Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Nov 3

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for November 3, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Layer-engineered large-area exfoliation of graphene

A self-balancing robot with a tail-like component

A DNA-based molecular tagging system that could take the place of printed barcodes

New eclipsing binary system detected by Kepler spacecraft

Zoom hack reveals text contents by viewing shoulder movement

Your favorite music can send your brain into a pleasure overload

New protein nanobioreactor designed to improve sustainable bioenergy production

Biologists shed light on mystery of how microbes evolve and affect hosts

Self-watering soil could transform farming

Two centuries of Monarch butterflies show evolution of wing length

COVID-19 'super-spreading' events play outsized role in overall disease transmission

Lizard skull fossil is new and 'perplexing' extinct species

Hot or cold, weather alone has no significant effect on COVID-19 spread

Rapid method finds potent COVID-19 monoclonal antibody among a trillion possibilities

Tunisian startup 3-D prints solar-powered bionic hands

Physics news

Squid jet propulsion can enhance design of underwater robots, vehicles

Squids and other cephalopods use a form of jet propulsion that is not well understood, especially when it comes to their hydrodynamics under turbulent flow conditions. Discovering their secrets can help create new designs for bioinspired underwater robots and vehicles that need to operate within this environment.

Tracking flight trajectory of evaporating cough droplets

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led many researchers to study airborne droplet transmission in different conditions and environments. The latest studies are starting to incorporate important aspects of fluid physics to deepen our understanding of viral transmission.

Higgs boson probes for new phenomena

Physicists at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are on the hunt for physics phenomena beyond the standard model. Some theories predict an as-yet undiscovered particle could be found in the form of a new resonance (a narrow peak) similar to the one that heralded the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012.

Building a star in a smaller jar

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have gained a better understanding of a promising method for improving the confinement of superhot fusion plasma using magnetic fields. Improved plasma confinement could enable a fusion reactor called a spherical tokamak to be built smaller and less expensively, moving the world closer to reproducing on Earth the fusion energy that powers the sun and stars.

A new approach for studying electric charge arrangements in a superconductor

High-temperature superconductors are a class of materials that can conduct electricity with almost zero resistance at temperatures that are relatively high compared to their standard counterparts, which must be chilled to nearly absolute zero—the coldest temperature possible. The high-temperature materials are exciting because they hold the possibility of revolutionizing modern life, such as by facilitating ultra-efficient energy transmission or being used to create cutting-edge quantum computers.

Explaining the physical origin of the memory effect in glasses

Prof. Wang Junqiang's team at the Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering (NIMTE) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), has revealed the key role of activation entropy in the memory effect of glasses, providing new understanding of the physical origin of the memory effect in glasses. The study was published in Physical Review Letters. 

A different view of COVID-19

Queen's University researcher Mona Kanso has developed a new and unique way of looking at viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. By sculpting the coronavirus particle from tiny beads, and then applying the laws of fluid physics to each and every bead, Kanso calculates the properties of the coronavirus from its shape. While the full potential of this new method is still being realized, researchers expect it will accelerate the path to developing a treatment and, eventually, finding a cure.

Astronomy and Space news

New eclipsing binary system detected by Kepler spacecraft

An international team of astronomers reports the discovery of a new eclipsing binary system using NASA's Kepler spacecraft during its prolonged mission known as K2. The system, designated EPIC 216747137, appears to be a post-common-envelope binary (PCEB) of HW Virginis class. The finding is detailed in a paper published October 26 on arXiv.org.

Mars plays shepherd to our moon's long-lost twin, scientists find

An international team of planetary scientists led by astronomers at AOP have found an asteroid trailing behind Mars with a composition very similar to the moon's. The asteroid could be an ancient piece of debris, dating back to the gigantic impacts that formed the moon and the other rocky planets in our solar system like Mars and the Earth. The research, which was published in the journal Icarus, also has implications for finding such primordial objects associated with our own planet.

How did the Earth get its water? The answer might be found on Mercury

I don't know if you've noticed by now, but the Earth is a little bit wet. How Earth got all its water is one of the major mysteries in the formation of the solar system, and a team of Japanese researchers have just uncovered a major clue. But not on Earth—the clue is on Mercury.

Technology news

A self-balancing robot with a tail-like component

Nature is one of the greatest sources of inspiration for engineers and computer scientists developing new technological tools. Over the past decade or so, roboticists have developed countless robots inspired by the behavior and biological mechanisms of snakes, fish, cheetahs, birds, insects and countless other animals.

Zoom hack reveals text contents by viewing shoulder movement

Countless companies around the world see the wildly popular video-conferencing tool Zoom as a savior during this era of quarantine and work-at-home routines. Zoom estimates it has more than 300 million meeting participants daily.

Tunisian startup 3-D prints solar-powered bionic hands

A Tunisian startup is developing a 3-D-printed bionic hand, hoping the affordable and solar-powered prosthetic will help amputees and other disabled people across Africa.

Transparent solar cells could bring a new era of personalized energy

Solar power has shown immense potential as a clean source of energy. Now, scientists in Korea have presented an innovative design for the development of a high-power transparent solar cell. This innovation is a step toward the goal of a sustainable green future with off-the-grid living.

Drones that patrol forests could monitor environmental and ecological changes

Imperial researchers have created drones that can attach sensors to trees to monitor environmental and ecological changes in forests.

Tiny micro supercapacitor for wearable devices

A tiny microsupercapacitor (MSC) that is as small as the width of a person's fingerprint and can be integrated directly with an electronic chip has been developed. This has attracted major attention as a novel technology to lead the era of Internet of Things (IoT) since it can be driven independently when applied to individual electronic components.

Implantable device can monitor and treat heart disease

Pacemakers and other implantable cardiac devices used to monitor and treat arrhythmias and other heart problems have generally had one of two drawbacks—they are made with rigid materials that can't move to accommodate a beating heart, or they are made from soft materials that can collect only a limited amount of information.

China's Ant Group postpones IPO under regulatory pressure

China's Ant Group on Tuesday suspended its record-breaking IPO in both Hong Kong and Shanghai as the fintech giant faces growing pressure from Chinese regulators over potential risks.

Twitter board backs chief Jack Dorsey after ouster bid

Twitter's board on Monday said Jack Dorsey will remain chief after a management review prompted by an activist investor's effort to push him out of the job.

Students develop tool to predict the carbon footprint of algorithms

On a daily basis, and perhaps without realizing it, most of us are in close contact with advanced AI methods known as deep learning. Deep learning algorithms churn whenever we use Siri or Alexa, when Netflix suggests movies and TV shows based upon our viewing histories, or when we communicate with a website's customer service chatbot.

Why employees fall for scams and what companies can do about it

Preventive countermeasures to phishing emails may actually increase the likelihood of employees falling for such scams, a new academic study reveals.

Walmart abandons shelf-scanning robots, lets humans do work

Walmart is laying off the robots it had deployed in about 500 stores to keep tabs on what's on and not on the shelves.

Broadcasting rule changes proposed to get streamers to fund Canadian storytelling

Ottawa on Tuesday proposed changes to Canada's broadcasting regulatory framework that would see it applied to booming online streaming platforms and may require them to contribute cash to support Canadian storytelling.


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