Science X Newsletter Thursday, Feb 4

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

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Drugging the undruggable, improbable new targets for lung cancer therapy

Can a fin become a limb? Single mutations cause zebrafish fins to transform into complex limb-like structures

Scientists use trilayer graphene to observe more robust superconductivity

In a desert seared by climate change, burrowers fare better than birds

Newly discovered graphene property could impact next-generation computing

Possible detection of hydrazine on Saturn's moon Rhea

Spicy perfection isn't to prevent infection: study

Dynamic 3-D printing process features a light-driven twist

California's rainy season starting nearly a month later than it did 60 years ago

Ocean surface slicks are pelagic nurseries for diverse fishes

Deforestation is stressing mammals out

Fast-flying bats rely on late-night updrafts to reach great heights

Global warming found to be culprit for flood risk in Peruvian Andes, other glacial lakes

Machine-learning model helps determine protein structures

Some sperms poison their competitors

Physics news

Scientists use trilayer graphene to observe more robust superconductivity

In 2018, the physics world was set ablaze with the discovery that when an ultrathin layer of carbon, called graphene, is stacked and twisted to a "magic angle," that new double layered structure converts into a superconductor, allowing electricity to flow without resistance or energy waste. Now, in a literal twist, Harvard scientists have expanded on that superconducting system by adding a third layer and rotating it, opening the door for continued advancements in graphene-based superconductivity.

Fluid dynamics of COVID-19 airborne infection suggests urgent data for a scientific design of social distancing

Infection by COVID-19 is largely caused by airborne transmission, a phenomenon that has rapidly attracted a great deal of attention from the scientific community. The SARS-CoV-2 virus hosted in different tracts of the respiratory system is emitted as we breathe, speak or sing or through more violent expulsions like coughing or sneezing. In these common actions, people emit thousands or even millions of small droplets of saliva acting as a vector for the virus. Given that the disease travels on respiratory droplets, social distancing is of paramount importance to limit the spread. Indeed, droplets are heavier than air, and sooner or later, they fall to the ground, which will tame their infectious potential.

New quantum receiver the first to detect entire radio frequency spectrum

A new quantum sensor can analyze the full spectrum of radio frequency and real-world signals, unleashing new potentials for soldier communications, spectrum awareness and electronic warfare.

Switching nanolight on and off

A team of researchers led by Columbia University has developed a unique platform to program a layered crystal, producing imaging capabilities beyond common limits on demand.

Astronomy and Space news

Possible detection of hydrazine on Saturn's moon Rhea

In a new report on Science Advances, Mark Elowitz, and a team of scientists in physical sciences, optical physics, planetary science and radiation research in the U.S., U.K., India, and Taiwan, presented the first analysis of far-ultraviolet reflectance spectra of regions on Rhea's leading and trailing hemispheres—as collected by the Cassini ultraviolet imaging spectrograph during targeted flybys. In this work, they specifically aimed to explain the unidentified broad absorption feature centered near 184 nanometers of the resulting spectra. Using laboratory measurements of the UV spectroscopy of a set of molecules, Elowitz et al. found a good fit to Rhea's spectra with both hydrazine monohydrate and several chlorine-containing molecules. They showed hydrazine monohydrate to be the most plausible candidate to explain the absorption feature at 184 nm. Hydrazine was also a propellant in Cassini's thrusters, however, in this instance, the thrusters were not used during icy satellite flybys and therefore the signal was assumed to not rise from spacecraft fuel. The scientists then detailed how hydrazine monohydrate may be chemically produced on icy surfaces.

Distant 'baby' black holes seem to be misbehaving—and experts are perplexed

Radio images of the sky have revealed hundreds of "baby" and supermassive black holes in distant galaxies, with the galaxies' light bouncing around in unexpected ways.

Japan scientists to study source of high heat on asteroid

Japanese space experts said Thursday they will examine soil samples brought back from a distant asteroid in an attempt to find the source of heat that altered the celestial body, in their search for clues to the origin of the solar system and life on Earth.

Propelling satellites into the future

Candidate 'green' satellite propellants within a temperature-controlled incubator, undergoing heating as a way to simulate the speeding up of time.

How Mars 2020 will help bring part of the red planet back to Earth

Out in the cold, empty void beyond Earth, NASA's latest Mars mission is hurtling at 43,000 miles per hour toward the Red Planet. The mission, Mars 2020, passed the halfway point of its journey in October 2020 and is expected to touch down on solid ground on February 18.

How Mars became the prize for the new space race – and why China is hellbent on winning it

Looking at its achievements over the past decade, nobody would doubt China is aiming to win the new space race. Not only has it been the only country to land on the Moon in about 40 years, and the first to soft land on its far side, it has also planted a flag on lunar soil and brought samples back to Earth.

Technology news

New window system cuts sound levels by 26 decibels, achieves four times better ventilation

Home owners, especially those in noisy districts, can look forward to greater living comfort with a new invention by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) School of Design and Environment (SDE) that reduces outdoor noise and improves indoor ventilation.

Researchers create origami-inspired satellite antennas that can self-fold

As humankind steps into new frontiers in space exploration, satellites and space vehicles will need to pack more cargo for the long haul. However, certain items, like dish antennas used for wireless communication, pose a challenge since they cannot be very densely packed for flight because of their signature bowl shape.

Carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere using sustainable energy

Much work is taking place on methods for capturing CO2 from the atmosphere to combat climate change. In addition to existing methods that use toxic solvents, electrochemical techniques that can work with sustainable electricity are now becoming available. The TU Delft research group led by David Vermaas worked together with Wetsus and Caltech to analyze these sustainable technologies for CO2 removal, and compared them for the first time. The researchers also described which methods show the most potential for making large-scale CO2 removal possible. Their paper on this was published recently in the scientific journal Energy & Environmental Science.

'Audeo' teaches artificial intelligence to play the piano

Anyone who's been to a concert knows that something magical happens between the performers and their instruments. It transforms music from being just "notes on a page" to a satisfying experience.

5 challenges awaiting Amazon's new CEO

In 1995, few could imagine that the modest online bookstore built by Jeff Bezos would turn into a $1.7 trillion behemoth that sells everything from diapers to sofas, produces movies, owns a grocery chain and provides cloud computing services to businesses all over the globe.

Australian leader has 'constructive' talk with Google boss

The Australian prime minister said he had a "constructive" meeting on Thursday with the head of Google after the tech giant threatened to remove its search engine from Australia over plans to make digital platforms pay for news.

Canada probe concludes Clearview AI breached privacy laws

US facial recognition technology firm Clearview AI illegally conducted mass surveillance in breach of Canadians' privacy rights, Canada's privacy commissioner said Wednesday following an investigation.

How to burst your bubble: Broadening your social media horizons

Evangelos Papalexakis is an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at UC Riverside's Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering. His research spans data science, signal processing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. One of his ongoing projects aims to develop an automated fake news detection mechanism for social media.

Toshiba's new algorithms quickly deliver highly accurate solutions to complex problems

Toshiba Corporation and Toshiba Digital Solutions Corporation (collectively Toshiba), industry leaders in solutions for large-scale optimization problems, today announced the Ballistic Simulated Bifurcation Algorithm (bSB) and the Discrete Simulated Bifurcation Algorithm (dSB), new algorithms that far surpass the performance of Toshiba's previous Simulated Bifurcation Algorithm (SB). The new algorithms will be applied to finding solutions to highly complex problems in areas as diverse as portfolio management, drug development and logistics management.

New York Times boosts paid subscriber base to 7.5 million

The New York Times said Thursday it had some 7.5 million paid subscribers at the end of 2020, a gain of more than two million for year as it progressed in its digital transition.

Apple near deal with Hyundai on autonomous cars: reports

Apple is close to a deal on producing its own autonomous vehicles in cooperation with South Korean giant Hyundai with an announcement likely as soon as this month, media reports said.

Ford trims F-150 production on semiconductor shortage

Ford will trim US production of the top-selling F-150 truck due the shortage of semiconductor chips plaguing the global auto industry, the company said Thursday.

Google fitness app to catch breath and heart rate

Google on Thursday unveiled an upgraded fitness app which uses smartphone camera capabilities to measure respiration and heart rate.

Amazon to use smart cameras to watch over delivery drivers

Amazon on Thursday confirmed plans to install artificial intelligence-imbued cameras in delivery vehicles, describing it as part of an initiative to keep drivers safe.

Think GameStop is wild? Meet Dogecoin, the meme-inspired digital currency that began as a joke and is now worth billions

For a minute there, it looked like Ronny Maali had struck it rich—relatively speaking.

Ford says will nearly double electric auto investment

Ford announced Thursday it is accelerating its investment in electric cars, but cautioned that the industry-wide shortage of semiconductors would pinch profits in 2021.

Parler social network fires chief exec John Matze: report

Parler has fired the chief executive from the ultraconservative-leaning social network embroiled in controversy stemming from the deadly attack on the US Capitol, Fox News reported Wednesday.

American Airlines warns of as many as 13,000 layoffs

American Airlines will notify 13,000 workers that they could be laid off due to the prolonged industry downturn if the Covid-19 situation doesn't improve and US government aid is not extended, the carrier said Wednesday.

Nokia profit dips as it sees challenges in US market for 5G

The Finnish telecommunications networks provider Nokia on Thursday reported a smaller than expected drop in profit in the fourth-quarter while it acknowledged it was facing some challenges in the race for 5G networks, particularly in the North American market.

Using AI to measure the demand for parking space

The growth in the number of cars parked in urban areas has a major impact on public space. One key consequence of this is that parking availability is less predictable, both in downtown and in quieter, residential areas, where people are having to spend more and more time looking for a free space. One remedy is to create a residential parking zone. To justify this measure, however, a municipality must first commission reports and carry out a survey of parking availability, both of which take time and cost money. To reduce this effort, the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO is now exploring the use of AI to analyze the demand for parking space. This pilot project is running in partnership with the City of Karlsruhe and is being conducted by the Research and Innovation Center for Cognitive Service Systems (KODIS), a branch of Fraunhofer IAO.

UK tells social media to take down COVID myths

The British government said on Thursday it was telling social media giants to take down posts containing coronavirus disinformation over concern that many in minority communities were refusing to be vaccinated.

More GameStops possible as small investors flex muscles

GameStop and a handful of other stocks whose meteoric rise last month shocked Wall Street began falling back to Earth this week.


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