Science X Newsletter Thursday, Apr 23

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for April 23, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Investigating the role of different neurons in artificial neural networks

Ocean biodiversity has not increased substantially for hundreds of millions of years: study

EXPRES looks to the skies of a scorching, distant planet

Researchers discover ferroelectricity at the atomic scale

Supernova remnant N132D investigated in detail

New system cuts the energy required for training and running neural networks

A novel method to precisely deliver therapeutics inside the body

In glowing colors: Seeing the spread of drug particles in a forensic lab

How to make the healthiest coffee, according to science

Researchers explore ocean microbes' role in climate effects

High density EEG produces dynamic image of brain signal source

Seismic map of North America reveals geologic clues, earthquake hazards

Coronaviruses and bats have been evolving together for millions of years

Satellite data show 'highest emissions ever measured' from U.S. oil and gas operations

Researchers restore injured man's sense of touch using brain-computer interface technology

Physics news

Learning from fish and flags to inform new propulsion strategies

Recent research by Andres J. Goza at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found relationships between frequencies and the passive dynamics at play when vehicles move in air or water toward a better understanding of how to use these forces to enhance performance. Understanding this fluid-structure interaction at a very basic level, could help inform new aircraft and submarine designs with a very different kind of locomotion.

Wiring the quantum computer of the future: A novel simple build with existing technology

Efficient quantum computing is expected to enable advancements that are impossible with classical computers. Scientists from Japan and Sydney have collaborated and proposed a novel two-dimensional design that can be constructed using existing integrated circuit technology. This design solves typical problems facing the current three-dimensional packaging for scaled-up quantum computers, bringing the future one step closer.

Professor collaborates with international colleagues on shell evolution of exotic nuclei research

In an atomic nucleus, protons and neutrons, collectively called nucleons, are bound together by nuclear forces. These forces describe the interactions between nucleons, which cause them to occupy states grouped in shells, where each shell has a different energy and can host a certain number of nucleons. A nucleus is said to be magic when the neutron or protons happen to exactly fill up their respective shells up to the rim. Such magic nuclei are especially well bound and have properties that make them stand out. In fact, the variation of the properties of nuclei with nucleon number led to the formulation of the celebrated nuclear shell model some 70 years ago, with its magic numbers 2, 8, 20, 28, 50, 82 and 126, which has had spectacular success in describing many of the properties of the stable nuclei that make up the world around us.

Astronomy and Space news

EXPRES looks to the skies of a scorching, distant planet

Yale technology is giving astronomers a closer look at the atmosphere of a distant planet where it's so hot the air contains vaporized metals.

Supernova remnant N132D investigated in detail

Researchers from Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) have conducted detailed spectroscopy of N132D—an X-ray bright supernova remnant (SNR) in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Results of the study, presented in a paper published April 15 on the arXiv pre-print server, provide important information about the chemical composition of this SNR and shed more light on its origin.

The birth of a 'snowman' at the edge of the solar system

A model developed at the Faculty of Physics at the Technion, in collaboration with German scientists at Tübingen, explains the unique properties of Arrokoth, the most distant object ever imaged in the solar system. The research team's results shed new light on the formation of Kuiper Belt objects, asteroid-like objects at the edge of the solar system, and for understanding the early stages of the solar system's formation.

Arizona meteorite fall points researchers to source of LL chondrites

The Dishchii'bikoh meteorite fall in the White Mountain Apache reservation in central Arizona has given scientists a big clue to finding out where so-called LL chondrites call home. They report their results in the April 14 issue of Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

Astronomers find formula for subsurface oceans in exomoons

So far, the search for extraterrestrial life has focused on planets at a distance from their star where liquid water is possible on the surface. But within our Solar System, most of the liquid water seems to be outside this zone. Moons around cold gas giants are heated beyond the melting point by tidal forces. The search area in other planetary systems therefore increases if we also consider moons. Researchers from SRON and RUG have now found a formula to calculate the presence and depth of subsurface oceans in these 'exomoons."

Atmospheric tidal waves maintain Venus' super-rotation

Images from the Akatsuki spacecraft unveil what keeps Venus's atmosphere rotating much faster than the planet itself.

Promising signs for Perseverance rover in its quest for past Martian life

Undulating streaks of land visible from space reveal rivers once coursed across the Martian surface—but for how long did the water flow? Enough time to record evidence of ancient life, according to a new Stanford study.

Researchers use 'hot Jupiter' data to mine exoplanet chemistry

After spotting a curious pattern in scientific papers—they described exoplanets as being cooler than expected—Cornell University astronomers have improved a mathematical model to accurately gauge the temperatures of planets from solar systems hundreds of light-years away.

New discovery: First asteroid population from outside our solar system

Ka'epaoka'awela asteroid surprised the world in 2018: It was the first object in the solar system that was demonstrated to be of extrasolar origin. But now, the researchers who discovered it have announced that it is not alone. Published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Societyon 23 April 2020, work by Fathi Namouni, a CNRS researcher in the Laboratoire Lagrange (CNRS/Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur/Université Côte d'Azur), and Helena Morais, researcher at UNESP in Brazil, proves that at least 19 other asteroids orbited another star before joining our solar system.

Asteroid visiting Earth's neighborhood brings its own face mask

The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico is following an asteroid approaching Earth this week and while it poses no threat, it appears to know our planet is facing a pandemic.

The International Space Station: Keeping an eye on earth

Earth's climate is the product of many rich and complex systems. It's affected by water in its many forms; on land, in the air, in the oceans, and as ice. It feels influences from vegetation, from soil conditions, from the carbon cycle, from human impacts. We study and observe our planet's ever-changing conditions in many ways, from many locations. One location in particular provides a unique and powerful vantage point, allowing us to see our planet in high detail and on a broad scale. Space.

Technology news

Investigating the role of different neurons in artificial neural networks

Over the past decade or so, researchers worldwide have been developing increasingly advanced artificial neural networks (ANNs), computational methods designed to replicate biological mechanisms and functions of the human brain. While some of these networks have achieved remarkable results in a variety of tasks, the decision-making processes underlying their predictions are not always clear.

New system cuts the energy required for training and running neural networks

Artificial intelligence has become a focus of certain ethical concerns, but it also has some major sustainability issues.

Researchers rebuild the bridge between neuroscience and artificial intelligence

The origin of machine and deep learning algorithms, which increasingly affect almost all aspects of contemporary life, is the learning mechanism of synaptic (weight) strengths connecting neurons in our brain. Attempting to imitate these brain functions, researchers bridged neuroscience and artificial intelligence over a half-century ago. However, since then, experimental neuroscience has not directly advanced the field of machine learning, and both disciplines—neuroscience and machine learning—have since developed independently.

Sensors woven into a shirt can monitor vital signs

MIT researchers have developed a way to incorporate electronic sensors into stretchy fabrics, allowing them to create shirts or other garments that could be used to monitor vital signs such as temperature, respiration, and heart rate.

Digital video game spending hits record high under virus lockdown

Spending on digital video games hit a record high $10 billion in March as people stuck at home under coronavirus lockdowns turned to gaming, market tracker SuperData reported on Thursday.

Daimler first quarter operating profits plunge as virus bites

German car giant Daimler has reported a 78-percent drop in preliminary first-quarter operating profits to 617 million euros ($667 million), as the coronavirus wreaks havoc on production and sales.

Video: Steering drones for power generation

What if you could generate wind power without needing to build wind turbine towers? Dutch company Ampyx Power is developing flying kite-like tethered drones to harness energy directly from high-altitude wind. ESA's NAVISP program is supporting the company in developing a precision takeoff and landing system, allowing the drones to land automatically as needed.

Deep reinforcement learning: Teaching robots like children

When children play with toys, they learn about the world around them—and today's robots aren't all that different. At UC Berkeley's Robot Learning Lab, groups of robots are working to master the same kinds of tasks that kids do: placing wood blocks in the correct slot of a shape-sorting cube, connecting one plastic Lego brick to another, attaching stray parts to a toy airplane.

A contact-tracing app that helps public health agencies and doesn't compromise your privacy

Stay-at-home orders and social distancing have been successful in some areas to help flatten the coronavirus curve. As parts of the world begin to open up again, communities need a reliable way to keep track of the virus and contain its spread.

Automating manual resuscitators could aid sickest COVID-19 patients, developing countries

Spurred by fears of a shortage of ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients, a University at Buffalo-led research team is developing a low-cost solution using a common medical device.

Everything you need to know about your smartphone's new COVID-19 tracker

Apparently a global pandemic makes strange bedfellows.

A smart second skin gets all the power it needs from sweat

Skin is the largest organ of the human body. It conveys a lot of information, including temperature, pressure, pleasure and pain. Electronic skin (e-skin) mimics the properties of biological skin. Recently developed e-skins are capable of wirelessly monitoring physiological signals. They could play a crucial role in the next generation of robotics and medical devices.

Connecting Wi-Fi and 5G possible, according to research team

It is possible to integrate conventional wireless internet, Wi-Fi with the fifth generation of cellular mobile phone networks, so-called 5G. Writing in the International Journal of Wireless and Mobile Computing, a team from the U.S. discusses how Wi-Fi traffic can move flexibly between 5G cells and Wi-Fi cells. It does this through overflow, vertical handoff, horizontal handoff, and take-back operations, the team explains.

Amazon sends drivers to deliver from food banks for free during coronavirus emergency

When the coronavirus crisis hit, the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank supplied 275 food pantries across two counties. A week later, 100 of them had shut their doors. They turned to volunteers to drive food to people sheltering in place, especially seniors.

Cyberattacks on US healthcare raise alarms among senators

A bipartisan group of senators wrote to the top U.S. cybersecurity officials asking them to step up monitoring, warnings and, if needed, counterstrikes against a host of foreign hackers targeting the U.S. health care system and pharmaceutical companies through cyberattacks.

A new spin on an old technology cools air without adding humidity at a fraction of the energy cost

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the Earth's average temperature is rising—nine of the ten warmest years ever recorded in National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s 140-year tracking history have occurred since 2005. Warmer temperatures bring with them greater demand for air conditioning, which requires immense amounts of energy. Every year, the United States consumes more electricity for cooling buildings than the entire continent of Africa consumes for all of its electricity needs. In addition to warmer temperatures, a growing middle class worldwide now has disposable income to spend on air conditioning. Experts predict that as a result, global demand (and, therefore, energy use) will more than triple by 2050.

Spotify launches 17 new curated playlists to help you find your next favorite podcast

Spotify is making it easier to discover new podcasts.

Google to verify all advertisers, and their location

Google said Thursday it would expand its program of verification of advertisers on its platform as part of an effort to weed out fraud and "bad actors."

Expedia raising $3.2 bn to weather pandemic hit

Expedia on Thursday appointed a new chief executive and said it would raise $3.2 billion to ride out the devastating slump in the travel industry linked to the virus pandemic.

Virus impacts Renault Q1 sales

French automaker Renault reported Thursday a 19.2 percent plunge in the first quarter of the year amid a general market collapse caused by the novel coronavirus.

Virus pounds global businesses, Netflix and soap aside

The first-quarter 2020 earnings season is as bad as expected, with the coronavirus butchering bottom lines worldwide, except those of Netflix and soap makers.

Mideast air traffic to plunge by half on virus impact: IATA

Air traffic in the Middle East and North Africa is set to plummet by more than half this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, a global aviation body said Thursday.

Streaming video, online retailers escape pandemic pounding

COVID-19 may have knocked U.S. stocks into a bear market and pummeled the U.S. economy, but the disease has also left some companies asking the question: "What recession?"

Lufthansa seeks state aid to secure 'solvency'

German airline giant Lufthansa said Thursday the group was in "intensive negotiations with the governments of its home countries... to sustainably secure the group's solvency", as it reported a 1.2-billion-euro operating loss in the first quarter.

Twitter to block virus 5G conspiracy theory tweets

Twitter is taking down comments inciting "harmful activity," specifically calls to destroy wireless equipment stemming from a conspiracy theory that linked 5G to the coronavirus.

Despite risks, auto workers step up to make medical gear

Cindy Parkhurst could have stayed home collecting most of her pay while the Ford plant where she normally works remains closed due to coronavirus fears.

Instacart seeks 250,000 more delivery workers as demand surges

US grocery delivery startup Instacart said Thursday it was seeking an additional 250,000 contract "shoppers" to meet soaring demands during the coronavirus lockdown.


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