Science X Newsletter Week 35

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 35:

Japan's 'flying car' gets off ground, with a person aboard (Video)

The decades-old dream of zipping around in the sky as simply as driving on highways may be becoming less illusory.

How cold was the ice age? Researchers now know

A University of Arizona-led team has nailed down the temperature of the last ice age—the Last Glacial Maximum of 20,000 years ago—to about 46 degrees Fahrenheit (7.8 C).

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.

First complete dinosaur skeleton ever found is ready for its closeup at last

The first complete dinosaur skeleton ever identified has finally been studied in detail and found its place in the dinosaur family tree, completing a project that began more than a century and a half ago.

Energy firm says its nuclear-waste fueled diamond batteries could last thousands of years

A cellphone power source that lasts nine years. An auto-battery pack that lasts nearly a century. A pacemaker that is powered to last 28,000 years.

Could Planet 9 be a primordial black hole?

For several years, astronomers and cosmologists have theorized about the existence of an additional planet with a mass 10 times greater than that of Earth, situated in the outermost regions of the solar system. This hypothetical planet, dubbed Planet 9, could be the source of gravitational effects that would explain the unusual patterns in the orbits of trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) highlighted by existing cosmological data. TNOs are celestial bodies that orbit the sun and are located beyond Neptune.

Fossil evidence of 'hibernation-like' state in 250-million-year-old Antarctic animal

Hibernation is a familiar feature on Earth today. Many animals—especially those that live close to or within polar regions—hibernate to get through the tough winter months when food is scarce, temperatures drop and days are dark.

Cosmic rays may soon stymie quantum computing

The practicality of quantum computing hangs on the integrity of the quantum bit, or qubit.

Google conducts largest chemical simulation on a quantum computer to date

A team of researchers with Google's AI Quantum team (working with unspecified collaborators) has conducted the largest chemical simulation on a quantum computer to date. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their work and why they believe it was a step forward in quantum computing. Xiao Yuan of Stanford University has written a Perspective piece outlining the potential benefits of quantum computer use to conduct chemical simulations and the work by the team at AI Quantum, published in the same journal issue.

Wireless device makes clean fuel from sunlight, carbon dioxide and water

Researchers have developed a standalone device that converts sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into a carbon-neutral fuel, without requiring any additional components or electricity.

A new quantum paradox throws the foundations of observed reality into question

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Perhaps not, some say.

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.

World's biggest rooftop greenhouse opens in Montreal

Building on a new hanging garden trend, a greenhouse atop a Montreal warehouse growing eggplants and tomatoes to meet demand for locally sourced foods has set a record as the largest in the world.

Antiviral used to treat cat coronavirus also works against SARS-CoV-2

Researchers at the University of Alberta are preparing to launch clinical trials of a drug used to cure a deadly disease caused by a coronavirus in cats that they expect will also be effective as a treatment for humans against COVID-19.

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.

Hubble maps giant halo around Andromeda Galaxy

In a landmark study, scientists using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have mapped the immense envelope of gas, called a halo, surrounding the Andromeda galaxy, our nearest large galactic neighbor. Scientists were surprised to find that this tenuous, nearly invisible halo of diffuse plasma extends 1.3 million light-years from the galaxy—about halfway to our Milky Way—and as far as 2 million light-years in some directions. This means that Andromeda's halo is already bumping into the halo of our own galaxy.

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.

Researchers develop flat lens a thousand times thinner than a human hair

A lens that is a thousand times thinner than a human hair has been developed in Brazil by researchers at the University of São Paulo's São Carlos School of Engineering (EESC-USP). It can serve as a camera lens in smartphones or be used in other devices that depend on sensors.

Penis bones, echolocation calls, and genes reveal new kinds of bats

If you've ever seen a bat flying around at sunset, chances are good it was a vesper bat. They're the biggest bat family, made up of 500 species, found on every continent except Antarctica. And most of them look a lot alike—they're little, with fuzzy grayish-brown fur, sort of the sparrows of the bat world. That can make it hard to tell the different species apart. But scientists just discovered three new species and two new genera of vesper bats in Africa by comparing the bats' genes, their teeth and skulls, the high-frequency calls they make when echolocating, and the tiny bones in their penises.

Fuel cells for hydrogen vehicles are becoming longer lasting

Roughly 1 billion cars and trucks zoom about the world's roadways. Only a few run on hydrogen. This could change after a breakthrough achieved by researchers at the University of Copenhagen. The breakthrough? A new catalyst that can be used to produce cheaper and far more sustainable hydrogen powered vehicles.


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