Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Dec 30

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for December 30, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Designing Dirac vortex topological photonic crystal fibres

Organic meats found to have approximately the same greenhouse impact as regular meats

Observations shed more light on the atmosphere of white dwarf GD 424

ATLAS project finds 12 new species of sea creatures

Torpor: a neat survival trick once thought rare in Australian animals is actually widespread

Fish sex organs boosted under high CO2

Potential new prescription strategy for stroke discovered

Researchers prepare tailored and wearable sensor via 3-D printed UV-curable sacrificial mold

Scientists further improve accuracy of directional polarimetric camera

The map of nuclear deformation takes the form of a mountain landscape

Unique susceptibility to unique Sars-CoV-2 variants and vaccines

Novel public-private partnership facilitates development of fusion energy

Largest study of Asia's rivers unearths 800 years of paleoclimate patterns

AI-controlled vertical farms promise revolution in food production

Imaging of ballistic wounds, bullet composition and implications for MRI safety

Physics news

Designing Dirac vortex topological photonic crystal fibres

Optical fibres made of topological photonic crystals allow improved versatility and control across the modes and polarization of light they transmit. Compositionally, photonic crystals contain bandgaps to prevent the passage of light relative to specific wave energies and momenta much like an on/off switch. In a new report now published on Nature Light: Science & Applications, Hao Lin, and Ling Lu at the Institute of Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences transmitted pure "single mode" light across a large frequency range via a topological feature known as a "Dirac vortex." The concept can lead to applications that transmit light signals more stably across long distances. While the work is theoretical at present, the researchers suggest the use of fibers made from silica based on stack-and-draw methods or three-dimensional (3-D) printing technologies to fabricate and test these theoretical concepts.

Scientists further improve accuracy of directional polarimetric camera

Recently, researchers from the Optical Remote Sensing Center of the Anhui Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics (AIOFM), Hefei Institutes of Physical Science (HFIPS) have successfully improved the accuracy of directional polarimetric camera (DPC) laboratory polarization calibration via new methods.

The map of nuclear deformation takes the form of a mountain landscape

Until recently, scientists believed that only very massive nuclei could have excited zero-spin states of increased stability with a significantly deformed shape. Meanwhile, an international team of researchers from Romania, France, Italy, the USA and Poland showed in their latest article that such states also exist in much lighter nickel nuclei. Positive verification of the theoretical model used in these experiments allows describing the properties of nuclei unavailable in Earth laboratories.

Astronomy and Space news

Observations shed more light on the atmosphere of white dwarf GD 424

Astronomers have performed spectroscopic observations of a newly detected white dwarf star known as GD 424. Results of the observational campaign provide more insights into the atmosphere of this object. The study was presented in a paper published December 23 on arXiv.org.

Technology news

Researchers prepare tailored and wearable sensor via 3-D printed UV-curable sacrificial mold

Three-dimensional (3-D) printing techniques have the ability to fabricate wearable sensors with customized and complex designs compared with conventional processes. The vat photopolymerization 3-D printing technique exhibits better printing resolution, faster printing speed, and is capable of fabricating a refined structure. Due to the lack of highly conductive photocurable resins, it is difficult to prepare sensors through vat photopolymerization 3-D printing technique.

Novel public-private partnership facilitates development of fusion energy

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) is collaborating with private industry on cutting-edge fusion research aimed at achieving commercial fusion energy. This work, enabled through a public-private DOE grant program, supports efforts to develop high-performance fusion grade plasmas. In one such project PPPL is working in coordination with MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) and Commonwealth Fusion Systems, a start-up spun out of MIT that is developing a tokamak fusion device called "SPARC."

AI-controlled vertical farms promise revolution in food production

When you think about it, early civilizations had a rough time when it came to dinnertime. With no supermarkets, McDonald's, or Cheesecake Factories, you pretty much had to find and prepare your own meal every day. And since Uber would not be invented for another 14,000 years, primitive peoples around 12,000 BC had to walk, sometimes for miles, and learn to hunt, fish, gather and cook for their daily meals. In the rain. Even on Sundays.

Apple loses copyright suit against security startup

A federal judge Tuesday dismissed Apple's copyright infringement lawsuit against cybersecurity startup Corellium in a case which could have implications for researchers who find software bugs and vulnerabilities.

Major rail safety technology installed before deadline

The railroad industry has installed an automatic braking system on nearly 58,000 miles of track where it is required ahead of a yearend deadline, federal regulators said Tuesday.

The Sunburst hack was massive and devastating – 5 observations from a cybersecurity expert

So much remains unknown about what is now being called the Sunburst hack, the cyberattack against U.S. government agencies and corporations. U.S. officials widely believe that Russian state-sponsored hackers are responsible.

Grid or solar: looking for the best energy solution for the rural poor

South Asia has made tremendous progress in connecting rural areas to the electricity grid but the number of people in Africa without access has scarcely changed since 2010. More than a half-billion people in Africa don't have access to electricity, meaning the continent hosts 72% of the world's non-electrified population. The UN Sustainable Development Goals have set a universal goal of ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030. To achieve this, the continent will require a big electrification push.

Why Amazon, Apple, Peloton and Zoom won 2020, while others like Quibi lost big

When a pandemic hits, stay-at-home orders are issued and people are spending even less time at retail stores, e-commerce giant Amazon was there to serve.


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