Science X Newsletter Friday, Apr 3

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for April 3, 2020:

Due to an increasing volume of information and news about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have split stories concerning the virus into a separate category in the MedicalXpress daily newsletter. As always, you may configure your email newsletter preferences in your ScienceX account.

Spotlight Stories Headlines

LoCoQuad: An arachnoid-inspired robot for research and education purposes

Alphabet's DeepMind masters Atari games

Isolating an elusive phosphatetrahedrane

New laser technique will allow more powerful—and smaller—particle accelerators

Chilling concussed cells shows promise for full recovery

Scientists discover a new class of taste receptors

Coastal pollution reduces genetic diversity of corals, reef resilience

Google to publish user location data to help govts tackle virus (Update)

Changes to drylands with future climate change

Researchers solve structure of 'inverted' rhodopsin

Study: The strength of collagen influenced by intersections of fibers

New molecular mechanism that regulates the sentinel cells of the immune system

Unsustainable food systems: Can we reverse current trends?

Not all privacy apps are created equal

Stress disrupts our ability to plan ahead

Physics news

New laser technique will allow more powerful—and smaller—particle accelerators

By observing electrons that have been accelerated to extremely high energies, scientists are able to unlock clues about the particles that make up our universe.

Improved laser system will help large optical telescopes gather more accurate data

Macquarie University researchers have developed an improved laser system that will help large optical telescopes to gather more accurate data.

Photocatalytic optical fibers convert water into solar fuel

Researchers at the University of Southampton have transformed optical fibers into photocatalytic microreactors that convert water into hydrogen fuel using solar energy.

Using scattered light to map nerve fiber pathway crossing points in the brain

A team of researchers from Germany, the Netherlands and Italy has developed a way to use scattered light to map nerve fiber pathway crossing points in the brain. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group describes their work with light scattering in transmission microscopy and what it revealed in the human brain.

New measurements reveal evidence of elusive particles in a newly-discovered superconductor

Particle chasing—it's a game that so many physicists play. Sometimes the hunt takes place inside large supercolliders, where spectacular collisions are necessary to find hidden particles and new physics. For physicists studying solids, the game occurs in a much different environment and the sought-after particles don't come from furious collisions. Instead, particle-like entities, called quasiparticles, emerge from complicated electronic interactions that happen deep within a material. Sometimes the quasiparticles are easy to probe, but others are more difficult to spot, lurking just out of reach.

Astronomy and Space news

Image: Disinfection for planetary protection

Carefully wrapped inside this donut-shaped bag is a 35-m diameter parachute that will endure a frenzied six-minute dive into the Martian atmosphere.

Astronomers define the 'really habitable zone': Planets capable of producing gin and tonic

A hospitable star that doesn't kill you with deadly flares. A rocky planet with liquid water and an agreeable climate. Absence of apocalyptic asteroid storms. No pantheon of angry, vengeful and capricious gods. These are the things that define a habitable planet.

COVID-19: How satellites can help

The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has virtually paralyzed daily life as we know it. Even when the spread of this highly infectious disease has been stemmed, the world will face huge challenges getting back to normal. To help support experts working in Europe's research centers and technical organizations during these unprecedented times, ESA has issued two new initiatives related to understanding the effects that COVID-19 is imposing on society, the economy and the environment.

Technology news

LoCoQuad: An arachnoid-inspired robot for research and education purposes

Animal behaviors and the biological mechanisms underpinning them are among the greatest sources of inspiration for robotics studies. Over the past decade or so, countless research teams at universities and companies worldwide have been trying to develop robots that recreate the behaviour or structure of specific animal species.

Alphabet's DeepMind masters Atari games

In order to better solve complex challenges at the dawn of the third decade of the 21st century, Alphabet Inc. has tapped into relics dating to the 1980s: video games.

Google to publish user location data to help govts tackle virus (Update)

Google says it will publish users' location data around the world from Friday to allow governments to gauge the effectiveness of social distancing measures, brought in to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not all privacy apps are created equal

New privacy laws like Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) have spawned a new industry of companies and platforms advertising that they can anonymize your data and be compliant with the law.

Wi-Fi-boosting 'smart surface' could help remote workers and students

Frustrated with spotty WiFi connection? Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a "smart surface" that could make signal available in dead spots—and also make the existing connection twice as fast.

Google's Art Transfer allows users to transform photos as if they were painted by famous artists

Google has announced a change to its Arts & Culture app—now, instead of just searching for paintings that resemble selfies, users can have their photographs reinterpreted as if they had been painted by a famous artist. Called Art Transfer, the app gives users an entirely unique way to view photographs they have taken.

Google Duo audio boost won't leave you hanging on the phone

"It's good to hear your voice, you know it's been so long If I don't get your calls, then everything goes wrong… Your voice across the line gives me a strange sensation" — Blondie, "Hanging on the Telephone"

Tesla's 1Q car sales surged before pandemic shut things down

Tesla's sales of its increasingly popular electric cars got off to fast start this year, even though the company had to slam the brakes along with other major automakers last month because of worldwide efforts to contain the worst pandemic in a century.

Zoom vows to address privacy, safety issues after complaints

Videoconferencing group Zoom pledged to step up privacy and safety controls after a series of complaints about the application which has surged in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic.

Engineers develop 3-D-printed ventilator splitters

In response to a pressing need for more ventilators to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients, a team led by Johns Hopkins University engineers is developing and prototyping a 3-D-printed splitter that will allow a single ventilator to treat multiple patients. Though medical professionals have expressed concerns about the safety and effectiveness of sharing ventilators, the team has designed this tool to address those concerns.

'CoronaCheck' website combats spread of misinformation

Cornell researchers have developed an automated system that uses machine learning, data analysis and human feedback to automatically verify statistical claims about the new coronavirus.

Autonomous BRUIE robot could help in the search for signs of life in space

A new autonomous robot developed by engineers at NASA and tested in Antarctica by a team of researchers, including an engineer from The University of Western Australia, is destined for a trip into outer space and could, in the future, search for signs of life in ocean worlds beyond Earth.

How to stop 'Zoombombers' from trolling your online meetings

"Zoombombing" in case you haven't heard, is the unsavoury practice of posting distressing comments, pictures or videos after gatecrashing virtual meetings hosted by the videoconferencing app Zoom.

How China is revolutionizing e-commerce

While some sectors of the economy struggle for survival in a sudden, new, harsh reality, e-commerce is again faced with massive demand. With many of us confined to our homes, we have become reliant on online shopping. And while your weekly grocery shop or a book order might seem to have changed little in recent years, there is great innovation in e-commerce.

Saving the IoT from botnets

The advent of the Internet of Thing, essentially smart devices with connectivity to the internet has wrought many benefits, but with it comes the problem of how to cope with third party users with malicious or criminal intent.

Solving the ventilator shortage with windshield wiper parts

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin are building a new type of ventilator made of cheap, widely available materials to help fill the demand created by the spread of COVID-19 for these critical devices that help patients breathe.

Floating wind turbines on the rise

Over 26,000 megawatts (MW) of planned offshore wind capacity exists in the offshore wind development pipeline. Rapidly falling technology costs for offshore wind, including floating offshore wind technology, have aided the growth of this pipeline and promise to help wind become a significant part of the power mix in coastal communities.

A combined optical transmitter and receiver

Researchers at Linköping University, together with colleagues in China, have developed a tiny unit that is both an optical transmitter and a receiver. "This is highly significant for the miniaturisation of optoelectronic systems," says LiU professor Feng Gao.

BMW in dash for cash as German car sales plummet

BMW is following other German carmakers in pumping up its financial liquidity to ride out the coronavirus crisis, its chief executive said Friday, as car sales in the auto-mad nation booked their steepest plunge in almost 30 years in March.

Fitbit launches $149 Charge 4 with GPS tracking

Fitbit unveiled its most advanced fitness tracker on Tuesday, a week after the company noted a significant decline in outdoor workout activity worldwide.

Understanding research on how people develop trust in AI can inform its use

The use of artificial intelligence (AI), technologies that can interact with the environment and simulate human intelligence, has the potential to significantly change the way we work. Successfully integrating AI into organizations depends on workers' level of trust in the technology. A new review examined two decades of research on how people develop trust in AI. The authors concluded that the way AI is represented, or "embodied," and AI's capabilities contribute to developing trust. They also proposed a framework that addresses the elements that shape users' cognitive and emotional trust in AI, which can help organizations that use it.

Avolon cancels order for 75 Boeing 737 MAX planes

Irish aircraft leasing company Avolon said Friday it was canceling an order for 75 737 MAX planes due to the massive deterioration in travel because of COVID-19.

Cleanup of US nuclear waste takes back seat as virus spreads

The U.S. government's efforts to clean up Cold War-era waste from nuclear research and bomb making at federal sites around the country has lumbered along for decades, often at a pace that watchdogs and other critics say threatens public health and the environment.

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