Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Aug 18

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for August 18, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Unlike humans, cuttlefish retain sharp memory of specific events in old age, study finds

Lonely flies, like many humans, eat more and sleep less

Scientists reveal how landmark CFC ban gave planet fighting chance against global warming

'Shadow waveguide' casts complex acoustic patterns to control particles

Magnets could offer better control of prosthetic limbs

Research examines emission from the blazar TXS 0506+056

Further evidence of 200-million-year cycle for Earth's magnetic field

High-speed camera captures a water jet's splashy impact as it pierces a droplet

Exploring how tantalum behaves at high pressures and temperatures

Sharing the love helps male acorn woodpeckers father more chicks

New prehistoric 'Hobbit' creature is among 3 discoveries suggesting rapid evolution of mammals after dinosaur extinction

Bee flight suffers under temperature extremes

Boston Dynamics' latest video shows its Atlas humanoid robot has moves like Simone Biles

Researchers uncover new evidence that fetal membranes can repair themselves after injury

Dosing the coast: Baltimore County's leaky pipes are medicating the Chesapeake Bay

Physics news

'Shadow waveguide' casts complex acoustic patterns to control particles

Engineers at Duke University have devised a new approach to using sound waves to manipulate tiny particles suspended in liquid in complex ways. Dubbed a "shadow waveguide," the technique uses only two sound sources to create a tightly confined, spatially complex acoustic field inside a chamber without requiring any interior structure. The technology offers a new suite of features to the fast-developing platform of acoustic tweezers that has applications in fields such as chemical reaction control, micro-robotics, drug delivery, and cell and tissue engineering.

High-speed camera captures a water jet's splashy impact as it pierces a droplet

Squirting a jet of water through a drop of liquid may sound like idle fun, but if done precisely, and understood thoroughly, the splashy exercise could help scientists identify ways to inject fluids such as vaccines through skin without using needles.

Exploring how tantalum behaves at high pressures and temperatures

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers have explored high-pressure behavior of shock-compressed tantalum at the Omega Laser Facility at the University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE). The work showed tantalum did not follow the predicted phase changes at high pressure and instead maintained the body-centered cubic (BCC) phase until melt.

Two-dimensional supersolid quantum gas produced in the laboratory for the first time

Quantum matter can be solid and fluid at the same time—a situation known as supersolidity. Researchers led by Francesca Ferlaino have now created for the first time this fascinating property along two dimensions. They now report in the journal Nature on the realization of supersolidity along two axes of an ultracold quantum gas. The experiment offers many possibilities for further investigation of this exotic state of matter.

Experimental confirmation of wave-particle duality

The 21st century has undoubtedly been the era of quantum science. Quantum mechanics was born in the early 20th century and has been used to develop unprecedented technologies which include quantum information, quantum communication, quantum metrology, quantum imaging, and quantum sensing. However, in quantum science, there are still unresolved and even inapprehensible issues like wave-particle duality and complementarity, superposition of wave functions, wave function collapse after quantum measurement, wave function entanglement of the composite wave function, etc.

A new type of super-resolution chemical microscopy

Conventional experiments in chemistry and biology study the behavior of the two, but it has been an abiding scientific challenge for scientists to observe, manipulate and measure the chemical reactions of individual molecules.

An emberometer could gauge the threat of wildfire-spreading embers

As wildfire fronts advance through landscapes or communities on the ground, they also attack from above, launching volleys of glowing embers into the air. Also known as firebrands, these specks of burning debris can glide for up to 40 kilometers (approximately 24 miles) before landing and can cause up to 90% of home and business fires during wildfires.

'Triangle singularity' is responsible for transformation in the particle zoo

An international study led by the University of Bonn has found evidence of a long-sought effect in accelerator data. The so-called "triangle singularity" describes how particles can change their identities by exchanging quarks, thereby mimicking a new particle. The mechanism also provides new insights into a mystery that has long puzzled particle physicists: Protons, neutrons and many other particles are much heavier than one would expect. This is due to peculiarities of the strong interaction that holds the quarks together. The triangle singularity could help to better understand these properties. The publication is now available in Physical Review Letters.

Nuclear scientists hail US fusion breakthrough

Nuclear scientists using lasers the size of three football fields said Tuesday they had generated a huge amount of energy from fusion, possibly offering hope for the development of a new clean energy source.

Leak-detecting quantum camera cuts oil and gas industry emissions

A new a quantum-enabled gas imaging camera will help dramatically cut environmentally damaging methane leaks from the oil and gas industry.

Nanostructure-based lasers for information and communication technologies

The internet of things (IoT) enables the interconnection and data transmission among a plethora of physical objects such as terminal devices, vehicles, and buildings that are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity. In 5G and 6G optical networks, high-speed and low-latency communications enable interconnection among a wide variety of endpoints through the IoT. Furthermore, quantum technologies are on the way to reshape the future of internet by providing considerably faster and largely more secure data transmission owing to new encryption protocols based on quantum laws. The rule of thumb of such key applications is that they all require the utilization of laser sources to perform complex tasks at ultra-fast speed and to enable broadband, secure and energy efficient communications.

CERN to provide second DUNE cryostat

Neutrinos are tricky beasts. Alone among known fundamental particles, they suffer from an identity crisis—if it were possible to put them on a weighing scale, you would unpredictably measure one of three possible masses. As a result, the three neutrino "flavors" merge into each other as they race through space and matter, opening up the potential for matter-antimatter asymmetries relevant to open questions in cosmology. Neutrinos are today the subject of a vibrant worldwide research program in particle physics, astrophysics and multi-messenger astronomy.

Astronomy and Space news

Research examines emission from the blazar TXS 0506+056

Using the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS), an international team of astronomers has conducted long-term observations of a gamma-ray blazar known as TXS 0506+056. Results of the observational campaign, published August 11 on, deliver essential information regarding the emission from this source.

Curiosity Mars rover explores a changing landscape

A new video rings in the rover's ninth year on Mars, letting viewers tour Curiosity's location on a Martian mountain.

Sights and sounds of a Venus flyby

ESA's Solar Orbiter and BepiColombo spacecraft made a historic Venus flyby earlier this week, passing by the planet within 33 hours of each other and capturing unique imagery and data during the encounter.

International Space Station experiment expands DNA research toolkit using CRISPR

Studying DNA repair is key to future space exploration, which could expose humans to risk of DNA damage caused by radiation. Conditions in space also could affect the way the body repairs such damage, potentially compounding that risk.

Most detailed–ever images of galaxies revealed

Astronomers have published the most detailed images seen of galaxies beyond our own yet, revealing their inner workings in unprecedented detail.

Mapping the universe's earliest structures with COSMOS-webb

When NASA's James Webb Space Telescope begins science operations in 2022, one of its first tasks will be an ambitious program to map the earliest structures in the universe. Called COSMOS-Webb, this wide and deep survey of half a million galaxies is the largest project Webb will undertake during its first year.

Technology news

Magnets could offer better control of prosthetic limbs

For people with amputation who have prosthetic limbs, one of the greatest challenges is controlling the prosthesis so that it moves the same way a natural limb would. Most prosthetic limbs are controlled using electromyography, a way of recording electrical activity from the muscles, but this approach provides only limited control of the prosthesis.

Boston Dynamics' latest video shows its Atlas humanoid robot has moves like Simone Biles

Boston Dynamics, the company known for its robotic dogs, now has a humanoid robot capable of doing gymnastics.

Reappraisal of Moore's law through chip density

Researchers at The Rockefeller University have shed new light on Moore's Law—perhaps the world's most famous technological prediction—that chip density, or the number of components on an integrated circuit, would double every two years.

Plugging performance-sapping defects that hamper perovskite performance

A multifunctional molecule that plugs various atomic-scale defects in perovskite solar materials can significantly boost the longevity and electrical output of this promising solar technology, KAUST researchers have shown.

Vulnerability found in IoT devices that use ThroughTek 'Kalay' network

A team of researchers at Mandiant has found a security vulnerability in IoT devices that use the ThroughTek "Kalay" network. Parent company Fireeye has published a blog account of the work done by the team that discovered the threat, which explains how users can protect themselves. ThroughTek has also posted a warning about the vulnerability on its website.

Water-driven soft actuator developed

Sea cucumbers have a bumpy and oblong shape. They are soft but stiffen up quickly when touched. They can shrink or stretch to several meters, and their original shape can be recovered even after they die and shrivel up with the regulation of water uptake. Recently, a POSTECH research team has developed a soft actuator inspired by this unique behavior of sea cucumbers.

The case for onboard carbon dioxide capture on long-range vehicles

When people talk about how to eliminate vehicles' carbon dioxide (CO2) emission, often the conversation often focuses on electrifying cars, trucks and buses. Yet cargo and tanker ships, which are responsible for 3% of all CO2 emissions, are rarely a part of the discussion.

How Europe could slash its cooling footprint with chilled water

As climate change warms the world, we increasingly need to find ways to efficiently cool our buildings—whilst also lowering our emissions to attempt to halt the temperature rise as much as possible. Traditional air conditioners are a poor method of achieving either goal, but what if there was another way?

Cooler data centers help take the heat off electric bills

From streaming movies or games and sharing photos on Instagram to the growing use of "smart" devices and growth in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, the amount of data being processed is escalating. As a result, energy consumption of data centers in the European Union (EU) is expected to rise from 2.7% of electricity demand in 2018 to 3.2% by 2030.

Indiana notifying 750K after COVID-19 tracing data accessed

Indiana health officials said Tuesday they are notifying nearly 750,000 state residents that a cybersecurity company "improperly accessed" their personal data from the state's online COVID-19 contact tracing survey—a description the company disputed as a "falsehood."

Twitter allows some users to flag 'misleading' content

Twitter on Tuesday announced a new feature to allow users to flag content that could contain misinformation, a scourge that has only grown during the pandemic.

An AI expert explains why it's hard to give computers common sense

Imagine you're having friends over for lunch and plan to order a pepperoni pizza. You recall Amy mentioning that Susie had stopped eating meat. You try calling Susie, but when she doesn't pick up, you decide to play it safe and just order a margherita pizza instead.

One in seven Twitter accounts may be nothing more than software 'bots'

Researchers estimate that one in seven Twitter accounts may be nothing more than software "bots" rather than individuals or organizations using the microblogging platform in an organic manner. A thematic review of this situation is offered by a team from India in the International Journal of Internet Technology and Secured Transactions.

Submerged sensors to control wearable electronics

Flexible and waterproof sensors that could unlock new applications for wearable electronics have been developed by scientists in Korea. Published in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials, the study shows how the pressure sensor can control a phone, to take photos and play music, even when the sensor is fully immersed in water.

Neural network helps augment 3D micro-CT images of fibrous materials

Researchers from Skoltech and KU Leuven have used machine learning to help reconstruct three-dimensional micro-CT images of fibrous materials. This task, which is required for the advanced analysis of these materials, is extremely difficult and tedious for humans. The paper was published in the journal Computational Materials Science.

Retrofitting wireless earbuds to detect neural signals and issue smartphone commands

From keypads to touch screens to voice commands—step by step, the interface between users and their smartphones has become more personalized, more seamless. Now the ultimate personalized interface is approaching: issuing smartphone commands with your brain waves.

Can small modular reactors mitigate climate change?

As the world grapples with a climate emergency brought on by carbon emissions from the large-scale burning of fossil fuels, there is renewed interest in nuclear energy, specifically in the new generation of small modular reactors.

Wind turbine night noise

With wind generation one of the fastest-growing renewable energy sectors in the world, Flinders University experts are using machine learning and other signal processing techniques to characterize annoying noise features from wind farms.

Hydrogen: UK government sees future in low-carbon fuel, but what's the reality?

The UK's long-awaited hydrogen strategy has set out the government's plans for "a world-leading hydrogen economy" that it says would generate £900 million (US$1.2 million) and create over 9,000 jobs by 2030, "potentially rising to 100,000 jobs and £13 billion by 2050".

The carbon footprint of 'delivering the goods' with robots and automated vehicles

In the last few years, delivery robots and drones have popped up around the U.S., occasionally rolling, walking or flying up to people's doorsteps to drop off packages. But one consideration that needs to be addressed before widely adopting autonomous technologies is their environmental impact. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology show that automating residential package transport doesn't influence the greenhouse gas footprint as much as the delivery van's size and type.

Data of 40 million plus exposed in latest T-Mobile breach

The names, Social Security numbers and information from driver's licenses or other identification of just over 40 million people who applied for T-Mobile credit were exposed in a recent data breach, the company said Wednesday.

Report: Census hit by cyberattack, US count unaffected

U.S. Census Bureau computer servers were exploited last year during a cybersecurity attack, but it didn't involve the 2020 census, and hackers' attempts to keep access to the system were unsuccessful, according to a watchdog report released Wednesday.

The secrets of perspective of Jan Van Eyck's paintings unveiled by computer vision

Perspective is the technique that enables objects to be represented in three dimensions on a flat surface by giving them an effect of depth. During the Renaissance, linear perspective revolutionized Italian painting, notably with Giotto and the notions of convergence points and the horizon line. In 1425, the architect Filippo Brunelleschi invented the first augmented reality device called Tavoletta, a wooden panel with an eyepiece. Finally, Leon Battista Alberti confirmed these notions in 1436 in his treatise De Pictura, in which he evoked orthogonals meeting at a single point. The Italian painters were thus considered to be a step ahead of their Flemish counterparts.

Senators urge US probe of Tesla's Autopilot claims

Two US senators requested a federal investigation of Tesla's statements about its Autopilot driver assistance system Wednesday, asserting in the wake of multiple crashes that the automaker's exaggerations have put consumers at risk.

Study: Pandemic speeded trends away from live TV viewing

The pandemic accelerated changes in how people use their televisions, further reducing the dominance in traditional live viewing of what networks are showing, a new study has found.

TSA extends into January mask rule for airline passengers

Federal officials are extending into January a requirement that people on airline flights and public transportation wear face masks, a rule intended to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Singapore watchdog probes game giant Ubisoft over harassment claims

Video game giant Ubisoft's Singapore office is under investigation over claims of sexual harassment and racial discrimination, a watchdog said, in the latest controversy for the French firm.

Facebook says it is helping reduce COVID vaccine 'hesitancy'

Facebook said Wednesday vaccine "hesitancy" is declining in the United States and other countries, and credits its efforts to filter out misinformation and promote authoritative information for helping the trend.

The Basque Country's industrial waste heat could be reusable

Many traditional industrial processes generate heat that is normally released into the atmosphere but that could be reused. In production processes such as smelting, iron and steel, paper or cement, between 35 and 50 percent of the heat generated is lost. The efficient reuse of this industrial waste heat or its recovery for use in other processes displays a significant potential for increasing energy efficiency in industry. However, in order to design strategies for exploiting this potential, data on the quantity and flow characteristics of this industrial waste heat needs to be available. This information is not always easy to obtain and many companies do not even have a systematic record of the energy flows present in their production processes.

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