Science X Newsletter Wednesday, May 5

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for May 5, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

CineMPC: An algorithm to enable autonomous drone-based cinematography

Quasi-periodic oscillation detected in Cygnus X-1

Using flexible microparticles as drug carriers to shuttle nanoparticles to the vascular wall

Biologists discover a trigger for cell extrusion

Catastrophic sea-level rise from Antarctic melting possible with severe global warming

Researchers develop pasta that morphs into shape when cooked

Rapid rovers, speedy sands: Fast-tracking terrain interaction modeling

Researchers propose repurposing tabletop sensors to search for dark matter

Loan applications processed around midday more likely to be rejected

Yes, you can have more than 150 friends: New study deconstructs Dunbar's number

New algorithm uses a hologram to control trapped ions

Long-term monitoring shows successful restoration of mining-polluted streams

Study demonstrates swarm of photons that somersault in lockstep

Gene therapy in Alzheimer's disease mouse model preserves learning and memory

Making Bitcoin more secure

Physics news

Rapid rovers, speedy sands: Fast-tracking terrain interaction modeling

Granular materials, such as sand and gravel, are an interesting class of materials. They can display solid, liquid, and gas-like properties, depending on the scenario. But things can get complicated in cases of high-speed vehicle locomotion, which cause these materials to enter a "triple-phase" nature, acting like all three fundamental phases of matter at the same time.

Researchers propose repurposing tabletop sensors to search for dark matter

Scientists are certain that dark matter exists. Yet, after more than 50 years of searching, they still have no direct evidence for the mysterious substance.

New algorithm uses a hologram to control trapped ions

Researchers have discovered the most precise way to control individual ions using holographic optical engineering technology.

Study demonstrates swarm of photons that somersault in lockstep

Spinning or rotating objects are commonplace, from toy tops, fidget spinners, and figure skaters to water circling a drain, tornadoes, and hurricanes.

New clues about an elusive material: A superconductor that can be synthesized in the lab

Titanium monoxide (TiO), an inorganic chemical compound, is a material that has eluded close study by physicists due to a dearth of high-purity single crystal samples. A team of researchers, though, has now been able to synthesize and examine high-quality TiO and finds that this material has some surprising properties.

Researchers confront major hurdle in quantum computing

In a series of papers, Rochester researchers report major strides in improving the transfer of information in quantum systems.

Thin, large-area device converts infrared light into images

Seeing through smog and fog. Mapping out a person's blood vessels while monitoring heart rate at the same time—without touching the person's skin. Seeing through silicon wafers to inspect the quality and composition of electronic boards. These are just some of the capabilities of a new infrared imager developed by a team of researchers led by electrical engineers at the University of California San Diego.

First detailed look at how charge transfer distorts a molecule's structure

When light hits certain molecules, it dislodges electrons that then move from one location to another, creating areas of positive and negative charge. This "charge transfer" is highly important in many areas of chemistry, in biological processes like photosynthesis and in technologies like semiconductor devices and solar cells.

Superconductivity, high critical temperature found in 2D semimetal tungsten nitride

Superconductivity in two-dimensional (2D) systems has attracted much attention in recent years, both because of its relevance to our understanding of fundamental physics and because of potential technological applications in nanoscale devices such as quantum interferometers, superconducting transistors and superconducting qubits.

3D bioprinting technique controls cell orientation

3D bioprinting can create engineered scaffolds that mimic natural tissue. Controlling the cellular organization within those engineered scaffolds for regenerative applications is a complex and challenging process.

Searching for the supersymmetric bottom quark (and its friends)

When it comes to quarks, those of the third generation (the top and bottom) are certainly the most fascinating and intriguing. Metaphorically, we would classify their social life as quite secluded, as they do not mix much with their relatives of the first and second generation. However, as the proper aristocrats of the particle physics world, they enjoy privileged and intense interactions with the Higgs field; it is the intensity of this interaction that eventually determines things like the quantum stability of our universe. Their social life may also have a dark side, as they could be involved in interactions with dark matter.

Magnetic material breaks super-fast switching record

Researchers at CRANN (The Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices), and the School of Physics at Trinity College Dublin, today announced that a magnetic material developed at the Centre demonstrates the fastest magnetic switching ever recorded.

Polarization-sensitive photodetection using 2D/3D perovskite heterostructure crystal

Polarization-sensitive photodetectors based on anisotropic semiconductors exhibit a wide range of advantages in specialized applications, such as astronomy, remote sensing, and polarization-division multiplexing. For the active layer of polarization-sensitive photodetectors, recent researches focus on two-dimensional (2D) organic-inorganic hybrid perovskites, where inorganic slabs and organic spacers are alternatively arranged in parallel layered structures. Compared with inorganic 2D materials, importantly, the solution accessibility of hybrid perovskites makes it possible to obtain their large crystals at low cost, offering exciting opportunities to incorporate crystal out-of-plane anisotropy for polarization-sensitive photodetection. However, limited by the absorption anisotropy of the material structure, polarization sensitivity of such a device remains low. Thus, a new strategy to design 2D hybrid perovskites with large anisotropy for polarization-sensitive photodetection is urgently needed.

Observation of antichiral edge states in a circuit lattice

A modified Haldane lattice exhibits the intriguing phenomenon of antichiral edge states that propagate in the same direction on opposite edges and co-exist with bulk states. Using an electric circuit, researchers have successfully demonstrated antichiral edge states. By measuring voltage distributions in the circuit, the key features of the antichiral edge states have been verified experimentally for the first time, including their group velocities and ability to propagate consistently in a Möbius strip configuration.

Astronomy and Space news

Quasi-periodic oscillation detected in Cygnus X-1

Using the Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT), astronomers from Shanghai Astronomical Observatory in China have detected a low frequency, quasi-periodic oscillation in a black hole high mass X-ray binary known as Cygnus X-1. The finding is reported in a paper published April 29 on

Machine learning accelerates cosmological simulations

A universe evolves over billions upon billions of years, but researchers have developed a way to create a complex simulated universe in less than a day. The technique, published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, brings together machine learning, high-performance computing and astrophysics and will help to usher in a new era of high-resolution cosmology simulations.

Mysterious hydrogen-free supernova sheds light on stars' violent death throes

A curiously yellow pre-supernova star has caused astrophysicists to re-evaluate what's possible at the deaths of our Universe's most massive stars. The team describe the peculiar star and its resulting supernova in a new study published today in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Main stage of Chinese rocket likely to plunge to Earth soon

The largest section of the rocket that launched the main module of China's first permanent space station into orbit is expected to plunge back to Earth as early as Saturday at an unknown location.

A new window to see hidden side of magnetized universe

New observations and simulations show that jets of high-energy particles emitted from the central massive black hole in the brightest galaxy in galaxy clusters can be used to map the structure of invisible inter-cluster magnetic fields. These findings provide astronomers with a new tool for investigating previously unexplored aspects of clusters of galaxies.

Scientists model Saturn's interior

New Johns Hopkins University simulations offer an intriguing look into Saturn's interior, suggesting that a thick layer of helium rain influences the planet's magnetic field.

Blue Origin will fly first crew to space in July

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin will send its first crew to space on July 20 and is offering one of the seats to the winner of an online auction, the company said Wednesday.

60 years since 1st American in space: Tourists lining up

Sixty years after Alan Shepard became the first American in space, everyday people are on the verge of following in his cosmic footsteps.

Technology news

CineMPC: An algorithm to enable autonomous drone-based cinematography

Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, mobile robots and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) could enhance practices in a variety of fields, including cinematography. In recent years, many cinematographers and entertainment companies specifically began exploring the use of UAVs to capture high-quality aerial video footage (i.e., videos of specific locations taken from above).

Researchers develop pasta that morphs into shape when cooked

People love pasta for its shapes—from tubes of penne and rigatoni to spirals of fusilli and rotini.

Making Bitcoin more secure

A computer science engineer at Michigan State University has a word of advice for the millions of bitcoin owners who use smartphone apps to manage their cryptocurrency: don't. Or at least, be careful. Researchers from MSU are developing a mobile app to act as a safeguard for popular but vulnerable "wallet" applications used to manage cryptocurrency.

A touch from a conversing robot is linked to positive emotional state

A small study found that people who were touched by a humanoid robot while conversing with it subsequently reported a better emotional state and were more likely to comply with a request from the robot. Laura Hoffmann of Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, and Nicole C. Krämer of the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on May 5, 2021.

Microsoft introduces new tools for hybrid learning

In honor of National Teacher Appreciation Day in the United States, Microsoft has announced the release of several learning tools designed to support both teachers and students in a hybrid in-person, online educational environment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Facebook's Workplace tool grows as jobs go remote

Facebook's Workplace business software has grown by about 40 percent in a year to reach seven million paying subscribers as the pandemic accelerated a remote work trend, the company said Tuesday.

Activision earnings boom on Call of Duty play

Video game giant Activision Blizzard on Tuesday reported earnings boomed in the first quarter of this year as players spent time and money with the blockbuster game Call of Duty.

Stellantis CFO: Chip shortage impact remains 'controlled'

The Stellantis automotive company created out of the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Peugeot reported Wednesday a 14% increase in first-quarter revenues, despite a drop in production due to the semiconductor shortage.

Toward a brain-like AI with hyperdimensional computing

The human brain has always been under study for inspiration of computing systems. Although there's a very long way to go until we can achieve a computing system that matches the efficiency of the human brain for cognitive tasks, several brain-inspired computing paradigms are being researched. Convolutional neural networks are a widely used machine learning approach for AI-related applications due to their significant performance relative to rules-based or symbolic approaches. Nonetheless, for many tasks machine learning requires vast amounts of data and training to converge to an acceptable level of performance.

Impact of competition between autonomous vehicles and public transit

The rapid advancement of autonomous vehicles (AV) technology in recent years has changed transport systems and consumer habits globally. As countries worldwide see a surge in AV usage, the rise of shared autonomous mobility on demand (AMoD) service likely forthcoming. Public transit (PT), a critical component of urban transportation, will inevitably be impacted by the upcoming influx of AMoD, raising the question of whether AMoD would co-exist with or threaten the PT system.

NFTs hit the big league, but not everyone will win from this new sports craze

Some buy sporting memorabilia for love. Others for money.

The world's data explained: How much we're producing and where it's all stored

Ancient humans stored information in cave paintings, the oldest we know of are over 40,000 years old. As humans evolved, the emergence of languages and the invention of writing led to detailed information being stored in various written forms, culminating with the invention of paper in China around the first century AD.

Facebook oversight board affirms Trump ban—for now

Facebook's independent oversight board on Wednesday upheld a ban on former US president Donald Trump while ordering further review of the case, in a decision with a potentially far-reaching impact on the regulation of online speech.

Study finds limited access to paid video streaming services contributes to piracy growth

Paid video streaming services on your television, smart phone or other devices are increasingly replacing traditional video entertainment platforms of cable, satellite and broadcast TV. The growth of these services, known in the industry as over-the-top (OTT) media services, may be accompanied by a rise in pirated content, particularly where access to those services may be restricted, a group of researchers has found.

Why robots need reflexes

Reflexes protect our bodies—for example when we pull our hand back from a hot stove. These protective mechanisms could also be useful for robots. In this interview, Prof. Sami Haddadin and Johannes Kühn of the Munich School of Robotics and Machine Intelligence (MSRM) of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) explain why giving test subjects a 'slap on the hand' could lay the foundations for the robots of the future.

3D printing could be used in search for black holes

An X-ray telescope designed to search for supermassive black holes could be built using a novel 3D-printing technique called plasma metal deposition.

Ford is betting that solid-state batteries will cut EV costs

Ford has raised its stake in a manufacturer of solid-state batteries—a move that its chief product and operations officer, Hau Thai-Tang, says will strengthen the company's effort to increase the range and reduce the costs of its next generation of electric vehicles.

NASCAR's future is here: Next Gen car finally arrives

NASCAR's next generation race car is finally here after two years of hype and hope that it will revolutionize the stock car series.

Can an AI algorithm mitigate racial economic inequality? Only if more Black hosts adopt it

Machine learning algorithms can leverage vast amounts of consumer data, allowing automation of business decisions such as pricing, product offerings, and promotions. Airbnb, an online marketplace for vacation rentals and other lodging, created an algorithm-based smart-pricing tool that is free to all Airbnb hosts and allows hosts to set their properties' daily price automatically. A new study investigated the impact of Airbnb's algorithm on racial disparities among Airbnb hosts. Adopting the tool narrowed the revenue gap between white and Black hosts considerably, but because far fewer Black hosts used the algorithm, the revenue gap between white and Black hosts actually increased after the tool's introduction.

Here's how you can apply to the FCC for the $50 discount on your broadband bill

You may be eligible for a $50 monthly coronavirus pandemic discount on your home broadband bill starting next week.

GM profits rise, affirms 2021 outlook despite semiconductor crunch

General Motors reported higher first-quarter profits Wednesday and reaffirmed its full-year outlook despite a global shortage of semiconductors that has constrained manufacturing.

India authorises 5G trials without Huawei, ZTE

India has authorised trials of super-fast 5G wireless technology, giving access to international companies with the notable absence of Chinese equipment makers Huawei and ZTE amid lingering tensions between the Asian powerhouses.

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