Science X Newsletter Friday, Aug 14

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for August 14, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Searching for Heavy Higgs bosons decaying into two tau leptons with the ATLAS detector

A light bright and tiny: Scientists build a better nanoscale LED

Stabilizing monolayer nitrides with silicon

Computer scientists set benchmarks to optimize quantum computer performance

Researchers one step closer to bomb-sniffing cyborg locusts

Reconstructing global climate through Earth's history

Sounds of action: Using ears, not just eyes, improves robot perception

Nanoparticles to immunize plants against heat stress

Team discovers a new role for a well-known molecule as a plant hormone

Patients' access to opioid treatment cumbersome

Targeting the LANDO pathway holds a potential clue to treating Alzheimer's disease

Researchers overturn hypothesis underlying the sensitivity of the mammalian auditory system

New method for late-stage functionalization of carbon-hydrogen bonds

Marine food webs under increasing stress

200,000 years ago, humans preferred to sleep in beds

Physics news

Searching for Heavy Higgs bosons decaying into two tau leptons with the ATLAS detector

In particle physics, three out of the four known fundamental forces in the universe, namely electromagnetic, weak and strong interactions, are described by a theory known as the standard model (SM). One extension of this model is supersymmetry (SUSY), a theoretical construct that points to a possible relationship between two classes of particles: bosons and fermions.

Black silicon photodetector breaks the 100% efficiency limit

Aalto University researchers have developed a black silicon photodetector that has reached above 130% efficiency. Thus, for the first time, a photovoltaic device has exceeded the 100% limit, which has earlier been considered as the theoretical maximum for external quantum efficiency.

Exponential scaling of frictional forces in cells

AMOLF researchers have presented a theory that describes the friction between biological filaments that are crosslinked by proteins. Surprisingly, their theory predicts that the friction force scales highly nonlinearly with the number of crosslinkers. The authors believe that cells use this scaling not only to stabilize cellular structures, but also to control their size. The new findings are important for the understanding of the dynamics of cellular structures such as the mitotic spindle, which pulls chromosomes apart during cell division.

A superelastic alloy with a nearly limitless temperature window

A team of researchers at Tohoku University has developed a new kind of superelastic alloy with a nearly limitless superelastic window. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes the new alloy's properties and possible uses for it. Paulo La Roca and Marcos Sade with Universidad Nacional de Cuyo–CNEA have published a Perspective piece in the same journal issue outlining the state of bendable alloys and the work done by the team in Japan.

Investigation of five-layered cuprate reveals Fermi pockets

A team of researchers affiliated with a host of institutions in Japan and one in the U.K has observed Fermi pockets during experiments with a five-layered cuprate, confirming theories. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their study of the cuprate Ba2Ca4Cu5O10(F,O)2 and what they learned about superconductivity. Inna Vishik with the University of California Davis, has published a Perspective piece in the same journal issue giving background on superconductivity research involving cuprates and their transition temperatures and outlining the work done by the team in Japan.

Researchers capture footage of fluid behaving like a solid

Swansea University researchers from the College of Engineering have captured the moments a fluid reacts like a solid through a new method of fluid observation under pressurised conditions.

Monolayer transition metal dichalcogenide lens for high resolution imaging

An ultrathin optical lens made from a monolayer of two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs) could pave the way for next-generation imaging devices. An international team of researchers, led by Prof. Baohua Jia from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, used femtosecond laser writing to pattern nanoparticles on TMDC crystals. The lens has a sub-wavelength resolution and a three-dimensional focusing efficiency of 31%, laying the foundations for optical devices for use in nano-optics and on-chip photonic applications.

Astronomy and Space news

Simulations show lander exhaust could cloud studies of lunar ices

A new study led by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, shows that exhaust from a mid-sized lunar lander can quickly spread around the Moon and potentially contaminate scientifically vital ices at the lunar poles.

Aurora mysteries unlocked with NASA's THEMIS mission

A special type of aurora, draped east-west across the night sky like a glowing pearl necklace, is helping scientists better understand the science of auroras and their powerful drivers out in space. Known as auroral beads, these lights often show up just before large auroral displays, which are caused by electrical storms in space called substorms. Previously, scientists weren't sure if auroral beads are somehow connected to other auroral displays as a phenomenon in space that precedes substorms, or if they are caused by disturbances closer to Earth's atmosphere.

Fastest star ever seen is moving at 8% the speed of light

In the center of our galaxy, hundreds of stars closely orbit a supermassive black hole. Most of these stars have large enough orbits that their motion is described by Newtonian gravity and Kepler's laws of motion. But a few orbit so closely that their orbits can only be accurately described by Einstein's theory of general relativity. The star with the smallest orbit is known as S62. Its closest approach to the black hole has it moving more than 8% of light speed.

Space bricks for lunar habitation

In what could be a significant step forward in space exploration, a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed a sustainable process for making brick-like structures on the moon. It exploits lunar soil, and uses bacteria and guar beans to consolidate the soil into possible load-bearing structures. These 'space bricks' could eventually be used to assemble structures for habitation on the moon's surface, the researchers suggest.

Technology news

Computer scientists set benchmarks to optimize quantum computer performance

Two UCLA computer scientists have shown that existing compilers, which tell quantum computers how to use their circuits to execute quantum programs, inhibit the computers' ability to achieve optimal performance. Specifically, their research has revealed that improving quantum compilation design could help achieve computation speeds up to 45 times faster than currently demonstrated.

Researchers one step closer to bomb-sniffing cyborg locusts

If you want to enhance a locust to be used as a bomb-sniffing bug, there are a few technical challenges that need solving before sending it into the field.

Sounds of action: Using ears, not just eyes, improves robot perception

People rarely use just one sense to understand the world, but robots usually only rely on vision and, increasingly, touch. Carnegie Mellon University researchers find that robot perception could improve markedly by adding another sense: hearing.

Amazon Alexa bug exposed voice data

"Alexa, who is hacking into my system?"

AI software enables real-time 3-D printing quality assessment

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have developed artificial intelligence software for powder bed 3-D printers that assesses the quality of parts in real time, without the need for expensive characterization equipment.

Computer scientist, pixel inventor Russell Kirsch dead at 91

Russell Kirsch, a computer scientist credited with inventing the pixel and scanning the world's first digital photograph, died Aug. 11 at his home in Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian reported. He was 91.

French firm thrusts Microsoft Flight Simulator to new take-off

Many aircraft are still grounded due to the coronavirus pandemic. But would-be and real pilots will soon be able to travel anywhere in the world—virtually—thanks to the first update in years of Microsoft's Flight Simulator game.

Amazon launches online pharmacy in India

US tech giant Amazon launched its first Indian online pharmacy service on Friday as it attempts to grab more of the country's burgeoning e-commerce market.

Deep learning-based cough recognition model helps detect the location of coughing sounds in real time

The Center for Noise and Vibration Control at KAIST announced that their coughing detection camera recognizes where coughing happens, visualizing the locations. The resulting cough recognition camera can track and record information about the person who coughed, their location, and the number of coughs on a real-time basis.

Pandemic helps Angry Birds maker's profits take wing

Finland's Rovio reported Friday that quarterly game revenue climbed to a record 66.9 million euros ($79 million) as people stuck in coronavirus lockdowns spent more time playing its leading title Angry Birds.

An AI algorithm to help identify homeless youth at risk of substance abuse

While many programs and initiatives have been implemented to address the prevalence of substance abuse among homeless youth in the United States, they don't always include data-driven insights about environmental and psychological factors that could contribute to an individual's likelihood of developing a substance use disorder.

Dropbox adds more features including a password management tool for premium users

Dropbox launched a trio of new services, and one of them will remember your passwords so you don't have to.

Navigation preferences across people with a diverse range of disabilities

Researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and the University of California, Irvine (UCI) have collaborated to create a universal design schema for navigation technologies to better support people with disabilities in getting from place to place. Although studies about assistive technologies and navigation have become more popular in recent years, the researchers argue that current research has been too narrow in its view of people with disabilities. For this study, researchers worked with technology users with a broad and diverse range of disabilities to find similarities and differences in their navigation preferences. They then used those findings to create a schema that can inform the design of future technologies.

Cloud computing testbed Chameleon launches third phase with focus on IoT and reproducibility

Over the past decade, cloud computing grew from a tool used primarily by large scientific collaborations to one of the core technologies beneath the hood of the internet and other critical systems. That evolution continues today, as the Internet of Things (IoT), more powerful mobile applications, and serverless computing drive new scientific and commercial uses of cloud computing.

American considering cutting flights to many smaller cities

American Airlines is planning to drop flights to up to 30 smaller U.S. cities if a federal requirement to continue those flights expires at the end of next month, an airline executive familiar with the matter said Thursday.

Party's over: Airbnb restricts under-25s in UK, France and Spain

Airbnb said Friday it is restricting the ability of people under 25 in Britain, France and Spain from renting entire homes via its platform in order to reduce unauthorised parties and ensure safety.

Facebook, Google step up election protection efforts

Facebook on Thursday launched its voting information center as internet platforms unveiled fresh moves to protect the November US election from manipulation and interference.

Survey finds more than half of all Americans back potential ban on TikTok

Most adult TikTok users in the U.S. don't seem to want President Trump to ban the app, according to new Harris Poll data shared with U.S. TODAY.

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