Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Sep 1

Dear ymilog,

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

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Face shields, masks with valves ineffective against COVID-19 spread: study

Mastodons took frequent trips north when climate changed

Astronomers identify 18 metal-poor stars in the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy

Researchers predict location of novel candidate for mysterious dark energy

Eye of a fly: Researchers reveal secrets of fly vision for rapid flight control

Radiocarbon dating and CT scans reveal Bronze Age tradition of keeping human remains

Your paper notebook could become your next tablet

Researchers shed light on split-second decision making

Scientists show how brain flexibility emerges in infants

Study: Portable, point-of-care COVID-19 test could bypass the lab

Brain protein linked to seizures, abnormal social behaviors

Climate change fuels sharp increase in glacier lakes

New electronic skin can react to pain like human skin

Decorating windows for optimal sound transmission

Detecting small amounts of virus in early infections

Physics news

Face shields, masks with valves ineffective against COVID-19 spread: study

If the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines aren't enough to convince you that face shields alone shouldn't be used to stop the spread of COVID-19, then maybe a new visualization study will.

Decorating windows for optimal sound transmission

Glass windows typically offer some amount of soundproofing, sometimes unintentionally. In general, ventilation is required to achieve large sound transmission.

Why different measurements of material properties sometimes give different results

It is very hard to take a photo of a hummingbird flapping its wings 50 times per second. The exposure time has to be much shorter than the characteristic time scale of the wing beat, otherwise you will only see a colorful blur. A similar problem is encountered in solid-state physics, where the aim is to determine the magnetic properties of a material. The magnetic moment at a certain location can change very quickly. Therefore, researchers require measuring methods that are fast enough to resolve these fluctuations. With this basic idea in mind, scientists at TU Wien (Vienna), in collaboration with research groups from Würzburg (Germany), has now succeeded in solving a puzzle of solid-state physics.

Giant leap for molecular measurements

Spectroscopy is an important tool of observation in many areas of science and industry. Infrared spectroscopy is especially important in the world of chemistry, where it is used to analyze and identify molecules. The current state-of-the-art method can make approximately 1 million observations per second. UTokyo researchers have greatly surpassed this figure with a new method about 100 times faster.

Researchers manipulate two bits in one atom

Researchers at Delft University of Technology have succeeded in independently manipulating two different types of magnetism within a single atom. The results are relevant for the development of extremely small forms of data storage. In time, this new discovery could make it possible to store two bits of information in one atom.

A small number of self-organizing autonomous vehicles significantly increases traffic flow

With the addition of just a small number of autonomous vehicles (AVs) on the road, traffic flow can become faster, greener, and safer in the near future, a new study suggests.

Researchers investigate applications of magnetic sensors in the automotive and medical sectors

In his Christian Doppler Laboratory, Dieter Süss and his partners from the field of practice investigate the possible applications of magnetic sensors in the automotive and medical sector. Süss's technology achieved its first successes in ABS systems of vehicles and in magnetic resonance imaging.

Astronomy and Space news

Astronomers identify 18 metal-poor stars in the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) astronomers have detected 18 very metal-poor stars in the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy. They found that one of the stars from the sample has an extremely low metallicity, slightly below -3.0. The study was reported in a paper published August 22 on the arXiv preprint repository.

Researchers predict location of novel candidate for mysterious dark energy

Astronomers have known for two decades that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, but the physics of this expansion remains a mystery. Now, a team of researchers at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa have made a novel prediction—the dark energy responsible for this accelerating growth comes from a vast sea of compact objects spread throughout the voids between galaxies. This conclusion is part of a new study published in The Astrophysical Journal.

Curiosity: Summer approaches in Gale crater

Mars is often a very dynamic place due to its atmosphere and how it interacts with the surface. At present, we're in the "windy season" in Gale crater. This means that we're seeing increased aeolian (meaning "related to the wind") activity at the surface. In recent sols, we've taken Mastcam images of the same surface ripples on multiple sols. We've been able to see the ripples moving from sol to sol, due to wind moving the sand grains that make up the ripples, which tells us both the dominant wind direction and how strong the wind is. Today's plan included more observations designed to look for changes on the surface and rover deck: a MARDI image of the region below the rover, to prepare for making more images of that location over the next few sols so we can look for changes, and a Navcam deck pan, to look for changes to dust and sand grains on the rover deck.

Solar telescope GREGOR unveils magnetic details of the sun

The Sun is our star and has a profound influence on our planet, life, and civilization. By studying the magnetism on the Sun, we can understand its influence on Earth and minimize damage of satellites and technological infrastructure. The GREGOR telescope allows scientists to resolve details as small as 50 km on the Sun, which is a tiny fraction of the solar diameter of 1.4 million km. This is as if one saw a needle on a soccer field perfectly sharp from a distance of one kilometer.

Technology news

Your paper notebook could become your next tablet

Innovators from Purdue University hope their new technology can help transform paper sheets from a notebook into a music player interface and make food packaging interactive.

New electronic skin can react to pain like human skin

Researchers have developed electronic artificial skin that reacts to pain just like real skin, opening the way to better prosthetics, smarter robotics and non-invasive alternatives to skin grafts.

Q&A: The embedded ethics approach in AI development

The increasing use of AI (artificial intelligence) in the development of new medical technologies demands greater attention to ethical aspects. An interdisciplinary team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) advocates the integration of ethics from the very beginning of the development process of new technologies. Alena Buyx, professor of ethics in medicine and health technologies, explains the embedded ethics approach.

Managing data flow to boost cyber-physical system performance

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a suite of algorithms to improve the performance of cyber-physical systems—from autonomous vehicles to smart power grids—by balancing each component's need for data with how fast that data can be sent and received.

Outsmarting the PIN code

A PIN code is usually required at the checkout when paying large sums by credit card. ETH researchers have now discovered a flaw in the security system of some credit cards.

Toward a machine learning model that can reason about everyday actions

The ability to reason abstractly about events as they unfold is a defining feature of human intelligence. We know instinctively that crying and writing are means of communicating, and that a panda falling from a tree and a plane landing are variations on descending.

Samsung begins mass production of 16Gb LPDDR5 memory chips on world's largest semiconductor line

Samsung Electronics has announced on its blog page that the company has begun mass production of its 16Gb LPDDR5 mobile memory chips on a new production line. In its announcement, the company claims that the production process is the first to use extreme ultraviolet (EUV) technology. In investing so much into their new production facility, the company is also making it clear to consumers and competitors alike that they believe consumers will soon be clamoring for more memory capacity in their mobile devices.

Researchers take important step towards new generation of batteries

Delft University of Technology researchers, in collaboration with researchers from Tsinghua University, have taken an important step toward a new type of Li-ion battery, which are used in smartphones, laptops, and electric cars, among other things. For the first time, they succeeded in making an electrolyte that goes well with an anode made of lithium metal. Lithium metal is the holy grail for anodes. In theory, a two to three times higher energy density can be achieved with this material compared to current batteries.

Global analysis shows major electric utilities not moving to greener alternatives

An enterprise environmentalist at the University of Oxford has conducted an analysis of the major electricity-producing utilities around the world and has found that they are not doing much to move from fossil fuels to greener alternatives. In her paper published in the journal Nature Energy, Galina Alova describes her analysis of big electricity producers in countries around the globe and what she found.

Apple error approves MacOS malware

Oops. Apple, which recently stepped up efforts to guarantee malware is tracked and blocked before it can infect its Macs, has acknowledged the first breach of its notarization process.

Zoom rides pandemic to another quarter of explosive growth

Zoom's videoconferencing service is deepening its integral role in life during the pandemic as tens of thousands more businesses and other users pay for subscriptions to get more control over their virtual meetings.

Facebook threatens to block news distribution in Australia

Facebook threatened to block Australian publishers and individuals from sharing news stories on its platform in reaction to an Australian measure that could require it to compensate media organizations for its use of their stories.

Making health care more personal

The health care system today largely focuses on helping people after they have problems. When they do receive treatment, it's based on what has worked best on average across a huge, diverse group of patients.

Uber to require that passengers provide face-mask selfies

Mask slackers will now have to provide photographic proof they're wearing a face covering before boarding an Uber.

Samsung touts $2,000 foldable phone as a 'VIP' experience

Samsung's second attempt at a foldable smartphone will come with a $2,000 price tag and a few elite perks aimed at affluent consumers still able to afford the finer things in life during tough times.

Walmart unveils subscription program to challenge Amazon

The battle for online supremacy is on as Walmart announced Tuesday the coming launch of a membership program that provides free delivery as the world's biggest retailer takes direct aim at e-commerce behemoth Amazon.

Miniature antenna enables robotic teaming in complex environments

A new, miniature, low-frequency antenna with enhanced bandwidth will enable robust networking among compact, mobile robots in complex environments.

Samsung hits a new record with the most expensive smartphone: $2,000

Samsung hasn't given up on its most expensive phone, announcing Tuesday an even steeper price for the sequel to last year's foldable phone. The new Galaxy Fold Z 2 phone will be priced at a cool $1,999.

Rolls-Royce launches new Ghost amid virus worries

Rolls-Royce launched its eagerly-awaited new "Ghost" model on Tuesday, even as the luxury carmaker's chief warned that coronavirus would impact the automotive market for several years.

Delta, American join United in dropping most US change fees

This could be the final boarding call for the $200 ticket-change fee that has enraged so many U.S. airline travelers over the past decade.

Samsung heir charged with fraud over succession-linked deal

South Korean prosecutors indicted the heir to the Samsung empire Tuesday over a controversial merger of two business units seen as a key step towards his succession, in the latest legal blow to the sprawling conglomerate.

AI research to aid women's safety on public transport

World-first artificial intelligence software will target violence on public transport.

Securing the internet

While many people can name an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and describe what an ISP does, fewer people know the exchange of internet traffic that happens between different ISPs' networks, which are called Autonomous Systems (AS). Essentially a collection of connected Internet Protocol routing prefixes under the control of one or more network operators, an AS routes and exchanges traffic with other ASes following a common, clearly defined routing policy to the internet.

Continental expands restructuring, hitting 30,000 jobs

German auto-parts maker Continental said Tuesday that it would expand its vast restructuring programme to affect 30,000 jobs, as the coronavirus pandemic ravages global vehicle production.

Apple and Google team up to send you notifications if you've been exposed to COVID-19

Apple and Google teamed up to develop push notifications that let iOS and Android users know if they might have been exposed to COVID-19.

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