Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Oct 14

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for October 14, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Designing hierarchical nanoporous membranes for highly efficient adsorption and storage applications

Researchers synthesize room temperature superconducting material

New eclipsing double white dwarf binary discovered

Restoring 30% of the world's ecosystems in priority areas could stave off extinctions and absorb CO2

Scientists home in on the mechanism that protects cells from premature aging

Gut bacteria is key to bee ID

Turning plastic waste into hydrogen gas and carbon nanotubes

Recent Atlantic ocean warming unprecedented in nearly 3,000 years

The Great Barrier Reef has lost half its corals

Scientists shed new light on viruses' role in coral bleaching

Machine learning model helps characterize compounds for drug discovery

Finding its way to the top: How a cell surface receptor reaches its destination

Popularity of COVID-19 conspiracies and links to vaccine 'hesitancy' revealed by international study

Robot swarms follow instructions to create art

To make mini-organs grow faster, give them a squeeze

Physics news

Researchers synthesize room temperature superconducting material

Compressing simple molecular solids with hydrogen at extremely high pressures, University of Rochester engineers and physicists have, for the first time, created material that is superconducting at room temperature.

New microchip devices produce a wide range of laser hues

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Maryland have developed a microchip technology that can convert invisible near-infrared laser light into any one of a panoply of visible laser colors, including red, orange, yellow and green. Their work provides a new approach to generating laser light on integrated microchips.

Superconductor technology for smaller, sooner fusion

Scientists have long sought to harness fusion as an inexhaustible and carbon-free energy source. Within the past few years, groundbreaking high-temperature superconductor technology (HTS) sparked a new vision for achieving practical fusion energy. This approach, known as the high-field pathway to fusion, aims to generate fusion in compact devices on a shorter timescale and lower cost than alternative approaches.

Temperature evolution of impurities in a quantum gas

A new, Monash-led theoretical study advances our understanding of its role in thermodynamics in the quantum impurity problem.

Bringing a power tool from math into quantum computing

The Fourier transform is an important mathematical tool that decomposes a function or dataset into a its constituent frequencies, much like one could decompose a musical chord into a combination of its notes. It is used across all fields of engineering in some form or another and, accordingly, algorithms to compute it efficiently have been developed—that is, at least for conventional computers. But what about quantum computers?

An innovative method to tune lasers toward infrared wavelengths

Researchers at Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) have discovered a cost-effective way to tune the spectrum of a laser to the infrared, a band of great interest for many laser applications. They collaborated with Austrian and Russian research teams to develop this innovation, which is now the subject of a patent application. The results of their work were recently published in Optica, the flagship journal of the Optical Society (OSA).

Achieving distributed directional listening with fiber acoustic sensing

Recently, a research team from the Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) proposed multi-source aliasing suppression for distributed fiber acoustic sensing (DAS) with directionally coherent enhancement technology. The results were published in Optics Letters.

Astronomy and Space news

New eclipsing double white dwarf binary discovered

Astronomers from the California Institute of Technology and elsewhere report the detection of a new eclipsing detached double white dwarf binary. The system, designated ZTF J2243+5242 has an orbital period of below 10 minutes, which makes it one of the shortest-period eclipsing binaries known to date. The finding is detailed in a paper published October 7 on

New crew reaches ISS in record time

A three-person crew successfully reached the International Space Station on Wednesday aboard a Russian rocket after the fastest ever journey from Earth of just over three hours.

Simulations show Webb Telescope can reveal distant galaxies hidden in quasars' glare

Quasars are the brightest objects in the universe and among the most energetic. They outshine entire galaxies of billions of stars. A supermassive black hole lies at the heart of every quasar, but not every black hole is a quasar. Only the black holes that are feeding most voraciously can power a quasar. Material falling into the supermassive black hole heats up, and causes a quasar to fiercely shine across the universe like a lighthouse beacon.

Russia launches fresh crew to ISS on fast-track journey

Two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut blasted off on a fast-track journey to the International Space Station Wednesday, in the first such launch aboard a Russian capsule since SpaceX's game-changing debut manned flight from US soil.

A billion tiny pendulums could detect the universe's missing mass

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and their colleagues have proposed a novel method for finding dark matter, the cosmos's mystery material that has eluded detection for decades. Dark matter makes up about 27% of the universe; ordinary matter, such as the stuff that builds stars and planets, accounts for just 5% of the cosmos. (A mysterious entity called dark energy accounts for the other 68%.)

Do ripples on the surface of the sun tell us that a flare is coming?

Flares from the sun are some of the nastiest things in the solar system. When the sun flares, it belches out intense X-ray radiation (and sometimes even worse). Predicting solar flares is a tricky job, and a new research paper sheds light on a possible new technique: looking for telltale ripples in the surface of the sun minutes before the blast comes.

This transforming rover can explore the toughest terrain

A rover trundles over rocky terrain, its four metal wheels clattering along until they encounter a seemingly insurmountable hazard: a steep slope. Down below is a potential trove of science targets. With a typical rover, the operators would need to find another target, but this is DuAxel, a robot built for situations exactly like this.

European service module structure for moon landing arrives in Bremen

The structure that will fly the first woman and next man to land on the moon and return on the Artemis III mission by 2024 arrived at the Airbus integration hall in Bremen, Germany, from its Thales Alenia Space manufacturing site in Turin, Italy.

Venus flyby on the way to Mercury

On Saturday, October 20, 2018, the BepiColombo space probe set off on its journey to Mercury from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The 6.40 meters high and 4.1 tons heavy BepiColombo space probe consists of two spacecraft: the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO), which was constructed by the European Space Agency, ESA, and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO), which was constructed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA. Both spacecraft will fly to Mercury together as a coupled system, but will be put onto separate orbits upon arrival. The MMO will study the magnetospheric interaction between the planet and the solar wind. The MPO will be lowered to a deeper orbit, which is ideal for the remote sensing of the planetary surface.

Mission assurance: NRL Space Research Group to validate SDA satellite interoperability

A U.S. Naval Research Laboratory research group will use its background in space system development to help ensure future satellites have the capability to work together.

Planetary scientist to fly aboard NASA-funded commercial space flight

A Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) planetary scientist has been chosen to be among the first group to conduct NASA-funded science experiments while flying aboard a commercial spacecraft, the space agency announced today.

Technology news

Robot swarms follow instructions to create art

What if you could instruct a swarm of robots to paint a picture? The concept may sound far-fetched, but a recent study in open-access journal Frontiers in Robotics and AI has shown that it is possible. The robots in question move about a canvas leaving color trails in their wake, and in a first for robot-created art, an artist can select areas of the canvas to be painted a certain color and the robot team will oblige in real time. The technique illustrates the potential of robotics in creating art, and could be an interesting tool for artists.

Robots are helping to advance developmental biology

The study of developmental biology is getting a robotic helping hand.

Using math to study paintings to learn more about the evolution of art history

A team of researchers affiliated with a host of institutions in Korea and one in Estonia has found a way to use math to study paintings to learn more about the evolution of art history in the western world. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes how they scanned thousands of paintings and then used mathematical algorithms to find commonalities between them over time.

Solar-powered system extracts drinkable water from 'dry' air

Researchers at MIT and elsewhere have significantly boosted the output from a system that can extract drinkable water directly from the air even in dry regions, using heat from the sun or another source.

The promise of 5G wireless - speed, hype, risk

A much-hyped network upgrade called "5G" means different things to different people.

China's Xi promises changes to promote tech center Shenzhen

President Xi Jinping on Wednesday promised new steps to promote development of China's biggest tech center, Shenzhen, amid a feud with Washington that has disrupted access to U.S. technology and is fueling ambitions to create Chinese suppliers.

ESports fights cheating bugs, bots and hacks

The rapid growth of eSports has increased the financial gains at stake and created a pressing need to fight the cheats and maintain the booming sector's integrity.

Cyber warriors sound warning on working from home

Cyber warriors on NATO's eastern edge are warning that the growing number of people working from home globally due to the pandemic is increasing vulnerability to cyber attacks.

Governments use pandemic to crack down on online dissent: watchdog

Governments around the world are using the pandemic as a justification to expand surveillance and crack down on dissent online, resulting in a 10th consecutive annual decline in internet freedom, a human rights watchdog report said Wednesday.

Researchers develop new algorithm with better performance for spectral technology

Recently, researchers from the Institute of Intelligent Machines developed a new wavelength selection algorithm based on combined moving window (CMW) and variable dimension particle swarm optimization (VDPSO) algorithm.

What do you want from your smart watch?

New research published in the International Journal of Mobile Communications has surveyed customers regarding their use of branded apps on their smartwatches. The analysis of the survey results reveals the external factors that influence the intention to use and tracks the relationship between factors using a technology acceptance model.

Using AI to detect seemingly perfect deep-fake videos

One year ago, Maneesh Agrawala of Stanford helped develop a lip-sync technology that allowed video editors to almost undetectably modify speakers' words. The tool could seamlessly insert words that a person never said, even mid-sentence, or eliminate words she had said. To the naked eye, and even to many computer-based systems, nothing would look amiss.

Integrated hydrogen sensor/separation module boosts long-term efficiency and revenue in solar power plants

Since the mid-'80s, concentrating solar power (CSP) plants have generated clean energy to power our homes, schools, offices, and communities. Yet, one consistent challenge of CSP plants is hydrogen buildup, which can be costly to mitigate and reduces plant efficiency. NREL Senior Scientist Greg Glatzmaier has spent much of his career finding a solution.

Can temperature scanning slow COVID-19 spread? Airports are the testing ground for new tech

DALLAS - A camera in the security lines at Dallas Love Field is scanning every passerby for elevated temperatures, in a test by the airport and Southwest Airlines to find out if it can detect sick people before they board flights.

Tech companies step up to bring free Wi-Fi to LA public housing residents

Nearly 9,000 residents of public housing in Los Angeles will receive free broadband internet access for the rest of the 2020-21 school year as part of a new partnership between the city, Microsoft and the start-up internet service provider Starry.

What Apple didn't tell you about the new iPhones

The late Steve Jobs was known for engaging in a "reality distortion shield" when launching new projects that perhaps didn't tell the whole story.

Wearable technology reveals global heart rate rhythms for the first time

Can measuring well-being increase one's well-being?

New website predicts likelihood of cyber attacks between nations

Where in the world might the next cyberattack between nations take place?

Process to recover metals from batteries licensed by Momentum Technologies

Momentum Technologies Inc., a Dallas, Texas-based materials science company that is focused on extracting critical metals from electronic waste, has licensed an Oak Ridge National Laboratory process for recovering cobalt and other metals from spent lithium-ion batteries.

What's new on Zoom: A paid ticketing tool called OnZoom

Zoom, the video meeting service, is adding tools to sell tickets to online classes, concerts and the like on a new offshoot it calls OnZoom.

Hate being on hold? Google introduces 'Hold For Me' feature, but it's a mixed bag

Google's newest phones, the Pixel 5, have a feature that sounds very cool: They stay on hold so we don't have to.

Closing the market for fake documents on the open web

Buying a counterfeit driver's license or passport used to require a secret meeting with some shady characters. More recently, it meant having a connection to the dark web. But today, all you need is an internet connection and a search engine, says a Michigan State University researcher.

Walmart to spread out deals to avoid Black Friday crowds

Walmart says it will spread out its traditional one-day Black Friday deals over three weekends in November in an effort to reduce crowds in its stores during a pandemic.

In the shadow of TikTok, China's apps quietly hoover up downloads

While SHEIN has its origins in China it is one of the biggest shopping apps in the United States, SHAREit has been banned in India despite being massively popular elsewhere, and Likee is chasing TikTok—but desperate to avoid a similar fate.

Uber and Lyft argue in California court over status of drivers

Ride share services Uber and Lyft on Tuesday defended their business model before a California appeals court, fighting a law requiring them to reclassify their drivers as employees.

A taste for travel? Finnair to sell plane food in shops

Finnish carrier Finnair will start selling business class airplane food in supermarkets in a move to keep its catering staff employed and to offer a taste of the airline experience to those missing flying in the COVID-19 times.

Germany searches premises of spyware maker FinFisher

German prosecutors said Wednesday that authorities have searched 15 premises linked to spyware maker FinFisher as part of a probe into allegations the Munich-based company broke export laws by selling its products to authoritarian governments.

YouTube to remove Covid vaccine misinformation

YouTube said Wednesday it would take down content which contradicts expert consensus about Covid-19 vaccines, updating its policies on misinformation about the pandemic.

Nokia gives Google nod for IT infrastructure

Finnish telecoms equipment maker Nokia on Wednesday unveiled a five-year strategic tie-up with Google for the US giant to run its data centres and servers as well as numerous software applications through the latter's Google Cloud.

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