Science X Newsletter Monday, Jul 13

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for July 13, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Using a quantum-like model to enable perception in robots with limited sensing capabilities

Structure of the molecular cloud Orion A investigated in detail

Long-term heat-storage ceramics absorbing thermal energy from hot water

Scientists demonstrate a new experiment in the search for theorized 'neutrinoless' proc

Social media inspired models show winter warming hits fish stocks

Human lungs rejected for transplant recovered using novel technique

Hidden in our genes: Discovering the fate of cell development

Tiny bubbles make a quantum leap

Well-off countries need trade to cut environmental woes

Turning off 'junk DNA' may free stem cells to become neurons

Artificial intelligence predicts which planetary systems will survive

Power of DNA to store information gets an upgrade

Human sperm stem cells grown in lab, an early step toward infertility treatment

Design of insect-inspired fans offers wide-ranging applications

New models detail how major rivers will respond to changing environmental conditions

Physics news

Scientists demonstrate a new experiment in the search for theorized 'neutrinoless' proc

Nuclear physicists affiliated with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) played a leading role in analyzing data for a demonstration experiment that has achieved record precision for a specialized detector material.

Tiny bubbles make a quantum leap

July 13, 2020—Researchers at Columbia Engineering and Montana State University report today that they have found that placing sufficient strain in a 2-D material—tungsten diselenide (WSe2)—creates localized states that can yield single-photon emitters. Using sophisticated optical microscopy techniques developed at Columbia over the past three years, the team was able to directly image these states for the first time, revealing that even at room temperature they are highly tunable and act as quantum dots, tightly confined pieces of semiconductors that emit light.

New technique to study superheavy elements

Superheavy elements are intriguing nuclear and atomic quantum systems that challenge experimental probing as they do not occur in nature and, when synthesized, vanish within seconds. Pushing the forefront of atomic physics research to these elements requires breakthrough developments towards fast atomic spectroscopy techniques with extreme sensitivity. A joint effort within the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program and led by Dr. Mustapha Laatiaoui from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) culminated in an optical spectroscopy proposal: The so-called Laser Resonance Chromatography (LRC) should enable such investigations even at minute production quantities. The proposal has recently been published in two articles in Physical Review Letters and Physical Review A.

Scientists have discovered a new physical paradox

Researchers from the Peter the Great St.Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) have discovered and theoretically explained a new physical effect: amplitude of mechanical vibrations can grow without external influence. The scientific group offered their explanation on how to eliminate the Fermi-Pasta-Ulam-Tsingou paradox.

Astronomy and Space news

Structure of the molecular cloud Orion A investigated in detail

Using a 3-D mapping technique, astronomers from Sweden and Germany have explored a nearby molecular cloud known as Orion A. The new study unveils more details about the structure and nature of this cloud. The research was presented in a paper published July 6 on the arXiv pre-print repository.

Artificial intelligence predicts which planetary systems will survive

Why don't planets collide more often? How do planetary systems—like our solar system or multi-planet systems around other stars—organize themselves? Of all of the possible ways planets could orbit, how many configurations will remain stable over the billions of years of a star's life cycle?

The quest to find signs of ancient life on Mars

Mars may now be considered a barren, icy desert but did Earth's nearest neighbour once harbour life?

Researchers find younger age for Earth's moon

The moon formed a little later than previously assumed. When a Mars-sized protoplanet was destroyed in a collision with the young Earth, a new body was created from the debris ejected during this collision, which became the moon. Planetary geophysicists at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), led by Maxime Maurice, together with researchers at the University of Münster, have used a new numerical model to reconstruct the time at which the event occurred—4.425 billion years ago. The previous assumptions about the formation of the moon were based on an age of 4.51 billion years—that, is 85 million years earlier than the new calculations reveal. The scientists have reported their findings in Science Advances.

Parker Solar Probe spies newly discovered comet NEOWISE

NASA's Parker Solar Probe was at the right place at the right time to capture a unique view of comet NEOWISE on July 5, 2020. Parker Solar Probe's position in space gave the spacecraft an unmatched view of the comet's twin tails when it was particularly active just after its closest approach to the sun, called perihelion.

Astronomers map massive structure beyond Laniakea Supercluster

For the past decade, an international team of astronomers, led in part by Brent Tully at the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy, has been mapping the distribution of galaxies around the Milky Way. They have discovered an immense structure beyond Laniakea, an immense supercluster of galaxies, including our own. Astronomers have dubbed the newly identified structure the South Pole Wall.

Why lava tubes should be our top exploration priority on other worlds

When magma comes out of the Earth onto the surface, it flows as lava. Those lava flows are fascinating to watch, and they leave behind some unique landforms and rocks. But a lot of what's fascinating about these flows can be hidden underground as lava tubes.

About eight percent of red giants are covered by sunspot-like dark areas.

Starspots are more common among red giant stars than previously thought. In the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, researchers led by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany report that approximately eight percent of red giants exhibit such spots. They are the expression of strong magnetic fields at the stellar surface. These magnetic fields are created deep inside the star in a process that requires, among other things, convection and a fast rotation of the star. Although red giants are generally regarded as slowly rotating stars, those with starspots are apparently an exception. The new publication offers a comprehensive analysis of the reasons for their short rotation periods ranging from forced synchronization with another, closely neighboring star, to the swallowing of a star or planet, to a fast initial rotation speed in an early phase of development.

SpaceX delays launch of mini-satellites

SpaceX on Saturday delayed the launch of a rocket due to take 57 mini-satellites into space as part of plan to build an orbiting, global broadband internet system.

The UAE's Mars mission seeks to bring Hope to more places than the red planet

On July 14, a new Mars-bound spacecraft will launch from Japan. While several Mars missions are planned to launch over the next month, what makes this different is who's launching it: the United Arab Emirates.

Earth-shaking science in the freezer: Next generation vibration sensors at cryogenic temperatures

A cutting-edge vibration sensor may improve the next generation of gravitational-wave detectors to find the tiniest cosmic waves from the background hum of Earth's motion.

Bad weather may delay 1st UAE Mars mission on Japan rocket

Final preparations for the launch from Japan of the United Arab Emirates' first Mars mission were underway Monday, but there was a chance of a delay because of bad weather, a Japanese rocket provider said.

Look out, Mars: Here we come with a fleet of spacecraft

Mars is about to be invaded by planet Earth—big time.

Astrophysicists suggest carbon found in comet ATLAS help reveal age of other comets

Astrophysicists from Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU, Russia), South Korea, and the U.S. appear in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, suggesting carbon indicates time comets have spent in the Solar System—the less carbon, the longer they have been in the proximity of the Sun. The proof is their study of the comet ATLAS (C/2019 Y4) approaching the Earth in May 2020 and disintegrated with displaying a major outbreak of the carbonaceous particles.

Technology news

Using a quantum-like model to enable perception in robots with limited sensing capabilities

Over the past few years, researchers have been trying to apply quantum physics theory to a variety of fields, including robotics, biology and cognitive science. Computational techniques that draw inspiration from quantum systems, also known as quantum-like (QL) models, could potentially achieve better performance and more sophisticated capabilities than more conventional approaches.

Design of insect-inspired fans offers wide-ranging applications

A highly sophisticated folding mechanism employed by a group of insects for at least 280 million years is set to become available for a wide range of applications, thanks to a design method developed and tested through multidisciplinary research by engineers and palaeobiologists.

Chemists advance solar energy storage aimed at global challenges

Increasing demand for electrification in rural areas poses challenges, but also creates opportunities for development of decentralized electrification systems. Compared with conventional electrical grids based on large, centralized power generation stations commonly used in developed countries, a decentralized approach offers lower capital cost, a smaller footprint and nimble deployment.

Artificial muscle made of sewing thread enables new motions for soft robots

To Jianguo Zhao, the octopus is one of nature's most elegant machines: nimble, shape-shifting and soft, squeezing through tight spaces with the quick contraction of a muscle.

Panasonic launches mobility service at Tokyo transportation hub

Panasonic has begun testing robotic mobility devices at the newly constructed Takanawa Gateway train station in Tokyo.

The new tattoo: Drawing electronics on skin

One day, people could monitor their own health conditions by simply picking up a pencil and drawing a bioelectronic device on their skin. In a new study, University of Missouri engineers demonstrated that the simple combination of pencils and paper could be used to create devices that might be used to monitor personal health.

Vintage Super Mario Bros. video game sells for $114,000

An unopened copy of a vintage Super Mario Bros. video game has been sold for $114,000 in an auction that underscored the enduring popularity of entertainment created decades ago.

Wall Street's Big Tech enthusiasm getting stronger

Tech stocks were going strong even before COVID-19, but behavioral shifts during the pandemic have lifted the sector further into the stratosphere, leaving the broader stock market far behind.

How misinformation about 5G is spreading within our government institutions, and who's responsible

"Fake news" is not just a problem of misleading or false claims on fringe websites; it is increasingly filtering into the mainstream and has the potential to be deeply destructive.

Understanding the love-hate relationship of halide perovskites with the sun

Solar cells made of perovskite are at the center of much recent solar research. The material is cheap, easy to produce, and almost as efficient as silicon, the material traditionally used in solar cells. However, perovskite cells have a love-hate relationship with the sun. The light that they need to generate electricity, also impairs the quality of the cells, severely limiting their efficiency and stability over time. Research by scientists at the Eindhoven University of Technology and universities in China and the U.S. now sheds new light on the causes of this degradation and paves the way for designing new perovskite compositions for the ultimate stable solar cells.

Gaze-controlled robotic arm for the speech and motor impaired

People with severe speech and motor impairment (SSMI), a condition caused by disorders like cerebral palsy, have difficulty physically operating devices such as a joystick, mouse or trackball, or use speech recognition systems. Eye-gaze-controlled computer interfaces can help them perform such tasks on par with their non-disabled peers.

Enigma code-breaking machine rebuilt at Cambridge

Cambridge Engineering alumnus Hal Evans has built a fully-functioning replica of a 1930s Polish cyclometer—an electromechanical cryptologic device that was designed to assist in the decryption of German Enigma ciphertext. The replica currently resides in King's College, Cambridge.

New way of studying genomics makes deep learning a breeze

Researchers from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine have developed a new tool that makes it easier to maximize the power of deep learning for studying genomics. They describe the new approach, Janggu, in the journal Nature Communications.

Mini-LED, Micro-LED, and OLED displays: Present status and future perspectives

Display technology has become ubiquitous in our daily life; its widespread applications cover smartphones, tablets, desktop monitors, TVs, data projectors, and augmented reality/virtual reality devices. Presently, liquid crystal displays (LCDs) and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays are two dominant flat panel display technologies. Recently, inorganic mini-LEDs (mLEDs) and micro-LEDs (μLEDs) are emerging, offering ultrahigh luminance and long lifetimes, that can significantly enhance the dynamic range of LCDs or work as sunlight readable emissive displays. Nevertheless, challenges such as mass transfer yield and defect repair remain, which will undoubtedly affect the cost. "LCD, OLED or μLED: who wins?" has become a topic of heated debate.

Wanted: The best storage battery

The global economy's demand for lithium-ion batteries will be rising sharply in the future. Electric cars depend on them, as do laptops, smartphones and power tools for the construction industry and the DIY sector. Soon another area will follow suit that requires rechargeable batteries at an even larger scale: the storage of renewable energy.

For next-generation semiconductors, 2-D tops 3-D

Netflix, which provides an online streaming service around the world, has 42 million videos and about 160 million subscribers in total. It takes just a few seconds to download a 30-minute video clip and you can watch a show within 15 minutes after it airs. As distribution and transmission of high-quality content are growing rapidly, it is critical to develop reliable and stable semiconductor memories.

Facebook's idea to ban political ads before election pleases no one

Civil rights groups were swift in their criticism of a plan being weighed by Facebook Inc. to halt political advertising before the U.S. election, saying the ban would do little to address rampant hate speech and misinformation on the social network.

Cause of external pressure-induced performance deterioration in solar cells identified

A team, led by Dr. Jung-hoon Lee of the Computational Science Research Center of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), recently collaborated with a team, led by Professor Jeffrey B. Neaton from the UC Berkeley Department of Physics, to develop a theoretical explanation for the structural changes and metallization that take place when hybrid (organic metal halide) perovskite solar cells are exposed to external pressure. The explanation announced by the two teams is attracting much attention from related academic and industrial circles

Inkjet printing fabrication paves way for practical perovskite solar cell production

Researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have developed a new fabrication technique based on inkjet printing that could enable fast, efficient and scalable production of perovskite solar cells.

Emirates airline to cut up to 9,000 jobs: report

Emirates airline has cut a tenth of its workforce during the novel coronavirus pandemic in layoffs that could rise to 15 percent, or 9,000 jobs, its president said, according to a report on Saturday.

Senior staff leave gaming firm Ubisoft in harassment probe

Gaming company Ubisoft's second most powerful executive is among senior staff to have left the firm as it pursues an internal investigation into sexual harassment allegations, it said Sunday.

Airlines got travelers comfortable about flying again once before – but 9/11 and a virus are a lot different

The U.S. airline industry has generally faced two obstacles in enticing more people to fly: fear and fares.

IMF predicts worst Mideast downturn in half century

The IMF Monday again sharply lowered its Middle East and North Africa economic forecast, to its lowest level in 50 years, over the "twin shock" of the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices.

BT CEO warns of long road to excise Huawei from UK network

The CEO of telecoms company BT has warned it may take a decade to remove Huawei equipment from Britain's wireless infrastructure if the U.K. government follows the U.S. in dumping the telecom provider from its networks.

Google announces $10 billion 'digitization' fund for India

U.S. tech giant Google is investing in a $10 billion fund to help accelerate India's transition to a digital economy in the next five to seven years.

Brexit is back: UK aims to prepare public for Jan 1 EU break

The British government told individuals and businesses Monday to get ready for new costs and red tape—but also an exciting "new start"—when the U.K. leaves the European Union's economic embrace in less than six months.


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Best laptops for under $500 for 2020

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No matter in what form school returns this fall, a usable laptop will be a necessity. Here are the best ones you can get for under $500 right now. Look for more CNET back-to-school recommendations this month.
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