Science X Newsletter Friday, Aug 27

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for August 27, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

The LIGO/Virgo Collaboration sets new constraints on cosmic strings

LED material shines under strain

The physics behind a water bear's lumbering gait

Unraveling the mystery of brown dwarfs

Reducing sugar in packaged foods can prevent disease in millions

Neurons in visual cortex of the brain 'drift' over time

First study to investigate the role of RNA tags in Alzheimer's disease

New study examines 'Achilles heel' of cancer tumors, paving the way for new treatment strategies

Understanding and targeting prostate cancer metabolism

Embryonic development in slow motion

COVID-19, not vaccination, presents biggest blood clot risks: study

Microsoft warns thousands of cloud customers of data vulnerability

Atomic snapshots show fast ion migration in ultra-thin clays

Prenatal maternal infections promote tissue-specific immunity and inflammation in mice offspring

Biodiversity needs better data archiving

Physics news

The LIGO/Virgo Collaboration sets new constraints on cosmic strings

The LIGO/Virgo/KAGRA Collaboration, a large group of researchers at different institutes worldwide, has recently set the strongest constraints on cosmic strings to date, using the Advanced LIGO/Virgo full O3 dataset. This dataset contains the latest gravitational waves data detected by a network of three interferometers located in United States and in Italy.

LED material shines under strain

Smartphones, laptops, and lighting applications rely on light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to shine bright. But the brighter these LED technologies shine, the more inefficient they become, releasing more energy as heat instead of light.

The physics behind a water bear's lumbering gait

Plump and ponderous, tardigrades earned the nickname "water bears" when scientists first observed the 0.02-inch-long animals' distinctive lumbering gaits in the 18th century. Their dumpy plod, however, raises the question of why tardigrades evolved to walk at all.

Hexagonal boron nitride as a tunnel barrier for ferromagnetic tunnel junctions

Tohoku University's Center for Innovative Integrated Electronic Systems (CIES) has been working collaboratively with the University of Cambridge under the core-to-core project (PL: Prof. Endoh). JSPS has announced an analysis using two-dimensional (2D) materials (hexagonal boron nitride; h-BN) as a tunnel barrier for ferromagnetic tunnel junctions (MTJ), which can expect a tunnel magnetoresistance (TMR) ratio of up to 1,000% and interfacial perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (IPMA).

Novel physics gives rise to the highest coherence for microscopic lasers

Scientists from DTU have shown that a Fano laser, a new type of microscopic laser, has fundamental advantages compared to other types of lasers. The discovery can be important for many future applications, such as integrated photonics, interfacing of electronics and photonics, and optical sensors.

Simulations of polymers? A quantum puzzle

Using computers to study polymers has always been a major challenge for scientific computation, especially for long and densely packed biomolecules, like DNA. New perspectives are now opening up through quantum computing. Scientists have now recast the basic models of polymer models as optimization problems that can be efficiently solved with quantum computers. This novel approach has made it possible to harness the considerable potential of these machines in a hitherto unexplored context.

A new type of infrared polaritons at the surface of bulk crystals

An international team has reported in Nature the first observation of ghost polaritons, which are a new form of surface waves carrying nanoscale light strongly coupled with material oscillations and featuring highly collimated propagation properties. The research team observed these phenomena over a common material—calcite—and showed how ghost polaritons can facilitate a superior control of infrared nano-light for sensing, signal processing, energy harvesting and other technologies.

Nanoscale systems for generating various forms of light

For decades, scholars have believed that the quantum statistical properties of bosons are preserved in plasmonic systems, and therefore will not create different form of light.

Luminescence mechanism of lead-free double perovskite Cs2NaBiCl6 crystal under high pressure

High pressure, as an extreme condition, can effectively change the interaction between atoms inside a material, forcing the electronic structure and optical properties to change. Studying the optical and ultrafast dynamical properties of materials under pressure is helpful to understand the relationship between the structure and properties of materials.

Friction and wear behavior of tungsten alloy balls revealed

Researchers at the Institute of Modern Physics (IMP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have recently revealed the collective friction and wear behavior of tungsten alloy balls, the important candidate target material for the Accelerator Driven Subcritical System (ADS). Results were published in Tribology International.

Researchers develop novel analog processor for high performance computing

Analog photonic solutions offer unique opportunities to address complex computational tasks with unprecedented performance in terms of energy dissipation and speeds, overcoming current limitations of modern computing architectures based on electron flows and digital approaches.

Astronomy and Space news

Unraveling the mystery of brown dwarfs

Brown dwarfs are astronomical objects with masses between those of planets and stars. The question of where exactly the limits of their mass lie remains a matter of debate, especially since their constitution is very similar to that of low-mass stars. So how do we know whether we are dealing with a brown dwarf or a very low mass star? An international team, led by scientists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS, in collaboration with the University of Bern, has identified five objects that have masses near the border separating stars and brown dwarfs that could help scientists understand the nature of these mysterious objects. The results can be found in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

How disorderly young galaxies grow up and mature

Using a supercomputer simulation, a research team at Lund University in Sweden has succeeded in following the development of a galaxy over a span of 13.8 billion years. The study shows how, due to interstellar frontal collisions, young and chaotic galaxies over time mature into spiral galaxies such as the Milky Way.

Hubble captures gravity-lensed quasar

Clustered at the center of this image are six luminous spots of light, four of them forming a circle around a central pair. Appearances can be deceiving, however, as this formation is not composed of six individual galaxies, but only three: to be precise, a pair of galaxies and one distant quasar. Hubble data also indicates that there is a seventh spot of light in the very center, which is a rare fifth image of the distant quasar. This rare phenomenon is caused by the presence of two galaxies in the foreground that act as a lens.

First light from Sunstorm CubeSat

Around the same size as two big Harry Potter paperbacks, ESA's Sun-watching Sunstorm CubeSat has produced its first solar X-ray spectrum, coming just over a week after its launch to orbit aboard a Vega rocket.

Two experiments to help humans "go farther / stay longer" in space

When the Space X23 rocket launches on August 28th to resupply the International Space Station, it will carry two experiments designed to sustain humans as they go farther and stay longer in deep space: A physical science investigation known as DEvice for the study of Critical Liquids and Crystallization—Directional Solidification Insert-Reflight (DSI-R), and a space biology experiment known as the Advanced Plant EXperiment-08 (APEX-08).

Unveiling vehicles and technologies for future space transportation

ESA safeguards Europe's guaranteed access to space through its Future Launchers Preparatory Programme, FLPP.

Maine museum to host large chunk of Mars rock

A Maine museum will play host to a chunk of rock it said is the largest intact Mars rock on Earth.

Technology news

Microsoft warns thousands of cloud customers of data vulnerability

Microsoft says it has warned thousands of its cloud computing clients of a recently discovered flaw that left their data vulnerable for an extended period.

A standard for artificial intelligence in biomedicine

An international research team with participants from several universities including the FAU has proposed a standardized registry for artificial intelligence (AI) work in biomedicine to improve the reproducibility of results and create trust in the use of AI algorithms in biomedical research and, in the future, in everyday clinical practice. The scientists presented their proposal in the journal Nature Methods.

Expanding human-robot collaboration in manufacturing by training AI to detect human intention

Machines and robots undoubtedly make life easier. They carry out jobs with precision and speed, and, unlike humans, they do not require breaks as they are never tired.

Apple announces App Store concessions as pressure grows

Apple has agreed to loosen payment restrictions on its App Store, a major change announced in a settlement with small developers as the US technology giant faces growing scrutiny and legal challenges over its tightly controlled online marketplace.

Fortnite launches virtual experience for Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'I Have A Dream' speech

Fortnite launches virtual experience for Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'I Have A Dream' speech.

As the world slashes carbon emissions, Australia considers paying dirty coal stations to stay open

A long-anticipated plan to reform Australia's electricity system was released on Thursday. One of the most controversial proposals by the Energy Security Board (ESB) concerns subsidies which critics say will encourage dirty coal plants to stay open longer.

Excel autocorrect errors still plague genetic research, raising concerns over scientific rigor

Autocorrection, or predictive text, is a common feature of many modern tech tools, from internet searches to messaging apps and word processors. Autocorrection can be a blessing, but when the algorithm makes mistakes it can change the message in dramatic and sometimes hilarious ways.

Apple's Tim Cook gets $750mn bonus payout

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has received a bonus of some $750 million, reflecting his performance at the US technology giant in his 10 years at the helm, a regulatory filing showed.

UN team: Unclear if Fukushima cleanup can finish by 2051

Too little is known about melted fuel inside damaged reactors at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant, even a decade after the disaster, to be able to tell if its decommissioning can be finished by 2051 as planned, a U.N. nuclear agency official said Friday.

The potential of deep learning in managing power networks

Power networks worldwide are faced with increasing challenges. The fast rollout of distributed renewable generation (such as rooftop solar panels or community wind turbines) can lead to considerable unpredictability. The previously used "fit-and-forget" mode of operating power networks is no longer adequate, and a more active management is required. Moreover, new types of demand (such as from the rollout EV charging) can also be source of unpredictability, especially if concentrated in particular areas of the distribution grid.

T-Mobile CEO says "truly sorry" for hack of 50M users' data

T-Mobile says it has notified nearly all of the millions of customers whose personal data was stolen and that it is "truly sorry" for the breach.

Amazon-backed electric vehicle maker Rivian announces IPO

Rivian Automotive, the Amazon-backed manufacturer of electric trucks and utility vehicles, said Friday it had filed for a stock market listing as it prepares to ramp up production and delivery.

Streaming giants spur film and TV shift to UK's 'golden triangle'

A world away from Hollywood, a quaint English county is turning into the epicentre of Britain's streaming-fuelled film and TV production boom, with plans to build a studio on a crop field.

Chinese regulators to exercise more control over algorithms

Chinese regulators will exercise greater control over the algorithms used by Chinese technology firms to personalize and recommend content, the latest move in a regulation spree across the internet sector.

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