Science X Newsletter Friday, Apr 24

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for April 24, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

An algorithm to enhance the robotic assembly of customized products

SQuad: A miniature robot that can walk and climb obstacles

Two steps closer to flexible, powerful, fast bioelectronic devices

Scientists discover just how runny a liquid can be

Cyberattack can steal data via cooling fan vibrations

Highly sensitive nanosensor detects subtle potassium changes in the brain

Scientists develop first 3-D mass estimate of microplastic pollution in Lake Erie

Researchers develop nanohybrid vehicle to optimally deliver drugs into the human body

The most promising strategies for defeating coronavirus: A review study

Hummingbirds show up when tropical trees fall down

Dissolved oxygen and pH policy leave fisheries at risk

Adult astrocytes are key to learning and memory

Boosting the immune system's appetite for cancer

Sunlight destroys coronavirus quickly, say US scientists

Warming climate undoes decades of knowledge of marine protected areas

Physics news

Scientists discover just how runny a liquid can be

Scientists from Queen Mary University of London and the Russian Academy of Sciences have found a limit to how runny a liquid can be.

Researchers solve 'link discovery' problem for terahertz data networks

When someone opens a laptop, a router can quickly locate it and connect it to the local Wi-Fi network. That ability is a basic element of any wireless network known as link discovery, and now a team of researchers has developed a means of doing it with terahertz radiation, the high-frequency waves that could one day make for ultra-fast wireless data transmission.

Researchers watch the dynamics of plasmonic skyrmions made from light on ultra-smooth gold platelets for the first time

The destructive force of a tornado occurs due to the extremely high rotational speeds in its center, which is called a vortex. Surprisingly, similar effects are predicted for light that travels along an atomically smooth gold surface, which can exhibit angular momentum and vortices. Researchers at the Universities of Stuttgart and Duisburg-Essen and the University of Melbourne (Australia) have now succeeded for the first time in filming these vortex patterns, which are called skyrmions, on the nanometer scale. The journal Science reports this groundbreaking work in its issue of April 24, 2020.

Synthesizing new superheavy elements to open up the eighth period of the periodic table

Measurements of collisions between small and large atomic nuclei by RIKEN physicists will inform the quest to produce new elements and could lead to new chemistry involving superheavy elements.

Colliding solitons in optical microresonators to reveal important fundamental physics

Solitons are self-reinforcing particle-like wave packets enabled by the balance between dispersion and nonlinearity. Occurring in hydrodynamics, lasers, cold atoms, and plasmas, solitons are generated when a laser field is confined in a circular resonator with ultra-low loss, which produces multiple solitons travelling around the resonator.

Non-invasive imaging technique could reduce need for repeat cancer surgeries

A team of University of Alberta engineers is refining a new imaging technique that could reduce the number of repeat surgeries patients undergo to remove cancerous tumors.

New high-energy-density physics research provides insights about the universe

Atoms and molecules behave very differently at extreme temperatures and pressures. Although such extreme matter doesn't exist naturally on the earth, it exists in abundance in the universe, especially in the deep interiors of planets and stars. Understanding how atoms react under high-pressure conditions—a field known as high-energy-density physics (HEDP)—gives scientists valuable insights into the fields of planetary science, astrophysics, fusion energy, and national security.

Boosting polaritonic nonlinearity with a mechanism to create polaron-polaritons

A team of researchers from the Institute for Quantum Electronics, ETH Zürich, the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics and the Munich Center for Quantum Science and Technology has found a way to boost polaritonic nonlinearity. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review X, the group describes building a mechanism to create polaron-polaritons, which led to a boost in polaritonic nonlinearity.

Towards a nanomechanical quantum switchboard

Physicists at Universität Regensburg have coupled the vibrations of a macromolecule—a carbon nanotube—to a microwave cavity, creating a novel and highly miniaturized optomechanical system. The team of Dr. Andreas K. Hüttel achieved this by using the quantization of the electrical charge, i.e., that it is carried by single electrons, as a strong amplifier mechanism. Their findings were published on April 2 in Nature Communications. They present an important step towards combining completely different quantum technologies, as, e.g., electron spin qubits and superconducting qubits, in one device.

Bose-Einstein condensate: Magnetic particles behave repulsively

Data transmission that works by means of magnetic waves instead of electric currents: For many scientists, this is the basis of future technologies that will make transmission faster and individual components smaller and more energy-efficient. Magnons, the particles of magnetism, serve as moving information carriers. Almost 15 years ago, researchers at the University of Münster (Germany) succeeded for the first time in achieving a novel quantum state of magnons at room temperature—a Bose-Einstein condensate of magnetic particles, also known as a 'superatome,' i.e. an extreme state of matter that usually occurs only at very low temperatures.

Astronomy and Space news

Star survives close call with a black hole

Astronomers may have discovered a new kind of survival story: a star that had a brush with a giant black hole and lived to tell the tale through exclamations of X-rays.

Hubble celebrates its 30th anniversary with a tapestry of blazing starbirth

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's iconic images and scientific breakthroughs have redefined our view of the Universe. To commemorate three decades of scientific discoveries, this image is one of the most photogenic examples of the many turbulent stellar nurseries the telescope has observed during its 30-year lifetime.

Video: Mars confinement tips

In these times of confinement, ESA astronaut support engineer Romain Charles shares nine tips on how to live in isolation—he spent 520 days locked in a mockup spacecraft and is a true expert on the subject.

Tomanowos: The meteorite that survived mega-floods and human folly

The rock with arguably the most fascinating story on Earth has an ancient name: Tomanowos. It means "the visitor from heaven" in the extinct language of Oregon's Clackamas Indian tribe.

An eclipsing binary millisecond pulsar discovered by FAST

Using the data obtained by the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), a research team led by Prof. Pan Zhichen and Prof. Li Di from the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) discovered an eclipsing binary millisecond pulsar in Globular Cluster (GC) Messier 92 (M92).

Technology news

An algorithm to enhance the robotic assembly of customized products

Robots could soon assist humans in a variety of fields, including in manufacturing and industrial settings. A robotic system that can automatically assemble customized products may be particularly desirable for manufacturers, as it could significantly decrease the time and effort necessary to produce a variety of products.

SQuad: A miniature robot that can walk and climb obstacles

Researchers at Bilkent University in Turkey have recently created a small quadruped robot called SQuad, which is made of soft structural materials. This unique robot, presented in a paper published in IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, is more flexible than existing miniature robots and is thus better at climbing or circumventing obstacles in its surroundings.

Cyberattack can steal data via cooling fan vibrations

Israeli researchers uncovered a novel way that hackers could steal sensitive data from a highly secured computer: by tapping into the vibrations from a cooling system fan.

Environment-friendly compound shows promise for solar cell use

A widespread transition to solar energy will depend heavily on reliable, safe, and affordable technology like batteries for energy storage and solar cells for energy conversion. At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, researchers are focused heavily on both parts of that equation.

Report: Apple to unveil its own 12-core ARM processor on 2021 Mac

Apple will begin manufacturing its own processors for the next generation of computers, Bloomberg news reported Thursday. Apple's long-rumored transition from Intel to ARM-based processors is expected to start with a lower-priced Mac in 2021.

China promises subsidies to boost falling electric car sales

China is promising more subsidies to shore up plunging electric car sales amid the coronavirus pandemic but set limits that exclude Tesla's made-in-China model.

Netflix banks on vast production line to weather pandemic

While coronavirus has brought Hollywood to a halt, Netflix has enjoyed record success. But will the streaming giant's well-stocked slate of future shows be enough to maintain that growth?

Zoom boosts security features, encryption amid coronavirus crisis video conferencing boom

Zoom is fine-tuning its video conferencing software and upgrading security features to help prevent zoom-bombing and other privacy intrusions.

Coronavirus made working from home the new normal. So the FCC is giving us a new Wi-Fi lane

About a month ago, the internet started to list.

Researchers train tech tool to find relationship clues from written conversations

Social scientists have identified 10 dimensions to describe the nature of human relationships but little research has focused on how these concepts are expressed through written language, and what role they have in shaping social interactions.

Making electric energy systems future-ready through multiple forms of power generation

Marija Ilic—a senior research scientist at the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, affiliate of the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, senior staff in MIT Lincoln Laboratory's Energy Systems Group, and Carnegie Mellon University professor emerita—is a researcher on a mission: making electric energy systems future-ready.

Small but critical ventilator parts run low, so researchers make their own

The need for ventilators in response to COVID-19 has been well publicized, but the single-use parts that comprise these machines has also been running critically low in hospitals. To ensure that Yale's healthcare professionals remain in stock, researchers have taken to making their own.

NASA develops COVID-19 prototype ventilator in 37 days

A new high-pressure ventilator developed by NASA engineers and tailored to treat coronavirus (COVID-19) patients passed a critical test Tuesday at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, an epicenter of COVID-19 in the United States.

Energy efficiency could prevent the need to build up to 50 power plants in Indonesia

Indonesia's electricity demand is growing rapidly. Robust economic growth combined with unprecedented urbanisation and industrialisation are driving this demand.

Making wind power more predictable

A computer model that uses existing weather data to map long-term wind patterns at prospective wind turbine sites could help energy companies set up wind turbines more quickly and less expensively. The model eliminates the need to deploy dedicated wind monitoring stations. It could also make wind energy more reliable by enabling networks of turbines that are strategically placed to generate a more consistent stream of energy.

Chip design with AI inside—designed by AI

In less than a decade, artificial intelligence (AI) has gone from an obsession of a few ivory tower academics to runaway commercial success, potentially adding around US$13 trillion to the global economy by 2030 according to a McKinsey projection. One reason that AI is taking off now rather than when it was first conceptualized in the late 1950s is the availability of affordable computational power, in turn, made possible by steady advances in chip design.

French court confirms Amazon restrictions over virus

A French appeals court on Friday confirmed a ruling that ordered US online retailing giant Amazon to restrict its operations pending an evaluation of virus risks to its staff.

Lots of companies now want your video chats—even Facebook

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, this has become an era of Zoom birthdays, virtual happy hours, FaceTime story times and Google yoga classes. Our friends, coworkers, teachers—and doctors, if we're lucky—now largely exist as faces in rectangles on our phones and computer screens.

Uber is offering 50,000 free rides, free food to shelters for domestic abuse victims

Uber is offering free rides and food to thousands of women facing violence at home during the shelter-in-place era.

You don't have to spend $1,000 on a phone anymore

Thanks Apple, Samsung, Motorola and Google, you've convinced me.

Converted medical tool kits increase breathing machines available for COVID-19 treatment

In less than a month, Sandia National Laboratories converted 100 respiratory machines New Mexico hospitals already had on hand into machines that can safely be used as ventilators to help treat patients with severe cases of COVID-19.

Airport seizes Virgin Australia planes to recoup debt

Several Virgin Australia planes were seized Friday in what an airport operator said was an attempt to recoup debt from the carrier, which collapsed under the strain of the coronavirus pandemic this week.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson steps down, Stankey to succeed

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is stepping down after leading the telecommunications giant for 13 years.

At least $9.7 billion in state bailouts for Air France, KLM

The French and Dutch governments announced at least 9 billion euros ($9.7 billion) in bailout money Friday to rescue Air France and KLM, which are fighting for survival as most of their planes are grounded by virus lockdowns around the world.

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