Science X Newsletter Thursday, May 21

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for May 21, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Creating chatbots with multiple conversational skills

Searching for scalar dark matter using compact mechanical resonators

New gravitational-wave model can bring neutron stars into even sharper focus

A clue as to why it's so hard to wake up on a cold winter's morning

Scientists boost microwave signal stability a hundredfold

Tropical forests can handle the heat, up to a point

Next-generation perovskite solar cells pass strict international tests

WISE J135501.90-825838.9 is a young, extremely low-mass substellar binary, study finds

Artificial eye comes closer to human eye capabilities

Bluetooth flaw allows impersonation of trusted devices

Capturing the coordinated dance between electrons and nuclei in a light-excited molecule

Chemical recycling makes useful product from waste bioplastic

Study reveals ancient ocean oxygen levels associated with changing atmospheric carbon dioxide

New insights on allergies may improve diagnosis and treatment

Japan newborn gets liver stem cells in world first

Physics news

Searching for scalar dark matter using compact mechanical resonators

Researchers at University of Delaware, University of Arizona and Haverford College have recently introduced the idea of searching for scalar dark matter using compact acoustic resonators. Their paper, published in Physical Review Letters, theoretically demonstrates the potential of mechanical systems in searching for dark matter.

Scientists boost microwave signal stability a hundredfold

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have used state-of-the-art atomic clocks, advanced light detectors, and a measurement tool called a frequency comb to boost the stability of microwave signals 100-fold. This marks a giant step toward better electronics to enable more accurate time dissemination, improved navigation, more reliable communications and higher-resolution imaging for radar and astronomy. Improving the microwave signal's consistency over a specific time period helps ensure reliable operation of a device or system.

Capturing the coordinated dance between electrons and nuclei in a light-excited molecule

Using a high-speed "electron camera" at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists have simultaneously captured the movements of electrons and nuclei in a molecule after it was excited with light. This marks the first time this has been done with ultrafast electron diffraction, which scatters a powerful beam of electrons off materials to pick up tiny molecular motions.

New mobile health tool measures hemoglobin without drawing blood

Researchers have developed a way to use smartphone images of a person's eyelids to assess blood hemoglobin levels. The ability to perform one of the most common clinical lab tests without a blood draw could help reduce the need for in-person clinic visits, make it easier to monitor patients who are in critical condition, and improve care in low- and middle-income countries where access to testing laboratories is limited.

Scientists unravel challenge in improving fusion performance

A team at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility led by a William & Mary physicist has made a significant advancement in physics understanding that represents a key step toward practical fusion energy.

Astronomy and Space news

New gravitational-wave model can bring neutron stars into even sharper focus

Gravitational-wave researchers at the University of Birmingham have developed a new model that promises to yield fresh insights into the structure and composition of neutron stars.

WISE J135501.90-825838.9 is a young, extremely low-mass substellar binary, study finds

Using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), astronomers have investigated a nearby binary system designated WISE J135501.90-825838.9. The new research reports that the studied object is a young, extremely low-mass substellar binary. The finding is detailed in a paper published May 13 on the arXiv pre-print repository.

NASA's OSIRIS-REx ready for touchdown on asteroid Bennu

NASA's first asteroid sample return mission is officially prepared for its long-awaited touchdown on asteroid Bennu's surface. The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification and Security—Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission has targeted Oct. 20 for its first sample collection attempt.

How galaxies and black holes grow together

Over the past two decades, astronomers have concluded that most, if not all, galaxies host massive black holes at their centers—and the masses of a black hole and its host galaxy are correlated. But how are the two connected? Now, a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Institute for Astronomy (IfA) student participating in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, may have revealed part of the answer.

ATLAS telescope discovers first-of-its-kind asteroid with a comet-like tail

We often think of asteroids and comets as distinct types of small bodies, but astronomers have discovered an increasing number of "crossovers." These objects initially appear to be asteroids, and later develop activity, such as tails, that are typical of comets.

NASA, SpaceX bringing astronaut launches back to home turf

For the first time in nearly a decade, U.S. astronauts are about to blast into orbit aboard an American rocket from American soil. And for the first time in the history of human spaceflight, a private company is running the show.

NASA telescope named for 'Mother of Hubble,' Nancy Grace Roman

NASA is naming its next-generation space telescope currently under development, the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), in honor of Nancy Grace Roman, NASA's first chief astronomer, who paved the way for space telescopes focused on the broader universe.

Technology news

Creating chatbots with multiple conversational skills

In recent years, chatbots have become increasingly sophisticated, and they now provide basic assistance to humans on a variety of online platforms, including Facebook and a number of e-commerce sites. So far, chatbots have typically been designed to excel at one individual conversational skill or style, for instance, in providing customer assistance or offering basic information on a given topic.

Next-generation perovskite solar cells pass strict international tests

Australian scientists have for the first time produced a new generation of experimental solar energy cells that pass strict International Electrotechnical Commission testing standards for heat and humidity.

Artificial eye comes closer to human eye capabilities

A team of researchers at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has built an artificial eye with capabilities that come close to those of the human eye. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes developing the eye and how well it compares to its human counterpart. Hongrui Jiang with the University of Wisconsin has published a News and Views piece outlining the work by the team in the same journal issue.

Bluetooth flaw allows impersonation of trusted devices

A flaw in a Bluetooth protocol is leaving millions of devices vulnerable to attacks, according to a study released by a Swiss research institute.

Bioinspired micro-robot based on white blood cells

A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart invented a tiny micro-robot that resembles a white blood cell traveling through the circulatory system. It has the shape, the size and the moving capabilities of leukocytes, and could perhaps revolutionize the minimally invasive treatment of illnesses.

'One-way' electronic devices enter the mainstream

Waves, whether they are light waves, sound waves, or any other kind, travel in the same manner in forward and reverse directions—this is known as the principle of reciprocity. If we could route waves in one direction only—breaking reciprocity—we could transform a number of applications important in our daily lives. Breaking reciprocity would allow us to build novel "one-way" components such as circulators and isolators that enable two-way communication, which could double the data capacity of today's wireless networks. These components are essential to quantum computers, where one wants to read a qubit without disturbing it. They are also critical to radar systems, whether in self-driving cars or those used by the military.

Huawei's ambitions unbowed despite US pressure

Construction cranes at Huawei's headquarters busily expand an already massive faux-European campus that Walt Disney would envy, as well as an in-house "university" that trains the Chinese telecom giant's growing global workforce.

Apple Face ID fix: It just got a little easier to unlock your iPhone while wearing a face mask

Having trouble unlocking your iPhone with Face ID while wearing a face mask?

Internet connectivity during the novel coronavirus pandemic

The novel coronavirus pandemic is requiring many people to work or study from home, which means that internet connectivity has become a paramount issue in the daily lives of millions of people around the world. John H. Chestnut Professor of Law, Communication, and Computer & Information Science Christopher Yoo explains how the current pandemic brought issues of internet connectivity to the forefront.

Developing a collaborative approach to data and analytics

A Swinburne research team involved in an international study with almost 200 researchers from across the world is pushing for a more collaborative future in scientific research.

Concerns about cybersecurity increase during COVID-19

Cyber criminals are taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis, as cybersecurity experts have tracked a rise in online scams related to the novel coronavirus. Using concerns about the novel coronavirus, cyber criminals have launched deceptive phishing and websites related to the pandemic.

Using the 'shadow effect' to generate electricity

Shadows are often associated with darkness and uncertainty. Now, researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) are giving shadows a positive spin by demonstrating a way to harness this common but often overlooked optical effect to generate electricity. This novel concept opens up new approaches in generating green energy under indoor lighting conditions to power electronics.

Video: Does containing COVID-19 mean surrendering our privacy?

Public health officials are scrambling to rapidly ramp up contact tracing, which involves tracking down people who may have come in contact with someone who has a contagious disease.

Review: Galaxy Z Flip: After 3 months, I can't stop using it

Last year, if you told me about all the things that would happen in 2020, I'd shake my head with disbelief. This includes the fact that I'd like the Galaxy Z Flip foldable phone. When it launched in February I was skeptical because just a year before, Galaxy Fold reviewer units had a number of issues. Then there was the Motorola Razr. It launched before the Flip and even though it was more expensive and had less impressive specs, I found its approach to foldable design more appealing.

Facebook unveils scam warnings for Messenger users

Facebook on Thursday said that its Messenger app will be watching behind the scenes for scammers using the smartphone communication system.

New 3-D printing study shows promise for predictive maintenance

Army researchers have discovered a way to monitor the performance of 3-D printed parts, which tend to have imperfections that affect performance in ways traditionally-machined parts do not.

Facebook ramps up remote work service as pandemic shuts offices

Facebook on Thursday bulked up the Workplace version of its social network that helps employees get their jobs done remotely, investing in a trend it believes will outlast the pandemic.

Advertising slump during virus crisis hits media jobs

Media redundancies, partial layoffs and managerial wage cuts are on the rise as advertising markets implode, despite customers showing an ever stronger appetite for information on the coronavirus crisis.

EasyJet says to resume flying on June 15

British airline EasyJet on Thursday said it would return to the skies on June 15, with "a small number of flights", after grounding its entire fleet because of the coronavirus.

Lufthansa confirms in talks with Berlin on $10 bn rescue

Lufthansa on Thursday confirmed it was in talks with the German government over a nine-billion-euro ($10 billion) rescue that will see Berlin take a massive stake in the coronavirus-stricken airline.

A shaky future for U.S. transit systems, and why we need to save them

COVID-19 and the lockdown of cities have severely impacted transit systems around the world. With people working and studying from home, demand for transit has plunged to unprecedented levels. In pandemic times, transit systems have become hazardous places where the virus can easily spread. So far more than 100 transit workers in U.S. cities have succumbed to coronavirus.

Roundup: 'Ghost of Tsushima' details, new 'Paper Mario' and Evo Online

Mark July 17 on your calendars because it's going to be busy. It will feel a little like Christmas in the summer with two big titles scheduled for release on that day.

Gadgets: Summer fun with this gear

Despite everything else, the summer kicks off this Memorial Day weekend and there are some great gadgets to ensure your fun in the sun has perfect sound, is well-charged and even keeps your beverages chilled.

Implementation, modeling, and exploration of precision visual servo systems

Researcher Zhenyu Ye has made a set of methods that can help designers to make incremental improvements on existing (smart) machines, and to explore new possibilities in their future products. He will defend his Ph.D. on May 26th.


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