Science X Newsletter Week 27

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 27:

Exotic never before seen particle discovered at CERN

The Large Hadron Collider Beauty (LHCb) project has observed an exotic particle made up of four charm quarks for the first time.

Face mask construction, materials matter for containing coughing, sneezing droplets

Currently, there are no specific guidelines on the most effective materials and designs for facemasks to minimize the spread of droplets from coughs or sneezes to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19. While there have been prior studies on how medical-grade masks perform, data on cloth-based coverings used by the vast majority of the general public are sparse.

How old is your dog in human years? Scientists develop better method than 'multiply by 7'

If there's one myth that has persisted through the years without much evidence, it's this: multiply your dog's age by seven to calculate how old they are in "human years." In other words, the old adage says, a four-year-old dog is similar in physiological age to a 28-year-old person.

Quantum fluctuations can jiggle objects on the human scale

The universe, as seen through the lens of quantum mechanics, is a noisy, crackling space where particles blink constantly in and out of existence, creating a background of quantum noise whose effects are normally far too subtle to detect in everyday objects.

Declining eyesight improved by looking at deep red light

Staring at a deep red light for three minutes a day can significantly improve declining eyesight, finds a new UCL-led study, the first of its kind in humans.

A cosmic mystery: Very Large Telescope captures the disappearance of a massive star

Using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have discovered the absence of an unstable massive star in a dwarf galaxy. Scientists think this could indicate that the star became less bright and partially obscured by dust. An alternative explanation is that the star collapsed into a black hole without producing a supernova. "If true," says team leader and Ph.D. student Andrew Allan of Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, "this would be the first direct detection of such a monster star ending its life in this manner."

Coronae of supermassive black holes may be the hidden sources of mysterious cosmic neutrinos seen on Earth

The origin of high-energy cosmic neutrinos observed by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, whose detector is buried deep in the Antarctic ice, is an enigma that has perplexed physicists and astronomers. A new model could help explain the unexpectedly large flux of some of these neutrinos inferred by recent neutrino and gamma-ray data. A paper by Penn State researchers describing the model, which points to the supermassive black holes found at the cores of active galaxies as the sources of these mysterious neutrinos, appears June 30, 2020 in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Crystal structure discovered almost 200 years ago could hold key to solar cell revolution

Solar energy researchers at Oregon State University are shining their scientific spotlight on materials with a crystal structure discovered nearly two centuries ago.

Major new paleoclimatology study shows global warming has upended 6,500 years of cooling

Over the past 150 years, global warming has more than undone the global cooling that occurred over the past six millennia, according to a major study published June 30 in Nature Research's Scientific Data, "Holocene global mean surface temperature, a multi-method reconstruction approach." The findings show that the millennial-scale global cooling began approximately 6,500 years ago when the long-term average global temperature topped out at around 0.7°C warmer than the mid-19th century. Since then, accelerating greenhouse gas emissions have contributed to global average temperatures that are now surpassing 1°C above the mid-19th century.

Aboriginal artifacts reveal first ancient underwater cultural sites in Australia

The first underwater Aboriginal archeological sites have been discovered off northwest Australia dating back thousands of years ago when the current seabed was dry land.

South Pole warming three times faster than rest of Earth: study

The South Pole has warmed three times faster than the rest of the planet in the last 30 years due to warmer tropical ocean temperatures, new research showed Monday.

Not so random acts: Science finds that being kind pays off

Acts of kindness may not be that random after all. Science says being kind pays off.

Researchers observe branched flow of light for the first time

A team of researchers from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology has observed branched flow of light for the very first time. The findings are published in Nature and are featured on the cover of the July 2, 2020 issue.

Researchers find the origin and the maximum mass of massive black holes

Through simulations of a dying star, a team of theoretical physics researchers have found the evolutionary origin and the maximum mass of black holes which are discovered by the detection of gravitational waves.

Geologists identify deep-earth structures that may signal hidden metal lodes

If the world is to maintain a sustainable economy and fend off the worst effects of climate change, at least one industry will soon have to ramp up dramatically: the mining of metals needed to create a vast infrastructure for renewable power generation, storage, transmission and usage. The problem is, demand for such metals is likely to far outstrip currently both known deposits and the existing technology used to find more ore bodies.

Immunity to COVID-19 is probably higher than tests have shown

New research from Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital shows that many people with mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 demonstrate so-called T-cell-mediated immunity to the new coronavirus, even if they have not tested positively for antibodies. According to the researchers, this means that public immunity is probably higher than antibody tests suggest. The article is freely available on the bioRxiv server and has been submitted for publication in a scientific journal.

New mathematical idea reins in AI bias towards making unethical and costly commercial choices

Researchers from the University of Warwick, Imperial College London, EPFL (Lausanne) and Sciteb Ltd have found a mathematical means of helping regulators and business manage and police Artificial Intelligence systems' biases towards making unethical, and potentially very costly and damaging commercial choices—an ethical eye on AI.

Amber fossils unlock true color of 99-million-year-old insects

Nature is full of colors, from the radiant shine of a peacock's feathers or the bright warning coloration of toxic frogs to the pearl-white camouflage of polar bears.

New swine flu strain found in China poses threat of pandemic

A team of researchers affiliated with a host of institutions in China and one in the U.S. has found evidence of a new strain of swine flu that poses a possible threat to humans. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their widespread testing of pigs in China and people known to be near them, and what they have learned.

Face coverings made from layered cotton fabric likely slow the spread of COVID-19 better than synthetics

Researchers have completed a new study of how well a variety of natural and synthetic fabrics filter particles of a similar size to the virus that causes COVID-19. Of the 32 cloth materials tested, three of the five most effective at blocking particles were 100% cotton and had a visible raised fiber or nap, such as found on flannels. Four of the five lowest performers were synthetic materials. The testing also showed that multiple fabric layers could improve cotton's effectiveness even further. None of the materials came close to the efficiency of N95 masks.


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