously unquantified threat to global food production that, they say, could worsen with global warming. The research shows that certain kinds of waves in the atmospheric circulation can become amplified and then lock in place for extended periods, triggering the concurrent heat waves. Affected parts of North America, Europe and Asia together produce a quarter of the world food supply. The study appears this week in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Key mystery about how the brain produces cognition is finally understood

Human behavior is often explained in terms of unseen entities such as motivation, curiosity, anxiety and confidence. What has been unclear is whether these mental entities are coded by specific neurons in specific areas of the brain.

New laser technique images quantum world in a trillionth of a second

For the first time, researchers have been able to record, frame-by-frame, how an electron interacts with certain atomic vibrations in a solid. The technique captures a process that commonly causes electrical resistance in materials while, in others, can cause the exact opposite—the absence of resistance, or superconductivity.

World's oldest artwork uncovered in Indonesian cave: study

An Indonesian cave painting that depicts a prehistoric hunting scene could be the world's oldest figurative artwork dating back nearly 44,000 years, a discovery that points to an advanced artistic culture, according to new research.

NASA says core stage of next Moon rocket now ready

NASA has completed the giant rocket that will take US astronauts back to the Moon, the space agency's head announced Monday, pledging the mission would take place in 2024 despite being beset by delays.

A more efficient way to turn saltwater into drinking water

Water scarcity is a major problem across the world. "It affects every continent," says Amir Barati Farimani, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. "Four billion people live under conditions of severe water scarcity at least one month of the year. Half a billion people live under severe water scarcity all year."

Researchers develop first mathematical proof for key law of turbulence in fluid mechanics

What if engineers could design a better jet with mathematical equations that drastically reduce the need for experimental testing? Or what if weather prediction models could predict details in the movement of heat from the ocean into a hurricane? These things are impossible now, but could be possible in the future with a more complete mathematical understanding of the laws of turbulence.

Team releases high-precision map of Antarctic ice sheet bed topography

A University of California, Irvine-led team of glaciologists has unveiled the most accurate portrait yet of the contours of the land beneath Antarctica's ice sheet—and, by doing so, has helped identify which regions of the continent are going to be more, or less, vulnerable to future climate warming.

Revered by Aztecs, Mexican hairless dog in style again in hipster era

At a stately museum in Mexico City, priceless paintings by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera share pride of place with an unruly pack of hairless black dogs: Mexico's prized xoloitzcuintle.

First commercial electric plane takes flight in Canada

The world's first fully electric commercial aircraft took its inaugural test flight on Tuesday, taking off from the Canadian city of Vancouver and offering hope that airlines may one day end their polluting emissions.


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