Science X Newsletter Monday, Sep 7

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

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A technique allows robots to determine whether they are able to lift a heavy box

Study identifies limits on the efficiency of techniques for reducing noise in quantum resources

How do stone forests get their spikes? New research offers pointed answer

Children use both brain hemispheres to understand language, unlike adults

Changing what we eat could offset years of climate-warming emissions, new analysis finds

'Wild West' mentality lingers in modern populations of US mountain regions

Ancient bony fish forces rethink of how sharks evolved

Multinationals' supply chains account for a fifth of global emissions

A new twist on DNA origami: Meta-DNA structures transform the DNA nanotechnology world

First 'plug and play' brain prosthesis demoed in paralyzed person

Astronomers explore properties of the high-magnetic field pulsar PSR J1119−6127

Inertial confinement fusion implosions have significant 3-D asymmetries

Construction begins on energy storage system relying on gravity

Researchers track nutrient transport in the Gulf of Mexico

Poetry in motion: Engineers analyze the fluid physics of movement in marine snails

Physics news

Study identifies limits on the efficiency of techniques for reducing noise in quantum resources

Quantum technologies, such as quantum computers, quantum sensing devices and quantum memory, have often been found to outperform traditional electronics in speed and performance, and could thus soon help humans to tackle a variety of problems more efficiently. Despite their huge potential, most quantum systems are inherently susceptible to errors and noise, which poses a serious challenge to implementing and using them in real-world settings.

How do stone forests get their spikes? New research offers pointed answer

Stone forests—pointed rock formations resembling trees that populate regions of China, Madagascar, and many other locations worldwide—are as majestic as they are mysterious, created by uncertain forces that give them their shape.

Inertial confinement fusion implosions have significant 3-D asymmetries

Data correlating two factors that lead to implosion asymmetries have brought Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists a step closer to understanding the gap between simulations and performance of inertial confinement fusion (ICF) experiments at the National Ignition Facility (NIF).

Poetry in motion: Engineers analyze the fluid physics of movement in marine snails

In the world's oceans, billions of tiny marine snails (a form of plankton) commute daily between surface waters, where they feed at night, to depths of several hundred meters during the day to rest while avoiding predators. Marine snails play an important role in geochemical cycles and climate: 12-13% of the global carbonate flux occurs when the calcium carbonate shells of dead snails sink to the depths, where they dissolve and contribute to atmospheric carbon and ocean acidification. But because they are difficult to study and can't be kept in the laboratory, the behavior of these animals—which bear poetic names such as sea butterflies—is poorly known, especially for the subtropical and tropical regions where their diversity is greatest.

Vortex top hats emerge in superfluids

,An Australian-led study has provided new insight into the behavior of rotating superfluids.

The mystery of the neutron lifetime

Nine seconds. An eternity in some scientific experiments; an unimaginably small amount in the grand scheme of the universe. And just long enough to confound nuclear physicists studying the lifetime of the neutron.

Superconductors are super resilient to magnetic fields

A researcher at the University of Tsukuba has offered a new explanation for how superconductors exposed to a magnetic field can recover, without loss of energy, to their previous state after the field is removed. This work may lead to a new theory of superconductivity and a more eco-friendly electrical distribution system.

How to have a blast like a black hole

Researchers from the Institute of Laser Engineering at Osaka University have successfully used short, but extremely powerful laser blasts to generate magnetic field reconnection inside a plasma. This work may lead to a more complete theory of X-ray emission from astronomical objects like black holes.

Reconfiguring microwave photonic filters without an external device

Researchers from EPFL's Photonics Systems Lab have come up with a way of reconfiguring microwave photonic filters without the need for an external device. This paves the way for more compact, environmentally friendly filters that will be more practical and cheaper to use. Potential applications include detection and communications systems. The researchers' findings have recently been published in Nature Communications.

Astronomy and Space news

Astronomers explore properties of the high-magnetic field pulsar PSR J1119−6127

Using various space observatories, astronomers have conducted multi-wavelength study of a high-magnetic-field pulsar known as PSR J1119−6127, which underwent an outburst in 2016. The results shed more light on the properties of this pulsar during the post-outburst period. The study is detailed in a paper published August 28 on arXiv.org.

MRI scans show brain reorganization during long space flights, but no neurodegeneration

An international team of researchers has found that long space flights can lead to some minor brain reorganization but no neurodegeneration. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes their study of the brains of cosmonauts returning from long-term missions aboard the International Space Station, and what they found.

'Mighty mice' stay musclebound in space, boon for astronauts

Bulked-up, mutant "mighty mice" held onto their muscle during a monthlong stay at the International Space Station, returning to Earth with ripped bodybuilder physiques, scientists reported Monday.

China's first reusable spacecraft lands after 2-day flight

China's first reusable spacecraft landed Sunday after two days in orbit, a possible step toward lower-cost space flight, the government announced.

ESA selects follow-up AI Earth observatory satellite mission

Following yesterday's successful launch of ɸ-sat-1—Europe's first artificial intelligence Earth observation mission—plans are already underway for the next innovative state-of-the-art technology, ɸ-sat-2.

Image: Plasma propulsion for small satellites

A test firing of Europe's Helicon Plasma Thruster, developed with ESA by SENER and the Universidad Carlos III's Plasma & Space Propulsion Team (EP2-UC3M) in Spain. This compact, electrodeless and low voltage design is ideal for the propulsion of small satellites, including maintaining the formation of large orbital constellations.

Technology news

A technique allows robots to determine whether they are able to lift a heavy box

Humanoid robots, those with bodies that resemble humans, could soon help people to complete a wide variety of tasks. Many of the tasks that these robots are designed to complete involve picking up objects of different shapes, weights and sizes.

Construction begins on energy storage system relying on gravity

Gravity has been the center of wonderment for physicists, mathematicians and thinkers of all kinds for centuries.

US military sticks with Microsoft for $10 bn cloud contract

The US Department of Defense said Friday it is sticking with its decision to award a $10 billion cloud computing contract to Microsoft, despite Amazon's claims that President Donald Trump improperly influenced the process.

Australia leader expects 'sensible outcome' to news pay plan

Australia's prime minister said Monday that he expected a "sensible outcome" to his government's plans to make digital platforms pay for journalism after Facebook threatened to block Australian publishers and individuals from sharing news stories.

Epic Games asks court to force Apple to reinstall Fortnite

Epic Games is trying to convince a California court to reinstate Fortnite on the Apple App Store pending legal proceedings, arguing that doing so is in the "public interest," court documents show.

Struggling Australian newswire turns to crowdfunding

The Australian Associated Press launched a crowdfunding campaign Monday as the newswire struggles with financial pressures just a month after it was sold off and relaunched as a non-profit.

New helmet tech developed to protect players from coronavirus

LSU, in partnership with a Louisiana sports technology startup, has developed new helmet cooling technologies to make customizable air circulation devices for athletic helmets with the goal of helping to protect the players from coronavirus. The new devices, literally driven by fans, are being tested by LSU players. The improvements will help them stay cooler and more comfortable on the field, allowing the athletes to keep their helmets and additional COVID-19 safety gear on longer.

Eyes on the world: Drones change our point of view and our truths

Drones have changed how we see the world. Even more profoundly, drones have transformed how we witness the world: how we decide the events that matter and create our shared "truth" of what happened.

Samsung wins $6.6 billion Verizon 5G order

Samsung Electronics clinched a $6.6 billion agreement to provide 5G network equipment to Verizon in the United States, a regulatory filing showed Monday, expanding its presence in the strategically crucial market.

Italy investigates Apple, Google, Dropbox over cloud storage

Italy's competition watchdog has launched an investigation into Apple, Google and Dropbox over their cloud storage services.

Chinese chipmaker denies military ties as US steps up feud

China's leading maker of semiconductors has denied it has any links to the military following reports Washington is considering stepping up its feud with Beijing over technology and security by imposing export controls that could disrupt manufacturing for a national industrial champion.

Parking sensors

Even in the middle of a pandemic lockdown, finding a good parking space can be a painful task. Now, work published in the International Journal of Sensor Networks, offers a new approach to parking space allocation based on a distributed computing algorithm.

Fear and loathing in Hollywood at streamers' stranglehold

Hollywood stars and top directors are getting increasingly anxious about the hold streaming giants Netflix and Amazon are exerting over cinema.


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