Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Oct 27

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for October 27, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

The experimental demonstration of entanglement between mechanical and spin systems

An attacker can steal sensitive user data over the phone using smart speakers

Tailoring nanocomposite interfaces with graphene to achieve high strength and toughness

Tulle-like DefeXtiles can be 3-D printed with no custom software or hardware

Vampire bats social distance when they get sick

Why do certain chemotherapies increase the likelihood of blood cancer?

3-D printing the first ever biomimetic tongue surface

Haunted house researchers investigate the mystery of playing with fear

NASA to launch delicate stowing of OSIRIS-REx asteroid samples

Asymptomatic virus sufferers lose antibodies sooner: study

Artificially sweetened drinks may not be heart healthier than sugary drinks

New research predicts whether rheumatoid arthritis patients will respond to treatment

Cerebrospinal fluid as liquid biopsy for characterizing and policing of medulloblastoma

'Fireball' meteorite contains pristine extraterrestrial organic compounds

Promising strategies for durable perovskite solar cells

Physics news

The experimental demonstration of entanglement between mechanical and spin systems

Quantum entanglement is the basic phenomenon underlying the functioning of a variety of quantum systems, including quantum communication, quantum sensing and quantum computing tools. This phenomenon results from an interaction (i.e., entanglement) between particles. Attaining entanglement between distant and very different objects, however, has so far proved highly challenging.

Random effects key to containing epidemics

To control an epidemic, authorities will often impose varying degrees of lockdown. In a paper in the journal Chaos, scientists have discovered, using mathematics and computer simulations, why dividing a large population into multiple subpopulations that do not intermix can help contain outbreaks without imposing contact restrictions within those local communities.

60-year-old limit to lasers overturned by quantum researchers

A team of Australian quantum theorists has shown how to break a bound that had been believed, for 60 years, to fundamentally limit the coherence of lasers.

A major milestone for an underground dark matter search experiment

Crews working on the largest U.S. experiment designed to directly detect dark matter completed a major milestone last month, and are now turning their sights toward startup after experiencing some delays due to global pandemic precautions.

Theoreticians show which quantum systems are suitable for quantum simulations

A joint research group led by Prof. Jens Eisert of Freie Universität Berlin and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has shown a way to simulate the quantum physical properties of complex solid state systems. This is done with the help of complex solid state systems that can be studied experimentally. The study was published in the renowned journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Record neutron numbers at Sandia Labs' Z machine fusion experiments

A relatively new method to control nuclear fusion that combines a massive jolt of electricity with strong magnetic fields and a powerful laser beam has achieved its own record output of neutrons—a key standard by which fusion efforts are judged—at Sandia National Laboratories' Z pulsed power facility, the most powerful producer of X-rays on Earth.

Solid-state technology for big data in particle physics

At CERN's Large Hadron Collider, as many as 40 million particle collisions occur within the span of a single second inside the CMS particle detector's more than 80 million detection channels. These collisions create an enormous digital footprint, even after computers winnow it to the most meaningful data. The simple act of retrieving information can mean battling bottlenecks.

Astronomy and Space news

NASA to launch delicate stowing of OSIRIS-REx asteroid samples

NASA's robotic spacecraft OSIRIS-REx is set to begin on Tuesday a delicate operation to store the precious particles it scooped up from the asteroid Bennu, but which were leaking into space when a flap got wedged open.

'Fireball' meteorite contains pristine extraterrestrial organic compounds

On the night of January 16, 2018, a fireball meteor streaked across the sky over the Midwest and Ontario before landing on a frozen lake in Michigan. Scientists used weather radar to find where the pieces landed and meteorite hunters were able to collect the meteorite quickly, before its chemical makeup got changed by exposure to liquid water. And, as a new paper in Meteoritics & Planetary Science shows, that gave scientists a glimpse of what space rocks are like when they're still in outer space—including a look at pristine organic compounds that could tell us about the origins of life.

Massive asteroid subject of new findings

A University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy (IfA) astronomer has revealed critical new findings linked to a large asteroid expected to pass extremely close to Earth. Dave Tholen and collaborators have announced the detection of Yarkovsky acceleration on the near-Earth asteroid Apophis. This acceleration arises from an extremely weak force on an object due to non-uniform thermal radiation. This force is particularly important for the asteroid Apophis, as it affects the probability of an Earth impact in 2068.

The Grantecan finds the farthest black hole that belongs to a rare family of galaxies

An international team of astronomers has identified one of the rarest known classes of gamma-ray emitting galaxies, called BL Lacertae, within the first 2 billion years of the age of the Universe. The team, that has used one of the largest optical telescope in the world, Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), located at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (Garafía, La Palma), consists of researchers from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM, Spain), DESY (Germany), University of California Riverside and Clemson University (USA). Their finding is published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Galaxies in the infant universe were surprisingly mature

Massive galaxies were already much more mature in the early universe than previously expected. This was shown by an international team of astronomers who studied 118 distant galaxies with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).

Geologists simulate soil conditions to help grow plants on Mars

Humankind's next giant step may be onto Mars. But before those missions can begin, scientists need to make scores of breakthrough advances, including learning how to grow crops on the red planet.

Juno data indicates 'sprites' or 'elves' frolic in Jupiter's atmosphere

New results from NASA's Juno mission at Jupiter suggest that either "sprites" or "elves" could be dancing in the upper atmosphere of the solar system's largest planet. It is the first time these bright, unpredictable and extremely brief flashes of light—formally known as transient luminous events, or TLE's—have been observed on another world. The findings were published on Oct. 27, 2020, in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.

NASA's Perseverance rover is midway to Mars

NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission has logged a lot of flight miles since being lofted skyward on July 30—146.3 million miles (235.4 million kilometers) to be exact. Turns out that is exactly the same distance it has to go before the spacecraft hits the Red Planet's atmosphere like a 11,900 mph (19,000 kph) freight train on Feb. 18, 2021.

New survey finds that single burst of star formation created Milky Way's central bulge

Like most spiral galaxies, the Milky Way has a roughly spherical collection of stars at its center called the bulge. How the bulge formed has been a long-standing mystery, with many studies suggesting that it built up over time through multiple bursts of star formation.

Moon richer in water than once thought

There may be far more water on the Moon than previously thought, according to two studies published Monday raising the tantalising prospect that astronauts on future space missions could find refreshment—and maybe even fuel—on the lunar surface.

Water on the Moon: Research unveils its type and abundance – boosting exploration plans

The Moon was for a long time considered to be bone dry, with analyses of returned lunar samples from the Apollo missions showing only trace amounts of water. These traces were in fact believed to be due to contamination on Earth. But over the past two decades, re-analyses of lunar samples, observations by spacecraft missions, and theoretical modeling have proved this initial assessment to be wrong.

Image: Space-borne human endothelial cell

A human endothelial cell that was flown to the International Space Station and returned to Earth for analysis is helping researchers keep astronauts healthy in space.

Preparing for Sentinel-6's challenging early days

Teams at ESA's mission control centre are getting ready to ensure a new Sentinel Earth Observation mission safely arrives in its correct orbit, from where it will map, measure and monitor rising sea levels after its launch on 10 November.

Surprisingly mature galaxies in the early universe

When the universe was only a tenth of its current age its galaxies experienced a growth spurt. It was this period that the scientists in the ALPINE project focused on when they used ESO's ALMA telescope to carry out the first ever large survey of distant galaxies. To their surprise, these galaxies observed in the early stages of their life were far more mature than expected. Their work is the subject of a series of articles published on 27 October 2020 in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, signed among others by members of the CNRS and Aix-Marseille Université.

Technology news

An attacker can steal sensitive user data over the phone using smart speakers

In recent years, voice assistants such as Siri, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Cortana have become increasingly popular. People in many countries worldwide communicate with these artificial intelligence (AI) agents on a daily basis, asking them to search for information online, send emails or messages, play their favorite songs, and so on.

Tulle-like DefeXtiles can be 3-D printed with no custom software or hardware

Sometimes, 3-D printers mess up. They extrude too much material, or too little, or deposit material in the wrong spot. But what if this bug could be turned into a (fashionable) feature?

Promising strategies for durable perovskite solar cells

Perovskite materials are becoming increasingly popular as the active layer in solar cells. Internal forces in these materials cause distortions in their crystal structures, reducing symmetry and contributing to their intrinsic instability. They are also subject to environmental degradation.

Photovoltaics industry can help meet Paris agreement targets

To meet the Paris Agreement's daunting goal of preventing Earth's average temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above its level in preindustrial times, one of the best options for the energy economy will involve a shift to 100% renewable energy using solar energy and several other clean energy sources.

Researchers improve autonomous boat design

The feverish race to produce the shiniest, safest, speediest self-driving car has spilled over into our wheelchairs, scooters, and even golf carts. Recently, there's been movement from land to sea, as marine autonomy stands to change the canals of our cities, with the potential to deliver goods and services and collect waste across our waterways.

Improving the security and usability of Zoom's end-to-end encryption protocol

During the global coronavirus pandemic, many people have been working, teaching and learning from home and utilizing Zoom as a way to have face-to-face communication. Although this is a main resource for virtual human interaction, there are still concerns for back-end security issues and meeting hackings.

Multifunctional skin-mounted microfluidic device able to measure stress in multiple ways

An international team of researchers has developed a multifunctional skin-mounted microfluidic device that is able to measure stress in people in multiple ways. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their device and how it could be useful.

Stressed on the job? An AI teammate may know how to help

Humans have been teaming up with machines throughout history to achieve goals, be it by using simple machines to move materials or complex machines to travel in space. But advances in artificial intelligence today bring possibilities for even more sophisticated teamwork—true human-machine teams that cooperate to solve complex problems.

Best way to detect 'deepfake' videos? Check for the pulse

With video editing software becoming increasingly sophisticated, it's sometimes difficult to believe our own eyes. Did that actor really appear in that movie? Did that politician really say that offensive thing?

Researchers create robots that can transform their wheels into legs

A team of researchers is creating mobile robots for military applications that can determine, with or without human intervention, whether wheels or legs are more suitable to travel across terrains. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has partnered with Kiju Lee at Texas A&M University to enhance these robots' ability to self-sufficiently travel through urban military environments.

Gesture recognition technology shrinks to micro size

New resource-efficient gesture recognition can be embedded into smart clothing. Technology developed in collaboration between Aalto University and company HitSeed could be used in manufacturing and healthcare, for example.

The Internet of Things brings a web of promises and perils to the smart grid, experts say

,The innocuous microwave on a shelf in a laboratory at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Wash., is anything but ordinary.

Facebook is tilting the political playing field more than ever, and it's no accident

As the US presidential election polling day draws close, it's worth recapping what we know about how Facebook has been used to influence election results.

If a robot is conscious, is it OK to turn it off? The moral implications of building true AIs

In the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode "The Measure of a Man," Data, an android crew member of the Enterprise, is to be dismantled for research purposes unless Captain Picard can argue that Data deserves the same rights as a human being. Naturally the question arises: What is the basis upon which something has rights? What gives an entity moral standing?

One more huge chip deal in 2020; AMD buys Xilinx for $35B

Advanced Micro Devices is buying Xilinx for $35 billion in an all-stock deal that will combine the two Silicon Valley chip makers and accelerate an already rapid-fire pace of mergers and buyouts in the industry.

Users don't understand computer explanations for image labeling errors

When images are uploaded to online platforms, they are often tagged with automatically generated labels that indicate what is shown, such as a dog, tree or car. While these labeling systems are often accurate, sometimes the computer makes a mistake, for example, recognizing a cat as a dog. Providing explanations to users to interpret these mistakes can be helpful, or sometimes even necessary. However, researchers at Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology found that explaining why a computer makes certain mistakes is surprisingly difficult.

New system uses floor vibrations to detect building occupants

Thanks to a new system developed at EPFL, building owners can detect the number of occupants and track their movement using sensors installed on floor slabs. This novel approach could be particularly useful for enhancing safety in retirement homes or managing buildings' energy use more efficiently.

Apple developing smaller AirPods Pro, revamped entry-level model

Apple Inc. is planning updates to its AirPods earbuds next year, seeking to capitalize on the success of a product that has become an important source of growth.

T-Mobile offers up yet another TV streaming service

Yet another service provider is jumping into the TV streaming wars. This time it's T-Mobile and its TVision service with live news, entertainment and sports channels, starting at $10 a month.

Online liability reform would make internet worse: Twitter CEO

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey said in remarks prepared for Congress Tuesday that proposals to reform a law providing online liability protection could lead to more "harmful content" by limiting the ability of platforms to remove abusive material.

Microsoft rides cloud to higher earnings

Microsoft on Tuesday said its profit in the recently ended quarter continued to soar as the pandemic boosted a trend toward business being taken care of in the internet cloud.

With new tools, Facebook aims to avoid election fiasco repeat

Facebook is leveraging its vast resources to help protect the 2020 election against the kind of massive manipulation and disinformation efforts that the platform failed to act on in 2016.

Facebook content moderators call for better treatment

As Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg prepares to be grilled by a Senate committee about the handling of politically-charged posts, content moderators are insisting that properly valuing their work is key.

Second-hand site Vinted happy to scare clothing retailers

With more than 1.3 billion euros ($1.5 billion) in sales last year on its platform and a new acquisition under its belt, second-hand clothes innovator Vinted believes it is starting to scare fashion retailers—for the good of the planet.

On the march: Ant Group, China's fintech sensation

With a name belying its giant ambitions, China's Ant Group on Tuesday launched a history-making $34 billion IPO in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

For Chinese consumers, Ant Group app is part of the fabric of life

The most essential item in aircraft engineer Tao Rui's possession during a recent outing in Shanghai was the Alipay smartphone app from Ant Group, a company little known outside China until it unfurled plans for the biggest IPO in history.

Ant Group IPO to rocket Alibaba founder Jack Ma's wealth

Chinese tech titan Jack Ma is set to become the world's 11th richest person after the financial arm of his e-commerce titan Alibaba raises billions in a mammoth public listing, according to the Bloomberg News.

Cloud-based framework leads to improved efficiency in disaster-area management

A research team from North Carolina A&T State University has, for the first time, designed a cloud-based autonomous system framework utilizing the standard messaging protocol for the internet-of-things (IoT). This framework is robust to network-denied environments by utilizing each vehicle, along with a clustering algorithm, to maximize the network coverage area.

Amazon and UPS ramp up hiring for holiday shopping blitz

Amazon and UPS on Tuesday said they are boosting hiring as pressure mounts for them to deliver with the pandemic fueling an online shopping surge this holiday season.

Video app TikTok leans into e-commerce with Shopify deal

The popular short-form video app TikTok, still under U.S. government scrutiny for its Chinese ownership, is moving closer to becoming a marketplace for buying stuff.

Hotly-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 game delayed again, to December 10

The Polish developers behind hotly-anticipated PC and console game Cyberpunk 2077 said Tuesday they would have to delay its release for a third time, pushing it back to December 10.

Airline revenues forecast at half 2019 levels in 2021: IATA

Airline industry revenues are expected to remain 46 percent lower in 2021 than the $838 billion booked in the last pre-coronavirus year of 2019, industry body IATA said Tuesday in a marked worsening of its forecasts.

Nearly 200 European airports risk going bankrupt

Nearly 200 European airports risk insolvency in the coming months if passenger traffic does not recover, a trade association warned on Tuesday, as nations contemplate further lockdowns to combat a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ditch the soundbar with new Amazon Echo speakers

Besides sporting a new round look, Amazon's updated fourth generation Echo speakers have something else going for them. Buy a pair for $200 and they make fabulous TV speakers.


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