Science X Newsletter Monday, Aug 17

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for August 17, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Exploring how social touch affects communication between female animals

New model for pricing carbon will help meet net-zero climate change goals

More than half of world's oceans already being affected by climate change

Mantis shrimp's dactyl clubs could hold secrets to more resilient surfaces for human use

First ever observation of 'time crystals' interacting

Discovery promising for millions at risk from antibiotic resistance

Climate study looks at humans' exposure to extreme temperatures during 21st century

Transparent solar panels for windows hit record 8% efficiency

North American cold-climate forests are already absorbing less carbon, study shows

Black silicon UV responses exceed 130% efficiency

Remains of 17th century bishop support neolithic emergence of tuberculosis

Planetary nebula Abell 30 has a binary central star, study suggests

Ripple effects after slow-motion bubble collapse

AI player creates strikingly realistic virtual tennis matches based on real players

How climate change could expose new epidemics

Physics news

First ever observation of 'time crystals' interacting

For the first time ever, scientists have witnessed the interaction of a new phase of matter known as "time crystals".

Ripple effects after slow-motion bubble collapse

A recent feature cover photo on Science portrayed a bubble in mid-collapse, based on a study conducted by Alexandros T. Oratis et al. The research team in mechanical engineering, mathematics and aerospace engineering at Boston University, MIT and Princeton University demonstrated the formation of intriguing wave-like patterns when bubbles underwent collapse. Using a complex lighting setup and fast shutter speed in the lab, perfectly aligned to capture a fleeting moment, within one second, they photographed the tiny bubble emerging from the surrounding media of dense silicone oil.

Mathematical tool helps calculate properties of quantum materials more quickly

Many quantum materials have been nearly impossible to simulate mathematically because the computing time required is too long. Now, a joint research group at Freie Universität Berlin and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB, Germany) has demonstrated a way to considerably reduce the computing time. This could accelerate the development of materials for energy-efficient IT technologies of the future.

Unexpectedly fast conduction electrons in Na3Bi

An Australian-led study uses a scanning-tunneling microscope "trick" to map electronic structure in Na3Bi, seeking an answer to that material's extremely high electron mobility.

Scientists develop new method to create super stable X-rays

Modern X-ray laser facilities like the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory allow scientists to study how nature behaves at ultrasmall and ultrafast scales. However, the individual X-ray pulses are unstable, fluctuating from shot to shot, and produce a lot of background noise that can obscure the signal in high-resolution experiments.

Scientists use photons as threads to weave novel forms of matter

New research from the University of Southampton has successful discovered a way to bind two negatively charged electron-like particles which could create opportunities to form novel materials for use in new technological developments.

New superlattice material for future energy efficient devices

A team of international physicists including Jennifer Cano, Ph.D., of Stony Brook University, has created a new material layered by two structures, forming a superlattice, that at a high temperature is a super-efficient insulator conducting current without dissipation and lost energy. The finding, detailed in a paper published in Nature Physics, could be the basis of research leading to new, better energy efficient electrical conductors.

Major quantum computational breakthrough is shaking up physics and maths

MIP* = RE is not a typo. It is a groundbreaking discovery and the catchy title of a recent paper in the field of quantum complexity theory. Complexity theory is a zoo of "complexity classes"—collections of computational problems—of which MIP* and RE are but two.

Astronomy and Space news

Planetary nebula Abell 30 has a binary central star, study suggests

Using data from NASA's Kepler spacecraft, astronomers have explored a planetary nebula (PN) known as Abell 30. Results of the study suggest that the central star of this nebula is a binary system, which could have implications for our understanding of PN population in general. The finding is detailed in a paper published August 4 on

The fastest star ever observed

A team of researchers has observed the fastest moving star ever recorded. In their paper published in The Astrophysical Journal, the group describes their observation and study of stars circling close to the black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, and what they observed.

Strange gamma-ray heartbeat puzzles scientists

Scientists have detected a mysterious gamma-ray heartbeat coming from a cosmic gas cloud. The inconspicuous cloud in the constellation Aquila is beating with the rhythm of a neighboring precessing black hole, indicating a connection between the two objects, as the team led by DESY Humboldt Fellow Jian Li and ICREA Professor Diego F. Torres from the Institute of Space Sciences (IEEC-CSIC) reports in the journal Nature Astronomy. Just how the black hole powers the cloud's gamma-ray heartbeat over a distance of about 100 light-years remains enigmatic.

Scientists determine 'Oumuamua isn't made from molecular hydrogen ice after all

The debate over the origins and molecular structure of 'Oumuamua continued today with an announcement in The Astrophysical Journal Letters that despite earlier promising claims, the interstellar object is not made of molecular hydrogen ice after all.

NASA researchers track slowly splitting 'dent' in Earth's magnetic field

A small but evolving dent in Earth's magnetic field can cause big headaches for satellites.

Ariane rocket puts telecom satellites into orbit

A rocket that blasted off from French Guiana successfully placed two communications satellites into orbit Saturday, launch firm Arianespace said.

A method to study extreme space weather events

Scientists at Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech), together with international colleagues, have developed a method to study fast coronal mass ejections, powerful bursts of magnetized matter from the outer atmosphere of the sun. The results could improve the understanding and prediction of the most extreme space weather events and their potential to cause strong geomagnetic storms that directly affect the operation of engineering systems in space and on Earth. The results of the study are published in the Astrophysical Journal.

Image: Hubble captures eccentrically shaped NGC 1614 galaxy

NGC 1614, captured here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is an eccentrically shaped galaxy ablaze with activity. The galaxy resides about 200 million light-years from Earth and is nestled in the southern constellation of Eridanus (the River). 

Method proposed for more accurate determinations of neutron star radii

Neutron stars are the smallest and densest astrophysical objects with visible surfaces in the Universe. They form after gravitational collapses of the iron nuclei of massive (with masses about ten solar masses) stars at the end of their nuclear evolution. We can observe these collapses as supernovae explosions.

Technology news

Transparent solar panels for windows hit record 8% efficiency

In a step closer to skyscrapers that serve as power sources, a team led by University of Michigan researchers has set a new efficiency record for color-neutral, transparent solar cells.

Black silicon UV responses exceed 130% efficiency

"For the first time ever, we have direct experimental evidence that an external quantum efficiency above 100% is possible in a single photodiode without any external antireflection," says Hele Savin, associate professor of Micro and Nanoelectonics at Aalto University in Finland. The results come just a few years after Savin and colleagues at Aalto University demonstrated almost unity efficiency over the wavelength range 250-950 nm in photodiodes made with black silicon, where the silicon surface is nanostructured and coated to suppress losses.

AI player creates strikingly realistic virtual tennis matches based on real players

A team of researchers at Stanford University has created an artificial intelligence-based player called the Vid2Player that is capable of generating startlingly realistic tennis matches—featuring real professional players. They have written a paper describing their work and have uploaded it to the arXiv preprint server. They have also uploaded a YouTube video demonstrating their player.

What if you could better control what mobile apps do with your data?

Every year, mobile app developers make billions of dollars selling data they collect from the mobile apps on cell phones, and they aren't making it easy for consumers to prevent it.

3-D printing steps up to the frontlines in the battle against COVID-19

The prevalence of the highly infectious coronavirus disease, COVID-19, has caused massive health and socio-economic upheavals worldwide. Major slumps in industrial production due to stringent lockdown measures and export restrictions have led to severe logistical challenges and drastic disruptions to the global supply chains. Rising to the challenges and unprecedented demands, the 3-D printing technology has demonstrated operational resilience with timely and innovative responses to help in the global supply efforts.

California heat spurs 1st rolling power outages since 2011

California on Friday ordered rolling power outages for the first time since 2011 as a statewide heat wave strained its electrical system.

Facebook joins attack on Apple over App Store commission

Facebook on Friday joined the attack on Apple's operation of its App Store after the iPhone maker refused to forgo its commission on live online events hosted on the social network that allow people to make money during the pandemic.

Thousands of Canadian government accounts hacked

Tens of thousands of user accounts for online government services in Canada were recently hacked during cyber attacks, authorities said Saturday.

Google says Australians could lose free search services

Google warned on Monday that the Australian government's plan to make digital giants pay for news content threatens users' free services in Australia and could result in their data being given to media organizations.

Green electricity for Europe: Small scale solutions also affordable

The European Union aims to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and is relying largely on renewable electricity to reach this goal. The implementation of this energy transition is the subject of heated debate: A continental-scale system that concentrates energy generation infrastructure in the most suitable locations would provide the most affordable solution, but many citizens favor smaller, more dispersed supply networks. A new study prepared by researchers in Potsdam and Zurich shows that the implementation of such systems would not incur significant additional costs.

Survey finds science fiction one of many factors impacting views of AI technology

For decades, Hollywood has made millions off of our fears that artificial intelligences such as HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey and Skynet in The Terminator could one day control us or even wipe out humanity.

Energy-efficient tuning of spintronic neurons

The human brain efficiently executes highly sophisticated tasks, such as image and speech recognition, with an exceptionally lower energy budget than today's computers can. The development of energy-efficient and tunable artificial neurons capable of emulating brain-inspired processes has, therefore, been a major research goal for decades.

Bringing computational music analysis beyond the traditional canon

Scientists in EPFL's Digital and Cognitive Musicology Lab (DCML), led by Martin Rohrmeier, have used data science and statistical techniques to characterize the musical style of choro, a primarily instrumental genre from Brazil, for the very first time.

Applying machine learning to biomedical science

With potential application diagnosing cancer or predicting how viruses, such as HIV, attack human cells, machine learning is opening promising new areas of application for bioinformatics—the data science of molecular biology. Dr. Pengyi Yang from the Charles Perkins Centre and School of Mathematics and Statistics with colleagues has summarized the latest developments in this emerging field in a review article in Nature Machine Intelligence.

How dangerous are burning electric cars?

There' s a loud bang, and then it starts: A battery module of an electric car is on fire in the Hagerbach test tunnel. A video of the test impressively shows the energy stored in such batteries: Meter-long flames hiss through the room and produce enormous amounts of thick, black soot. The visibility in the previously brightly lit tunnel section quickly approaches zero. After a few minutes, the battery module is completely burnt out. Ash and soot have spread throughout the room.

Trump administration imposes new Huawei restrictions

The U.S. is imposing another round of restrictions on China's Huawei as President Donald Trump renewed accusations that the company's telecommunications equipment is used for spying.

Google Search makes it easier to find where to watch NBA, MLB games

Google's latest search feature will help you find where you can watch live sports games and live TV shows.

Elon Musk says goat-mimicking horn sounds are 'definitely coming' to Tesla fleet

If you happen to hear the sound of a bleating goat on the road, it might just be a Tesla.

5G networks are not shining. But with new phones from Samsung and Apple, could this be 5G's year?

Are you ready for 5G yet?

An Epic showdown: 'Fortnite' publisher's suits vs. Apple, Google and what it means for you

The Fortnite competition is going way beyond the game.

Subscription overload? Get ready for Apple's

You know that the iPhone is Apple's best-selling product, right?

Contextual engineering adds deeper perspective to local projects

When engineers develop drinking water systems, they often expect their technology and expertise to work in any context. But project success depends as much on the people and place as on technical design, says Ann-Perry Witmer, lecturer in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) and research scientist at the Applied Research Institute at University of Illinois.

Wearable sensors printed on natural materials analyze substances present in sweat

A wearable sensor printed on microbial nanocellulose, a natural polymer, has been created in Brazil by researchers at the University of São Paulo (USP) in São Carlos in collaboration with colleagues at São Paulo State University (UNESP) in Araraquara, the University of Araraquara (UNIARA), the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), and the Brazilian National Nanotechnology Laboratory (LNNano).

Researchers develop new detection method to protect Army networks

Army researchers developed a novel algorithm to protect networks by allowing for the detection of adversarial actions that can be missed by current analytical methods.

TikTok ramps up defense against US accusations

TikTok on Monday stepped up its defense against US accusations that the popular video app is a national security threat, denouncing what it called "rumors and misinformation" about its links to the Chinese government.

Trump targets TikTok again with new executive order

US President Donald Trump late Friday lashed out anew at ByteDance, issuing a fresh executive order stating the Chinese internet giant must sell its interest in the app it bought and merged with TikTok.

California could see more rolling outages amid heat wave

Power has been restored after California ordered the first rolling outages in nearly 20 years when a statewide heat wave strained the electrical system.

Virus pandemic reshaping air travel as carriers struggle

In a bid to survive, airlines are desperately trying to convince a wary public that measures like mandatory face masks and hospital-grade air filters make sitting in a plane safer than many other indoor settings during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ryanair cuts Sept, Oct flights as virus hits demand

Ryanair will cut its September and October timetable by "20 percent" on weaker-than-expected demand following renewed virus-linked travel restrictions in some European countries, the Irish airline said Monday.

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