Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Nov 27

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for November 27, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A new model to retrieve images based on sketches

Natural van der Waals heterostructural single crystals with magnetic and topological properties

Study sheds more light on the properties of a Type Ia supernova discovered very young

A smart, self-powered ping-pong table

Nine climate tipping points now 'active,' warn scientists

Scientists now know what DNA's chaperone looks like

Researchers determine dinosaur replaced teeth as fast as sharks

Barbequed clams on the menu for ancient Puerto Ricans

A method with roots in AI uncovers how humans make choices in groups and social media

A new theory for how black holes and neutron stars shine bright

Unique sledge dogs helped the Inuit thrive in the North American Arctic

Simulating amino acid starvation may improve dengue vaccines

Mental practice may improve golfers' putting performance

Habitat restoration alone not enough to support threatened caribou: study

Amazon will make Alexa good to go with little appliances

Physics news

Natural van der Waals heterostructural single crystals with magnetic and topological properties

Heterostructures with magnetism and topology (geometry) are promising materials to realize exotic topological quantum states. However, such materials are challenging to engineer or synthesize. In a new report on Science Advances, Jiazhen Wu and an interdisciplinary research team in the departments of Materials Research, Optoelectronic Science, Physics, Condensed Matter Research and Advanced Materials in Japan and China, reported the development of natural magnetic van der Waals heterostructures. The constructs exhibited controllable magnetic properties while maintaining their topological surface states.

Theorem explains why quantities such as heat and power can fluctuate in microscopic system

The second law of thermodynamics states that the total entropy of an isolated system always tends to increase over time until it reaches a maximum. In other words, disorganization increases without outside intervention. Electrical equipment inevitably heats up as part of the energy is dissipated in the form of heat instead of being used for mechanical work, and objects deteriorate over time but do not spontaneously regenerate.

Scientists develop first implantable magnet resonance detector

A team of neuroscientists and electrical engineers from Germany and Switzerland developed a highly sensitive implant that enables to probe brain physiology with unparalleled spatial and temporal resolution. They introduce an ultra-fine needle with an integrated chip that is capable of detecting and transmitting nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) data from nanoliter volumes of brain oxygen metabolism. The breakthrough design will allow entirely new applications in the life sciences.

A fifth fundamental force could really exist, but we haven't found it yet

The universe is governed by four fundamental forces: gravity, electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces. These forces drive the motion and behavior of everything we see around us. At least, that's what we think. But over the past several years, there's been increasing evidence of a fifth fundamental force. New research hasn't discovered this fifth force, but it does show that we still don't fully understand these cosmic forces.

ATLAS Experiment probes the quark-gluon plasma in a new study of photo-produced muon pairs

At the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, the electromagnetic fields of Lorentz-contracted lead nuclei in heavy-ion collisions act as intense sources of high-energy photons, or particles of light. This environment allows particle physicists to study photon-induced scattering processes, which can not be studied elsewhere.

Scientists find new way to identify, manipulate topological metals for spintronics

Topological materials have become a hot topic in quantum materials research, as they have potential applications for quantum information and spintronics. This is because topological materials have strange electronic states in which an electron's momentum is connected to its spin orientation, something that can be exploited in new ways to encode and transmit information. One type of topological material, called a magnetic Weyl semimetal, is attracting interest because of its potential ability to be manipulated with magnetic fields.

Astronomy & Space news

Study sheds more light on the properties of a Type Ia supernova discovered very young

An international team of astronomers has conducted follow-up photometric and spectroscopic observations of SN 2017cfd—a Type Ia supernova that was discovered some 38 hours after the fitted first-light time. Results of the new study, presented in a paper published November 18 on, reveal more details about the properties of this source.

A new theory for how black holes and neutron stars shine bright

For decades, scientists have speculated about the origin of the electromagnetic radiation emitted from celestial regions that host black holes and neutron stars—the most mysterious objects in the universe.

Global storms on Mars launch dust towers into the sky

Dust storms are common on Mars. But every decade or so, something unpredictable happens: A series of runaway storms breaks out, covering the entire planet in a dusty haze.

New image offers close-up view of interstellar comet

Yale astronomers have taken a new, close-up image of the interstellar comet 2l/Borisov.

Evidence for anisotropy of cosmic acceleration

The observed acceleration of the Hubble expansion rate has been attributed to a mysterious "dark energy" which supposedly makes up about 70% of the universe. Professor Subir Sarkar from the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics, Oxford along with collaborators at the Institut d'Astrophysique, Paris and the Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen have used observations of 740 Type Ia supernovae to show that this acceleration is a relatively local effect—it is directed along the direction we seem to be moving with respect to the cosmic microwave background (which exhibits a similar dipole anisotropy). While the physical reason for this acceleration is unknown, it cannot be ascribed to dark energy which would have caused equal acceleration in all directions.

Scientists discover unpredicted stellar black hole

An international team headed by Professor LIU Jifeng of the National Astronomical Observatory of China of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) spotted a stellar black hole with a mass 70 times greater than the sun. The monster black hole is located 15,000 light-years from Earth and has been named LB-1 by the researchers.

Go for lunch: Japanese yakitori chicken gets space thumbs-up

Japanese chicken yakitori kebabs, one of the country's most-loved fast foods, will soon be making an appearance in orbit after Japan's space agency cleared them for astronaut meals.

Image: Vega-C fairing's trial by sound

The 10-m high fairing of Europe's inaugural Vega-C launcher atop a structural model of its upper stage, being prepared for acoustic testing within ESA's Large European Acoustic Facility (LEAF) – which is able to simulate the extreme noise of a rocket take-off.

Dutch-Chinese radio telescope antennas unfolded behind the moon

The three antennas on the Dutch-Chinese radio telescope, which is currently located behind the moon, have been unfolded. This was officially announced today by the Dutch team. The Netherlands-China Low Frequency Explorer (NCLE) hung in space waiting for over a year. This was longer than initially planned, as the accompanying communications satellite had to assist a Chinese lunar lander for a longer time.

Australian experiment to establish how aggressive cancer cells behave in a zero-gravity environment

UTS researcher Dr. Joshua Chou is looking to replicate the promising results of experiments he has carried out on cancer cells in the zero gravity chamber built by his team in the UTS School of Biomedical Engineering.

Europe faces up to new space challenges

European ministers met Wednesday in Spain aiming to defend its top space ranking against challenges from the United States and China, and increasingly from industry disruptors such as Elon Musk's Space X.

New launch communications segment empowers Artemis

As Artemis astronauts lift off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida, new ground systems will provide them with the communications links needed to ensure safety and mission success.

Impact crater data analysis of Ryugu asteroid illuminates complicated geological history

Analysis of the impact craters on Ryugu using the spacecraft Hayabusa 2's remote sensing image data has illuminated the geological history of the Near-Earth asteroid.

European Space Agency seeks funding boost from member states

The European Space Agency is asking its 22 member states for more money to be able to carry out ambitious new missions and keep up with growing competition from the private sector.

Technology news

A new model to retrieve images based on sketches

In recent years, researchers have been developing increasingly advanced computational techniques, such as deep learning algorithms, to complete a variety of tasks. One task that they have been trying to address is known as "sketch-based image retrieval" (SBIR).

A smart, self-powered ping-pong table

A team of researchers from China and the U.S. has built a smart, self-powered ping-pong table. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the group describes how the table was built and how it powers itself.

Amazon will make Alexa good to go with little appliances

Amazon had something big to say about Alexa on Monday. Hardware manufacturers would be especially gratified to know that they can directly have Alexa built-in to their little products with low-powered chips and 1MB of RAM.

Producing better guides for medical-image analysis

MIT researchers have devised a method that accelerates the process for creating and customizing templates used in medical-image analysis, to guide disease diagnosis.

New big data algorithms improve earthquake detection; monitor livestock health and agricultural pests

Two new algorithms could help earthquake early warning systems buy you a few extra seconds to drop, cover, and hold on before the ground begins to shake.

New ethanol conversion approach can reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 40 and 96 percent

One way of increasing sustainability is to reduce carbon fuel emissions within transportation. In 2017 greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from this sector surpassed all others in the U.S., accounting for nearly 30% of total GHG emissions, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Bytedance: The Chinese company behind global TikTok craze

The Chinese billionaire behind teen phenomenon TikTok is a 36-year-old tech guru whose eye for youth trends and pioneering use of AI has blasted the app to global success—while working hand-in-glove with censors to control content within China.

US proposes rules to vet all telecoms-related purchases

The Department of Commerce has proposed requiring case-by-case approvals of all purchases of telecommunications equipment in a move likely to hit major Chinese suppliers like Huawei.

Political microtargeting: the good, bad and ugly

Online services have upended the world of advertising by enabling marketers, including political campaigns, to refine their pitches to specific groups of people or geographic areas.

Facebook buys maker of hit VR game 'Beat Saber'

Facebook-owned Oculus on Tuesday said it is buying the studio behind hit virtual reality game "Beat Saber" as it looks to expand VR technology to wider audiences.

Edmunds' experts pick their favorite must-have car features

The average person owns a vehicle for about six and a half years. When it's time to buy a new one, chances are there's a lot of new technology to catch up on. Even in the short span of a three-year lease, tech features and creature comforts evolve fast. It can be difficult to keep track of all the changing tech.

The internet's founder now wants to 'fix the web', but his proposal misses the mark

On March 12, the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web, the internet's founder Tim Berners-Lee said we needed to "fix the web."

Visualizing multiple dimensions for big-picture analysis of wing stresses and performance

Bending, buckling, twisting, and plunging are just a few of the ways vehicles perform when in flight. Rather than analyzing these and more variables individually, aerospace engineers used a system-of-systems approach to mathematically model the stresses for a big-picture understanding of what's happening to a portion of a vehicle (a spar) in flight—then used a unique protocol to visualize all of the variables together.

Black Friday: What streaming video device is best for you and can you get a deal?

Streaming video has become a staple in U.S. homes, with seven out of 10 homes subscribing to a subscription streaming service.

Research highlights need to safeguard drones and robotic cars against cyber attacks

Robotic vehicles like Amazon delivery drones or Mars rovers can be hacked more easily than people may think, new research from the University of British Columbia suggests.

Could drone deliveries help the environment? Let's unpack that

In the era of e-commerce, it takes a single click to order anything you'd like. But it takes a lot of energy to bring it to your door.

PlayStation VR roundup: 'Stardust Odyssey,' 'Audica' highlight holiday offerings

PlayStation VR is still going strong going in its fourth year. The peripheral has seen a fair amount of great games since then developers get a grasp of the maturing medium and create higher-quality experiences.

Fuselage of new Boeing 777X ruptured in pressure tests

The fuselage of one of Boeing's new 777X aircraft completely ruptured in pressure tests in September, a previously unreported major setback that could delay the arrival of the long-haul jet to global skies, AFP has learned from informed sources.

Amazon to double holiday hiring to 200,000

Amazon plans to hire 200,000 people for the busy holiday shopping season, double the number of workers it hired a year ago.

Under pressure, Apple shows annexed Crimea as Russia on apps

US tech giant Apple has complied with Moscow's demands to show Crimea, annexed from Ukraine in 2014, as Russian territory on its apps, lawmakers said Wednesday.

Gadgets: Wireless is the hot earbud these days—with good reason

Earbuds or headphones make great gifts for yourself or a loved one during the holiday season. Every year, out of curiosity, I search for "headphones" on Amazon and this year I got more than 90,000 results. Obviously there's a lot to choose from and it gets confusing. Keeping your budget in mind, here is a bunch of great choices and some specific features on each.

Amazon's cloud computing will help Seattle Seahawks tackle data for 'a competitive edge'

The most difficult completion through the first 11 weeks of the NFL season was a Russell Wilson-to-Tyler Lockett touchdown in the final minute of the first half against the Rams. The Seahawks quarterback scrambled on the play action pass and then lofted the ball to a well-covered Lockett, who hauled it in and made a Pacific Northwest Ballet-worthy toe-tap at the back corner of the end zone.

Make cord cutting easier with these ideas

Cutting down the expense of TV content (cord cutting) is a hot topic, and for good reason.

Artificial intelligence: Towards a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms

The automatic identification of complex features in images has already become a reality thanks to artificial neural networks. Some examples of software exploiting this technique are Facebook's automatic tagging system, Google's image search engine and the animal and plant recognition system used by iNaturalist. We know that these networks are inspired by the human brain, but their working mechanism is still mysterious.

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