Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Feb 18

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for February 18, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A framework to evaluate and compare self-reconfigurable robotic systems

Long-term multi-wavelength observations shed more light on blazar 1ES 1215+303

Correcting the jitters in quantum devices

Mediterranean diet promotes gut bacteria linked to 'healthy ageing' in older people

Discovery at 'flower burial' site could unravel mystery of Neanderthal death rites

Researchers use grasshoppers to detect explosive chemical vapors

First Solar Orbiter instrument sends measurements

Most coronavirus infections are mild, says Chinese study

LOFAR pioneers new way to study exoplanet environments

CT scanning an ancient armored reptile

In acoustic waves, engineers break reciprocity with 'spacetime-varying metamaterials'

Do the climate effects of air pollution impact the global economy?

Creating custom light using 2-D materials

Researchers discover how cells clear misfolded proteins from tissues

Study to provide new insights into health impact of urban pollution

Physics news

Correcting the jitters in quantum devices

Labs around the world are racing to develop new computing and sensing devices that operate on the principles of quantum mechanics and could offer dramatic advantages over their classical counterparts. But these technologies still face several challenges, and one of the most significant is how to deal with "noise"—random fluctuations that can eradicate the data stored in such devices.

In acoustic waves, engineers break reciprocity with 'spacetime-varying metamaterials'

Reciprocity isn't always a good thing.

Highly sensitive sensors show promise in enhancing human touch

People rely on a highly tuned sense of touch to manipulate objects, but injuries to the skin and the simple act of wearing gloves can impair this ability. Surgeons, for example, find that gloves decrease their ability to manipulate soft tissues. Astronauts are also hampered by heavy spacesuits and find it difficult to work with equipment while wearing heavy gloves.

MoEDAL hunts for dyons

A magnetic monopole is a theoretical particle with a magnetic charge. Give it an electric charge, and you get another theoretical beast, dubbed a dyon. Many "grand unified theories" of particle physics, which connect fundamental forces at high energies into a single force, predict the existence of dyons, but no experiments at particle accelerators have so far searched for these hybrid particles—until now. The MoEDAL collaboration at CERN, which was designed to search for magnetic monopoles, has just scored two firsts with the first search for dyons at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and, more generally, at any particle accelerator.

How laser pulses can manipulate magnetization via ultrafast transfer of electrons

Combining experiment and theory, researchers from the Max Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy (MBI) and the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics have disentangled how laser pulses can manipulate magnetization via ultrafast transfer of electrons between atoms.

Novel quantum effect found: Spin-rotation coupling

Imagine a dancer en pointe, spinning on her own axis while dancing on a rotating carousel. She might injure herself when both rotations add up and the angular momentum is transferred. Are similar phenomena also present in quantum mechanical systems?

New artificial neural network model bests MaxEnt in inverse problem example

Numerical simulations, generally based on equations that describe a given model and on initial data, are being applied in an ever-expanding range of scientific disciplines to approximate processes at given points in time and space. With so-called inverse problems, this critical data is missing—researchers must reconstruct approximations of the input data or of the model underlying observable data in order to generate the desired predictions.

Researchers combine lasers and terahertz waves in camera that sees 'unseen' detail

A team of physicists at the University of Sussex has successfully developed the first nonlinear camera capable of capturing high-resolution images of the interior of solid objects using terahertz (THz) radiation.

Stability by fluctuation: topological materials outperform through quantum periodic motion

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have discovered that applying vibrational motion in a periodic manner may be the key to preventing dissipations of the desired electron states that would make advanced quantum computing and spintronics possible.

Physicists see nuclear wobbling in one isotope of gold

Nuclei can be round, like a soccer ball, or oblong, like a football. Others are slightly oblong but misshapen, like a potato. One of the only two ways to observe the third shape, rarely encountered, is when the nucleus wobbles like a lopsided top.

Researchers report on helical soft-X-ray beams

Controlling the properties of light is of great importance for many areas of physics, including imaging and nanolithography. But for short wavelengths, such as soft X-ray radiation, such control over the phase of light has remained elusive.

Nanolaminate-based design for UV laser mirror coating

The demand for laser-resistant mirror coatings is increasing in inertial confinement fusion, extreme light infrastructure and other laser applications. The ideal UV laser mirror (UVLM) coating requires high reflectivity with large bandwidth and high laser-induced damage threshold (LIDT). Unfortunately, these requirements are difficult to satisfy simultaneously. This is due, for example, to the fact that high reflectivity requires high refractive index (n) materials, while higher n materials tend to have a smaller optical bandgap and therefore a lower LIDT. Traditionally, UVLMs were achieved by deposition of laser-resistant layers on highly reflective layers. However, compromises are made for the seemingly contradictory requirements.

An intelligent and compact particle analyzer

In many industrial and environmental applications, determining the size and distribution of microscopic particles is essential. For example, in the pharmaceutical industry, inline measurement and control of particles containing various chemical ingredients (before consolidation in tablets) may critically enhance the yield and quality of the final medical product. Also, the air we breathe, water we drink and food we eat can also contain many types of unhealthy particulates, which is then crucial to detect for our health and wellbeing.

Light-sheet fluorescence imaging becomes more parallelized

An arsenal of advanced microscopy tools is now available to provide high-quality visualization of cells and organisms in 3-D and has thus substantiated our understanding the complex biological systems and functions.

SR-FACT microscopy reveals the landscape of the cellular organelle interactome

The emergence of superresolution (SR) fluorescence microscopy has rejuvenated the search for new cellular sub-structures and dynamic intermediates. However, limited by the broad emission spectrum of fluorophores and excessive phototoxicity, SR fluorescence microscopy can only be used to highlight a handful of biomolecules simultaneously and is incapable of providing a holistic map of the cellular environment and landscape.

Astronomy & Space news

Long-term multi-wavelength observations shed more light on blazar 1ES 1215+303

An international team of astronomers has performed a decade-long, multi-wavelength monitoring campaign of the blazar 1ES 1215+303. Results of this extensive study provide more insights into the nature of emission from this source. The research is detailed in a paper published February 10 on

First Solar Orbiter instrument sends measurements

First measurements by a Solar Orbiter science instrument reached the ground on Thursday 13 February providing a confirmation to the international science teams that the magnetometer on board is in good health following a successful deployment of the spacecraft's instrument boom.

LOFAR pioneers new way to study exoplanet environments

sing the Dutch-led Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) radio telescope, astronomers have discovered unusual radio waves coming from the nearby red dwarf star GJ1151. The radio waves bear the tell-tale signature of aurorae caused by an interaction between a star and its planet. The radio emission from a star-planet interaction has been predicted for over thirty-years but this is the first time astronomers have been able to discern its signature. This method, only possible with a sensitive radio telescope like LOFAR, opens the door to a new way of discovering exoplanets in the habitable zone and studying the environment they exist in.

SpaceX announces partnership to send four tourists into deep orbit

SpaceX announced a new partnership Tuesday to send four tourists deeper into orbit than any private citizen before them, in a mission that could take place by 2022 and easily cost more than $100 million.

New adventures in beds and baths for spaceflight

ESA is expanding its bedrest program that allows researchers to study how human bodies react to living in space—without leaving their bed.

New space weather advisories serve aviation

A new international advisory system is working to keep aircraft crew and passengers safe from space weather impacts, thanks in part to the efforts of a team of CIRES and NOAA developers, forecasters, and scientists in Boulder, Colorado.

Technology news

A framework to evaluate and compare self-reconfigurable robotic systems

Self-reconfigurable robots (SRRs) that can automatically change shape and adapt to their surrounding environment have recently attracted a lot of interest within the robotics research community. These robots could have several useful applications, as they can acquire a high level of autonomy in sensing their surrounding environment, as well as in planning and performing suitable actions. While past studies have introduced methods to classify these robots into subgroups, there is still no standard procedure to evaluate their performance.

Researchers use grasshoppers to detect explosive chemical vapors

The year was 2016 and the headlines talked about something called cyborg insects and reflected on a branch of technology called biorobotics.

New chip brings ultra-low power Wi-Fi connectivity to IoT devices

More portable, fully wireless smart home setups. Lower power wearables. Batteryless smart devices. These could all be made possible thanks to a new ultra-low power Wi-Fi radio developed by electrical engineers at the University of California San Diego.

Better long-term forecasts can help the transition to renewable energy

The transition to renewable energy makes it more important for power producers to get accurate information about the weather that is to come. Climate scientists are currently investing considerable effort and resources to help them get better long-term forecasts.

Meet Jaco and Baxter, machine learning robots who cook perfect hot dogs

Craving a bite out of a freshly grilled ballpark frank? Two robots named Jaco and Baxter can serve one up. Boston University engineers have made a jump in using machine learning to teach robots to perform complex tasks, a framework that could be applied to a host of tasks, like identifying cancerous spots on mammograms or better understanding spoken commands to play music. But first, as a proof of concept—they've learned how to prepare the perfect hot dog.

Researchers demonstrate new capability for cooling electronics

For decades, researchers have considered the potential for cooling hot electronic devices by blowing on them with high-speed air jets. However, air jet cooling systems are not widely used today. Two of the biggest obstacles that prevent the use of these systems is their complexity and weight. Air jet systems must be made of metal to be able to handle the pressure associated with air jets whose speed can exceed 200 miles per hour. And the air handling system can be complex with many discrete components that manage the air flow and direct the air onto the hot spots where cooling is required.

Simple, fuel-efficient rocket engine could enable cheaper, lighter spacecraft

It takes a lot of fuel to launch something into space. Sending NASA's Space Shuttle into orbit required more than 3.5 million pounds of fuel, which is about 15 times heavier than a blue whale.

Researchers show advance in next-generation lithium metal batteries

A Washington State University research team has developed a way to address a major safety issue with lithium metal batteries—an innovation that could make high-energy batteries more viable for next-generation energy storage.

Apple to miss revenue forecast as iPhone supply hit by coronavirus

Apple announced Monday it would miss its March quarter revenue forecast and global iPhone supplies would fall because of the deadly coronavirus epidemic, triggering a fall in Asian stock markets.

Body work: Russia's 'biohackers' push boundaries

Gripping a scalpel, Vladislav Zaitsev makes an incision in the fold of skin between his client's thumb and index finger and pushes in a small glass cylinder.

New bipolar plates from thin metal foils for fuel cells

At the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU, researchers are developing advanced technology for manufacturing fuel cell engines with the aim of facilitating their fast and cost-effective serial production. To this end, the IWU researchers are initially focusing directly on the heart of these engines and are working on ways to manufacture bipolar plates from thin metal foils. At the Hannover Messe, Fraunhofer IWU will showcase these and other promising fuel cell engine research activities with the Silberhummel race car.

How hydropower can help get more wind and solar on the grid

A white paper from the International Energy Agency details how hydropower can help ease the global addition of wind and solar to the resource mix on power grids. Argonne's Audun Botterud offered his expertise as a co-author.

Algorithm with 'human element' could create safer, more eco-friendly petrochemical plants

Researchers at Texas A&M University have recently developed a more comprehensive mathematical framework that can help engineers at petrochemical plants to not only reduce production costs and increase economic gain, but also make these factories safer and more environmentally friendly. The researchers said their new algorithm is a one-stop solution that can assist engineers in selecting the most optimal design for chemical processing units within their operating plants.

Instagram's 'Latest Posts' prototype brings back beloved chronological timeline

Instagram is internally testing a feature that would bring back its chronological timeline.

Attention cord-cutters: Redbox rolled out a free online streaming service with live TV

Cord-cutters now have another website they can visit to catch up on TV shows for free.

This cabin rental service is a game-changer for those who love nature

Sometimes it can seem impossible to disconnect for even a moment. Our phones are constantly buzzing and ringing, and our fingers tremble with the urge to Instagram our morning lattes. And we can't always make time in our day-to-day lives to escape all the noise. We live in a time when you just have to take it upon yourself to schedule some much-needed relaxation time. And I have just the way to do it.

Amazon has 37,000 job listings—maybe its most ever—across the globe

At one point last week, Amazon had about 37,200 job listings around the world.

Apple shares skid on worries over coronavirus impact

Apple shares slumped on Wall Street Tuesday after the US tech giant warned of a bigger-than-anticipated financial hit from the coronavirus epidemic, roiling financial markets.

Neuroscience opens the black box of artificial intelligence

Computer scientists at Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg are aiming to use the findings and established methods of brain research to better understand the way in which artificial intelligence works.

Researchers develop efficient distributed deep learning

A new algorithm is enabling deep learning that is more collaborative and communication-efficient than traditional methods.

Europe resists mounting US pressure on Huawei 5G technology

The Trump administration is stepping up pressure on European allies to ban Chinese tech firm Huawei from supplying next-generation mobile networks, with more officials visiting this week to press the case.

Fukushima staff could use raincoats as virus threatens gear production

Workers at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant may need to wear plastic raincoats as the coronavirus outbreak threatens production of protective suits in China, the operator warned on Tuesday.

Furious shareholders blast Nissan bosses

Shareholders livid about the performance of struggling Japanese car giant Nissan on Tuesday blasted bosses over dividends, executive pay, the stock price, and even the type of vehicle they use.

Foreign firms struggle to resume operations in virus-hit China

Foreign firms are struggling to resume work in virus-hit China as they face disrupted supply chains, rising inventory and quarantine rules meant to contain the deadly epidemic, the EU chamber of commerce said Tuesday.

Spain looks to adopt digital tax that has angered the US

Spain's government approved Tuesday the introduction of new taxes on digital business and stock market transactions, following similar steps by other European countries.

MIT to caption online videos after discrimination lawsuit

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has agreed to provide captions for more of its publicly available online videos as part of a settlement announced Tuesday in a case that accused the school of discriminating against people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

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Do you know how much a femur extension costs?


The Future Is a Leg Up on the Competition

18 February 2020

Top Story

Want to Be Taller? Radical Surgery Permanently Extends Your Legs.

In the last year, at least 30 men have made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon named Dr. Kevin Debiparshad to have him saw through their perfectly healthy leg bones.

At his LimbplastX Institute in Las Vegas, Debiparshad cuts through patients' femurs or tibias, forces the bones to separate with metal implants, and sends them on their way to heal. Once their bones grow back, they'll be several inches taller — like that one scene in the 1997 sci-fi film "Gattaca."

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ONE Hospital Director Dies in City Where the Coronavirus Originated

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TWO Tesla Computer Hardware Stuns Competitors: "We Cannot Do It"

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THREE Yasssss Queen: Chess Is Finally Becoming the Next Big eSport

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FOUR Scientists Create Artificial Genome That Can Reproduce

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FIVE SpaceX Says It Will Launch Space Tourists as Soon as Next Year

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Elon Musk: Everyone, "Including Tesla," Needs AI Regulation

Musk took to Twitter on Monday night to respond to a massive feature story published in the MIT Technology Review about OpenAI, the AI research lab founded in part by Elon Musk, alongside others. Musk is calling for more regulation of everyone working with AI, even his own company.

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" If the market doesn't do a better job of accounting for climate, we could have a recession. "

Paul Griffin, accounting professor at the University of California Davis

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