Science X Newsletter Week 52

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 52:

Korean artificial sun sets the new world record of 20-sec-long operation at 100 million degrees

The Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR), a superconducting fusion device also known as the Korean artificial sun, set the new world record as it succeeded in maintaining the high temperature plasma for 20 seconds with an ion temperature over 100 million degrees (Celsius).

Artificial intelligence solves Schrödinger's equation

A team of scientists at Freie Universität Berlin has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) method for calculating the ground state of the Schrödinger equation in quantum chemistry. The goal of quantum chemistry is to predict chemical and physical properties of molecules based solely on the arrangement of their atoms in space, avoiding the need for resource-intensive and time-consuming laboratory experiments. In principle, this can be achieved by solving the Schrödinger equation, but in practice this is extremely difficult.

The world's oldest story? Astronomers say global myths about 'seven sisters' stars may reach back 100,000 years

In the northern sky in December is a beautiful cluster of stars known as the Pleiades, or the "seven sisters." Look carefully and you will probably count six stars. So why do we say there are seven of them?

Japanese spacecraft's gifts: Asteroid chips like charcoal

They resemble small fragments of charcoal, but the soil samples collected from an asteroid and returned to Earth by a Japanese spacecraft were hardly disappointing.

Jupiter and Saturn cheek-to-cheek in rare celestial dance

The solar system's two biggest planets, Jupiter and Saturn, came within planetary kissing range in Monday's evening sky, an intimacy that will not occur again until 2080.

Earthlings and astronauts chat away, via ham radio

The International Space Station cost more than $100 billion. A ham radio set can be had for a few hundred bucks.

Masks block 99.9% of large COVID-linked droplets: study

Face masks reduce the risk of spreading large COVID-linked droplets when speaking or coughing by up to 99.9 percent, according to a lab experiment with mechanical mannequins and human subjects, researchers said Wednesday.

Breast milk could help treat COVID-19 and protect babies

Health psychology professor Jennifer Hahn-Holbrook and incoming grad student Jessica Marino have a new study suggesting that the breastmilk of mothers who have recovered from COVID-19 contains strong antibodies to the virus.

Experiment takes 'snapshots' of light, stops light, uses light to change properties of matter

Light travels at a speed of about 300,000,000 meters per second as light particles, photons, or equivalently as electromagnetic field waves. Experiments led by Hrvoje Petek, an R.K. Mellon professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy examined ideas surrounding the origins of light, taking snapshots of light, stopping light and using it to change properties of matter.

New flower from 100 million years ago brings fresh holiday beauty to 2020

Oregon State University researchers have identified a spectacular new genus and species of flower from the mid-Cretaceous period, a male specimen whose sunburst-like reach for the heavens was frozen in time by Burmese amber.

New nanomaterial helps obtain hydrogen from a liquid energy carrier, in a key step toward a stable and clean fuel source

Hydrogen is a sustainable source of clean energy that avoids toxic emissions and can add value to multiple sectors in the economy including transportation, power generation, metals manufacturing, among others. Technologies for storing and transporting hydrogen bridge the gap between sustainable energy production and fuel use, and therefore are an essential component of a viable hydrogen economy. But traditional means of storage and transportation are expensive and susceptible to contamination. As a result, researchers are searching for alternative techniques that are reliable, low-cost and simple. More-efficient hydrogen delivery systems would benefit many applications such as stationary power, portable power, and mobile vehicle industries.

Could COVID-19 have wiped out the Neandertals?

Everybody loves Neandertals, those big-brained brutes we supposedly outcompeted and ultimately replaced using our sharp tongues and quick, delicate minds. But did we really, though? Is it mathematically possible that we could yet be them, and they us?

Austrian court overturns virus mask mandate in schools

Austria's Constitutional Court ruled Wednesday that two government measures to fight the spread of coronavirus in schools, compulsory mask-wearing and splitting classes into two halves to be taught in alternate shifts, were illegal.

Making jet fuel out of carbon dioxide

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the U.K. and one in Saudi Arabia has developed a way to produce jet fuel using carbon dioxide as a main ingredient. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the group describes their process and its efficiency.

Remarkable new species of snake found hidden in a biodiversity collection

To be fair, the newly described Waray Dwarf Burrowing Snake (Levitonius mirus) is pretty great at hiding.

Study finds evidence of lasting immunity after mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 infection

New research involving scientists from Queen Mary University of London has found evidence of protective immunity in people up to four months after mild or asymptomatic COVID-19.

Study resolves the position of fleas on the tree of life

A study of more than 1,400 protein-coding genes of fleas has resolved one of the longest standing mysteries in the evolution of insects, reordering their placement in the tree of life and pinpointing who their closest relatives are.

New population of blue whales discovered in the western Indian ocean

An international team of researchers has discovered what it believes to be a new population of blue whales in the western Indian Ocean.

Anti-diarrhea drug drives cancer cells to cell death

The research group led by Dr. Sjoerd van Wijk from the Institute of Experimental Cancer Research in Paediatrics at Goethe University already two years ago found evidence indicating that the anti-diarrhea drug loperamide could be used to induce cell death in glioblastoma cell lines. They have now deciphered its mechanism of action and, in doing so, are opening new avenues for the development of novel treatment strategies.

COVID immunity lasts at least eight months, new data reveals

Australian researchers have revealed—for the first time—that people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus have immune memory to protect against reinfection for at least eight months.


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