Science X Newsletter Friday, Nov 29

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for November 29, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Flexoskeleton printing: Fabricating flexible exoskeletons for insect-inspired robots

The biological basis of economic behavior: How the brain perceives value and reward

New algorithms to determine eigenstates and thermal states on quantum computers

Ultraluminous X-ray source UGC 6456 ULX investigated in detail

Armored with plastic 'hair' and silica, new perovskite nanocrystals show more durability

Elizabeth I identified as author of Tacitus translation

Sounds of the past give new hope for coral reef restoration

Dark patterns: Research reveals the dirty tricks of online shopping

Steve over the picket fence

Packaging made from banana plants an a-peeling alternative

By 2037 half of babies likely to be born to couples who met online, says report

Portable photoacoustic breast imaging system shows promise during initial lab tests

New stable isotope analysis questions the origin of black carbon in the ocean

Team makes materials that water, heat, or mechanical forces can alter into new shapes

High-fat diet proven to fuel prostate cancer progression by imitating a key cancer alteration

Physics news

New algorithms to determine eigenstates and thermal states on quantum computers

Determining the quantum mechanical behavior of many interacting particles is essential to solving important problems in a variety of scientific fields, including physics, chemistry and mathematics. For instance, in order to describe the electronic structure of materials and molecules, researchers first need to find the ground, excited and thermal states of the Born-Oppenheimer Hamiltonian approximation. In quantum chemistry, the Born-Oppenheimer approximation is the assumption that electronic and nuclear motions in molecules can be separated.

Quantum dot lasers move a step closer with electric-pumping development

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed a way to make Colloidal Quantum Dots produce laser light with the help of an electric field.

Superconductivity theory under attack

Measurements on a superconducting material show an abrupt transition between a normal metal and a "strange" metal. The really strange thing, however, is that this abruptness disappears when the temperature falls. "We don't have any theoretical machinery for this," says theoretical physicist Jan Zaanen, coauthor of a Science article, "this is something that only a quantum computer can calculate."

The plot thickens for a hypothetical X17 particle

Fresh evidence of an unknown particle that could carry a fifth force of nature gives the NA64 collaboration at CERN a new incentive to continue searches.

Heating by cooling

The field of magnetic fusion research has mysteries to spare. How to confine turbulent plasma fuel in a donut-shaped vacuum chamber, making it hot and dense enough for fusion to take place, has generated questions—and answers—for decades.

Thermo-chemical power generation integrated with forced convection cooling

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology combine forced convection cooling with thermo-electrochemical energy conversion to create a self-sustaining liquid cooling system. A liquid electrolyte is circulated through a cell to cool a hot object, and the reversible chemical reaction in the cell generates a higher electric power than the hydrodynamic pump work required to drive the liquid through the cell. This technology resolves the longstanding unaddressed issue of the loss of free energy component of the thermal energy.

Our place in the universe will change dramatically in the next 50 years – here's how

In 1900, so the story goes, prominent physicist Lord Kelvin addressed the British Association for the Advancement of Science with these words: "There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now."

Adiabatic shortcuts: Short and sweet in the quantum world

Completing a task slowly and carefully may provide us with a high-quality product. It can be summed up by the popular adage "easy does it." But what if a high price has to be paid for slowness? Time is a scarce resource and, what is more, a good result is not guaranteed, since we may be easily disturbed or interrupted by various matters and events if we take too long. So it is clear that we are often interested in doing things well but also quickly. A contradictory adage illustrates this for us once again: "short and sweet." This everyday notion can also be applied in physics laboratories and especially when handling systems, such as natural or artificial atoms that physicists and engineers use to try and create new quantum technologies designed make calculations that are currently impossible, and achieve secure, spy-proof communications, sensors with unprecedented sensitivities, and ultra-precise measurements of time and other dimensions.

Researchers find potential solution to overheating mobile phones

Modern computer memory encodes information by switching magnetic bits within devices. Now, a ground-breaking study conducted by researchers from NUS Electrical and Computer Engineering has found a new efficient way of using 'spin waves' to switch magnetization at room temperature for more energy-efficient spin memory and logic devices.

NA61/SHINE gives neutrino experiments a helping hand

Neutrinos are the lightest of all the known particles that have mass. Yet their behavior as they travel could help answer one of the greatest puzzles in physics: why the present-day universe is made mostly of matter when the Big Bang should have produced equal amounts of matter and antimatter. In two recent papers, the NA61/SHINE collaboration reports particle measurements that are crucial for accelerator-based experiments studying such neutrino behavior.

Astronomy & Space news

Ultraluminous X-ray source UGC 6456 ULX investigated in detail

Russian astronomers have performed a detailed study of one of the ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs) in the galaxy UGC 6456. Results of the research, presented in a paper published November 20 on, suggest that this source, designated UGC 6456 ULX, is one of the brightest known ULXs in the optical range.

Mapping our galaxy's magnetic field

Astronomers from CSIRO and Curtin University have used pulsars to probe the Milky Way's magnetic field. Working with colleagues in Europe, Canada, and South Africa, they have published the most precise catalogue of measurements towards mapping our Galaxy's magnetic field in 3-D.

A surprisingly big black hole might have swallowed a star from the inside out, and scientists are baffled

About 15,000 light years away, in a distant spiral arm of the Milky Way, there is a black hole about 70 times as heavy as the Sun.

Cleaning the dishes

Large antennas are our only current way of communicating through space across vast distances, and every now and then they need to be spruced up to ensure we can keep in touch with our deep-space exploration spacecraft.

Searching for star prints in space and stories

Stars don't shine forever. Eventually, even the brightest stars run out of fuel and collapse in a massive explosion, called a supernova.

Technology news

Flexoskeleton printing: Fabricating flexible exoskeletons for insect-inspired robots

Insects typically have a variety of complex exoskeleton structures, which support them in their movements and everyday activities. Fabricating artificial exoskeletons for insect-inspired robots that match the complexity of these naturally-occurring structures is a key challenge in the field of robotics.

Team makes materials that water, heat, or mechanical forces can alter into new shapes

Consider the range of possibilities from 4-D printed materials that transform underwater, or fibers that snap into a particular shape when they are cut out of a flat panel, or coaxing shifting sands in the ocean into building artificial islands, and you will have some idea of the breadth of research that Skylar Tibbits, MIT associate professor of design research in the Department of Architecture, pursues.

Robots are optimized for tedious, repetitive tasks. Can they be automated for more complex workspaces?

Researchers at the USC Viterbi Center for Advanced Manufacturing identify an algorithm to optimize robots to provide short, collision-free solutions in complex manufacturing spaces.

New device enables battery-free computer input at the tip of your finger

Computer scientists at the University of Waterloo have created a device for wearable computer input suitable for many situations, just by touching your fingertips together in different ways.

ACLU to police using robots: Tell us more

Police are using robot dogs. Everyone seems interested but not everyone seems amused. The American Civil Liberties Union has asked Massachusetts State Police to explain how and where it is using robot dogs, said news reports.

BMW to build electric Mini in China

Luxury German carmaker BMW on Friday said it would build fully electric models of its Mini cars at a new plant in China, as it kicked off a joint venture with Chinese partner Great Wall Motor.

Black Friday frenzy goes global—and not everyone's happy

People don't celebrate Thanksgiving in France, or Russia, or South Africa - but they do shop on Black Friday.

More pain for German car industry as Daimler axes 10,000 jobs

Luxury automaker Daimler said Friday it would scrap at least 10,000 jobs worldwide, the latest in a wave of layoffs to hit the stuttering German car industry as it battles with a costly switch to electric.

Huawei plans legal challenge to latest US pressure: report

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei is preparing a legal counterpunch against new moves by American regulators to bar the company from accessing $8.5 billion in US federal funds for services and equipment, a report said Friday.

'Magic crystals' to enable the future of electric cars

CSIRO and Monash University's Matthew Hill will receive the Solomon Award tonight for developing "magic crystals" with dozens of applications from cleaning gases and liquids to mining and drug production.

How smartphones can verify your identity

Anyone who wants to open a bank account or buy a mobile phone plan has to identify themselves to the respective service provider. The ETH spin-off PXL Vision has a simpler solution: just use an ID scan and a selfie video. Several companies are already using the new technology.

Tim Berners-Lee: web inventor's plan to save the internet is admirable, but doomed to fail

Tim Berners-Lee is credited with inventing the world wide web and now he's calling on us to save it. The British engineer and computer scientist recently released a Contract for the Web – a list of commitments for governments, businesses and individuals to make in order to tackle fake news and privacy violations online.

Drone project aims to put floating Lagos slum on map

John Eromosele records the coordinates of a bustling canal on his smartphone from aboard a dug-out canoe navigating the floating slum of Makoko in Nigerian megacity Lagos.

Dyson picks Singapore former nightlife hub as HQ

Electric appliance pioneer Dyson said Friday its new global headquarters will be in a sprawling, colonial-era Singapore building originally constructed as a power station and until recently used as a nightlife complex.

Singapore tells Facebook to correct post under disinformation law

Singapore authorities Friday ordered Facebook to correct an article on a fringe news site containing "scurrilous accusations" of election rigging, ramping up their use of a controversial law against misinformation.

UK online supermarket Ocado strikes AI deal in Japan

UK online supermarket Ocado is venturing further outside its main market, announcing Friday a deal to provide artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to Japanese retail giant Aeon.

Virtual reality becomes more real

Scientists from the Skoltech ADASE (Advanced Data Analytics in Science and Engineering) lab have found a way to enhance depth map resolution, which should make virtual reality and computer graphics more realistic. They presented their research results at the prestigious International Conference on Computer Vision 2019 in Korea.

You want to cut the cord and still get CNN?

You've heard about the cost benefits of cutting the cord and saving lots of money from your cable bill, are ready to do it, but there's one big concern.

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Why Dark Matter Might Be Axions

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Why Dark Matter Might Be Axions


The WIMP remains at large after decades of searching, but the hunt for a rival dark matter candidate called the "axion" is only beginning. Its existence would solve two mysteries at once.

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Best Place to Find Dark Matter May Be in a Rock


Dark matter may occasionally interact with minerals in the earth, leaving telltale tracks that physicists hope to decipher.

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In the Deep, a Drive to Find Dark Matter


Before Elena Aprile could lead the world's most sensitive dark-matter search, she had to make herself out of titanium.

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Longevity Linked to Proteins That Calm Overexcited Neurons


New research makes a molecular connection between the brain and aging — and shows that overactive neurons can shorten life span.

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'Functional Fingerprint' May Identify Brains Over a Lifetime


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Mathematicians Catch a Pattern by Figuring Out How to Avoid It


We finally know how big a set of numbers can get before it has to contain a pattern known as a "polynomial progression."

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Simple Set Game Proof Stuns Mathematicians


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Solution: 'Randomness From Determinism'


Readers' modifications of a bean machine showed how deterministic laws are capable of producing random-seeming behavior.

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