Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Jan 7

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for January 7, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A two-terminal floating-gate transistor for neuromorphic computing

TESS mission uncovers its first world with two stars

Famous black hole has jet pushing cosmic speed limit

New map of Milky Way reveals giant wave of stellar nurseries

Study of veterans details genetic basis for anxiety, links anxiety and depression

Samsung unveils AI-powered digital avatar

SpaceX launches third batch of Starlink satellites

Hyundai to make flying cars for Uber air taxis

Study reveals a new approach to enhancing response to immunotherapy in melanoma

Single dose of antibodies can knock out HIV in newborns

Birds and bats have strange gut microbiomes—probably because they can fly

NASA planet hunter finds its first earth-size habitable-zone world

CES has solutions to show for better paths to sleep

Ultrasound selectively damages cancer cells when tuned to correct frequencies

Immune cell discovery opens door to new powerful cancer therapies

Physics news

Ultrasound selectively damages cancer cells when tuned to correct frequencies

Doctors have used focused ultrasound to destroy tumors without invasive surgery for some time. However, the therapeutic ultrasound used in clinics today indiscriminately damages cancer and healthy cells alike.

Indeterminist physics for an open world

Classical physics is characterized by the precision of its equations describing the evolution of the world as determined by the initial conditions of the Big Bang—meaning there is no room for chance. Yet our day-to-day experience and intuition are struck by this deterministic vision of the world: has everything really been written in advance? Is randomness nothing more than an illusion? A physicist from UNIGE, Swizerland, has been analyzing the classical mathematical language used in modern physics. He has thrown light on a contradiction between the equations that are supposed to explain the phenomena that surround us and the finite world. He suggests making changes to the mathematical language to allow randomness and indeterminism to become part of classical physics, thereby bringing it closer to quantum physics. Thanks to these observations, which are published in the journal Nature Physics, a revolution is sweeping through classical physics and paving the way for potentially different futures.

Cutting through fog with laser focus

Research from The University of Queensland aimed at controlling light in scattering materials, such as fog or biological tissues, will benefit future biomedical imaging and telecommunications.

Scientists accurately measure the probability of electron capture by the neon-20 isotope nuclei for the first time

A large international team of researchers has empirically measured the probability of electron capture by the neon-20 isotope (20Ne) for the first time. The team has published two papers in the journal Physical Review C describing their achievement and explaining how their experiments pertain to the decay of intermediate-sized stars.

Keeping dark matter detectors clean and accurate

A research team at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology has built an air purifier that has reduced the radon in the air to about 50 times lower than typical outdoor air. The team is helping to ensure success for one of the world's most sensitive dark matter experiments—LZ. Dark matter has never been directly observed. But it is believed to make up 85% of all the matter in the universe. The mystery of dark matter is considered to be one of the most pressing questions in particle physics. The LZ experiment is run deep underground where it will be protected from high-energy particles, called cosmic radiation, which can create unwanted background signals. But underground environments pose other challenges. They are often higher in radon, which can also impede sensitive experiments.

Using relativistic effects for laser fusion: A new approach for clean power

A team of researchers at Osaka University has investigated a new method for generating nuclear fusion power, showing that the relativistic effect of ultra-intense laser light improves upon current "fast ignition" methods in laser-fusion research to heat the fuel long enough to generate electrical power. These findings could provide a spark for laser fusion, ushering in a new era of carbonless energy production.

New method produces robust transistors

A new method to fit together layers of semiconductors as thin as a few nanometers has resulted in not only a scientific discovery but also a new type of transistor for high-power electronic devices. The result, published in Applied Physics Letters, has aroused huge interest.

Attosecond control of an atomic electron cloud

Researchers at SAGA Light Source, the University of Toyama, Hiroshima University and the Institute for Molecular Science have demonstrated a method to control the shape and orientation of an electron cloud in an atom by tuning the attosecond spacing in a double pulse of synchrotron radiation.

Astronomy & Space news

TESS mission uncovers its first world with two stars

In 2019, when Wolf Cukier finished his junior year at Scarsdale High School in New York, he joined NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, as a summer intern. His job was to examine variations in star brightness captured by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and uploaded to the Planet Hunters TESS citizen science project.

Famous black hole has jet pushing cosmic speed limit

The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration released the first image of a black hole with observations of the massive, dark object at the center of Messier 87, or M87, last April. This black hole has a mass of about 6.5 billion times that of the sun and is located about 55 million light years from Earth. The black hole has been called M87* by astronomers and has recently been given the Hawaiian name of "Powehi."

New map of Milky Way reveals giant wave of stellar nurseries

Astronomers at Harvard University have discovered a monolithic, wave-shaped gaseous structure—the largest ever seen in our galaxy—made up of interconnected stellar nurseries. Dubbed the "Radcliffe wave" in honor of the collaboration's home base, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the discovery transforms a 150-year-old vision of nearby stellar nurseries as an expanding ring into one featuring an undulating, star-forming filament that reaches trillions of miles above and below the galactic disk.

SpaceX launches third batch of Starlink satellites

SpaceX on Monday launched its third batch of 60 mini-satellites into orbit, part of its plans to build a giant constellation of thousands of spacecraft that will form a global broadband internet system.

NASA planet hunter finds its first earth-size habitable-zone world

NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered its first Earth-size planet in its star's habitable zone, the range of distances where conditions may be just right to allow the presence of liquid water on the surface. Scientists confirmed the find, called TOI 700 d, using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and have modeled the planet's potential environments to help inform future observations.

Surprise! TESS shows Alpha Draconis undergoes eclipses

Astronomers using data from NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) have shown that Alpha Draconis, a well-studied star visible to the naked eye, and its fainter companion star regularly eclipse each other. While astronomers previously knew this was a binary system, the mutual eclipses came as a complete surprise.

LIGO-Virgo gravitational wave network catches another neutron star collision

On April 25, 2019, the LIGO Livingston Observatory picked up what appeared to be gravitational ripples from a collision of two neutron stars. LIGO Livingston is part of a gravitational-wave network that includes LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory), funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the European Virgo detector. Now, a new study confirms that this event was indeed likely the result of a merger of two neutron stars. This would be only the second time this type of event has ever been observed in gravitational waves.

Binary star V Sagittae to explode as very bright nova by century's end

Currently, the faint star V Sagittae, V Sge, in the constellation Sagitta, is barely visible, even in mid-sized telescopes. However, around the year 2083, this innocent star will explode, becoming as bright as Sirius, the brightest star visible in the night sky. During this time of eruption, V Sge will be the most luminous star in the Milky Way galaxy. This prediction is being presented for the first time at the 235th American Astronomical Society meeting in Honolulu, HI, by astronomers Bradley E. Schaefer, Juhan Frank, and Manos Chatzopoulos, with the Louisiana State University Department of Physics & Astronomy.

Space-baked cookies, 'mighty' mice back on Earth via SpaceX

The first batch of space-baked cookies is back on Earth, along with muscle-bound "mighty" mice and other space station experiments.

NASA contractor settles whistleblower complaint for $375,000

A NASA contractor on Monday agreed to pay $375,000 in order to settle a whistleblower complaint that accused the company of falsely certifying that ground support equipment for a rocket launch system followed the space agency's requirements.

Technology news

A two-terminal floating-gate transistor for neuromorphic computing

Researchers at Technion and TowerJazz in Israel have recently built a low-power, two-terminal floating-gate transistor that could have useful applications in neuromorphic computing. This transistor, presented in a paper in Nature Electronics, was fabricated using standard single-poly technology and a commercial 180-nm CMOS process.

Samsung unveils AI-powered digital avatar

A Samsung lab on Tuesday unveiled a digital avatar it described as an AI-powered "artificial human," claiming it is able to "converse and sympathize" like real people.

Hyundai to make flying cars for Uber air taxis

Hyundai announced Monday it would mass produce flying cars for Uber's aerial rideshare network set to deploy in 2023.

CES has solutions to show for better paths to sleep

Getting enough sleep is a real issue for many; a Columbia University Department of Neurology info page referred to estimates from The Institute of Medicine, that between 50 and 70 million Americans alone have chronic sleep problems.

A greener, simpler way to create syngas

Researchers from UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, Rice University and UC Santa Barbara have developed an easier and greener way to create syngas.

Toyota's 'woven' city, Samsung robot-ball: CES highlights

A smart city from Toyota, a rolling robot from Samsung and a new 5G smartphone from China's TCL were among the announcements Monday at the Consumer Electronics Show preview day.

White House proposes guidelines for regulating the use of AI

The Trump administration is proposing new rules to guide future federal regulation of artificial intelligence used in medicine, transportation and other industries.

Power-starved Ethiopia rallies around Nile dam as Egypt dispute simmers

Cell phone batteries constantly dying, health centres bereft of modern equipment, a dependence on flashlights after sundown—Kafule Yigzaw experienced all these struggles and more growing up without electricity in rural Ethiopia.

Musk hands over made-in-China Teslas to early buyers in Shanghai

Tesla CEO Elon Musk presented the first batch of made-in-China cars to ordinary buyers on Tuesday in a milestone for the company's new Shanghai "giga-factory", but which comes as sales decelerate in the world's largest electric-vehicle market.

Geothermal energy storage system to reduce peak electricity demand

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers created a geothermal energy storage system that could reduce peak electricity demand up to 37% in homes while helping balance grid operations.

Comparing residential energy use on similar weather days

To better determine the potential energy cost savings among connected homes, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory developed a computer simulation to more accurately compare energy use on similar weather days.

The other fake meat: Impossible Foods unveils pork, sausage

After a big year for its plant-based burger, Impossible Foods has something new on its plate.

Facebook bans deepfakes in fight against online manipulation

Facebook says it is banning "deepfake" videos, the false but realistic clips created with artificial intelligence and sophisticated tools, as it steps up efforts to fight online manipulation. But the policy leaves plenty of loopholes.

Britain's electricity since 2010: Wind surges to second place, coal collapses and fossil fuel use nearly halves

In 2010, Great Britain generated 75% of its electricity from coal and natural gas. But by the end of the decade, these fossil fuels accounted for just 40%, with coal generation collapsing from the decade's peak of 41% in 2012 to under 2% in 2019.

Will AI take over? Quantum theory suggests otherwise

Will artificial intelligence one day surpass human thinking? The rapid progress of AI, coupled with our standard fear of machines, has raised concerns that its abilities will one day start to grow uncontrollably, eventually leading it to take over the world and wipe out humanity if it decides we are an obstacle to its goals. This moment is usually referred to as the "AI singularity."

Clearer, faster, smoother: Improving online video watching on cellular networks

Each one of us could be watching an online video at some point on any given day. We could be following the news, listening to a report, learning from a how-to video, taking in sports highlights or watching a TV show.

The price of AI art: Has the bubble burst?

Last fall, an AI-generated portrait rocked the art world selling for a staggering US$432,500 at Christie's auction house in New York. The portrait called "Edmond de Belamy" features a slightly out-of-focus man with no nose and a blob for a mouth, dressed in what seems to be a dark frock-coat over a white-collared shirt.

Get ready for a bumpy ride: Cybersecurity trends in 2020

What will 2020 have in store for cybersecurity? Tighter regulation, increasingly sophisticated attacks on key infrastructure and AI-driven cyber warfare, according to Dr. Suranga Seneviratne from the School of Computer Science.

An algorithm with an eye for visibility helps pilots in Alaska

More than three-quarters of Alaskan communities have no access to highways or roads. In these remote regions, small aircraft are a town's bus, ambulance, and food delivery—the only means of getting people and things in and out.

A communal energy hub

The amount of energy produced by renewable sources ebbs and flows. The Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM has found a smart work-around for these fluctuations. Its scientists developed an innovative energy management system that connects photovoltaic systems, batteries, heat pumps and electric cars to power individual households or entire neighborhoods with locally produced renewable energy.

CES 2020: 4 cool gadgets that already caught our attention

Augmented-reality software that makes you actually want to work out. A device that prints real-ish temporary tattoos in seconds. A TV screen that rotates like your smartphone. And a robot that just wants to be loved.

Amazon is planning to bring movies and video to cars with Fire TV

Amazon says it wants to bring streaming entertainment to cars.

For people who stutter, the convenience of voice assistant technology remains out of reach

Do you ever feel as if your voice assistants—whether Siri, Alexa, or Google—don't understand you? You might repeat your question a little slower, a little louder, but eventually you'll get the information you were asking for read back to you in the pleasing but lifeless tones of your voice-activated assistant.

CES 2020: If LG's rollable OLED TV sounds familiar, there's a reason

The star of last year's CES was clearly the Rollable OLED TV from LG Display, picked by CNET, Mashable and Reviewed.com as one of the hottest products for CES 2019—a TV that could be rolled up and put in the closet easily.

Streaming TV programming for kids embraces iconic brands

New technology. Same furry faces.

CES Gadget Show: Say 'no' to junk food with DNA wristband

A wristband that will help you say "no" to junk food. A machine that will mix drinks for you.

China's farmers reap rich harvest through video-sharing apps

"Do you want a piece?" beekeeper Ma Gongzuo says, looking into the camera of a friend's smartphone before biting into the dripping comb of amber-coloured honey.

American Airlines reaches deal with Boeing on MAX losses

American Airlines on Monday became the latest carrier to reach an agreement with Boeing on compensation to cover the financial losses connected to the 737 MAX grounding, which caused thousands of flights to be cancelled.

Software to simulate commercial nuclear reactors

Nuclear scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have established a Nuclear Quality Assurance-1 program for a software product designed to simulate today's commercial nuclear reactors—removing a significant barrier for industry adoption of the technology.

Meet Lora Haddock DiCarlo, the woman responsible for the return of sex toys at CES 2020

Sex toys are back on the CES show floor. And Lora Haddock DiCarlo deserves a lot of the credit.


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UK's first astronaut says aliens definitely exist, may be on Earth

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The Future Is Aliens. "There's No Two Ways About It."

7 January 2020

Top Story

UK's First Astronaut: Aliens Definitely Exist, May Be on Earth

Helen Sharman, the first British astronaut, spoke in an interview about everything from her childhood to her experience in space — as well as her firm belief that Earth isn't the only source of life in the universe. "Aliens exist," the astronaut insisted, "there's no two ways about it."

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HEADLINES FROM TODAY

ONE Impossible Foods' Fake Pork Looks Absolutely Scrumptious

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TWO Astronomers Capture Repeating Radio Burst From Spiral Galaxy

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THREE US Website Defaced With Pro-Iran Propaganda, Bloody Trump Face

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FOUR Samsung's Artificial Humans Look Eerily, Well, Human

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FIVE Boeing Finds Even More Issues With Its Troubled 737 Max Plane

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OF INTEREST

Facebook Bans All Deepfakes

Facebook announced Monday that it's planning to ban and remove all deepfakes uploaded to its platform. Facebook is hoping to address the issue by "partnering with academia, government and industry" and even "exposing people behind these efforts." Experts have argued they have the potential to undermine democracy by misleading voters with AI-generated propaganda — a pertinent topic in light of the 2020 elections in the U.S.

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NEWS IN QUOTES

" Biggest surprise at the Tesla gigafactory ceremony to mark first Model 3 deliveries? [Elon Musk] dancing on stage. "




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