Science X Newsletter Friday, Jan 24

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for January 24, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Adding memory to pressure-sensitive phosphors

Blue-emitting diode demonstrates limitations and promise of perovskite semiconductors

People plan their movements, anticipate force of gravity by 'seeing it' through visual cues rather than 'feeling it'

Scientists capture molecular maps of animal tissue with unprecedented detail

Nonprofits worry sale of dot-org universe will raise costs

Researchers obtain 'high-definition' view of diabetes-related proteins

TP53 gene variant in people of African descent linked to iron overload, may improve malaria response

Simulations reveal galaxy clusters details

Marburg virus found in Sierra Leone bats

Why eating yogurt may help lessen the risk of breast cancer

Engineer still concerned over Safari tracking prevention

New species of Allosaurus discovered in Utah

Nano-thin flexible touchscreens could be printed like newspaper

High air pollution exposure in one-year-olds linked to structural brain changes at age 12

Brain-cell helpers powered by norepinephrine during fear-memory formation

Physics news

Adding memory to pressure-sensitive phosphors

Mechanoluminescence (ML) is a type of luminescence induced by any mechanical action on a solid, leading to a range of applications in materials research, photonics and optics. For instance, the mechanical action can release energy previously stored in the crystal lattice of phosphor via trapped charge carriers. However, the method has limits when recording ML emissions during a pressure-induced event. In a new study, Robin R. Petit and a research team at the LumiLab, Department of Solid State Sciences at the Ghent University—Belgium devised a new technique to add a memory function to pressure-sensitive phosphors. Using the method, the scientists obtained an optical readout of the location and intensity of a pressure event three days (72 hours) after the event.

Discovery sheds new light on how cells move

When we cut our skin, groups of cells rush en masse to the site to heal the wound.

On the way to quantum networks

Physicists at LMU, together with colleagues at Saarland University, have successfully demonstrated the transport of an entangled state between an atom and a photon via an optic fiber over a distance of up to 20 km—thus setting a new record.

A new twist on quantum communication in fiber

New research done at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Huazhang University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, has exciting implications for secure data transfer across optical fiber networks. The team have demonstrated that multiple quantum patterns of twisted light can be transmitted across a conventional fiber link that, paradoxically, supports only one pattern. The implication is a new approach to realizing a future quantum network, harnessing multiple dimensions of entangled quantum light.

Going with the flow: New insights into mysterious fluid motions

Water issuing from an ordinary faucet tells a complex tale of its journey through a pipe. At high velocities, the faucet's gushing stream is turbulent: chaotic, disorderly—like the crash of ocean waves.

Experimental probe of a complete 3-D photonic band gap

A crystal with a 3-D photonic band gap is a powerful tool to control light, with applications for new types of solar cells, sensors and miniature lasers. Inside a man-made crystal like this, a range of light wavelengths is forbidden. Until now, the characteristic wavelength region is determined by using theoretical models. These idealized models have clear shortcomings. Researchers of the University of Twente (MESA+) have now developed a fully experimental method of determining the band gap, literally making the unseen visible. They present their results in Optics Express, the journal of the Optical Society of America.

Gravity: We might have been getting it wrong this whole time

Symmetry has been one of the guiding principles in physicists' search for fundamental laws of nature. What does it mean that laws of nature have symmetry? It means that laws look the same before and after an operation, similar to a mirror reflection, the same but right is now left in the reflection.

Astronomy & Space news

Simulations reveal galaxy clusters details

Inspired by the science fiction of the spacefaring Romulans of Star Trek, astrophysicists have used XSEDE-allocated supercomputers to develop cosmological computer simulations called RomulusC, where the 'C' stands for galaxy cluster. With a focus on black hole physics, RomulusC has produced some of the highest resolution simulations ever of galaxy clusters, which can contain hundreds or even thousands of galaxies.

NASA's Kepler witnesses vampire star system undergoing super-outburst

NASA's Kepler spacecraft was designed to find exoplanets by looking for stars that dim as a planet crosses the star's face. Fortuitously, the same design makes it ideal for spotting other astronomical transients—objects that brighten or dim over time. A new search of Kepler archival data has uncovered an unusual super-outburst from a previously unknown dwarf nova. The system brightened by a factor of 1,600 over less than a day before slowly fading away.

Galileo now replying to SOS messages worldwide

As well as providing global navigation services, Europe's Galileo satellite constellation is contributing to saving more than 2000 lives annually by relaying SOS messages to first responders. And from now on the satellites will reply to these messages, assuring people in danger that help is on the way.

NESSI emerges as new tool for exoplanet atmospheres

The darkness surrounding the Hale Telescope breaks with a sliver of blue sky as the dome begins to open, screeching with metallic, sci-fi-like sounds atop San Diego County's Palomar Mountain. The historic observatory smells of the oil pumped in to support the bearings that make this giant telescope float ever so slightly as it moves to track the stars.

TV provider shifting satellite to high orbit over explosion fears

US authorities said Friday they had granted permission to a TV provider to urgently lift a four-ton (3,600-kilogram) satellite to a so-called "graveyard orbit" over fears a battery fault may soon cause it to explode.

Technology news

Nonprofits worry sale of dot-org universe will raise costs

The company that controls the dot-org online universe is putting the registry of domain names up for sale, and the nonprofits that often use the suffix in their websites are raising concerns about the move.

Engineer still concerned over Safari tracking prevention

The headlines on many tech-watching sites this week amounted to one big whaaat? An anti-tracking feature in Apple's Safari browser was actually exposing private browsing habits, according to researchers outside Apple. This was all about the Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) implemented by Apple's Safari browser.

Nano-thin flexible touchscreens could be printed like newspaper

Researchers have developed an ultra-thin and ultra-flexible electronic material that could be printed and rolled out like newspaper, for the touchscreens of the future.

Commercial air travel is safer than ever, study finds

It has never been safer to fly on commercial airlines, according to a new study by an MIT professor that tracks the continued decrease in passenger fatalities around the globe.

The robot that grips without touching

ETH Pioneer Fellow Marcel Schuck is developing a robotic gripper that can manipulate small and fragile objects without touching them. The technology is based on sound waves.

Stability assessment and reporting for perovskite photovoltaics

Improving the long-term stability of perovskite solar cells, which is crucial for the use of this pioneering technology—this is the topic of a paper published in the journal Nature Energy by an international research team, in which TU materials scientist Professor Michael Saliba is also involved. Perovskite solar cells convert sunlight into electricity and are regarded as the greatest hope for the solar cell industry.

Coalition of states sue over rules governing 3-D-printed guns

Attorneys general in 20 states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging a federal regulation that could allow blueprints for making guns on 3D printers to be posted on the internet.

Plastic mini-robot 'walks' under the influence of light

Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology have developed the first-ever light-controlled package delivery robot. Measuring 2 centimeters, this plastic mini-robot can "walk" under the influence of blue light in order to collect and deliver packages. In the future, it should be possible to use the robot to deliver medicines within the human body or to carry out simple repairs to chip machines, for example. The researchers have published their results in the journal Advanced Science.

Designing a puncture-free tire

Some golf carts and lawnmowers already use airless tires and at least one major tire company produces a non-pneumatic automotive tire, but we still have long way to go before they are on every vehicle that comes off the assembly line. Finding a design that balances puncture-free strength with the elasticity needed for a comfortable, shock-free ride like conventional pneumatic tires is the key.

Critical flaw demonstrated in common digital security algorithm

Cryptographic experts at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and the French national research institute for digital sciences INRIA in Paris, have demonstrated a critical security flaw in a commonly used security algorithm, known as SHA-1, which would allow attackers to fake specific files and the information within them, and pass them off as authentic.

Forget flying taxis: How to win public support and make drones benefit cities

It's easy to assume, perhaps thanks to all the lurid tabloid headlines, that people don't like drones. At best, they're a nuisance—the buzzing playthings of inconsiderate hobbyists or photographers taking pictures from above. At worst, they're a tool for idiots to close airports, ruin holidays and cost the country millions.

Capitalism and the internet: It's time we understood the digital economy

The digital economy has been getting a lot of attention, with increasingly strong headlines offering apocalyptic as well as breathtakingly exciting scenarios. Some warn of job losses due to automation, some wonder at the things digital technology can do. And then there's real skepticism about whether this will translate into delivering to people who need it most.

The future of innovation in consumer technology

,As celebrations to ring in the new decade were winding down, more than 175,000 tech-minded travelers made their way to Las Vegas for the 53rd Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The forum that has launched gadgets ranging from floppy disks, portable camcorders, and Blu-ray players, has become an annual showcase for all things consumer-oriented technology.

Researchers to teach robots how to differentiate between sandwich ingredients

Loughborough University computer scientists have teamed up with a food production automation company for a project that looks to teach AI robots how to differentiate between food items so they can make sandwiches in real-world factory environments.

Bosses using tech to spy on staff is becoming the norm, so here's a realistic way of handling it

Workplace surveillance sounds like the stuff of nightmares, but we are having to get used to it. In a sign of the times, the European Court of Human Rights has just ruled that a supermarket in Barcelona was entitled to fire employees after catching them stealing on CCTV cameras that they didn't know were installed. This overturned a decision by the court's lower chamber that the cameras had breached the employees' human rights.

Using a menstrual tracker app? This is what happens to your health data

If you are one of the millions of women who uses period tracker apps to better your chances of having a baby, to prevent pregnancy or just to monitor menstruation, are the risks of sharing sensitive health information about your reproductive cycle worth the benefits?

Apple's new gym partnerships give real perks for working out with Apple Watch

Working out could help you pay down your Apple Watch or gym membership.

How to prevent car break-ins: Turn off your Bluetooth

Those apps that scan for devices using Bluetooth could sound great. The AirPods have fallen out of the ear and they're somewhere in the house. Whip open the app to find them. Or that lost phone, missing tablet or even camera. All good, right?

UK 'to decide on Huawei 5G next week'

Britain is expected to announce next week whether to allow China's Huawei to develop its 5G network, an official said Friday, amid indications it will agree to grant at least limited access despite intense US opposition.

London police to use face scan tech, stoking privacy fears

London police will start using facial recognition cameras to pick out suspects from street crowds in real time, in a major advance for the controversial technology that raises worries about automated surveillance and erosion of privacy rights.

Italy threatens Facebook with new fine for selling users' data

Italy's competition authority has warned Facebook it faces a further fine of five million euros ($5.5 million) for persisting in selling users' data without informing them.

UTA aerospace engineer exploring possibility of hypersonic passenger, cargo planes

The idea of speeding through the atmosphere at many times the speed of sound carries great appeal for commercial aircraft carriers. The technology needed to build such hypersonic passenger or cargo transport vehicles, however, does not yet exist.

Saving water when the sun shines

Deserts and other sun-drenched regions are the ideal location for concentrated solar power plants, but where sunlight is abundant, water tends to be scarce and dust covers everything. The EU-funded project MinWaterCSP develops new solutions to reduce water consumption in such plants, making the technology more attractive for countries that suffer from water scarcity and aim to become less dependent on fossil fuels.

Greece: Government websites hit by cyberattack

The Greek government said Friday that the official state websites of the prime minister, the national police and fire service and several important ministries were briefly disabled by a cyberattack but have been restored.

Boeing could again cut production on 787 plane: source

Boeing, still in crisis mode due to the grounding of the 737 MAX, is considering further production cuts to another key commercial plane, a person close to the matter said Friday.


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