Science X Newsletter Friday, Jan 31

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for January 31, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Investigating dynamics of democratic elections using physics theory

Discovery takes pressure off blood measurements

Study provides first look at sperm microbiome using RNA sequencing

Robotic submarine snaps first-ever images at foundation of notorious Antarctic glacier

Got slime? Using regenerative biology to restore mucus production

Researchers identify possible new combination treatment for advanced melanoma

A projector had far too much fun with car tech

Could resetting our internal clocks help control diabetes?

A quantum of solid: A glass nanoparticle in the quantum regime

More countries publishing ecosystem accounts, considering environment in economic decisions

How the immune system becomes blind to cancer cells

First view of hydrogen at the metal-to-metal hydride interface

Nonflammable electrolyte for high-performance potassium batteries

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope ends mission of astronomical discovery

New light shed on neuronal circuits involved in behavior, learning and dysfunction

Physics news

Investigating dynamics of democratic elections using physics theory

Sometimes, physics theories and constructs can also be used to study seemingly unrelated phenomena, such as social behaviors or dynamics. While human beings are not necessarily similar to specific physical particles, theories or techniques that physicists typically use to analyze behavioral patterns in atoms or electrons may aid the general understanding of large-scale social behaviors as long as these behaviors do not depend on small-scale details. Based on this idea, some researchers have started using physics theories to investigate social behaviors that take place during democratic elections.

A quantum of solid: A glass nanoparticle in the quantum regime

Researchers in Austria have used lasers to levitate and cool a glass nanoparticle into the quantum regime. Although it is trapped in a room-temperature environment, the particle's motion is solely governed by the laws of quantum physics. The team of scientists from the University of Vienna, the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) published their new study in the journal Science.

How supercomputers are helping us link quantum entanglement to cold coffee

Theoretical physicists from Trinity College Dublin have found a deep link between one of the most striking features of quantum mechanics—quantum entanglement—and thermalisation, which is the process in which something comes into thermal equilibrium with its surroundings.

Ultra-high energy events key to study of ghost particles

Physicists at Washington University in St. Louis have proposed a way to use data from ultra-high energy neutrinos to study interactions beyond the standard model of particle physics. The 'Zee burst' model leverages new data from large neutrino telescopes such as the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica and its future extensions.

Exploring strangeness and the primordial Universe

Physicists believe that in the Universe's first ten microseconds free quarks and gluons filled all of spacetime, forming a new phase of matter named 'quark-gluon plasma' (QGP). Experimental and theoretical work at CERN was instrumental in the discovery of this hot soup of primordial matter, which is recreated today in accelerator-based lab experiments. To discover QGP in such experiments, the observation of exotic 'strange' quarks is very important. If QGP is created, strangeness is readily produced through collisions between gluons. In analysis published in EPJ ST, Dr. Johann Rafelski from The University of Arizona, United States, also working at CERN, presents how our understanding of this characteristic strangeness production signature has evolved over the span of his long career.

Calculating Hawking radiation at the event horizon of a black hole

A RUDN University physicist has developed a formula for calculating Hawking radiation on the event horizon of a black hole, which allows physicists to determine how this radiation would be changed with quantum corrections to Einstein's theory of gravity. This formula will allow researchers to test the accuracy of different versions of the quantum gravity theory by observing black holes, and comprises a step toward the long-sought "grand unification theory" that would connect quantum mechanics and relativity. The article is published in the journal Physical Review D.

Astronomy & Space news

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope ends mission of astronomical discovery

After more than 16 years studying the universe in infrared light, revealing new wonders in our solar system, our galaxy and beyond, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope's mission has come to an end.

Warp factor: We've observed a spinning star that drags the fabric of space and time

One of the predictions of Einstein's general theory of relativity is that any spinning body drags the very fabric of space-time in its vicinity around with it. This is known as "frame-dragging."

Space station's cosmic detector working after 4 spacewalks

The cosmic detector that required a series of difficult spacewalking repairs is back in action.

Your brain on Mars: How scientists will track astronauts' mental performance on missions

A journey to Mars is not going to be easy and there are a number of problems that need to be solved before we go. One interesting problem is how do we monitor the astronauts themselves. Of course, it is easy to monitor their heart rate and blood pressure, but is it possible to monitor what is going on inside their heads?

Making simulated cosmic dust—in the microwave

Cosmic dust is the key to the chemical evolution of stars, planets, and life itself, but its composition is not well understood, and we can't currently collect samples for analysis. A few examples have arrived on Earth as interplanetary dust particles and comet dust, in meteorites, but their complicated history means they may not be representative.

Image: Hubble spies bar, baby stars

The galaxy depicted in this image taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is a barred spiral known as NGC 7541, in the constellation of Pisces (the Fishes). 

From Antarctica to space: Telemedicine at the limit

ESA is working with Argentina to test telemedicine device Tempus Pro in the harsh conditions of Antarctica as Europe prepares for its next phase of human exploration in space.

Technology news

Discovery takes pressure off blood measurements

Researchers at Monash University are on the verge of creating a revolutionary, portable blood pressure monitoring device that can provide data continuously to patients from the comfort of their home.

A projector had far too much fun with car tech

Stop it. You can fool a Tesla Autopilot system with a projector?

Study gets up close with near-death experiences

Those who momentarily shuffled off this mortal coil returned with positive perceptions of what they discovered on the other side—a finding that encourages researchers to dig deeper into the ways people describe near-death experiences, according to a joint study between Western and the University of Li├Ęge (Belgium).

Ginni Rometty, 1st female CEO at IBM, to step down in April

Ginni Rometty, the first female CEO in IBM's century-long history, is leaving the helm in April.

Atari plans to open video game-themed resorts in 8 US cities

Atari, the arcade game company that ushered in the gaming revolution in the 1980s, is opening eight video game-themed hotels across the United States, including ones in Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Amazon's latest milestone: 150 million Prime members

Amazon had another prime holiday season.

Nintendo says no new Switch in 2020

Japanese gaming giant Nintendo said Friday there would be no fresh model of its hot-selling Switch console this year, dashing the hopes of fans eager for a new version.

Autonomous vehicles could benefit health if cars are electric and shared

What impact will self-driving cars have on public health? The Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) has taken part in a study that analyzed the potential risks and benefits of autonomous vehicles for public health. The conclusions of the study, published in the Annual Review of Public Health, indicate that this new type of mobility could benefit public health if the cars are electric and the model used is based on ride sharing.

Amazon's Jeff Bezos, already the wealthiest person on the planet, just got billions richer

Jeff Bezos, the world's richest person, got billions richer in minutes Thursday as Amazon shares soared in extended trading on news of a killer quarter driven by strong holiday sales.

The 49ers will win the Super Bowl, Alexa predicts, but Siri and Google Assistant won't say

The San Francisco 49ers are going to win the Super Bowl. That's what Amazon Alexa says anyway.

Coronavirus outbreak: Social media platforms scramble to contain misinformation

Hoaxes about the coronavirus are spreading as fast, if not faster, than the actual virus on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, and the social media platforms are scrambling to contain the global outbreak.

Researchers look at novel methods to enhance battery performance

Researchers at Penn State are looking at innovative ways to improve energy storage in an effort to better utilize renewable energy technologies.

As cities grow, the Internet of Things can help us get on top of the waste crisis

Total global waste is expected to double from nearly 2 billion tonnes in 2016 to an estimated 4 billion tonnes by 2050 as consumer-oriented urban populations grow. As population growth increases consumption and waste, managing this waste is becoming an ever greater challenge. The Internet of Things (IoT) can be used to develop smarter and more effective ways of managing and reducing waste.

Attacking the clones: Dual techniques help reveal malicious image editing

It is relatively easy to clone parts of an image with photo editing software to remove objects and backgrounds or even to duplicate objects. A skillful digital artist will be able to do this almost seamlessly. Such artists with malicious intent can use cloning tools and to fake and forge images and detecting such distortions of the originals can be difficult even to those trained in the art themselves.

iPhone and Android users are getting 117 new emoji in 2020

New year. New emoji.

For $10 fee, startup offers unlimited calls and texts

A San Francisco startup may have the solution parents have been seeking for years. Free phone service—without an expensive monthly contract.

The most human algorithm

It is now possible to predict who the best candidate for receiving an organ transplant is, know whether clients of a bank will return the loans they request, choose the films that best coincide with the interests of consumers, or even select someone's ideal partner. Mathematical algorithms constantly analyse millions of items of data, identify patterns and make predictions about all areas of life. But in most cases, the results give little more than a closed prediction that cannot be interpreted and which is often affected by biases in the original data.

Facebook fights spread of misinformation about virus online

Facebook says it's working to limit the spread of misinformation and potentially harmful content about the coronavirus as bogus claims about the ongoing outbreak circulate online.

Amazon highlights taxes paid in pushback against critics

Amazon said Friday it paid more than $1 billion in US federal income taxes in 2019 as it pushed back at criticism over its corporate responsibility.

Waymo: Self-driving vehicle in manual mode at time of crash

A Waymo self-driving minivan operating in manual mode was involved in a rear-end collision in a Phoenix suburb caused by a sedan's reckless driving, the company said Friday.

Apple takes smartphone sales crown from Samsung

Apple was the top smartphone seller in the final quarter of last year, seizing the crown from Samsung, according to market trackers.

Amazon is big ... really, really big; workforce hits 500K

Need more proof that Amazon is big? It came this week.

Online ads still vulnerable to manipulation in US election

Older men in Arkansas might see a close-up photo of President Donald Trump pumping his fist in the air, along with a message asking them to donate $30 to his campaign for a Super Bowl commercial.

Twitter, Pinterest crack down on voter misinformation

Twitter and Pinterest are taking new steps to root out voting misinformation designed to suppress participation in the November elections.

China's factory activity falls in January as virus fears grow

China's manufacturing activity slipped in January, official data released Friday showed, as the country grapples with a new virus that has claimed more than 200 lives.

Facebook agrees to $550 million settlement in facial recognition class action lawsuit

Facebook has agreed to pay $550 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over its use of facial recognition technology in Illinois.

ViacomCBS names NBC exec to head CBS

ViacomCBS has named George Cheeks as president and CEO of CBS Entertainment group starting March 23.


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Super Bowl ads: Google and Amazon go for emotion

Happy Friday — the Super Bowl is this weekend and some of the ads have begun to be released. The two that have struck me the most are from Google and Amazon, each taking a different tack to sell you on their respective intelligent assistants.

They are very different. Amazon got Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi leading off the joke about what life was like before Alexa, then people asking other people throughout history things they'd normally ask Alexa. I was with it until there was a joke about refusing to erase the Nixon tapes which maybe was a little too on the nose given this past year's voice-recording scandals.

In any case, the motive is clear: make Alexa seem like an integral part of our lives now, like electricity or running water. But do that in a way that makes it seem lighthearted and fun, not oppressive. The ad mostly works on both of those levels. If you're Amazon and you want to try to affect people's feelings about Alexa, I don't know that you could possibly do better than associating a little of Ellen with Alexa.

Just, you know, it's still okay to ask real people questions.

I have much more to say about Google's ad, I'll put them after the links.

- Dieter

Streaming and the Superbowl

└ AT&T tried to buy out the streaming wars — and customers are paying for it

Good news: you no longer have to sign up for a two-year contract that subsidizes the cost of your very expensive smartphone.

Bad news: you are subsidizing AT&T's harebrained scheme to turn into a media conglomerate that turns 5G subscribers into HBO Max watchers and vice versa.

└ Amazon says it has more than 150 million Prime members after huge holiday season

It occurred to me today that Amazon Prime is also a kind of infrastructure service that includes hidden costs for video content.

└ Here's what you need to watch the Super Bowl in 4K HDR

Good story from Cameron Faulkner. The whole story is way more complicated than it should be! It's also low-key a win for Amazon, because the short answer to "how do you get the best Super Bowl stream?" is "get a Fire TV."

└ Twitch and Caffeine are hosting their own Super Bowls before the big game

Bijan Stephen:

If you squint, the Twitch Rivals tournament makes sense in terms of negotiating a new, better deal with the NFL; it can't have escaped the league's notice that a lot of its players — who are young and internet-literate — are interested in streaming, either professionally or personally.

Ad from our sponsor

Gadget news

└ Nintendo says it has no plans for a new Switch this year

No, the Animal Crossing-themed Switch doesn't count.

└ Huawei overtakes Apple in annual race to Samsung's smartphone crown

The jump is especially surprising given Huawei's continued presence on the USA's entity list, which prevents the company from installing Google's apps and services on its new devices, limiting their appeal outside of China. As a result, Huawei's main strength was in its home country. Counterpoint Research says China accounted for 60 percent of its sales.

└ Motorola's stylus-equipped handset appears in leaked photos

Apparently it's going to be the "Moto G Stylus." The G line is Motorola's branding for low-end and mid-range phones. What this rumor tells us, then, is that this isn't quite going to be a heads-up competitor to Samsung's Galaxy Note and this isn't the "flagship" phone that Motorola promised to deliver this year.

Motorola teased the return to flagships back when the Razr launched, but so far as I know that high-end phone hasn't leaked yet. That either means Motorola has done an incredible job keeping it under wraps or that it isn't likely to hit stores imminently. My money's on the latter.

└ Samsung's delayed Galaxy Book S will arrive on February 13th

More than other companies, Samsung announces major products and then just goes radio silent on them. Exhibit A: the Bixby Cauldron Smart Speaker. Glad to see this ARM-based laptop finally getting released, then, but very curious about the hold-up. Also very curious to see how Qualcomm's 8CX processor holds up without the custom enhancements that are present on its variant in the Surface Pro X.

└ OnePlus just took a big step toward supporting wireless charging in future phones

Earlier this year on The Vergecast, Lau commented that even 10W fast wireless charging was too slow and "not worth it" compared to the wired fast-charging Warp Charge that OnePlus' current phones offer.

Guess he changed his mind.

More from The Verge

└ Today, NASA turns off a space telescope that peered into the extra cold Universe

The satellite was designed to last less than five years. It has lasted 17. It could keep going but there's no funding for it. Seems like a tragic mistake.

└ The Hummer is coming back as a 1,000-horsepower electric truck

While there are plenty of electric SUVs already on the road, the electric truck market is still wide open. That won't be the case for long. Ford is working on an all-electric F-150 that it promises will be just as capable a truck as people have come to expect from its most popular nameplate, and Tesla's Cybertruck will serve as an option for more contrarian customers. A number of startups are entering the space, too. Most notably, Michigan's Rivian plans to release its luxury electric pickup truck later this year. Others, like Bollinger, Karma, and Lordstown Motors, are all trying to be among the first to sell electric pickup trucks as well.

└ Apple's redesigned maps are now available for all US users

If you're an iPhone user, you should give Apple Maps another shot.

└ Early iPhone hit SpellTower gets reimagined a decade later

First game in a while that has a shot at replacing Holedown as my subway game.

I love this: This Untitled Goose Game app turns your Windows PC into pure mayhem

Coronavirus

└ World Health Organization declares global public health emergency over coronavirus outbreak

└ Pilots just sued American Airlines to force a halt to China flights


Verge Deal of the day 

Amazon's Fire TV Stick 4K is $15 off, and is your ticket to a free 4K HDR stream of Super Bowl LIV

Super Bowl LIV is coming up this Sunday, February 2nd. Fox Sports will be offering a 4K HDR stream of the game for free (including the pregame, commercials, halftime show, and postgame). The most affordable way to watch the highest-quality stream is with the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K.

Right now, it's $15 off, bringing it down to $34.99. This isn't the cheapest price that we've seen, but if you need a streaming device that's guaranteed to display the best-looking feed on gameday, you should get one of these.


Google goes for the full Don Draper

Google went directly for the emotional jugular in a spot so blatantly designed to tug at your heartstrings it was immediately uncomfortable to the point where it felt manipulative. It felt that way all the more so because it was based on a real relative of a Google employee.

In the spot, an 85-year-old widower asks Google to bring up various memories he has of his late wife, then says "remember when" about those moments. Guess what? That's a little-known Google Assistant feature, asking it to remember things. It is very earnest if you think about how a computer could help, but also very dystopian if you think about sharing your fond remembrances with an uncaring algorithm instead of other actual humans.

This is very nearly a trend now, by the way. Apple also recently created an ad that played on our emotions and sympathies for a widower who was brought to a tearful moment through the medium of technology (an iPad keynote presentation). Apple, at least, had the presence of mind to include actual human relatives in its ad to share that moment, instead of it being simply shared with a smart display.

Tying a product to deep emotions is an ad tale as old as time, I suppose. And I would argue that we are going to need to find better ways to talk about how we invest genuine sentiment, nostalgia, and loving affection into our digital lives. Nobody would bat an eye at a commercial with a Kodak print in the '80s pulling exactly these same tricks, but somehow when you integrate software it still feels different — even though both are technological products. It probably won't feel different for very long.

Speaking of Kodak, Google's ad reminds me of nothing so much as the famous Mad Men Don Draper Carousel pitch. Only now, instead of a slide projector, it's a smart display. I'll quote it in full below — tell me this couldn't be the pitch for Google's ad if you changed just a few words.

Well, technology is a glittering lure. But, uh, there is the rare occasion when the public can be engaged on a level beyond flash, if they have a sentimental bond with the product. My first job, I was in-house at a fur company, with this old-pro copywriter, a Greek named Teddy. Teddy told me the most important idea in advertising is new. Creates an itch. You simply put your product in there as a kind of calamine lotion. But he also talked about a deeper bond with the product. Nostalgia. It's delicate, but potent. Sweetheart. Teddy told me that in Greek, "nostalgia" literally means "the pain from an old wound". It's a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn't a spaceship, it's a time machine. It goes backwards, forwards, takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It's not called the wheel. It's called the carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels. Round and around, and back home again, to a place where we know we are loved.

Does it feel really crass and manipulative for a company to say that a technological product driven by machine-learning algorithms will help us remember our lost loved ones? That we will have some sort of emotional connection to an ephemeral piece of software instead of a physical token? Yes.

Is all of that inevitable? Is it in fact already happening every day? Also yes. We should probably figure out what that means.

You are reading Processor, a newsletter about computers by Dieter Bohn. Dieter writes about consumer tech, software, and the most important news of the day from The Verge. This newsletter delivers about four times a week, at least a couple of which include longer essays.

If you enjoyed this email, please feel free to forward to a friend. You can subscribe to Processor and our other newsletters by clicking right here and here is an RSS feed. You can also follow Dieter on Twitter: @backlon.

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Science X Newsletter Thursday, Jan 30

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for January 30, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

ArguLens: a framework to help developers make sense of usability-related feedback

Heart failure: Researchers make headway against diastolic dysfunction

Researchers create 3-D-printed, sweating robot muscle

Brain's 'GPS system' toggles between present and possible future paths in real time

Astronomers investigate broadband variability of the blazar Markarian 501

Four-dimensional micro-building blocks: Printable, time-related, programmable tools

Astronomers witness the dragging of space-time in stellar cosmic dance

New predatory dinosaur added to Australia's prehistory

Fermented soy products linked to lower risk of death

Meteorites reveal high carbon dioxide levels on early Earth

Emerging organic contaminant levels greatly influenced by stream flows, seasons

Cells' springy coils pump bursts of RNA

Antibiotic-resistance in Tanzania is an environmental problem

Microscopic partners could help plants survive stressful environments

Anti-solar cells: A photovoltaic cell that works at night

Physics news

Researchers combine X-rays and laser light to image sprays

Researchers have developed a new laser-based method that provides an unprecedented view of sprays such as the ones used for liquid fuel combustion in vehicle, ship and plane engines. The technique could provide new insights into these atomizing sprays, which are also used in a variety of industrial processes such as painting and producing food powders and drugs.

Bats inspire detectors to help prevent oil and gas pipe leaks

Engineers have developed a new scanning technique inspired by the natural world that can detect corroding metals in oil and gas pipelines.

Researchers discover a new way to control infrared light

In the 1950s, the field of electronics began to change when the transistor replaced vacuum tubes in computers. The change, which entailed replacing large and slow components with small and fast ones, was a catalyst for the enduring trend of miniaturization in computer design. No such revolution has yet hit the field of infrared optics, which remains reliant on bulky moving parts that preclude building small systems.

Physics of giant bubbles bursts secret of fluid mechanics

A study inspired by street performers making gigantic soap bubbles led to a discovery in fluid mechanics: Mixing different molecular sizes of polymers within a solution increases the ability of a thin film to stretch without breaking.

Super accurate sensor could lead to producing even smaller chips

Electrical engineer Stefanos Andreou built a sensor with an extraordinary accuracy of less than the size of an atom.

Improving aerodynamics during entire flight, not just takeoff and landing

Currently in use on the wings of airplanes are little fins near the leading edge or just upstream of control surfaces to help control the aircraft during takeoff or landing. But these vortex generator vanes and other similar solutions are fixed in place across the entire flight, creating a cruise penalty from the drag. A promising new idea for a device was tested at the University of Illinois that uses an electric spark that can be turned on and off when needed to generate rotating air across the wing for better lift.

Researchers lay foundation for next generation aortic grafts

A new study by researchers at McGill University has measured the dynamic physical properties of the human aorta, laying the foundation for the development of grafts capable of mimicking the native behaviour of the human body's largest artery.

Scientists develop a concept of a hybrid thorium reactor

Russian scientists have proposed a concept of a thorium hybrid reactor in that obtains additional neutrons using high-temperature plasma held in a long magnetic trap. This project was applied in close collaboration between Tomsk Polytechnic University, All-Russian Scientific Research Institute Of Technical Physics (VNIITF), and Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics of SB RAS. The proposed thorium hybrid reactor is distinguished from today's nuclear reactors by moderate power, relatively compact size, high operational safety, and a low level of radioactive waste.

Astronomy & Space news

Astronomers investigate broadband variability of the blazar Markarian 501

An international team of astronomers has studied variable broadband emission of the gamma-ray blazar Markarian 501 during a period of its high X-ray activity. The research, published January 21 on the arXiv preprint server, could lend better understanding of emission mechanisms in blazars.

Astronomers witness the dragging of space-time in stellar cosmic dance

An international team of astrophysicists led by Australian Professor Matthew Bailes, from the ARC Centre of Excellence of Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav), has shown exciting new evidence for 'frame-dragging'—how the spinning of a celestial body twists space and time—after tracking the orbit of an exotic stellar pair for almost two decades. The data, which is further evidence for Einstein's theory of General Relativity, is published today the journal Science.

Solar Orbiter mission to track the sun's active regions, improve space weather prediction

Our understanding of space weather, its origin on the sun, and its progression and threat to Earth, comes with critical gaps—gaps that the European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter hopes to help fill after its upcoming launch.

Two satellites just avoided a head-on smash: How close did they come to disaster?

It appears we have missed another close call between two satellites—but how close did we really come to a catastrophic event in space?

Technology news

ArguLens: a framework to help developers make sense of usability-related feedback

Evaluating the usability of open-source software (OSS), software that is made freely available to developers worldwide, generally entails analyzing the feedback and comments of those who used it. Processing and understanding the feedback provided in user discussions, however, can be challenging due to the vast number of comments online, and because they often present opposing opinions.

Researchers create 3-D-printed, sweating robot muscle

Just when it seemed like robots couldn't get any cooler, Cornell researchers have created a soft robot muscle that can regulate its temperature through sweating.

Four-dimensional micro-building blocks: Printable, time-related, programmable tools

Four-dimensional (4-D) printing is based on merging multimaterial printing, reinforcement patterns or micro and nanofibrous additives as time-related programmable tools, to achieve desired shape reconfigurations. However, the existing programming approaches still follow an origami design principle to generate reconfigurable structures using self-folding and stacked 2-D materials at small scales. In a new report on Science Advances, T. Y. Huang and a team of interdisciplinary, international researchers in the U.S. and China proposed a programmable modular design to directly construct 3-D reconfigurable microstructures capable of 3-D-to-3-D transformations via 4-D micro-building block assembly.

Anti-solar cells: A photovoltaic cell that works at night

What if solar cells worked at night? That's no joke, according to Jeremy Munday, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UC Davis. In fact, a specially designed photovoltaic cell could generate up to 50 watts of power per square meter under ideal conditions at night, about a quarter of what a conventional solar panel can generate in daytime, according to a concept paper by Munday and graduate student Tristan Deppe. The article was published in, and featured on the cover of, the January 2020 issue of ACS Photonics.

Rachmaninoff the most innovative composer according to network science

Rachmaninoff, followed by Bach, Brahms and Mendelssohn, was the most innovative of the composers who worked during the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras of music (1700 to 1900) according to a study published in the open access journal EPJ Data Science.

Intel casts third patch to battle MDS Goliath

What does a chip giant gotta do? ZombieLoad won't die and that is not to be allowed. Intel has forced out a third patch, said reports.

Wearable health tech gets efficiency upgrade

North Carolina State University engineers have demonstrated a flexible device that harvests the heat energy from the human body to monitor health. The device surpasses all other flexible harvesters that use body heat as the sole energy source.

Giving cryptocurrency users more bang for their buck

A new cryptocurrency-routing scheme co-invented by MIT researchers can boost the efficiency—and, ultimately, profits—of certain networks designed to speed up notoriously slow blockchain transactions.

Computer servers now able to retrieve data much faster

Computer scientists at the University of Waterloo have found a novel approach that significantly improves the storage efficiency and output speed of computer systems.

Samsung Electronics says Q4 net profit slumps 38%

The world's biggest smartphone maker, Samsung Electronics, reported a slump in fourth-quarter net profits on Thursday, blaming weakening demand in key products and falling chip prices.

Mitsubishi Motors denies emissions test fraud after German raids

Mitsubishi Motors denied Thursday equipping engines with devices to make them appear less polluting, after raids by prosecutors in Germany probing suspected diesel emissions cheating.

Huawei races to replace Google apps for next smartphone

If you can make smartphone apps, Chinese tech giant Huawei wants you.

Toyota's 2019 global vehicle sales trail Volkswagen's

German automaker Volkswagen has kept its lead as the world's largest automaker after Japanese rival Toyota announced it sold fewer vehicles last year.

Uber, Lyft confirm Phoenix airport business as usual for now

Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft say they won't change their service at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport until Arizona's highest court rules on proposed fee increases that prompted threats to stop picking up and dropping off customers at one of the nation's largest airports.

Apple, Broadcom ordered to pay $1.1bn for patent infringement

A Los Angeles jury on Wednesday ordered Apple and Broadcom to pay $1.1 billion to a California university for infringing wifi technology patents in what is thought to be one of the largest patent verdicts ever.

Nintendo logs nine-month profit leap, upgrades annual forecast

Japanese gaming giant Nintendo on Thursday reported a leap in sales and profit for the nine months to December, upgrading its full-year profit forecast on strong demand for its popular Switch console.

Microsoft gets lift from rise in earnings

Microsoft said Wednesday that its profits rose sharply in the past quarter, boosted by improving sales across a range of consumer products and business services, sending its shares higher.

Using AI, people who are blind are able to find familiar faces in a room

Theo, a 12-year-old boy who is blind, is seated at a table in a crowded kitchen on a gray and drippy mid-December day. A headband that houses cameras, a depth sensor and speakers rings his sandy-brown hair. He swivels his head left and right until the camera in the front of the headband points at the nose of a person on the far side of a counter.

Building standards give us false hope. There's no such thing as a fireproof house

Bushfires have killed 33 people and destroyed nearly 3,000 houses across Australia so far this fire season. Canberra is under threat right now.

China demand for Jaguar, Land Rover boosts India's Tata Motors

Chinese demand for British luxury brands Jaguar and Land Rover helped Indian automaker Tata Motors return to the black on Thursday, despite falling sales in the domestic market.

Big hit for Facebook as latest results show cracks in growth

Facebook shares came under heavy selling pressure Thursday as the latest earnings report for the leading social network highlighted mushrooming costs in dealing with privacy, abuse and misinformation.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a message for you: He doesn't care if you like him

Mark Zuckerberg has a message for you: He doesn't care if you like him.

IBM's Watson Center pitches AI for everyone, from chefs to engineers

At the IBM Watson Experience Center, digital and physical worlds meet in a futuristic-looking lounge overlooking San Francisco's Financial District.

Axing Lightning for iPhone would mean unprecedented e-waste, Apple says

Forcing Apple to change iPhones from Lightning to USB-C connectors would cause "an unprecedented volume of electronic waste," the company said recently. The remark follows a European Commission call earlier this month for a common charger for all mobile phones, an effort to reduce waste and make life easier for consumers. Apple argues, however, that this would create even more waste, because its Lightning accessories would become obsolete.

Here's why Galaxy Z Flip is the foldable phone I'm most excited for right now.

Samsung's fully embraced the "Go big or go home" mentality with its tabletlike Galaxy Fold last year. But its second foldable phone—rumored to be called the Galaxy Z Flip (internal code name Galaxy Bloom) - is almost guaranteed to be smaller. It's also likely going to be cheaper, bend vertically instead of horizontally and be outfitted with only half the cameras its folding predecessor has. And honestly, I couldn't be more excited.

Novel approach allows 3-D printing of finer, more complex microfluidic networks

First introduced in the 1980s, stereolithography (SL) is an additive manufacturing process that prints 3-D objects by the selective curing of liquid polymer resin using an ultra-violet (UV) light source in a layer-by-layer fashion. The polymer employed undergoes a photochemical reaction which turns it from liquid to solid when exposed to UV illumination. Today, SL is touted as one of the most accurate forms of 3-D printing that is accessible to consumers, with desktop models (e.g., liquid crystal display variants) costing as little as USD $300.

World record: Efficiency of perovskite silicon tandem solar cell jumps to 29.15%

While silicon converts mostly the red portions of sunlight into electricity, perovskite compounds primarily utilise the blue portions of the spectrum. A tandem solar cell made of stacked silicon and perovskite thus achieves significantly higher efficiency than each individual cell on its own.

Autonomous pods SWARM together like bees in world first demonstration

Autonomous pods born in Coventry are now able to swarm together in a world first, thanks to research by WMG at the University of Warwick in partnership with Aurrigo and Milton Keynes council.

Sun, wind, and hydrogen: New Arctic station will do without diesel fuel

The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) has initiated a project of the Russian Federation called "Arctic Hydrogen Energy Applications and Demonstrations" (AHEAD) in the Arctic Council's Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG). The project is supported by the Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, the governor of Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, and the EnergyNet infrastructure center of the National Technology Initiative.

Hummer is making a comeback, but this time it's electric

The Hummer, once a gas-guzzling target for environmentalists, is making a comeback. But this time around it won't burn fuel or spew greenhouse gases.

Self-learning heat­ing control system saves energy

Can buildings learn to save all by themselves? Empa researchers think so. In their experiments, they fed a new self-learning heating control system with temperature data from the previous year and the current weather forecast. The "smart" control system was then able to assess the building's behavior and act with good anticipation. The result: greater comfort, lower energy costs.

Haptic helmet for firefighters

Imagine firefighters trying to navigate through an unfamiliar, burning building full of suffocating smoke and deafening noise. Firefighting is exceedingly dangerous, and the ability for first responders to maintain communications in hostile environments can literally mean life or death.

Dating apps face US inquiry over underage use, sex offenders

A House subcommittee is investigating popular dating services such as Tinder and Bumble for allegedly allowing minors and sex offenders to use their services.

UK automakers report drop in investment, production

British auto production dropped for a third straight year in 2019, as carmakers continued to hold off on investment amid uncertainty over the country's departure from the European Union.

Dark patterns: The secret sauce behind addictive tech

Think you're pretty internet savvy? You may be falling for app and web design tricks without even realizing it ...

Likelihood of e-book purchases increase 31% by combining previews and reviews

New research in the INFORMS journal Information Systems Research finds that the purchasing decision of customers considering buying e-books is significantly influenced through easy access to a combination of e-book previews and reviews, resulting in a staggering 31% increase in a consumer's likelihood to purchase an e-book. When exposed to either previews only or online reviews only, purchase likelihood is between 7 and 17%.


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