Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Aug 11

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for August 11, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A machine learning processing engine to build flexible devices with odor recognition capabilities

Study unveils the unstable nature of some topological phases

Electronic components join forces to take up 10 times less space on computer chips

Digital content on track to equal half Earth's mass by 2245

Storing energy in red bricks

Radio relics detected in the galaxy cluster SPT-CL J2032−5627

Mathematical patterns developed by Alan Turing help researchers understand bird behavior

How boundaries become bridges in evolution

Enzyme discovered in the gut could lead to new disease biomarker

Malaria discovery could expedite antiviral treatment for COVID-19

Mystery solved: Bright areas on Ceres come from salty water below

Immunotherapy-resistant cancers eliminated in mouse study

Why does COVID-19 impact only some organs, not others?

Using physics to improve root canal efficiency

Making masks and PPE with hydrophilic surfaces, could reduce infection risk

Physics news

Study unveils the unstable nature of some topological phases

In recent years, physicists worldwide have been conducting studies exploring the characteristics and dynamics of topological phases of matter that could enable the development of quantum devices and other new technologies. Some of these phases are supported by what is known as the time-reversal symmetry (TRS) of microscopic laws of nature.

Digital content on track to equal half Earth's mass by 2245

As we use resources, such as coal, oil, natural gas, copper, silicon and aluminum, to power massive computer farms and process digital information, our technological progress is redistributing Earth's matter from physical atoms to digital information—the fifth state of matter, alongside liquid, solid, gas and plasma.

Using physics to improve root canal efficiency

Scientists used computational fluid dynamics to determine the effect of temperature on root canal cleaning efficiency. Higher temperatures can, to a point, improve cleansing, but this benefit falls off if the temperature gets too high.

Making masks and PPE with hydrophilic surfaces, could reduce infection risk

Since the COVID-19 virus spreads through respiratory droplets, researchers in India set out to explore how droplets deposited on face masks or frequently touched surfaces, like door handles or smartphone touch screens, dry.

A team of international physicists join forces in hunt for sterile neutrinos

An international group of more than 260 scientists have produced one of the most stringent tests for the existence of sterile neutrinos to date. The scientists from two major international experimental groups, MINOS+ at the Department of Energy's Fermilab and Daya Bay in China, are reporting results in Physical Review Letters ruling out oscillations into one sterile neutrino as the primary explanation for unexpected observations from recent experiments.

Scientists create compact particle accelerators that drive electron beams nearer speed of light

Scientists have successfully developed a pocket-sized particle accelerator capable of projecting ultra-short electron beams with laser light at more than 99.99% of the speed of light.

X-rays indicate that water can behave like a liquid crystal

Scientists at Stockholm University have discovered that water can exhibit a similar behavior to that of a liquid crystal when illuminated with laser light. This effect originates by the alignment of water molecules, which exhibit a mixture of low- and high-density domains that are more or less prone to alignment. The results, reported in Physics Review Letters, are based on a combination of experimental studies using X-ray lasers and molecular simulations.

Ultraviolet communication to transform Army networks

Of ever-increasing concern for operating a tactical communications network is the possibility that a sophisticated adversary may detect friendly transmissions. Army researchers developed an analysis framework that enables the rigorous study of the detectability of ultraviolet communication systems, providing the insights needed to deliver the requirements of future, more secure Army networks.

Optics research demonstrates waveguides that guarantee stable propagation of azimuthons

The optical vortex plays an increasingly important role in optical information processing. As an information carrier, it improves the capacity of channels and offers an independent aspect for analysis—different from polarization, intensity, phase, and path. A new degree of freedom for encoding and encrypting optical information may be provided via nonlinear optics, using vortex beams known as azimuthons, which carry an orbital angular momentum and can now be made to exhibit a mutual conversion pattern known as Rabi oscillation.

Astronomy and Space news

Radio relics detected in the galaxy cluster SPT-CL J2032−5627

Using the Australian Square Kilometer Array Path´Čünder (ASKAP), astronomers have performed observations of a cluster of galaxies known as SPT-CL J2032−5627. They identified two radio relics that could improve our knowledge about this cluster. The finding is reported in a paper published August 3 on

Mystery solved: Bright areas on Ceres come from salty water below

NASA's Dawn spacecraft gave scientists extraordinary close-up views of the dwarf planet Ceres, which lies in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. By the time the mission ended in October 2018, the orbiter had dipped to less than 22 miles (35 kilometers) above the surface, revealing crisp details of the mysterious bright regions Ceres had become known for.

Laser beams reflected between Earth and moon boost science

Dozens of times over the last decade NASA scientists have launched laser beams at a reflector the size of a paperback novel about 240,000 miles (385,000 kilometers) away from Earth. They announced today, in collaboration with their French colleagues, that they received signal back for the first time, an encouraging result that could enhance laser experiments used to study the physics of the universe.

Main Belt asteroid Psyche might be the remnant of a planet that never fully formed

New 2-D and 3-D computer modeling of impacts on the asteroid Psyche, the largest Main Belt asteroid, indicate it is probably metallic and porous in composition, something like a flying cosmic rubble pile. Knowing this will be critical to NASA's forthcoming asteroid mission, Psyche: Journey to a Metal World, that launches in 2022.

Classifying galaxies with artificial intelligence

Astronomers have applied artificial intelligence (AI) to ultra-wide field-of-view images of the distant Universe captured by the Subaru Telescope, and have achieved a very high accuracy for finding and classifying spiral galaxies in those images. This technique, in combination with citizen science, is expected to yield further discoveries in the future.

NASA's planet Hunter completes its primary mission

On July 4, NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) finished its primary mission, imaging about 75% of the starry sky as part of a two-year-long survey. In capturing this giant mosaic, TESS has found 66 new exoplanets, or worlds beyond our solar system, as well as nearly 2,100 candidates astronomers are working to confirm.

Broken cable damages giant radio telescope in Puerto Rico

A broken cable caused severe damage at Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory, causing a suspension of operations for one of the world's largest single-dish radio telescopes, officials said Tuesday.

Technology news

A machine learning processing engine to build flexible devices with odor recognition capabilities

In recent years, there has been an increase in the development of flexible electronics: electronic components that can be stretched and thus enable the development of smart watches, fitness trackers, or other wearable smart devices. Flexible electronics are typically made by applying electronic circuits on flexible material substrates, such as plastic or paper.

Electronic components join forces to take up 10 times less space on computer chips

Electronic filters are essential to the inner workings of our phones and other wireless devices. They eliminate or enhance specific input signals to achieve the desired output signals. They are essential, but take up space on the chips that researchers are on a constant quest to make smaller. A new study demonstrates the successful integration of the individual elements that make up electronic filters onto a single component, significantly reducing the amount of space taken up by the device.

Storing energy in red bricks

Imagine plugging in to your brick house.

Asegun Henry on five 'grand thermal challenges' to stem the tide of global warming

More than 90 percent of the world's energy use today involves heat, whether for producing electricity, heating and cooling buildings and vehicles, manufacturing steel and cement, or other industrial activities. Collectively, these processes emit a staggering amount of greenhouse gasses into the environment each year.

Storage tool adapts to what its datasets' users want to search

Big data has gotten really, really big: By 2025, all the world's data will add up to an estimated 175 trillion gigabytes. For a visual, if you stored that amount of data on DVDs, it would stack up tall enough to circle the Earth 222 times.

Microsoft debuts Open Service Mesh

Microsoft will turn over control of its new service mesh to a group specializing in cloud native open source software support.

Facebook creates unit devoted to financial services

Facebook on Monday said it has created a new unit devoted to financial services to harmonize payment systems on its platform.

Increasing effectiveness of virtual conferences and meetings

Virtual conferences and meetings have been around for many years, but they have come to the fore and are a standard form of group communication now that we are in a "new normal" because of the COVID-19 global pandemic. A team from India, writing in the International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organizations, discusses the ways in which virtual teamwork can be made more effective.

Study finds facial recognition technology in schools presents many problems, recommends ban

Facial recognition technology should be banned for use in schools, according to a new study by the University of Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy that cites the heightened risk of racism and potential for privacy erosion.

Are lethal autonomous weapons the future of warfare?

An armed weapons system capable of making decisions sounds like it's straight out of a Terminator movie. But once lethal autonomous weapons are out in the world, there could be no turning back.

Electric roads will help cut UK road freight emissions, report says

Electrification of 7,500 km of the UK's major road network would enable most lorries to be powered by overhead charging cables, resulting in dramatically reduced carbon emissions, a new report has found.

New research may help identify sex trafficking networks

According to a 2018 United Nations report, more than 25,000 individuals are officially reported to be victims of trafficking each year. The true number is likely much larger. While scientists have tried to help pinpoint outfits participating in sex trafficking, few scientific studies have looked of how the digital infrastructure behind the online sex market operates. A paper in Applied Network Science from Mayank Kejriwal, a research assistant professor at the USC Information Sciences Institute and Yao Gu (currently at Amazon) provides some insights on the specific digital practices of potential sex trafficking networks.

Google Android phones to assist with earthquake alerts and searches

You may not need to scramble to check Twitter for all the details when the earth starts to shake.

Machine learning can predict market behavior, study says

Machine learning can assess the effectiveness of mathematical tools used to predict the movements of financial markets, according to new Cornell research based on the largest dataset ever used in this area.

US court overturns Qualcomm defeat in antitrust case

An appeals court on Tuesday overturned a judge's ruling that Qualcomm "strangled competition," undoing a major victory scored last year by US antitrust enforcers.

Facebook reports progress catching hate speech

Facebook on Tuesday reported progress in catching abusive content on the platform as it relied more on automated systems during the pandemic.

The Kiwi media mogul challenging online giants

Tucked away in Sinead Boucher's sock drawer is the one-dollar coin that transformed the former journalist into New Zealand's biggest media mogul, giving her a platform to challenge Facebook and other social media giants.

Indian airline IndiGo to fight virus woes with $534 mn share issue

India's largest airline IndiGo hopes to raise $534 million by issuing shares to try and boost liquidity after the coronavirus pandemic sparked record losses and job cuts.

Whatsapp for helpful social communities

Dutch computer scientists have assessed the value of the Whatsapp mobile communication platform in the context of social support. The research seems rather pertinent in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic that has forced countless people to work entirely remotely, usually at home, to engage with their doctor and other healthcare workers via online applications, and to work with educators to teach their children at home too.

UK court says face recognition violates human rights

The use of facial recognition technology by British police has violated human rights and data protection laws, a court said Tuesday, in a decision praised as a victory against invasive practices by the authorities.

Facebook to limit 'imposter' news sites from political groups

Political groups which create websites designed to look like news outlets will no longer get the same treatment as independent media on Facebook, the social network said Tuesday.

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