Science X Newsletter Thursday, Oct 1

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for October 1, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Einstein's description of gravity just got much harder to beat

Amazon study shows big conservation gains possible for imperilled freshwater ecosystems

Key control mechanism allows cells to form tissues and anatomical structures in the developing embryo

Ice discharge in the North Pacific set off series of climate events during last ice age

'Echo mapping' in faraway galaxies could measure vast cosmic distances

Nights warming faster than days across much of the planet

From San Diego to Italy, study suggests wisdom can protect against loneliness

Metal-ion breakthrough leads to new biomaterials

Very Large Telescope spots galaxies trapped in the web of a supermassive black hole

Ecological power storage battery made of vanillin

Timing the life of antimatter particles may lead to better cancer treatment

Climate: Iodic acid influences cloud formation at the North Pole

How harmful algae respond to rising water temperatures

New neuron type discovered only in primate brains

Earthquake forecasting clues unearthed in strange precariously balanced rocks

Physics news

Einstein's description of gravity just got much harder to beat

Einstein's theory of general relativity—the idea that gravity is matter warping spacetime—has withstood over 100 years of scrutiny and testing, including the newest test from the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration, published today in the latest issue of Physical Review Letters.

Timing the life of antimatter particles may lead to better cancer treatment

Experts in Japan have devised a simple way to glean more detailed information out of standard medical imaging scans. A research team made up of atomic physicists and nuclear medicine experts at the University of Tokyo and the National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS) has designed a timer that can enable positron emission tomography (PET) scanners to detect the oxygen concentration of tissues throughout patients' bodies. This upgrade to PET scanners may lead to a future of better cancer treatment by quickly identifying parts of tumors with more aggressive cell growth.

What tiny surfing robots teach us about surface tension

Propelled by chemical changes in surface tension, microrobots surfing across fluid interfaces lead researchers to new ideas.

Detection of gravitational wave 'lensing' could be some way off

Gravitational wave scientists looking for evidence of "lensing," in which the faintest gravitational wave signals become amplified, are unlikely to make these detections in the near future according to new analysis by scientists at the University of Birmingham.

Record-breaking, floating laser resonator

Physical Review X recently reported on a new optical resonator from the Technion—Israel Institute of Technology that is unprecedented in resonance enhancement. Developed by graduate student Jacob Kher-Alden under the supervision of Professor Tal Carmon, the Technion-born resonator has record-breaking capabilities in resonance enhancement.

Tunable free-electron X-ray radiation from van der Waals materials

Technion researchers have developed accurate radiation sources that are expected to lead to breakthroughs in medical imaging and other areas. They have developed precise radiation sources that may replace the expensive and cumbersome facilities currently used for such tasks. The suggested apparatus produces controlled radiation with a narrow spectrum that can be tuned with high resolution, at a relatively low energy investment. The findings are likely to lead to breakthroughs in a variety of fields, including the analysis of chemicals and biological materials, medical imaging, X-ray equipment for security screening, and other uses of accurate X-ray sources.

Radar developed for rapid rescue of buried people

When someone is buried by an avalanche, earthquake or other disaster, a rapid rescue can make the difference between life and death. The Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques FHR has developed a new kind of mobile radar device that can search hectare-sized areas quickly and thoroughly. The new technology combines greater mobility with accurate detection of vital signs.

Detector array demonstrates novel microwave readout

Over the years, SRON has developed increasingly sensitive Transition Edge Sensors (TES) for space missions such as SPICA and Athena. One of those TES detector arrays, developed as backup X-ray microcalorimeters for Athena, has now played a vital role to demonstrate a new readout technology developed at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan. This technology is called low-noise microwave SQUIDs multiplexed readout. The research results are published in Applied Physics Letters.

Astronomy and Space news

'Echo mapping' in faraway galaxies could measure vast cosmic distances

When you look up at the night sky, how do you know whether the specks of light that you see are bright and far away, or relatively faint and close by? One way to find out is to compare how much light the object actually emits with how bright it appears. The difference between its true luminosity and its apparent brightness reveals an object's distance from the observer.

Very Large Telescope spots galaxies trapped in the web of a supermassive black hole

With the help of ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have found six galaxies lying around a supermassive black hole when the Universe was less than a billion years old. This is the first time such a close grouping has been seen so soon after the Big Bang and the finding helps us better understand how supermassive black holes, one of which exists at the centre of our Milky Way, formed and grew to their enormous sizes so quickly. It supports the theory that black holes can grow rapidly within large, web-like structures which contain plenty of gas to fuel them.

A roadmap for science on the moon

Scientists at CU Boulder have laid out a roadmap for a decade of scientific research at the moon.

Hubble watches exploding star fade into oblivion

When a star unleashes as much energy in a matter of days as our Sun does in several billion years, you know it's not going to remain visible for long.

Potty training: NASA tests new $23M titanium space toilet

NASA's first new space potty in decades—a $23 million titanium toilet better suited for women—is getting a not-so-dry run at the International Space Station before eventually flying to the moon.

Recipe is different but Saturn's moon Titan has ingredients for life

Catherine Neish is counting the days until her space launch. While the Western planetary geologist isn't space-suiting up for her own interstellar voyage, she is playing a key role in an international mission—dispatching a robotic drone to Saturn's moon Titan—set to blast-off in 2027.

AI is helping scientists discover fresh craters on Mars

Sometime between March 2010 and May 2012, a meteor streaked across the Martian sky and broke into pieces, slamming into the planet's surface. The resulting craters were relatively small—just 13 feet (4 meters) in diameter. The smaller the features, the more difficult they are to spot using Mars orbiters. But in this case—and for the first time—scientists spotted them with a little extra help: artificial intelligence (AI).

Search for new worlds at home with NASA's Planet Patrol project

Help NASA find exoplanets, worlds beyond our solar system, through a newly launched website called Planet Patrol. This citizen science platform allows members of the public to collaborate with professional astronomers as they sort through a stockpile of star-studded images collected by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).

First tests for land­ing the Mar­tian Moons eX­plo­ration rover

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission will have a German-French rover on board when it is launched in 2024. The rover will land on the Martian moon Phobos and explore its surface for approximately three months. Initial landing tests are currently underway at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Landing and Mobility Test Facility (Lande- und Mobilitätstest Anlage; LAMA) in Bremen. Using a first preliminary development model, the engineers are determining how robust the design of the approximately 25-kilogram rover must be to withstand an impact on the moon's surface after a freefall of about 40 to 100 meters.

Image: Simulated satellite rendezvous

A camera closes in on a detailed model satellite, to simulate the extreme "guidance navigation and control" (GNC) challenge of rendezvousing with an uncooperative target, such as a derelict satellite or distant asteroid.

Technology news

Insects found to use natural wing oscillations to stabilize flight

A team of researchers from the University of California, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has found that insects use natural oscillations to stabilize their flight. In their study, published in the journal Science Robotics, the researchers used what they describe as "a type of calculus" (chronological calculus) to better understand the factors that are involved in keeping flapping winged insects aloft. Matěj Karásek, with Delft University of Technology has published a Focus piece in the same journal issue describing the work done by the team on this new effort.

New technique could lead to rewritable memory devices and low-power electronics

A research team led by Alex Zettl, senior faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division and professor of physics at UC Berkeley, has developed a new technique for fabricating tiny circuits from ultrathin materials for next-generation electronics, such as rewritable, low-power memory circuits. Their findings were reported in the journal Nature Electronics.

Hackers targeting companies that fake corporate responsibility

A new study suggests some hackers aren't just in it for the money but instead are motivated by their disappointment in a company's attempts to fake social responsibility.

Could an autonomous vehicle harm you?

Would you trust your life to an autonomous vehicle? Do you understand how it will respond in dangerous situations? Are you willing to get in without knowing the risks?

How machine learning helps scientists hunt for particles, wrangle floppy proteins and speed discovery

Machine learning is ubiquitous in science and technology these days. It outperforms traditional computational methods in many areas, for instance by vastly speeding up tedious processes and handling huge batches of data. At the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, machine learning is already opening new avenues to advance the lab's unique scientific facilities and research.

Google to pay $1 billion over 3 years for news content

Google will pay publishers $1 billion over the next three years for their content, the company's latest effort to defuse tensions over its dominance of the news industry.

Boeing to consolidate US 787 production in cost-saving move

Boeing will consolidate manufacturing of the 787 Dreamliner plane to one plant in the US, ending production of the wide-body jet in Washington state, the company announced Thursday.

Why Chromecast is the most interesting of Google's new products

For the past several years, two of the hottest products during the holidays have been low-cost streaming devices from Amazon and Roku, often discounted down to around $25 for end of the year sales.

Virus-hit Rolls-Royce boosts finances with £5.0bn plan

British aerospace giant Rolls-Royce, facing plunging demand as the coronavirus pandemic sparks an air transport crisis, launched plans Thursday to shore up its finances by up to £5.0 billion ($6.4 billion, 5.5 billion euros).

AFP launches fact-checking programme with TikTok

AFP announced Thursday the launch of a new fact-checking initiative with TikTok to combat the spread of misinformation over the short-form viral video app.

Layoffs loom for beleaguered US airline industry

Workers from the beleaguered US airline industry were making a last-ditch public appeal this week to coax more money from Capitol Hill power brokers to save their jobs.

'Hardware failure' halts trade all day for Tokyo stock markets

Trade on Tokyo's stock markets, which are among the world's biggest, was halted for the entire day Thursday after the system was hit by one of the worst glitches in its history.

Turkey begins life under strict social media rules

Turkey on Thursday entered a new era of tight social media restrictions which threaten to erase the local presence of Facebook and Twitter should they fail to take down contentious posts.

German privacy watchdog fines H&M $41M for spying on workers

A German privacy watchdog said Thursday that it is fining clothing retailer H&M 35.3 million euros ($41 million) after the company was found to have spied on some of its employees in Germany.

New Ford CEO replaces CFO, pledges stronger profit margins

On his first day in Ford's top job, CEO Jim Farley is replacing the company's chief financial officer and announcing other structural and management changes.

Flexible power consumption for production facilities

The volatile output of electricity from wind farms and photovoltaic plants can pose a real headache for energy companies. This is because of the need to maintain a stable supply of power at all times, even when such facilities are generating little or no electricity. Part of the solution to this problem is to adapt the power consumption of production plants to the fluctuating output from wind and solar generation. Researchers from the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft have now piloted this innovative concept in the Augsburg region. The results have been encouraging so far: the team has been able to show that energy-adaptive production—adapting industry's consumption of power to the actual generating capacity—not only works in practice but also reduces CO2 emissions.

Detecting disruptions in manufacturing operations early

Automated assembly operations are a key to success. They enable stable manufacturing, high precision manufacturing and greater responsiveness to market demands. The Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF's innovative digital instrumentation and information networks are increasing the transparency of aircraft manufacturer Airbus's manufacturing operations and optimizing collaboration between humans and machines.

Facebook bans ads that seek to delegitimize the election or make false claims about voting

Facebook will ban any ads that seek to delegitimize the outcome of the election, the company said Wednesday.

Facebook, Twitter flounder in QAnon crackdown

Facebook and Twitter promised to stop encouraging the growth of the baseless conspiracy theory QAnon, which fashions President Donald Trump as a secret warrior against a supposed child-trafficking ring run by celebrities and government officials, after it reached an audience of millions on their platforms this year.


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