Science X Newsletter Friday, Apr 16

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for April 16, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Designed proteins assemble antibodies into modular nanocages

NASA spacecraft leaves mess after grabbing asteroid samples

SpaceX, NASA give 'go' for astronaut launch, 3rd for Dragon

Sweat sensor could alert doctors, patients to looming COVID cytokine storm

Thermoelectric material discovery sets stage for new forms of electric power in the future

New understanding of the deleterious immune response in rheumatoid arthritis

Older adults most likely to make the effort to help others: study

Fit matters most when double masking to protect yourself from COVID-19

A neuromagnetic view through the skull

The Trojan-Horse mechanism: How networks reduce gender segregation

Microorganisms on the Rio Grande Rise are a basis for life and a possible origin of metals

Oxygen migration enables ferroelectricity on nanoscale

New tech builds ultralow-loss integrated photonic circuits

New nanoscale device for spin technology

Surprise twist suggests stars grow competitively

Physics news

New tech builds ultralow-loss integrated photonic circuits

Encoding information into light, and transmitting it through optical fibers lies at the core of optical communications. With an incredibly low loss of 0.2 dB/km, optical fibers made from silica have laid the foundations of today's global telecommunication networks and our information society.

Scientists reject restrictive heat flux models using directly driven gold spheres

A team of scientists has conducted an analysis of directly driven gold sphere experiments to test heat transport models used in inertial confinement fusion (ICF) and high energy density (HED) modeling. It was found that overly restricting the heat flux caused disagreement with measurement.

New warp drive research dashes faster than light travel dreams – but reveals stranger possibilities

In 1994, physicist Miguel Alcubierre proposed a radical technology that would allow faster than light travel: the warp drive, a hypothetical way to skirt around the universe's ultimate speed limit by bending the fabric of reality.

Scientists create mechanism to precisely control soundwaves in metamaterials

University of Oregon physicists have developed a new method to manipulate sound—stop it, reverse it, store it and even use it later—in synthetic composite structures known as metamaterials.

Study sheds light on stellar origin of iron nuclide

Researchers from the Institute of Modern Physics (IMP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and their collaborators have recently made great progress in the study of the stellar beta-decay rate of 59Fe, which constitutes an important step towards understanding 60Fe nucleosynthesis in massive stars. The results were published in Physical Review Letters on April 12.

Experiments cast doubts on the existence of quantum spin liquids

A quantum spin liquid is a state of matter in which interacting quantum spins do not align even at lowest temperatures, but remain disordered. Research on this state has been going on for almost 50 years, but whether it really exists has never been proven beyond doubt. An international team led by physicist Prof. Martin Dressel at the University of Stuttgart has now put an end to the dream of a quantum spin liquid for the time being. Nevertheless, the matter remains exciting.

Scientists report remarkable enhancement of α-particle clustering in uranium isotopes

It is always exciting to find new isotopes with extreme neutron/proton numbers in nuclear physics research. In the region of heavy nuclei, α-decay is one of the pervasive decay modes and plays an essential role in searching for new isotopes. However, even after about a century of studying α-decay, scientists still cannot perfectly describe how the α-particle is formed at the surface of the nucleus before its emission.

The future of particle accelerators is here

When the Electron Ion Collider received the go-ahead in January 2020, it became the only new major accelerator in the works anywhere in the world.

Scientists may detect signs of extraterrestrial life in the next 5 to 10 years

Research shows that a new telescope could detect a potential signature of life on other planets in as little as 60 hours.

Unconventional takes on pandemics and nuclear defense could protect humanity from catastrophic failure

From engineered pandemics to city-toppling cyber attacks to nuclear annihilation, life on Earth could radically change, and soon. Scientists will forecast the fate of the planet at a press conference during the 2021 APS April Meeting.

Astronomy and Space news

NASA spacecraft leaves mess after grabbing asteroid samples

A NASA spacecraft left a mess at an asteroid when it grabbed a load of rubble last year for return to Earth, new pictures revealed Thursday.

SpaceX, NASA give 'go' for astronaut launch, 3rd for Dragon

SpaceX is gearing up for its third astronaut launch in under a year, after getting the green light from NASA a week ahead of next Thursday's planned flight.

Surprise twist suggests stars grow competitively

A survey of star formation activity in the Orion Nebula Cluster found similar mass distributions for newborn stars and dense gas cores, which may evolve into stars. Counterintuitively, this means that the amount of gas a core accretes as it develops, and not the initial mass of the core, is the key factor in deciding the final mass of the produced star.

NASA rocket to survey the solar system's windshield

Eleven billion miles away—more than four times the distance from us to Pluto—lies the boundary of our solar system's magnetic bubble, the heliopause. Here the Sun's magnetic field, stretching through space like an invisible cobweb, fizzles to nothing. Interstellar space begins.

A new super-Earth detected orbiting a red dwarf star

In recent years there has been an exhaustive study of red dwarf stars to find exoplanets in orbit around them. These stars have effective surface temperatures between 2400 and 3700 K (over 2000 degrees cooler than the Sun), and masses between 0.08 and 0.45 solar masses. In this context, a team of researchers led by Borja Toledo Padrón, a Severo Ochoa-La Caixa doctoral student at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), specializing in the search for planets around this type of stars, has discovered a super-Earth orbiting the star GJ 740, a red dwarf star situated some 36 light years from the Earth.

SpaceX's next crew arrives in Florida for Earth Day launch

SpaceX's most international crew of astronauts yet arrived at their launch site Friday.

NASA chooses SpaceX to take humans back to Moon

NASA has selected SpaceX to land the first astronauts on the surface of the Moon since 1972, the agency said Friday, in a huge victory for Elon Musk's company.

On the pulse of pulsars and polar light

Faced with the tragic loss of the Arecibo observatory in Puerto Rico and the often prohibitive cost of satellite missions, astronomers are searching for savvy alternatives to continue answering fundamental questions in physics.

Video: Mapping the radio sky

The Very Large Array can't image a big section of sky all at once. Instead, it must scan the sky over time.

Fast radio bursts shown to include lower frequency radio waves than previously detected

Since fast radio bursts (FRBs) were first discovered over a decade ago, scientists have puzzled over what could be generating these intense flashes of radio waves from outside of our galaxy. In a gradual process of elimination, the field of possible explanations has narrowed as new pieces of information are gathered about FRBs—how long they last, the frequencies of the radio waves detected, and so on.

Technology news

Thermoelectric material discovery sets stage for new forms of electric power in the future

Thermoelectrics directly convert heat into electricity and power a wide array of items—from NASA's Perseverance rover currently exploring Mars to travel coolers that chill beverages.

Sunlight to solve the world's clean water crisis

Researchers at UniSA have developed a cost-effective technique that could deliver safe drinking water to millions of vulnerable people using cheap, sustainable materials and sunlight.

Macro cyber resilience: Ensuring functionality of interconnected complex systems

For the second straight year, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) researchers are featured in a special edition of the Journal of Information Warfare. This issue explores the topic of macro cyber resiliency.

Virtual humans are equal to real ones in helping people practice new leadership skills

A virtual human can be as good as a flesh-and-blood one when it comes to helping people practice new leadership skills. That's the conclusion from new research published in the journal Frontiers in Virtual Reality that evaluated the effectiveness of computer-generated characters in a training scenario compared to real human role-players in a conventional setting.

Toward deep-learning models that can reason about code more like humans

Whatever business a company may be in, software plays an increasingly vital role, from managing inventory to interfacing with customers. Software developers, as a result, are in greater demand than ever, and that's driving the push to automate some of the easier tasks that take up their time.

New photo colorizing technique uses skin reaction to light for life-like results

Around a century ago when film stocks and photographs were first coming to light, they faced a number of challenges in capturing the essence of an image. In addition to the black and white limitation, photography and film methods also struggled to capture other various elements of the color spectrum, rendering many images of famous figures appearing differently than they may have actually looked.

Google broke Australian law over location data collection: court

Google violated Australian law by misleading users of Android mobile devices about the use of their location data, a court ruled Friday in a landmark decision against the global digital giant.

Cancel Instagram for kids: It 'preys' on children's fear of missing out, advocates say to Zuckerberg

Nearly 100 worldwide experts and advocates are urging Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to ditch plans to create an Instagram for kids, claiming such a platform will exploit kids' overall well-being.

Knowledge bocconi: A new tool detects emotions in Italian social media posts

"Troppo contenta del mio nuovo X-Corp Xd817!" ("Too satisfied of my new X-Corp Xd817!"). Happy outlier or general opinion of X-Corp's Italian customer base?

Novel use of 3D geoinformation to identify urban farming sites

Urban farming has picked up in scale and sophistication globally in recent years. Several innovative urban farming approaches have been introduced in Singapore, such as rooftop farming, optimisation of land use, the introduction of more greenery into the built environment, and the 30 by 30 vision set by the Singapore Food Agency to target the production of 30 percent of Singapore's nutritional needs by 2030.

Researchers creating a safer, cleaner way to recover rare-earth metals from old phones and laptops

Rare-earth metals are critical to the high-tech society we live in as an essential component of mobile phones, computers and many other everyday devices. But increasing demand and limited global supply means we must urgently find a way to recover these metals efficiently from discarded products.

New study reveals where and why most fatal e-scooter crashes occur: 80% involve cars

About 30 people in the United States have been killed riding electric scooters since 2018. Most—80% – were hit by drivers of cars.

Combining news media and AI to rapidly identify flooded buildings

Artificial intelligence (AI) has sped up the process of detecting flooded buildings immediately after a large-scale flood, allowing emergency personnel to direct their efforts efficiently. Now, a research group from Tohoku University has created a machine learning (ML) model that uses news media photos to identify flooded buildings accurately within 24 hours of the disaster.

AI is increasingly being used to identify emotions: What's at stake?

Imagine you are in a job interview. As you answer the recruiter's questions, an artificial intelligence (AI) system scans your face, scoring you for nervousness, empathy and dependability. It may sound like science fiction, but these systems are increasingly used, often without people's knowledge or consent.

Data and computer scientists, ecologists, pathologists and legal scholars study AI's biases

Artificial Intelligence touches almost every aspect of our lives, from mobile banking and online shopping to social media and real-time traffic maps. But what happens when artificial intelligence is biased? What if it makes mistakes on important decisions—from who gets a job interview or a mortgage to who gets arrested and how much time they ultimately serve for a crime?

How to create better cities when the pandemic is over

Throughout the past year of working from home, I have gone for numerous morning, lunchtime and evening walks around my neighborhood in the Eastern parts of Lund in Sweden. My neighborhood has three dams for storing stormwater in the event of extreme rain. These help slow the water instead of overburdening the city's underground water sewage system, which would increase the risk of flooding.

Consumers can 'inquire to buy' LG's OLED rollable TV in the US

LG has opened up the opportunity for consumers in the U.S. to purchase its OLED TV with a rollable screen, but you might have a pay a hefty price.

Researchers develop power converter for long-distance, underwater electric grids

A team of researchers from Utah State University's Power Electronics Lab have developed a DC current-to-DC voltage power converter. This converter is equipped for long distances and minimal maintenance, making it particularly useful in underwater power distribution networks.

Amazon conciliatory as US eyes regulation

US tech giant Amazon on Thursday sounded conciliatory notes as the US government considers stricter regulatory measures against America's largest digital platforms.

Apple announces $200 mn forestry fund to reduce carbon

Apple on Thursday announced a $200 million fund to invest in timber-producing commercial forestry projects, with the goal of removing carbon from the atmosphere while also generating profit.

Discerning deep fakes digitally

Computer-generated images are becoming increasingly realistic to the point that viewers might, with a casual glance, assume an image to be a natural, real image rather than CGI, and now even to the point that deep fakes are credible as natural images to all but the most intense gaze and examination.


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