Science X Newsletter Monday, Oct 19

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for October 19, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

OpenMonkeyStudio: A deep-learning-based system to estimate 3-D poses of freely moving macaques

New insight brings sustainable hydrogen one step closer

The Milky Way galaxy has a clumpy halo

Messier 85 has a peculiar globular cluster system, study finds

A trillion turns of light nets terahertz polarized bytes

'Classified knots': Researchers create optical framed knots to encode information

Coronavirus survives on skin five times longer than flu: study

Singapore's world-first face scan plan sparks privacy fears

Touch-and-go: US spacecraft sampling asteroid for return

Early-arriving endangered Chinook salmon take the brunt of sea lion predation

Tapping secrets of Aussie spider's unique silk

Exercise and nutrition regimen benefits physical, cognitive health

Children with autism, ADHD have more doctor and hospital visits during infancy

Gut bacteria in multiple sclerosis: Probiotic or commensal, good or bad?

Sanctuary policies protect immigrants but don't threaten public safety

Physics news

A trillion turns of light nets terahertz polarized bytes

U.S. and Italian engineers have demonstrated the first nanophotonic platform capable of manipulating polarized light 1 trillion times per second.

'Classified knots': Researchers create optical framed knots to encode information

In a world first, researchers from the University of Ottawa in collaboration with Israeli scientists have been able to create optical framed knots in the laboratory that could potentially be applied in modern technologies. Their work opens the door to new methods of distributing secret cryptographic keys—used to encrypt and decrypt data, ensure secure communication and protect private information. The group recently published their findings in Nature Communications.

New theory on the origin of dark matter

A recent study from the University of Melbourne proposes a new theory for the origin of dark matter, helping experimentalists in Australia and abroad in the search for the mysterious new matter.

High pressure is key for better optical fibers

Optical fiber data transmission can be significantly improved by producing the fibers, made of silica glass, under high pressure, researchers from Japan and the US report in the journal npj Computational Materials.

Microwave lenses harnessed for multi-beam forming

This highly compact beam forming network has been designed for multi-beam satellite payload antennas. Generating a total of 64 signal beams outputted from a single antenna, this novel design could cover the entire Earth with multiple spot beams from geostationary orbit.

Researching the chips of the future

The chips of the future will include photonics and electronics; they will have bandwidth, speed and processing and computing abilities that are currently unthinkable; they will make it possible to integrate many other components, and their capabilities will increase exponentially compared to electronic chips. In all, they will be essential in many fields; they will bring us a little closer, for example, to quantum computing or to the autonomous car.

Moving microscopy beyond the resolution limit

The Polish-Israeli team from the Faculty of Physics of the University of Warsaw and the Weizmann Institute of Science has made another significant achievement in fluorescent microscopy. In the pages of the Optica journal the team presented a new method of microscopy which, in theory, has no resolution limit. In practice, the team managed to demonstrate a fourfold improvement over the diffraction limit.

Astronomy and Space news

The Milky Way galaxy has a clumpy halo

The Milky Way galaxy is in the recycling business.

Messier 85 has a peculiar globular cluster system, study finds

Astronomers have conducted a study of stellar population and kinematics of globular clusters (GCs) in the galaxy Messier 85, and found that this galaxy hosts a peculiar globular cluster system. The finding is reported in a paper published October 6 on the arXiv pre-print repository.

Touch-and-go: US spacecraft sampling asteroid for return

After almost two years circling an ancient asteroid hundreds of millions of miles away, a NASA spacecraft this week will attempt to descend to the treacherous, boulder-packed surface and snatch a handful of rubble.

NASA InSight's 'Mole' is out of sight

NASA's InSight lander continues working to get its "mole"—a 16-inch-long (40-centimeter-long) pile driver and heat probe—deep below the surface of Mars. A camera on InSight's arm recently took images of the now partially filled-in "mole hole," showing only the device's science tether protruding from the ground.

Nokia to build moon's first 4G cell network for NASA program

Nokia says it has been tapped by NASA to build the first cellular communications network on the moon.

Spacecraft design could get to Titan in only 2 years using a direct fusion drive

Fusion power is the technology that is 30 years away, and always will be, according to skeptics, at least. Despite its difficult transition into a reliable power source, the nuclear reactions that power the sun have a wide variety of uses in other fields. The most obvious is in weapons; hydrogen bombs are to this day the most powerful weapons we have ever produced. But there's another use case that is much less destructive and could prove much more interesting—space drives.

Technology news

OpenMonkeyStudio: A deep-learning-based system to estimate 3-D poses of freely moving macaques

To gain a better understanding of human behavior and cognition, as well as their neural underpinnings, researchers often study other mammals with similar characteristics. One of the most common species examined in these studies is the rhesus macaque, a type of old-world monkey native to South, Central and Southeast Asia.

Singapore's world-first face scan plan sparks privacy fears

Singapore will become the world's first country to use facial verification in its national ID scheme, but privacy advocates are alarmed by what they say is an intrusive system vulnerable to abuse.

High-confidence approach for artificial intelligence-based models

They call it artificial intelligence—not because the intelligence is somehow fake. It's real intelligence, but it's still made by humans. That means AI—a power tool that can add speed, efficiency, insight and accuracy to a researcher's work—has many limitations.

Colorful perovskites: Lab advances thermochromic window technologies

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) report a breakthrough in developing a next-generation thermochromic window that not only reduces the need for air conditioning but simultaneously generates electricity.

The real promise of synthetic data

Each year, the world generates more data than the previous year. In 2020 alone, an estimated 59 zettabytes of data will be "created, captured, copied, and consumed," according to the International Data Corporation—enough to fill about a trillion 64-gigabyte hard drives.

'Digit' robot for sale and ready to perform manual labor

Robot maker Agility, a spinoff created by researchers from Oregon State University, has announced that parties interested in purchasing one of its Digit robots can now do so. The human-like robot has been engineered to perform manual labor, such as removing boxes from shelves and loading them onto a truck. The robot can be purchased directly from Agility for $250,000.

UK Space Agency backs medical drone delivery project

A medical drone delivery service founded by trainee doctors that aims to transport coronavirus samples, test kits and protective equipment between hospitals has won the backing of Britain's Space Agency.

Contractors or employees? Uber drivers split ahead of California vote

Ahead of a referendum that could upend the whole gig economy, Uber driver Karim Benkanoun says his relationship with the rideshare giant must stop being a one-way street.

Amid e-commerce boom, anti-Amazon Shopify takes flight

The pandemic has forced businesses worldwide to pivot online to survive, and many have turned to Shopify, a Canadian company that has emerged as a thriving alternative to Amazon.

Can't remember the name of that song? Now you can hum it to Google

Ever had a song stuck in your head that just keeps playing over and over but you can't recall the name or even the words?

Alibaba pays $3.6 bn to take over China hypermarket giant SunArt

China's e-commerce behemoth Alibaba has bought a controlling $3.6 billion stake in SunArt which runs hundreds of hypermarkets on the mainland for French shopping giant Auchan.

Researchers create a new 'green' engine for lorries

Researchers from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) have designed a new engine to decrease the environmental impact of the most common type of lorries that travel on European roads—those that weigh between 18 and 25 tons. From their laboratories at the CMT-Thermal Engines of the UPV, they propose a new configuration that unites all the benefits of hybrid and dual-fuel combustion engines.

Artificial Intelligence also has illusory perceptions

Researchers from the Image Processing Laboratory (IPL) of the University of Valencia and the Department of Information and Communication Technologies (DTIC) of the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) have shown that convolutional neural networks (CNN) – a type of artificial neural network commonly used in detection systems—are also affected by visual illusions, just as the human brain.

Detecting early-stage failure in electric power conversion devices

Power electronics regulate and modify electric power. They are in computers, power steering systems, solar cells, and many other technologies. Researchers are seeking to enhance power electronics by using silicon carbide semiconductors. However, wear-out failures such as cracks remain problematic. To help researchers improve future device designs, early damage detection in power electronics before complete failure is required.

Hey Google, what movie should I watch today? How AI can affect our decisions

Have you ever used Google Assistant, Apple's Siri or Amazon Alexa to make decisions for you? Perhaps you asked it what new movies have good reviews, or to recommend a cool restaurant in your neighborhood.

A renewable solution to keep cool in a warming world

Month-on-month, year-on-year, the world continues to experience record high temperatures. In response to this and exacerbated by a growing global population, it is expected that air-conditioning demand will continue to rise. A new IIASA-led study explored the pros and cons of seawater air-conditioning as an alternative cooling solution.

Studying new solar tracking strategies to maximize electric production

From making a small calculator work to generating energy to produce the entire output of an important brewery, solar energy has been undergoing significant growth in recent years, taking the place of nonrenewable energy resources that negatively affect the environment.

SocialBlock: Technology that could improve data security in smart cities

Research into smart cities is on the rise. Smart cities are defined as those using technologies (the Internet of Things, sensors, drones and big data) to improve people's quality of life. Today, a number of such projects are underway on a small scale, but these are expected to cover whole urban regions in the future.

American Airlines to restart 737 MAX flights in December

American Airlines says it plans to begin flying the Boeing 737 MAX again in December, assuming the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) allows the plan to resume service, the carrier confirmed on Monday.

Facebook unveils machine learning translator for 100 languages

Facebook on Monday unveiled software based on machine learning which the company said was the first to be able to translate from any of 100 languages without relying on English.

Robotics enter the COVID-19 fight

A decontamination robot funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and designed by several local universities was recently tested in Richmond Va. The robot—initially designed for shipboard firefighting and maintenance tasks—has now been enlisted in the fight against COVID-19.

Communications breakdown? Tesla turns away from media

What's new at Tesla?

Creditors back plan to get India's Jet Airways flying again

Creditors on Saturday backed a surprise plan by a consortium to revive Jet Airways 18 months after India's biggest private airline went bankrupt with $1.2 billion in debt.

China passes export law protecting national security, covering tech

China has passed a new law restricting sensitive exports to protect national security, a move that adds to policy tools it could wield against the US as tensions—especially in technology—continue to rise.

Airlines face tough winter as hoped-for pick-up fails to materialise

Airlines face a long, hard winter after a much hoped for rebound from the coronavirus crisis failed to materialise, prompting savage cost cutting programmes and fresh calls for government support.

Hard hit by virus, airlines push for tests over quarantines

What will it take to get people flying again? International air traffic is down 92% this year as travelers worry about catching COVID-19 and government travel bans and quarantine rules make planning difficult. One thing airlines believe could help is to have rapid virus tests of all passengers before departure.

Irish data regulator probes Instagram use of child data

Ireland's data protection agency is investigating Instagram following concerns over how the image-sharing social platform handles children's personal data, a spokesman said Monday.

Canada's Cogeco 'definitively' rejects Altice takeover bid

Canadian telecom giant Cogeco on Sunday definitively rejected an increased takeover bid from Altice U.S., citing the company's "enviable" market position and continued profitability under current ownership.

French court tries Russian for multi-million-euro cyberfraud

A Russian goes on trial in Paris Monday accused of having defrauded nearly 200 victims across the world of 135 million euros using ransomware.

Philips Q3 earnings boosted by virus healthcare demand

Dutch firm Philips said Monday its third quarter net profit rose sharply as its health arm got a boost from demand driven by the coronavirus pandemic.

AI reduces 'communication gap' for nonverbal people by as much as half

Researchers have used artificial intelligence to reduce the communication gap for nonverbal people with motor disabilities who rely on computers to converse with others.

UK airline Flybe eyes return to skies after rescue

UK airline Flybe, which crashed into bankruptcy as the coronavirus crisis erupted, could return to the skies early next year under a rescue by an ex-shareholder, administrators EY said Monday.

US in no hurry to develop digital dollar: Fed's Powell

The US central bank is researching a possible cyber-dollar, but will move slowly to ensure it first addresses the risks of fraud and counterfeiting, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Monday.

Home working to boost cyber-attack insurance: Munich Re

German reinsurance giant Munich Re said Monday that it anticipates a boom in cyber-risk insurance in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Alibaba fintech arm gets nod for record IPO listing in Hong Kong

The financial arm of Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba received Monday a green light from Chinese regulators to list in Hong Kong, according to data published online, another step towards the biggest IPO in history.

Amazon fake reviews reach holiday season levels during pandemic

Fake reviews on Amazon.com Inc. during the pandemic have reached levels typically seen during the holiday shopping season.


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