Science X Newsletter Thursday, Nov 5

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for November 5, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Why solar axions cannot explain the observed XENON1T excess

Study investigates dual nuclei in the galaxy merger remnant Mrk 212

The biggest trees capture the most carbon: Large trees dominate carbon storage in forests

New research traces the origins of trench fever

The first duckbill dinosaur fossil from Africa hints at how dinosaurs once crossed oceans

Hydrogen bonds may be key to airborne dicamba

The burning question of Bonfire Night pollution

Technique to regenerate optic nerve offers hope for future glaucoma treatment

Parents, MDs agree: genome sequencing as first-tier diagnostic benefits infants in ICU

Large-scale cancer proteomics study profiles protein changes in response to drug treatments

When new males take over, these female primates hurry up and mature

From hard to soft: Making sponges from mussel shells

Nature-inspired design: Mimicking moth eyes to produce transparent anti-reflective coatings

Crystals reveal the danger of sleeping volcanoes

Natural enemy of Asian fruit fly, previously thought to be one species, is in fact two

Physics news

Why solar axions cannot explain the observed XENON1T excess

For several decades, physicists and astrophysicists have theorized about the existence of dark matter in the universe. This elusive type of matter would be made up of particles that do not absorb, reflect or emit light, and that hence cannot be detected using conventional instruments for observing particles.

Physicists suggest mechanism responsible for the neutron drip line is related to deformation

A team of physicists affiliated with several institutions in Japan and one in Belgium has theorized that one of the mechanisms responsible for the neutron drip line is related to deformation. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes their calculations regarding the contributions to binding energy for deformations in nuclei as part of an effort to better understand how many neutrons an atom can hold.

Physicists develop efficient modem for a future quantum internet

The first quantum revolution brought about semiconductor electronics, the laser and finally the internet. The coming, second quantum revolution promises spy-proof communication, extremely precise quantum sensors and quantum computers for previously unsolvable computing tasks. But this revolution is still in its infancy. A central research object is the interface between local quantum devices and light quanta that enable the remote transmission of highly sensitive quantum information. The Otto-Hahn group "Quantum Networks" at the Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching is researching such a "quantum modem". The team has now achieved a first breakthrough in a relatively simple but highly efficient technology that can be integrated into existing fiber optic networks. The work is published this week in Physical Review X.

New technology allows cameras to capture colors invisible to the human eye

New research from Tel Aviv University will allow cameras to recognize colors that the human eye and even ordinary cameras are unable to perceive.

Researchers shrink imaging spectrometer without compromising performance

Researchers have developed a new imaging spectrometer that is much lighter and smaller than state-of-the-art instruments while maintaining the same high level of performance. Because of its small size and modular design, the new instrument is poised to bring this advanced analytical technique to airborne vehicles and even planetary exploration missions.

Noise reduction via intermittent control by utilizing a plasma actuator

A research team in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Toyohashi University of Technology developed a method for reducing aerodynamic noise via plasma. Cavity flow, such as the flow around car gaps of high-speed trains, often radiates aerodynamic noise. A plasma actuator inducing flow was applied to suppress this noise. By periodically switching off the power of the plasma actuator, a higher reduction in sound pressure level was observed when compared with continuous operation under the same power consumption.

Blue phosphorus: How a semiconductor becomes a metal

The chemical element phosphorus is considered one of the most essential elements for life. Phosphorus compounds are deeply involved in the structure and function of organisms. Every human carries about one kilogram of it in the body. But even outside our bodies we are surrounded by phosphates and phosphonates every day: in our food, in detergents, fertilizers or in medicines.

Astronomy and Space news

Study investigates dual nuclei in the galaxy merger remnant Mrk 212

Using the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) and the upgraded Giant Meter Radio Telescope (uGMRT), astronomers have conducted multi-wavelength observations of a galaxy merger remnant known as Mrk 212. Results of this observational campaign, presented in a paper published October 28 on, shed more light on the properties and nature of this remnant.

The International Space Station at 20 offers hope and a template for future cooperation

On Nov. 2, 2020, the International Space Station celebrated its 20th anniversary of continuous human occupation. With astronauts and cosmonauts from around the world working together, the ISS has demonstrated humankind's ability to not only live and work in space but cooperate with one another. This remarkable achievement is significant as countries and companies around the world look to expand space exploration beyond Earth orbit.

Technology news

Next-generation computer chip with two heads

EPFL engineers have developed a computer chip that combines two functions—logic operations and data storage—into a single architecture, paving the way to more efficient devices. Their technology is particularly promising for applications relying on artificial intelligence.

Scientists develop energy-saving 'liquid window'

Scientists at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed a liquid window panel that can simultaneously block the sun to regulate solar transmission, while trapping thermal heat that can be released through the day and night, helping to reduce energy consumption in buildings.

Lithium-ion battery research 'flowers'

Lithium-ion batteries work by shuffling lithium ions between a positive electrode (cathode) and a negative electrode (anode) during charging and in the opposite direction during discharging. Our smartphones, laptops, and electric vehicles conventionally employ lithium-ion batteries with anodes made of graphite, a form of carbon. Lithium is inserted into graphite as you charge the battery and removed as you use the battery.

Nintendo net profit rockets 243.6% in first half, forecasts revised up

Japanese gaming giant Nintendo said Thursday its first-half net profit soared 243.6 percent on-year as it upgraded its full-year sales and profit forecasts, with coronavirus lockdowns driving extraordinary demand.

With PlayStation 5 launch, Sony needs a high score

Sony launches its PlayStation 5 console next week angling for a mega-hit, and with the Japanese firm increasingly dependent on the lucrative gaming sector there is little room for error.

A video games timeline: from Pong to the console wars

Video games have come a long way since the first rudimentary arcade machines emerged in the 1970s with offerings such as "Pong", "Pacman" and "Space Invaders".

Price, date, games... PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X

Sony and Microsoft are in a game consoles rematch with both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X launching next week with well-studied playbooks of dates, technical specs and games aimed at luring buyers.

Two motivational artificial beings are better than one for enhancing learning

Social rewards such as praise are known to enhance various stages of the learning process. Now, researchers from Japan have found that praise delivered by artificial beings such as robots and virtual graphics-based agents can have effects similar to praise delivered by humans, with important practical applications as social services such as education increasingly move to virtual and online platforms.

Talc improves pipe performance in geothermal heat pump systems

Geothermal energy is an energy source of increasing importance. In the pursuit of energy efficiency to achieve set climate goals, it is important to get to understand the technical challenges in detail. The plastic pipes used in geothermal heating systems are the subject of a research project at the University of BorĂ¥s, Sweden.

Disappearing messages come to Facebook-owned WhatsApp

Facebook-owned WhatsApp said Thursday it would introduce disappearing messages on WhatsApp, a move ramping up its challenge to rival Snapchat.

Four energy-saving lessons from the first lockdown which may help us through the winter

The gold standard of research in science is the randomized controlled trial. The COVID-19 restrictions may at times seem random and most certainly feel like a trial. But are they controlled enough to learn from?

Is the country ready for a single-passenger electric vehicle?

There's a new kid on the zero-emissions vehicle block—and it has three wheels.

Lufthansa braces for 'challenging' winter on 2 bn euro loss

German flag carrier Lufthansa on Thursday posted a third quarter net loss of 2.0 billion euros as it prepares for a "hard and challenging" winter amid lockdowns to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

Turning up the heat on molten salt valves

Sandia National Laboratories is partnering with Flowserve Corp. and Kairos Power LLC on a $2.5 million, three-year Department of Energy Advanced Valve Project grant to lower the cost and boost the efficiency of concentrating solar power in the U.S.

Ant Group fiasco reflects battle for China's financial soul

China's last-minute abandonment of Ant Group's record-breaking IPO stems from an intensifying battle for the soul of the nation's financial system that the fintech giant and its charismatic leader Jack Ma helped to ignite.

GM rides US love for trucks, SUVs to blowout 3Q profits

America's love of big autos translated into blowout results Thursday for General Motors, which also benefited from recovering sales in China following a big hit amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Alibaba posts solid revenue ahead of shopping festival

Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba on Thursday reported solid 30 percent year-on-year revenue growth for the July-September quarter, providing some much-needed good news amid turmoil over its Ant Group affiliate's abandoned IPO.

How Australia can reap the benefits and dodge the dangers of the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is already all around us. Online devices have become essential in industries from manufacturing and healthcare to agriculture and environmental management, not to mention our own homes. Digital consulting firm Ovum estimates that by 2022 Australian homes will host more than 47 million IoT devices, and the value of the global market will exceed US$1 trillion.

NY Times sees gains as subscriber base tops 7 million

The New York Times said Thursday profits rose in the past quarter, lifted by gains in paying digital readers, as its total subscription base topped seven million.

GM to bring pickups production back to Canada

General Motors announced Thursday a deal with the Canadian auto workers' union to bring back to this country production of pickups to meet rising demand in North America.

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