Science X Newsletter Thursday, Feb 27

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for February 27, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Large exoplanet could have the right conditions for life

Engineers develop miniaturized 'warehouse robots' for biotechnology applications

Using a cappella to explain speech and music specialization

Discovery of expanding pectin nanofilaments that manipulate plant cell shapes

Physicists may have accidentally discovered a new state of matter

Reviewing recent developments in the electrolysis of saline water

Researchers discover second type of schizophrenia

Satellite almost on empty gets new life after space docking

Computer scientists' new tool fools hackers into sharing keys for better cybersecurity

Helpful interactions can keep societies stable

Researchers combine advanced spectroscopy technique with video-rate imaging

Most amphibians can glow in the dark, scientists report

Earth captures new 'mini moon'

Scientists show how caloric restriction prevents negative effects of aging in cells

SNIPRs take aim at disease-related mutations

Physics news

Researchers combine advanced spectroscopy technique with video-rate imaging

For the first time, researchers have used an advanced analytical technique known as dual-comb spectroscopy to rapidly acquire extremely detailed hyperspectral images. By acquiring a full spectrum of information for each pixel in a scene with high sensitivity and speed, the new approach could greatly advance a wide range of scientific and industrial applications such as chemical analysis and biomedical sensing.

Particle accelerator technology could solve one of the most vexing problems in building quantum computers

Last year, researchers at Fermilab received over $3.5 million for projects that delve into the burgeoning field of quantum information science. Research funded by the grant runs the gamut, from building and modeling devices for possible use in the development of quantum computers to using ultracold atoms to look for dark matter.

Quantum researchers able to split one photon into three

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo report the first occurrence of directly splitting one photon into three.

Witnessing the birth of baby universes 46 times: The link between gravity and soliton

Scientists have been attempting to come up with an equation to unify the micro and macro laws of the Universe; quantum mechanics and gravity. We are one step closer with a paper that demonstrates that this unification is successfully realized in JT gravity. In the simplified toy model of the one dimensional domain, the holographic principle, or how information is stored on a boundary that manifests in another dimension is revealed.

Astronomy & Space news

Large exoplanet could have the right conditions for life

Astronomers have found an exoplanet more than twice the size of Earth to be potentially habitable, opening the search for life to planets significantly larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune.

Satellite almost on empty gets new life after space docking

A communication satellite almost out of fuel has gotten a new life after the first space docking of its kind.

Earth captures new 'mini moon'

Earth has acquired a second "mini-moon" about the size of a car, according to astronomers who spotted the object circling our planet.

Astronomers detect biggest explosion in the history of the Universe

Scientists studying a distant galaxy cluster have discovered the biggest explosion seen in the Universe since the Big Bang.

NASA selects new instrument to continue key climate record

NASA has selected a new space-based instrument as an innovative and cost-effective approach to maintaining the 40-year data record of the balance between the solar radiation entering Earth's atmosphere and the amount absorbed, reflected, and emitted. This radiation balance is a key factor in determining our climate: if Earth absorbs more heat than it emits, it warms up; if it emits more than it absorbs, it cools down.

Earth's new 'moon': What you should know

The Minor Planet Centre has just announced that the Earth has been orbited by a second moon for the past three years or so. But while excitement about the discovery is growing, it is important to keep in mind that this moon isn't as impressive as our main satellite. It is extremely faint—it is estimated to be only between one and six metres across—and won't be with us for much longer.

Distant star and planet get new Cree language names from national contest

A giant planet 344 light-years from Earth and the star it orbits have new names in the Cree language, thanks to a national contest.

How astronomers are piecing together the mysterious origins of superluminous supernovae

When a massive star reaches the end of its life, it can explode as a supernova. But there's a unique type of supernova that's much brighter that we're just starting to understand—and which may prove useful in measuring the universe.

Future astronauts could enjoy fresh vegetables from an autonomous orbital greenhouse

If humanity is going to become a spare-faring and interplanetary species, one of the most important things will be the ability of astronauts to see to their needs independently. Relying on regular shipments of supplies from Earth is not only inelegant; it's also impractical and expensive. For this reason, scientists are working to create technologies that would allow astronauts to provide for their own food, water and breathable air.

Technology news

Engineers develop miniaturized 'warehouse robots' for biotechnology applications

UCLA engineers have developed minuscule warehouse logistics robots that could help expedite and automate medical diagnostic technologies and other applications that move and manipulate tiny drops of fluid. The study was published in Science Robotics.

Computer scientists' new tool fools hackers into sharing keys for better cybersecurity

Instead of blocking hackers, a new cybersecurity defense approach developed by University of Texas at Dallas computer scientists actually welcomes them.

Data centers use less energy than you think

If the world is using more and more data, then it must be using more and more energy, right? Not so, says a comprehensive new analysis.

Socially assistive robot helps children with autism learn

Many children with autism face developmental delays, including communication and behavioral challenges and difficulties with social interaction. This makes learning new skills a major challenge, especially in traditional school environments.

'Surfing attack' hacks Siri, Google with ultrasonic waves

Ultrasonic waves don't make a sound, but they can still activate Siri on your cellphone and have it make calls, take images or read the contents of a text to a stranger. All without the phone owner's knowledge.

Octopus-inspired robot can grip, move, and manipulate a wide range of objects

Of all the cool things about octopuses (and there's a lot), their arms may rank among the coolest.

Facebook bans ads with false claims about new virus

Facebook said Wednesday that it is banning ads that make false claims about products tied to the new coronavirus.

Microsoft says virus hurting supply chain more than expected

The virus outbreak in China is hurting Microsoft more than expected, as the company said it won't meet targets that had already factored in the uncertainty.

Tech giants free to censor content under US Constitution: ruling

Tech giants including Google are free to censor content as they wish, a US court ruled Wednesday, in a landmark freedom-of-speech case concerning private internet platforms.

IAEA backs sea release of contaminated Fukushima water

The world's nuclear watchdog gave its backing Thursday to Japanese plans to release contaminated water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean.

A novel processor that solves notoriously complex mathematical problems

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology have designed a novel processor architecture that can solve combinatorial optimization problems much faster than existing ones. Combinatorial optimizations are complex problems that show up across many fields of science and engineering and are difficult for conventional computers to handle, making specialized processor architectures very important.

Australia could soon export sunshine to Asia via a 3800-km cable

Australia is the world's third largest fossil fuels exporter – a fact that generates intense debate as climate change intensifies. While the economy is heavily reliant on coal and gas export revenues, these fuels create substantial greenhouse gas emissions when burned overseas.

Amazon's new grocery store is watching our every move—but we asked for this

In Amazon's new grocery store, there are no registers, and you can walk out as soon as you've grabbed what you need. The catch? All the information about your purchase lives in sensors, computers, and the cameras hanging from the ceiling.

Iron powder as the battery of the future

Iron in the tank. It seems like a fairy tale, but iron has a bright future as a fuel. Clean from the pump, no CO2 emissions, that's what researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology say.

Can mobile networks connect first responders in remote areas?

The high plateaus of Colorado's Rocky Mountains, known for panoramic vistas, wildlife, old gold mines and sports of all kinds, are attracting new pioneers: engineers working to improve emergency communications.

Email still beats texts—for hackers phishing for your data

Despite all the attention given to phishing attacks, and high profile hacks, email still remains the number one place where victims fall prey to bad guys.

Shaping the future of machine learning for active matter

Now researchers are presenting guidelines for how active matter, such as cells and microorganisms, can best be studied using machine learning techniques. The guidelines can help others navigate the new field, which can significantly improve research in active matter.

Two NE tree species can be used in new sustainable building material

Two tree species native to the Northeast have been found to be structurally sound for use in cross-laminated timber (CLT) - a revolutionary new type of building material with sought-after sustainability characteristics, according to research by a University of Massachusetts Amherst timber engineer.

Facebook sues analytics firm for data misuse

Facebook on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit against oneAudience data intelligence firm over a tactic it used to gather information about users of social media platforms.

Huawei to open European 5G factory in France

Chinese telecom giant Huawei said Thursday that it would begin manufacturing radio equipment for next-generation 5G networks in France, its first such facility outside of China.

Facebook nixes developers conference due to coronavirus

Facebook on Thursday canceled its annual F8 developers conference, the biggest annual event for the US tech giant, over fears about the possible spread of the novel coronavirus.

Walmart confirms it will launch a rival to Amazon's Prime

Walmart is confirming that it's developing a competitor to Amazon's juggernaut Prime membership program.

Air France cuts costs as coronavirus stings: letter

Air France is taking new cost-cutting measures, including a partial hiring freeze, to offset the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the travel sector, according to an internal letter obtained by AFP.

Foreign firms in China forecast revenue drop due to virus

Foreign firms in virus-hit China are expecting large drops in revenue, especially for the first half of the year, with some planning to lower their business targets, said trade associations on Thursday.

Aston Martin shares in reverse as annual losses balloon

Shares in Aston Martin Lagonda tanked Thursday after James Bond's favourite carmaker said net losses nearly doubled last year on weak global demand—and warned over the potential impact of coronavirus.

Decarbonizing energy supply by using community power

Renewable energy has become a mainstream source of power production. The estimated share of renewables in global electricity generation reached 26 % at the end of 2018, while far less growth occurred in heating, cooling and transport, according to the Renewables 2019 Global Status Report. With the increased use of renewable energy sources (RESs) like solar and wind, citizens and communities are seen as key to the clean energy transition's success.

Researchers propose high-density surface electromyography technique for automatic speech recognition

Verbal communication is an important way to engage in social interactions. The normal speaking process requires coordinated contractions of a mass of articulatory muscles on the face and neck.

Climate campaigners win appeal to prevent new Heathrow runway

Britain's Court of Appeal on Thursday ruled in favour of environmental campaigners who oppose the building of a third runway at London's Heathrow airport, Europe's busiest.

German carmakers warn virus to shrink China market

China's car market could shrink up to seven percent year-on-year in 2020 as the effects of the novel coronavirus outbreak bite, Germany's VDA manufacturers' association said Thursday.

Delivery giant DoorDash takes step toward public offering

Food delivery giant DoorDash has taken a first formal step toward a stock market debut.

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