Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Dec 2

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for December 2, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Continents prone to destruction in their infancy, study finds

Flightless birds more common globally before human-driven extinctions

Best region for life on Mars was far below surface

New microscope technique reveals details of droplet nucleation

Chaotic early solar system collisions resembled 'asteroids' arcade game

Supernova surprise creates elemental mystery

Cancer cells 'remove blindfold' to spread

After 100 years, Cornell University plant pathologists revisit fire blight hypothesis

More evidence that cellular 'death by iron' could be promising avenue of cancer treatment

Lab developing device to help Earth dodge asteroids

New lab-on-a-chip infection test could provide cheaper, faster portable diagnostics

Drinking blocks a chemical that promotes attention

What's killing killer whales? Orca report covering a decade of necropsies identifies threats

'Message in a bottle' tracks plastic pollution

Visualisation reveals how a protein 'hunkers down' to conserve energy

Physics news

New microscope technique reveals details of droplet nucleation

Nucleation is a ubiquitous phenomenon that governs the formation of both droplets and bubbles in systems used for condensation, desalination, water splitting, crystal growth, and many other important industrial processes. Now, for the first time, a new microscopy technique developed at MIT and elsewhere allows the process to be observed directly in detail, which could facilitate the design of improved, more efficient surfaces for a variety of such processes.

Supernova surprise creates elemental mystery

Michigan State University (MSU) researchers have discovered that one of the most important reactions in the universe can get a huge and unexpected boost inside exploding stars known as supernovae.

Researchers improve the measurement of a fundamental physical constant

The validation and application of theories in physics require the measurement of universal values known as fundamental constants.

Biomedical engineers find active particles swim against the current

Researchers are beginning to understand the behavior of so-called "active" particles, which, if it can be controlled, has potential implications for engineered drug delivery systems and smart 3-D printing, according to an interdisciplinary Penn State research team.

Creating a next-generation photonic-electronic integration circuit

Global internet is growing at a compound rate of 24% per year, reaching 3.3 zettabytes per year by 2021. High-speed optical communication is urgently needed in this ever-connected world, and to keep up with this growth, developments in the fabrication of optical transceivers are sorely needed. Ph.D. candidate Xiao Liu, of the TU/e Department of Electrical Engineering, researched new ways to integrate the electronic circuits and photonic devices that make up optical transceivers. He will defend his Ph.D. thesis on 1 December 2020.

Scientists invent a new type of microscope that can see through an intact skull

Non-invasive microscopic techniques such as optical coherence microscopy and two-photon microscopy are commonly used for in vivo imaging of living tissues. When light passes through turbid materials such as biological tissues, two types of light are generated: ballistic photons and multiply scattered photons. The ballistic photons travel straight through the object without experiencing any deflection and hence are used to reconstruct the object image. On the other hand, the multiply scattered photons are generated via random deflections as the light passes through the material and show up as speckle noise in the reconstructed image. As the light propagates through increasing distances, the ratio between multiply scattered and ballistic photons increases drastically, thereby obscuring the image information. In addition to the noise generated by the multiply scattered light, optical aberration of ballistic light also causes contrast reduction and image blur during the image reconstruction process.

Photonics meets surface science in a cheap and accurate sensor for biological liquids

Skoltech researchers and their colleagues from Russia and Israel have come up with a new, simple and inexpensive method of testing liquid biological samples that can be further developed to work in clinical settings, including real-time testing during surgery. The paper was published in the journal Light: Science & Applications.

Natural three-dimensional nonlinear photonic crystal

Nonlinear photonic crystals (NPCs) are transparent materials that have a spatially uniform linear susceptibility, yet a periodically modulated quadratic nonlinear susceptibility. These engineered materials are used extensively for studying nonlinear wave dynamics and in many scientific and industrial applications. Over the past two decades, there has been a continuous effort to find a technique that will enable the construction of three-dimensional (3-D) NPCs. Such capability will enable many new schemes of manipulation and control of nonlinear optical interactions.

Astronomy and Space news

Best region for life on Mars was far below surface

The most habitable region for life on Mars would have been up to several miles below its surface, likely due to subsurface melting of thick ice sheets fueled by geothermal heat, a Rutgers-led study concludes.

Chaotic early solar system collisions resembled 'asteroids' arcade game

One Friday evening in 1992, a meteorite ended a more than 150 million-mile journey by smashing into the trunk of a red Chevrolet Malibu in Peekskill, New York. The car's owner reported that the 30-pound remnant of the earliest days of our solar system was still warm and smelled of sulfur.

Lab developing device to help Earth dodge asteroids

In a corner of the campus at Riga Technical University, a team of scientists is working on technology that could one day stop asteroids from smashing into Earth.

China spacecraft collects moon samples to take back to Earth

A Chinese spacecraft took samples of the moon's surface Wednesday as part of a mission to bring lunar rocks back to Earth for the first time since the 1970s, the government said, adding to a string of successes for Beijing's increasingly ambitious space program.

Scientists discover new way to measure turbulence of large planets and exoplanets

The swirls, eddies, and wavy bands of Jupiter and Saturn may remind us of a soothing, starry, starry night—but they reveal these two gas giants to be stormy, turbulent places. The turbulence produces energy cascades, a non-linear transfer of energy between different scales of motion. These are as fundamental to understanding planetary dynamics as the cardiovascular system is to understanding the human body.

SOHO's pioneering 25 years in orbit

The ESA-NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is celebrating its twenty-fifth launch anniversary.

Dark energy camera snaps deepest photo yet of galactic siblings

Images from the Survey of the MAgellanic Stellar History (SMASH) reveal a striking family portrait of our galactic neighbors—the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. The images represent a portion of the second data release from the deepest, most extensive survey of the Magellanic Clouds. The observations consist of roughly 4 billion measurements of 360 million objects.

China's 'space dream': A Long March to the Moon and beyond

China's landing this week of a probe on the Moon—the first attempt by any nation to retrieve lunar samples in four decades—underlined just how far the country has come in achieving its space dream.

China's space ambitions: Robot on Mars, a human on the moon

China's landing of its third probe on the moon is part of an increasingly ambitious space program that has a robot rover en route to Mars, is developing a reusable space plane and is planning to put humans back on the lunar surface.

In the far future, stellar flybys will completely dismantle the solar system

Consumption and disintegration.

HETDEX project on track to probe dark energy

Three years into its quest to reveal the nature of dark energy, the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX) is on track to complete the largest map of the cosmos ever. The team will create a three-dimensional map of 2.5 million galaxies that will help astronomers understand how and why the expansion of the universe is speeding up over time.

Newly discovered ghostly circles in the sky can't be explained by current theories, astronomers excited

In September 2019, my colleague Anna Kapinska gave a presentation showing interesting objects she'd found while browsing our new radio astronomical data. She had started noticing very weird shapes she couldn't fit easily to any known type of object.

Technology news

This is how microorganisms can produce renewable energy for us

We can generate electricity from microorganisms as an alternative to the usual power from water, wind, solar or steam.

Oddly satisfying metamaterials store energy in their skin

When you press the dimpled circles on a fountain drink lid, they become either convex or concave. Materials or structures that have two stable states demonstrate a concept called bistability.

This 3-D printer doesn't gloss over the details

Shape, color, and gloss.

Study shows promising material can store solar energy for months or years

As we move away from fossil fuels and shift to renewable energy to tackle climate change, the need for new ways to capture and store energy becomes increasingly important.

Nanomaterials enable dual-mode heating and cooling device

Engineers at Duke University have demonstrated a dual-mode heating and cooling device for building climate control that, if widely deployed in the U.S., could cut HVAC energy use by nearly 20 percent.

New machine learning tool tracks urban traffic congestion

A new machine learning algorithm is poised to help urban transportation analysts relieve bottlenecks and chokepoints that routinely snarl city traffic.

Qualcomm's 'lucky 888' processor offers integrated 5G, superior photo capabilities

Qualcomm has made significant leaps in technology to produce its new 888 system on a chip, unveiled at the virtual Snapdragon Tech Summit Tuesday. Although limited details were available on the first day of the two-day conference, it is clear the Snapdragon 888 processor will define a powerful new generation of Android smartphones for the class of 2021.

Salesforce buying work-chat service Slack for $27.7 billion

Business software pioneer is buying work-chatting service Slack for $27.7 billion in a deal aimed at giving the two companies a better shot at competing against longtime industry powerhouse Microsoft.

Air taxis could reduce fuel consumption, alleviate traffic congestion

If air taxis become a viable mode of transportation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have estimated they could reduce fuel consumption significantly while alleviating traffic congestion.

American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX flight aims to reassure

The Boeing 737 MAX will take another key step in its comeback to commercial travel on Wednesday by attempting to reassure the public with a test flight by American Airlines conducted for the news media.

Discovery's reality-heavy streaming service launches in Jan.

Discovery is joining the increasingly crowded streaming fray with its own reality-focused service Discovery Plus that will include shows from the Food Network, HGTV, TLC and its other networks. It launches Jan 4.

Living with autonomous systems 'we can trust'

Autonomous systems are affecting virtually all aspects of society, so future designs must be guided by a broad range of societal stakeholders. That's according to a new report led by scientists in the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin.

Cobra golf teams up with HP to take a swing at selling 3-D-printed putter

3-D Printing has been around in the golf industry for years. But the technology hasn't been used to mass-produce clubs. It is mostly relegated to making internal prototypes—especially at the large golf brands.

Apple's most downloaded app: Zoom Cloud Meeting ranks No. 1 for iPhone, iPad in 2020

What app did you use more than any other in 2020? I'll give you a hint, it's one that you probably never touched before.

Amazon in talks to buy podcast publisher Wondery: report

Internet giant Amazon is in talks to buy podcast publisher Wondery, which serves up hit audio shows "Dr. Death" and "Serial," the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Review: Some of the best cars cost less than $399 per month

The COVID-19 pandemic initially slowed car sales, but now many new-car buyers are making more expensive purchases than ever before, according to sales data from Edmunds.

EU pushes for 'right to disconnect' from work at home

European Union lawmakers on Wednesday voted in favor of a "right to disconnect" from the internet and email, with around one third of people now working from home across the 27-nation bloc due in large part to coronavirus restrictions.

Germany's Bild newspaper tops half a million online paid subscribers

Germany's biggest-selling newspaper, Bild, topped half a million online subscribers, it said Wednesday, with more readers opting for its digital format during the pandemic.

Spain to invest 600 mn euros in artificial intelligence

Spain is to invest 600 million euros (725 million dollars) in developing artificial intelligence over the next two years as part of plans to transform its national economy, the premier said Wednesday.

Brain-controlled computers are a becoming reality, but major hurdles remain

Imagine controlling your computer just by thinking. It sounds far-out, but real advances are happening on these so-called brain-computer interfaces. More researchers and companies are moving into the area. Yet major challenges remain, from user training to the reality of invasive brain implant procedures.

Tech trends accelerated by COVID-19 pandemic likely here to stay

COVID-19 has accelerated technology trends around things like e-commerce and remote work that likely will continue even after the pandemic subsides.

This email is a free service of Science X Network
You received this email because you subscribed to our list.
If you do not wish to receive such emails in the future, please unsubscribe here.
You are subscribed as You may manage your subscription options from your Science X profile