Science X Newsletter Friday, Jan 8

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for January 8, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Using the SYK model to examine the fast-charging process of quantum batteries

A model that can create unique Chinese calligraphy art

Fast transport in carbon nanotube membranes could advance human health

2020 ties 2016 as hottest year on record

Engineers find antioxidants improve nanoscale visualization of polymers

Bats with white-nose syndrome prefer suboptimal habitats despite the consequences

New analysis highlights importance of groundwater discharge into oceans

New statistical method exponentially increases ability to discover genetic insights

Bacteria can tell the time

CO2 levels this year '50 percent higher than 18th century'

High-speed atomic force microscopy visualizes cell protein factories

IPhone12 will stop your implantable defibrillator

Entangling electrons with heat

Immune cells discovered in the lungs improve virus defense

Chinese researchers obtain the most complete type Ia supernova template

Physics news

Using the SYK model to examine the fast-charging process of quantum batteries

The Sachdev-Ye-Kitaev (SYK) model, an exactly solvable model devised by Subir Sachdev and Jinwu Ye, has recently proved useful for understanding the characteristics of different types of matter. As it describes quantum matter without quasiparticles and is simultaneously a holographic version of a quantum black hole, it has so far been adopted by both condensed matter and high-energy physicists.

Entangling electrons with heat

A joint group of scientists from Finland, Russia, China and the U.S. has demonstrated that temperature difference can be used to entangle pairs of electrons in superconducting structures. The experimental discovery, published in Nature Communications, promises powerful applications in quantum devices, bringing us one step closer to applications of the second quantum revolution.

Researchers achieve on-demand storage in integrated solid-state quantum memory

Researchers from CAS Key Laboratory of Quantum Information of the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have demonstrated on-demand storage of photonic qubits in an integrated solid-state quantum memory for the first time. This work was published in Physics Review Letters.

An avalanche of violence: Analysis reveals predictable patterns in armed conflicts

New work by SFI's Collective Computation Group (C4) finds that human conflict exhibits remarkable regularity despite substantial geographic and cultural differences.

New strategies for designing electroluminescent materials

New research details how a class of electroluminescent materials, key components of devices such as LED lights and solar cells, can be designed to work more efficiently. Published in Nature Photonics, the combined efforts of experimental and theoretical researchers provides insights into how these and other similar materials could be used for novel applications in the future.

Movers and shakers: New evidence for a unifying theory of granular materials

Understanding the dynamics of granular materials—such as sand flowing through an hourglass or salt pouring through a shaker—is a major unsolved problem in physics. A new paper describes a pattern for how record-sized "shaking" events affect the dynamics of a granular material as it moves from an excited to a relaxed state, adding to the evidence that a unifying theory underlies this behavior.

Researchers realize efficient generation of high-dimensional quantum teleportation

In a study published in Physical Review Letters, a team led by academician Guo Guangcan from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has made progress in high dimensional quantum teleportation. The researchers demonstrated the teleportation of high-dimensional states in a three-dimensional six-photon system.

Astronomy and Space news

Chinese researchers obtain the most complete type Ia supernova template

Type Ia supernovae, as cosmological distance indicators, have led to the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe. Nevertheless, the nature of their progenitors and explosion mechanisms remain unsolved mysteries.

Evidence of water movement found in meteorites that only recently fell to Earth

A team of researchers affiliated with institutions in Australia, the U.S. and France has found evidence of relatively recent water movement in meteorites that only recently collided with the Earth. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their study of carbonaceous chondrite (CC) meteorites that landed on the surface of the Earth within the past century and what they found.

Chandra observations reveal extraordinary magnetar

In 2020, astronomers added a new member to an exclusive family of exotic objects with the discovery of a magnetar. New observations from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory help support the idea that it is also a pulsar, meaning it emits regular pulses of light.

Pioneering a way to keep very small satellites in orbit

A cubesat, largely built by undergraduate students and scheduled to launch on Sunday, will explore the feasibility of a new propulsion method that could enable very small satellites to move around Earth's orbit without carrying fuel. This could pave the way for tiny satellites that stay in orbit for long periods and operate in swarms, monitoring storms and natural disasters, for example.

Technology news

A model that can create unique Chinese calligraphy art

Over the past few years, computer scientists have developed increasingly advanced and sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) tools, which can tackle a wide variety of tasks. This includes generative adversarial networks (GANs), machine-learning models that can learn to generate new data, including text, audio files or images. Some of these models can also be tailored for creative purposes, for instance, to create unique drawings, songs or poems.

Study suggests smart assistant design improvements for deaf users

Despite the inherent challenges that voice-interaction may create, researchers at the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology recently found that deaf and hard-of-hearing users regularly use smart assistants like Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri in homes, workplaces and mobile devices.

Hyundai shares soar on Apple car talks reports

Shares in South Korean automaker Hyundai soared Friday on the back of reports it was in talks with Apple for a joint project to manufacture self-driving electric vehicles.

Samsung Electronics forecasts 25.7% jump in Q4 operating profit

South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics flagged a jump of more than 25 percent in fourth-quarter operating profit Friday, with pandemic-induced working from home driving demand for devices powered by its chips.

Big tech show, now virtual, aims for digital connections

Forced by the pandemic to go online, the massive annual gathering for the technology industry normally held in Las Vegas still wants to be a place for connections, even if virtual.

Boeing to pay $2.5 bn to settle US fraud charges after MAX crashes

US prosecutors on Thursday hit Boeing with $2.5 billion in fines, settling a criminal charge over claims the company defrauded regulators overseeing the 737 MAX, which was grounded worldwide following two deadly crashes.

Uber and Lyft increase average vehicle ownership in urban areas

The landscape of individual transportation has changed drastically since the rise of rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft. Where before, getting from A to B required you to either take public transportation, locate a taxi, or own your own private vehicle, being able to call yourself a ride with the push of a button has made going through life without owning a car much more feasible—and in some cases, even desirable.

How the blockchain can unshackle markets

The blockchain that underpins digital currencies can be used much more widely to create smart contracts and immutable and protected digital products and services. The potential of this innovation is only now being recognized but looks set to start an intellectual and innovation revolution that will have as great an impact on society as the invention of the internal combustion engine did on transport and the internet did on communications.

Why older adults use (and do not use) password managers

Password managers are considered highly effective tools for increasing online security. A study presented at the 2019 Symposium On Usable Privacy and Security surveyed a predominately young population about their use of password managers, finding several barriers to adoption and effective usage. However, little research has been done about the use of password managers among older adults.

Why do smoke alarms keep going off even when there's no smoke?

Editor's note: MVS Chandrashekhar is a professor of electrical engineering at the University of South Carolina. In this interview, he explains how smoke detectors work and why they sometimes sound an alarm for what seems like no reason.

Toward active thermomechanical control in precision mechatronics

Next-generation mechatronic systems form a vital part of the infrastructure that facilitates the technological advancements and innovations in the high-tech manufacturing, life sciences and medical industries. These systems have high requirements for accuracy and throughput, which means a passive isolation approach to thermally induced deformations is no longer enough. Ph.D. candidate Enzo Evers of the TU/e department for Mechanical Engineering pursued the idea of an active thermomechanical control approach by providing contributions in the areas of modeling, actuation and control. He defended his Ph.D. thesis on 7 January.

UK investigates Google's plan to revamp Chrome browser

Britain's competition watchdog said Friday it launched an investigation into Google's plan to overhaul its ad data system over worries it could leave even less room for rivals in the online ad industry.

New campaign, and logo, for GM in a bid to electrify image

General Motors is changing its corporate logo and launching an electric vehicle marketing campaign to reshape its image as clean vehicle company, rather than a builder of gas-powered pickups and SUVs.

Roku buys library of the short-lived streaming service Quibi

Roku is buying the content library of Quibi, the short-lived streaming service, to bulk up its own free ad-supported channel.

UK company survey shows home-working to quintuple by 2025

Working from home in Britain is expected to quintuple by 2025, intensifying a trend turbo-charged during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a study by consulting firm Deloitte published Friday.

US safety agency rejects petition to recall Tesla vehicles

The U.S. government's auto safety agency has rejected a request to investigate unintended acceleration in Tesla electric vehicles, saying the acceleration was caused by drivers pushing the wrong pedal.

The ex-cop behind China's largest gay dating app

Browsing the internet as a young policeman in China, Ma Baoli recalls the sheer volume of web pages telling him he was a pervert, diseased and in need of treatment—simply because he was gay.

German car sales, output posts historic slump in 2020: data

Germany's key car market plunged in 2020 to its lowest levels since reunification, data showed Friday, with output and sales down dramatically due to the coronavirus pandemic.

India IT giant TCS sees profits jump on pandemic demand

India's largest software exporter Tata Consultancy Services saw its quarterly profits climb more than seven percent Friday, citing strong demand for its cloud services as the pandemic boosts remote working.

Canada's Westjet announces temporary layoffs, flight cancellations

Westjet, Canada's second largest airline, announced Friday temporary layoffs of as many as 1,000 staff as demand for flights dropped off with the sudden introduction of stricter Canadian entry rules to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Airbus orders plunge 65 percent as airlines hunker down

European plane maker Airbus said Friday that it garnered just 268 net new orders last year, a drop of 65 percent year-on-year reflecting persistent fears about the prospects for air travel amid the coronavirus crisis.


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