Science X Newsletter Friday, Nov 8

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for November 8, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

New research synthesizes different aspects of causality in quantum field theory

Invention of teeny-tiny organic films could enable new electronics

Scientists further refine how quickly the universe is expanding

Aviation emissions' impacts on air quality larger than on climate, study finds

New photonic liquid crystals could lead to next-generation displays

Machine learning enhances light-beam performance at the advanced light source

Scientists take strides towards entirely renewable energy

Creating fake rhino horn with horse hair to help in saving the endangered rhino

Study finds brains of girls and boys are similar, producing equal math ability

From plants, team extracts a better way to determine what our genes do

New polymer releases molecular cargo in response to force

Team uses golden 'lollipop' to observe elusive interference effect at the nanoscale

Researchers convert 2-D images into 3-D using deep learning

How the brain regulates variability in motor functions

Using AI to predict where and when lightning will strike

Physics news

New research synthesizes different aspects of causality in quantum field theory

In current quantum field theory, causality is typically defined by the vanishing of field commutators for spacelike separations. Two researchers at the University of Massachusetts and Universidade Federal Rural in Rio de Janeiro have recently carried out a study discussing and synthesizing some of the key aspects of causality in quantum field theory. Their paper, published in Physical Review Letters, is the result of their investigation of a theory of quantum gravity commonly referred to as "quadratic gravity."

Machine learning enhances light-beam performance at the advanced light source

Synchrotron light sources are powerful facilities that produce light in a variety of "colors," or wavelengths—from the infrared to X-rays—by accelerating electrons to emit light in controlled beams.

Researchers convert 2-D images into 3-D using deep learning

A UCLA research team has devised a technique that extends the capabilities of fluorescence microscopy, which allows scientists to precisely label parts of living cells and tissue with dyes that glow under special lighting. The researchers use artificial intelligence to turn two-dimensional images into stacks of virtual three-dimensional slices showing activity inside organisms.

Blurry imaging limits clarified thanks to information technology

Although we're told a picture speaks a thousand words, that cliché seriously underestimates the value of a good image. Our understanding of how the world works is simplified by our ability to turn data into images. Imaging is at the heart of science: if it can be measured, it will be turned into an image to be analyzed.

A new way to measure gravity: Using floating atoms

A team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, has found a new way to measure gravity—by noting differences in atoms in a supposition state, suspended in the air by lasers. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their new technique and explain why they believe it will be more useful than traditional methods.

Photosynthesis seen in a new light by rapid X-ray pulses

The ability to transform sunlight into energy is one of Nature's more remarkable feats. Scientists understand the basic process of photosynthesis, but many crucial details remain elusive, occurring at dimensions and fleeting time scales long deemed too minuscule to probe.

Century-old food testing method updated to include complex fluid dynamics

The texture of food, including properties that determine how consumers experience biting and swallowing, is an important part of development of more enjoyable foods. In order to completely understand these properties, better methods and devices for testing are required to capture the motion inside liquid materials, especially in the case of foods that are complex liquids, like gelled desserts.

A new type of fire, the fuel of the future?

Later this month a Texus rocket will launch from Esrange, Sweden, that will travel about 260 km upwards and fall back to Earth offering researchers six minutes of zero gravity. Their experiment? Burning metal powder to understand a new type of fire.

A new quantum data classification protocol brings us nearer to a future 'quantum internet'

Quantum-based communication and computation technologies promise unprecedented applications, such as unconditionally secure communications, ultra-precise sensors, and quantum computers capable of solving specific problems with a level of efficiency impossible to reach by classical computers. In recent times, quantum computers are also envisioned as nodes in a network of quantum devices, where connections are established via quantum channels and data are quantum systems that flow through the network, thus setting the bases for a future "quantum internet."

Astronomy & Space news

Scientists further refine how quickly the universe is expanding

Wielding state-of-the-art technologies and techniques, a team of Clemson University astrophysicists has added a novel approach to quantifying one of the most fundamental laws of the universe.

Mercury putting on rare show Monday, parading across the sun

Mercury is putting on a rare celestial show next week, parading across the sun in view of most of the world.

Rare transit of Mercury to take place on 11 November

A rare transit of Mercury will take place on 11 November, when the smallest planet in our Solar System will pass directly between the Earth and the Sun. The last time this happened was in 2016, and the next will be in 2032. During the transit, which takes place in the afternoon in the UK, Mercury will appear as a dark silhouetted disc set against the bright surface of the Sun.

Researchers investigate interstellar bodies originating from beyond our solar system

Astonishingly, not one but two interstellar asteroids have been detected entering our solar system since 2017.

NASA's Mars 2020 heads into the test chamber

In this time-lapse video, taken on Oct. 9, 2019, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, bunny-suited engineers move the Mars 2020 rover from a high bay in the Spacecraft Simulator Building into the facility's large vacuum chamber for testing in Mars-like environmental conditions.

NASA instrument to probe planet clouds on European mission

NASA will contribute an instrument to a European space mission that will explore the atmospheres of hundreds of planets orbiting stars beyond our Sun, or exoplanets, for the first time.

Image: Suitcase-sized asteroid explorer

This replica model of ESA's 'Miniaturised Asteroid Remote Geophysical Observer', or M-Argo, was on display at the Agency's recent Antennas workshop. It is the one of numerous small missions planned as part of ESA's Technology Strategy, being presented at this month's Space19+ Council at Ministerial Level.

Technology news

Firefox: No-exit browser scammers want you to call bogus support

This week tech watchers were sending out headlines about scammers taking advantage of a Firefox bug to freeze users out of their browser. The punch-up consists of a user getting a warning message and then browser lockout. The scammers tell you to call a number posing as a bogus support line.

Got a weird text? A telecom vendor says it's to blame

If you woke up to a weird text that seemed totally out of place, you aren't alone. A mysterious wave of missives swept America's phones overnight, delivering confusing messages from friends, family and the occasional ex.

Tech firms react to netizens' digital privacy concerns

Whistleblowers and digital pioneers have long been sounding the alarm about abuses of our privacy online.

Facebook highlights moves to combat 2020 disinformation

Facebook on Thursday spotlighted steps it is taking to combat foreign interference and online disinformation in the 2020 US elections.

A 'worker' that flies: Chinese researchers design novel flying robot

Skyscrapers are rising rapidly around the world, continuously transforming city skylines. However, their repair and maintenance is becoming more and more difficult. So, who can safely perform the job? Will a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man help out?

What humans want in an automated car

Agreeable, conscientious and stable. These are three human personality traits that, it turns out, we want to see in our driverless cars regardless of whether we possess them ourselves, according to a new study from the University of Michigan.

Smooth and stable electric vehicle charging

Siwar Khemakhem, Mouna Rekik, and Lotfi Krichen of the Control and Energy Management Laboratory at the National Engineering School of Sfax, in Tunisia, are investigating the potential of home energy management based on plug-in electric vehicle power control in a residential smart grid.

Four visions for the future of public transport

The way people get around is starting to change, and as a professor of transport strategy I do rather wonder if the modes of transport we use today will still be around by the turn of the next century.

Tesla's upcoming electric 'Cybertruck' to be unveiled this month

Tesla will show the world its first electric pickup truck later this month, Elon Musk tweeted on Wednesday.

Southwest Airlines pushes back MAX return until March

Southwest Airlines on Friday again pushed back its timeframe for resuming flights on the Boeing 737 MAX, this time through March 6, 2020.

Huawei founder says US sanctions not his toughest crisis

For decades, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei stayed out of sight as his company grew to become the biggest maker of network gear for phone carriers and surpassed Apple as the No. 2 smartphone brand.

Honda first-half net profit slumps 19%, full-year forecast down

Japanese carmaker Honda said Friday its first-half net profit dropped 19 percent on negative currency exchange rates and falling motorcycle sales, slightly revising down profit forecasts for the full year.

Beyond lithium-ion: next generation battery research underway

New smartphones, portable devices and electric cars may get a lot of the public's attention but all of them are dependent on batteries to make them run. Most current devices use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries—technology that was first commercialized in the early 1990s. Lithium-ion batteries offered a longer life span, improved discharge and better efficiency over older rechargeable batteries but also come with some notable disadvantages. Lithium can be relatively expensive and difficult to recycle, and lithium-based batteries can have issues with overheating.

China adopts online video game curfew for minors to thwart addiction

China has implemented an online video game curfew for minors, a move meant to prevent addiction to games and to improve health among children and teens.

German crew stage demo on second day of Lufthansa strike

Hundreds of Lufthansa flights were cancelled Friday as a strike by German cabin crew stretched into a second day, with workers staging a noisy rally to push their demands for better pay and conditions.

Alibaba sets eyes on $15 bn Hong Kong listing: report

Chinese online retail titan Alibaba is hoping to raise up to $15 billion in a Hong Kong IPO, a report said Friday, which would be the city's biggest listing for nine years.

Daimler mulls slashing 1,100 senior jobs: report

German luxury carmaker Daimler plans to cut 1,100 management jobs worldwide in fresh efforts to cut costs as it grapples with expensive recalls and a slowing global market, a German newspaper reported Friday.

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What Shape Is the Universe? A New Study Suggests We’ve Got It All Wrong

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What Shape Is the Universe? A New Study Suggests We've Got It All Wrong


When researchers reanalyzed the gold-standard data set of the early universe, they concluded that the cosmos must be "closed," or curled up like a ball. Most others remain unconvinced.

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Cosmic Triangles Open a Window to the Origin of Time


A close look at fundamental symmetries has exposed hidden patterns in the universe. Physicists think that those same symmetries may also reveal time's original secret.

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Cosmologists Debate How Fast the Universe Is Expanding


New measurements could upend the standard theory of the cosmos that has reigned since the discovery of dark energy 21 years ago.

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'Noise' in the Brain Encodes Surprisingly Important Signals


Activity in the visual cortex and other sensory areas is dominated by signals about body movements, down to little tics and twitches. Scientists are now rethinking how they study and conceive of perception.

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To Pay Attention, the Brain Uses Filters, Not a Spotlight


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Computers Evolve a New Path Toward Human Intelligence


Neural networks that borrow strategies from biology are making profound leaps in their abilities. Is ignoring a goal the best way to make truly intelligent machines?

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Machines Beat Humans on a Reading Test. But Do They Understand?


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Why the Sum of Three Cubes Is a Hard Math Problem


Looking for answers in infinite space is hard. High school math can help narrow your search.

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Sum-of-Three-Cubes Problem Solved for 'Stubborn' Number 33


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Milestone Experiment Proves Quantum Communication Really Is Faster


In a Paris lab, researchers have shown for the first time that quantum methods of transmitting information are superior to classical ones.

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