Science X Newsletter Friday, May 28

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for May 28, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Declining biodiversity in wild Amazon fisheries threatens human diet

The hypothalamus predates the origin of vertebrates

Next-gen electric vehicle batteries: These are the questions we still need to answer

Driving in the snow is a team effort for AI sensors

Versatile coronavirus antibody may be starting point for broader-acting vaccines

Navigation error sends NASA's Mars helicopter on wild ride

CyLab's IoT security and privacy label effectively conveys risk, study finds

Legal mining increasingly ravages forests in megadiversity hotspot

Lessening the cost of strategies to reach the Paris Agreement

How the production of antibodies is regulated, one cell at a time

Potential new sunscreen is coral-safe and provides more UVB/UVA protection

How retroviruses become infectious

Blood test detects childhood tumors based on their epigenetic profiles

Researchers show how air pollution may contribute to loss of smell

Measuring the effects of radiotherapy on cancer may open treatment avenues

Physics news

Simulations examine performance of materials in NIF experiments

Scientists have examined the performance of pure boron, boron carbide, high-density carbon and boron nitride ablators—the material that surrounds a fusion fuel and couples with the laser or hohlraum radiation in an experiment—in the polar direct drive exploding pusher (PDXP) platform, which is used at the National Ignition Facility (NIF). The platform uses the polar direct drive configuration to drive high ion temperatures in a room-temperature capsule and has potential applications for plasma physics studies and as a neutron source.

Electrons waiting for their turn: New model explains 3D quantum material

Scientists from the Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat—Complexity and Topology in Quantum Matter have developed a new understanding of how electrons behave in strong magnetic fields. Their results explain measurements of electric currents in three-dimensional materials that signal a quantum Hall effect—a phenomenon thus far only associated with two-dimensional metals. This new 3D effect can be the foundation for topological quantum phenomena, which are believed to be particularly robust and therefore promising candidates for extremely powerful quantum technologies. These results have just been published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

Using the environment to control quantum devices

Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) researchers have uncovered how the environment can impact highly sensitive quantum behaviors like localisation. Their findings, published in Chaos, could lead to future innovations in the design of superconducting materials and quantum devices, including super precise sensors.

A new light-sheet microscopy unit enables an extended field of view and reduced photodamage

A research group led by Takashi Saito, of the Ehime University Graduate School of Medicine, developed a 2-photon excitation light-sheet fluorescence microscope which (1) lowers phototoxicity, (2) extends the field of view, and (3) heightens spatial resolution. This microscope, when used for the observation of medaka fish, made it possible to observe the whole body of the embryo (an extended field of view) at a cellular level resolution (high spatial resolution) without affecting the growth of the fish (low phototoxicity) over a three-day span of embryonic development. This result was published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

Astronomy and Space news

Navigation error sends NASA's Mars helicopter on wild ride

A navigation timing error sent NASA's little Mars helicopter on a wild, lurching ride, its first major problem since it took to the Martian skies last month.

Dark energy survey releases most precise look at the universe's evolution

In 29 new scientific papers, the Dark Energy Survey examines the largest-ever maps of galaxy distribution and shapes, extending more than 7 billion light-years across the universe. The extraordinarily precise analysis, which includes data from the survey's first three years, contributes to the most powerful test of the current best model of the universe, the standard cosmological model. However, hints remain from earlier DES data and other experiments that matter in the universe today is a few percent less clumpy than predicted.

Researchers develop better ways to culture living heart cells on the International Space Station

As part of preparing for an experiment aboard the International Space Station, researchers explored new ways to culture living heart cells for microgravity research. They found that cryopreservation, a process of storing cells at -80°C, makes it easier to transport these cells to the orbiting lab, providing more flexibility in launch and operations schedules. The process could benefit other biological research in space and on Earth.

Curiosity rover captures shining clouds on Mars

Cloudy days are rare in the thin, dry atmosphere of Mars. Clouds are typically found at the planet's equator in the coldest time of year, when Mars is the farthest from the Sun in its oval-shaped orbit. But one full Martian year ago—two Earth years—scientists noticed clouds forming over NASA's Curiosity rover earlier than expected.

SpaceX CRS-22 mission to space station launches water bears, squid, solar panels

The 22nd SpaceX cargo resupply mission carrying scientific research and technology demonstrations launches to the International Space Station from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida no earlier than June 3. Experiments aboard include studying how water bears tolerate space, whether microgravity affects symbiotic relationships, analyzing the formation of kidney stones, and more.

Researchers prepare to send fungi for a ride around the moon

Microbiologists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory are preparing experimental samples of fungi to send for a ride around the moon tentatively scheduled for later in 2021 or early 2022.

Image: Hubble captures a captivating spiral

This image shows the spiral galaxy NGC 5037, in the constellation of Virgo. First documented by William Herschel in 1785, the galaxy lies about 150 million light-years away from Earth. Despite this distance, we can see the delicate structures of gas and dust within the galaxy in extraordinary detail. This detail is possible using Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), whose combined exposures created this image.

Russian rocket launches UK telecom satellites after delay

A Russian Soyuz rocket carrying 36 UK telecommunication and internet satellites blasted off from the Vostochny cosmodrome in Russia's Far East on Friday, the space agency said.

Technology news

Next-gen electric vehicle batteries: These are the questions we still need to answer

The next generation of electric vehicle batteries, with greater range and improved safety, could be emerging in the form of lithium metal, solid-state technology.

Driving in the snow is a team effort for AI sensors

Nobody likes driving in a blizzard, including autonomous vehicles. To make self-driving cars safer on snowy roads, engineers look at the problem from the car's point of view.

CyLab's IoT security and privacy label effectively conveys risk, study finds

Shoppers can check food packaging to learn how much fat is in their favorite ice cream, but can they check with whom their smart speaker shares their data, and why? Not yet, but it's in the works.

Artificial intelligence system could help counter the spread of disinformation

Disinformation campaigns are not new—think of wartime propaganda used to sway public opinion against an enemy. What is new, however, is the use of the internet and social media to spread these campaigns. The spread of disinformation via social media has the power to change elections, strengthen conspiracy theories, and sow discord.

A helping hand for working robots

Until now, competing types of robotic hand designs offered a trade-off between strength and durability. One commonly used design, employing a rigid pin joint that mimics the mechanism in human finger joints, can lift heavy payloads, but is easily damaged in collisions, particularly if hit from the side. Meanwhile, fully compliant hands, typically made of molded silicone, are more flexible, harder to break, and better at grasping objects of various shapes, but they fall short on lifting power.

Scientists develop transparent electrode that boosts solar cell efficiency

Developing new ultrathin metal electrodes has allowed researchers to create semitransparent perovskite solar cells that are highly efficient and can be coupled with traditional silicon cells to greatly boost the performance of both devices, said an international team of scientists. The research represents a step toward developing completely transparent solar cells.

Despite fix, Apple has yet to address WebKit security bug affecting iPhone and MacOS

While a fix emerged three weeks ago for the WebKit security bug affecting Apple products such as iPhone and Mac, Apple has yet to implement the fix. Researchers at the security firm Theori have found that WebKit mainly causes Safari to crash. However, following a re-check after the supplied fix, they discovered that the bug still remains on both iOS and MacOS.

Safety ratings yanked after Tesla pulls radar from 2 models

Two key groups that offer automobile safety ratings are yanking their top endorsements from some Tesla vehicles because the company has stopped using radar on its safety systems.

'Green growth' is out: Finding new ways of using and wasting less energy

As countries explore ways of decarbonising their economies, the mantra of "green growth" risks trapping us in a spiral of failures. Green growth is an oxymoron.

New AI-powered deep learning model to support medical diagnostics

A new deep-learning model can learn to identify diseases from medical scans faster and more accurately, according to new research by a team of University of Alberta computing scientists and the U of A spinoff company MEDO. The breakthrough model is the work of a team of researchers in the Faculty of Science—including the contributions of Pouneh Gorji, a graduate student lost in Flight PS752.

Rolls-Royce drives up car luxury with 'Boat Tail'

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, which along with the wider luxury goods sector is recovering strongly from pandemic fallout, has launched a "Boat Tail" automobile—tailor-made for just three ultra-wealthy clients.

Reuters postpones website paywall over dispute with data provider

Reuters News said it was delaying the start of its website paywall following a dispute with financial data provider Refinitiv, postponing what it had characterized as its most significant transformation in a decade.

Untapped solar and wind potential in Swiss mountains

Scientists at EPFL and the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF have issued recommendations for what type of renewable energy should be produced in Switzerland's various regions, to help achieve the country's goals of carbon neutrality and energy self-sufficiency.

It's time to make cyber security compulsory

On May 7, a pipeline system carrying almost half the fuel used on the east coast of the United States was crippled by a major cyber attack. The five-day shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline resulted in widespread fuel shortages and panic-buying as Virginia, North Carolina and Florida declared a state of emergency.

Boeing working with FAA as it halts 787 deliveries again

Boeing said Friday it was working to address questions about its 787 Dreamliner from US air safety regulators after again suspending new deliveries of the jet.

Virtual body language may give untrustworthy avatars away

People who have something to hide while using full-body avatars in a collaborative virtual reality (VR) environment are less trusted than when they do not use a full-body avatar, because their body language could be interpreted as suspicious.

China tech CEOs slip off backstage to avoid Beijing's glare

Bytedance founder Zhang Yiming, the brains behind TikTok, said he preferred "daydreaming" as he stepped down as head of his own firm last week. But his departure comes as several of China's once-lauded tech entrepreneurs step aside under increasing scrutiny from a government concerned about their growing power and influence.

Paycom Software's Richison, AMD's Su among highest paid CEOs

Here are the highest paid male and female CEOs in the S&P 500 index for 2020, as calculated by The Associated Press and Equilar, an executive data firm.

EU gives TikTok a month to respond to consumer complaints

The European Commission said on Friday it has given the Chinese-owned video app TikTok one month to answer complaints from a European consumer group over its commercial practices.

Russian hackers of SolarWinds back on the attack

The state-backed Russian group behind a massive hacking campaign revealed last year has re-emerged with a series of attacks on government agencies, think tanks, consultants and other organizations, according to officials and researchers.


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