Science X Newsletter Week 13

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 13:

Due to an increasing volume of information and news about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have split stories concerning the virus into a separate category in the MedicalXpress daily newsletter. As always, you may configure your email newsletter preferences in your ScienceX account.

Ancestor of all animals identified in Australian fossils

A team led by UC Riverside geologists has discovered the first ancestor on the family tree that contains most familiar animals today, including humans.

Comet ATLAS may put on quite a show

A comet called Atlas is currently heading toward the sun, and it just might put on a really good show in a couple of months. Discovered last December by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert system in Hawaii (thus the name C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) for the comet), the comet has been growing much brighter than experts had predicted. If it manages to hold its shape as it moves nearer to the sun, it could grow brighter than Venus.

Three countries have kept coronavirus in check; here's how they did it

Vietnam. South Korea. Taiwan.

ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers may increase the risk of severe COVID-19

James Diaz, MD, MHA, MPH & TM, Dr. PH, Professor and Head of Environmental Health Sciences at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health, has proposed a possible explanation for the severe lung complications being seen in some people diagnosed with COVID-19. The manuscript was published by Oxford University Press online in the Journal of Travel Medicine, available here.

Revisiting decades-old Voyager 2 data, scientists find one more secret about Uranus

Eight and a half years into its grand tour of the solar system, NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft was ready for another encounter. It was Jan. 24, 1986, and soon it would meet the mysterious seventh planet, icy-cold Uranus.

Time symmetry and the laws of physics

If three or more objects move around each other, history cannot be reversed. That is the conclusion of an international team of researchers based on computer simulations of three black holes orbiting each other. The researchers, led by the Dutch astronomer Tjarda Boekholt, publish their findings in the April issue of the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The growth of an organism rides on a pattern of waves

When an egg cell of almost any sexually reproducing species is fertilized, it sets off a series of waves that ripple across the egg's surface. These waves are produced by billions of activated proteins that surge through the egg's membrane like streams of tiny burrowing sentinels, signaling the egg to start dividing, folding, and dividing again, to form the first cellular seeds of an organism.

Study supports contested 35-year-old predictions, shows that observable novae are just 'tip of the iceberg'

Almost 35 years ago, scientists made the then-radical proposal that colossal hydrogen bombs called novae go through a very long-term life cycle after erupting, fading to obscurity for hundreds of thousands of years and then building back up to become full-fledged novae once more. A new study is the first to fully model the work and incorporate all of the feedback factors now known to control these systems, backing up the original prediction while bringing new details to light. Published this week in the journal Nature Astronomy, the study confirms that the novae we observe flashing throughout the universe represent just a few percent of these cataclysmic variables, as they are known, with the rest "hiding" in hibernation.

Planetary defenders validate asteroid deflection code

Planetary defense researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) continue to validate their ability to accurately simulate how they might deflect an Earth-bound asteroid in a study that will be published in the April issue of the American Geophysical Union journal Earth and Space Science.

Researchers demonstrate the missing link for a quantum internet

A quantum internet could be used to send unhackable messages, improve the accuracy of GPS, and enable cloud-based quantum computing. For more than twenty years, dreams of creating such a quantum network have remained out of reach in large part because of the difficulty to send quantum signals across large distances without loss.

In Earth's largest extinction, land die-offs began long before ocean turnover

The mass extinction at the end of the Permian Period 252 million years ago—one of the great turnovers of life on Earth—appears to have played out differently and at different times on land and in the sea, according to newly redated fossils beds from South Africa and Australia.

Scientists identify microbe that could help degrade polyurethane-based plastics

There may be a small answer to one of the biggest problems on the planet.

New genetic editing powers discovered in squid

Revealing yet another super-power in the skillful squid, scientists have discovered that squid massively edit their own genetic instructions not only within the nucleus of their neurons, but also within the axon—the long, slender neural projections that transmit electrical impulses to other neurons. This is the first time that edits to genetic information have been observed outside of the nucleus of an animal cell.

Evidence for broken time-reversal symmetry in a topological superconductor

Chiral superconductors are unconventional superconducting materials with distinctive topological properties, in which time-reversal symmetry is broken. Two of the first materials to be identified as chiral superconductors are UPt3 and Sr2RuO4. So far, experimental evidence for broken time-reversal symmetry in both these materials was based primarily on surface measurements collected at a magnetic field equal to zero.

A nanoscale device to generate high-power terahertz waves

Terahertz (THz) waves fall between microwave and infrared radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum, oscillating at frequencies of between 100 billion and 30 trillion cycles per second. These waves are prized for their distinctive properties: they can penetrate paper, clothing, wood and walls, as well as detect air pollution. THz sources could revolutionize security and medical imaging systems. What's more, their ability to carry vast quantities of data could hold the key to faster wireless communications.

Myth busting: Setting the record straight on ibuprofen and COVID-19

In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been a wave of fear and misinformation related to the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin)

Some COVID-19 patients still have coronavirus after symptoms disappear: study

In a new study, researchers found that half of the patients they treated for mild COVID-19 infection still had coronavirus for up to eight days after symptoms disappeared. The research letter was published online in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Scientists find a way to extract color from black

Scientists have developed a way of extracting a richer palette of colours from the available spectrum by harnessing disordered patterns inspired by nature that would typically be seen as black.

Is nonlocality inherent in all identical particles in the universe?

What is interaction, and when does it occur? Intuition suggests that the necessary condition for the interaction of independently created particles is their direct touch or contact through physical force carriers. In quantum mechanics, the result of the interaction is entanglement—the appearance of non-classical correlations in the system. It seems that quantum theory allows entanglement of independent particles without any contact. The fundamental identity of particles of the same kind is responsible for this phenomenon.

Quantum copycat: Researchers find a new way in which bosons behave like fermions

Bosons and fermions, the two classes into which all particles—from the sub-atomic to atoms themselves—can be sorted, behave very differently under most circumstances. While identical bosons like to congregate, identical fermions tend to be antisocial. However, in one dimension—imagine particles that can only move on a line—bosons can become as stand-offish as fermions, so that no two occupy the same position. Now, new research shows that the same thing—bosons acting like fermions—can happen with their velocities. The finding adds to our fundamental understanding of quantum systems and could inform the eventual development of quantum devices.


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Science X Newsletter Sunday, Mar 29

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for March 29, 2020:

Due to an increasing volume of information and news about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have split stories concerning the virus into a separate category in the MedicalXpress daily newsletter. As always, you may configure your email newsletter preferences in your ScienceX account.

Spotlight Stories Headlines

US confirmed coronavirus cases cross 100,000: tracker

Microsoft divests from Israeli facial-recognition startup

Handling mail amid coronavirus: Low risk but wash your hands

Why the US is leading the world in confirmed coronavirus cases

China virus epicentre eases travel restrictions after lockdown

Italy, Spain suffer record virus deaths as infection rate surges

Asia virus latest: China epicentre starts to reopen, security talks off

New York medical workers decry 'abysmal' lack of coronavirus protection

US lab unveils portable 5-minute COVID-19 test

Trump says he might 'quarantine' New York state

Spain coronavirus outbreak 'close to peaking': official

Europe's virus toll surges but Wuhan cautiously reopens

South Korea virus test-kit makers approved to export to US

Tech volunteers use 3-D printers to make crucial virus masks

China's virus epicentre pivots to stem imported cases

Technology news

Microsoft divests from Israeli facial-recognition startup

Microsoft said Friday it is pulling its investments from a facial-recognition startup that scans faces at Israeli military checkpoints, even though the tech giant couldn't substantiate claims that the startup's technology is used unethically.

Why the novel coronavirus became a social media nightmare

The biggest reputational risk Facebook and other social media companies had expected in 2020 was fake news surrounding the US presidential election. Be it foreign or domestic in origin, the misinformation threat seemed familiar, perhaps even manageable.

Privacy rights may become next victim of killer pandemic

Digital surveillance and smartphone technology may prove helpful in containing the coronavirus pandemic—but some activists fear this could mean lasting harm to privacy and digital rights.

US could take equity shares in coronavirus-hit airlines: officials

The US government could take equity shares in airlines and other troubled but vital American corporations as it moves to stabilize an economy amid the new coronavirus pandemic, top US officials said Sunday.


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