Science X Newsletter Wednesday, May 26

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for May 26, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

How army ants' iconic mass raids evolved

Mobility data reveals universal law of visitation in cities

Indian astronomers investigate magnetar CXOU J010043.1−721134

Resetting the biological clock by flipping a switch

Scientists sound alarm about unprecedented mercury accumulation in Pacific Ocean trenches

Geology helps map kidney stone formation from tiny to troublesome

Pacific sees a 'Blood Moon' rising

Chimps learn 'handshakes' according to social group: study

Memory details fade over time, with only the main gist preserved

Brain tumors caused by normal neuron activity in mice predisposed to such tumors

Ultra-low doses of inhaled nanobodies effective against COVID-19 in hamsters

Salmon virus originally from the Atlantic, spread to wild Pacific salmon from farms

The path to more human-like robot object manipulation skills

Cleveland clinic researchers identify new drug target for treating aggressive prostate cancer

Identifying new, non-opioid based target for treating chronic pain

Physics news

Laser-driven ion acceleration with deep learning

While advances in machine learning over the past decade have made significant impacts in applications such as image classification, natural language processing and pattern recognition, scientific endeavors have only just begun to leverage this technology. This is most notable in processing large quantities of data from experiments.

Most precise measurements of cosmic ray proton and helium spectra above TeV

The Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE) collaboration reported the precise measurement of the energy spectrum of cosmic ray helium nuclei from 70 GeV to 80 TeV energies on May 18, 2021.

Study of promising photovoltaic material leads to discovery of a new state of matter

Researchers at McGill University have gained new insight into the workings of perovskites, a semiconductor material that shows great promise for making high-efficiency, low-cost solar cells and a range of other optical and electronic devices.

Astronomy and Space news

Indian astronomers investigate magnetar CXOU J010043.1−721134

Astronomers from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) have performed long-term observations of a peculiar magnetar known as CXOU J010043.1−721134. Results of this monitoring campaign shed more light on the nature of this source. The study was presented in a paper published May 19 on arXiv.org.

Pacific sees a 'Blood Moon' rising

Stargazers across the Pacific cast their eyes skyward on Wednesday to witness a rare "Super Blood Moon", as the heavens aligned to bring a spectacular lunar eclipse.

Europa's interior may be hot enough to fuel seafloor volcanoes

Jupiter's moon Europa has an icy crust covering a vast, global ocean. The rocky layer underneath may be hot enough to melt, leading to undersea volcanoes.

Reconstructing 3D magnetic topology of on-disk solar prominence bubbles

Solar prominences or filaments are cool and dense plasma structures suspended in the hot and tenuous corona.

NASA's Roman mission to probe cosmic secrets using exploding stars

NASA's upcoming Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will see thousands of exploding stars called supernovae across vast stretches of time and space. Using these observations, astronomers aim to shine a light on several cosmic mysteries, providing a window onto the universe's distant past and hazy present.

Similar states of activity identified in supermassive and stellar mass black holes

The researchers Juan A. Fernández-Ontiveros, of the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) in Rome and Teo Muñoz-Darias, of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), have written an article in which they describe the different states of activity of a large sample of supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies. They have classified them using the behavior of their closest "relations", the stellar mass black holes in X-ray binaries. The article has just been published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS).

GM's newest vehicle: Off-road, self-driving rover for moon

General Motors is teaming up with Lockheed Martin to produce the ultimate off-road, self-driving, electric vehicles—for the moon.

Glittering moon rises ahead of super blood moon

A glittering full moon rose over New Zealand on Wednesday night as people there and around the world waited for a cosmic event known as a super blood moon.

Buildup to super blood moon eclipses the finale

In the end, the buildup seemed to eclipse the finale.

Technology news

The path to more human-like robot object manipulation skills

What if a robot could organize your closet or chop your vegetables? A sous chef in every home could someday be a reality.

Slender robotic finger senses buried items

Over the years, robots have gotten quite good at identifying objects—as long as they're out in the open.

Twitter data reveals rhythms of people's moods

A pair of researchers, one from the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland the other the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Norway has found that it is possible to track mood trends in large groups of people by studying their Twitter posts. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, Eric Mayor and Lucas Bietti describe their analysis of large amounts of Twitter data from people tweeting in several densely populated counties in the U.S.

Significant Otter helps couples communicate from the heart

Even though people stayed in touch during the pandemic's stay-at-home orders and social distancing, it was easy to feel out of touch with loved ones.

USB-C and Power Delivery upgrades offer 240W Extended Power Range support

At a time where many people use multiple different electronic devices at any given moment, the 240W charger offers a single, central power source for them all. Beginning with the 100W charger back in 2019, which could charge everything from your earbuds to your Google Chromebook, the standards became USB Type-C and Power Delivery.

'World's leading bank robbers': North Korea's hacker army

Nuclear-armed North Korea is advancing on the front lines of cyberwarfare, analysts say, stealing billions of dollars and presenting a clearer and more present danger than its banned weapons programmes.

US exchanges offer a rich potential target for hackers

Cyberattacks have long been seen as a threat to financial markets, but worries are becoming even more acute following a US pipeline hack that set off a public panic and forced the company to pay a ransom.

US to open California coast to wind power

The US government is set to open California's Pacific coast to offshore wind farms, officials announced Tuesday, adding to the approval of the nation's biggest wind project to date off Massachusetts.

EU wants more from Big Tech against disinformation

The EU on Wednesday tasked tech giants such as Facebook, YouTube and TikTok to do more against disinformation and provide much better access to their algorithms as well as beef up fact-checking.

A neural network improves forecasts for severe storm hazards

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is using artificial intelligence to run experimental forecasts for hail, tornadoes, and intense winds—storm hazards that can cause serious damage but that are notoriously difficult for weather models to accurately predict.

Flexible loads and renewable energy work together in a highly electrified future

Demand flexibility offers high value in supporting a highly electrified, renewables-based U.S. power system, according to the sixth and final report in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL's) Electrification Futures Study (EFS), "Operational Analysis of U.S. Power Systems with Increased Electrification and Demand-Side Flexibility."

What is a 100% renewables target? An energy expert explains

In the global effort to transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, achieving a "100% renewables" electricity system is considered ideal.

Small, modular reactors competitive in Washington's clean energy future

As the Clean Energy Transformation Act drives Washington state toward carbon-free electricity, a new energy landscape is taking shape. Alongside renewable energy sources, a new report finds small modular reactors are poised to play an integral role in the state's emerging clean energy future.

Fast computers, 5G networks and radar are bringing 'X-ray vision' closer to reality

Within seconds after reaching a city, earthquakes can cause immense destruction: Houses crumble, high-rises turn to rubble, people and animals are buried in the debris.

The missing component of energy models: People

A team of Carnegie Mellon University researchers led by Turner Cotterman, an engineering and public policy (EPP) Ph.D. student, has shown that sustainably decarbonizing our energy system by 2050 will require us to change the way we model energy transitions and account for the role of public opinion. Advised by Mitchell Small, professor of engineering and public policy and civil and environmental engineering, Cotterman and co-authors use nuclear energy as a case study of how conventional energy models—which minimize system costs—fail at accounting for social acceptance, a factor that can inhibit the deployment of certain technologies, like nuclear energy.

XR advertising could be a consumer threat if left unchecked

Whether it's trying on lipstick or clothing online, using floor plan software to find out how furniture will fit in a new home or ordering a contactless Coke using a cell phone, businesses are continually finding new ways to promote their products and services using extended reality (XR) technology.

Spotting hoaxes: How young people use cues to spot misinformation online

Inaccurate information on social media has become a problem in many countries around the world. Researchers know a fair deal about "fake news" in the global North, but much less about what is happening in the global South, particularly in Africa.

Ford: Electric vehicles to be 40% of global sales by 2030

Ford expects 40% of its global sales to be battery-electric vehicles by 2030 as it adds billions to what it's spending to develop them.

Facebook and Instagram to let users hide 'like' counts

Facebook and Instagram on Wednesday announced plans to let users stop displaying "like" tallies racked up by posts, letting people opt out of seeking status through the approval of others.

Hacking and loss of driving skills are major consumer concerns for self-driving cars

A new study from the University of Kent, Toulouse Business School, ESSCA School of Management (Paris) and ESADE Business School (Spain) has revealed the three primary risks and benefits perceived by consumers towards autonomous vehicles (self-driving cars).

Wireless broadband connectivity enhanced by a new communication design

Current wireless networks such as Wi-Fi, LTE-Advanced, etc., work in the lower radio spectrum, below 6 GHz. Experts warn that soon this band will become congested due to mushrooming data traffic. It is calculated that by 2024, 17,722 million devices will be connected.

Google takes another US health care group to the cloud

Google on Wednesday built on its push to modernize the medical system with a deal to put cloud computing power to work for US-based HCA Healthcare.

Uber agrees world-first union deal for UK drivers

US ride-hailing giant Uber announced Wednesday a "historic" pact with a British trade union to represent its 70,000 drivers in the UK, after a court ruling granted them workers' rights.

As COVID cases rose, so did hospital hacks in France

At 2:00 a.m. on a day in early February, the deputy director of the main hospital in the southwestern French town of Dax took an urgent call from a normally unflappable colleague in the IT department.

WhatsApp goes to court against India social media clampdown

WhatsApp has launched legal action to stop India enforcing new social media rules effective Wednesday that the tech firm says will break its privacy guarantees.

Does your energy company take climate change seriously? A new report has the answer

A landmark report released last week put coal and gas on notice. For the first time, the International Energy Agency (IEA) declared reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 means no new investments in fossil fuel supply projects.

EU beefs up disinformation code to prevent digital ad profit

European Union officials unveiled plans Wednesday to beef up the bloc's code of practice on online disinformation, with the aim of preventing digital ad companies from profiting off of "fake news."

Five fuel-efficient used car picks under $25,000

The price of gasoline is up more than a dollar on average in the last 12 months, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Used car prices are also up nearly 25%, partly due to a lack of inventory on the used market. This combination might make you more inclined to seek out a fuel-efficient vehicle for your next purchase.

Amazon to buy MGM, studio behind James Bond and 'Shark Tank'

Online shopping giant Amazon is buying MGM, the movie and TV studio behind James Bond, "Legally Blonde" and "Shark Tank," with the hopes of filling its video streaming service with more stuff to watch.

Facebook adapts defenses as deception campaigns go stealth

Facebook said Wednesday that it has disrupted more than 150 deceptive influence schemes since 2017, with Russia the biggest single source, as culprits strive to stay "under the radar."

Air travel could beat pre-pandemic level by 2023: IATA

Global air passenger numbers could rebound from the coronavirus pandemic to top 2019 levels by 2023, the International Air Transport Association predicted on Wednesday.

Workers return to weirder offices with moveable walls and touchless elevators

Masked, desk-bound and unable to recognize their colleagues in an elevator, people are starting to return to offices in cities around the world where the pandemic is receding. Many will find their offices transformed, too.


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