Science X Newsletter Monday, Aug 23

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for August 23, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Interstellar comets like Borisov may not be all that rare

Watch this slow but deadly tortoise hunt a baby bird

Speedy evolution: Sustained fast rates of evolution explain how tetrapods evolved from fish

Volcanoes acted as a safety valve for Earth's long-term climate

The science of ants' underground cities

Study explores short-term X-ray variability of the tidal disruption event Swift J1644+57

Martian snow is dusty, could potentially melt, new study shows

China's Mars rover soldiers on after completing program

Diving among ancient ruins where Romans used to party

Making nylon 6-6 'greener,' and without zinc

Sugars from human milk could help treat, prevent infections in newborns

Gut bacteria and flavonoid-rich foods are linked and improve blood pressure levels

Sniffing out which plant-based burgers smell the most like real beef

Study traces the blueprints for how human kidneys form their filtering units

First atomic-level imaging of lethal prions provide sharpened focus for potential treatments

Physics news

High-efficiency ultraviolet light emitting diodes to sterilize pathogens, including COVID-19

ECE Ph.D. student Ayush Pandey details the research led by Prof. Zetian Mi on using high efficiency ultraviolet light emitting diodes to sterilize pathogens. This research, "High-efficiency AlGaN/GaN/AlGaN tunnel junction ultraviolet light-emitting diodes," won the 2020 Editor-in-Chief Choice Award from Photonics Research.

Compact system designed for high-precision, robot-based surface measurements

Researchers have developed a lightweight optical system for 3D inspection of surfaces with micron-scale precision. The new measurement tool could greatly enhance quality control inspection for high-tech products including semiconductor chips, solar panels and consumer electronics such as flat panel televisions.

Mathematicians build an algorithm to 'do the twist'

Mathematicians at the Center for Advanced Mathematics for Energy Research Applications (CAMERA) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a mathematical algorithm to decipher the rotational dynamics of twisting particles in large complex systems from the X-ray scattering patterns observed in highly sophisticated X-ray photon correlation spectroscopy (XPCS) experiments.

An interactive science exhibit based on a real-life gravitational-wave detector

Gravitational wave scientists have designed and built an interactive science exhibit modeled on a real-life gravitational-wave detector to explain gravitational-wave science. It was developed by an international team, which includes researchers now at the OzGrav ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav).

Astronomy and Space news

Interstellar comets like Borisov may not be all that rare

In 2019, astronomers spotted something incredible in our backyard: a rogue comet from another star system. Named Borisov, the icy snowball traveled 110,000 miles per hour and marked the first and only interstellar comet ever detected by humans.

Study explores short-term X-ray variability of the tidal disruption event Swift J1644+57

Using XMM-Newton and Swift space telescopes, Chinese astronomers have inspected short-term X-ray variability of a tidal disruption event known as Swift J1644+57. Results of the study, published August 12 on the arXiv pre-print server, yield important information regarding the properties of this TDE.

Martian snow is dusty, could potentially melt, new study shows

Over the last two decades, scientists have found ice in many locations on Mars. Most Martian ice has been observed from orbital satellites like NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. But determining the grain size and dust content of the ice from that far above the surface is challenging. And those aspects of the ice are crucial in helping scientists determine how old the ice is and how it was deposited.

China's Mars rover soldiers on after completing program

China's Zhurong Mars rover is soldiering on after completing its initial program to explore the red planet and search for frozen water that could provide clues as to whether it once supported life.

Unveiling a century-old mystery: Where the Milky Way's cosmic rays come from

Astronomers have succeeded for the first time in quantifying the proton and electron components of cosmic rays in a supernova remnant. At least 70% of the very-high-energy gamma rays emitted from cosmic rays are due to relativistic protons, according to the novel imaging analysis of radio, X-ray, and gamma-ray radiation. The acceleration site of protons, the main components of cosmic rays, has been a 100-year mystery in modern astrophysics, this is the first time that the amount of cosmic rays being produced in a supernova remnant has been quantitatively shown and is an epoch-making step in the elucidation of the origin of cosmic rays.

Fastest orbiting asteroid discovered

Using the powerful 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera (DECam) in Chile, astronomers just ten days ago discovered an asteroid with the shortest orbital period of any known asteroid in the Solar System. The orbit of the approximately 1-kilometer-diameter asteroid takes it as close as 20 million kilometers (12 million miles or 0.13 au), from the Sun every 113 days. Asteroid 2021 PH27, revealed in images acquired during twilight, also has the smallest mean distance (semi-major axis) of any known asteroid in our Solar System—only Mercury has a shorter period and smaller semi-major axis. The asteroid is so close to the Sun's massive gravitational field, it experiences the largest general relativistic effects of any known Solar System object.

'Blue' and 'Gold' satellites headed to Mars in 2024

An interplanetary mission led by the University of California, Berkeley, to put two satellites—dubbed "Blue" and "Gold"—into orbit around Mars has been officially authorized to prepare for launch in October 2024.

Astronaut's undisclosed minor medical issue delays spacewalk

NASA is delaying a spacewalk at the International Space Station this week because of an undisclosed medical issue involving one of its astronauts.

Russian rocket launches 34 new UK satellites

A Russian Soyuz rocket has blasted into space carrying 34 new satellites from British operator Oneweb, which aims to provide broadband internet everywhere in the world.

The five most impressive geological structures in the solar system

When we talk about amazing geological features, we often limit ourselves to those on Earth. But as a geologist, I think that's crazy—there are so many structures on other worlds that can excite and inspire, and that can put processes on our own planet into perspective.

We're launching Australia's first scratch-built satellite, and it's a giant leap toward the moon

On August 28, a SpaceX rocket will blast off from Cape Canaveral in Florida, carrying supplies bound for the International Space Station. But also on board will be a small satellite that represents a giant leap into space for our research program here in Western Australia.

Hubble views a galaxy in a 'furnace'

This jewel-bright image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows NGC 1385, a spiral galaxy 68 million light-years from Earth, which lies in the constellation Fornax. The image was taken with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3, which is often referred to as Hubble's workhorse camera thanks to its reliability and versatility. It was installed in 2009 when astronauts last visited Hubble, and 12 years later it remains remarkably productive.

Technology news

New 3D-printing ink used to create tiny thermo-generators

A team of researchers working at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology has created a new type of ink that can be used to print tiny 3D generators. In their paper published in the journal Nature Electronics, the group describes developing their new ink.

Missing piece in solar panel puzzle found, may lead to more efficient technology

Silicon-based solar modules dominate the current market. However, they are expensive and have a high carbon footprint.

New technology could bring the fastest version of 5G to your home and workplace

Consumers of today's 5G cellphones may have experienced one of the following tradeoffs: impressive download speeds with extremely limited and spotty coverage, or widespread and reliable coverage with speeds that aren't much faster than today's 4G networks.

One material with two functions could lead to faster memory

In a step toward a future of higher performance memory devices, researchers from National Taiwan Normal University and Kyushu University have developed a new device that needs only a single semiconductor known as perovskite to simultaneously store and visually transmit data.

A vision-based robotic system for 3D ultrasound imaging

Ultrasound imaging techniques have proved to be highly valuable tools for diagnosing a variety of health conditions, including peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD, one of the most common diseases among the elderly, entails the blocking or narrowing of peripheral blood vessels, which limits the supply of blood to specific areas of the body.

Study: Benefits outweigh risks for autonomous vehicles—as long as you regulate them

An interdisciplinary panel of experts has assessed the risks and potential benefits associated with deploying autonomous vehicles (AVs) on U.S. roads and predicts that the benefits will substantially outweigh potential harms—but only if the AVs are well regulated.

Wave-powered SeaRAY preps for Hawaii trial

Offshore industries, like marine research, fish farming, and mineral mining, often rely on big ships with large crews. Without clean energy to power these vessels, each trip out to sea and back to shore is not only expensive but also carbon intensive. You cannot charge that ship by plugging it into the ocean.

Bitcoin jumps above $50,000 for first time since May

Bitcoin rose back above $50,000 on Monday for the first time in three months after supportive news from payments giant PayPal and cryptocurrency platform Coinbase.

Combined approach finds best direct trajectory for robot path generation

When a robot needs to move across a room, there are several paths, each with curves and multiple potential starting and ending points. How does it decide the most efficient, cost-effective approach? A collaborative team of researchers in the United States may have the answer. They developed a method to determine the optimal solution for this kind of general control problem, which could apply to the decision making needed to move from point A to point B to more complex automated, robotic navigation. They published their results in the August 2021 Issue, IEEE/CAA Journal of Automatica Sinica.

Improve machine learning performance by dropping the zeros

KAUST researchers have found a way to significantly increase the speed of training. Large machine learning models can be trained significantly faster by observing how frequently zero results are produced in distributed machine learning that use large training datasets.

Hackers steal even more Social Security numbers. How should you protect yourself?

Another day, another massive data breach claimed by hackers. Days after a breach at T-Mobile exposed about 53 million people's personal information, a hacking group known as ShinyHunters announced that it was auctioning 70 million sets of sensitive data purportedly stolen from AT&T.

Cutting 'edge': A tunable neural network framework towards compact and efficient models

Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have enabled numerous AI-enhanced applications, such as image recognition. However, the implementation of state-of-the-art CNNs on low-power edge devices of Internet-of-Things (IoT) networks is challenging because of large resource requirements. Researchers from Tokyo Institute of Technology have now solved this problem with their efficient sparse CNN processor architecture and training algorithms that enable seamless integration of CNN models on edge devices.

California 'gig worker' ballot ruled unconstitutional

A California voter-approved referendum that lets many "gig workers" be treated as independent contractors was ruled unconstitutional on Friday, setting up more legal fights over the controversial measure.

Why building collapses are all too common in Lagos

The rising status of Lagos as an emerging megacity and a commercial nerve center in sub-Saharan Africa has come with a number of challenges. One of these is the safety of buildings.

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