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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for August 25, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Physicists pin down the pay off between speed and entropy

A 26-layer convolutional neural network for human action recognition

Researchers have a bold proposal to tackle one of the biggest barriers to more renewable energy

Four new open clusters detected in the Cygnus Cloud

Galactic bar paradox resolved in cosmic dance

50 new planets confirmed in machine learning first

New imaging technique helps resolve nanodomains, chemical composition in cell membranes

Recently discovered planets not as safe from stellar flares as first thought

Small quake clusters can't hide from AI

NASA missions explore a 'TIE fighter' active galaxy

Finnish 'Polite Type' font combats cyberbullying

Study identifies first step to beating water scarcity

Research shows potential to improve paints, coatings

Origami-inspired miniature manipulator improves precision and control of teleoperated surgical procedures

Protein 'chameleon' colors long-term memory

Physics news

Physicists pin down the pay off between speed and entropy

"You have to work harder to get the job done faster," explains Gianmaria Falasco, a researcher at the University of Luxembourg as he sums up the results of his latest work with Massimiliano Esposito. This will come as no surprise to anyone with any experience of racing around trying to meet appointments and deadlines, but by defining specific parameters for the relation between work expended in terms of dissipation and the rate at which a system changes state, Falasco and Esposito provide a valuable tool for those developing ways of manipulating non-equilibrium systems, be that the behavior of living cells or an electronic circuit. Additionally, the "dissipation-time uncertainty relation" they developed to define this behavior is tantalizingly suggestive of other uncertainty relations in quantum physics.

Building mechanical memory boards using origami

The ancient Japanese art of paper folding, known as origami, can be used to create mechanical, binary switches.

Effectiveness of cloth masks depends on type of covering

Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, wearing a mask while out in public has become the recommended practice. However, many still question the effectiveness of this.

Storing information in antiferromagnetic materials

Researchers at Mainz University have shown that information can be stored in antiferromagnetic materials and to measure the efficiency of the writing operation

Transparent near-infrared light-emitting diodes

NUS researchers have developed transparent, near-infrared-light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that could be integrated into the displays of smart watches, smart phones and augmented or virtual reality devices.

Filling in the blanks: How supercomputing can aid high-resolution X-ray imaging

Scientists are preparing for the increased brightness and resolution of next-generation light sources with a computing technique that reconstructs images faster and with more precision.

New method to track ultrafast change of magnetic state

An international team of physicists from Bielefeld University, Uppsala University, the University of Strasbourg, University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, ETH Zurich, and the Free University Berlin have developed a precise method to measure the ultrafast change of a magnetic state in materials. They do this by observing the emission of terahertz radiation that necessarily accompanies such a magnetization change. Their study, titled "Ultrafast terahertz magnetometry," is being published today in Nature Communications.

Beating noise via superposition of order

Information can successfully be transmitted through noisy channels using quantum mechanics, according to new research from The University of Queensland and Griffith University.

Researchers on a path to build powerful and practical quantum computer

For the first time, researchers have designed a fully connected 32-qubit trapped-ion quantum computer register operating at cryogenic temperatures. The new system represents an important step toward developing practical quantum computers.

Researchers uncover unusual glassy behavior in a disordered protein

When UC Santa Barbara materials scientist Omar Saleh and graduate student Ian Morgan sought to understand the mechanical behaviors of disordered proteins in the lab, they expected that after being stretched, one particular model protein would snap back instantaneously, like a rubber band.

A new generation of synchrotron

Inside the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility's 844-meter-diameter storage ring, electrons traveling at almost the speed of light produce some of the brightest X-ray beams in the world. These X-rays can reveal the position and motions of atoms in all kinds of matter. Seven of the facility's 44 beamlines are dedicated to structural biology research and run under the auspices of an EMBL-ESRF partnership known as the Joint Structural Biology Group (JSBG).

Astronomy and Space news

Four new open clusters detected in the Cygnus Cloud

By analyzing the data from ESA's Gaia satellite, Chinese astronomers have discovered four new open clusters in the Cygnus Nebula Cloud. The newfound clusters, designated QC1 to QC 4, are located between 4,100 and 7,600 light-years away. The finding is reported in a paper published August 17 on arXiv.org.

Galactic bar paradox resolved in cosmic dance

New light has been shed on a mysterious and long-standing conundrum at the very heart of our galaxy. The new work offers a potential solution to the so-called "Galactic bar paradox," whereby different observations produce contradictory estimates of the motion of the central regions of the Milky Way. The results are published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

50 new planets confirmed in machine learning first

Fifty potential planets have been confirmed by a new machine learning algorithm developed by University of Warwick scientists.

Recently discovered planets not as safe from stellar flares as first thought

A nearby star, the host of two (and possibly three) planets, was initially thought to be quiet and boring. These attributes are sought-after as they create a safe environment for their planets, especially those that may be in what scientists call "the habitable zone" where liquid water could exist on their surfaces and life might be possible. But astronomers at Arizona State University have announced that this nearby star turns out to be not so tame after all.

NASA missions explore a 'TIE fighter' active galaxy

Not so long ago, astronomers mapped a galaxy far, far away using radio waves and found it has a strikingly familiar shape. In the process, they discovered the object, called TXS 0128+554, experienced two powerful bouts of activity in the last century.

Ancient star explosions revealed in the deep sea

A mystery surrounding the space around our solar system is unfolding thanks to evidence of supernovae found in deep-sea sediments.

Pristine space rock offers NASA scientists peek at evolution of life's building blocks

During a 2012 expedition to Antarctica, a team of Japanese and Belgian researchers picked up a small rock that appeared coal black against the snow white. Now known as meteorite Asuka 12236, it was roughly the size of a golf ball.

Tracing the cosmic origin of complex organic molecules with their radiofrequency footprint

The origin of life on Earth is a topic that has piqued human curiosity since probably before recorded history began. But how did the organic matter that constitutes lifeforms even arrive at our planet? Though this is still a subject of debate among scholars and practitioners in related fields, one approach to answering this question involves finding and studying complex organic molecules (COMs) in outer space.

Gemini Observatory images reveal striking details of comet NEOWISE

When Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) sped through the inner Solar System during the middle of 2020, astronomers and the general public watched in awe as this "dirty snowball" shed gas and dust into space, producing a striking show visible to the naked eye. Close-up observations, led by Michal Drahus and Piotr Guzik of Jagiellonian University in Krakow, used the international Gemini Observatory, a Program of NSF's NOIRLab, to observe the materials escaping from the comet over time. One set of observations, obtained on 1 August 2020 from the Gemini North telescope on Hawai'i's Maunakea, displays a spiraling stream of molecular gas that reveals the rotation of the comet's nucleus. The timelapse sequence, compressed to only a few seconds, represents about one fifth of the approximately 7.5-hour rotation period of the comet.

A galaxy's stop-and-start young radio jets

In this image, made with the National Science Foundation's Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), young, radio-emitting jets of material emerge from the core of an elliptical galaxy some 500 million light-years from Earth. After NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected high-energy gamma rays coming from the object, scientists used the VLBA to make high-resolution images of the galaxy, dubbed TXS 0128+554.

Global magnetic field of the solar corona measured for the first time

An international team led by Professor Tian Hui from Peking University has recently measured the global magnetic field of the solar corona for the first time. The team used observations from the Coronal Multi-channel Polarimeter, an instrument designed by Dr. Steve Tomczyk at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, USA. Their results have been recently published in Science and Science China Technological Sciences. Yang Zihao, a first-year graduate student at Peking University, is the first author of both papers.

Technology news

A 26-layer convolutional neural network for human action recognition

Deep learning algorithms, such as convolutional neural networks (CNNs), have achieved remarkable results on a variety of tasks, including those that involve recognizing specific people or objects in images. A task that computer scientists have often tried to tackle using deep learning is vision-based human action recognition (HAR), which specifically entails recognizing the actions of humans who have been captured in images or videos.

Researchers have a bold proposal to tackle one of the biggest barriers to more renewable energy

The phrase "too much of a good thing" may sound like a contradiction, but it encapsulates one of the key hurdles preventing the expansion of renewable energy generation. Too much of a service or commodity makes it harder for companies to sell them, so they curtail production.

Finnish 'Polite Type' font combats cyberbullying

A Finnish tech company has released an unusual tool to help combat cyberbullying: a type font.

Origami-inspired miniature manipulator improves precision and control of teleoperated surgical procedures

Minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, in which a surgeon uses tools and a tiny camera inserted into small incisions to perform operations, has made surgical procedures safer for both patients and doctors over the last half-century. Recently, surgical robots have started to appear in operating rooms to further assist surgeons by allowing them to manipulate multiple tools at once with greater precision, flexibility, and control than is possible with traditional techniques. However, these robotic systems are extremely large, often taking up an entire room, and their tools can be much larger than the delicate tissues and structures on which they operate.

Detecting and responding to incidents with images

When a natural disaster occurs, on-the-ground emergency response teams act quickly to make life-saving decisions. Reducing the response time in such situations is critical to reduce damage impact and save lives. Helpful efforts are being taken to reduce the burden, such as a damage assessment tool by UNDP, though few automated methods exist. In recent work, MIT is creating tools that can automatically analyze images.

Computers excel in chemistry class

Machine learning models can rapidly and accurately estimate key chemical parameters related to molecular reactivity.

Using radio signals to monitor people at risk while maintaining privacy

A team of researchers at MIT has developed a system for monitoring the activity of people at risk remotely while preserving their privacy. The researchers have written a paper describing their system, which they call RF-Diary.

Faster, more efficient energy storage could stem from holistic study of layered materials

A team led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory developed a novel, integrated approach to track energy-transporting ions within an ultra-thin material, which could unlock its energy storage potential leading toward faster charging, longer lasting devices.

Researchers develop AI to detect fentanyl and derivatives remotely

To help keep first responders safe, University of Central Florida researchers have developed an artificial intelligence method that not only rapidly and remotely detects the powerful drug fentanyl, but also teaches itself to detect any previously unknown derivatives made in clandestine batches.

Deep learning algorithm to speed up materials discovery in emerging tech industries

Solid-state inorganic materials are critical to the growth and development of electric vehicle, cellphone, laptop battery and solar energy technologies. However, finding the ideal materials with the desired functions for these industries is extremely challenging. Jianjun Hu, an associate professor of computer science at the University of South Carolina is the lead researcher on a project to generate new hypothetical materials.

Swiss team claims 1st jump, free fall from solar plane

A Swiss team working to take a solar-powered plane to the edge of space says it has performed the first jump and free fall from an electric aircraft.

Alibaba's Ant Group files for IPO in Hong Kong, Shanghai

Ant Group, the financial technology arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, on Tuesday filed for a dual listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai, in what may be the largest share offering since the coronavirus pandemic began.

New technique to prevent imaging cyberthreats proposed by researchers

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have developed a new artificial intelligence technique that will protect medical devices from malicious operating instructions in a cyberattack as well as other human and system errors.

AI technologies, like police facial recognition, discriminate against people of color

Detroit police wrongfully arrested Robert Julian-Borchak Williams in January 2020 for a shoplifting incident that had taken place two years earlier. Even though Williams had nothing to do with the incident, facial recognition technology used by Michigan State Police "matched" his face with a grainy image obtained from an in-store surveillance video showing another African American man taking US$3,800 worth of watches.

Improving battery life for wearable electronic devices by addressing asymmetric stresses

Researchers in WMG and the Department of Physics at the University of Warwick have found that asymmetric stresses within electrodes used in certain wearable electronic devices provides an important clue as to how to improve the durability and lifespan of these batteries.

Digging your own digital grave: How should you manage the data you leave behind?

Throughout our lifetimes we consume, collate, curate, host and produce a staggering quantity of data—some by our own hand, some by others on our behalf, and some without our knowledge or consent.

Honda reaches $85 million settlement over airbags

Honda has reached an $85 million settlement with multiple states over allegations that it hid safety failures in the airbags of certain Honda and Acura vehicles sold in the U.S.

Apple defeats bid to return 'Fortnite' to App Store

A US court has rejected a bid by the makers of Fortnite to reinstate the video game sensation immediately to the App Store, saying its eviction by Apple was a "self-inflicted wound."

Fitbit's new lineup features a smartwatch that might pick up fever, stress symptoms

Fitbit unveiled a smartwatch enabled to tell you if you may be feeling stressed out or potentially running a fever as the coronavirus pandemic continues to grip the nation.

Tesla wants to add tech that can detect whether a child was left behind in a hot car

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has announced playful features coming to the brand's range of electric vehicles, but it seems the company is exploring some next-level safety features too.

Qantas to axe 2,500 more jobs

Australian flag carrier Qantas announced plans Tuesday to cut almost 2,500 more jobs, just days after posting a huge annual loss as it reels from a collapse in demand caused by the coronavirus.

Aveva buys OSIsoft for $5bn as virus fuels cloud demand

British industrial software group Aveva on Tuesday announced it had agreed to buy US rival OSIsoft for $5 billion, as the coronavirus pandemic pushes clients to expand their online cloud services.

LG Electronics shuts Indonesia factory after virus outbreak

South Korea's LG Electronics has temporarily shut a factory near Indonesia's capital after some 200 employees contracted coronavirus, the company and a local official said Tuesday.

Analyzing and developing algorithms for time-varying data

Jules Wulms, Ph.D. student in the research group Applied Geometric Algorithms of the department of Mathematics and Computer Science, has developed a new theoretical framework for the analysis of algorithms for time-varying data.

A contactless bus designed for the pandemic age

A new public transportation design concept aims to give passengers the confidence to take a bus ride by minimizing contact, using anti-microbial fabric and installing self-sanitizing handles.

New internal combustion engine that does not emit harmful gases or carbon dioxide

Researchers from Valencia's Polytechnic University (UPV) have designed a new internal combustion engine that does not generate carbon dioxide (CO2) or gasses that are harmful to people's health. According to its creators, it is a revolutionary engine that meets the regulation on emissions planned for 2040 and also has high efficiency. The first two prototypes of this engine will become a reality in coming months thanks to funding provided by the Valencian Agency for Innovation.

Finnair to cut 1,000 jobs as coronavirus end 'not in sight'

Finnish national carrier Finnair announced plans Tuesday to cut 1,000 jobs, or 15 percent of its workforce, amid dire warnings about the economic impact of the coronavirus.

Teamwork can make the 5G dream work: A collaborative system architecture for 5G networks

That many novel network- and cloud-dependent services will have become commonplace in the next few years is evident. This includes highly demanding technological feats like 8K video streaming, remote virtual reality, and large-scale data processing. But, it is also likely that today's network infrastructures won't make the cut unless significant improvements are made to enable the advanced, 'killer' 5G applications expected in the imminent 5G era.

American Airlines plans 19,000 furloughs, layoffs in October

American Airlines said Tuesday it will cut more than 40,000 jobs, including 19,000 through furloughs and layoffs, in October as it struggles with a sharp downturn in travel because of the pandemic.

Creditors back £1.2bn virus rescue for Virgin Atlantic

Virus-hit airline Virgin Atlantic, part-owned by British tycoon Richard Branson, said Tuesday that creditors had approved a £1.2-billion private recapitalisation to help ensure its survival.

Insolvent Wirecard to slash more than half its German staff

Administrators for scandal-hit payments firm Wirecard said on Tuesday that the insolvent company would lay off more than half its remaining German staff.

Sony's new PlayStation 5 video spot signals launch of new console system

Sony is kicking off its marketing blitz for the PlayStation 5 video game system.

Zoom finally conferences in Alexa, Google and Facebook on Echo Show, Portal and Nest Hub Max

After frustrating stay-at-home workers and parents looking for an easy way to connect their kids to Zoom because it wasn't available, the world's most popular video meeting application is finally coming to Amazon, Google and Facebook video display units.


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