Science X Newsletter Thursday, Jun 4

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for June 4, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

DEAN: A blockchain protocol for more reliable edge computing

Exploring the nature of anomalous psychedelic experiences

Fruit fly study reveals link between the gut and death by sleep deprivation

PTF1J2224+17 is a polar, new study confirms

Large-scale preparation of polymer-based room-temperature phosphorescence via click chemistry

Digital Braille speaker communicates using mid-air pulses

Discovery unlocks 'hot' electrons for more efficient energy use

DNA-barcoded microbial spores can trace origin of objects, agricultural products

Using AI to unlock clues to the origins of the stars and planets

Tumors disrupt the immune system throughout the body

Researchers grow hairy skin from human stem cells

Hubble makes surprising find in the early universe

Can't concentrate at work? This AI system knows why

JCESR lays foundation for safer, longer-lasting batteries

Metasurface opens world of polarization

Physics news

Discovery unlocks 'hot' electrons for more efficient energy use

Highly energetic, "hot" electrons have the potential to help solar panels more efficiently harvest light energy.

Metasurface opens world of polarization

Polarization, the direction in which light vibrates, is invisible to the human eye. Yet, so much of our optical world relies on the control and manipulation of this hidden quality of light.

Active particles with light-switchable propulsion direction and reversible interactions

Researchers from the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw, ETH in Zurich and the University of Cambridge have synthesized and analysed active microparticles self-propelling in a fluid and reversing their propulsion direction depending on the wavelength of illuminating light. A research article summarising their work has recently been published in Nature Communications.

New microscopy method provides unprecedented look at amyloid protein structure

Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's are often accompanied by amyloid proteins in the brain that have become clumped or misfolded. A newly developed technique that measures the orientation of single molecules is enabling optical microscopy to be used, for the first time, to reveal nanoscale details about the structures of these problematic proteins.

Levitated timepiece sets new benchmark

A new mechanical "clock" has been created by an international team of researchers, led by scientists at the University of St Andrews, which could test the fundamental physics of gravity.

Observing topological edge states using moiré patterns

NUS physicists have found a new way to create and tune the topological edge states in two-dimensional (2-D) topological insulators (TIs) for potential spintronic device applications.

Black holes? They are like a hologram

According to new research by SISSA, ICTP and INFN, black holes could be like holograms, in which all the information to produce a three-dimensional image is encoded in a two-dimensional surface. As affirmed by quantum theories, black holes could be incredibly complex, and concentrate an enormous amount of information in two dimensions, like the largest hard disks that exist in nature. This idea aligns with Einstein's theory of relativity, which describes black holes as three dimensional, simple, spherical and smooth, as depicted in the first-ever image of a black hole that circulated in 2019. In short, black holes appear to be three dimensional, just like holograms. The study, which unites two discordant theories, has recently been published in Physical Review X.

SENSEI gets quiet: Scientists demonstrate particle detector for dark matter

What makes for a good dark matter detector? It has a lot in common with a good teleconference setup: You need a sensitive microphone and a quiet room.

Arrays of strontium Rydberg atoms show promise for use in quantum computers

A team of researchers at California Institute of Technology has found that arrays of strontium Rydberg atoms show promise for use in a quantum computer. In their paper published in the journal Nature Physics, the researchers describe their study of quantum entangled alkaline-earth Rydberg atoms arranged in arrays and what they learned about them. In the same issue, Wenhui Li, with the National University of Singapore, has published a News & Views piece exploring the state of quantum computing research, and outlines the work done by the team at CIT.

One-of-a-kind microscope enables breakthrough in quantum science

Technion Professor Ido Kaminer and his team have made a dramatic breakthrough in the field of quantum science: a quantum microscope that records the flow of light, enabling the direct observation of light trapped inside a photonic crystal.

VENUS construction on track for ORNL's newest neutron imaging instrument

Researchers and engineers at the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) are making progress on the construction of VENUS, the facility's newest instrument for studying materials in exciting new ways that are currently not possible for open research programs in the United States.

Exploring new ways to see the Higgs boson

The ATLAS and CMS collaborations presented their latest results on new signatures for detecting the Higgs boson at CERN's Large Hadron Collider. These include searches for rare transformations of the Higgs boson into a Z boson—which is a carrier of one of the fundamental forces of nature—and a second particle. Observing and studying transformations that are predicted to be rare helps advance our understanding of particle physics and could also point the way to new physics if observations differ from the predictions. The results also included searches for signs of Higgs transformations into "invisible" particles, which could shine light on potential dark-matter particles. The analyses involved nearly 140 inverse femtobarns of data, or around 10 million billion proton–proton collisions, recorded between 2015 and 2018.

Work resumes in support of stockpile modernization

The effort to resume hands-on work in support of stockpile modernization programs reached a major milestone May 7 with the successful execution of a focused experiment at the High Explosives Applications Facility (HEAF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The experiment is the first using high explosives at the Laboratory since Alameda County issued a shelter-in-place order March 16 and the Laboratory went into "Reduced Mission Critical Operations" in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Astronomy and Space news

PTF1J2224+17 is a polar, new study confirms

German astronomers have conducted photometric observations of a cataclysmic variable (CV) star known as PTF1J2224+17. Results of the observational campaign confirm that this object is a polar, as suggested by previous studies. The new findings are presented in a paper published May 27 on

Using AI to unlock clues to the origins of the stars and planets

An artificial intelligence (AI) system analyzing data from the Gaia space telescope has identified more than 2,000 large protostars, young stars that are still forming and could hold clues to the origin of the stars in our Milky Way.

Hubble makes surprising find in the early universe

New results from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope suggest the formation of the first stars and galaxies in the early Universe took place sooner than previously thought. A European team of astronomers have found no evidence of the first generation of stars, known as Population III stars, as far back as when the Universe was just 500 million years old.

A mirror image of Earth and sun

Among the more than 4,000 known exoplanets, KOI-456.04 is something special: less than twice the size of Earth, it orbits a sun-like star. And it does so with a star-planet distance that could permit planetary surface temperatures conducive to life. The object was discovered by a team led by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Göttingen. Its host star, called Kepler-160, actually emits visible light; the central stars of almost all other exoplanets, on the other hand, emit infrared radiation, are smaller and fainter than the sun and therefore belong to the class of red dwarf stars.

Image: OSIRIS-REx swoops over sample site Osprey

This view of sample site Osprey on asteroid Bennu is a mosaic of images collected by NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on May 26. A total of 347 PolyCam images were stitched together and corrected to produce the mosaic, which shows the site at 0.2 inches (5 mm) per pixel at full size. The spacecraft took these images during an 820-foot (250-meter) reconnaissance pass over the site, which is the closest Osprey has been imaged. The pass was designed to provide high-resolution imagery to identify the best areas within the site to collect a sample.

Researcher discusses discovery of exoplanets and his special method

René Heller from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research already made the scientific community take notice when he and his team discovered no fewer than 18 previously overlooked exoplanets in the data from the Kepler Space Telescope. Now they succeeded again, this time in finding a somewhat Earth-like planet orbiting a sun-like star. What is so special about the new method of Dr. Heller and his team?

NASA ocean ecosystem mission preparing to make waves

NASA's Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem mission, or PACE, has successfully passed its design reviews and moved into its construction and testing phase, preparing to advance the fields of global ocean and atmospheric science when it launches in 2023.

Technology news

DEAN: A blockchain protocol for more reliable edge computing

Edge computing is an innovative computing method that can enhance the efficiency of machine learning and other computational techniques by running fewer processes in the cloud and distributing the processing load across nearby edge devices (i.e., edge nodes). This type of computing has proved to be highly promising for a number of applications, particularly in aiding businesses to maximize their operational efficiency and overall IT performance.

Digital Braille speaker communicates using mid-air pulses

Researchers at Bayreuth University have developed a digital-age speaker system that permits the blind to read Braille using ultrasound waves in mid-air.

Can't concentrate at work? This AI system knows why

Computer scientists have developed a way to measure staff comfort and concentration in flexible working spaces using artificial intelligence.

The modern world is fast becoming a wireless, infrared world

Optics-based technologies such as optical fibers have strongly influenced the age of wired communication. Now they look set to revolutionize wireless communications as well and solve key issues with traditional radio-based approaches by using steerable, narrow infrared beams to send large amounts of data to user devices individually in an energy efficient and secure manner. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology are developing new methods for infrared wireless communications that could change how we access data forever.

German car sales slashed in half in May: official data

German new car registrations plummeted by almost 50 percent year-on-year in May, official data showed Thursday, with virus lockdowns hitting the vital industry hard ahead of a massive new economic stimulus package.

Robot dog hounds Thai shoppers to keep hands virus-free

A scurrying robot dog named K9 dispenses hand sanitizer to curious children and wary shoppers—one of the more unexpected measures Thai malls are taking as the kingdom relaxes virus restrictions.

Encrypting images with chaos

Research published in the International Journal of Information and Computer Security details a way to encode an image using a chaotic cryptosystem that makes it harder for someone to illicitly break the encryption by boosting the size of the key space to 180 bits. The system, its authors write, is both robust and highly efficient based on their key space, statistical, and sensitivity analyses.

Younger people and users of niche social media platforms are more likely to share COVID-19 disinformation, says study

COVID-19 disinformation is more likely to be shared by younger people and those who use smaller social media channels, research shows.

Germany, France hope cloud data project to boost sovereignty

Germany and France on Thursday launched a project to set up a European cloud computing platform that they hope will enhance European economic sovereignty in the wake of the coronavirus crisis and break the continent's dependence on U.S. and Chinese companies.

Zoom CEO: No end-to-end encryption for free users so company can work with law enforcement

The CEO of popular video conferencing software Zoom said the company has no plans to offer end-to-end encryption to users of its free version so it can continue working with law enforcement.

Study: Autonomous vehicles won't make roads completely safe

A new study says that while autonomous vehicle technology has great promise to reduce crashes, it may not be able to prevent all mishaps caused by human error.

Facebook labels state-controlled media posts, will block ads

Facebook on Thursday began labelling media organizations whose editorial calls may be under the influence of governments and said ads from those outlets would be blocked later this year.

Broadcasters face screen test in coronavirus age

Sport has been forced behind closed doors for the foreseeable future but experts are divided over whether broadcasters will suffer or prosper in the new landscape.

South Korean prosecutors seek arrest warrant for Samsung heir

South Korean prosecutors sought an arrest warrant Thursday for Samsung vice-chairman and heir Lee Jae-yong over a controversial merger of two Samsung units, they said.

Deep learning system will monitor birds at solar facilities

Using artificial intelligence and advanced cameras will help improve our understanding of how birds interact with photovoltaic arrays.

UK car sector axes 2,000 jobs as sales slump

Britain's battered automotive sector axed 2,000 jobs Thursday after the coronavirus crisis slashed sales of new vehicles.

In the midst of coronavirus crisis lies great opportunity for Canada's offshore oil and gas industry

Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore oil and gas industry is facing major challenges due to plummeting oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic. Exploration wells have been postponed and several large projects have been deferred.

Technology for cloud efficiency for databases during data-intensive COVID-19 pandemic

A Purdue University data science and machine learning innovator wants to help organizations and users get the most for their money when it comes to cloud-based databases. Her same technology may help self-driving vehicles operate more safely on the road when latency is the primary concern.

CES: The show will go on in January 2021, in person

Despite many conferences and trade shows being canceled in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, one show plans to forge ahead in January: CES.

Amazon is planning a 'Big Style Sale' event in June

With reports of no Prime Day sale happening this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon is planning another event this month.

Remember Real Player? Now it wants to help you ID actors

If you remember being online in the late 1990s, then you recall when playing a video in those pre-YouTube days, you had to choose between Real Player or the competing Windows Media Player.

Attention cord cutters: Roku now has over 100 free channels and live TV guide

Roku is bolstering its free online streaming platform to include 30 new channels and a TV guide in a move to mimic the channel-flipping experience of watching cable TV.

American Airlines adds flights as demand recovers from virus

American Airlines will add more flights in July on improving demand, the company said Thursday, suggesting the industry had seen the worst of the hit from the coronavirus shutdowns.

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