Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Mar 3

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for March 3, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Less is more for Maxwell's Demon in quantum heat engines

A simulation framework for recreating bat behavior in quad-rotor UAVs

New eclipsing binary millisecond pulsar discovered by FAST

Milky Way's warp caused by galactic collision, Gaia suggests

The microbes in your mouth, and a reminder to floss and go to the dentist

Air pollution 'pandemic' shortens lives by 3 years: study

Engineers zap and unstick underwater smart glue

Blast off: space minnow Indonesia eyes celestial success

Optimizing use of the 'hug hormone' to help those with social difficulties

Unstable rock pillars near reservoirs can produce dangerous water waves

Visceral fat delivers signal to the brain that hurts cognition

Google Authenticator app susceptible to malware attacks

Study: Rapamycin has harmful effects when telomeres are short

Obesity promotes virulence of influenza

Advances in computer modeling, protein development propel cellular engineering

Physics news

Less is more for Maxwell's Demon in quantum heat engines

Over 150 years after the famous Scottish scientist James Clerk Maxwell first introduced the idea, the concept of Maxwell's demon continues to perplex physicists and information scientists. The demon he dreamed up in a thought experiment, which could sort fast and slow particles into separate sides of a container, seemed to violate the second law of thermodynamics. By taking into account the demon's memory, physicists were able to bring the demon in line with the laws of statistical mechanics for classical systems, but the situation grew contentious once again when quantum heat engines were proposed, as thermodynamics physicists and information theorists wrangled over viable explanations. Recent results from physical modeling may bring the different arguments together.

Unstable rock pillars near reservoirs can produce dangerous water waves

In many coastal zones and gorges, unstable cliffs often fail when the foundation rock beneath them is crushed. Large water waves can be created, threatening human safety.

How can we stop the spread of false rumors about COVID-19? Better math

Think of all the false rumors that went viral about COVID-19—it got so bad, the World Health Organization called it an "infodemic." Whether it is in hoaxes or a viral conspiracy theory, information travels fast these days. Just how fast and far information moves depends on who shares it, and where, from discussions on social media to conversations with fellow commuters on your way to work.

Scientists shed light on mystery of dark matter

Scientists have identified a sub-atomic particle that could have formed the "dark matter" in the Universe during the Big Bang.

Hope for a new permanent magnet that's cheap and sustainable

Scientists have made a breakthrough in the search for a new, sustainable permanent magnet.

Manipulating atoms to make better superconductors

Scientists have been interested in superconductors—materials that transmit electricity without losing energy—for a long time because of their potential for advancing sustainable energy production. However, major advances have been limited because most materials that conduct electricity have to be very cold, anywhere from -425 to -171 degrees Fahrenheit, before they become superconductors.

When superconductivity material science meets nuclear physics

Imagine a wire with a thickness roughly one-hundred thousand times smaller than a human hair and only visible with the world's most powerful microscopes. They can come in many varieties, including semiconductors, insulators and superconductors.

Honeywell unveils plan for 'most powerful' quantum computer

US manufacturing and technology group Honeywell said Tuesday it will bring to market "the world's most powerful quantum computer" aimed at tackling complex scientific and business challenges.

They are there and they are gone: ICARUS chases a fourth neutrino

Argon. It's all around us. It's in the air we breathe, incandescent lights we read by and plasma globes many of us played with as children.

Scientists created an 'impossible' superconducting compound

Scientists have created new superconducting compounds of hydrogen and praseodymium, a rare-earth metal, one substance being quite a surprise from the perspective of classical chemistry. The study helped find the optimal metals for room-temperature superconductors. The results were published in Science Advances.

Virtualized metamaterial opens door for acoustics application and beyond

Playing back recorded audio from digital storage allows us to enjoy music without the physical presence of a musical instrument to generate resonating sound. In a seemingly unrelated area called metamaterials, scientists design different physical structures also resonating with sound or light, to achieve many intriguing phenomena such as negative refraction and invisibility.

Biologically inspired ultrathin arrayed camera for high-contrast and high-resolution imaging

Vision systems in nature provide intriguing optical design inspiration for ultracompact imaging systems. Scientists in South Korea have now demonstrated a fully packaged ultrathin insect-eye camera, which offers high contrast and super-resolution imaging by using new optical materials and techniques. This ultrathin arrayed camera could have practical use in mobile devices, advanced surveillance vehicles, and endoscopes without technical reservation.

How a new quantum approach can develop faster algorithms to deduce complex networks

Our world has no dearth of complex networks—from cellular networks in biology to intricate web networks in technology. These networks also form the basis of various applications in virtually all fields of science, and to analyze and manipulate these networks, specific "search" algorithms are required. But, conventional search algorithms are slow and, when dealing with large networks, require a long computational time. Recently, search algorithms based on the principles of quantum mechanics have been found to vastly outperform classical approaches.

Scientists create the first diamond X-ray micro lens

After fourth-generation synchrotrons were invented (these are particle accelerators, which are, in fact, giant research facilities), there was an urgent need for a fundamentally new optics that could withstand high temperatures and radiation loads created by a powerful X-ray stream.

Astronomy & Space news

New eclipsing binary millisecond pulsar discovered by FAST

Using the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), astronomers have discovered a new eclipsing binary millisecond pulsar in the globular cluster NGC 6341 (or M92). The newly found object received designation PSR J1717+4308A or M92A. The finding is detailed in a paper published February 24 on arXiv.org.

Milky Way's warp caused by galactic collision, Gaia suggests

Astronomers have pondered for years why our galaxy, the Milky Way, is warped. Data from ESA's star-mapping satellite Gaia suggest the distortion might be caused by an ongoing collision with another, smaller, galaxy, which sends ripples through the galactic disc like a rock thrown into water.

Blast off: space minnow Indonesia eyes celestial success

Workers snap the miniature rocket's wings into place as Indonesia's little-known space agency readies its latest launch on barren scrubland in East Java.

Shedding new light on black hole ejections

Academics from the University of Cape Town (UCT) are part of a research group led by the University of Oxford's Department of Physics that has observed a black hole ejecting material at close to the speed of light out to some of the largest angular distances (separations) ever seen. These observations have allowed a deeper understanding of how black holes feed into their environment.

Globular cluster billowing in the galactic wind

The galactic magnetic field plays an important role in the evolution of the galaxy, but its small-scale behaviour is still poorly known. It is also unknown whether it permeates the halo of the galaxy or not. By using observations of pulsars in the halo globular cluster 47 Tuc, an international research team led by Federico Abbate from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany who started this work at University of Milano Bicocca and INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Cagliari, could probe the galactic magnetic field at scales of a few light years for the first time. They discovered an unexpected strong magnetic field in the direction of the cluster. This magnetic field points perpendicularly to the galactic disk and could be explained by an interaction with the galactic wind. This is a magnetized outflow that extends from the galactic disk into the surrounding halo and its existence has never been proven before.

Milky Way galaxy 'reverse engineered'

Like taking apart a piece of technology, the Milky Way galaxy has been reverse engineered to find out how it was assembled.

Protein discovered inside a meteorite

A team of researchers from Plex Corporation, Bruker Scientific LLC and Harvard University has found evidence of a protein inside of a meteorite. They have written a paper describing their findings and have uploaded it to the arXiv preprint server.

Total lunar eclipse: observing the Earth as a transiting planet

Astronomers have succeeded in recording sunlight shining through the Earth's atmosphere in a manner similar to the study of distant exoplanets. During the extraordinary occasion of a lunar eclipse, the Large Binocular Telescope observed the light that was filtered by the Earth's atmosphere and reflected by the moon in unique detail. In addition to oxygen and water, atomic spectral lines of sodium, calcium and potassium were detected in our atmosphere in this way first time.

NJIT researchers ready follow-up investigation bound for International Space Station

NJIT researchers will look to continue a successful string of space-bound studies at the International Space Station (ISS) when a new payload of experimental samples launches to the station with the SpaceX CRS-20 commercial cargo resupply mission.

Technology news

A simulation framework for recreating bat behavior in quad-rotor UAVs

In recent years, researchers worldwide have been trying to develop computational techniques that reproduce behaviors of humans or animals in robots and machines. This includes, for instance, the structure and functioning of the human brain, the swarm communication ability of bees, the locomotion styles of specific species of fishes or amphibians, and much more.

Google Authenticator app susceptible to malware attacks

New research indicates the Google Authenticator app on Android devices is vulnerable to a form of malware known as Cerberus. According to financial cyber security specialist ThreatFabric, this banking Trojan can steal one-time pass codes generated by the app and potentially enable hackers to access bank accounts.

Data-driven machine learning is the best approach for advanced battery modelling

Demand for electrification of transport has emerged in recent years due to increasing concerns about global warming. The widespread adoption of electric vehicles will result in reduced harmful emissions and cleaner air, among other social and economic benefits. The battery industry is in need of software solutions for battery manufacturers to reduce fabrication and development costs while improving key batteries metrics.

Cyber toolkit a 'complete package' for detectives, companies

A growing number of law enforcement agencies from across the world want to use Purdue University technology to help them track down cybercriminals with a toolkit that also can help companies stop insider threats and technology-facilitated abuse.

Ex-Google self-driving car project picks up new investors

Google's former autonomous vehicle project is becoming a more autonomous business by bringing it in its first investors besides its corporate parent.

Australia's newswire axed amid pressure from digital giants

Australia's only national newswire will be shuttered after 85 years of operation, with around 180 staff told Tuesday their jobs will end in June.

Foxconn says China factories operating at 50% over virus outbreak

Taiwanese tech giant and iPhone assembler Foxconn said Tuesday its Chinese factories are operating at 50 percent of seasonal capacity and are expecting to take a hit for the current quarter due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Dark web study reveals how new offenders get involved in online pedophile communities

The "dark web"—a collection of heavily encrypted websites, forums and social networks—notoriously provides spaces for illegal activities. It's where child sexual offenders meet to support each other and share indecent images and advice on abuse techniques—with near-complete anonymity. This provides a resource for individuals to learn the "skills" to become more dangerous offenders.

Even after blocking an ex on Facebook, the platform promotes painful reminders

Anthony Pinter, a Ph.D. student in information science at the University of Colorado Boulder, recently completed a study on people's experiences with upsetting and unexpected reminders of an ex on Facebook.

Game designers have new tool to evaluate player experience

A free tool that will enable game developers to accurately evaluate the experience of video game players has been launched by researchers at the University of Waterloo.

Simplified modelling of application and infrastructure

In recent years, the global market has seen a tremendous rise in utility computing, which serves as the back-end for practically any new technology, methodology or advancement in ICT, from healthcare to aerospace. The industry is entering a new era of heterogeneous, software-defined, high-performance computing environments and brings with it new challenges.

Children's use of social media is creating a new type of digital native

The first generation of people who have grown up using social media such as Facebook and Instagram are entering the workforce. For as long as this breed of so-called "digital natives" has been alive, some academics have been arguing that using the internet from a young age would shape the way people learn, work and even think.

It's not just phishing emails, now we have to worry about fake calls, too

When your boss calls and tells you to wire $100,000 to a supplier, be on your toes. It could be a fake call.

Reddit CEO claims TikTok app is 'fundamentally parasitic' and spyware

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman presumably won't be singing on TikTok anytime soon.

Dear passwords: Forget you. Here's what is going to protect us instead

Do you hate remembering passwords? Soon, you may be able to forget them for good.

PayPal, passwords and Wi-Fi: 11 tips for better digital security

The data breach news this week was terrible, as usual.

Researchers develop flooding prediction tool

By incorporating the architecture of city drainage systems and readings from flood gauges into a comprehensive statistical framework, researchers at Texas A&M University can now accurately predict the evolution of floods in extreme situations like hurricanes. With their new approach, the researchers said their algorithm could forecast the flow of flood water in almost real-time, which can then lead to timelier emergency response and planning.

Twitter staff told to work from home over virus fears

Twitter staff across the world were asked to work from home starting Monday in an effort to stop the spread of the deadly new coronavirus epidemic.

Coronavirus could push airlines to merge: AF-KLM chief

The spread of the coronavirus could force weak airlines to merge with competitors, the head of Air France-KLM and the A4E association of European airlines said Tuesday.

It's a bird. It's a plane. It's an e-scooter?

Since e-scooters arrived in Atlanta in spring 2018, roads and sidewalks from midtown to downtown have been abuzz with the devices, which provide a fast, fun and affordable transportation alternative.

The virtual paper-making machine of the future

A virtual paper-making machine makes it possible to test run and optimize operations without costly downtime in the industry. New research at Karlstad University saves money and spares the environment.

New lithium batteries from used cell phones

Lithium-ion batteries are used around the world, and though over the last few years they have had some competition, such as sodium and magnesium, they continue to be indispensable due to their high density and capacity. The issue is this: this metal has major availability and concentration problems. Almost 85% of its reserves are located in what is known as the Lithium Triangle, a geographical area found on the borders of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile. In addition, it seems that demand will rocket over the next few decades because of the implementation of electric vehicles. Each car equals about 7,000 cell phone batteries, so reusing their different components has become an issue of utmost importance.

Super Tuesday marks first major security test of 2020

Tuesday's presidential primaries across 14 states mark the first major security test since the 2018 midterm elections, with state and local election officials saying they are prepared to deal with everything from equipment problems to false information about the coronavirus.


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