Science X Newsletter Thursday, Sep 24

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for September 24, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

New brain cell-like nanodevices work together to identify mutations in viruses

Twinkling, star-shaped brain cells may hold the key to why, how we sleep

Metal wires of carbon complete toolbox for carbon-based computers

Glass molecules can act like sand when jammed, study finds

Curling robot able to beat some professional players

Photopyroelectric microfluidics developed by researchers

Island-building in Southeast Asia created Earth's northern ice sheets

Microsoft turns to holographic solutions for cloud storage

A self-erasing chip for security and anti-counterfeit tech

Provide shady spots to protect butterflies from climate change, say scientists

SLAC invention could make particle accelerators 10 times smaller

Genome of Alexander Fleming's original penicillin-producing mould sequenced

Novel cell membrane model could be key to uncovering new protein properties

5G wireless may lead to inaccurate weather forecasts

A new strategy of cell entry for some types of parvoviruses

Physics news

Glass molecules can act like sand when jammed, study finds

UO researchers have discovered that molecules in glass materials behave just like particles in sand and rocks as they jam together, a mechanism that could boost explorations of condensed matter and complex systems.

A self-erasing chip for security and anti-counterfeit tech

Self-erasing chips developed at the University of Michigan could help stop counterfeit electronics or provide alerts if sensitive shipments are tampered with.

SLAC invention could make particle accelerators 10 times smaller

Particle accelerators generate high-energy beams of electrons, protons and ions for a wide range of applications, including particle colliders that shed light on nature's subatomic components, X-ray lasers that film atoms and molecules during chemical reactions and medical devices for treating cancer.

The return of the spin echo

A research team from Garching and Vienna discovered a remarkable echo effect that offers exciting new possibilities for working with quantum information.

Gravity causes homogeneity of the universe

Gravity can accelerate the homogenization of space-time as the universe evolves. This insight is based on theoretical studies of the physicist David Fajman of the University of Vienna. The mathematical methods developed within the research project allow to investigate fundamental open questions of cosmology such as why the universe today appears so homogeneous. The results have been published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Young physicist 'squares the numbers' on time travel

Paradox-free time travel is theoretically possible, according to the mathematical modeling of a prodigious University of Queensland undergraduate student.

Bridging the gap between the magnetic and electronic properties of topological insulators

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology shed light on the relationship between the magnetic properties of topological insulators and their electronic band structure. Their experimental results offer new insights into recent debates regarding the evolution of the band structure with temperature in these materials, which exhibit unusual quantum phenomena and are envisioned to be crucial in next-generation electronics, spintronics, and quantum computers.

New system detects faint communications signals using the principles of quantum physics

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have devised and demonstrated a system that could dramatically increase the performance of communications networks while enabling record-low error rates in detecting even the faintest of signals, potentially decreasing the total amount of energy required for state-of-the-art networks by a factor of 10 to 100.

Scientists achieve higher precision weak force measurement between protons, neutrons

Through a one-of-a-kind experiment at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, nuclear physicists have precisely measured the weak interaction between protons and neutrons. The result quantifies the weak force theory as predicted by the Standard Model of Particle Physics.

Impurities enhance polymer LED efficiencies

Molecular dynamics simulations have shown that the mysteriously high efficiency of polymer LEDs arises from interactions between triplet excitons in their polymer chains, and unpaired electrons in their molecular impurities.

A question of quantum reality

Physicist Reinhold Bertlmann of the University of Vienna, Austria has published a review of the work of his late long-term collaborator John Stewart Bell of CERN, Geneva in EPJ H. This review, "Real or Not Real: that is the question," explores Bell's inequalities and his concepts of reality and explains their relevance to quantum information and its applications.

Optimizing of VCSEL photon lifetime for minimum energy consumption at varying bit rates

The explosive growth of internet use leads to an explosion of the energy consumption of data centers. Vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs) are key enabling devices meeting the requirements of optical interconnects in such data centers up to a few hundred meters of single or multimode fiber due to their simplicity, low cost, and large data transmission rates. Achieving higher bit rates has been the stated goal of research and development during the last years.

Astronomy and Space news

Researchers depict the formation of galaxies

An international team of astronomers, with researchers at Leiden Observatory playing a leading role, has mapped the fuel for galaxy formation in the iconic Hubble Ultra Deep Field. The results of the research have been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.

The strange storms on Jupiter

At the south pole of Jupiter lurks a striking sight—even for a gas giant planet covered in colorful bands that sports a red spot larger than the earth. Down near the south pole of the planet, mostly hidden from the prying eyes of humans, is a collection of swirling storms arranged in an unusually geometric pattern.

New chronology of the Saturn system

A new chronology for the moons of Saturn has been developed by Planetary Science Institute Associate Research Scientist Samuel W. Bell.

Faint orbital debris that threatens satellites not being monitored closely enough, warn astronomers

University of Warwick astronomers are warning that orbital debris posing a threat to operational satellites is not being monitored closely enough, as they publish a new survey finding that over 75% of the orbital debris they detected could not be matched to known objects in public satellite catalogs.

NASA chief warns Congress about Chinese space station

NASA chief Jim Bridenstine told lawmakers Wednesday it was crucial for the US to maintain a presence in Earth's orbit after the International Space Station is decommissioned so that China does not gain a strategic advantage.

Air Force, SpaceX mum about sky-high rocket costs

Five years ago, Elon Musk, the multibillionaire CEO of the SpaceX rocket company, smashed his way into the business of launching U.S. military and intelligence satellites, a lucrative market that had been cornered for nearly a decade by United Launch Alliance.

A minuscule spacecraft joins a pilot's epic journey to fly from pole to pole

On November 16, 2019, pilot and author Robert DeLaurentis took off on an ambitious adventure. Setting out from San Diego county's Gillespie Field, he banked toward Grand Prairie, Texas on the first leg of a pole to pole expedition. At each stop along the way he planned to talk about STEM education, aviation safety and technology, all with the intention of encouraging and inspiring the next generation.

Technology news

Curling robot able to beat some professional players

A combined team of researchers from Korea and Germany has built an AI-based curling robot that is able to compete at a professional level. In their paper published in the journal Science Robotics, the group describes how their robot was built, how it was trained and how well it performed when matched against professional human players. Johannes Stork with Örebro University has published a Focus piece discussing the work by the team in the same journal issue.

Microsoft turns to holographic solutions for cloud storage

When people think of holograms, they may think of the small insignia on credit cards that appear to move as you rotate the card. Or they may think of recent rock concert spectacles featuring realistic 3-D performances by singers who are no longer alive. Whitney Houston, Roy Orbison, Tupac Shakur, Buddy Holly and Ronnie James Dio drew rave reviews from fans in 'live' performances made possible by holography even though they all have been dead for years.

Bioelectronic device achieves unprecedented control of cell membrane voltage

In an impressive proof-of-concept demonstration, an interdisciplinary team of scientists has developed a bioelectronic system driven by a machine learning algorithm that can shift the membrane voltage in living cells and maintain it at a set point for 10 hours.

Zoom adds accessibility features for video meetings

Zoom, which has become one of the most popular video meeting services, added new features Wednesday aimed at improving accessibility for those who are differently abled.

Breach at software provider to local governments, schools

A major provider of software services for governments and schools across the United States, Tyler Technologies, told customers Wednesday that an unknown intruder broke into its phone and information technology systems.

Researchers develop smallest particle sensor in the world

TU Graz, AMSm, and Silicon Austria Labs have developed a compact, energy-efficient sensor for mobile devices that informs users in real time about the fine dust content in the air and warns them of elevated values.

Study compares benefits of scooter-sharing vs. bike-sharing

While ridesharing services like Grab, Uber and Gojek have become a pervasive part of life, many countries in the Asia Pacific are still unconvinced when it comes to micro-mobility such as bike and scooter-sharing. While convenient, especially during a pandemic, when people may be wary of crowding in busses and metro trains, there is a need for in-depth knowledge of these new transportation options to help guide policy and regulation.

Robotics firm expands autonomous data collection drones from sea to air

Back in 2013, local Brooklyn papers were excitedly reporting on a new initiative aimed at getting residents involved in cleaning up the highly polluted Gowanus Canal. Brooklyn Atlantis, as the project was known, was the brainchild of NYU Tandon Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Maurizio Porfiri, who envisioned building and launching robotic boats to collect water-quality data and capture images of the infamous canal, which citizen scientists would then view and help classify. Those robotic boats ultimately led to the formation of the company Manifold Robotics, which aimed to further develop the unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) with sensor technology. (The fledgling company received support from PowerBridgeNY, a collaborative initiative to bring university research to market.) More recently, the startup has now branched out to develop a mobile data collection platform that allows unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to operate safely in the sky near power lines.

Developers form coalition to press for app store changes

Major app developers including Fortnite maker Epic Games and streaming music giant Spotify announced Thursday they had formed a coalition to press for new terms to the major online marketplaces operated by Apple and Google.

Lufthansa to try out pre-flight corona tests on routes to US

German airline Lufthansa says it will test the practice of offering on-the-spot coronavirus tests before boarding intercontinental flights in an attempt to find a way to get long-haul passengers flying again.

EU unveils proposed curbs on cryptocurrencies

The European Commission on Thursday unveiled plans to regulate cryptocurrencies, proposing rules that could limit the development of Facebook-backed Libra and similar projects.

Google Maps shows COVID-19 hot spots

Google is updating its free mapping service this week with color-coding that maps out areas infected with COVID-19 cases, the search giant said in a blog post Thursday.

Amazon launches Luna cloud-based video game service

Amazon on Thursday unveiled its Luna streaming video game service, challenging Microsoft and Google in the fast-growing segment.

'Alexa, I'm getting pulled over': Amazon dashcam to record traffic stops

Amazon's new security camera for cars unveiled Thursday will allow motorists concerned about a police stop to record the incident by saying, "Alexa, I'm getting pulled over."

With iOS 14, more iPhone owners are customizing their screens. Here's how they did it

Thanks to iOS 14, iPhone owners have been getting a lot more creative.

Getting a new Apple or Samsung watch? Here's what you can get for your old one

Just like for used phones, a cottage industry is emerging to resell old Apple and Samsung watches.

China auto show forging ahead under anti-virus controls

The first event for the CEO of Swedish electric car brand Polestar at this month's Beijing auto show: A two-week quarantine in a hotel.

Alibaba fintech arm eyes record IPO with Hong Kong-Shanghai listing

The financial arm of Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba is planning the biggest IPO in history, raising as much as $35 billion in a joint listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai, a report said Thursday.

TikTok urges US court order to block Trump ban

A federal judge Thursday urged the Trump administration to consider delaying a ban on new downloads of the popular video app TikTok and hinted he might block the government's order set to take effect on Sunday.

Trump tech war with China changes the game for US business

President Donald Trump's war on Chinese technology firms has changed the ground rules for global business, underscoring a new political reality that could have negative repercussions for American firms.

Automakers sue US government over tariffs on Chinese imports

Major automakers Tesla, Volvo, Ford and Mercedes-Benz have sued the US government over tariffs on Chinese goods, demanding customs duties paid on imports be returned, with interest.

TikTok's owner applies for Chinese license to close US deal

TikTok's owner said Thursday it has applied for a Chinese technology export license as it tries to complete a deal with Oracle and Walmart to keep the popular video app operating in the United States.

Why social media has changed the world—and how to fix it

Are you on social media a lot? When is the last time you checked Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram? Last night? Before breakfast? Five minutes ago?

Facebook oversight board to start operating in October

Facebook's long-awaited oversight board that will act as a referee on whether specific content is allowed on the tech giant's platforms is set to launch in October.

IPOs head for banner year on stock market's strength

Companies that cater to the "new normal" of working and shopping from home are rushing to go public.

Nintendo Switch is still tough to buy. Here's where to look

Among the shortages of items like toilet paper and cleaning wipes, one product stood out among consumers eager to entertain themselves at home amid the pandemic: the Nintendo Switch.

Lab develops long range fever detector

A federal research facility in Crane, Indiana, has developed a temperature scanning sensor system and software to help contain the coronavirus.

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