Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Sep 2

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for September 2, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Heaviest black hole merger is among three recent gravitational wave discoveries

Zooming in on dark matter

Study details how general anesthetics and 'benzos' act on receptors in the brain

Origin of a complex life form revealed

Engineers reprogram yeast cells to become microscopic drug factories

Has Earth's oxygen rusted the Moon for billions of years?

Asphalt adds to air pollution, especially on hot, sunny days

Revolutionary quantum breakthrough paves way for safer online communication

Chinese astronomers investigate spectral behavior of gamma-ray blazar S5 0716+714

Reviewing research about the evolution of complex cognition in birds

Nanoparticle-based computing architecture for nanoparticle neural networks

A molecular approach to quantum computing

AI Jesus writes Bible-inspired verse

Oldest radiocarbon dated temperate hardwood tree in the world discovered in southern Italy

How to remove unwanted components from the cell nucleus

Physics news

Zooming in on dark matter

Cosmologists have zoomed in on the smallest clumps of dark matter in a virtual universe—which could help us to find the real thing in space.

Revolutionary quantum breakthrough paves way for safer online communication

The world is one step closer to having a totally secure internet and an answer to the growing threat of cyber-attacks, thanks to a team of international scientists who have created a unique prototype which could transform how we communicate online.

A molecular approach to quantum computing

The technology behind the quantum computers of the future is fast developing, with several different approaches in progress. Many of the strategies, or "blueprints," for quantum computers rely on atoms or artificial atom-like electrical circuits. In a new theoretical study in the journal Physical Review X, a group of physicists at Caltech demonstrates the benefits of a lesser-studied approach that relies not on atoms but molecules.

Scientists find new way to measure important beam property

For a wide variety of high-powered scientific instruments, from free-electron lasers to wakefield accelerators to electron microscopes, generating a bright electron beam that has specific properties represents one of the most significant challenges. These instruments can be used for investigating the atomic level properties of matter or for accelerating particles to high energies.

Super-resolution imaging with diagonal sampling

The charge-coupled device (CCD) revolutionized photography by enabling the capture of light electronically, as recognized by the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics. However, CCD/CMOS pixel size has become a bottleneck for digital imaging resolution.

Electromagnetic chirality: From fundamentals to nontraditional chiroptical phenomena

Theoretical frameworks of chiroptical properties of electromagnetic materials and fields are reviewed. Based on these fundamentals, chiroptical systems can be understood, and complicated chiroptical phenomena can be described.

Astronomy and Space news

Heaviest black hole merger is among three recent gravitational wave discoveries

Scientists observed what appears to be a bulked-up black hole tangling with a more ordinary one. The research team, which includes physicists from the University of Maryland, detected two black holes merging, but one of the black holes was 1 1/2 times more massive than any ever observed in a black hole collision. The researchers believe the heavier black hole in the pair may be the result of a previous merger between two black holes.This type of hierarchical combining of black holes has been hypothesized in the past but the observed event, labeled GW190521, would be the first evidence for such activity. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration (LSC) and Virgo Collaboration announced the discovery in two papers published September 2, 2020, in the journals Physical Review Letters and Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Has Earth's oxygen rusted the Moon for billions of years?

To the surprise of many planetary scientists, the oxidized iron mineral hematite has been discovered at high latitudes on the Moon, according to a study published today in Science Advances led by Shuai Li, assistant researcher at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) in the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST).

Chinese astronomers investigate spectral behavior of gamma-ray blazar S5 0716+714

Using the Lijiang Observatory, astronomers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have inspected a gamma-ray blazar known as S5 0716+714. The observations provided important insights into the spectral behavior of this source, finding that it is brightness-dependent. The study was published August 26 on the preprint repository.

A 'bang' in LIGO and Virgo detectors signals most massive gravitational-wave source yet

For all its vast emptiness, the universe is humming with activity in the form of gravitational waves. Produced by extreme astrophysical phenomena, these reverberations ripple forth and shake the fabric of space-time, like the clang of a cosmic bell.

Finding magnetic eruptions in space with an AI assistant

An alert pops up in your email: The latest spacecraft observations are ready. You now have 24 hours to scour 84 hours-worth of data, selecting the most promising split-second moments you can find. The data points you choose, depending on how you rank them, will download from the spacecraft in the highest possible resolution; researchers may spend months analyzing them. Everything else will be overwritten like it was never collected at all.

Breakthrough narrows intelligent life search in Milky Way

An analytical breakthrough that could significantly improve our chances of finding extra-terrestrial life in our galaxy has been discovered by a team at The University of Manchester.

Researcher proposes universal mechanism for ejection of matter by black holes

Black holes can expel a thousand times more matter than they capture. The mechanism that governs both ejection and capture is the accretion disk, a vast mass of gas and dust spiraling around the black hole at extremely high speeds. The disk is hot and emits light as well as other forms of electromagnetic radiation. Part of the orbiting matter is pulled toward the center and disappears behind the event horizon, the threshold beyond which neither matter nor light can escape. Another, much larger, part is pushed further out by the pressure of the radiation emitted by the disk itself.

Did meteorite impacts help create life on Earth and beyond?

What if impact craters, long seen as harbingers of death, turned out to be the cradle of life?

A disc of gas would explain mysterious light changes observed in Sagittarius constellation

The enigmatic variations of light in a binary system, located in Sagittarius constellation, could be explained by the presence of a variable gas disc around a hot star that revolves around a cooler star. These are the conclusions of researchers from Chile, Serbia and Poland, and published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Making (per)waves: Space study could improve future fuels

What looks like an engine made its way to space and back last November. While the hardware of the Perwaves experiment will not end up in your car, results from this research could lead to more efficient and carbon-free fuel in the future.

Technology news

AI Jesus writes Bible-inspired verse

AI has found religion.

New anode material could lead to safer fast-charging batteries

Scientists at UC San Diego have discovered a new anode material that enables lithium-ion batteries to be safely recharged within minutes for thousands of cycles. Known as a disordered rocksalt, the new anode is made up of earth-abundant lithium, vanadium and oxygen atoms arranged in a similar way as ordinary kitchen table salt, but randomly. It is promising for commercial applications where both high energy density and high power are desired, such as electric cars, vacuum cleaners or drills.

Educated yet amoral: AI capable of writing books sparks awe

An artificial intelligence (AI) technology made by a firm co-founded by billionaire Elon Musk has won praise for its ability to generate coherent stories, novels and even computer code but it remains blind to racism or sexism.

Decades-old mystery of lithium-ion battery storage solved

For years, researchers have aimed to learn more about a group of metal oxides that show promise as key materials for the next generation of lithium-ion batteries because of their mysterious ability to store significantly more energy than should be possible. An international research team, co-led by The University of Texas at Austin, has cracked the code of this scientific anomaly, knocking down a barrier to building ultra-fast battery energy storage systems.

Report: Algorithm question complicates TikTok sale

Sale talks for TikTok's U.S. operations have been complicated by the key question of whether the app's core algorithms can be included as part of a deal, according to a introduced export restrictions on artificial intelligence technology that appear to cover content-recommendation algorithms such as the one powering TikTok. The move followed President Donald Trump's effort to force a sale of TikTok's U.S. operations by Sept. 20.

Opinion: Why a UK 'cycling and walking revolution' won't reduce car travel

The UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, has announced £2 billion to create thousands of miles of protected bike lanes and pedestrian space. There are lots of good reasons to encourage walking and cycling—active travel, as it's called. The pandemic necessitates social distancing on public transport, which means buses and trains have to ferry fewer passengers per journey. Cycling and walking are healthier alternatives and in the longer term, both have a part to play in cutting carbon emissions from the transport system, as well as improving urban air quality.

House hunters are rarely told the home energy rating—little wonder the average is as low as 1.8 stars

Most Australian homes have been built to notoriously poor standards. The energy performance of existing homes in Victoria, for instance, averages 1.8 stars – 6 stars is mandatory for newly built homes under the 10-star Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NaTHERS).

New method for automated control leverages advances in AI

The design of real-world automated control systems that do everything from regulating the temperature of skyscrapers to running the widget-making machine in the widget factory down the street requires expertise in sophisticated physics-based modeling. The need for this modeling expertise increases operational costs and restricts the applicability of automated control to systems in which marginal operational performance improvements lead to huge economic benefits, according to data scientists.

Mercedes-Benz unveils new flagship S-Class sedan

Daimler AG on Wednesday unveiled the new version of its Mercedes-Benz S-Class luxury sedan, the company's most important model and one it hopes will generate fat profits to help the Stuttgart-based automaker through the COVID-19 recession and wrenching structural changes to the auto industry.

Predictive placentas: Using AI to protect mothers' future pregnancies

After a baby is born, doctors sometimes examine the placenta—the organ that links the mother to the baby—for features that indicate health risks in any future pregnancies. Unfortunately, this is a time-consuming process that must be done by a specialist, so most placentas go unexamined after the birth. A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) developed a machine learning approach to examine placenta slides so more women can be informed of their health risks.

Travel site aggregators face challenges when compared to airlines that market directly

If you are a budget-conscious traveler, there is a chance you've used a travel site aggregator like Orbitz to book your air transportation. Or, perhaps you shopped around on multiple aggregators, and made your final booking on an airline website. Did you ever wonder if you were presented with all airline options, or what kind of itineraries you could have received had you explored all airline sites one by one? Between aggregators and airlines, who ultimately has the upper hand?

US agency posts online map to track autonomous vehicle tests

If you've ever seen one of those self-driving vehicles with strange equipment on the roof and wondered where it's going, then there's a website for you.

Scale of New Zealand cyber attacks unprecedented: minister

New Zealand's justice minister says the nation is confronting cyber attacks on an unprecedented scale, targeting everything from the stock market to the weather service.

Uber seeks Hong Kong govt meeting after court defeat

Uber on Wednesday said it was seeking an urgent meeting with Hong Kong's government after drivers working for the company lost a landmark court case that could cripple ride-sharing apps in the finance hub.

Development of next-generation zinc ion battery without the risk of explosion or fire

A research team led by Dr. Joong-Kee Lee of the Center for Energy Storage Research has developed a next-generation secondary battery that uses zinc metal as an electrode without any risk of explosion or fire. This battery is safe enough to be worn on the body and can be manufactured as a fiber shape, which means it may potentially be applied as a power source for wearable devices in the future.

High Court in London backs Virgin Atlantic's rescue plan

Virgin Atlantic's 1.2 billion-pound ($1.6 billion) restructuring plan was approved Wednesday by the High Court in London, allowing the international airline to continue rebuilding its operations after the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 lockdowns expose the digital have-nots in rural areas—here's which policies can get them connected

The current public health emergency has shown just how critical adequate and affordable broadband infrastructure is for communities and individuals trying to work, access health care and attempt to teach kids from home.

United plans to furlough 16,000 workers, fewer than expected

United Airlines said Wednesday it plans to furlough 16,370 employees in October, down from an earlier target of 36,000 after thousands of workers took early retirement, buyouts, or long-term leaves of absence with the industry facing a slow recovery from the pandemic.

Ford to cut 1,400 jobs via retirements as profit lags

US automaker Ford on Wednesday announced it would offer around 1,400 voluntary retirement packages as it aims to cut staff amid a shakeup in leadership and struggles with profitability.

Startup to expand online immigration services with acquisition of RapidVisa

Boundless Immigration co-founder Xiao Wang sounds frustrated discussing the tightened rules and processing delays for visas and citizenship that have hallmarked the Trump administration.

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