Science X Newsletter Thursday, May 6

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for May 6, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

An on-skin device to measure sweat—rate, loss and temperature—in real-time

Researchers produce laser pulses with record-breaking intensity

Sharks use Earth's magnetic fields to guide them like a map

'Molecular glue' makes perovskite solar cells dramatically more reliable over time

Rooted tree key to understanding bacterial evolution, new study suggests

Team directs and measures quantum drum duet

Review: Most human origins stories are not compatible with known fossils

What can a dinosaur's inner ear tell us? Just listen

Cells are more resilient to environmental changes than previously thought

Physicists find a novel way to switch antiferromagnetism on and off

First nanoscale look at a reaction that limits the efficiency of generating clean hydrogen fuel

Study sheds more light on rate of rare blood clots after Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

First member of ill-fated 1845 Franklin expedition is identified by DNA analysis

Researchers find possible novel migraine therapy

Ice core chemistry study expands insight into sea ice variability in Southern Hemisphere

Physics news

Researchers produce laser pulses with record-breaking intensity

Researchers have demonstrated a record-high laser pulse intensity of over 1023 W/cm2 using the petawatt laser at the Center for Relativistic Laser Science (CoReLS), Institute for Basic Science in the Republic of Korea. It took more than a decade to reach this laser intensity, which is ten times that reported by a team at the University of Michigan in 2004. These ultrahigh intensity light pulses will enable exploration of complex interactions between light and matter in ways not possible before.

Team directs and measures quantum drum duet

Like conductors of a spooky symphony, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have "entangled" two small mechanical drums and precisely measured their linked quantum properties. Entangled pairs like this might someday perform computations and transmit data in large-scale quantum networks.

Physicists find a novel way to switch antiferromagnetism on and off

When you save an image to your smartphone, those data are written onto tiny transistors that are electrically switched on or off in a pattern of "bits" to represent and encode that image. Most transistors today are made from silicon, an element that scientists have managed to switch at ever-smaller scales, enabling billions of bits, and therefore large libraries of images and other files, to be packed onto a single memory chip.

Random close packing or jamming of spheres in a container

Scientists at the theoretical institutes, Chinese Academy of Science and Cybermedia Center at Osaka University performed extensive computer simulations to generate and examine random packing of spheres. They show that the "jamming" transition, in which a free-flowing material becomes stuck, occurs with universal features despite the diversity of their details. This work may shed light on the physics of amorphous materials and optimization problems in computer science which are intimately related to the mathematics of sphere packings.

FASER is born: New experiment will study particles that interact with dark matter

The newest experiment at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is now in place at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. FASER, or Forward Search Experiment, was approved by CERN's research board in March 2019. Now installed in the LHC tunnel, this experiment, which seeks to understand particles that scientists believe may interact with dark matter, is undergoing tests before data collection commences next year.

Evading the uncertainty principle in quantum physics

The uncertainty principle, first introduced by Werner Heisenberg in the late 1920's, is a fundamental concept of quantum mechanics. In the quantum world, particles like the electrons that power all electrical product can also behave like waves. As a result, particles cannot have a well-defined position and momentum simultaneously. For instance, measuring the momentum of a particle leads to a disturbance of position, and therefore the position cannot be precisely defined.

Homing in on the smallest possible laser

At extremely low temperatures, matter often behaves differently than in normal conditions. At temperatures only a few degrees above absolute zero (-273 degrees Celsius), physical particles may give up their independence and merge for a short time into a single object in which all the particles share the same properties. Such structures are known as Bose-Einstein Condensates, and they represent a special aggregate state of matter.

New boost in quantum technologies

In an international collaboration, researchers at the University of Stuttgart were able to detect quantum bits in two-dimensional materials for the first time. Nature Materials publishes this research in its May 6, 2021 issue.

Astronomy and Space news

Touchdown! SpaceX successfully lands Starship rocket

SpaceX managed to land its prototype Starship rocket at its Texas base without blowing it up on Wednesday, the first time it has succeeded in doing so in five attempts.

FAST detects 3D spin-velocity alignment in a pulsar

Pulsars—another name for fast-spinning neutron stars—originate from the imploded cores of massive dying stars through supernova explosion.

The natural brightness of the night sky

A recent study analyzes data collected at 44 of the darkest places in the world, including the Canary Island Observatories, to develop the first complete reference method to measure the natural brightness of the night sky using low-cost photometers.

Physicists describe new type of aurora

For millennia, humans in the high latitudes have been enthralled by auroras—the northern and southern lights. Yet even after all that time, it appears the ethereal, dancing ribbons of light above Earth still hold some secrets.

Volcanoes on Mars could be active, raising possibility of recent habitable conditions

Evidence of recent volcanic activity on Mars shows that eruptions could have taken place within the past 50,000 years, a paper by Planetary Science Institute Research Scientist David Horvath says.

Boeing's troubled Starliner capsule now aiming for July launch

NASA and Boeing are now targeting July 30 for an uncrewed test flight of the aerospace company's troubled Starliner capsule to the International Space Station, they announced Thursday.

US watching Chinese rocket's erratic re-entry: Pentagon

The Pentagon said Wednesday it is following the trajectory of a Chinese rocket expected to make an uncontrolled entry into the atmosphere this weekend, with the risk of crashing down in an inhabited area.

Lunar crater radio telescope: Illuminating the cosmic dark ages

After years of development, the Lunar Crater Radio Telescope (LCRT) project has been awarded $500,000 to support additional work as it enters Phase II of NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program. While not yet a NASA mission, the LCRT describes a mission concept that could transform humanity's view of the cosmos.

NASA's On-orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing 1 (OSAM-1) mission ready for spacecraft build

NASA is one step closer to robotically refueling a satellite and demonstrating in-space assembly and manufacturing thanks to the completion of an important milestone.

Space weather is difficult to predict—with only an hour to prevent disasters on Earth

Recent developments at the forefront of astronomy allow us to observe that planets orbiting other stars have weather. Indeed, we have known that other planets in our own solar system have weather, in many cases more extreme than our own.

Image: NASA's Lucy high gain antenna up close

Lucy's epic journey to observe Jupiter's Trojan asteroids requires a reliable communications link back to Earth, and so the spacecraft is outfitted with a 6.5-ft. (2-meter)-wide high gain antenna for this task.

Technology news

An on-skin device to measure sweat—rate, loss and temperature—in real-time

Monitoring sweat-related dynamics, such as sweat rate, cumulative sweat loss and sweat temperature over time could help doctors to diagnose thermoregulatory disorders and other illnesses related to heat stress. However, there are currently no devices that can accurately and continuously measure or estimate these parameters.

Engineering student helps federal experts solve a messy 3D printing problem

Tomographic 3D printing is a revolutionary technology that uses light to create three-dimensional objects. A projector beams light at a rotating vial containing photocurable resin, and within seconds the desired shape forms inside the vial. The light projections needed to solidify specific 3D regions of the polymer are calculated using tomographic imaging concepts.

Researchers develop new metal-free, recyclable polypeptide battery that degrades on demand

The introduction of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries has revolutionized technology as a whole, leading to major advances in consumer goods across nearly all sectors. Battery-powered devices have become ubiquitous across the world. While the availability of technology is generally a good thing, the rapid growth has led directly to several key ethical and environmental issues surrounding the use of Li-ion batteries.

Significant progress in lithium-air battery development

Research led by the University of Liverpool, in partnership with Johnson Matthey PLC and Loughborough University, is making significant progress in the development of stable and practical electrolytes for lithium-oxygen batteries.

Google introduces Woolaroo, a tool for learning indigenous languages

With many indigenous languages worldwide becoming endangered due to a dwindling number of native speakers, Google has introduced the app Woolaroo which focuses on learning these languages. The idea for the app stemmed from the situation of Yugambeh, an Indigenous Australian language of southeast Queensland.

We need to build more EV fast-charging stations, researchers say

A team of engineers recommends expanding fast-charging stations for electric vehicles as campuses and businesses start planning for a post-pandemic world.

Volkswagen profits rise but chip shortage impact not over

German carmaker Volkswagen reported a jump in first quarter profits Thursday but warned that a global shortage of semiconductors that has hurt production would have a "more significant impact" in the coming months.

PayPal earnings soar on e-commerce boom

PayPal on Wednesday reported record quarterly profit as the online financial transactions service benefited from an e-commerce trend boosted by the pandemic.

Nintendo logs record pandemic profit but outlook cautious

Nintendo reported a record annual profit Thursday after virus lockdowns caused sales of its blockbuster Switch console to soar, but the Japanese gaming giant warned that its bumper pandemic year would be hard to repeat.

Uber demand jumps as delivery grows, ride-hailing recovers

Uber saw record demand in the first quarter as its food delivery business grew and ride-hailing began to see some recovery.

Google says 20% of workers will be remote, many more hybrid

Google says it expects about 20% of its workforce to still work remotely after its offices reopen this fall, while some 60% will work a hybrid schedule that includes about three days in the office and two days "wherever they work best."

Twitter without mean tweets? New feature 'prompts' discourage sending back nasty replies

Could you imagine what late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel would do without possibly one of his most popular segments?

Microsoft pledges to store European cloud data in EU

US tech giant Microsoft pledged Thursday to process and store all European cloud-based client data in the European Union amid unease in the region over the reach of US legislation on personal data collection.

Using 'ant colonies' to find fake news

Although it might be said that there has been malicious writing since our ancestors daubed cave walls with ochre symbols or the very first scribes notched letters into ancient stone tablets, fake news, spam, malicious and threatening words have come to the fore with the advent of our ubiquitous and always-connected digital devices. We might refer to this as "suspicious content."

Algorithm for shoe-based blind assistance system

A shoe that tells you where to go: The Lower Austrian company Tec-Innovation has developed an intelligent shoe for detecting obstacles. The shoe, known as InnoMake, has recently been put on the market as an approved medical device and is intended to make the personal mobility of blind and visually impaired people safer.

Blurred lines in face recognition

Face recognition has come on apace from a cliched trope of science fiction to a reality of the modern world with widespread use in photography databases, social media, and the security world. However, as with any tool, there are those who would abuse it for nefarious ends. New research published in the International Journal of Biometrics investigates one such aspect of face recognition where a third party might "spoof" the face of a legitimate user to gain access to systems and services to which they are not entitled and offers a suggestion as to how such spoofing might be detected.

T-GPS processes a graph with a trillion edges on a single computer

A KAIST research team has developed a new technology that enables the processing of a large-scale graph algorithm without storing the graph in the main memory or on disk. Named as T-GPS (Trillion-scale Graph Processing Simulation) by the developer Professor Min-Soo Kim from the School of Computing at KAIST, it can process a graph with one trillion edges using a single computer.

Animal Crossing among 4 inductees to Video Game Hall of Fame

The World Video Game Hall of Fame on Thursday inducted the groundbreaking Microsoft Flight Simulator, franchise-inspiring Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? award-winning StarCraft and Animal Crossing, whose popularity has surged during the pandemic.

Researchers unveil roadmap to expand New York solar energy, meet green goals

Solar-power developers need to explore using lower-quality agricultural land for solar energy, incentivize dual-use (combined agriculture and solar) options, avoid concentrated solar development and engage communities early to achieve New York's green energy goals, according to forthcoming Cornell University research.

Airtags from Apple: Do they actually make life easier?

When you're a parent, it's easy to lose things: your keys, your wallet, or Buttons.

NPS student invents, patents durable uniform nametags

Using his own time and resources, Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Space Systems Engineering student Lt. Mitchell Kempisty ventured into unchartered waters to bring an invention of his making through the patent process, an invention which he hopes will improve Navy uniform fabric nametag durability.

Air France-KLM pins hopes on summer after huge COVID losses

Air France-KLM posted huge first-quarter losses on Thursday, pinning its hopes on a better summer to recover as it sees little improvement in global travel for now due to COVID restrictions.

Australian regulator moves to block Qantas-Japan Airlines deal

Australia's competition regulator on Thursday said it would block a pricing, code-sharing and scheduling deal between Qantas and Japan Airlines because it would likely mean higher fares for passengers.

Facebook panel member on Trump ban ruling—and what happens next

Facebook's independent oversight board said its decision to uphold the platform's ban on Donald Trump was based on global human rights principles and considerations of imminent harm and violence.

Facebook's oversight board: Watchdog or distraction?

Facebook's oversight board, which on Wednesday upheld the company's ban of former President Donald Trump, also had some harsh words for the company. Calling Facebook's indefinite ban of Trump a "vague, standardless penalty," the board accused Facebook—its corporate sponsor—of seeking to "avoid its responsibilities" by asking its quasi-independent oversight group to resolve the issue.

Pioneering study explores passengers' experiences of self-driving cars in winter conditions

Trust, safety and security are the most important factors affecting passengers' attitudes towards self-driving cars. Younger people felt their personal security to be significantly better than older people.

NY: Broadband cos paid for 8.5M fake net neutrality comments

The Office of the New York Attorney General said in a new report that a campaign funded by the broadband industry submitted millions of fake comments supporting the 2017 repeal of net neutrality.

Bad Twitter crops begone: Vertical photos will now look 'bigger and better'

Your vertical photos will start to look a lot better when scrolling through feeds on Twitter.

Facebook fights influence-for-hire campaigns

Facebook said Thursday that it had taken down nine deceptive online campaigns as marketing firms make a business of using fake accounts to sway opinions.

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