Science X Newsletter Thursday, Mar 12

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for March 12, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Could we forgive a machine? Study explores forgiveness in the context of robotics and AI

Heavy metal ion detection and extraction using paper-based atom stamp printed devices

Measuring people's ability to use and distribute resources wisely

Building blocks for life on Earth arrived much later than we thought, billion-year-old rocks show

Physicists use extreme infrared laser pulses to reveal frozen electron waves in magnetite

'Spillway' for electrons could keep lithium metal batteries from catching fire

Banded mongoose study reveals how its environment influences the spread of infectious disease

Two-pronged attack on DNA repair could kill drug-resistant cancers

Six-fold jump in polar ice loss lifts global oceans

Tests show new coronavirus lives on some surfaces for up to three days

Heat and light create new biocompatible microparticles

Facebook users change their language before an emergency hospital visit: study

A molecular map for the plant sciences

How impermeable is the impermeable graphene?

Layered liquids: Reaction chambers for gene regulation

Physics news

Physicists use extreme infrared laser pulses to reveal frozen electron waves in magnetite

Magnetite is the oldest magnetic material known to humans, yet researchers are still mystified by certain aspects of its properties.

Researchers create focus-free camera with new flat lens

Using a single lens that is about one-thousandth of an inch thick, researchers have created a camera that does not require focusing. The technology offers considerable benefits over traditional cameras such as the ones in most smartphones, which require multiple lenses to form high-quality, in-focus images.

Scientists discover the mathematical rules underpinning brain growth

Life is rife with patterns. It's common for living things to create a repeating series of similar features as they grow: think of feathers that vary slightly in length on a bird's wing or shorter and longer petals on a rose.

An all-electric magnetic logic gate

A team of researchers from ETH Zurich and the Paul Scherrer Institute has developed a way to build an all-electric magnetic logic gate. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes their device and how well it works. See-Hun Yang with IBM Research–Almaden has published a News and Views piece outlining the work by the team in Switzerland in the same journal issue.

Perturbation-free studies of single molecules

Researchers of the University of Basel have developed a new method with which individual isolated molecules can be studied precisely—without destroying the molecule or even influencing its quantum state. This highly sensitive technique for probing molecules is widely applicable and paves the way for a range of new applications in the fields of quantum science, spectroscopy and chemistry, as the journal Science reports.

High color purity UV organic emission realized using asymmetric microcavity design

Ultraviolet organic light-emitting devices (UVOLEDs) are expected to develop into compact, environmentally friendly and large-size ultraviolet light source applications in analysis, information storage, display, biomedical, etc. However, most of the UV emitted organic materials have broad emission spectra, and thus the electroluminescence (EL) spectra of the most reported UVOLEDs have non-ignorable visible light components, which limits the application prospect of UVOLEDs.

Astronomy & Space news

Europe-Russia delay mission to find life on Mars

A joint Russian-European expedition to find life on Mars has been postponed for two years, the Russian and European space agencies said Thursday, citing the novel coronavirus and multiple technical issues.

India's Chandrayaan 2 is creating the highest-resolution map we have of the moon

India's space organization, ISRO, launched Chandrayaan 2 to the moon last year in July. While its lander Vikram crashed on the lunar surface on September 7, the Chandrayaan 2 orbiter continues to orbit the moon.

Technology news

Could we forgive a machine? Study explores forgiveness in the context of robotics and AI

As more robots make their way into society, it is important to consider the ethical and moral implications of having them complete tasks that can have a significant impact on people's lives. If robots and machines are to become widely used in situations where they could seriously affect human lives, for instance by driving cars or giving elderly people the medication they need on a daily basis, developers should first consider the associated implications.

'Right to repair' rules for electronics included in EU's Circular Economy Action Plan

The European Commission, a group, appointed by governments of the European Union, has adopted what it calls the Circular Economy Action Plan as part of an effort to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Included among the measures are "right to repair" rules for electronic devices.

Research finds a new way to hack Siri and Google Assistant with ultrasonic waves

Think twice before recharging an iPhone on tabletops in public places like airports and coffee shops.

Fast-charging damages electric car batteries

Commercial fast-charging stations subject electric car batteries to high temperatures and high resistance that can cause them to crack, leak, and lose their storage capacity, write engineers at the University of California, Riverside in a new study published in Energy Storage. To remedy this, the researchers have developed a method for charging at lower temperatures with less risk of catastrophic damage and loss of storage capacity.

Unsecured database exposes 76,000 fingerprints

A security firm handling employee fingerprint identification for companies worldwide has exposed more than 2 million bits of data, including 76,000 fingerprints, according to a cyberthreat research group.

Apple, Samsung, Google get letter from lawmakers to protect data from period tracker apps

Lawmakers are sounding the alarm on Big Tech to ensure that menstruation and fertility tracking apps are not sharing users' health data without their consent.

Working at home to avoid coronavirus? This tech lets you (almost) replicate the office

Working from home is already so common it has its own acronym, and it's about to get even more common still. Companies like Apple, Amazon and Microsoft are now advising employees to "WFH" to avoid exposure to the novel coronavirus.

On-demand services bring public transport to the suburbs

The technology-driven revolution in urban transport is largely centred on the inner city. It has completely missed the suburbs, which lack the public transport services and shared micromobility devices, such as e-scooters, that inner-city residents enjoy. But new technologies, skilled operators and willing governments may have produced a solution for the suburbs, known as on-demand transit.

Decades of work at Argonne National Laboratory led to pivotal moment for U.S. nuclear plants

A few years ago, several nuclear reactors in the United States were facing the possibility of unforeseen shutdowns in the wake of disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant. The 2011 accident prompted worldwide scrutiny of nuclear power safety—especially regarding boiling water reactors, or BWRs.

Robots popular with older adults

A world without robots is now almost inconceivable. Not only do they take on important tasks in production processes, they are also increasingly being used in the service sector. For example, machines created to resemble humans—known as androids—are helping to care for elderly people. However, this development conflicts with the preconception that senior citizens are rather hostile to technology and would be skeptical about a robot. A study by psychologists of Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany suggests, however, that older people are far less anxious and hostile regarding such 'human robots' than previously thought.

Amazon is discussing how its employee health tech could assist coronavirus response

Amazon is discussing with local public health leaders how its Amazon Care infrastructure—a medical system that was launched this year for employees in the Seattle area—can be used to support coronavirus response, a spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.

BMW profits slump as legal woes, investment costs bite

German carmaker BMW reported a 29-percent drop in profits in 2019 on Thursday, blaming heavy legal costs and high investments in a challenging economic environment.

Digital giants in giveaway for Italy coronavirus shutdown

Several big communications and entertainment companies are contributing giveaways for Italians stuck indoors because of the country's coronavirus outbreak, the Italian government said Thursday.

Watchdog sues for data on airport facial recognition

A civil liberties watchdog sued the US government Thursday seeking the disclosure of records on the use of facial recognition technology being deployed at American airports.

Twitter staff ordered to work from home over virus fears

Twitter has ordered all staff globally to work from home in an effort to stop the spread of the deadly new coronavirus epidemic.

Coronavirus crisis spreads: Google tells North American employees to work from home

Google is recommending that all of its employees in North America work from home, if they can, due to the coronavirus.

Trump ban on travel from Europe escalates pain for airlines

President Donald Trump's decision Wednesday to impose a 30-day ban on most Europeans entering the United States is the latest calamity for airlines already reeling from falling bookings and cancelled reservations as people try to avoid contracting the coronavirus.

New study presents efficient, solution-processed, hybrid tandem solar cells

Colloidal quantum dot (CQD) solar cells have attracted considerable attention due to the advantages of being flexible and lightweight. Additionally, they are much easier to manufacture compared to commercial silicon solar cells in use today. Now, researchers report a novel technology capable of maximizing the performance of the existing CQD solar cells.

Latam cancels 30% of flights over coronavirus

Latin America's biggest airline Latam said Thursday it was canceling 30 percent of its international flights for a two-month period due to falling demand over the coronavirus scare.

Bombardier removes CEO after trains, planes divisions sold off

Bombardier has removed its chief executive Alain Bellemare, who oversaw the Canadian manufacturing behemoth's sell-off of its trains and commercial aviation divisions in a painful restructuring.

Norwegian Air to lay off half of staff over virus, travel ban

Norwegian Air Shuttle said Thursday it would temporarily lay off up to half its staff, following the US travel ban and the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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