Science X Newsletter Monday, Jun 15

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for June 15, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A quantum memory that operates at telecom wavelengths

Research sheds new light on intelligent life existing across the galaxy

Researchers develop artificial synapse that works with living cells

Spectacular bird's-eye view? Hummingbirds see diverse colors humans can only imagine

Jitterbug: Roaches and robots shake it to transition between movements in tricky terrain

New lithium-rich Cepheid discovered in the Milky Way

Tiny sand grains trigger massive glacial surges

Newly observed phenomenon could lead to new quantum devices

Light bulb vibrations yield eavesdropping data

Why pulsars shine bright: A half-century-old mystery solved

Researchers create first room-temp 'magnon switch' with industrially useful properties

Beetle that can survive in volcanic areas inspires new cooling materials

Advanced MRI scans may improve treatment of tremor, Parkinson's disease

Following a variety of healthy eating patterns associated with lower heart disease risk

Disrupted circadian rhythms linked to later Parkinson's diagnoses

Physics news

A quantum memory that operates at telecom wavelengths

To create large quantum networks, researchers will first need to develop efficient quantum repeaters. A key component of these repeaters are quantum memories, which are the quantum-mechanical equivalents of more conventional computer memories, such as random-access memories (RAM).

Newly observed phenomenon could lead to new quantum devices

An exotic physical phenomenon known as a Kohn anomaly has been found for the first time in an unexpected type of material by researchers at MIT and elsewhere. They say the finding could provide new insights into certain fundamental processes that help determine why metals and other materials display the complex electronic properties that underlie much of today's technology.

Why pulsars shine bright: A half-century-old mystery solved

When Jocelyn Bell first observed the emissions of a pulsar in 1967, the rhythmic pulses of radio waves so confounded astronomers that they considered whether the light could be signals sent by an alien civilization.

Researchers create first room-temp 'magnon switch' with industrially useful properties

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have demonstrated a potentially new way to make switches inside a computer's processing chips, enabling them to use less energy and radiate less heat.

Probing dark matter with the Higgs boson

Visible matter—everything from pollen to stars and galaxies—accounts for roughly 15% of the total mass of the universe. The remaining 85% is made of something entirely different from things we can touch and see: dark matter. Despite overwhelming evidence from the observation of gravitational effects, the nature of dark matter and its composition remain unknown.

Elasticity key to plants and animals' ability to sting

A new study explains for the very first time the principles behind the design of stings, needles, and spikes in animals and plants. The principles can be directly used in the development of new tools and medical equipment.

Research reveals how material defects influence melting process

In 1972, physicists J. Michael Kosterlitz and David Thouless published a groundbreaking theory of how phase changes could occur in two-dimensional materials. Experiments soon showed that the theory correctly captured the process of a helium film transitioning from a superfluid to a normal fluid, helping to usher in a new era of research on ultra-thin materials, not to mention earning Kosterlitz, a professor at Brown University, and Thouless shares of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Radiation pressure with recoil: Experimental proof for a 90 year-old theory

Light exerts a certain amount of pressure onto a body: sun sails could thus power space probes in the future. However, when light particles (photons) hit an individual molecule and knock out an electron, the molecule flies toward the light source. Atomic physicists at Goethe University have now observed this for the first time, confirming a 90 year-old theory.

Excitons form superfluid in certain 2-D combos

Mixing and matching computational models of 2-D materials led scientists at Rice University to the realization that excitons—quasiparticles that exist when electrons and holes briefly bind—can be manipulated in new and useful ways.

Astronomy and Space news

Research sheds new light on intelligent life existing across the galaxy

Is there anyone out there? This is an age-old question that researchers have now shed new light on with a study that calculates there could be more than 30 intelligent civilizations throughout our Galaxy. This is an enormous advance over previous estimates which spanned from zero to billions.

New lithium-rich Cepheid discovered in the Milky Way

Italian astronomers have reported the discovery of a new lithium-rich galactic Cepheid star, identified by high-resolution spectroscopic observations. The newfound object, designated V363 Cas, is the fifth lithium-rich classical Cepheid in our Milky Way galaxy. The study detailing the finding was published June 5 on arXiv.org.

Measuring the spin of a black hole

A black hole, at least in our current understanding, is characterized by having "no hair," that is, it is so simple that it can be completely described by just three parameters, its mass, its spin and its electric charge. Even though it may have formed out of a complex mix of matter and energy, all other details are lost when the black hole forms. Its powerful gravitational field creates a surrounding surface, a "horizon," and anything that crosses that horizon (even light) cannot escape. Hence the singularity appears black, and any details about the infalling material are also lost and digested into the three knowable parameters.

Electrically charged dust storms drive Martian chlorine cycle

How's the weather on Mars? Tough on rovers, but very good for generating and moving highly reactive chlorine compounds. New research from Washington University in St. Louis planetary scientists shows that Martian dust storms, like the one that eventually shut down the Opportunity rover, drive the cycle of chlorine from surface to atmosphere and may shed light on the potential for finding life on Mars.

Observatories around the solar system team up to study sun's influence

At the heart of understanding our space environment is the knowledge that conditions throughout space—from the sun to the atmospheres of planets to the radiation environment in deep space—are connected.

While stargazing on Mars, Curiosity rover spots Earth and Venus

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover occasionally stops to stargaze. Recently, it captured a shot of Earth and Venus in the Red Planet's night sky.

Technology news

Jitterbug: Roaches and robots shake it to transition between movements in tricky terrain

Animals in their natural environments effortlessly switch up their movements to hunt, escape from predators and travel with their packs every day.

Light bulb vibrations yield eavesdropping data

In an era of digital eavesdropping where hackers employ a variety of means to take over built-in video cameras, peruse personal digital data and snoop on cellular conversations, researchers have finally seen the light.

Beetle that can survive in volcanic areas inspires new cooling materials

A type of beetle capable of regulating its body temperature in some of the hottest places on Earth is the centerpiece of new research with major potential implications for cooling everything from buildings to electronic devices in an environmentally friendly manner.

The first intuitive programming language for quantum computers

Programming quantum computers is becoming easier: computer scientists at ETH Zurich have designed the first programming language that can be used to program quantum computers as simply, reliably and safely as classical computers. "Programming quantum computers is still a challenge for researchers," says Martin Vechev, computer science professor in ETH's Secure, Reliable and Intelligent Systems Lab (SRI), "which is why I'm so excited that we can now continue ETH Zurich's tradition in the development of quantum computers and programming languages."

Hertz allowed to sell $1 bn in shares despite bankruptcy

Coronavirus-hit car rental company Hertz was granted permission Friday to sell $1 billion in shares, an extraordinary move after it declared bankruptcy in the United States and Canada.

Pandemic leads to a bicycle boom, and shortage, around world

Fitness junkies locked out of gyms, commuters fearful of public transit, and families going stir crazy inside their homes during the coronavirus pandemic have created a boom in bicycle sales unseen in decades.

Facebook rejects call to share revenue with Australian media

Facebook on Monday rejected calls from the Australian government and news companies that it share advertising revenue with the media, suggesting it would rather cut news content from its platform.

Norway suspends virus-tracing app after privacy concerns

Norway's health authorities said on Monday they had suspended an app designed to help trace the spread of the new coronavirus after the national data protection agency said it was too invasive of privacy.

Circular reasoning: Spiraling circuits for more efficient AI

Researchers from the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo designed and built specialized computer hardware consisting of stacks of memory modules arranged in a 3-D spiral for artificial intelligence (AI) applications. This research may open the way for the next generation of energy-efficient AI devices.

AI algorithm identifies age of faces in photos using wrinkles, spots

An algorithm developed by neuroinformatics engineers in Bochum estimates age and ethnic origin as exactly as humans do. The researchers are not yet sure which features it interprets.

Report details best practices for concentrating solar power

So you want to build a concentrating solar power (CSP) plant. Have you developed a technical specification that clearly defines the key project requirements? Does your team have the relevant experience and knowledge to successfully deploy a CSP project? Have you designed your plant for the daily start-ups and transient conditions it will experience? Have you planned appropriately to prepare and mobilize your O&M team to take over operation of the plant at the appropriate time? Have you fully considered the implications of building a plant at a remote location?

Framework built for using graph theory to solve discrete optimization problems

A framework that uses graph theory, which considers how networks are coded, could help make digital communication networks more efficient.

AI reduces 'communication gap' for nonverbal people by as much as half

Researchers have used artificial intelligence to reduce the 'communication gap' for nonverbal people with motor disabilities who rely on computers to converse with others.

India's Tata Motors reports $1.3 bn loss as coronavirus bites

India's Tata Motors Monday reported a loss of $1.3 billion for the first three months of this year as sales in its key markets of China and Europe were hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Walmart partners with Shopify to expand e-commerce 'marketplace'

Walmart said Monday it was teaming up with e-commerce platform Shopify to expand its online marketplace in a ramped-up challenge to Amazon for third-party sellers.

WhatsApp launches first digital payments option

Facebook on Monday added a digital payments feature to its WhatsApp messaging service, starting in Brazil but with an eye to expanding around the world.

Madrid announces 3.75 billion euro injection for car industry

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced a 3.75-billion-euro aid plan for the car industry, a pillar of its economy that has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Media calls on EU to crack down on online disinformation

Broadcasters, publishers and journalists called on the European Commission on Monday to implement "much stronger measures" to combat disinformation on internet platforms such as Google and Facebook.

Moving to energy-efficient lighting more than just a bright idea

A new University of Otago-led study shows moving to more energy-efficient lighting would help New Zealand achieve 100 percent renewable electricity generation.

We played 'The Last of Us Part II'. Here's what you should know

What better way to escape the real-world horrors of a global pandemic, then to play a video game based on a more terrifying and stressful outbreak?

Building a circular chemical economy

Carbon dioxide is essential to plant and animal life, but in excess it negatively impacts the environment by absorbing and radiating heat in the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.

Airbnb speeds up initiative to curb racial discrimination

Airbnb said Monday it was accelerating its effort to uncover and root out race-based discrimination on its home-sharing platform with its "Project Lighthouse" initiative.

Ex-eBay execs sent cockroaches to harassment victims: US prosecutors

Six former eBay executives and employees sent a box of live cockroaches, a bloody pig mask and a funeral wreath to a couple they were harassing, US prosecutors alleged Monday.


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