Science X Newsletter Week 19

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 19:

Vitamin D appears to play role in COVID-19 mortality rates

After studying global data from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, researchers have discovered a strong correlation between severe vitamin D deficiency and mortality rates.

Vitamin D linked to low coronavirus death rate

A new study has found an association between low average levels of vitamin D and high numbers of COVID-19 cases and mortality rates across 20 European countries.

'Artificial leaf' concept inspires research into solar-powered fuel production

Rice University researchers have created an efficient, low-cost device that splits water to produce hydrogen fuel.

Ancient river systems on Mars seen in unparalleled detail

Researchers have spent decades looking for evidence of ancient water on Mars. As technology has progressed, more evidence has come to light that rivers, lakes and even oceans were once abundant on the red planet.

Scientists demonstrate quantum radar prototype

Physicists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have invented a new radar prototype that uses quantum entanglement as a method of object detection. This successful integration of quantum mechanics into devices could significantly impact the biomedical and security industries. The research is published in the journal Science Advances.

This nurse didn't just create a replacement N95 mask—hers works better

As Tommye Austin made her way around the COVID-19 unit, she saw patients on ventilators fighting for each breath. She heard nurses, respiratory therapists and other workers talking about how anxious they were about being exposed to the coronavirus, and perhaps spreading it to their loved ones.

Billions projected to suffer nearly unlivable heat in 2070

In just 50 years, 2 billion to 3.5 billion people, mostly the poor who can't afford air conditioning, will be living in a climate that historically has been too hot to handle, a new study said.

Gemini gets lucky and takes a deep dive into Jupiter's clouds

Researchers using a technique known as "lucky imaging" with the Gemini North telescope on Hawaii's Maunakea have collected some of the highest resolution images of Jupiter ever obtained from the ground. These images are part of a multi-year joint observing program with the Hubble Space Telescope in support of NASA's Juno mission. The Gemini images, when combined with the Hubble and Juno observations, reveal that lightning strikes, and some of the largest storm systems that create them, are formed in and around large convective cells over deep clouds of water ice and liquid. The new observations also confirm that dark spots in the famous Great Red Spot are actually gaps in the cloud cover and not due to cloud color variations.

Electrical activity in living organisms mirrors electrical fields in atmosphere

Most electrical activity in vertebrates and invertebrates occurs at extremely low frequencies, and the origin—and medical potential—of these frequencies have eluded scientists. Now a Tel Aviv University study provides evidence for a direct link between electrical fields in the atmosphere and those found in living organisms, including humans.

To make an atom-sized machine, you need a quantum mechanic

Here's a new chapter in the story of the miniaturisation of machines: researchers in a laboratory in Singapore have shown that a single atom can function as either an engine or a fridge. Such a device could be engineered into future computers and fuel cells to control energy flows.

Cold air rises—what that means for Earth's climate

Conventional knowledge has it that warm air rises while cold air sinks. But a study from the University of California, Davis, found that in the tropical atmosphere, cold air rises due to an overlooked effect—the lightness of water vapor. This effect helps to stabilize tropical climates and buffer some of the impacts of a warming climate.

Astronomers find closest black hole to Earth

A team of astronomers from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and other institutes has discovered a black hole lying just 1000 light-years from Earth. The black hole is closer to our Solar System than any other found to date and forms part of a triple system that can be seen with the naked eye. The team found evidence for the invisible object by tracking its two companion stars using the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile. They say this system could just be the tip of the iceberg, as many more similar black holes could be found in the future.

Potentially fatal combinations of humidity and heat are emerging across the globe

Most everyone knows that humid heat is harder to handle than the "dry" kind. And recently, some scientists have projected that later in the century, in parts of the tropics and subtropics, warming climate could cause combined heat and humidity to reach levels rarely if ever experienced before by humans. Such conditions would ravage economies, and possibly even surpass the physiological limits of human survival.

Researchers discover a gene in honey bees that causes virgin birth

In a study published today in Current Biology, researchers from University of Sydney have identified the single gene that determines how Cape honey bees reproduce without ever having sex. One gene, GB45239 on chromosome 11, is responsible for virgin births.

U.S. COVID-19 death rate is 1.3%, study finds

(HealthDay)—Among detected cases of COVID-19 in the United States, 1.3% of patients will die from the illness, according to a new calculation. But that rate could increase if current precautions and health care capacities change, the study's author said.

Jurrassic Park got it wrong: Research indicates raptors didn't hunt in packs

A new University of Wisconsin Oshkosh analysis of raptor teeth published in the peer-reviewed journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology shows that Velociraptors and their kin likely did not hunt in big, coordinated packs like dogs.

New study shines light on mysterious giant viruses

In recent years, giant viruses have been unearthed in several of the world's most mysterious locations, from the thawing permafrost of Siberia to locations unknown beneath the Antarctic ice. But don't worry, "The Thing" is still a work of science fiction. For now.

China's space test hits snag with capsule 'anomaly'

A cargo capsule that was part of a key test in China's space programme experienced an "anomaly" Wednesday during its return trip, the space authority said.

Carbon emissions on the moon put theory of moon birth in doubt

A team of researchers affiliated with multiple institutions in Japan has found evidence of embedded carbon emissions on the moon. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes their study of carbon data from the KAGUYA lunar orbiter and what they learned from it.

Scientific team finds new, unique mutation in coronavirus study

As the coronavirus pandemic has swept across the U.S., in addition to tracking the number of COVID daily cases, there is a worldwide scientific community engaged in tracking the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself.


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