Science X Newsletter Thursday, Oct 8

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for October 8, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A home energy management system to achieve optimal control of heat pumps and photovoltaics

Groundbreaking study finds activator of magnesium dynamics in the body

New method can pinpoint cracks in metal long before they cause catastrophes

Giant electrochemical actuation in a nanoporous silicon-polypyrrole hybrid material

First symbiotic star detected by Gaia satellite

Generating photons for communication in a quantum computing system

Duplications and inversions of DNA segments lead to the masculinization of female moles

An electrical trigger fires single, identical photons

Comeback of drug-resistant neglected tropical disease tracked through genomic surveillance

New algorithm sharpens focus of world's most powerful microscopes

Ants adapt tool use to avoid drowning

Nanoscale machines convert light into work

There's a gene for detecting that fishy smell, olfactory GWAS shows

Human spatial memory prioritizes high calorie foods

New model may explain rarity of certain malaria-blocking mutations

Physics news

Generating photons for communication in a quantum computing system

MIT researchers using superconducting quantum bits connected to a microwave transmission line have shown how the qubits can generate on demand the photons, or particles of light, necessary for communication between quantum processors.

An electrical trigger fires single, identical photons

Secure telecommunications networks and rapid information processing make much of modern life possible. To provide more secure, faster, and higher-performance information sharing than is currently possible, scientists and engineers are designing next-generation devices that harness the rules of quantum physics. Those designs rely on single photons to encode and transmit information across quantum networks and between quantum chips. However, tools for generating single photons do not yet offer the precision and stability required for quantum information technology.

Nanoscale machines convert light into work

Researchers have developed a tiny new machine that converts laser light into work. These optically powered machines self-assemble and could be used for nanoscale manipulation of tiny cargo for applications such as nanofluidics and particle sorting.

Researchers design the world's fastest ultraviolet camera

The team of Professor Jinyang Liang, a specialist in ultrafast imaging at the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), in collaboration with an international team of researchers, has developed the fastest camera in the world capable of recording photons in the ultraviolet (UV) range in real time. This original research is featured on the front cover of the 10th issue of the journal Laser & Photonics Reviews.

A new method for creating semisolid colloidal systems with less stress

Researchers in the Institute of Industrial Science at The University of Tokyo studied a new method for creating semisolid colloidal systems with less internal mechanical stress by delaying network formation. This work may help scientists better understand biological processes involving cytoplasm.

Carbon creation finding set to rock astrophysics

A new measurement of how quickly stars create carbon may trigger a major shift in our understanding of how stars evolve and die, how the elements are created, and even the origin and abundance of the building blocks of life.

Scientists create quietest semiconductor quantum bits on record

Researchers at UNSW Sydney have demonstrated the lowest noise level on record for a semiconductor quantum bit, or qubit. The research was published in Advanced Materials.

Mind and space bending physics on a convenient chip

Thanks to Einstein, we know that our three-dimensional space is warped and curved. And in curved space, normal ideas of geometry and straight lines break down, creating a chance to explore an unfamiliar landscape governed by new rules. But studying how physics plays out in a curved space is challenging: Just like in real estate, location is everything.

Astronomy and Space news

First symbiotic star detected by Gaia satellite

An international team of astronomers reports that the transient Gaia18aen discovered by ESA's Gaia spacecraft turns out to be a symbiotic star. This makes it the first symbiotic star identified by this astrometric satellite. The finding is detailed in a paper published September 30 on

Researchers find 'missing link' between magnetars and rotation-powered pulsars

Researchers from the RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research have made observations of a new magnetar, called Swift J1818.0-1607, which challenges current knowledge about two types of extreme stars, known as magnetars and pulsars. The research, just published in the Astrophysical Journal, was done using the Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER), an X-ray instrument aboard the International Space Station.

New measurements of the solar spectrum verify Einstein's theory of General Relativity

An international team of researchers led by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has measured, with unprecedented accuracy, the gravitational redshift of the Sun, a change in frequency of the lines in the solar spectrum which is produced when the light escapes from the gravitational field of the Sun on its way to Earth. This work, which verifies one of the predictions of Einstein's General Relativity, is to be published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

OSIRIS-REx mission researchers detail history of asteroid Bennu

NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft mission, launched on Sept. 8, 2016, is the first U.S. mission designed to retrieve a pristine sample of an asteroid and return it to Earth for further study. The mission's target is Bennu, a carbon-rich near-Earth asteroid that is potentially hazardous, representing an approximately 1 in 2,700 chance of impacting the Earth late in the 22nd century.

Signals from distant stars connect optical atomic clocks across Earth for the first time

Using radio telescopes observing distant stars, scientists have connected optical atomic clocks on different continents. The results were published in the scientific journal Nature Physics by an international collaboration between 33 astronomers and clock experts at the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT, Japan), the Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (INRIM, Italy), the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF, Italy), and the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM, France).

Perseverance Rover will peer beneath Mars' surface

After touching down on the Red Planet Feb. 18, 2021, NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover will scour Jezero Crater to help us understand its geologic history and search for signs of past microbial life. But the six-wheeled robot won't be looking just at the surface of Mars: The rover will peer deep below it with a ground-penetrating radar called RIMFAX.

Finding vaporized metal in the air of an exoplanet

WASP-121b is an exoplanet located 850 light years from Earth, orbiting its star in less than two days—a process that takes Earth a year to complete. WASP-121b is very close to its star—about 40 times closer than Earth to the Sun. This close proximity is also the main reason for its immensely high temperature of around 2,500 to 3,000 degrees Celsius. This makes it an ideal object of study to learn more about ultra-hot worlds.

Video: P120C motor configured for Ariane 6 is test fired

The second qualification model of the P120C solid rocket motor, configured for Ariane 6, completed its hot firing on 7 October 2020 in a final test to prove its readiness for flight.

The human heart in space: What can we learn from mathematical modeling

Human spaceflight has been fascinating man for centuries, representing the intangible need to explore the unknown, challenge new frontiers, advance technology and push scientific boundaries further. A key aspect of long-term human spaceflight is the physiological response and consequent microgravity (0G) adaptation, which has all the features of accelerated aging involving almost every body system: muscle atrophy and bone loss, onset of balance and coordination problems, loss of functional capacity of the cardiovascular system.

Technology news

A home energy management system to achieve optimal control of heat pumps and photovoltaics

Over the past few decades, researchers worldwide have developed a growing amount of systems that can produce renewable energy, such as solar, wind or hydroelectric energy. While some companies and individuals have already started adopting these technologies, a complete transition to more sustainable energy systems is yet to take place. Tools that simplify the implementation and management of renewable energy systems in both industrial and residential settings could ultimately aid this transition.

A very tiny alteration can help deepfakes escape detection

Last month, Sophie Wilmès, the prime minister of Belgium, appeared in an online video to tell her audience that the COVID-19 pandemic was linked to the "exploitation and destruction by humans of our natural environment." Whether or not these two existential crises are connected, the fact is that Wilmès said no such thing. Produced by an organization of climate change activists, the video was actually a deepfake, or a form of fake media created using deep learning. Deepfakes are yet another way to spread misinformation—as if there wasn't enough fake news about the pandemic already.

Less scatterbrained scatterplots for data science

Scatterplots. You might not know them by name, but if you spend more than 10 minutes online you'll find them everywhere. They're popular in news articles, in the data science community, and, perhaps most crucially, for internet memes about the digestive quality of pancakes.

Security company finds vulnerability in Xfinity television remote controls

A team of researchers at GuardiCore Ltd., a cloud security company, has found a vulnerability in the remote controls Comcast provides its Xfinity user community. On their blog page, they relate how they were able to hijack the radio frequency (RF) communications emitted by the XR11 remote control device in a way that allowed them to listen to conversations taking place in the vicinity of the device.

Researchers use flying insects to drop sensors from air, land them safely on the ground

There are many places in this world that are hard for researchers to study, mainly because it's too dangerous for people to get there.

New solar panel design could lead to wider use of renewable energy

Designing solar panels in checkerboard lines increases their ability to absorb light by 125 per cent, a new study says.

Samsung flags near-60% operating profit jump after Huawei boost

Samsung Electronics flagged a leap of nearly 60 percent in third-quarter operating profits Thursday, as its mobile and chip business were boosted by US sanctions against its Chinese rival Huawei.

Renewable player overtakes ExxonMobil in market value

After decades of embracing fossil fuels, Wall Street appears to be shifting its allegiance to renewable energy, a sharp turn apparent in the contrasting fortunes of NextEra Energy and Exxon Mobil.

French court adds pressure on Google to pay for news (Update)

A Paris appeals court on Thursday upheld an order for Google to negotiate with media groups in a long-running dispute about revenues from online news.

South Korea launches antitrust probe into Google

South Korea has launched an antitrust probe into Google over its plan to enforce its 30-percent Play Store commission by disallowing any apps circumventing its payment system, a top official said Thursday.

Utility-scale solar could provide significant economic impacts to Ohio, study finds

Installing utility-scale solar energy in Ohio could support more than 54,000 construction jobs, generate up to $67.5 million in local tax revenues annually and power over 1.5 million Ohio homes, according to a new study by Ohio University's Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.

Breakthrough in energy efficient artificial intelligence

Thanks to a mathematical breakthrough, AI applications like speech recognition, gesture recognition and ECG classification can become a hundred to a thousand times more energy efficient. This means it will be possible to put much more elaborate AI in chips, enabling applications to run on a smartphone or smartwatch where before this was done in the cloud.

French court: Google must open payment talks with publishers

A French appeals court upheld an order for Google to open negotiations with French publishers over payments to use their news content.

World's largest experiment shows shack fires move with devastating speed

Twenty shacks destroyed in five minutes. That's how quickly fires can spread in informal settlements.

Engineering team develops novel miniaturized organic semiconductor

Field Effect Transistors (FET) are the core building blocks of modern electronics such as integrated circuits, computer CPUs and display backplanes. Organic Field Effect Transistors (OFETs), which use organic semiconductor as a channel for current flows, have the advantage of being flexible when compared with their inorganic counterparts like silicon.

IBM to spin off $19B business to focus on cloud computing

IBM says it is breaking off a $19 billion chunk of its business to focus on cloud computing.

Two stunning track records with evolving technological progress to the fore

The unwavering advance of technology continues unabated in athletics as two long-standing world records were obliterated within an hour at the same meeting by runners wearing Nike's controversial track spikes and guided by pacemaking lights.

West Virginia site chosen for high-speed travel facility

Virgin Hyperloop One will build a certification center in West Virginia for the high-speed transportation concept that uses enclosed pods to zip passengers underground at over 600 mph (960 km/h).

Waymo removing backup drivers from its autonomous vehicles

Waymo is allowing the general public to hitch a ride in its driverless autonomous vehicles in Phoenix, expanding a service it had been quietly offering to a select group of riders for the past year.

Amazon unveils prototype of Rivian-built electric delivery van

Your Amazon package may be arriving in a custom-built Rivian electric delivery vehicle by next year.

Canada announces Can$590 mn investment in Ford electric car plant

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government and the province of Ontario announced Thursday investments of Can$295 million (US$223 million) each in a Ford factory billed as the largest electric vehicle plant in North America.

EasyJet flies into first annual loss

EasyJet expects a pre-tax loss of up to £845 million for its fiscal year just ended as coronavirus travel restrictions slam passenger demand, the British no-frills airline said Thursday.

Facebook letting advertisers sow climate denialism: analysis

Facebook is allowing climate misinformation ads to proliferate despite claiming it is committed to rooting out the problem, a new report by a think tank said Thursday.

Facebook to pause political ads as US election day ends

Facebook on Wednesday said it will stop running political or social issue ads after the US polls close on November 3 to reduce chances of confusion or abuse.

OPEC doesn't see peak oil demand—yet

The coronavirus crisis has sparked talk that the world might have reached peak oil demand but the OPEC cartel sees crude consumption continuing to grow during the next quarter century, driven in large part by greater use of cars in developing countries.

UK lawmakers warn Huawei 5G may need to be banned earlier

A committee of British lawmakers is urging the government to consider banning Chinese technology giant Huawei from next-generation mobile phone networks two years earlier than planned.

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