Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Apr 8

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for April 8, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

First successful laser trapping of circular Rydberg atoms

Amazonian crops domesticated 10,000 years ago

Climate change could cause sudden biodiversity losses worldwide

Don't look to mature forests to soak up carbon dioxide emissions

World's largest map of protein connections holds clues to health and disease

New 'refrigerator' super-cools molecules to nanokelvin temperatures

Advance in understanding actin sheds light on cell function

Online education platforms could scale high-quality STEM education for universities

The existence of a magnetic field beyond 3.5 billion years ago is still up for debate

Massive generation of metastable bulk nanobubbles in water by external electric fields

Rethinking cosmology: Universe expansion may not be uniform (Update)

Black hole bends light back on itself

The link between virus spillover, wildlife extinction and the environment

Coqui fossil from Puerto Rico takes title of oldest Caribbean frog

Genes sow seeds of neuropsychiatric diseases before birth, in early childhood

Physics news

First successful laser trapping of circular Rydberg atoms

Rydberg atoms, which are atoms in a highly excited state, have several unique and advantageous properties, including a particularly long lifetime and large sensitivities to external fields. These properties make them valuable for a variety of applications, for instance for the development of quantum technologies.

New 'refrigerator' super-cools molecules to nanokelvin temperatures

For years, scientists have looked for ways to cool molecules down to ultracold temperatures, at which point the molecules should slow to a crawl, allowing scientists to precisely control their quantum behavior. This could enable researchers to use molecules as complex bits for quantum computing, tuning individual molecules like tiny knobs to carry out multiple streams of calculations at a time.

CERN physics lab developing basic COVID-19 ventilator

Physics experts are working at Europe's CERN lab to create a basic ventilator for mild coronavirus sufferers and recovering patients, the facility said on Wednesday.

Traffic jams are contagious: Knowing how they spread can make them less common

Traffic jams may have disappeared from our roads as people stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we can be confident they will be back. Scientists have studied traffic and congestion for decades.

Researchers present revolutionary light-emitting silicon

Emitting light from silicon has been the Holy Grail in the microelectronics industry for decades. Solving this puzzle would revolutionize computing, as chips will become faster than ever. Researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology have now developed an alloy with silicon that can emit light. The results have been published in the journal Nature. The team will now develop a silicon laser to be integrated into current chips.

A step ahead in the race toward ultrafast imaging of single particles

Using a combination of experimental and computational data, researchers discover paths to optimize pulses from highly intense X-ray beams.

Astronomy and Space news

Rethinking cosmology: Universe expansion may not be uniform (Update)

Astronomers have assumed for decades that the Universe is expanding at the same rate in all directions. A new study based on data from ESA's XMM-Newton, NASA's Chandra and the German-led ROSAT X-ray observatories suggests this key premise of cosmology might be wrong.

Black hole bends light back on itself

You may have heard that nothing escapes the gravitational grasp of a black hole, not even light. This is true in the immediate vicinity of a black hole, but a bit farther out—in disks of material that swirl around some black holes—light can escape. In fact, this is the reason actively growing black holes shine with brilliant X-rays.

Simultaneous simulation of gravitation and magnetism of a protoplanetary disk

From a massive disk of gas and dust rotating around the sun, the earth and the other seven planets of our solar system once developed alongside their moons. And the same must have happened, scientists believe, for the thousands of extrasolar planets discovered in recent decades. To gain more insight, astrophysicists use computer simulations to investigate the processes at work as planets form from such protoplanetary disks, such as the growth of a planet's mass as well as the formation of its magnetic field. Up until very recently, these two processes—planet development and magnetic field formation—have been separate fields of research and simulated in separate models. But now, Lucio Mayer, Professor of Computational Astrophysics at the University of Zurich and Project Manager at the National Centre of Competence in Research Planets, along with his colleagues Hongping Deng, former Ph.D. student of Mayer, and Henrik Latter, University Lecturer at the University of Cambridge, have successfully combined both processes into one simulation for the first time. The results have now been published in the Astrophysical Journal.

3-D printing, biology research make the journey back to earth aboard SpaceX's Dragon

On March 9, 2020, a Dragon cargo spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station carrying dozens of scientific experiments as a part of SpaceX's 20th cargo resupply mission. Now, Dragon heads home. On April 7, it is scheduled to undock from station, bringing samples, hardware and data from completed investigations back to Earth on its return trip.

No press, no family: Space crew set for launch during pandemic

A three-man space crew finished preparations on Wednesday for a mission to the International Space Station, which is going ahead despite the coronavirus pandemic.

How the world's biggest radio telescope could be used to search for aliens

In 2016, China's Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope—the largest single-aperture radio telescope in the world—gathered its first light. Since then, the telescope has undergone extensive testing and commissioning and officially went online in Jan of 2020. In all that time, it has also been responsible for multiple discoveries, including close to 100 new pulsars.

Researchers discover new information on interstellar magnetic field in solar neighborhood

An international research team led by the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Turku, Finland, mapped the interstellar magnetic field structure and interstellar matter distribution in the solar neighbourhood. The results of the study have been published in the esteemed European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics in March.

Technology news

Unique technology surpasses conventional heat storage options in flexibility and efficiency

Many processes that generate electricity also produce heat, a potent energy resource that often goes untapped everywhere from factories to vehicles to power plants. An innovative system currently being developed at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory can quickly store heat and release it for use when needed, surpassing conventional storage options in both flexibility and efficiency.

Next generation solar cells perform better when there's a camera around

A literal "trick of the light" can detect imperfections in next-gen solar cells, boosting their efficiency to match that of existing silicon-based versions, researchers have found.

Half a million stolen passwords, emails for sale on dark web

Hackers stole personal data from more than a half million users of an Italy-based email service and posted the purloined information for sale online.

TikTok's time: video platform sees appeal growing during lockdowns

This is TikTok's time. The social video platform which was already a favorite of teens is increasingly being used by adults looking for ways to pass the time during coronavirus lockdowns.

Increased internet traffic requires more security awareness

Unlike the suddenly quiet city streets, there is a lot more traffic on the information superhighway these days—and not all of it has your best interests at heart.

A distributed computing project takes on COVID-19

Researchers around the world are working at unprecedented speed and scale to understand the coronavirus, develop a vaccine and discover new drugs to treat COVID-19.

Online driving course delivers real-life safety results

An online driver training course developed by researchers at The University of Queensland has been shown to reduce speeding and improve driving ability.

Mathematician using Facebook data in the fight against COVID-19

CU Boulder researcher Daniel Larremore has never held a nasal swab and doesn't wear scrubs. Instead, he relies on math to track the spread of human diseases.

Time well spent, not wasted: Video games are boosting wellbeing during lockdown

The same week social distancing measures were announced in Australia (March 16—March 22), sales of game consoles leaped 285.6%. Prior to this, sales were declining month on month.

Leaky water pipes found at high speed using AI

Researchers have been able to pick a water leak within 1 percent of its location within seconds.

New video game enlists players to help advance scientific research

McGill researchers are turning to video games to harness the power of citizen scientists in order to map the gut microbiome.

An app to help keep older drivers safe on the road

University of Minnesota researchers have developed an app to warn senior drivers when they are engaging in risky maneuvers and help them pay better attention while behind the wheel.

US, Britain warn that hackers increasingly use coronavirus bait

US and British cybersecurity agencies warned Wednesday that foreign government-backed hacking groups are using coronavirus themes to ply their way into computers and networks.

Airbus cuts production by one third due to pandemic

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus on Wednesday said it had cut production of its planes by around a third, as global airlines scale back their plans in an unprecedented crisis for the industry.

DualSense is the video game controller for PlayStation 5. Here's what it does.

While we wait to get our first official glimpse of the PlayStation 5, Sony is sharing the first details on the video game console's controller.

Facebook's new Tuned messaging app is for couples only

Facebook quietly launched an app that lets couples chat together.

Don't worry about a grocery delivery slot, Instacart will pair you with a real-time shopper

Instacart is adding new features Wednesday to speed up its delivery service after struggling to keep up with higher demand.

How about a smartphone with dual camera and a $109 price tag? Thanks, Samsung.

If the idea of spending $1,000 or more for a new, top-of-the-line Samsung phone rubs you the wrong way, may we interest you in a model from the same company for $109.99?

Alexa, Google could be listening to your work calls. Here's what to do.

A reminder to those who are working at home: You might want to turn your Amazon or Google smart home speaker them off, or at the very least, mute the microphone.

Virus outbreak delivers tech darlings a harsh reality check

Just as the coronavirus outbreak has boxed in society, it's also squeezed high-flying tech companies reliant on people's freedom to move around and get together.

Google offers free Stadia game access during pandemic

Google on Wednesday made its Stadia online video game service free to provide an escape for those hunkered down at home because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Korean Air puts 70 percent of staff on leave

South Korea's flag carrier Korean Air will put 70 percent of its 19,000 staff on furlough, it said, as it scrambles to cope with the coronavirus pandemic that has brought global aviation to a standstill.

Twitter's Jack Dorsey pledges $1 bn for COVID-19 relief effort

Twitter co-founder and chief executive Jack Dorsey said Tuesday he was committing $1 billion of his personal fortune to coronavirus relief through his philanthropic fund.

Crisis informatics expert offers three tips to avoid misinformation during COVID-19

School of Technology professor Amanda Hughes has spent her career studying social media during disasters and crises. Her work looks at how members of the public turn to social media during a crisis and how they find trustworthy information.

When misinformation and crackpot conspiracies spread as fast as the virus

Falsehoods, rumors and conspiracy theories thrive during a crisis, and even more when the crisis revolves around a threatening disease. The combination of these two factors in a digital age is a dangerous cocktail, says a Malmö University researcher.

Creating smart, resilient cities for a sustainable future

The vision to create sustainable urban spaces is becoming a reality in several European cities, including Rotterdam, Umea and Glasgow. Thanks to the EU-funded Ruggedised project, Rotterdam is developing and implementing various smart solutions. One such solution is a thermal grid connecting various large buildings in the city to optimize the distribution of heat and cold among buildings, smart charging parking lots, large-scale deployment of zero-emission e-buses, and efficient and intelligent street lighting.

Long short-term memory network performs better in continuous estimation

Surface electromyography (sEMG) is a non-invasive, computer-based technique that can record electrical impulses. The present pattern-recognition-based control strategy can realize some myoelectric control, but it is not as smooth as a human hand.

Air Canada to rehire 16,500 workers laid off due to pandemic

Some 16,500 Air Canada employees who were laid off because of the coronavirus pandemic will be rehired under a government relief package for businesses, the airline said Wednesday.

Verizon, Cox cable stop home visits. Here's how they're helping you fix your cable.

Your cable is out and you want the technician to arrive and help you?

Coronavirus shortage: Looking for a Logitech? Webcams hard to find as we all work from home

It's not just toilet paper that's hard to find.

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