Science X Newsletter Friday, Nov 15

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for November 15, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A method for self-supervised robotic learning that entails setting feasible goals

Stretchable, self-healing and semiconducting polymer films for electronic skin (e-skin)

Research reveals new state of matter: a Cooper pair metal

NASA finds Neptune moons locked in 'dance of avoidance'

Genetic variation in individual brain cell types may predict disease risk

Lichens are way younger than scientists thought

Researcher discovers subcellular computations within the brain during decision-making

Smart people may learn music faster

Hyundai technology will bring in-car quietness to the next level

Jackdaw mobs flip from chaos to order as they grow

How humans' sense of 'intuitive physics' touches fictional worlds

How multiple factors of climate change affect soil

Arctic Ocean could be ice-free for part of the year as soon as 2044

Researchers discover crucial 'missing link' between breathing and cardiovascular systems

How hackers could use Wi-Fi to track you inside your home

Physics news

Research reveals new state of matter: a Cooper pair metal

For years, physicists have assumed that Cooper pairs, the electron duos that enable superconductors to conduct electricity without resistance, were two-trick ponies. The pairs either glide freely, creating a superconducting state, or create an insulating state by jamming up within a material, unable to move at all.

Discovery of a new type of particle beam instability

Accelerated, charged particle beams do what light does for microscopes: illuminate matter. The more intense the beams, the more easily scientists can examine the object they are looking at. But intensity comes with a cost: the more intense the beams, the more they become prone to instabilities.

Real-time 3-D reconstruction of complex scenes from long distances are shaping our present and future

Researchers at Heriot-Watt University, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Toulouse, France, have proposed a novel framework that combines statistical models with highly scalable computational tools from the computer graphics community to accurately extract the 3-D information in real-time (50 frames per second).

Hot electrons harvested without tricks

Semiconductors convert energy from photons (light) into an electron current. However, some photons carry too much energy for the material to absorb. These photons produce "hot electrons," and the excess energy of these electrons is converted into heat. Materials scientists have been looking for ways to harvest this excess energy. Scientists from the University of Groningen and Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) have now shown that this may be easier than expected by combining a perovskite with an acceptor material for hot electrons. Their proof of principle was published in Science Advances on 15 November.

Research sheds light on the underlying mechanics of soft filaments

Artificial muscles will power the soft robots and wearable devices of the future. But more needs to be understood about the underlying mechanics of these powerful structures in order to design and build new devices.

LHCb looks to the future with SciFi detector

For the LHCb detector at the Large Hadron Collider, the ongoing second long shutdown (LS2) of CERN's accelerator complex will be a period of metamorphosis. After two successful data-collection runs, the detector is being upgraded to improve the precision of its physics measurements, many of which are the best in the world. There will therefore be five times more collisions every time proton bunches cross within the detector after LS2 and the LHCb collaboration plans on increasing the data-readout rate from 1 megaHertz to the LHC's maximum interaction frequency of 40 megaHertz (or every 25 nanoseconds).

Scientists develop near ambient pressure photoemission electron microscopy

A research group led by Prof. Fu Qiang and Prof. Bao Xinhe at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have developed near ambient pressure photoemission electron microscopy (AP-PEEM) with a tunable deep-ultraviolet (DUV) laser source as the excitation source.

Astronomy & Space news

NASA finds Neptune moons locked in 'dance of avoidance'

Even by the wild standards of the outer solar system, the strange orbits that carry Neptune's two innermost moons are unprecedented, according to newly published research.

Evidence found of magnetic reconnection generating spicules on the sun

An international team of researchers has found evidence that magnetic reconnection is the source of spicule generation on the surface of the sun. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their study of the sun and what they learned about it.

Astronauts start spacewalk series to fix cosmic ray detector

Astronauts began an extraordinarily complicated series of spacewalks Friday to fix a cosmic ray detector at the International Space Station.

Making planets in a rocket

How are celestial bodies created? Aside from philosophical questions, researchers are taking practical steps to investigate the very first moments when planets are born—on a sounding rocket launching from Sweden next week.

Image: Hubble spots a curious spiral

The universe is simply so vast that it can be difficult to maintain a sense of scale. Many galaxies we see through telescopes such as the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, the source of this beautiful image, look relatively similar: spiraling arms, a glowing center, and a mixture of bright specks of star formation and dark ripples of cosmic dust weaving throughout.

Astrophysicists find when galaxies rotate, size matters

The direction in which a galaxy spins depends on its mass, researchers have found.

Nearly extreme black holes which attempt to regrow hair become bald again

Black holes 'have no hair': no attributes that can be used to tell them apart. Extreme black holes (spinning at maximally allowed rate) can have an additional property, permanent hair that is made of a massless scalar field. Nearly extreme black holes (like Gargantua, the black hole featured in the movie "Interstellar") have hair that is a transient phenomenon: nearly extreme black holes that attempt to regrow hair will lose it and become bald again.

Technology news

A method for self-supervised robotic learning that entails setting feasible goals

Reinforcement learning (RL) has so far proved to be an effective technique for training artificial agents on individual tasks. However, when it comes to training multi-purpose robots, which should be able to complete a variety of tasks that require different skills, most existing RL approaches are far from ideal.

Hyundai technology will bring in-car quietness to the next level

Hyundai has unveiled special noise cancellation technology addressing noise control.

How hackers could use Wi-Fi to track you inside your home

As connected devices such as voice assistants, security cameras, and smart appliances grow in popularity, the homes and offices where they are installed become increasingly filled with a dense web of Wi-Fi signals.

Amazon appeals $10B Pentagon contract won by Microsoft

Amazon is protesting the Pentagon's decision to award a $10 billion cloud-computing contract to Microsoft, citing "unmistakable bias" in the process.

Alibaba confirms huge Hong Kong public listing worth at least $13bn

Chinese technology giant Alibaba on Friday confirmed plans to list in Hong Kong in what it called a $13 billion vote of confidence in the turbulent city's markets and a step forward in its plans to go global.

Huawei sells folding smartphone with no Google after US ban

Chinese tech giant Huawei is selling its first folding smartphone without Google apps or U.S.-made processor chips following sanctions imposed by Washington.

EU regulators circle on Apple Pay

The EU's powerful anti-trust regulator is taking a closer look at Apple Pay, an official said on Friday, amid worry that the fast-growing and easy-to-use payment system is shutting out rivals.

Volkswagen says to invest 60 billion euros by 2024 in cars of the future

German car giant Volkswagen said Friday it would plough 60 billion euros ($66 billion) by 2024 into its switch to electric, hybrid and connected vehicles, as automakers around the world rev up electrification plans.

Startup targets drowsy driving with next-generation driver safety system

Drowsy driving is blamed for hundreds of deaths each year in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 4,000 people were killed in vehicle crashes involving drowsy driving from 2013 to 2017.

Video game violence is not the problem: The real world that inspires it is

Do violent video games create violent gamers? It's a topic of discussion that continues to rear its head despite there being no solid evidence linking the two. It was once again brought back to the fore in August by the US president Donald Trump, who cited "gruesome and grisly" video games as partially to blame for the slew of mass shootings that had taken place over the summer.

An Apple bundle with Apple TV+, music and news may be on the way

With its new Apple TV+ streaming service just getting off the ground, and fresh competition coming from this week's debut of Disney+, Apple is reportedly considering selling a bundled package that would include its new TV offering and other subscription services.

Will you share gynecological and hearing data through an Apple research app on the iPhone?

Are you willing to share information about your menstrual cycles or hearing loss on your iPhone and Apple Watchto contribute to medical research?

Apple bans vaping apps from App Store

Apple on Friday said it is banning vaping-related apps from its App Store due to concerns that e-cigarette use can damage lungs or even kill people.

Fears grow on digital surveillance: US survey

Americans are increasingly fearful of monitoring of their online and offline activities, both by governments and private companies, a survey showed Friday.

Anti-robocall bill likely as House, Senate reach compromise

It's looking like an anti-robocall bill will get sent to President Donald Trump this year, helping tackle an infuriating problem in the U.S.

Top US court to hear key Google-Oracle software case

The US Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a software copyright case pitting Oracle against Google in which billions of dollars is at stake.

United joins Southwest, American in new 737 MAX delay

United Airlines said Friday it pushed back its expected date for Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft to return to service, following similar announcements by rivals Southwest and American Airlines.

Twitter exempts some 'cause-based' messages from political ad ban

Twitter said Friday its ban on political ads will exempt "caused-based" messages on topics related to social or environmental issues.

Free broadband? UK Labour Party promises nationalization

The British Labour Party's latest plan for public ownership of big industries sent shivers through the telecoms sector Friday with an electoral promise to nationalize part of the former phone monopoly BT to provide free fiber optic broadband.

India telecom rivals see wild share swings after record losses

Shares in Indian telecom giants Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel went through wild swings on Friday, initially sinking more than ten percent at the open, after the British joint venture reported the worst quarterly loss in Indian corporate history.

What is Alibaba, China's e-commerce giant?

Formed in the Hangzhou flat of co-founder Jack Ma in 1999, Alibaba has ridden the seemingly insatiable Chinese appetite for online shopping to become one of the world's most valuable companies.

Airbus plane winging its way to France after 'wet sock' complaint

A new Airbus plane will be sent back to engineers in France following complaints of a "smell of wet sock" from cabin crew in the Pacific island territory of New Caledonia.

'Halo: Reach' comes to PC and Xbox One on Dec. 3 as part of 'The Master Chief Collection'

The Master Chief Collection, enhanced versions of the popular Halo series of Xbox video game, is finally arriving on PCs.

How digital 'twins' are guiding the future of maintenance and manufacturing

As our world becomes more digitalised and connected, we can actually make a virtual copy of it. And such replicas are now being used to improve real world scenarios, from making aircraft production more accurate to preventing oil spills.

New US Army software rapidly converts live drone video into 2-D and 3-D maps

A scientist in Virginia has built software for the Army Corps of Engineers that turns streaming drone footage into 2-D and 3-D maps.

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Neutrinos Lead to Unexpected Discovery in Basic Math

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Neutrinos Lead to Unexpected Discovery in Basic Math


Three physicists wanted to calculate how neutrinos change. They ended up discovering an unexpected relationship between some of the most ubiquitous objects in math.

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How the Neutrino's Tiny Mass Could Help Solve Big Mysteries


The KATRIN experiment is closing in on the mass of the neutrino, which could point to new laws of particle physics and reshape theories of cosmology.

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Evidence Found for a New Fundamental Particle


An experiment has detected a possible harbinger of a revolutionary new elementary particle called the sterile neutrino, though many physicists remain skeptical.

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Cells That 'Taste' Danger Set Off Immune Responses


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Immune Cells Measure Time to Identify Foreign Proteins


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Virginia Trimble Has Seen the Stars


How a young celebrity became one of the first female astronomers at Caltech, befriended Richard Feynman, and ended up the world's foremost chronicler of the science of the night sky.

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Cosmologists Debate How Fast the Universe Is Expanding


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Mathematicians Calculate How Randomness Creeps In


The goal of a 15 puzzle is to put numbered tiles in order. Now mathematicians have solved the opposite problem — how to scramble one.

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A Child's Puzzle Has Helped Unlock the Secrets of Magnetism


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