Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Aug 4

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for August 4, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Study reveals how smell receptors work

New findings on the evolution of galaxies

Study sheds more light on the nature of HESS J1857+026

NASA model describes nearby star that resembles early sun

Genetically altered daddy longlegs have short legs

Space scientists reveal secret behind Jupiter's 'energy crisis'

Stars are exploding in dusty galaxies. We just can't always see them

Fine particulate air pollution associated with higher risk of dementia

Fully vaccinated one-third as likely to get COVID: England study

An overactive sweet tooth may spell trouble for our cellular powerplants

Near-atomic look at three ways to thwart SARS-CoV-2 variants

New report: State of the science on western wildfires, forests and climate change

'Triple contagion': How fears influence coronavirus transmission

New study exposes big differences amongst Amazonian countries in their rates of forest recovery as well as deforestation

Flexible, wearable X-ray detector doesn't require heavy metals

Physics news

Indoor lighting creates power for rechargeable devices, sensors

As more of our devices require recharging of their batteries, researchers are looking to ambient lighting as a potential source of generating small amounts of power for indoor devices.

Exotic property of 'ambidextrous' crystals points to new magnetic phenomena

Researchers from Skoltech, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and Uppsala University have predicted the existence of antichiral ferromagnetism, a nontrivial property of some magnetic crystals that opens the door to a variety of new magnetic phenomena. The paper was published in the journal Physical Review B.

When vibrations increase on cooling: Anti-freezing observed

An international team has observed an amazing phenomenon in a nickel oxide material during cooling: Instead of freezing, certain fluctuations actually increase as the temperature drops. Nickel oxide is a model system that is structurally similar to high-temperature superconductors. The experiment shows once again that the behavior of this class of materials still holds surprises.

Manipulating magnetic domain dynamics in ultrathin multi-layered materials

A novel route to tune and control the magnetic domain wall motions employing combinations of useful magnetic effects inside very thin film materials, has been demonstrated by researchers from Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) in Korea. The research, published in the journal Advance Science, offers a new insights into spintronics and a step towards new ultrafast, ultrasmall, and power-efficient IT devices.

Researchers around the world are buzzing about a candidate superconductor

Since receiving a $25 million grant in 2019 to become the first National Science Foundation (NSF) Quantum Foundry, UC Santa Barbara researchers affiliated with the foundry have been working to develop materials that can enable quantum information-based technologies for such applications as quantum computing, communications, sensing, and simulation.

LEDs light the way to coronavirus disinfection

LEDs are commonly used for sterilization—you may be using one to clean your electric toothbrush, for example. In the continued effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic, LEDs can also help inactivate SARS-CoV-2.

Rate of nuclear reaction in exploding stars

New research by Surrey's Nuclear Physics Group has shown that it's possible to mimic excited quantum states with exotic nuclei, opening up a host of opportunities for next generation radioactive beam facilities, such as the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB).

Astronomy and Space news

New findings on the evolution of galaxies

Emirati national Aisha Al Yazeedi, a research scientist at the NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Center for Astro, Particle, and Planetary Physics, has published her first research paper, featuring some key findings on the evolution of galaxies.

Study sheds more light on the nature of HESS J1857+026

Argentinian astronomers have conducted radio observations of a very-high-energy gamma-ray source known as HESS J1857+026. Results of this study provide new insights into the nature of this mysterious source. The research was detailed in a paper published July 27 on the arXiv pre-print server.

NASA model describes nearby star that resembles early sun

New research led by NASA provides a closer look at a nearby star thought to resemble our young sun. The work allows scientists to better understand what our sun may have been like when it was young, and how it may have shaped the atmosphere of our planet and the development of life on Earth.

Space scientists reveal secret behind Jupiter's 'energy crisis'

New research published in Nature has revealed the solution to Jupiter's 'energy crisis', which has puzzled astronomers for decades.

Stars are exploding in dusty galaxies. We just can't always see them

Exploding stars generate dramatic light shows. Infrared telescopes like Spitzer can see through the haze and to give a better idea of how often these explosions occur.

Dancing ghosts point to new discoveries in the cosmos

Researchers from Western Sydney University and CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, have discovered strange clouds of electrons surrounding galaxies deep in the cosmos. The clouds, which are about a billion light years away and never been seen before, resemble two ghosts dancing.

NASA identifies likely locations of the early molten moon's deep secrets

Shortly after it formed, the moon was covered in a global ocean of molten rock (magma). As the magma ocean cooled and solidified, dense minerals sank to form the mantle layer, while less-dense minerals floated to form the surface crust. Later intense bombardment by massive asteroids and comets punched through the crust, blasting out pieces of mantle and scattering them across the lunar surface.

Boeing Starliner launch delayed indefinitely

Boeing's Starliner won't launch Wednesday as had been planned following problems with its propulsion system that prevented a key uncrewed test flight to the international space station a day earlier—and it's not clear when the troubled spaceship will fly next.

Impact of space station spin requires study, official says

Space engineers will analyze whether a glitch that caused the International Space Station to spin out of its normal orientation could have impacted any of its systems, a Russian space official said Wednesday.

My favorite Martian image: Helicopter scouts ridge area for Perseverance

Ask any space explorer, and they'll have a favorite photo or two from their mission. For Kevin Hand, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California and co-lead of the Perseverance rover's first science campaign, his latest favorite is a 3D image of low-lying wrinkles in the surface of Jezero Crater. The science team calls this area "Raised Ridges." NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter captured the two shots for this stereo image on July 24 during its 10th flight.

German startups launch mini-rocket challenge to SpaceX and co.

Car-manufacturing powerhouse Germany is rushing to join the private sector space race as it looks to ride a boom in mini-launchers for small satellites and compete with major US firms such as SpaceX.

What it takes to become Australia's first woman astronaut

I'm currently training to become Australia's first woman astronaut. I expect to fly my first suborbital mission sometime in 2023 as a payload specialist on a commercial mission. In other words, I'll be one of few certified crew members who can handle specialized scientific equipment aboard a suborbital spacecraft.

Subaru Telescope's Maunakea live camera captures rare meteor cluster

The "Subaru-Asahi Sky Camera" installed at the Subaru Telescope dome on Maunakea, Hawai`i, captured a rare "meteor cluster event" in the early morning of July 14 (Hawai`i time).

Summer stargazing treat as Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak

The Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak on the night of 11–12 August, giving skywatchers a potentially impressive summer treat. The meteors are best viewed from the northern hemisphere, and in ideal conditions with no clouds observers could see up to 50 an hour.

Technology news

Hydrogen technologies take leading role toward net zero

Achieving Net Zero energy, where the total amount of energy used is equal to the amount of renewable energy created, is closer than ever before, and hydrogen technologies will play an important role in achieving that goal.

Powering navigational buoys with help of ocean waves

To find a power source for buoys, look no further than the ocean itself.

Batteryless pacemaker could use heart's energy for power

The cardiac pacemaker of the future could be powered by the heart itself, according to researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Measuring photovoltaic performance indoors

As photovoltaic (PV) technology continues to progress, PV devices' applications in harvesting energy from indoor ambient light have become more realistic.

Chip with secure encryption will help in fight against hackers

A team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has designed and commissioned the production of a computer chip that implements post-quantum cryptography very efficiently. Such chips could provide protection against future hacker attacks using quantum computers. The researchers also incorporated hardware Trojans in the chip in order to study methods for detecting this type of "malware from the chip factory."

Toyota net profit hits Q1 record but forecast unchanged

Toyota's net profit soared more than fivefold in the first quarter as strong sales were fuelled by the recovery from the coronavirus crisis, but the firm left its annual forecast unchanged Wednesday citing "uncertainties" ahead.

Sony upgrades profit outlook on strong Q1 performance

Sony upgraded its full-year profit forecast Wednesday on the back of a strong quarterly performance, although the pandemic boom enjoyed by the gaming sector is slowing.

Study: Consumption of music streaming declined significantly during COVID-19 lockdowns worldwide

The COVID-19 pandemic was expected to change how people consume media. A new study analyzed online music streaming data for top songs for two years in 60 countries, as well as COVID-19 case and lockdown statistics and daily mobility data, to determine the nature of those changes. The study found that the pandemic significantly reduced the consumption of audio music streaming in many countries.

New approach to electricity measurement could mean fewer blackouts, better automation and more clean energy resources

In August 2016, two 500-kilovolt transmission lines in San Bernardino County, California, tripped offline during a fire. As a result, some distance away, more than 1,000 megawatts of solar generation disconnected itself from the grid. Luckily, no one lost power. In contrast, a 2003 component failure in a generator near Lake Erie led to a slightly smaller loss of generation, but the ensuing blackout affected more than 50 million people.

Dark patterns explained by online media expert

Dark patterns are design elements that deliberately obscure, mislead, coerce and/or deceive website visitors into making unintended and possibly harmful choices.

GM posts $2.8B profit, but cautious tone sinks share price

General Motors posted a healthy $2.8 billion second-quarter profit Wednesday, but its cautious outlook for the rest of the year spooked investors.

Afterpay mega-deal puts spotlight on 'buy now, pay later' platforms

The $29-billion takeover of Australia's "buy now, pay later" app Afterpay by US firm Square has thrown a spotlight on a sector that is growing rapidly and grabbing the attention of regulators.

As banks push AI, worry about worsening inequality follows

Banks, consumer advocates and think tanks are weighing in to federal bank regulators about potential pitfalls in the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in making loan decisions.

Reconfigurable reflecting surface technology designed to eliminate signal blindspots

Signal blindspots in built-up urban areas could soon be a thing of the past thanks to research at 5G/6GIC.

NY Times reaches 8 million subscribers, profits up

The New York TImes said Wednesday it now has more than eight million subscribers in a quarterly update showing improving revenues and profits.

Green diesel for the road ahead

Diesel engines far outpace gasoline engines when it comes to miles-per-gallon for freight-hauling heavy-duty trucks. And thanks to advances in technology, today's diesel engines emit far lower levels of pollutants, including soot and nitrogen oxides (NOx), than they used to.

Facebook shuts out NYU academics' research on political ads

Facebook has shut down the personal accounts of a pair of New York University researchers and shuttered their investigation into misinformation spread through political ads on the social network.

Zoom's next act may be a threat to the rest of tech

The pandemic catapulted Zoom Video Communications Inc. from a scrappy upstart into a $111 billion video-conferencing behemoth, central to the lives of millions of remote workers and other socially distant users. Now, as COVID-19 vaccination rates allow for more of a return to normal, the obvious question is, what's next? The answer could be a lot more than video chat.

The five best hybrid SUVs you can buy

Buying a hybrid vehicle is typically a smart way to help save money on gas and reduce your carbon footprint compared to a conventional gasoline-only vehicle. Not long ago your shopping choices were largely limited to hybrid hatchbacks and sedans, but the hybrid SUV market has expanded considerably the past few years. The latest hybrid SUVs can get impressive fuel economy while providing plenty of cargo space, a higher ride height, available all-wheel drive and cutting-edge technology features.

Shares of Vodafone's India arm in free-fall

Shares in telecoms giant Vodafone's debt-ridden Indian unit fell sharply for a second day Wednesday following reports that its billionaire chairman thought the firm was on the brink of collapse and wanted to sell his stake.

Mobile technology gives Bulgarian power grid a renewable energy boost

Transmission grids are struggling to keep up with the growth of renewable energy. In Bulgaria, the installation of a novel mobile power flow control system is now making it possible to greatly increase the amount of renewable energy that the country's power grid can handle. It's also unlocking cross-border electricity flows.

New York Auto Show canceled due to COVID-19

The New York auto show pulled the plug on its 2021 edition on Wednesday, citing the uptick in COVID-19 cases and new government measures to limit the outbreak.

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