Science X Newsletter Friday, Aug 7

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for August 7, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Authors' 'invisible' words reveal blueprint for storytelling

Researchers warn of climate repercussions if Brazilian highway through the Amazon is paved

6,600-year-old gravesites in Poland suggest wealth gap existed earlier than thought

Electric cooker an easy, efficient way to sanitize N95 masks, study finds

People who feel dizzy when they stand up may have higher risk of dementia

Brain noise contains unique signature of dream sleep

New science behind biodegradable algae-based flip-flops

Transgender and gender-diverse individuals more likely to be autistic: study

New Zealand's Southern Alps glacier melt has doubled

Test accurately IDs people whose gonorrhea can be cured with simple oral antibiotic

Scientists develop principles for the creation of an 'acoustic diode'

Glass-like wood insulates heat, is tough, blocks UV and has wood-grain pattern

Neuronal cultures advance 'brain-on-a-chip' technology

Hormones control paternal interest in offspring

New stem cell model to study how cancer arises

Physics news

Scientists develop principles for the creation of an 'acoustic diode'

In research published in Science Advances, a group led by scientists from the RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science (CEMS) have used the principle of magneto-rotation coupling to suppress the transmission of sound waves on the surface of a film in one direction while allowing them to travel in the other. This could lead to the development of acoustic rectifiers—devices that allow waves to propagate preferentially in one direction, with potential applications in communications technology.

Researchers tease out the unique chemical fingerprint of the most aggressive free radical in living things

Free radicals—atoms and molecules with unpaired electrons—can wreak havoc on the body. They are like jilted paramours, destined to wander about in search of another electron, leaving broken cells, proteins and DNA in their wakes.

Materials science researchers develop first electrically injected laser

Materials science researchers, led by electrical engineering professor Shui-Qing "Fisher" Yu, have demonstrated the first electrically injected laser made with germanium tin.

Inexpensive, accessible device provides visual proof that masks block droplets

Duke physician Eric Westman was one of the first champions of masking as a means to curtail the spread of coronavirus, working with a local non-profit to provide free masks to at-risk and under-served populations in the greater Durham community.

Q&A: Harnessing sound to better monitor aging pipeline infrastructure

Underground pipelines, some as old as the cities they service, are often far past their intended lifespan and the need for replacing them looms as an expense most municipalities can't afford.

Updating Turing's model of pattern formation

In 1952, Alan Turing published a study which described mathematically how systems composed of many living organisms can form rich and diverse arrays of orderly patterns. He proposed that this 'self-organization' arises from instabilities in un-patterned systems, which can form as different species jostle for space and resources. So far, however, researchers have struggled to reproduce Turing patterns in laboratory conditions, raising serious doubts about its applicability. In a new study published in EPJ B, researchers led by Malbor Asllani at the University of Limerick, Ireland, have revisited Turing's theory to prove mathematically how instabilities can occur through simple reactions, and in widely varied environmental conditions.

Measuring electron emission from irradiated biomolecules

When fast-moving ions cross paths with large biomolecules, the resulting collisions produce many low-energy electrons which can go on to ionize the molecules even further. To fully understand how biological structures are affected by this radiation, it is important for physicists to measure how electrons are scattered during collisions. So far, however, researchers' understanding of the process has remained limited. In new research published in EPJ D, researchers in India and Argentina, led by Lokesh Tribedi at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, have successfully determined the characteristics of electron emission when high-velocity ions collide with adenine—one of the four key nucleobases of DNA.

Astronomy and Space news

Stellar egg hunt with ALMA—Tracing evolution from embryo to baby star

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) took a census of stellar eggs in the constellation Taurus and revealed their evolution state. This census helps researchers understand how and when a stellar embryo transforms to a baby star deep inside a gaseous egg. In addition, the team found a bipolar outflow, a pair of gas streams, that could be telltale evidence of a truly newborn star.

NASA sounding rocket finds helium structures in sun's atmosphere

Helium is the second most abundant element in the universe after hydrogen. But scientists aren't sure just how much there actually is in the Sun's atmosphere, where it is hard to measure. Knowing the amount of helium in the solar atmosphere is important to understanding the origin and acceleration of the solar wind—the constant stream of charged particles from the Sun.

Russia wants to return to Venus, build reusable rocket

The head of Russia's space agency said Friday that Roscosmos wants to return to Venus and bring back soil samples and build spacecraft that will surpass Elon Musk's rockets.

Huge ring-like structure on Ganymede's surface may have been caused by violent impact

Researchers from Kobe University and the National Institute of Technology, Oshima College have conducted a detailed reanalysis of image data from Voyager 1, 2 and Galileo spacecraft in order to investigate the orientation and distribution of the ancient tectonic troughs found on Jupiter's moon Ganymede. They discovered that these troughs are concentrically distributed across almost the entire surface of the satellite. This global distribution indicates that these troughs may be actually part of one giant crater covering Ganymede.

ESA's 'first' satellite: COS-B

This weekend sees the 45th anniversary of the launch of Cos-B, the first satellite to be launched under the banner of the newly created European Space Agency, on 9 August 1975.

Cluster's 20 years of studying Earth's magnetosphere

Despite a nominal lifetime of two years, ESA's Cluster is now entering its third decade in space. This unique four-spacecraft mission has been revealing the secrets of Earth's magnetic environment since 2000 and, with 20 years of observations under its belt, is still enabling new discoveries as it explores our planet's relationship with the Sun.

Technology news

Smartwatch tracks medication levels to personalize treatments

Engineers at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering and their colleagues at Stanford School of Medicine have demonstrated that drug levels inside the body can be tracked in real time using a custom smartwatch that analyzes the chemicals found in sweat. This wearable technology could be incorporated into a more personalized approach to medicine—where an ideal drug and dosages can be tailored to an individual.

Hacker posts confidential Intel specs online

Intel suffered a massive breach Thursday as 20 GB of internal documents were published online.

Cadillac says new electric SUV has features to take on Tesla

We've seen this movie before, an electric vehicle from a mainstream automaker that will take away sales from market leader Tesla.

UN reports sharp increase in cybercrime during pandemic

A 350% increase in phishing websites was reported in the first quarter of the year, many targeting hospitals and health care systems and hindering their work responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.N. counterterrorism chief said Thursday.

Uber lost $1.8B in 2Q as riders stayed home and ordered in

Uber lost $1.78 billion in the second quarter as the pandemic carved a gaping hole in its ride-hailing business, with millions of people staying home to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Twitter, Facebook take fresh steps to curb election manipulation

Twitter and Facebook on Thursday announced moves to thwart efforts to deceive or divide voters as the US nears a contentious presidential election.

Nuclear threats are increasing – here's how the US should prepare for a nuclear event

On the 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, some may like to think the threat from nuclear weapons has receded. But there are clear signs of a growing nuclear arms race and that the U.S. is not very well-prepared for nuclear and radiological events.

Machine-learning research may help find new tungsten deposits in England

Geologists have developed a machine learning technique that highlights the potential for further deposits of the critical metal tungsten in SW England.

Consumers find third-party use of personal location data privacy violations, study shows

The National Security Agency issued a warning to its employees Aug. 4 that cellphone location data could pose a national security risk.

Renewables in Europe: Land requirements can be reduced at low cost

Transitioning our energy supply from coal, oil and gas to wind and solar power is feasible. However, renewables require more land than conventional forms of energy generation. A new study explores the options to reduce the land requirements of a fully renewable energy supply in Europe and their possible impact on the cost of electricity.

TikTok and privacy: What's the problem? Perhaps the video-sharing app gathers too much data

Karen North, a professor of social media at the University of Southern California told her two teenage kids they could have any app on their phones, with one exception.

Computer scientists offer wiFi-based contact tracing software for national campus use

Researchers at the Center for Smart and Connected Society at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently released a new digital contact-tracing technique that is based on widely-deployed Wi-Fi technology. They intend the open-source software tool to help universities and colleges deploy campus contact tracing as students return under special pandemic management rules this fall.

Layer of nanoparticles could improve LED performance and lifetime

Adding a layer of nanoparticles to LED designs could help them produce more light for the same energy, and also increase their lifetime.

Trump bans dealings with Chinese owners of TikTok, WeChat

President Donald Trump has ordered a sweeping but vague ban on dealings with the Chinese owners of popular social media apps TikTok and WeChat on security grounds, a move China's government criticized as "political manipulation."

Shares in WeChat parent plunge 10% after Trump issues ban order

Shares in the parent of Chinese social media giant WeChat tanked in Hong Kong on Friday after Donald Trump signed an executive order banning Americans from doing business with the platform, citing national security concerns.

Saudi Arabia seeks to tame powerful cyber armies

Online armies of self-styled Saudi patriots riding a wave of state-led nationalism attack critics and what they call "traitors" of the kingdom—but their growing clout has left the government uneasy.

Trump order targets Chinese internet stars TikTok, WeChat

US President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered sweeping restrictions against Chinese-owned social media stars TikTok and WeChat, which could strangle their ability to operate in the United States.

Researchers curate resilience solutions for international power system planners

When a power system fails, consequences can be catastrophic. At-risk communities may be left without access to lifesaving medical resources, while sanitation, manufacturing, and other critical services may be rendered powerless and unable to function. If a nation or region is geographically isolated or otherwise poorly equipped to respond, recovery time can take even longer.

Advertising slump during virus crisis hits media jobs

Media redundancies, partial layoffs and managerial wage cuts are on the rise as advertising markets implode, despite customers showing an ever stronger appetite for information on the coronavirus crisis.

TikTok and WeChat: Chinese apps dogged by security fears

The United States has fired a new salvo in its rivalry with China, ordering sweeping restrictions against Chinese-owned social media stars TikTok and WeChat.

For-profit media model has collapsed, expert says

The for-profit media model has collapsed, and newspapers have not been able to craft a digital response, says Penelope Abernathy, former vice-president of the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, and a University of North Carolina professor for media economics.

Virus hastens newspapers' slide into shaky digital future

The coronavirus crisis has weighed heavily on print newspapers already battling for survival around the world, with the number of copies sold tumbling while less profitable digital readerships surge.

Singapore company director charged over Wirecard scandal

A company director has been charged in Singapore with falsifying letters linked to scandal-hit German payments giant Wirecard, according to court documents, as the fallout from the firm's collapse spreads further around the world.

Thousands of British Airways employees face job losses

Some 4,000 British Airways workers are learning Friday whether they will be fired as the airline slashes jobs amid the drop in demand and travel restrictions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump moves on China apps may create new internet 'firewall'

A ban by President Donald Trump's administration on Chinese mobile apps such as TikTok and WeChat risks fragmenting an already fragile global internet and creating an American version of China's "Great Firewall."

Q&A: What's up with Trump's orders on TikTok and WeChat?

President Donald Trump has ordered sweeping but vague ban on dealings with the Chinese owners of popular apps TikTok and WeChat, saying they are a threat to U.S. national security, foreign policy and the economy.


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