Science X Newsletter Friday, Feb 28

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

Spotlight Stories Headlines

An understudied cause of cancer: Mutations in regulators of cell signaling

Deep-learning system detects human presence by harvesting RF signals

Helical quantum Hall phase in graphene on strontium titanate

Chip flaw exposes billions of WiFi devices

Physicists model the supernovae that result from pulsating supergiants like Betelgeuse

Children who read books daily score higher in school tests, vast new study states

Astronomy student discovers 17 new planets, including Earth-sized world

How do zebrafish get their stripes? New data analysis tool could provide an answer

Inhalation therapy shows promise against pulmonary fibrosis in mice, rats

New platform for engineering ribosomes to 'cook new cuisines'

Researchers announce progress in developing an accurate, noninvasive urine test for prostate cancer

Not falling far from tree: Ecologists study seed-to-seedling transitions

Hunter-gatherer networks accelerated human evolution

Ecologically diverse clades dominate the oceans via extinction resistance

Stable conditions during cell division

Physics news

Illuminating numerical study on light propagation in nonlinear optical fibers

More than 99% of our Internet data is carried by optical fibers but with our data demands increasing, we are pushing our existing fiber networks to their limits. One way to increase the capacity of fibers is to transmit signals with a higher power, but this is usually avoided as transmissions can become distorted. To help with this, researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology have developed a new mathematical tool to better explore how light propagates through optical fibers in this high power, or nonlinear, regime. This new tool could help in the design of the next generation of data transmission optical fiber networks. Results are published in Nature Communications.

Tracking down the mystery of matter

Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have measured a property of the neutron more precisely than ever before. In the process they found out that the elementary particle has a significantly smaller electric dipole moment than was previously assumed. With that, it has also become less likely that this dipole moment can help to explain the origin of all matter in the universe. The researchers achieved this result using the ultracold neutron source at PSI. They report their results today in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Why is there any matter in the universe at all? New study sheds light

Scientists at the University of Sussex have measured a property of the neutron—a fundamental particle in the universe—more precisely than ever before. Their research is part of an investigation into why there is matter left over in the universe, that is, why all the antimatter created in the Big Bang didn't just cancel out the matter.

Twisted 2-D material gives new insights into strongly correlated 1-D physics

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg, the RWTH Aachen University (both in Germany) and the Flatiron institute in the U.S. have revealed that the possibilities created by stacking two sheets of atomically thin material atop each other at a twist are even greater than expected.

Innovative switching mechanism improves ultrafast control of microlasers

The all-optical switch is a kind of device that controls light with light, which is the fundamental building block of modern optical communications and information processing. Creating an efficient, ultrafast, and compact all-optical switch has been recognized as the key step for the developments of next-generation optical and quantum computing. In principle, photons don't interact with one another directly in the low power linear regime, and a cavity is usually needed to resonantly enhance the field of control light and increase the interaction. In early work, the performance of all-optical switches has been improved rapidly by optimizing resonators such as microrings or photonic crystals. For further improvements, the research area reaches the limit—the trade-off between ultralow energy consumption and ultrashort switching time.

Unique material could unlock new functionality in semiconductors

If new and promising semiconductor materials are to make it into our phones, computers, and other increasingly capable electronics, researchers must obtain greater control over how those materials function.

New study explains why superconductivity takes place in graphene

Graphene, a single sheet of carbon atoms, has many extreme electrical and mechanical properties. Two years ago, researchers showed how two sheets laid on top of each other and twisted at just the right angle can become superconducting, so that the material loses its electrical resistivity. New work explains why this superconductivity happens in a surprisingly high temperature.

Reconfigurable chiral microlaser by spontaneous symmetry breaking

Coherent light sources are one of the most crucial foundations in both scientific disciplines and advanced applications. As a prominent platform, ultrahigh-Q whispering-gallery mode (WGM) microcavities have witnessed significant developments of novel light sources. However, the intrinsic chiral symmetry of WGM microcavity geometry and the resulting equivalence between the two directions of laser propagation in a cavity severely limits further applications of microlasers.

Ultrafast probing reveals intricate dynamics of quantum coherence

Ultrafast, multidimensional spectroscopy unlocks macroscopic-scale effects of quantum electronic correlations.

Astronomy & Space news

Physicists model the supernovae that result from pulsating supergiants like Betelgeuse

Betelgeuse has been the center of significant media attention lately. The red supergiant is nearing the end of its life, and when a star over 10 times the mass of the Sun dies, it goes out in spectacular fashion. With its brightness recently dipping to the lowest point in the last hundred years, many space enthusiasts are excited that Betelgeuse may soon go supernova, exploding in a dazzling display that could be visible even in daylight.

Astronomy student discovers 17 new planets, including Earth-sized world

University of British Columbia astronomy student Michelle Kunimoto has discovered 17 new planets, including a potentially habitable, Earth-sized world, by combing through data gathered by NASA's Kepler mission.

Massive protostar keeps growing despite ionization heating by ultraviolet light

A gigantic embryonic star is still getting bigger, even though it propels vast plumes of hot gas away from itself, RIKEN astronomers have found. The discovery could help to solve an enduring mystery about how massive stars grow so large.

An iron-clad asteroid

Itokawa would normally be a fairly average near-Earth asteroid—a rocky mass measuring only a few hundred metres in diameter, which orbits the sun amid countless other celestial bodies and repeatedly crosses the orbit of the Earth. But there is one fact that sets Itokawa apart: in 2005 it hosted a visit from Earth. The Japanese space agency JAXA sent the Hayabusa probe to Itokawa, which collected soil samples and brought them safely back to Earth—for the first time in the history of space travel. This valuable cargo arrived in 2010 and since then, the samples have been the subject of intensive research.

Examining ice giants with NASA's Webb telescope

Far-flung Uranus and Neptune—the ice giants of our solar system—are as mysterious as they are distant. Soon after its launch in 2021, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will change that by unlocking secrets of the atmospheres of both planets.

The caved-in roof of a lava tube could be a good place to explore on Mars

Want to look inside a deep, dark pit on Mars? The scientists and engineers from the NASA's HiRISE Camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have done just that.

Plasma jet deceleration could be caused by the interaction with the stars

Manel Perucho, professor of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Valencia has proposed an explanation for the origin of the deceleration of plasma jets (loss of speed along the matter and energy channels emanating from the central regions of an active galaxy), a subject that has been debated in recent decades.

Technology news

Deep-learning system detects human presence by harvesting RF signals

Researchers at Syracuse University in New York have recently developed a system that can detect the presence of humans in a given environment by analyzing ambient radio frequency (RF) signals. This new system, presented in a paper pre-published on arXiv, employs a convolutional neural network (CNN) trained on a vast amount of RF data.

Chip flaw exposes billions of WiFi devices

Billions of WiFi devices were exposed to potential hackers due to a chip vulnerability, security experts said in a report released Wednesday.

How to stop an iceberg in its tracks

To determine how melting icebergs could be affecting the ocean, a kayak-sized robot stopped the massive chunks of ice drifting and spinning in the waters of the North Atlantic—all by itself.

More efficient, longer-lasting solid oxide fuel cells

Solid oxide fuel cells, or SOFCs, are devices that produce both electricity and heat by oxidizing a fuel such as natural gas or biogas. This energy-efficient, zero-emission technology has the potential to meet domestic and commercial power, heating and hot water needs.

Researcher discovers huge flaw with anthropometry, the measurement of facial features from images

University of Huddersfield lecturer Dr. Eilidh Noyes was among world-leading experts in the science of face recognition who assembled in Australia for a conference that will lead to policy recommendations designed to aid police, governments, the legal system and border control agencies.

On Leap Year Day, Raspberry Pi 4 cost is sliced

The Raspberry Pi is putting a cherry on top of its 8th anniversary cake by offering its popular top-of-the-line computer module for just $35. It's a remarkable offer for a company that thrust itself onto the computer scene in 2012 with a credit-card sized Raspberry Pi 1 that featured a 700MHz ARM11 processor and 256MB of RAM. The price back in 2012: the same $35.

Virus game 'Plague' app pulled in China: developer

A popular game that allows players to create a virus and spread it worldwide has been pulled from Apple's App Store in China, its developer said, as the country battles a real-life epidemic.

Baidu warns of big hit from coronavirus outbreak

Internet search giant Baidu has warned the deadly coronavirus outbreak could drive revenues down in the first quarter, as it reported steady annual revenue growth.

VW strikes 'dieselgate' compensation deal with German consumers

German automaker Volkswagen said Friday it has struck a compensation deal with domestic consumer groups representing owners of cars caught up in its "dieselgate" emissions cheating scandal.

Robots autonomously navigate underground in DARPA challenge

Whether robots are exploring caves on other planets or disaster areas here on Earth, autonomy enables them to navigate extreme environments without human guidance or access to GPS.

Relegating 'no connection' travel frustrations to the history books

Academics from Heriot-Watt University have developed an antenna which, it is believed, will end the frustrations of billions of passengers each year who lose internet connectivity on journeys globally.

Say goodbye to power outages

With the goal of eliminating brownouts and blackouts, new research from UBC's Okanagan School of Engineering is redesigning how electricity is distributed within power grids.

Labor unions call for US probe of Amazon tactics

Labor unions are urging regulators to investigate whether US tech giant Amazon is abusing its dominance in online retail, cloud computing and logistics.

FCC proposes fines for phone companies that shared user data

U.S. regulators have proposed fining the four major U.S. phone companies more than $200 million combined for improperly disclosing customers' real-time location to other companies.

Bill to help small telecoms excise Huawei goes to Trump

The Senate has passed a bill to provide $1 billion for small telecom providers to replace equipment made by China's Huawei and ZTE, sending the measure to President Donald Trump.

LSU professor relaunches fake news and disinformation resource website

LSU's Manship School of Mass Communication professor Leonard Apcar is relaunching a website designed to aggregate news, analysis and research about fake news and disinformation for students, academics and citizens to defend themselves against misinformation.

Europe airlines chart path through coronavirus crisis

European airlines are reducing flights to Italy due to coronavirus as part of drastic cost-cutting in an industry rocked by fallout from the deadly outbreak.

New tool aims to assist military logistics in evacuating noncombatants

Researchers from the U.S. Army and North Carolina State University have developed a computational model that can be used to expedite military operations aimed at evacuating noncombatants, disaster response or humanitarian relief.

Lufthansa to cancel up to 25% of flights due to virus

German airline Lufthansa on Friday announced that it expects to reduce its flights by up to 25 percent in the coming weeks due to the increasing spread of the new coronavirus.

US Congress passes bill funding 'rip and replace' for Huawei gear

US lawmakers have passed legislation offering $1 billion to help telecom carriers "rip and replace" equipment from Chinese tech firms Huawei and ZTE amid national security concerns.


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CNET Insider
February 28, 2020
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