Science X Newsletter Thursday, Aug 26

Dear ymilog,

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

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Study unveils strain-induced quantum phase transitions in magic-angle graphene

New class of habitable exoplanets represent a big step forward in the search for life

Engineers create double layer of borophene for first time

Study identifies nearly 600 genetic loci associated with anti-social behavior, alcohol use, opioid addiction and more

AI algorithm solves structural biology challenges

Plant roots and animals embryos rely on the same chemical for successful development

New cell phone and smart watch models can interfere with pacemakers and defibrillators

Brain organoids mimic head size changes associated with type of autism

Researchers make rechargeable batteries that store six times more charge

New sensor detects valuable rare earth element terbium from non-traditional sources

Could bats hold the secret to healthy ageing?

Degradable coatings for compostable paper food packaging block grease and oil

Titan-in-a-glass experiments hint at mineral makeup of Saturn moon

How migraines protect against diabetes

Artificial intelligence to help predict Arctic sea ice loss

Physics news

Study unveils strain-induced quantum phase transitions in magic-angle graphene

Over the past few years, many physicists and material scientists worldwide have been investigating the properties and characteristics of magic-angle twisted bilayer graphene (MATBG). MATBG is a strongly correlated material that was first experimentally realized in 2018. This unique material hosts a diverse array of highly correlated phases, including metals, semimetals, Chern insulators, quantum anomalous hall states and, perhaps most interestingly, superconductivity.

Discovery of fastest ever magnetic wave propagation

Like light waves, magnetic waves move through materials at a fixed maximum velocity. However, at the smallest possible length scale (nanometres) and the shortest possible time scale (femtoseconds), magnetism behaves differently. Physicists at Radboud University have discovered that magnetic waves with very short wavelengths can propagate up to 40% faster than previously thought. This supermagnonic propagation offers opportunities for even faster, smaller and more energy-efficient ways of data processing in future computers. The research will be published in Physical Review Letters on 25 August.

Visualizing microscopic 3D displacements over large areas

A team of researchers from PSL University, Harvard University and Central University of Punjab, has developed a way to visualize microscopic 3D displacements of moving objects or events over large areas. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group outlines their technique and suggest possible uses for it.

Scientists get photons to interact with pairs of atoms for the first time

Physicists at EPFL have found a way to get photons to interact with pairs of atoms for the first time. The breakthrough is important for the field of cavity quantum electrodynamics (QED), a cutting-edge field leading the way to quantum technologies.

Secrets of COVID-19 transmission revealed in turbulent puffs

Turbulence is everywhere—in the movement of the wind, the ocean waves and even magnetic fields in space. It can also be seen in more transient phenomena, like smoke billowing from a chimney, or a cough.

A laboratory's "irritating" byproduct now supplies 2D materials research

While making materials samples to pursue their own research goals, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory discovered that an unwanted byproduct of their experiments was an extremely high-quality and difficult-to-obtain substance sought after by scientists researching layered materials.

Development of Cd-free quantum dot synthesis technology

Prof. Jong-Soo Lee and his research team from the Department of Energy Science & Engineering, DGIST, developed a green-emitting Cd-Free quantum dot synthesis technology with high color reproduction rate. The newly developed quantum dot material is expected to be used in various photoelectric devices, including next-generation displays such as AR/VR.

Astronomy and Space news

New class of habitable exoplanets represent a big step forward in the search for life

A new class of exoplanet very different to our own, but which could support life, has been identified by astronomers, which could greatly accelerate the search for life outside our Solar System.

Manned Mars mission viable if it doesn't exceed four years, concludes international research team

Sending human travelers to Mars would require scientists and engineers to overcome a range of technological and safety obstacles. One of them is the grave risk posed by particle radiation from the sun, distant stars and galaxies.

Nature of fast radio bursts clarified

By connecting two of the biggest radio telescopes in the world, astronomers have discovered that a simple binary wind cannot cause the puzzling periodicity of a fast radio burst after all. The bursts may come from a highly magnetized, isolated neutron star. The radio detections also show that fast radio bursts, some of the most energetic events in the universe, are free from shrouding material. That transparency further increases their importance for cosmology. The results appear in Nature this week.

Blue Origin launches artwork, moon-landing test into space

Blue Origin launched artwork painted on a capsule and a moon-landing navigation experiment into space Thursday, a month after sending founder Jeff Bezos on the company's first passenger flight.

NASA's Perseverance rover plans next sample attempt on Mars

In its search for signs of ancient microbial life on Mars, NASA's Perseverance rover is once again preparing to collect the first of many rock core samples that could eventually be brought to Earth for further study.

Advanced civilizations could be using Dyson spheres to collect energy from black holes

Black holes are more than just massive objects that swallow everything around them—they're also one of the universe's biggest and most stable energy sources. That would make them invaluable to the type of civilization that needs huge amounts of power, such as a Type II Kardashev civilization. But to harness all of that power, the civilization would have to encircle the entire black hole with something that could capture the power it is emitting.

Ingenuity Mars helicopter sees potential rover road ahead

Ask any space explorer, and they'll have a favorite photograph or two from their mission. For Ken Farley, the project scientist for NASA's Perseverance rover, one of his current favorites is a color image of "South Seítah," an area the mission's science team had considered potentially worthy of a rover visit. The agency's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter took the image during its 12th and most recent flight, on Aug. 16.

Experiment to grow miniature human tissue on the International Space Station

The process for the joint 3D Organoids in Space project originated from the University of Zurich (UZH) researchers Oliver Ullrich and Cora Thiel. Together with Airbus, the two pioneers in research on how gravity affects and regulates human cells have developed the process to project maturity. The Airbus Innovations team led by project manager Julian Raatschen has developed the hardware and is providing access to the International Space Station (ISS). It took the project partners only three years from idea to the first production test in space. During this time, they completed various test phases and overcame highly competitive internal selection processes. "We have shown that the path to producing human tissue in space is feasible, not only in theory, but in practice," says Oliver Ullrich.

Space: The wooden frontier

Humans have relied on forests and trees—for shelter, food, and fuel—from the earliest times. As technology has advanced, timber has been utilized for buildings, ships, and railroads. And now we may be on the verge of taking wood into space.

Fire ravages Esrange Space Centre in northern Sweden

A large fire tore through a scientific space research centre in northern Sweden on Thursday, destroying part of the rocket launch pad, officials said.

Webb completes testing and prepares for trip to Europe's Spaceport

The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope has successfully completed its final tests and is being prepared for shipment to its launch site at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.

Engineers test liquid acquisition device aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket

A Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) experiment was performed aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard suborbital rocket today, which launched from Van Horn, Texas. Five variations of the tapered liquid acquisition device (LAD), which is designed to safely deliver liquid propellant to a rocket engine from fuel tanks, were aboard the rocket to evaluate their performance in microgravity.

Spain judge nixes backup site for disputed Hawaii telescope

A Spanish judge in a decision cheered by environmentalists has put a halt to backup plans for the construction of a giant telescope in the Canary Islands—eliminating at least for now the primary alternative location to the preferred spot in Hawaii, where there have been protests against the telescope.

Technology news

Researchers make rechargeable batteries that store six times more charge

An international team of researchers led by Stanford University have developed rechargeable batteries that can store up to six times more charge than ones that are currently commercially available.

Bending light for cheaper Internet

Wide area networks (WANs), the global backbones and workhorses of today's Internet that connect billions of computers over continents and oceans, are the foundation of modern online services. As COVID-19 has placed a vital reliance on online services, today's networks are struggling to deliver high bandwidth and availability imposed by emerging workloads related to machine learning, video calls, and health care.

Promising candidates revealed for next-generation LED-based data communications

A new paper from the University of Surrey and the University of Cambridge has detailed how two relatively unexplored semiconducting materials can satisfy the telecommunication industry's hunger for enormous amounts of data at ever-greater speeds. 

How extreme cold can crack lithium-ion battery materials, degrading performance

Lithium ion batteries are a bit famous for their poor cold-weather performance, and that has consequences for some of their most important applications—everything from starting an electric car in a Wisconsin winter to flying a drone on Mars.

Tech companies pledge billions in cybersecurity investments

Some of the country's leading technology companies have committed to investing billions of dollars to strengthen cybersecurity defenses and to train skilled workers, the White House announced Wednesday following President Joe Biden's private meeting with top executives.

Facebook could launch digital wallet this year: report

Facebook is ready to launch a digital wallet that would let users store cryptocurrencies, a senior company executive said in a US media interview Wednesday.

Hack exposes personal data of entire Swiss town: report

A small Swiss town acknowledged late Wednesday that it had underestimated the severity of a cyberattack, following reports the personal data of the entire population was exposed online.

Wearable tech for your ears: 'Hearables' can teach you a language or music with the help of AI

Hearables are wireless smart micro-computers with artificial intelligence that incorporate both speakers and microphones. They fit in the ears and can connect to the internet and to other devices, and are designed to be worn daily. Some technology companies are now marketing these as "the future of hearing enhancement," and focusing on their capacities to disrupt existing hearing aid markets.

Airflow cleans up the particulate matter in the classroom

According to the WHO, about 7 million people die each year due to air pollution. Particulate matter (PM) triggers inflammatory responses in the human body, causing asthma and other respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. It is more fatal for young and growing students. The Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology (KICT) has reduced time required to remove particulate matter from the classroom by more than 30% by optimizing the locations of supply and return diffusers for air supplied into the classroom.

Three energy storage technologies can help the move toward 100% renewable electricity

In recent decades the cost of wind and solar power generation has dropped dramatically. This is one reason that the U.S. Department of Energy projects that renewable energy will be the fastest-growing U.S. energy source through 2050.

Qantas posts $1.7 billion loss and tips travel by Christmas

Qantas Group posted a 2.35 billion Australia dollar ($1.7 billion) pandemic-related annual loss on Thursday and forecast Australia will reopen to international travel in December.

Forbes media group to list shares, raises $400 million

Forbes, the media group known for its long-running business magazine, said Thursday it would become a publicly traded company after securing $400 million in financing.

Rents going through the roof: Tech and the 'San Francisco-ization' of Miami

During the pandemic, some major cities across the country saw an exodus, accompanied by a dip in rental prices—but Miami is experiencing just the opposite.


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