Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Jan 28

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for January 28, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Nanoscopy through a plasmonic nanolens

LiftTiles: Actuator-based building blocks for shape-changing interfaces

Beating the heat in the living wings of butterflies

Two new outbursts detected from the magnetar 1E 1048.1−5937

'Curious and curiouser!' Meteorite chunk contains unexpected evidence of presolar grains

Weighing more than your twin at birth may predict better achievement at school

Humans not always to blame for genetic diversity loss in wildlife

An old plant virus inspires the design of a modern vaccine to fight against malaria

Discovery could help slow down progression of Parkinson's disease

Nanoparticle chomps away plaques that cause heart attacks

Airborne measurements point to low EPA methane estimates in south central US

Method detects defects in 2-D materials for future electronics, sensors

AI can jump-start radiation therapy for cancer patients

Shlayer macOS malware unleashes ads, involves fake Flash traps

Scientists short-circuit maturity in insects, opening new paths to disease prevention

Physics news

New mathematical model for amyloid formation

Amyloids are aggregates consisting of stacks of thousands of proteins bound tightly together. Their formation is involved in several widespread disorders, including Alzheimer's disease and Type II diabetes.

Astronomy & Space news

Two new outbursts detected from the magnetar 1E 1048.1−5937

Using NASA's Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, astronomers have identified two new outbursts from the magnetar 1E 1048.1−5937. The newly detected events could shed more light on the nature of this source. The finding is detailed in a paper published January 17 on arXiv.org.

'Curious and curiouser!' Meteorite chunk contains unexpected evidence of presolar grains

An unusual chunk in a meteorite may contain a surprising bit of space history, based on new research from Washington University in St. Louis.

Image: Spacewalk to service the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano (middle) and NASA astronaut Drew Morgan (left) work on get-ahead tasks during the fourth spacewalk to service the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS).

AI could deceive us as much as the human eye does in the search for extraterrestrials

An artificial neural network has identified a square structure within a triangular one in a crater on the dwarf planet Ceres, with several people agreeing on this perception. The result of this intriguing visual experiment, carried out by a Spanish neuropsychologist, calls into question the application of artificial intelligence to the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI).

Astronaut craves salsa and surf after record 11 months aloft

After nearly 11 months in orbit, the astronaut holding the record for the longest spaceflight by a woman can't wait to dig into some salsa and chips, and swim and surf in the Gulf of Mexico.

NASA's Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe mission enters design phase

A mission to study the interaction of the solar wind with the ancient cast-off winds of other stars, and the fundamental process of particle acceleration in space, has completed a critical NASA review and is now moving closer toward a scheduled launch in 2024. Southwest Research Institute is playing a major role in the Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) spacecraft, managing the payload office and providing a scientific instrument and other technology for the mission.

Stalking Starlink's 'black sheep' DarkSat

By now, you've no doubt heard of (or seen) Starlink. SpaceX's mega-satellite constellation has become a permanent fixture in our skies as of late, with several routine passes on any given week. But have you seen the supposed 'black sheep' of the flock, DarkSat?

Technology news

LiftTiles: Actuator-based building blocks for shape-changing interfaces

Large-scale interfaces that change shape could be used to create interactive displays or environments that can be adapted to meet the needs human users. Despite their potential, creating these systems has so far proved challenging, as they can be expensive to build and require a space big enough to allow different configurations.

Shlayer macOS malware unleashes ads, involves fake Flash traps

The macOS traditionally has been considered to be a relatively secure bet and Apple users are the first to say that in the presence of their Windows-owning companions.

Instant hydrogen production for powering fuel cells

Since the Industrial Revolution, the environmental impacts of energy have posed a concern. Recently, this has driven researchers to search for viable options for clean and renewable energy sources.

New artificial intelligence inspired by the functioning of the human brain

Inspired by the functioning of the human brain and based on a biological mechanism called neuromodulation, it allows intelligent agents to adapt to unknown situations

Facebook rolls out tool globally to clear third-party data

Facebook said Tuesday a new tool allowing users of the social network to view and delete data it collects from third parties is rolling out to the estimated two billion members of the leading social network worldwide.

Airbus strikes anti-corruption deals with France, UK, US

European aerospace giant Airbus said Tuesday that it has reached an "agreement in principle" with French, British and US authorities over corruption investigations, which might help it avoid expensive litigation.

UK to allow Huawei in 5G networks but not in 'core' parts

Britain decided Tuesday to give Huawei limited access to build parts of its new high-speed mobile network, in a setback for the U.S., which has been pushing allies to ban the Chinese company.

Through-the-wall radar on tiny chip has a single transmitter, three receivers

A through-the-wall radar, built on a chip smaller than a grain of rice, has been developed by a team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), led by Gaurab Banerjee, Associate Professor at the Department of Electrical Communication Engineering.

Study evaluates effects of race, age, sex on face recognition software

How accurately do face recognition software tools identify people of varied sex, age and racial background? According to a new study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the answer depends on the algorithm at the heart of the system, the application that uses it and the data it's fed—but the majority of face recognition algorithms exhibit demographic differentials. A differential means that an algorithm's ability to match two images of the same person varies from one demographic group to another.

Wildland Data Logistics Network: Always there with delay

Since 2000, an average of 72,000 wildfires per year have cleared seven million acres of land in the United States. 2015 was the largest wildfire year in recorded American history, with more than 10 million acres of land burned and 30,000 firefighters mobilized in response. As climates become warmer and drier, wildfires are expected to increase, along with the demand for firefighting services. Many wildfires take hold in remote, hard-to-reach areas where firefighters cannot easily transmit and receive the critical data that helps them make life and property-saving decisions.

How sensors and big data can help cut food waste

Modern farming has evolved by adopting technical advances such as machines for ploughing and harvesting, controlled irrigation, fertilisers, pesticides, crop breeding and genetics research. These have helped farmers to produce large crops of a good quality in a fairly predictable way.

Byte, video app from creator of Vine, is here and it's overrun with spam comments

The six-second video messaging app Vine has officially risen from the ashes under a new name: Byte. And it got off to a rocky start over the weekend.

Hey Google, are my housemates using my smart speaker?

Surveys show that consumers are worried that smart speakers are eavesdropping on their conversations and day-to-day lives. Now University of British Columbia researchers have found that people are also concerned about something else: friends, family and others who may have access to these devices.

Facebook 'supreme court' for disputes ready in months

Facebook said Tuesday its "supreme court," designed to be the final word in content removal disputes, should be in operation in a few months, as it named a British human rights activist to a key post.

Google aims AI at whales, words and well-being

Google on Tuesday provided a look at efforts to put artificial intelligence to use for good, from protecting whales to breaking language barriers.

Renault names ex-Seat chief De Meo as CEO for post-Ghosn era

French auto giant Renault on Tuesday named former Volkswagen director Luca de Meo its chief executive as it seeks to regain its footing after a year of turmoil sparked by the arrest of Carlos Ghosn.

Understanding emerging blockchain identity management systems

Traditional identity management has typically involved the storing of user credentials (e.g., passwords) by organizations and third parties, which often results in concerns over interoperability, security, and privacy. However, a possible solution has emerged through the use of blockchain technology to create novel identity management approaches with built-in control and consent mechanisms. This can potentially transform data governance and ownership models by enabling users to control their data and share select personal information, while helping businesses streamline operations by relying on verified user information without having to maintain the infrastructure themselves.

Airbus to set aside 3.6 bn euros to settle corruption probe

European aerospace giant Airbus said Tuesday it has agreed to set aside up to 3.6 billion euros to settle a corruption probe by authorities in France, Britain and the United States.


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