Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Aug 17

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for August 17, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Global trio of orbiters shows small dust storms help dry out Mars

Cracking a mystery of massive black holes and quasars with supercomputer simulations

OO Dra is an Algol-type binary formed through an extremely helium-poor mass accretion

Astronomers find a 'break' in one of the Milky Way's spiral arms

Researchers confirm speed, simplicity and sensitivity for new COVID-19 test

Mutated enzyme weakens connection between brain cells that help control movement

Europe's Vega rocket blasts off with Airbus observation satellite

Swiss researchers declare new record for exact pi figure

Nanocluster discovery will protect precious metals

A new liquid crystal ink for 3D printing

Protein may protect against neurodegenerative diseases

Detecting depression and partner violence risk during pregnancy

Strong magnetic fields change how friction works in plasma

Histamine could be a key player in depression, according to study in mice

Quantum entanglement is explained in classic terms

Physics news

Strong magnetic fields change how friction works in plasma

Friction in plasma gets weird in the presence of very strong magnetic fields, a team of plasma researchers at the University of Michigan has shown. The findings could affect fusion energy strategies and the development of radiation sources.

Quantum entanglement is explained in classic terms

In many quantum measurement experiments and thought experiments, measurement results appear that do not seem to have classic explanations. As example: In quantum particle spin experiments, entangled particles appear to interact instantly across distances; and in interferometer experiments, one measurement result appears to be split over two paths. Currently, these measurement phenomena are treated as unique to quantum mechanics and not understandable in classic physics. Recognizing calibration in theory explains and resolves all the differences that appear to occur between classic and quantum measurements.

Demonstrating 'vectorial' polaritons by levitating a nanosphere inside an optical cavity

A team of researchers from the European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy, INFN, Sezione di Firenze and Università di Firenze has demonstrated a form of "vectorial" polariton by levitating a nanosphere inside of an optical cavity. In their paper published in the journal Nature Physics, the group describes their work and possible uses for their results. Tania Monteiro with University College London has published a News & Views piece in the same journal issue outlining prior work involved in gaining quantum control using polarizable nanoparticles and the work done by the team on this new effort.

Wash your hands for 20 seconds: Physics shows why

Though hand-washing is proven effective in combating the spread of disease and infection, the physics behind it has rarely been studied. But in Physics of Fluids, researchers from Hammond Consulting Limited describe a simple model that captures the key mechanics of hand-washing.

Major nuclear fusion milestone reached as 'ignition' triggered in a lab

Ignition is a key process that amplifies the energy output from nuclear fusion and could provide clean energy and answer some huge physics questions.

On the road to faster and more efficient data storage

How do magnetic waves behave in antiferromagnets and how do they spread? What role do "domain walls" play in the process? And what could this mean for the future of data storage? These questions are the focus of a recent publication in the journal Physical Review Letters from an international research team led by Konstanz physicist Dr. Davide Bossini. The team reports on magnetic phenomena in antiferromagnets that can be induced by ultrafast (femtosecond) laser pulses and with the potential to endow the materials with new functionalities for energy-efficient and ultrafast data storage applications.

Boron quantum dots surpassing graphene with excellent thermal properties

In a new publication from Opto-Electronic Advances, researchers led by Professor Han Zhang from Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, China, consider whether boron quantum dots surpass the graphene in thermal properties.

Astronomy and Space news

Global trio of orbiters shows small dust storms help dry out Mars

By combining observations from three international spacecraft at Mars, scientists were able to show that regional dust storms play a huge role in drying out the Red Planet.

Cracking a mystery of massive black holes and quasars with supercomputer simulations

At the center of galaxies, like our own Milky Way, lie massive black holes surrounded by spinning gas. Some shine brightly, with a continuous supply of fuel, while others go dormant for millions of years, only to reawaken with a serendipitous influx of gas. It remains largely a mystery how gas flows across the universe to feed these massive black holes.

OO Dra is an Algol-type binary formed through an extremely helium-poor mass accretion

Using data from NASA's TESS satellite, Chinese astronomers have investigated a binary star known as OO Dra. The study found that this object is an Algol-type binary that was formed as a result of an extremely helium-poor mass accretion process. The findings are reported in a paper published August 6 on the arXiv pre-print repository.

Astronomers find a 'break' in one of the Milky Way's spiral arms

Scientists have spotted a previously unrecognized feature of our Milky Way galaxy: A contingent of young stars and star-forming gas clouds is sticking out of one of the Milky Way's spiral arms like a splinter poking out from a plank of wood. Stretching some 3,000 light-years, this is the first major structure identified with an orientation so dramatically different than the arm's.

Europe's Vega rocket blasts off with Airbus observation satellite

A European Vega rocket lifted off Monday night from French Guiana carrying an Earth observation satellite and four miniature "cubesats".

Fast changes between the solar seasons resolved by new sun clock

Violent activity on our Sun leads to some of the most extreme space weather events on Earth, impacting systems such as satellites, communications systems, power distribution and aviation. The roughly 11-year cycle of solar activity has three 'seasons', each of which affects the space weather felt at Earth differently: (i) solar maximum, the sun is active and disordered, when space weather is stormy and events are irregular (ii) the declining phase, when the sun and solar wind becomes ordered, and space weather is more moderate and (iii) solar minimum, when activity is quiet.

Blue Origin sues NASA over SpaceX Moon contract

Blue Origin, the space company owned by Jeff Bezos, is suing the US government over its decision to award a massive Moon exploration contract to its competitor SpaceX, it said in a statement Monday.

Technology news

Designing better batteries for electric vehicles

The urgent need to cut carbon emissions is prompting a rapid move toward electrified mobility and expanded deployment of solar and wind on the electric grid. If those trends escalate as expected, the need for better methods of storing electrical energy will intensify.

Combining perovskite with silicon, solar cells convert more energy from sun

Many countries around the world are committed to reducing emissions or reaching net-zero emissions to meet the United Nations' climate goals of maintaining temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050. Renewable energy technologies, particularly solar energy panels, will play a significant role in achieving these goals.

Google adds facial expression recognition to Android Accessibility Suite beta version

A team at XDA Developers has discovered that Google has added facial expression recognition to the beta version of the Android Accessibility Suite, which came with the beta version of Android 12. The new feature is called collectively Camera Switches. The new features appear to be geared toward allowing those with disabilities to communicate with their phone without using their voice.

New clean energy tech extracts twice the power from ocean waves

Researchers have developed prototype technology that can double the power harvested from ocean waves, in an advance that could finally make wave energy a viable renewable alternative.

'Capture' your IoT devices and improve their security

Cyberattacks on IoT devices have shown no signs of slowing as more and more vulnerabilities become known.

How one simple rule change could curb online retailers' snooping on you

I spent last week studying the 26,000 words of privacy terms published by eBay and Amazon, trying to extract some straight answers, and comparing them to the privacy terms of other online marketplaces such as Kogan and Catch (my full summary is here).

Distilleries need blend of green energy and storage to reach net zero

Distilleries of all sizes should combine renewable energy with some form of heat or electrical energy storage, a new study says.

Measuring the impact of extreme waves on offshore structures

The force of waves slamming into offshore rigs, wind turbine pillars, ships or other offshore structures can do an enormous amount of damage.

Fluoroethylamine engineering for effective passivation improves efficiency of perovskite solar cells

Perovskite film, a key layer of the perovskite solar cell (PSC), determines the performance and stability of the device.

The coal price has skyrocketed in 2021: What it means for net zero

It is only a few days since the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) signaled the dire consequences of human-induced climate change. At the heart of this stark warning by UN Secretary General António Guterres and the scientists behind the report was the urgent need to heavily reduce coal in the energy mix.

Review: Elon Musk bet everything he had on Tesla

"Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk, and the Bet of the Century," by Tim Higgins (Doubleday)

Yik Yak, anonymous messaging app shut down four years ago, is back

Remember Yik Yak? The controversial anonymous messaging app is back.

Spirit Air says canceled flights cost $50M, hurt bookings

Spirit Airlines said Monday the cancellation of more than 2,800 flights over an 11-day stretch this summer cost the budget airline about $50 million in lost revenue and caused spending to soar.

A fleet-footed focus to improve electric vehicle uptake in Australia

Australia's transport sector accounts for almost 20% of the country's CO₂ emissions, making it a key battleground in efforts to reduce the impact of climate change.

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