Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Feb 4

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for February 4, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Exploring the effects of exchange rate fluctuations on technological learning rates

Applying advantage distillation to device-independent quantum key distribution (DIQKD)

Sand dunes can 'communicate' with each other

External system improves phones' signal strength 1000 percent without requiring extra antennas

Study investigates over 70 variable stars in the Sh 2-170 star-forming region

Smartphone texting linked to compromised pedestrian safety

New handheld bioprinter holds promise for treating serious burns

Feeding bluebirds helps fend off parasites

Brain links to embryonic immunity, guiding response of the 'troops' that battle infection

Analyzing the differences in antibiotic resistance between the gut and mouth microbiome

Is human cooperativity an outcome of competition between cultural groups?

Altruistic babies? Study shows infants are willing to give up food, help others

Wasps' gut microbes help them—and their offspring—survive pesticides

Researchers discover method to detect motor-related brain activity

Size matters! What drives zoo attendance and how does footfall impact conservation?

Physics news

Applying advantage distillation to device-independent quantum key distribution (DIQKD)

Researchers at ETH Z├╝rich and National University of Singapore have carried out a study investigating whether advantage distillation, a classical cryptography technique that has so far never been successfully implemented, can be applied to device-independent quantum key distribution (DIQKD) systems with the aim of creating a secret key for communication between different parties. The term DIQKD describes a novel form of quantum cryptography that allows honest users to certify information security using only the observed measurement statistics.

Sand dunes can 'communicate' with each other

Even though they are inanimate objects, sand dunes can 'communicate' with each other. A team from the University of Cambridge has found that as they move, sand dunes interact with and repel their downstream neighbours.

Researchers discover method to detect motor-related brain activity

Motor-related brain activity, particularly its accurate detection, quantification and classification capabilities, is of great interest to researchers. They are searching for a better way to help patients with cognitive or motor impairments or to improve neurorehabilitation for patients with nervous system injuries.

Quantum computers flip the script on spin chemistry

To build cheaper and more efficient sustainable energy options, we need to know a lot more than we currently do about the chemical reactions that convert solar energy into electricity. One of the best ways to do that is through computer models that simulate complex molecular interactions. Although classical computers have served this purpose well over the past few decades, we explain in a new research study the special qualities of quantum computing that will help researchers advance technologies for solar energy conversion, artificial photosynthesis and photovoltaics to an entirely new level.

A 3-D camera for safer autonomy and advanced biomedical imaging

Researchers have demonstrated the use of stacked, transparent graphene photodetectors combined with image processing algorithms to produce 3-D images and range detection.

New quasi-particle discovered: Introducing the Pi-ton

In physics, there are very different types of particles: Elementary particles are the fundamental building blocks of matter. Other particles, such as atoms, are bound states consisting of several smaller constituents. And then there are so-called "quasi-particles"—excitations in a system that consists of many particles, which in many ways behave just like a particle themselves.

Double X-ray vision helps tuberculosis and osteoporosis research

With an advanced X-ray combination technique, scientists have traced nanocarriers for tuberculosis drugs within cells with very high precision. The method combines two sophisticated scanning X-ray measurements and can locate minute amounts of various metals in biological samples at very high resolution, as a team around DESY scientist Karolina Stachnik reports in the journal Scientific Reports. To illustrate its versatility, the researchers have also used the combination method to map the calcium content in human bone, an analysis that can benefit osteoporosis research.

Lasers etch a 'perfect' solar energy absorber

The University of Rochester research lab that recently used lasers to create unsinkable metallic structures has now demonstrated how the same technology could be used to create highly efficient solar power generators.

Single-atom probe uses quantum information for the first time

Sensors collect certain parameters such as temperature and air pressure in their proximity. Physicists from Kaiserslautern and a colleague from Hanover have succeeded for the first time in using a single cesium atom as a sensor for ultracold temperatures. To determine the measured data, they used quantum states—the spin or angular momentum of the atom. With these spins, they measured the temperature of an ultra-cold gas and the magnetic field. The system is characterized by a particularly high sensitivity. Such sensors could be used in the future, for example, to investigate quantum systems without interference. The work was published in the journal Physical Review X.

Astronomy & Space news

Study investigates over 70 variable stars in the Sh 2-170 star-forming region

Using three ground-based telescopes, astronomers have conducted a long-term photometric monitoring of the Sh 2-170 star-forming region. The new observations have identified 71 variable stars in this region and provided essential information about their properties. Results of the study were presented in a paper published January 24 on arXiv.org.

MAVEN explores Mars to understand radio interference on Earth

NASA's MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) spacecraft has discovered "layers" and "rifts" in the electrically charged part of the upper atmosphere (the ionosphere) of Mars. The phenomenon is very common at Earth and causes unpredictable disruptions to radio communications. However, we do not fully understand them because they form at altitudes that are very difficult to explore at Earth. The unexpected discovery by MAVEN shows that Mars is a unique laboratory to explore and better understand this highly disruptive phenomenon.

Pluto's icy heart makes winds blow

A "beating heart" of frozen nitrogen controls Pluto's winds and may give rise to features on its surface, according to a new study.

The gravitational conflict that created the asteroid belt

The asteroid belt is the ring-shaped disc consisting of irregular small bodies called asteroids located between Mars and Jupiter. I have studied the origins of the asteroid belt in the the solar system and showed how the gravitational interaction between the two planets is involved in the formation of the asteroid belt, and how the gravitationally bound system becomes stable enough to avoid any disturbance in the distances of its astronomical bodies.

Image: Ariane 6 launch zone at Europe's Spaceport

Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana is gearing up for the arrival of Ariane 6, Europe's next-generation launch vehicle. This aerial view taken in January 2020 shows the main elements of the new launch complex.

Astronomers search for gravitational-wave memory

Astronomers regularly observe gravitational waves (GW)—ripples in space and time—that are caused by pairs of black holes merging into one. Einstein's theory of gravity predicts that GW, which squeeze and stretch space as they pass, will permanently distort space, leaving a "memory" of the wave behind. However, this memory effect has not yet been detected, as it would be extremely small, leaving only the faintest traces.

Technology news

Exploring the effects of exchange rate fluctuations on technological learning rates

When it comes to predicting the costs of new energy systems and technologies, researchers must consider learning rates, which are estimated measures of technological progress. In fact, technological advances are typically associated with higher technological performance and cheaper costs of production.

External system improves phones' signal strength 1000 percent without requiring extra antennas

We've heard it for years: 5G is coming.

Acoustically driven microrobot outshines natural microswimmers

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart have designed and fabricated an untethered microrobot that can slip along either a flat or curved surface in a liquid when exposed to ultrasound waves. Its propulsion force is two to three orders of magnitude stronger than the propulsion force of natural microorganisms such as bacteria or algae. Additionally, it can transport cargo while swimming. The acoustically propelled robot hence has significant potential to revolutionize the future minimally invasive treatment of patients.

Deep learning accurately forecasts heat waves, cold spells

Rice University engineers have created a deep learning computer system that taught itself to accurately predict extreme weather events, like heat waves, up to five days in advance using minimal information about current weather conditions.

Researchers successfully test coin-sized smart insulin patch, potential diabetes treatment

UCLA bioengineers and colleagues at UNC School of Medicine and MIT have further developed a smart insulin-delivery patch that could one day monitor and manage glucose levels in people with diabetes and deliver the necessary insulin dosage. The adhesive patch, about the size of a quarter, is simple to manufacture and intended for once-a-day use.

Researchers report progress on molecular data storage system

A team of Brown University researchers has made substantial progress in an effort to create a new type of molecular data storage system.

Hyundai suspends domestic production over China outbreak

South Korea's largest automaker Hyundai Motor will suspend all domestic production because of a lack of parts due to the coronavirus outbreak in China, it said Tuesday.

Sony April-December net profit down a third but lifts forecasts

Sony said Tuesday net profit fell more than 30 percent in the nine months to December, but upgraded its annual net profit forecast on solid growth in its image sensor and financial services sectors.

China's virus outbreak weighs on global business

Global business is catching a chill from China's virus outbreak.

Why laptops could be facing the end of the line

Microsoft's recent announcement that it would end support for users of its Windows 7 operating system had stress written all over it. The company advised that important day-to-day tasks such as personal banking and online shopping would no longer be safe on users' now out-of-date and hacker-friendly Windows computers.

Online game has transnational impact as 'vaccine' against fake news

Bad News, a game devised to make players better at spotting fake news and misinformation, has the intended effect in Sweden, Greece, Germany and Poland. This is evident from a new academic study from the Universities of Uppsala and Cambridge. The assessment shows an improvement in players' ability to detect fabricated news reports while retaining their trust in real news.

How to make the dreaded task of data entry less despised

A recent study showing that data entry is one the most redundant and hated workplace tasks raises questions about why, in the age of artificial intelligence, data mining and smart technologies, this task is still being done manually.

How a surface treatment improves the inside of a solar cell

Physicists from the University of Luxembourg with European experts have succeeded in explaining the recent efficiency improvements in thin film solar cells. The work of the whole consortium has been published in the prestigious journal Advanced Energy Materials.

Microsoft fixing Teams outage that disrupted business—expired certificate to blame

So much for "team" work. Microsoft Teams experienced an outage Monday with its business-oriented communications and collaborative platform and rival to Slack.

Should I get a smart lock? The pros and cons of going digital on your door

Charlotte Pfahl, 68, prefers using an old-school mechanical key to access her New York City apartment.

Hackers are using coronavirus fears to send you a computer virus: How to stop them

As the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe sickening thousands of people in its wake, a malicious strain of software is seeking to take advantage of people's fears.

Apple quietly rolled out an at-home repairs option for select iPhone markets

Typically, if you need your iPhone fixed, you have to make a Genius Bar appointment first.

Handheld 3-D skin printer demonstrates accelerated healing of large, severe burns

A new handheld 3-D printer can deposit sheets of skin to cover large burn wounds—and its "bio ink" can accelerate the healing process.

Twitter moves to curb manipulated content including 'deepfakes'

Twitter unveiled a plan Tuesday to curb the spread of manipulated content including "deepfake" videos as part of a move to fight misinformation which could result in violence or other harm.

Iconoclastic Musk basks as Tesla shares soar

Elon Musk is some way away from his goal of sending millions of people to Mars, but Tesla's shares are heading into orbit on Wall Street, leaving conventional automakers in the dust.

US tests pilotless combat jets controlled from another aircraft

The US Navy and Boeing announced Monday they had flown two fighter jets in exercises under the control of a third jet nearby, proving that multiple pilotless combat missions can be run from a separate aircraft.

Clock is ticking for companies that depend on China imports

For companies bracing for losses from China's viral outbreak, the damage has so far been delayed, thanks to a stroke of timing: The outbreak hit just when Chinese factories and many businesses were closed anyway to let workers travel home for the week-long Lunar New Year holiday .

Elon Musk warns Twitter followers about Bitcoin scams: 'This is not cool.'

Elon Musk is warning his Twitter followers to be aware of online crypto scams.


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Wuhan doctor caught coronavirus after being censored by China

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The Future Is Elections on Apps

4 February 2020

Top Story

Iowa Tried to Use an App for an Election. It Was a Disaster.

On Monday, Democrats gathered at more than 1,600 sites in Iowa to pledge their support for the various candidates for the United States presidency, marking the first major contest of the 2020 primary season.

But it's still taking forever to learn who won — because the Iowa Democratic Party's use of an app to report its caucus results was an epic fail.

read more

HEADLINES FROM TODAY

ONE After China Censored This Wuhan Doctor, He Caught the Coronavirus

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TWO This Horrific "Yarn" Is Made From Human Flesh

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THREE Idiot Hacks Nintendo Servers, Gets Caught With Child Pornography

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FOUR Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

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FIVE Elon Musk Is Hosting a "Super Fun" Hackathon at His House

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OF INTEREST

Surgeons Gave This Adorable Cat Four Amazing 3D-Printed Paws

With the help of a local university, Russian veterinarian Sergei Gorshkov 3D printed four titanium prostethics to allow a four year-old cat named Dymka to walk again after all four of her paws had to be amputated due to frostbite.

read more

NEWS IN QUOTES

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