Science X Newsletter Friday, May 1

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for May 1, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A system to reproduce different animal locomotion skills in robots

A 3-D memristor-based circuit for brain-inspired computing

Raspberry Pi unveils $50 interchangeable-lens camera board

Researchers establish new timeline for ancient magnetic field on Mars

New discovery explains how the prostate gland regenerates itself

Discovery opens new avenues for designing drugs to combat drug-resistant malaria

Improved neural probe can pose precise questions without losing parts of the answers

Defining geographic regions with commuter data

Research reveals possibly active tectonic system on the Moon

Exploiting a chink in the armor of bacteria could result in new drug therapies

New targets for childhood brain tumors identified

Ocean acidification prediction now possible years in advance

Emergence of deadly honey bee disease revealed

Molecular basis of rare neurological disorder reveals potential treatment

Gelatin could soon power our wearables and IoT devices

Physics news

Improved Primakoff-type experiment gives improved accuracy of pion measurement

A large international team of researchers has improved upon Primakoff-type experiments to give an improved accuracy of pion measurement. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group gives an overview of their objectives and outline the experiments they conducted to achieve higher accuracy when measuring the decay of a pion into two photons. Harvey Meyer, with the University of Mainz provides a timeline of the history of quantum chromodynamics theory and also gives an overview of the work done by the researchers in this new effort, in the same journal issue.

In search of the lighting material of the future

At the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, researchers have gained insights into a promising material for organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). The substance enables high light yields and would be inexpensive to produce on a large scale—that means it is practically made for use in large-area room lighting. Researchers have been searching for such materials for a long time. The newly generated understanding will facilitate the rapid and cost-efficient development of new lighting appliances in the future. The study appears today in the journal Nature Communications.

Looking for dark matter with the Universe's coldest material

Scientists have been able to observe the universe and determine that about 80% of the its mass appears to be "dark matter," which exerts a gravitational pull but does not interact with light, and thus can't be seen with telescopes. Our current understanding of cosmology and nuclear physics suggests that dark matter could be made of axions, hypothetical particles with unusual symmetry properties.

First direct look at how light excites electrons to kick off a chemical reaction

The first step in many light-driven chemical reactions, like the ones that power photosynthesis and human vision, is a shift in the arrangement of a molecule's electrons as they absorb the light's energy. This subtle rearrangement paves the way for everything that follows and determines how the reaction proceeds.

Researchers see path to quantum computing at room temperature

Army researchers predict quantum computer circuits that will no longer need extremely cold temperatures to function could become a reality after about a decade.

Astronomy and Space news

Researchers establish new timeline for ancient magnetic field on Mars

Mars had a global magnetic field much earlier—and much later—in the planet's history than scientists have previously known.

Research reveals possibly active tectonic system on the Moon

Researchers have discovered a system of ridges spread across the nearside of the Moon topped with freshly exposed boulders. The ridges could be evidence of active lunar tectonic processes, the researchers say, possibly the echo of a long-ago impact that nearly tore the Moon apart.

Researchers find space station's surface microbial profile resembles skin of its crew members

A study conducted by a team of national laboratory and NASA researchers has found that the environment of the International Space Station is affected by the microbial composition of the astronauts themselves.

New study examines which galaxies are best for intelligent life

Giant elliptical galaxies are not as likely as previously thought to be cradles of technological civilizations such as our own, according to a recent paper by a University of Arkansas astrophysicist.

Virgin Galactic completes first glide flight in New Mexico

Virgin Galactic's spaceship VSS Unity landed in the New Mexico desert on Friday, marking its first glide flight from Spaceport America as the company moves toward commercial operations.

NASA goes private for 1st astronaut lunar landers in decades

NASA is turning to private industry for the first lunar landers for astronauts in a half-century, with three competing, quite contrasting versions.

Earth flyby opens new science opportunities for BepiColombo

Science instruments aboard the European-Japanese Mercury explorer BepiColombo are in excellent condition to gather high-quality data during the spacecraft's long cruise to the innermost planet of the Solar System despite not having been designed for this purpose, teams collaborating on the mission learned during the spacecraft's April flyby of Earth.

Hubble's impactful life alongside space debris

During its 30 years in orbit around Earth, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has witnessed the changing nature of spaceflight as the skies have filled with greater numbers of satellites, the International Space Station was born and in-space crashes and explosions have created clouds of fast-moving space debris.

Asteroid grazes path of satellites in geostationary ring

A reasonably small 4-8 m asteroid recently flew by Earth, passing close to satellites orbiting in the geostationary ring at a distance of about 42 735 km from Earth's centre and only about 1200 km from the nearest satellite.

NASA begs spectators for astronaut launch: Please stay home!

NASA and SpaceX on Friday urged spectators to stay home for the first home launch of astronauts in nearly a decade because of the coronavirus pandemic.

How could an explosive Big Bang be the birth of our universe?

How can a Big Bang have been the start of the universe, since intense explosions destroy everything? – Tristan S., age 8, Newark, Delaware

Technology news

A system to reproduce different animal locomotion skills in robots

Researchers at Google Research and the University of California, Berkeley, have recently developed an imitation learning system that could enable a variety of agile locomotion behaviors in robots. Their technique, presented in a paper pre-published on arXiv, allows robots to acquire new skills by imitating animals.

A 3-D memristor-based circuit for brain-inspired computing

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts and the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate have recently created a 3-D computing circuit that could be used to map and implement complex machine learning algorithms, such convolutional neural networks (CNNs). This 3-D circuit, presented in a paper published in Nature Electronics, comprises eight layers of memristors; electrical components that regulate the electrical current flowing in a circuit and directly implement neural network weights in hardware.

Raspberry Pi unveils $50 interchangeable-lens camera board

Raspberry Pi's new high quality camera doesn't sport a fancy name—it's actually called "High Quality Camera"—but it packs some new features do-it-yourselfers are sure to enjoy, and it's being offered at Raspberry's typical bargain-basement prices.

AI program writes music and lyrics

The Rolling Stones summed up popular music in a simple phrase and title in their Eighties hit "It's Only Rock 'n Roll."

Engineers, medical team design 3-D-printed ventilator that requires no electricity

A research collaboration and ensuing friendship between a trauma surgeon in Oregon and a handful of engineers in Florida has resulted in a new ventilator design that requires no electricity and could be a game-changer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apple pinched by pandemic; profit, iPhone sales decline

Apple's profit dipped slightly while revenues rose in the January-March quarter, reflecting early fallout from a coronavirus pandemic that shut down its factories and then forced hundreds of Apple retail stores to close.

Amazon profit falls as pandemic-related costs rise

Amazon's sales soared in the first three months of the year, as more home-bound people shopped online amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Private equity group can't run charity-haven .org: ICANN

The agency that oversees internet addresses late Thursday rejected a controversial bid to let a private equity firm control the .org online neighborhood known as a haven for nonprofits.

'I'm cheering for you': Robot welcome at Tokyo quarantine

Coronavirus quarantine can be lonely, but at one Tokyo hotel converted to accept patients with mild symptoms, a humanoid robot will be there to offer support and encouragement—as well as admonishments and warnings.

Online status indicators during a pandemic: do they work?

For the past few months, millions of Americans have been working from their homes in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. They're using platforms such as Slack, Discord, or Hangouts to communicate, and instead of checking whether someone's office door is open to ask a question, they're checking each other's online status indicators.

Will contact-tracing apps infringe on data privacy? Germany may soon find out.

To help societies around the world control the spread of COVID-19 and get schools and businesses up and running, health officials are considering a range of technological solutions. Contact-tracing apps, which would make use of ubiquitous smartphones to monitor and manage the disease, are high on the list here as Germany begins to lift isolation orders this week.

How Apple and Google will let your phone warn you if you've been exposed to the coronavirus

On April 10, Apple and Google announced a coronavirus exposure notification system that will be built into their smartphone operating systems, iOS and Android. The system uses the ubiquitous Bluetooth short-range wireless communication technology.

Amazon expects to plow $4B second-quarter profit into improving safety, delivery and wages

Amazon sold, shipped and streamed more food, products and video content during the first three months of 2020—revenue rose 26% to $75.5 billion—as it became a truly essential provider for consumers staying at home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Developer beta for next iOS update helps iPhone users unlock phones with face masks

For iPhone users, using Face ID to unlock their phones was turning into a hassle now that face masks are necessary to perform essential tasks, but Apple will soon fix that problem.

Congress panel calls on Amazon chief Bezos to testify

A US congressional panel on Friday called on Amazon chief Jeff Bezos to testify about allegations the online giant used sensitive data from third-party sellers on its platform to develop competing products.

Tesla shares tumble as Musk says stock is overvalued

Irascible, outspoken Tesla chief Elon Musk went on another Twitter rant Friday, including saying the company's stock was overvalued, which sent the electric carmaker's shares tumbling.

Boeing raising $25 bn in bonds, says not seeking US government funds now

Boeing said Thursday it does not plan to seek US government support now after receiving strong interest from the bond market for a $25 billion public offering.

Irish airline Ryanair cuts up to 3,000 jobs over virus

Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair said on Friday it planned to axe 3,000 pilot and cabin crew jobs, or 15 percent of staff, with air transport paralysed by coronavirus.

Interference cancellation with high precision, high speed and low computational complexity

The research team of Assistant Professor Miyaji of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Information Engineering at Toyohashi University of Technology has developed a self-interference cancellation filter that is indispensable for the realization of in-band full duplex using the same frequency to transmit and receive simultaneously in wireless communications. This self-interference cancellation filter can estimate the distortion caused by radio and the distortion of the radio channel with high accuracy and cancel self-interference. In addition, it can quickly reach the solution of the filter with low computational complexity. It is expected to be applied to next-generation wireless communication technology.

EPFL researchers put proximity tracing app to the test

Over the past two weeks, EPFL computer scientists have been testing and refining the smartphone-based system developed by the international Decentralized Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing project (DP3T), with the help of the Swiss Army. Their goal: to optimize the app's ability to alert users after they've been in contact with someone contagious with COVID-19, while building trust around the open system.

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