Science X Newsletter Thursday, Sep 3

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for September 3, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

An unexpected origin story for a lopsided black hole merger

Researchers warn of food-web threats from common insecticides

Old males vital to elephant societies

Exploring the impact of climate change on energy systems at both a global and regional scale

Lab-grown earthquakes reveal the frictional forces acting beneath our feet

Australia likely to experience up to 35% more El Niños under new projections

Is consciousness continuous or discrete? Maybe it's both, argue researchers

New observations show planet-forming disc torn apart by its three central stars

Scientists discover new rules about 'runaway' transcription

Qualcomm 5G mmWave call breaks distance record

Wool-like material can remember and change shape

Physicists nudge atoms within less than a trillionth of a second

Personal use of permanent hair dye not associated with greater risk of most cancers or cancer death: study

Children can have COVID-19 antibodies and virus in their system simultaneously

Aviation contributes 3.5% to the drivers of climate change that stem from humans

Physics news

Physicists nudge atoms within less than a trillionth of a second

Scientists from Regensburg and Zurich have found a fascinating way to push an atom with controlled forces so quickly that they can choreograph the motion of a single molecule within less than a trillionth of a second. The extremely sharp needle of their unique ultrafast microscope serves as the technical basis: It carefully scans molecules, similar to a record player. Physicists at the University of Regensburg now showed that shining light pulses onto this needle can transform it into an ultrafast "atomic hand." This allows molecules to be steered—and new technologies can be inspired.

Our quantum internet breakthrough could make malicious hacking a thing of the past

The advent of mass working from home has made many people more aware of the security risks of sending sensitive information via the internet. The best we can do at the moment is make it difficult to intercept and hack your messages—but we can't make it impossible.

Floating a boat on the underside of a liquid

A team of researchers from Institut Langevin and Sorbonne Université has shown that it is possible to float boats on both the top and underside of a suspended fluid. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes experiments they conducted with levitating fluids and what they learned from them. Vladislav Sorokin and Iliya Blekhman with the Russian Academy of Science have published a News & Views piece in the same journal issue outlining the work by the team in France.

To make a better sensor, just add noise

Adding noise to enhance a weak signal is a sensing phenomenon common in the animal world but unusual in manmade sensors. Now Penn State researchers have added a small amount of background noise to enhance very weak signals in a light source too dim to sense.

How to imitate natural spring-loaded snapping movement without losing energy

Venus flytraps do it, trap-jaw ants do it, and now materials scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst can do it, too—they discovered a way of efficiently converting elastic energy in a spring to kinetic energy for high-acceleration, extreme velocity movements as nature does it.

LHC creates matter from light

The Large Hadron Collider plays with Albert Einstein's famous equation, E = mc2, to transform matter into energy and then back into different forms of matter. But on rare occasions, it can skip the first step and collide pure energy—in the form of electromagnetic waves.

The ALICE TPC is upgraded

"One more centimeter," said the chief technician, while operating the hydraulic jack system on 14 August. The 5-m-diameter, 5-m-long cylindrical detector gently slid into the parking position, 56 meters below the ground in the ALICE cavern at LHC Point 2, where it will stand for some time. This operation culminates the many-years-long upgrade of ALICE's Time Projection Chamber (TPC), the large tracking device of the LHC's heavy-ion specialist.

An unusual superconductor

Professor Wang Jian at Peking University and collaborators investigated the superconducting properties of two-dimensional crystalline superconducting PdTe2 films grown by molecular beam epitaxy. They observed the experimental evidence of anomalous metallic state and detected type-II Ising superconductivity existing in centrosymmetric systems. Moreover, the superconductivity of PdTe2 films remains almost the same for more than 20 months without any protection layer. This macro-size ambient-stable superconducting system with strong spin-orbit coupling shows great potentials in superconducting electronic and spintronic applications. The paper was published online in Nano Letters and selected for the Editors' Choice of Science with a title of "An unusual superconductor" (Science 369, 388 2020).

Near-optimal chip-based photon source developed for quantum computing

Researchers have developed a new CMOS-compatible silicon photonics photon source that satisfies all the requirements necessary for large-scale photonic quantum computing. The research represents a significant step toward mass-manufacturable ideal single photon sources.

Astronomy and Space news

An unexpected origin story for a lopsided black hole merger

A lopsided merger of two black holes may have an oddball origin story, according to a new study by researchers at MIT and elsewhere.

New observations show planet-forming disc torn apart by its three central stars

A team of astronomers have identified the first direct evidence that groups of stars can tear apart their planet-forming disc, leaving it warped and with tilted rings. This new research suggests exotic planets, not unlike Tatooine in Star Wars, may form in inclined rings in bent discs around multiple stars. The results were made possible thanks to observations with the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (ESO's VLT) and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).

Vega rocket launches from French Guiana

Europe's Vega rocket returned to the skies on Wednesday from French Guiana in its first mission since a failed launch last year.

Technology news

Qualcomm 5G mmWave call breaks distance record

Qualcomm Technologies announced Monday that it conducted the first successful extended range 5G data call over mmWave.

New understanding of electrolyte additives will improve dye-sensitised solar cells

Dye-sensitized solar cells used in low-light conditions could perform more consistently thanks to improved understanding of the role additives play in optimizing electrolytes.

Battery-free Game Boy runs forever

A hand-held video game console allowing indefinite gameplay might be a parent's worst nightmare.

US gives first-ever OK for small commercial nuclear reactor

U.S. officials have for the first time approved a design for a small commercial nuclear reactor, and a Utah energy cooperative wants to build 12 of them in Idaho.

Microsoft unveils 'deepfake' detector ahead of US vote

Microsoft has unveiled software that can help spot "deepfake" photos or videos, adding to the list of programs designed to fight the hard-to-detect images ahead of the US presidential election.

Verizon bids big to win US bandwidth for 5G network

Verizon will spend $1.9 billion to speed up its deployment of superfast 5G telecom service as a top bidder for US bandwidth that balances range and data speed.

Amazon creates 7,000 UK jobs as virus fuels online demand

Amazon will create 7,000 permanent jobs in the UK by the end of the year, the US e-commerce giant announced Thursday as the coronavirus pandemic fuels online shopping while hurting bricks-and-mortar businesses.

Jeep reveals hybrid Wrangler, 1st US battery-powered vehicle

Fiat Chrysler's Jeep brand is starting to offer gas-electric hybrid and eventually full electric powertrains across its lineup.

Honda, General Motors sign deal to work on vehicles together

General Motors and Honda are moving toward an alliance in North America to share vehicle development and technology costs as the industry moves toward electric and autonomous vehicles.

EU share of electric cars grew during virus lockdown months

The market share of electric cars in Europe increased during and immediately after the worst of the pandemic lockdowns, industry figures showed Thursday, even as overall sales of vehicles of all types plunged during the second quarter. The new figures come as automakers ramp up electric car production under pressure to meet tough new emissions limits next year.

Sacked by an algorithm: Managing the future

What if your boss was an algorithm? Imagine a world in which artificial intelligence hasn't come for your job—but that of your manager: whether it's hiring new staff, managing a large workforce, or even selecting workers for redundancies, big data and sophisticated algorithms are increasingly taking over traditional management tasks. This is not a dystopian vision of the future. According to Professor Jeremias Adams-Prassl, algorithmic management is quickly becoming established in workplaces around the world.

Protection against cyberattacks: More IT security in port terminals

Ports are critical infrastructures since disruptions and stoppages can have immense impacts. The potential security risks are multifarious, especially in digitalized container terminal operations, which are steadily gaining importance through Industrie 4.0. A new method and tool set developed by research scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF and its industry partners enables preventive defense against attacks on automated cyber-physical systems and helps increase security along the entire supply chain, including the IT systems landscape. At the same time, automation projects can be planned and implemented efficiently.

Tesla looks to hire software engineers to develop car video games

Tesla is looking to hire people to develop video games for the company.

Facebook to ban new political ads in week before US election

Facebook said Thursday it will ban new political advertising the week before the US election, one of its most sweeping moves yet against disinformation as CEO Mark Zuckerberg warned of a "risk of civil unrest" after the vote.

Football Leaks hacker Rui Pinto faces 90 charges as trial opens

The trial of Rui Pinto, the man behind the "Football Leaks" that exposed shady dealings by leading clubs, players and agents, begins on Friday in Lisbon, with the hacker facing 90 charges.

The next 'Mario Kart' game for Nintendo Switch turns your living space into a race track

The next version of Nintendo's popular Mario Kart series will turn your home into a race course.

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