Science X Newsletter Tuesday, May 12

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

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Exploring the role of cells in the lateral thalamus in controlling fear behavior

The observation of photon-assisted tunneling signatures in Majorana wires

Researchers develop real-time physics engine for soft robotics

Timing observations with Nanshan Radio Telescope investigate almost 90 pulsars

Microsoft-Intel project converts malware into images to cut threats

Celiac disease linked to common chemical pollutants

Soft robotic exosuit makes stroke survivors walk faster and farther

Gaming researchers develop a new way to render characters with realistic skin

Nanofiber membranes transformed into 3-D scaffolds

Can we really tell male and female dinosaurs apart?

Scientists show MRI predicts the efficacy of a stem cell therapy for brain injury

Researchers report memresistor material composition breakthrough

Change of direction in immune defense: Frankincense reprograms inflammatory enzyme

Medicinal plants thrive in biodiversity hotspots

Osteoarthritis research in progeria mouse models reveals promising treatment combinations

Physics news

The observation of photon-assisted tunneling signatures in Majorana wires

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen and Microsoft Quantum Lab Copenhagen have recently carried out a study investigating the potential of Majorana zero modes, zero-energy quasiparticle states that can be found in superconductive hybrid nanowires, as a means of protecting quantum data. Their paper, published in Nature Physics, outlines the observation of photon-assisted tunnelling signatures in a Majorana nanowire, offering interesting new insight that could pave the way towards better understanding these quasiparticle states.

Researchers report memresistor material composition breakthrough

Scientists around the world are intensively working on memristive devices that draw extremely low power and behave similarly to neurons in the brain. Researchers from the J├╝lich Aachen Research Alliance (JARA) and the German technology group Heraeus now report the systematic control of the functional behavior of these elements. The smallest differences in material composition turned out to be crucial, so small that until now, experts had failed to notice them. The researchers' design directions could help to increase variety, efficiency, selectivity and reliability for memristive technology-based applications, for example, energy-efficient, non-volatile storage devices or neuro-inspired computers.

Quantum brakes in molecules

Physicists have measured the flight times of electrons emitted from a specific atom in a molecule upon excitation with laser light. This has enabled them to measure the influence of the molecule itself on the kinetics of emission.

Machine learning cracks quantum chemistry conundrum

A new machine learning tool can calculate the energy required to make—or break—a molecule with higher accuracy than conventional methods. While the tool can currently only handle simple molecules, it paves the way for future insights in quantum chemistry.

Researchers create electronic diodes beyond 5G performance

David Storm, a research physicist, and Tyler Growden, an electrical engineer, both with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, developed a new gallium nitride-based electrical component called a resonant tunneling diode (RTD) with performance beyond the anticipated speed of 5G.

Hollow-core fiber raises prospects for next-generation scientific instruments

The novel fibres' latest advances, published this week in Nature Photonics, have underlined the technology's potential for next generation optical interferometric systems and sensors.

Researchers review advances in halide perovskites for miniaturized lasers

The demands of miniaturization and integration of photonic components, such as nanolasers, have opened up and pushed the development of integrated optical systems. Halide perovskite semiconductor materials have shown tremendous potential in nanophotonics, particularly in miniaturized lasers, due to their outstanding properties.

A study analyzes the unexpected behavior of hydrogen flames

Hydrogen flames can propagate even with very little fuel, within surprisingly narrow gaps and can extend breaking up into fractal patterns. That is the unexpected physical behavior of this gas when it burns, which has been detected by a scientific team led by researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M). These results can help to improve the safety of Hydrogen-powered devices.

Filming quantic measurement for the first time

Quantum physics deals with microscopic systems such as atoms and light particles. It is a theory that makes it possible to calculate the probabilities of the possible results of any measurement taken on these systems. However, what happens during the measurement was a mystery. A team of researchers from the University of Seville, the University of Stockholm (Sweden) and the University of Siegen (Germany) has, for the first time, managed to "film" what happens during the measurement of the quantum system.

ORNL, LANL-developed quantum technologies go the distance

For the second year in a row, a team from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge and Los Alamos national laboratories led a demonstration hosted by EPB, a community-based utility and telecommunications company serving Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Astronomy and Space news

Timing observations with Nanshan Radio Telescope investigate almost 90 pulsars

Astronomers from China and Australia have observed almost 90 pulsars with the Nanshan Radio Telescope in order to investigate their properties. Using the timing analysis method, the researchers determined positions, proper motions and rotation parameters of dozens of pulsars from the sample, and also detected glitches in three sources. The study was published May 5 on the arXiv pre-print server.

Space travel may impact how the body handles sodium

A new study reports that astronauts excrete less sodium in space than on land, a finding that could have implications for the heart health of future space travelers.

Powerful new AI technique detects and classifies galaxies in astronomy image data

Researchers at UC Santa Cruz have developed a powerful new computer program called Morpheus that can analyze astronomical image data pixel by pixel to identify and classify all of the galaxies and stars in large data sets from astronomy surveys.

Newly reprocessed images of Europa make the icy moon even more interesting

Jupiter's moon Europa is the smoothest object in the Solar System. There are no mountains, very few craters, and no valleys. It's tallest features are isolated massifs up to 500 meters (1640 ft) tall.

Image: Hubble views a galaxy burning bright

In the depths of the night sky lies a barred spiral galaxy called NGC 3583, imaged here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. This is a barred spiral galaxy with two arms that twist out into the universe. This galaxy is located 98 million light-years away from the Milky Way. Two supernovae exploded in this galaxy, one in 1975 and another, more recently, in 2015.

Technology news

Researchers develop real-time physics engine for soft robotics

Motion picture animation and video games are impressively lifelike nowadays, capturing a wisp of hair falling across a heroine's eyes or a canvas sail snapping crisply in the wind. Collaborators from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Carnegie Mellon University have adapted this sophisticated computer graphics technology to simulate the movements of soft, limbed robots for the first time.

Microsoft-Intel project converts malware into images to cut threats

Two industry giants are working to get a clearer picture of how to combat malware—literally.

Soft robotic exosuit makes stroke survivors walk faster and farther

Stroke is the leading cause of serious long-term disability in the US with approximately 17 million individuals experiencing it each year. About 8 out of 10 stroke survivors suffer from "hemiparesis", a paralysis that typically impacts the limbs and facial muscles on one side of their bodies, and often causes severe difficulties walking, a loss of balance with an increased risk of falling, as well as muscle fatigue that quickly sets in during exertions. Oftentimes, these impairments also make it impossible for them to perform basic everyday activities.

Gaming researchers develop a new way to render characters with realistic skin

Researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) have developed a new solution to render an essential detail in many video games: human skin. The research is published in the Proceedings of the Association for Computing Machinery on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques. Marc Olano, associate professor of computer science and electrical engineering at UMBC, led this research alongside Tiantian Xie, Ph.D. '22, computer science. Xie, under the guidance of Olano, has worked with researchers at the gaming company Epic Games, developing a keen understanding of gamers' user experience, including the precise level of realism and detail that players are looking for in human characters.

AI techniques in medical imaging may lead to incorrect diagnoses

Machine learning and AI are highly unstable in medical image reconstruction, and may lead to false positives and false negatives, a new study suggests.

China auto sales fall in April but loss narrows

China's auto sales declined again in April but losses narrowed in a sign the industry's biggest global market is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic as Beijing eases anti-disease controls, according to an industry group.

Virus drives down Toyota profit forecasts

Toyota on Tuesday forecast a sharp drop in sales and operating profit over the coming year as the Japanese giant suffers from the "wide-ranging, significant and serious" fall-out from the coronavirus pandemic that has shredded the global auto market.

Twitter to label 'misleading' virus content

Twitter said Monday it began tagging "misleading" and "disputed" claims about the coronavirus pandemic in a stepped-up effort to label potentially harmful content.

On the road to nontoxic and stable perovskite solar cells

Halide perovskite materials show high efficiency for solar energy technologies, but this comes at a cost: The best perovskite materials incorporate toxic lead, which poses a hazard to the environment. Replacing lead with less toxic elements is difficult because lead-free perovskites have lower stability and poor efficiency. Now, an international collaboration has engineered a new hybrid perovskite material with promising efficiency and stability.

CoCoPIE: A software solution for putting real artificial intelligence in smaller spaces

Bit by bit, byte by byte, artificial intelligence has been working its way into public consciousness and into everyday computer use.

Contact tracing apps are vital tools in the fight against coronavirus. But who decides how they work?

Last week the head of Australia's Digital Transformation Agency, Randall Brugeaud, told a Senate committee hearing an updated version of Australia's COVIDSafe contact-tracing app would soon be released. That's because the current version doesn't work properly on Apple phones, which restrict background broadcasting of the Bluetooth signals used to tell when phones have been in close proximity.

NIST 'high priority' list identifies critical need for improved plumbing

We don't use water like we used to. In recent decades, concerns about cost, water shortages and environmental impacts together with changes in plumbing design have driven down water usage per person. But because plumbing codes have not kept pace with the shifting demand, water quality may be suffering.

Researchers find Bitcoin's Lightning network susceptible to cyberattacks

Bitcoin, the decentralized digital currency without a central bank, saw a decline in price due to COVID-19. After announcements of travel restrictions, the price plummeted from $8,000 to $3,800 in one day, according to a report by CryptoCompare.

How the wings of owls and hummingbirds inspire drones, wind turbines and other technology

Is evolution the best inventor? With hundreds of millions of years of work and the natural world as its canvas, it would seem so.

Cooking Raspberry Pi for the smart home

Researchers in India describe the potential of the low-cost Raspberry Pi computer to be used as a control system for home automation using the so-called Internet of Things. They outline details in the International Journal of Advanced Intelligence Paradigms.

People's perception of media messages personalized in real-time

Techniques that personalize media messages in real-time have become increasingly sophisticated. This enables new personalization strategies, such as when people receive an ad on their mobile device that is simultaneously advertised on the TV commercials they're watching. These techniques are allowed because people give permission, for example, by signing app user agreements that give apps permission to access the phone's microphone.

Hadamard-Haar random precoding to enable low-complexity optimal channel equalization

In the communication systems, communication signals usually go through multiple paths from the transmitter to the receiver, during which inter-symbol interference (ISI) is introduced into the received signals. Channel equalization is the main technique to eliminate the ISI.

Boeing reports more 737 MAX cancelations as CEO offers grim outlook

Boeing reported another round of 737 MAX cancelations Tuesday as the company's CEO warned the industry downturn in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic could force a major airline out of business.

Vodafone roaming income slumps as virus crimps travel

Europe's biggest mobile phone firm Vodafone logged Tuesday a slump in roaming revenues as the coronavirus slams global travel, but shares surged after it maintained its dividend and slashed losses.

Samsung has plans to launch a debit card this summer

Samsung is bolstering its digital payments platform to offer users a debit card.

Uber considers buying Grubhub, according to newspaper report (Update)

Uber is considering acquiring Grubhub in a deal that would give the companies control over a majority of the U.S. food delivery business, according to published reports.

Boeing goes another month without a single airliner order

Boeing failed to sell a single commercial airplane but saw orders for 108 planes canceled in April as a sharp drop in air travel erased any demand among airlines for new jetliners.

Twitter says many employees may work remotely 'forever'

Twitter said Tuesday it is unlikely to open its offices before September, and that many of its employees will be permitted to work from home permanently even after the end of the coronavirus lockdowns.

Ryanair gets ready to fly more often in July (Update)

Budget airline Ryanair says it will begin operating nearly 1,000 daily flights starting in July, assuming government restrictions on flights within Europe are lifted after the shutdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Comcast offers freebies this week during 'Watchathon'

Comcast customers wondering when the cable provider would show some love during the stay-at-home order, pick up your remote.

Privacy-aware coronavirus tracing app

Identification of contacts is one of the most important measures to mitigate the spread of the Corona virus. Tracing apps are to help. They will inform people who stayed near an infected person during a defined period of time. Technical implementation, however, is associated with the risk of data misuse and the approaches presented so far do not sufficiently protect privacy. Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and of the FZI Research Center for Information Technology, an innovation partner of KIT, have now proposed an app that combines the advantages of a central and a decentralized approach and, thus, enhances privacy. The results are published in a technical report.

Ryanair contests aid to rivals before EU court

Ryanair said Tuesday it has contested state aid provided to Air France and SAS to deal with the plunge in travel due to the coronavirus pandemic before the European Court of Justice.

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