Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Nov 25

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for November 25, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A pocket cooling device based on a cascade mechanism

Bird with tall, sickle-shaped beak reveals hidden diversity during the age of dinosaurs

Water-to-land transition in early tetrapods

Ice sheets on the move: Evidence of the interconnectedness of global climate

New wheat and barley genomes will help feed the world

Landmark study generates first genomic atlas for global wheat improvement

Tunable coating allows hitch-hiking nanoparticles to slip past the immune system to their target

Google's AI taps into the minds of the great poets

Researchers create nanoscale slalom course for electrons

Neutrinos yield first experimental evidence of catalyzed fusion dominant in many stars

Quantum nanodiamonds may help detect disease earlier

Ancient blanket made with 11,500 turkey feathers

T. rex had huge growth spurts, but other dinos grew 'slow and steady'

Waste fishing gear threatens Ganges wildlife

In fire-prone West, plants need their pollinators—and vice versa

Physics news

Neutrinos yield first experimental evidence of catalyzed fusion dominant in many stars

An international team of about 100 scientists of the Borexino Collaboration, including particle physicist Andrea Pocar at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, report in Nature this week detection of neutrinos from the sun, directly revealing for the first time that the carbon-nitrogen-oxygen (CNO) fusion-cycle is at work in our sun.

A hint of new physics in polarized radiation from the early universe

Using Planck data from the cosmic microwave background radiation, an international team of researchers has observed a hint of new physics. The team developed a new method to measure the polarization angle of the ancient light by calibrating it with dust emission from our own Milky Way. While the signal is not detected with enough precision to draw definite conclusions, it may suggest that dark matter or dark energy causes a violation of the so-called "parity symmetry."

Minimal waste production is a fundamental law for animal locomotion

Is there a unifying principle underpinning animal locomotion in its rich diversity? A thermodynamic analysis performed by a Skoltech professor and his French collaborators at Université Paris Diderot, Université Paris Saclay, and the Muséum national d'Histoire Naturelle, shows why and how waste minimization prevails on efficiency or power maximization when it comes to free locomotion irrespective of the available mode and gaits. The research is published in the Physical Review Letters.

Ideal type-II Weyl points are observed in classical circuits

The elementary particles that build the universe have two types: bosons and fermions, where the fermions are classified as Dirac, Weyl, and Majorana fermions. In recent years, Weyl fermions are found in condensed matter systems, and Weyl semimetals as a kind of quasiparticle, and they manifest themselves as Weyl points from dispersion relations. In contrast to high-energy physics which requires the stringent Lorentz symmetry, there are two types of Weyl points in condensed matter systems: type-I Weyl points with symmetric cone-like band structures and type-II Weyl points with strongly tilted band structures.

New physical picture leads to a precise finite-size scaling of (3+1)-dimensional O(n) critical system

Since the establishment of the renormalization group theory, it has been known that systems of critical phenomena typically possess an upper critical dimension dc (dc=4 for the O(n) model), such that in spatial dimensions at or higher than the dc, the thermodynamic behavior is governed by critical exponents taking mean-field values. In contrast to the simplicity of the thermodynamic behavior, the theory of finite-size scaling (FSS) for the d>dc O(n) model was surprisingly subtle and had remained the subject of ongoing debate till recently, when a two-length scaling ansatz for the two-point correlation function was conjectured, numerically confirmed, and partly supported by analytical calculations.

Progress in electronic structure and topology in nickelates superconductors

The discovery of high Tc superconductivity in cuprates attracts people to explore superconductivity in nickelates, whose crystal structures are similar to cuprates. Recently, Danfeng Li et al. at Stanford University published an article in Nature, reporting the observed superconductivity in hole-doped nickelates Nd0.8Sr0.2NiO2. Different from cuprates, the parent compound NdNiO2 does not preserve long range magnetic order, which was thought to be responsible for superconductivity in copper oxides. Besides, the ground state of NdNiO2 is metallic. The comment article In Nature noted that Li's work could become a game changer for our understanding of superconductivity in cuprates and cuprate-like systems, perhaps leading to new high-temperature superconductors.

Attosecond interferometry in time-energy domain

The space-momentum domain interferometer is a key technique in modern precision measurements, and has been widely used for applications that require superb spatial resolution in engineering metrology and astronomy. Extending such interferometric techniques to the time-energy domain is a significant complement to spatial domain measurements and is anticipated to provide time resolving capability for tracing ultrafast processes. However, such applications for high precision time domain measurement, especially state of the art attosecond time resolved measurement, is less explored despite its great significance.

Astronomy and Space news

Fruit flies reveal new insights into space travel's effect on the heart

Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute have shown that fruit flies that spent several weeks on the International Space Station (ISS)—about half of their lives—experienced profound structural and biochemical changes to their hearts. The study, published today in Cell Reports, suggests that astronauts who spend a lengthy amount of time in space—which would be required for formation of a moon colony or travel to distant Mars—could suffer similar effects and may benefit from protective measures to keep their hearts healthy. The research also revealed new insights that could one day help people on Earth who are on long-term bed rest or living with heart disease.

Research provides new insights on health effects of long-duration space flight

The historic NASA Twins Study investigated identical twin astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly and provided new information on the health effects of spending time in space.

Space worms experiment reveals gravity affects genes

Living at low gravity affects cells at the genetic level, according to a study of worms in space.

Kilonovae: Ambushing the standard candle in its own nest

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are the most luminous and explosive transient phenomena in the universe after the Big Bang. A powerful tool for characterizing and classifying GRBs to allow them to be used as tracers of the expansion history of the universe and to understand their mysterious and debated physical mechanisms has been recently presented by an international team of researchers led by Dr. Maria Dainotti, assistant professor at Jagiellonian University, Poland. The new article, which has been accepted by the Astrophysical Journal, is a statistical analysis of the properties of the mysterious GRBs, aimed at determining the observational properties of GRB subclasses. The article pays particular attention to the GRBs associated with kilonovae.

Conscientiousness key to team success during space missions

NASA is working toward sending humans to Mars by 2030. If all goes according to plan, the flight crew's return trip to the red planet will take about two-and-half years. That's a long time to spend uninterrupted with co-workers. But imagine if the astronauts don't get along with each other.

Graduate student first to spot asteroid speeding past Earth

For as long as he can remember, Cole Gregg has been interested in space. Last week, the Western University graduate astronomy student had a night he'll never forget as he spotted a previously undiscovered asteroid flashing through the night sky.

Technology news

A pocket cooling device based on a cascade mechanism

Recent technological advances have enabled the development of increasingly compact and flexible devices. This includes wearable or portable technology, such as smart watches, earphones or other smart accessories, which can assist human users in a variety of ways.

Google's AI taps into the minds of the great poets

"I need about one hundred fifty drafts of a poem to get it right, and fifty more to make it sound spontaneous." So said the 1966 U.S. Poet Laureate James Dickey.

Scientists invent ultrafast way to manufacture perovskite solar modules

Most solar cells today are made with refined silicon that turns sunlight into clean electricity. Unfortunately, the process of refining silicon is far from clean, requiring vast amounts of energy from carbon-emitting power plants.

Tesla's stock market value accelerates past $500 billion

Tesla's market value soared to more than $500 billion Tuesday ahead of its listing on the S&P 500, with its stock finishing up 6.4 percent or by nearly $32 billion in 24 hours.

Adaptive structures cut down the carbon footprint of buildings

Scientists at EPFL have developed new methods to design and control civil structures that are able to automatically adapt to loading. The aim is to reduce the environmental impact of the construction sector.

Scientists improve 3-D printing technology for aerospace composites using oil waste

Scientists from NUST MISIS have improved the technology of 3-D printing from aluminum, having achieved an increase in the hardness of products by 1.5 times. The nanocarbon additive to aluminum powder, which they have developed, obtained from the products of processing associated petroleum gas, will improve the quality of 3-D printed aerospace composites. The research results are published in the international scientific journal Composites Communications

Trucks that can drive themselves are already on Texas roads, and more are on the way

The age of self-driving 18-wheelers traveling on U.S. highways may be much closer than many people realize, and North Texas is emerging as the likely location of a major hub for the trucks.

China and Japan race to dominate the future of high-speed rail

Japan and China are racing to build a new type of ultra-fast, levitating train, seeking to demonstrate their mastery over a technology with big export potential.

France risks US ire with vow to impose digital tax this year

France will enforce a new digital levy for online technology giants this year, breaking a truce with Washington over the long-running tax fight that could prompt a round of punitive US tariffs on French goods.

Danish news agency rejects ransom demand after hacker attack

Denmark's biggest news agency will stay offline for at least another day following a hacking attack this week and has rejected a ransom demand by hackers to release locked data, the wire service said Wednesday.

EU plans data shakeup to boost home-grown innovation

The EU on Wednesday unveiled proposals for rules covering the transfer of valuable data as it aims to create an innovation hub on a par with the US and China.

Towards 6G wireless communication networks: Vision, enabling technologies, and new paradigm shifts

Fifth generation (5G) wireless communication networks are being deployed worldwide from 2020 and more capabilities are in the process of being standardized, such as mass connectivity, ultra-reliability, and guaranteed low latency. However, 5G will not meet all requirements of the future in 2030 and beyond, and sixth generation (6G) wireless communication networks are expected to provide global coverage, enhanced spectral/energy/cost efficiency, better intelligence level and security, etc. To meet these requirements, 6G networks will rely on new enabling technologies, i.e., air interface and transmission technologies and novel network architecture, such as waveform design, multiple access, channel coding schemes, multi-antenna technologies, network slicing, cell-free architecture, and cloud/fog/edge computing.

Pandemic has forced TV and film producers to bring new technology to sets

A week ago Monday, cast and crew of the Amazon series "Goliath" gathered to check in for a day of filming at Santa Clarita Studios.

What if Zoom crashes on Thanksgiving? These video meeting choices can save your virtual family gathering

Bret Kinsella always has Thanksgiving dinner with his parents. But this year, with the pandemic, Mom and Dad are staying home in New York, and he's putting two laptops on the table, one each for Mom and Dad's Zoom feed.

US extends TikTok sale deadline to December 4

The US Treasury on Wednesday said it had extended by seven days the November 27 deadline given to the Chinese owner of TikTok to sell the popular social media platform's American business.


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