Science X Newsletter Thursday, Sep 9

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for September 9, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

LOKI: An intention dataset to train models for pedestrian and vehicle trajectory prediction

Researchers use the S-matrix bootstrap to examine whether string theory is the only consistent theory of quantum gravity

When everyone works remotely, communication and collaboration suffer, study finds

Groundbreaking technique yields important new details on silicon, subatomic particles and possible 'fifth force'

Food science meets cell science in bid to explain inner workings of membrane-free cell compartments

Scientists solve mystery of icy plumes that may foretell deadly supercell storms

Pulsar PSR J0250+5854 investigated by researchers

After 20 years of trying, scientists succeed in doping a 1D chain of cuprates

Exposure to traffic noise linked to higher dementia risk

'MRI' scan reveals spectacular ice age landscapes beneath the North Sea

Soft components for the next generation of soft robotics

Astronauts smell smoke, burning on Russia's ISS module

Thai device tests for coronavirus in armpit sweat

ESO captures best images yet of peculiar "dog-bone" asteroid

What the world's most accurate clock can tell us about Earth and the cosmos

Physics news

Researchers use the S-matrix bootstrap to examine whether string theory is the only consistent theory of quantum gravity

The S-matrix bootstrap is a numerical method that can be used to determine or constrain the scattering amplitudes of particles in quantum field theory using simple principles. Over the past few decades, some physicists have tried to use this technique to study different physics theories and phenomena.

Groundbreaking technique yields important new details on silicon, subatomic particles and possible 'fifth force'

Using a groundbreaking new technique at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an international collaboration led by NIST researchers has revealed previously unrecognized properties of technologically crucial silicon crystals and uncovered new information about an important subatomic particle and a long-theorized fifth force of nature.

After 20 years of trying, scientists succeed in doping a 1D chain of cuprates

When scientists study unconventional superconductors—complex materials that conduct electricity with zero loss at relatively high temperatures—they often rely on simplified models to get an understanding of what's going on.

What the world's most accurate clock can tell us about Earth and the cosmos

It would take 15 billion years for the clock that occupies Jun Ye's basement lab at the University of Colorado to lose a second—about how long the universe has existed.

Self-assembled optical cavities can reach a strong-coupling state that supports polariton formation

A team of researchers at Chalmers University of Technology has found a way to create self-assembling optical cavities that can reach a strong-coupling state that supports polariton formation. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes how their optical cavities were made and possible uses for them. Johannes Feist with the Autonomous University of Madrid has published a News and Views piece on the work done by the team on this effort in the same journal issue.

Unprecedented plasma lensing for high-intensity lasers

High-power laser pulses focused to small spots to reach incredible intensities enable a variety of applications, ranging from scientific research to industry and medicine. At the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA) Center, for instance, intensity is key to building particle accelerators thousands of times shorter than conventional ones that reach the same energy. However, laser-plasma accelerators (LPAs) require sustained intensity over many centimeters, not just a spot focus that rapidly expands because of diffraction.

Microscopy plus AI equals rapid COVID-19 detection: study

Beckman researchers paired microscopy with artificial intelligence to develop a COVID-19 test that's fast, accurate, and cost-effective. All we need to do is say "ahh."

Reconfigurable metasurfaces provide nanoscale light control

Researchers have designed electromechanically reconfigurable ultrathin optical elements that can be controlled and programmed on a pixel-by-pixel level. These versatile metasurfaces could offer a new chip-based way to achieve nanoscale control of light, which could lead to better optical displays, information encoding and digital light processing.

Magnet milestones move distant nuclear fusion dream closer

Teams working on two continents have marked similar milestones in their respective efforts to tap an energy source key to the fight against climate change: They've each produced very impressive magnets.

Astronomy and Space news

Pulsar PSR J0250+5854 investigated by researchers

Using ground-based facilities, an international team of astronomers has conducted a broadband radio study of a slowly rotating radio pulsar known as PSR J0250+5854. Results of this investigation, published September 1 on the arXiv pre-print server, provide more insights into the nature of this source.

Astronauts smell smoke, burning on Russia's ISS module

A smoke alarm sounded Thursday in Russia's segment of the International Space Station (ISS) and astronauts smelled "burning" on board, Russia's space agency and NASA said.

ESO captures best images yet of peculiar "dog-bone" asteroid

Using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (ESO's VLT), a team of astronomers have obtained the sharpest and most detailed images yet of the asteroid Kleopatra. The observations have allowed the team to constrain the 3D shape and mass of this peculiar asteroid, which resembles a dog bone, to a higher accuracy than ever before. Their research provides clues as to how this asteroid and the two moons that orbit it formed.

Finding Earthlike planets in other solar systems by looking for moons

Finding an exact copy of the Earth somewhere in the universe sounds like a far-fetched notion, but scientists believe that because Earth happened in our solar system, something similar is bound to exist someplace else. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign researcher Siegfried Eggl and his colleagues say orbiting moons may play a key role in keeping planets habitable over long periods and identified a method to find them.

Satellite in sun's backyard unravels the origins of interplanetary dust

What do shooting stars and astronaut safety have in common?

Ground-based observatories could use starshades to see planets

All hail the occulter: an orbiting starshade for ground-based telescopes.

Exploring eruptions from the Sun

In our solar system, solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CME) are the most spectacular eruptive activities. Large solar flares and CMEs may bring us disastrous space weather, destroy our satellite and navigation system, and cause a large-scale blackout on the Earth.

New spacesuit technology for moon and Mars exploration tested where Apollo astronauts once trained and tested spacesuits

The NASA Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) and collaborating organizations SETI Institute, Mars Institute, Collins Aerospace, and Ntention are announcing the successful field testing of new spacesuit technologies for future astronaut science and exploration operations on the Moon and Mars.

Video: We asked a NASA scientist—do aliens exist?

Do aliens exist? Extraterrestrial life has never been discovered. However, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Technology news

LOKI: An intention dataset to train models for pedestrian and vehicle trajectory prediction

Human decision-making processes are inherently hierarchical. This means that they involve several levels of reasoning and different planning strategies that operate simultaneously to achieve both short-term and long-term goals.

Soft components for the next generation of soft robotics

Soft robots driven by pressurized fluids could explore new frontiers and interact with delicate objects in ways that traditional rigid robots can't. But building entirely soft robots remains a challenge because many of the components required to power these devices are, themselves, rigid.

Diagnosing and tracking lithium-ion battery degradation

An international team of researchers has devised a method to detect the degradation mechanism of lithium-ion batteries.

GaN-on-diamond semiconductor material that is stable to 1,000 C

The need for more powerful electronic devices in today's society is curtailed by our ability to produce highly conductive semiconductors that can withstand the harsh, high temperature fabrication processes of high-powered devices.

Machine learning improves biological image analysis

Scientists use super-resolution microscopy to study previously undiscovered cellular worlds, revealing nanometer-scale details inside cells. This method revolutionized light microscopy and earned its inventors the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In an international collaboration, AI researchers from Tübingen have now developed an algorithm that significantly accelerates this technology.

A universal system for decoding any type of data sent across a network

Every piece of data that travels over the internet—from paragraphs in an email to 3D graphics in a virtual reality environment—can be altered by the noise it encounters along the way, such as electromagnetic interference from a microwave or Bluetooth device. The data are coded so that when they arrive at their destination, a decoding algorithm can undo the negative effects of that noise and retrieve the original data.

Researchers design extreme heat exchanger using metal 3D printing

Demonstrating next-generation energy technology, researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are using topology optimization and metal 3D printing to design ultra-compact, high-power heat exchangers.

Stanford discovery could pave the way to ultrafast, energy-efficient computing

Scientists have spent decades searching for faster, more energy-efficient memory technologies for everything from large data centers to mobile sensors and other flexible electronics. Among the most promising data storage technologies is phase-change memory, which is thousands of times faster than conventional hard drives but uses a lot of electricity.

Ready for iPhone 13? Apple to host its next hardware event September 14

Fans of the iPhone, mark your calendars.

UN nuclear watchdog launches review of Fukushima water release

The UN nuclear watchdog on Thursday promised a "comprehensive" and "objective" review of Japan's controversial plan to release treated water from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.

IAEA: Science key to Fukushima plant water release

Objective, science-based monitoring is the key to safely carrying out the planned release of treated but still radioactive water at Japan's wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, an International Atomic Energy Agency official said Thursday.

Getting around the smart city

Smart cities will not be truly smart until they have sustainable transport systems. New work published in the International Journal of Shipping and Transport Logistics has used fuzzy logic to look at the options.

The longest 3D-printed concrete bicycle bridge in the world

With a length of 29 meters, the Dutch city of Nijmegen now has the longest concrete 3D-bicycle bridge in the world. The project is unique because the bicycle bridge has been designed with complete freedom of form, thanks to research at Eindhoven University of Technology and the further development of 3D concrete printing technology. The new appearance in De Geologenstrook park is characterized by its round and wavy shapes.

New tool maps future climate costs for airlines, passengers

When Phoenix temperatures topped 120 F in June 2017, American Airlines canceled dozens of flights at a local airport because the airplanes could not take off safely in the extreme heat. Scenarios like this are likely to become more common as a result of climate warming, scientists say, but the operational costs to airlines and passengers are largely unknown.

9/11 conspiracy theories debunked: Engineering experts explain how the twin towers collapsed

The collapse of the World Trade Center has been subject to intense public scrutiny over the 20 years since the centre's twin towers were struck by aircraft hijacked by terrorists. Both collapsed within two hours of impact, prompting several investigations and spawning a variety of conspiracy theories.

Moving hazardous goods in the smart city

The transportation of hazardous materials through densely populated areas, such as cities, is a necessary part of modern life, but comes with risks of spills and leaks, explosions, environmental issues, and public health concerns. New research in the International Journal of Simulation and Process Modelling, has used a transportation management simulation to look at problems that might arise in moving hazardous materials within a city when traffic congestion is common.

Drones will soon be transporting medical samples in Norway

The distance between the Norwegian towns of Røros and Trondheim is about 100 kilometers as the crow flies. Three entrepreneurs from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)want to use drones to transport medical samples between them.

Building with new thinking and old components

On 21 February of this year, the leaders of seven Norwegian cities published a notice on new environmental requirements for the construction industry.

How social media, aided by bots, amplifies Islamophobia online

In August 2021, a Facebook ad campaign criticizing Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, the United States' first Muslim congresswomen, came under intense scrutiny. Critics charged that the ads linked the congresswomen with terrorism, and some faith leaders condemned the campaign as "Islamophobic"—that is, spreading fear of Islam and hatred against Muslims.

Technology takes the art of origami into the fight against COVID-19

Researchers in Simon Fraser University's Additive Manufacturing Lab are replicating a distinctive artform—the subtle folding of origami—to create 3D printable technologies to aid in the fight against COVID-19, and help doctors to identify and diagnose various health conditions.

China welcomes world's largest scenario database for autonomous vehicle safety

The Safety PoolTM Scenario Database, the largest public repository of scenarios for testing autonomous vehicles in the world—led by WMG at the University of Warwick and Deepen AI—will now be used in China, thanks to a new partnership with Automotive Data of China, a subsidiary of the China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC-ADC).

Redesigning radiation monitors at US ports

Every day at ports of entry, hundreds of thousands of vehicles and containers cross into the country. Since 9/11, all incoming vehicles and containers at land crossings, rail crossings, mail facilities and shipping terminals are scanned by Customs and Border Protection officers to detect potential threats, including radiation.

New lamp generates light for 45 days with half-liter of salt water

The Waterlight lamp was awarded a Silver Cannes in the design category and two bronzes in innovation and social responsibility, at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2021 held in France.

World's first robotic squash coach

A social robot from the National Robotarium, hosted by Heriot-Watt University, has become the world's first squash coach to explore if performance improvements and motivation levels can be increased during a player's solo practice.

Facebook, Ray-Ban launch smart glasses—who will wear them?

Seven years after the ill-fated Google Glass, and five years after Snap rolled out Spectacles, another tech giant is trying its hand at internet-connected smart glasses, hoping that this time around things might be different and people will actually wear them.

Microsoft return to U.S. offices delayed indefinitely

Microsoft told employees Thursday that it has indefinitely delayed their return to U.S. offices until it's safer to do so.

Road work ahead: Using deep neural networks to estimate the impacts of work zones

Roadside construction—be it a detour, a closed lane, or a slow weave past workers and equipment—work zones impact traffic flow and travel times on a system-wide level. The ability to predict exactly what those impacts will be, and plan for them, would be a major help to both transportation agencies and road users. Funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, the latest Small Starts project led by Abbas Rashidi of the University of Utah introduces a robust, deep neural network model for analyzing the automobile traffic impacts of construction zones.

Bitcoin in El Salvador: How will it work?

El Salvador on Tuesday became the first country to use bitcoin as legal tender, alongside the US dollar. But how will it work?

Mix of curiosity, concern, as El Salvador adopts bitcoin currency

Salvadorans queued Wednesday at some of the dozens of bitcoin teller machines erected around the country that has made history by adopting a cryptocurrency as legal tender.

Hulu to raise prices by $1 per month to $12.99 for ad-free streaming, $6.99 for video with ads

Streaming service Hulu is raising the monthly price of its on-demand video plans by $1, beginning Oct. 8.

Spanish league joins blockchain world and launches NFTs

The Spanish league is joining the blockchain world by launching officially licensed digital cards of players to be sold and traded online.

China orders gaming giants to cut 'effeminate' gender imagery

Chinese authorities have ordered gaming giants to end their focus on profits and cut content perceived to be breeding "effeminacy", as Beijing tries to direct youth culture, gender ideals and the reach of big tech.

EasyJet rejects takeover bid, plots $2.0 bn lifeline

British airline EasyJet on Thursday announced it had rejected a takeover approach, reportedly from rival Wizz Air, and revealed a $2.0-billion lifeline as the battered aviation sector looks to recover.

US and EU to seek harmony on big tech regulation

Top officials from the EU and US later will this month try to attune their strategies on regulating big tech and defend democratic values on the internet, a statement said on Thursday.

Bicycles, mini-cars, protests: climate fears mar motor show

Germany's revamped IAA motor show opened to the public this week, with climate concerns drawing anti-car protesters but also forcing the world's most prominent carmakers to showcase greener options.

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