Science X Newsletter Friday, Aug 21

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for August 21, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Rogue planets could outnumber the stars

Ozone across northern hemisphere increased over past 20 years

Tiny engineered therapeutic delivery system safely solves genetic problems in mice

Metal organic framework (MOF) microcrystals for multicolor broadband lasing

A new lens on the world: Improving the metalens with liquid crystal

Your in-laws' history of drinking problems could lead to alcohol issues of your own

Research links Southeast Asia megadrought to drying in Africa

In times of ecological uncertainty, brood parasites hedge their bets

Sea level rise quickens as Greenland ice sheet sheds record amount

Scientists discover a social cue of safety

Electron movements in liquid measured in super-slow motion

Scientists grow the first functioning mini human heart model

Engineers set new world record internet speed

Researchers discover superconductor with unexpected lattice configuration

Light-responsive top layer of plastic film induces movement

Physics news

Metal organic framework (MOF) microcrystals for multicolor broadband lasing

Multicolor single-mode polarized microlasers containing an output range from visible light to the near-infrared have significant applications in photonic integration and multimodal chemical sensing or imaging applications. However, such devices are very difficult to realize in practice. In a new report, Huajun He and a research team in physics, materials science and chemistry in Singapore, China and the U.S., developed a single crystal with multiple segments to generate controlled, single-mode, near-infrared (NIR) lasing. Multiple segments of the single crystal were based on a metal organic framework (MOF) hybridized with dye molecules suited for green, red and near-infrared lasing as computationally simulated. The segmented assembly of different dye molecules in the microcrystal caused it to act as a shortened resonator to achieve dynamic, multicolor single-mode lasing with a low three-color-lasing threshold (red, green and NIR). The findings will open a new route to explore single-mode, micro/nanolasers constructed with MOF engineering for biophotonic applications. The work is now published on Nature Light: Science & Applications.

A new lens on the world: Improving the metalens with liquid crystal

For more than 500 years, humans have mastered the art of refracting light by shaping glass into lenses, then bending or combining those lenses to amplify and clarify images either close-up and far-off.

Researchers discover first 'open-charm' tetraquark

The LHCb experiment at CERN has developed a penchant for finding exotic combinations of quarks, the elementary particles that come together to give us composite particles such as the more familiar proton and neutron. In particular, LHCb has observed several tetraquarks, which, as the name suggests, are made of four quarks (or rather two quarks and two antiquarks). Observing these unusual particles helps scientists advance our knowledge of the strong force, one of the four known fundamental forces in the universe. At a CERN seminar held virtually on 12 August, LHCb announced the first signs of an entirely new kind of tetraquark with a mass of 2.9 GeV/c²: the first such particle with only one charm quark.

Plasma guides maintain focus of lasers

In science fiction, firing powerful lasers looks easy—the Death Star can just send destructive power hurtling through space as a tight beam. But in reality, once a powerful laser has been fired, care must be taken to ensure it doesn't get spread too thin.

Quantum computers do the (instantaneous) twist

Regardless of what makes up the innards of a quantum computer, its speedy calculations all boil down to sequences of simple instructions applied to qubits—the basic units of information inside a quantum computer.

Researchers generate attosecond light from industrial laser

University of Central Florida researchers are making the cutting-edge field of attosecond science more accessible to researchers from all disciplines.

Physics team applies quantitative methods to model how far virus-laden aerosols travel through the air

As scientific voids go, it would be hard just now to find a more pressing question: How do the aerosols that carry the invisible coronavirus travel on the air after they leave an infected person?

Astronomy and Space news

Rogue planets could outnumber the stars

An upcoming NASA mission could find that there are more rogue planets—planets that float in space without orbiting a sun—than there are stars in the Milky Way, a new study theorizes.

Image: Hubble captures supernova host galaxy

This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope features the spectacular galaxy NGC 2442, nicknamed the Meathook galaxy owing to its extremely asymmetrical and irregular shape.

Very high energy gamma-ray emission from a radio galaxy

Giant elliptical galaxies, the oldest known large galactic structures in the universe, have no spiral arms and little or no current star formation activity, but their central supermassive black holes are often active galactic nuclei (AGN). While nearly all galaxies host a supermassive black hole in their nuclei, most nuclei are not AGN. Astronomers think that giant ellipticals formed in the early universe, less than a billion years after the big bang, after a phase of rapid star-formation, and then evolved to become even larger through galaxy mergers and accretion of gas from the intergalactic medium. The same accretion helps feed the AGN that drive the ejection of powerful jets of rapidly moving charged particles. The particles emit strongly at radio frequencies, making these objects bright targets for radio telescopes, and many of these galaxies were first discovered in radio surveys.

Spinning black hole powers jet by magnetic flux

Black holes are at the center of almost all galaxies that have been studied so far. They have an unimaginably large mass and therefore attract matter, gas and even light. But they can also emit matter in the form of plasma jets—a kind of plasma beam that is ejected from the center of the galaxy with tremendous energy. A plasma jet can extend several hundred thousand light years far into space.

A 70 degree shift on Jupiter's icy moon Europa was the last event to fracture its surface

Europa's outer icy shell has completely reoriented itself in one of the last geologic events recorded on its young surface. Europa's poles are not where they used to be. Cracks in the surface of Jupiter's icy moon indicate its shell of ice rotated by 70 degrees sometime in the last several million years. In addition to supporting prior evidence for the existence of a subsurface ocean, it also means that the geologic history of Europa's surface must be reexamined.

Hubble snaps close-up of comet NEOWISE

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured the closest images yet of the sky's latest visitor to make the headlines, comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE, after it passed by the Sun. The new images of the comet were taken on 8 August and feature the visitor's coma, the fine shell that surrounds its nucleus, and its dusty output.

New ground station brings laser communications closer to reality

Optical communications, transmitting data using infrared lasers, has the potential to help NASA return more data to Earth than ever. The benefits of this technology to exploration and Earth science missions are huge. In support of a mission to demonstrate this technology, NASA recently completed installing its newest optical ground station in Haleakala, Hawaii.

Video: NASA's guide to near-light-speed travel

So, you've just put the finishing touches on upgrades to your spaceship, and now it can fly at almost the speed of light. We're not quite sure how you pulled it off, but congratulations!

Apertif images yield first scientific results

Using Apertif (APERture Tile In Focus), searching at a radio frequency of 1.4 GHz, researchers have found an intra-hour variable (IHV) source, described in the paper "Extreme intra-hour variability of the radio source J1402+5347 discovered with Apertif." IHVs are very compact radio sources that twinkle on timescales of minutes and are among the rarest objects in the sky. For the past 30 to 40 years only a handful of IHVs have been discovered. However, with Apertif, researchers were able to discover ten more IHVs apart from the one described in the paper. All these IHVs were discovered in a single year, proving Apertif to be very suitable for discovering rare sources. Researchers believe these IHVs to be quasars: supermassive black holes. These quasars are located about 10 billion light years from Earth.

Technology news

Engineers set new world record internet speed

The world's fastest data transmission rate has been achieved by a team of University College London engineers who achieved internet transmission speed a fifth faster than the previous record.

Scientists use artificial intelligence in new way to strengthen power grid resiliency

A new artificial neural network model created by Argonne scientists handles both static and dynamic features of a power system with a relatively high degree of accuracy.

Foiling illicit cryptocurrency mining with artificial intelligence

Los Alamos National Laboratory computer scientists have developed a new artificial intelligence (AI) system that may be able to identify malicious codes that hijack supercomputers to mine for cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin and Monero.

US charges former Uber security chief in hack cover-up

US prosecutors on Thursday charged Uber's former security chief with covering up a hack that compromised the personal information of 57 million users and drivers.

Facebook says it's fielding questions by US regulators

Facebook on Thursday said its executives are fielding questions from the US Federal Trade Commission on an antitrust fact-finding mission.

US media take on Apple over App Store commission

Major American media organizations have written to Apple pushing for the iPhone maker to charge less to feature on its App Store, a week after the company behind hit video game Fortnite sued the tech giant over the same issue.

Scientists develop an economical atomic battery with power increased by 10 times

Scientists from NUST MISIS have presented an innovative autonomous power source: a compact atomic battery that can last up to 20 years. Due to the original 3-D structure of the beta-voltaic element, its dimensions have decreased by three times, the specific power has increased by 10 times, and the cost has decreased by 50%. The results have been published in the international scientific journal Applied Radiation and Isotopes.

Microsoft announces ND A100 v4 VM series—a new series of AI virtual machines

Microsoft has announced the development of its new ND A100 v4 VM—an AI virtual machine series designed to give its customers a massive AI processing boost. Microsoft made the announcement on its Azure blog, saying that the new series will be available soon.

After Huawei, spotlight on China's role in UK nuclear power

After Britain ordered the phased removal of Huawei from its 5G network, attention has now switched to China's role in other areas of the UK, particularly its involvement in key nuclear power projects.

TikTok pulls 380,000 videos in US for hate content

TikTok on Thursday said it has removed more than 380,000 videos in the US this year as part of a part of a mission to "eliminate hate" on the platform.

Blockchain pet adoptions

The blockchain concept underpins digital currencies, such as BitCoin. It acts as a distributed register that holds all transactions of the currency in an encrypted and immutable table. The technology is not limited to cryptocurrencies though, there are many other applications that might benefit from such as secure information system. Writing in the International Journal of Blockchains and Cryptocurrencies, a team from India explain how a blockchain might be used in pet adoption.

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