Science X Newsletter Friday, Jul 3

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for July 3, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A completely new plasmonic chip for ultrafast data transmission using light

Fuji envisions 400TB tape drive

'Fang'tastic: Biologists report snake-like dental glands in amphibians

Monkeys infected with novel coronavirus developed short-term immunity

Novel biomarker discovery could lead to early diagnosis for deadly preeclampsia

More ecosystem engineers create stability, preventing extinctions

Scientific 'red flag' reveals new clues about our galaxy

Using Epo to treat COVID-19

Toward lasers powerful enough to investigate a new kind of physics

Sustaining the enhanced electrical conductivity of chemically doped carbon nanotube wires

Protective antibodies identified for rare, polio-like disease in children

Proof-of-concept developed for detecting malaria parasites in India

Enhancing the performance of solar cells with 'graphene armor'

Image: Hubble captures one galaxy, two asteroids

Location, location, location: Even gut immune response is site-specific

Physics news

Toward lasers powerful enough to investigate a new kind of physics

In a paper that made the cover of the journal Applied Physics Letters, an international team of researchers has demonstrated an innovative technique for increasing the intensity of lasers. This approach, based on the compression of light pulses, would make it possible to reach a threshold intensity for a new type of physics that has never been explored before: quantum electrodynamics phenomena.

How to get rid of the coffee-stain effect

The coffee-stain effect is a well-known effect in physics and daily life in which a dark-colored edge remains when a fluid containing particles evaporates. This is caused by an "avalanche" of particles moving to the outer edge, University of Twente scientists showed in a past study. In inkjet and 3-D printing, this is an undesired effect. Now, researchers have demonstrated that the effect can be suppressed by modifying the surface using an oily layer, according to results published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

New breakthrough in 'spintronics' could boost high speed data technology

Scientists have made a pivotal breakthrough in the important, emerging field of spintronics—which could lead to a new high speed energy efficient data technology.

Toward super-fast motion of vortices in superconductors

An international team of scientists from Austria, Germany, and Ukraine has found a new superconducting system in which magnetic flux quanta can move at velocities of 10 to 15 km/s. This opens access to investigations of the rich physics of non-equilibrium collective systems and renders a direct-write Nb-C superconductor as a candidate material for single-photon detectors. The results are published in Nature Communications.

Wiring a new path to scalable quantum computing

Last year, Google produced a 53-qubit quantum computer that could perform a specific calculation significantly faster than the world's fastest supercomputer. Like most of today's largest quantum computers, this system boasts tens of qubits—the quantum counterparts to bits, which encode information in conventional computers.

Astronomy and Space news

Scientific 'red flag' reveals new clues about our galaxy

Figuring out how much energy permeates the center of the Milky Way—a discovery reported in the July 3 edition of the journal Science Advances—could yield new clues to the fundamental source of our galaxy's power, said L. Matthew Haffner of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Image: Hubble captures one galaxy, two asteroids

At first sight, this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope portrays the sparkling stars of AGC111977, a dwarf galaxy located around 15 million light years away and visible in the lower left part of the image. Other galaxies appear sprinkled across the frame, along with foreground stars from our own galaxy, the Milky Way.

Rare-metal abundance points to a missing companion star for the supernova Cassiopeia A

The massive star that exploded to form the supernova known as Cassiopeia A most likely had a companion star that has yet to be spotted, a spectroscopic analysis by RIKEN astrophysicists suggests. This will provide fresh impetus to efforts to locate the companion.

How life on Earth could help us find life on Mars

In our continuing search for other life in the universe, one place has always looked promising—Mars. It is a rocky planet like Earth, orbiting the same star, and at a distance where water could have been present on the planet.

Technology news

A completely new plasmonic chip for ultrafast data transmission using light

Researchers from ETH Zurich have achieved what scientists have been attempting to do for some 20 years: in their laboratory work as part of European Horizon 2020 research projects, they have manufactured a chip on which fast electronic signals can be converted directly into ultrafast light signals—with practically no loss of signal quality. This represents a significant breakthrough in terms of the efficiency of optical communication infrastructures that use light to transmit data, such as fiber optic networks.

Fuji envisions 400TB tape drive

Fujifilm announced a technological breakthrough that will allow it to construct a massive 400 terabyte tape cartridge by the end of the decade.

AI's carbon footprint problem

For all the advances enabled by artificial intelligence, from speech recognition to self-driving cars, AI systems consume a lot of power and can generate high volumes of climate-changing carbon emissions.

New math model could help with systematic predictions like potential coronavirus mutations

Could a mathematical model help predict future mutations of the coronavirus and guide scientists' research as they rush to develop an effective vaccine? This is a possibility being considered by researchers at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering—Ph.D. students Ruochen Yang and Xiongye Xiao and Paul Bogdan, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.

As the coronavirus spread, two social media communities drifted apart

On Feb. 11, 2020, the World Health Organization put a name to the mysterious respiratory disease spreading with alarming speed around the globe: COVID-19.

Elon Musk mocks regulators, short-sellers as Tesla soars

Tesla founder Elon Musk on Thursday mocked securities regulators and short-sellers in series of tweets as the tech entrepreneur celebrated his firm's rise as the world's most valuable carmaker.

When speech assistants listen even though they shouldn't

Researchers from Ruhr-Universit├Ąt Bochum (RUB) and the Bochum Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Cyber Security and Privacy have investigated which words inadvertently activate voice assistants. They compiled a list of English, German, and Chinese terms that were repeatedly misinterpreted by smart speakers as prompts. Whenever the systems wake up, they record a short sequence of what is being said and transmit the data to the manufacturer. The audio snippets are then transcribed and checked by employees of the respective corporation. Thus, fragments of very private conversations can end up in the companies' systems.

UN agency: North Europe radiation likely linked to reactor

The U.N. nuclear agency said Friday that slightly elevated levels of radioactivity detected in northern Europe likely were related to a nuclear reactor that was either operating or undergoing maintenance, but it's still unclear where it is located.

UK, Indian firm salvage satellite operator Oneweb

The UK government and Indian telecoms giant Bharti are to take control of the collapsed satellite firm Oneweb, they said Friday, as Britain seeks to expand its post-Brexit space capabilility.

US issues guidelines but no new rules for safe air travel

Federal officials said Thursday that airlines should consider limiting capacity on planes to promote social distancing, but stopped short of requiring them to do so.

Portugal strikes deal to nationalise TAP airline

Portugal said Thursday it will nationalise TAP airline to prevent the firm collapsing after striking a deal with private shareholders.

Boeing communications chief resigns over article from 30 years ago

Boeing's communications chief resigned Thursday following a complaint over an article he wrote more than 30 years ago contending that women should not serve in combat.

CEO promises to eliminate 'toxic behaviours' at Ubisoft

The head of Ubisoft has promised a "structural shift" to eliminate toxic behaviour following allegations of sexual assault and harassment by managers at the French video game publisher.

Blockchain a stronger option for American election modernization

The term "blockchain" is familiar to anyone who has delved into so-called cryptocurrency. It represents an incorruptible digital ledger of transactions associated with a given digital coin in this technology. However, the notion of such a ledger might be useful in a whole range of human affairs, such as electoral and other voting systems. Work published in the International Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning suggests that a blockchain might be viable in the U.S. voting system.

Air France, Hop! to shed 7,580 jobs: management

Air France management said Friday it planned to eliminate 7,580 jobs at the airline and its regional unit Hop! by the end of 2022 because of the coronavirus crisis.


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