Science X Newsletter Monday, May 24

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for May 24, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

The MIT humanoid robot: A dynamic robotic that can perform acrobatic behaviors

China's Mars rover starts roaming the Red Planet

A seedy slice of history: Watermelons actually came from northeast Africa

Researchers find Greenland glacial meltwaters rich in mercury

Infertility poses major threat to biodiversity during climate change, study warns

Observations shed more light on the properties of pulsar PSR J0740+6620

Milky Way not unusual, astronomers find

Scientists tap supercomputing to study exotic matter in stars

Research may help illuminate origins of life on Earth

Thirty-six dwarf galaxies had simultaneous 'baby boom' of new stars

Virgin Galactic rocket ship ascends from New Mexico

No link between milk and increased cholesterol according to new study of 2 million people

Dengue immune function discovery could benefit much-needed vaccine development

Predicting chemotherapy response and tailoring treatments for pancreatic cancer patients

Surge in nitrogen has turned sargassum into the world's largest harmful algal bloom

Physics news

Evidence found of superfluidity in extremely cold 2D gas of fermions

A team of researchers working at the Institut für Laserphysik, Universität Hamburg, has found evidence of superfluidity in an extremely cold 2D gas of fermions. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their work with a 2D Fermi gas and what they learned from it.

New quantum material discovered

In everyday life, phase transitions usually have to do with temperature changes—for example, when an ice cube gets warmer and melts. But there are also different kinds of phase transitions, depending on other parameters such as magnetic field. In order to understand the quantum properties of materials, phase transitions are particularly interesting when they occur directly at the absolute zero point of temperature. These transitions are called "quantum phase transitions" or a "quantum critical points."

Generating electricity from heat using a spin Seebeck device

Thermoelectric (TE) conversion offers carbon-free power generation from geothermal, waste, body or solar heat, and shows promise to be the next-generation energy conversion technology. At the core of such TE conversion, there lies an all solid-state thermoelectric device which enables energy conversion without the emission of noise, vibrations, or pollutants. To this, a POSTECH research team proposed a way to design the next-generation thermoelectric device that exhibits remarkably simple manufacturing process and structure compared to the conventional ones, while displaying improved energy conversion efficiency using the spin Seebeck effect (SSE).

Astronomy and Space news

China's Mars rover starts roaming the Red Planet

China's Mars rover drove from its landing platform and began exploring the surface on Saturday, state-run Xinhua news agency said, making the country only the second nation to land and operate a rover on the Red Planet.

Observations shed more light on the properties of pulsar PSR J0740+6620

An international team of astronomers has carried out X-ray observations of a massive millisecond pulsar known as PSR J0740+6620. Results of the observational campaign, presented in a paper published May 14 on the arXiv pre-print repository, deliver important information regarding the properties of this pulsar.

Milky Way not unusual, astronomers find

The first detailed cross-section of a galaxy broadly similar to the Milky Way, published today, reveals that our galaxy evolved gradually, instead of being the result of a violent mash-up. The finding throws the origin story of our home into doubt.

Scientists tap supercomputing to study exotic matter in stars

At the heart of some of the smallest and densest stars in the universe lies nuclear matter that might exist in never-before-observed exotic phases. Neutron stars, which form when the cores of massive stars collapse in a luminous supernova explosion, are thought to contain matter at energies greater than what can be achieved in particle accelerator experiments, such as the ones at the Large Hadron Collider and the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.

Research may help illuminate origins of life on Earth

One of the fundamental themes in astrobiology is to seek to ascertain the origin and distribution of life in the cosmos. As part of this, the field also deals with how life may be transferred from one planetary system to another. Recent research may give insight into how we could detect traces of this intriguing process in the future.

Thirty-six dwarf galaxies had simultaneous 'baby boom' of new stars

Three dozen dwarf galaxies far from each other had a simultaneous 'baby boom' of new stars, an unexpected discovery that challenges current theories on how galaxies grow and may enhance our understanding of the universe.

Virgin Galactic rocket ship ascends from New Mexico

Virgin Galactic on Saturday made its first rocket-powered flight from New Mexico to the fringe of space in a manned shuttle, as the company forges toward offering tourist flights to the edge of the Earth's atmosphere.

Complex molecules could hold the secret to identifying alien life

A new system capable of identifying complex molecular signatures could aid in the search for alien life in the universe and could even lead to the creation of new forms of life in the laboratory, scientists say.

Cosmic 2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse combines with supermoon

The first total lunar eclipse in more than two years coincides with a supermoon this week for quite a cosmic show.

Hubble gazes at a galactic menagerie

This packed image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope showcases the galaxy cluster ACO S 295, as well as a jostling crowd of background galaxies and foreground stars. Galaxies of all shapes and sizes populate this image, ranging from stately spirals to fuzzy ellipticals.

NASA rocket mission studying escaping radio waves

A NASA rocket mission, launching May 26, 2021, will study radio waves that escape through the Earth's ionosphere impacting the environment surrounding GPS and geosynchronous satellites, such as those for weather monitoring and communications.

Solar storms are back, threatening life as we know it on Earth

A few days ago, millions of tons of super-heated gas shot off from the surface of the sun and hurtled 90 million miles toward Earth.

Technology news

The MIT humanoid robot: A dynamic robotic that can perform acrobatic behaviors

Creating robots that can perform acrobatic movements such as flips or spinning jumps can be highly challenging. Typically, in fact, these robots require sophisticated hardware designs, motion planners and control algorithms.

Using waste heat to power an environmentally sustainable future

In his most recent published research, appearing in Applied Thermal Engineering, City, University of London's Dr. Martin White explores a novel organic Rankine cycle system, based on a two-phase expansion through numerical simulations of the system.

Green energy may require increased mining in the U.K. in the short term, experts say

As countries race to become carbon neutral, a new commentary from Prof Richard Herrington, Head of Earth Sciences Department at the Natural History Museum, has examined the cost of our green future and concludes that we may need accept an increase in UK mining in the short term.

Digital twin technology a 'powerful tool' but requires significant investment, say experts

Healthcare and aerospace experts at King's College London, The Alan Turing Institute, the University of Cambridge, and the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences at UT Austin in Texas have said advances in digital twin technology make it a powerful tool for facilitating predictive and precision medicine and enhancing decision-making for aerospace systems. Their opinion piece was published today in Nature Computational Science.

Seagate's Mach.2 is the fastest hard drive out there

Seagate has been working toward developing a dual-actuator hard drive, meaning that the drive will contain two sets of independently controlled read/write heads. Now, after several years, the company has released its first functional dual-actuator hard drive, the Mach.2. Currently, only enterprises can purchase and use this product, meaning that at least for now, end users will have to wait their turn.

Unmanned supermarkets to the rescue in Sweden's rural areas

One after another, grocery stores are shutting down in rural Sweden, leaving villagers to travel miles to buy food. But a new type of shop has sprung up in their wake: unmanned supermarkets in mobile containers.

'Charlie Bit My Finger' video fetches $760,000 at NFT auction

Another classic piece of internet culture has been auctioned off for a six-figure sum, the latest viral sensation from the 2000s to be eagerly snapped up by digital collectors of "non fungible tokens" or NFTs.

1.7 million affected by hack of top Japan dating app

The personal data of more than a million users of one of Japan's most popular dating apps may have been exposed by a hack, its operator has warned.

Stop removing your solar panels early—it's creating a huge waste problem for Australia

Installing solar panels is an easy way to lower your carbon footprint and cut electricity bills. But our recent research found there are many incentives to remove them prematurely, adding to Australia's massive waste problem.

A Chinese hacking competition may have given Beijing new ways to spy on the Uyghurs

When Apple announced in a 2019 blog post that it had patched a security vulnerability in its iOS operating system, the company sought to reassure its customers. The attack that had exploited the vulnerability, Apple said, was "narrowly focused" on websites featuring content related to the Uyghur community.

One-step method to improve performance of cathode materials in Na-ion batteries

Na-ion batteries are promising in large-scale energy storage owing to the abundant raw material resources, low cost and high safety.

Keeping it rolling: Researchers predict the lifetime of bearings

Scientists from the Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research, and NTN Next Generation Research Alliance Laboratories at Osaka University developed a machine learning method that combines convolutional neural networks and Bayesian hierarchical modeling to precisely predict the remaining useful life of rolling bearings. This work may lead to new industrial monitoring methods that help manage maintenance schedules and maximize efficiency and safety under defect progression.

Games, computing, and the mind: How search algorithms reflect game playing

Humans benefit from playing games more than some might realize. Games can be a relaxed approach to learning or honing our problem-solving skills while relieving stress. However, game playing generally carries a considerable amount of decision-making, involving mathematical and statistical considerations that we make to decide on what we think is the best move. Thus, games showcase many of the impressive faculties and inner workings of the human brain, which in turns makes them a great testbed and playground for research on artificial intelligence (AI).

AirTag tech to help find your lost Apple TV remote? Don't get your hopes up. Here's why.

If you have ever owned an Apple TV streaming device, then you know how easy it is to lose its remote. Its thin frame becomes its downfall when confronted with the comfy spaces between couch cushions.

Researchers study phone use behavior and geometrics on urban and rural roads

Ding—a notification goes off on a cell phone. A driver looks down, their eyes briefly leave the road ahead, and... crash. Phone use while driving is a significant source of distracted driving that leads to traffic accidents, which are considered preventable.

Here's what to know about the Citizen crime app as it tests private security

Citizen, an intriguing crime and neighborhood watch app, is looking into a "pilot project" that could allow users to request private security to scenes.

Air India says data on 4.5 million passengers stolen

Hackers have stolen data on about 4.5 million Air India passengers around the world in the latest breach reported by a major airline.

India tells social media firms to take down 'Indian variant' posts

India's government has ordered social media platforms to take down content that refers to the "Indian variant" of the coronavirus.

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