Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Feb 23

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for February 23, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A robot that allows users to virtually navigate remote environments

Ultraluminous X-ray pulsar M51 ULX-7 inspected by researchers

High-resolution, terahertz-driven atom probe tomography

New treatment pairs blue light with food-safe plant oil to safely wipe out surface bacteria

Reclusive neutron star may have been found in famous supernova

Basic cell health systems wear down in Huntington's disease, novel analysis shows

Climate impacts drive east-west divide in forest seed production

Measuring hemoglobin levels with AI microscope, microfluidic chips

Parasitic plants conspire to keep hosts alive

Low-level jets create winds of change for turbines

Simply speaking while infected can potentially spread COVID-19

Climate-friendly foam building insulation may do more harm than good

Beta blockers can repair malformed blood vessels in the brain

Researchers find a single-celled slime mold with no nervous system that remembers food locations

Martian moons have a common ancestor

Physics news

Measuring hemoglobin levels with AI microscope, microfluidic chips

One of the most performed medical diagnostic tests to ascertain the health of patients is a complete blood count, which typically includes an estimate of the hemoglobin concentration. The hemoglobin level in the blood is an important biochemical parameter that can indicate a host of medical conditions including anemia, polycythemia, and pulmonary fibrosis.

Simply speaking while infected can potentially spread COVID-19

COVID-19 can spread from asymptomatic but infected people through small aerosol droplets in their exhaled breath. Most studies of the flow of exhaled air have focused on coughing or sneezing, which can send aerosols flying long distances.

New sensor paves way to low-cost sensitive methane measurements

Researchers have developed a new sensor that could allow practical and low-cost detection of low concentrations of methane gas. Measuring methane emissions and leaks is important to a variety of industries because the gas contributes to global warming and air pollution.

Ion-optics-based quantum microscope can image individual atoms

A team of researchers at Universit├Ąt Stuttgart has developed an ion-optics-based quantum microscope that is capable of creating images of individual atoms. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group explains how they built their microscope and how well it worked when tested.

High energy radiotherapy could 'paint' tumours to avoid harming healthy tissue

A radiotherapy technique which 'paints' tumors by targeting them precisely, and avoiding healthy tissue, has been devised in research led by the University of Strathclyde.

Spintronics: New production method makes crystalline microstructures universally usable

New storage and information technology requires new higher performance materials. One of these materials is yttrium iron garnet, which has special magnetic properties. Thanks to a new process, it can now be transferred to any material. Developed by physicists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), the method could advance the production of smaller, faster and more energy-efficient components for data storage and information processing. The physicists have published their results in the journal Applied Physics Letters.

After 20 years, physicists find a way to keep track of lost accelerator particles

A high-intensity accelerator beam is formed of trillions of particles that race at lightning speeds down a system of powerful magnets and high-energy superconductors. Calculating the physics of the beam is so complex that not even the fastest supercomputers can keep up.

Astronomy and Space news

Ultraluminous X-ray pulsar M51 ULX-7 inspected by researchers

Using NASA's Swift and Chandra space observatories, astronomers have investigated an ultraluminous X-ray pulsar known as M51 ULX-7. The study, detailed in a paper published February 16 on the arXiv pre-print server, sheds more light on the X-ray variability of this source.

Reclusive neutron star may have been found in famous supernova

What remains of the star that exploded just outside our galaxy in 1987? Debris has obscured scientists' view, but two of NASA's X-ray telescopes have revealed new clues.

Martian moons have a common ancestor

Mars's two moons, Phobos and Deimos, have puzzled researchers since their discovery in 1877. They are very small: Phobos's diameter of 22 kilometers is 160 times smaller than that of our moon, and Deimos is even smaller, with a diameter of only 12 kilometers. "Our moon is essentially spherical, while the moons of Mars are very irregularly shaped—like potatoes," says Amirhossein Bagheri, a doctoral student at the Institute of Geophysics at ETH Zurich, adding: "Phobos and Deimos look more like asteroids than natural moons."

Delayed radio flares from a tidal disruption event

A team of researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI) led by Dr. Assaf Horesh have discovered the first evidence of radio flares emitted only long after a star is destroyed by a black hole. Published in the periodical Nature Astronomy, the discovery relied upon ultra-powerful radio telescopes to study these catastrophic cosmic events in distant galaxies called Tidal Disruption Events (TDE). While researchers had known that these events cause the release of radio flares, this latest discovery saw those flares being emitted months or even years after the stellar disruption. The team was led by Dr. Horesh from the Racah Institute of Physics at the Hebrew together with the NASA Swift space telescope director Professor Brad Cenko and Dr. Iair Arcavi from Tel-Aviv University.

Youngest American to go into space is also a cancer survivor

By the end of the year, Hayley Arceneaux will be the youngest American in space and one of the first tourists to enter orbit unaccompanied by professional astronauts.

Technology news

A robot that allows users to virtually navigate remote environments

Two students who graduated from VR Siddartha Engineering College in Kanuru, India, have created a virtual telepresence robot that allows users to see what is happening in a remote location as if they were actually there. Their project, supervised by Professor V.N. Prudhvi Raj, provides a valuable example of how robots can be used to capture video data in real time and monitor places that are momentarily or permanently inaccessible to humans.

Low-level jets create winds of change for turbines

As one of the leading sources of clean and renewable energy, global wind power capacity has increased more than fivefold over the past decade, leading to larger turbines and pushing wind technology to its limits.

Security flaw detected for the second time in credit cards

After finding a vulnerability in certain credit cards for the first time last year, ETH researchers have now found a way to outsmart the PIN codes for other payment cards.

New material is next step toward stable, high-voltage, long-life, solid-state batteries

A team of researchers designed and manufactured a new sodium-ion conductor for solid-state sodium-ion batteries that is stable when incorporated into higher-voltage oxide cathodes. This new solid electrolyte could dramatically improve the efficiency and lifespan of this class of batteries. A proof of concept battery built with the new material lasted over 1000 cycles while retaining 89.3% of its capacity—a performance unmatched by other solid-state sodium batteries to date.

Positive reinforcements help algorithm forecast underground natural reserves

Texas A&M University researchers have designed a reinforcement-based algorithm that automates the process of predicting the properties of the underground environment, facilitating the accurate forecasting of oil and gas reserves.

Facebook to restore Australia news, pay media companies

Facebook said Tuesday it will lift a contentious ban on Australian news and pay local media companies for content, after a last-gasp deal on pending landmark legislation.

Epic Games pays virtual money in loot box settlement

Fortnite-maker Epic Games on Monday put out word it is paying the equivalent of about $8 worth of its virtual money to some players to settle a lawsuit over so-called random-item "loot boxes."

Why the world is watching Australia's tussle with Big Tech

Facebook agreed to roll back a ban on news for Australian users after the government made changes to a proposed media law that had sparked the blackout last week.

Metal fatigue suspected in Boeing 777 engine scare

Metal fatigue has emerged as the chief suspect in last week's spectacular engine failure on a United Airlines plane, which scattered debris over suburban Denver and led to dozens of Boeing 777 aircraft being grounded worldwide.

How much regulation is too much on the tech industry?

As prominent figures are banned from social media platforms for posting disinformation or inflammatory remarks, technology regulation has become a hot topic of debate. Terry Kramer, an adjunct professor of operations and technology management at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and the faculty director of the Easton Technology Management Center, studies how to achieve the right balance between advancing technology and minimizing negative consequences.

Agile underwater glider could quietly survey the seas

Autonomous underwater vehicles have become versatile tools for exploring the seas. But they can be disruptive to the environment or have trouble traveling through confined spaces.

Health care bore brunt of cyberattacks in 2020, study says

The global health care and pharmaceutical industries bore the brunt of cyberattacks in 2020 as nation-state hackers and criminals targeted companies looking for information on COVID-19 as well as vaccine development, cybersecurity research firm CrowdStrike said in a report made public Monday.

Pushing the single-exposure patterning capability of 0.33NA EUVL to its extreme limits

This week, at the 2021 SPIE Advanced Lithography Conference, imec, a world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies, and ASML, the world's leading manufacturer of semiconductor lithography equipment, present several papers that demonstrate the ultimate single-exposure patterning capability of today's 0.33NA NXE:3400 extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL). Process optimizations have enabled the patterning of dense 28nm pitch line/spaces with an Inpria metal-oxide resist in one single exposure, relevant for high-volume manufacturing. For the first time, optical and e-beam inspections were correlated with electrical data to gain further insights in improving stochastic defectivity—i.e., both breaks and bridges. In addition, source optimizations have led to printing the smallest pitch possible with the current NXE:3400 scanner (i.e., 24nm pitch line/spaces and 28nm pitch contact holes), allowing for early material development required for high-NA EUV lithography scanners.

Imec demonstrates 20-nm pitch line/space resist imaging with high-NA EUV interference lithography

Imec reports for the first time the use of a 13.5-nm, high-harmonic-generation source for the printing of 20-nm pitch line/spaces using interference lithographic imaging of an Inpria metal-oxide resist under high-numerical-aperture (high-NA) conditions. The demonstrated high-NA capability of the EUV interference lithography using this EUV source presents an important milestone of the AttoLab, a research facility initiated by imec and KMLabs to accelerate the development of the high-NA patterning ecosystem on 300 mm wafers. The interference tool will be used to explore the fundamental dynamics of photoresist imaging and provide patterned 300 mm wafers for process development before the first 0.55 high-NA EXE5000 prototype from ASML becomes available.

Facebook says it will lift its Australian news ban soon

Facebook said on Tuesday it will lift its ban on Australians sharing news after it struck a deal with Australia's government on legislation that would make digital giants pay for journalism.

Experts discuss what went wrong with Texas power grid

On Feb. 13, a severe winter storm swept across Texas and nearby southern states, bringing sub-zero temperatures and snowfall as far south as the border with Mexico. The polar air that descended on Texas lasted many days, leading to a statewide crisis as energy grids failed to supply enough power, fuels froze and water pipes burst.

EasyJet bookings soar as England readies lockdown exit

EasyJet shares rallied Tuesday on rocketing flight bookings for the British airline, boosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan to ease England's coronavirus lockdown.

Sustainable but smartly: Tackling security and privacy issues in smart agriculture

According to recent estimates, there will be roughly 10 billion people to feed in 2050. Agricultural production will need to increase by almost 56% to guarantee food security globally, without converting more land for agriculture (in line with environmental and climate targets). This unprecedented challenge has ushered in the era of 'smart agriculture,' which promises to revolutionize food production by combining agricultural techniques with information technology, automation, and artificial intelligence. This new era, called 'Agriculture 4.0,' could ensure sustainable food production for the entire world. However, as communities gradually embrace smart agriculture, it is important to understand how to manage the security and privacy risks associated with the integration of information technology into agriculture.

New or used? Either way, price hikes squeeze US auto buyers

The viral pandemic has triggered a cascade of price hikes throughout America's auto industry—a surge that has made both new and used vehicles unaffordable for many.

UN urges better protection for digital platform workers

The United Nations called Tuesday for urgent international regulations ensuring fair conditions for workers paid via digital platforms such as food delivery apps—a form of employment that has rocketed during the pandemic.

Record-breaking Bitcoin tumbles on Yellen warning

Bitcoin tumbled Tuesday from its record-breaking run after US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that the "highly speculative" unit could be used for "illicit" purposes.

Facebook adds new tools to fight online child exploitation

Facebook on Tuesday said it is stepping up its fight against child abuse with new tools for spotting such content and tighter rules about what crosses the line.


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