Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Sep 14

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for September 14, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A machine learning technique that can learn local equilibria in symmetric auction games

Modern snakes evolved from a few survivors of dino-killing asteroid

Mechanical buckling of petals produces iridescent patterns visible to bees

Spin photovoltaic effects in magnetic van der Waals heterostructures

Astronomers monitor nearby blazar Markarian 501

People only pay attention to new information when they want to

Study links severe COVID-19 to increase in self-attacking antibodies

Troubled waters: How global marine wildlife protection can undermine fishing communities

The dynamic tracking of tissue-specific secretory proteins

Algorithm finds personalized sound zones in cars for driver, passengers

Fixing protein production errors lengthens lifespan

Researchers find immune cells that guard frequent site of cancer spread

Scientists pinpoint the uncertainty of our working memory

Noninvasive eye procedure provides potential pathway for virus, disease carriers

Homemade face masks work; effectiveness varies depending on how they are made

Physics news

Spin photovoltaic effects in magnetic van der Waals heterostructures

In a new report now published on Science Advances, Tiancheng Song and a research team at the department of physics, University of Washington, U.S., and materials and nanoarchitectronics in Japan and China, detailed spin photovoltaic effects in van der Waals (vdW) heterostructures of two-dimensional (2D) magnetic chromium triiodide (CrI3) sandwiched by graphene contacts. The concept of van der Waals crystals and their heterostructures are of interest in materials science, applied physics and optoelectronics, to explore the optoelectronic properties within the two-dimensional (2D) limit. It is possible to integrate 2D magnets to realize 2D spin-optoelectronics with controlled spin degrees of freedom. The photocurrent of the CrI3 displayed a distinct dependence on light helicity, which Song et al. tuned by varying the magnetic states and photon energy. The research highlighted the potential to study the emergent phenomenon of photospintronics by engineering magnetic vdW heterostructures.

Algorithm finds personalized sound zones in cars for driver, passengers

Creating an individualized listening experience for each passenger has been an ambition for the auto industry for decades. The acoustically changing nature of the car cabin has hampered making such personalized sound zones (PSZs) a reality.

Noninvasive eye procedure provides potential pathway for virus, disease carriers

A common eye test could expel tear droplets up to a meter away from the patient, potentially spreading viruses that cause COVID-19 and other pathogens.

Homemade face masks work; effectiveness varies depending on how they are made

Since the spread of virus causing COVID-19 continues, experts recommended wearing homemade facemasks when surgical or N95 masks are not available to prevent the spread of the pandemic. While such makeshift masks are more economical and accessible in low-capita countries, the effectiveness of cloth masks has not been studied in depth.

Future of quantum information processing: Twisting light that switches direction at room temperature

Scientists have generated circularly polarized light and controlled its direction without using clunky magnets or very low temperatures. The findings, by Nagoya University researchers and colleagues in Japan, and published in the journal Advanced Materials, show promise for the development of materials and device methods that can be used in optical quantum information processing.

Physicist observes the first unpaired Weyl magnetic monopole

Similar to a magnet that always has both south and north poles, a kind of special quasiparticles in condensed matter called "Weyl Fermions" always appear in pairs with opposite chirality. There had been no experimental report that unpaired Weyl points exist in condensed matter until recently, a City University of Hong Kong (CityU) physicist observed the first unpaired singular Weyl magnetic monopole in a specific kind of single crystalline solid.

Cylindrical phononic crystals sense physical, chemical properties of transported liquids

Phononic crystals are an innovative resonant platform for sensing and understanding the volumetric properties of liquids, attracting a growing interest from researchers.

Astronomy and Space news

Astronomers monitor nearby blazar Markarian 501

A team of astronomers from Switzerland and Germany has conducted a long-term multi-band photometric monitoring of a nearby blazar known as Markarian 501. The observational campaign delivered essential information regarding the blazar's variability and detected numerous flares from this source. Results of the study were published September 7 on

Studying the moon's oldest geologic imprints

New Curtin research has found the moon may have been subjected to much greater impacts from asteroids and other bodies than previously thought, building on our understanding of the moon's earliest geologic evolution.

Russian Soyuz rocket launches 34 new UK satellites

A Russian Soyuz rocket has blasted into space carrying 34 new satellites from British operator Oneweb, which aims to provide broadband internet everywhere in the world.

There's now a gas station in space

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), over 4,000 operational satellites are currently in orbit around Earth. According to some estimates, this number is expected to reach as high as 100,000 by the end of this decade, including telecommunication, internet, research, navigation, and Earth Observation satellites. As part of the commercialization of low Earth orbit (LEO) anticipated in this century, the presence of so many satellites will create new opportunities, as well as hazards.

Image: Energy Department mission launched from Wallops

A two-stage suborbital sounding rocket launched at 6:07 p.m. EDT for the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration from NASA's launch range at Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

Technology news

A machine learning technique that can learn local equilibria in symmetric auction games

Over the past few decades, computer scientists have been exploring the potential of applying game theory and artificial intelligence (AI) tools to chess, the abstract strategy board game go, or other games. Another valuable use of game theory is in the economic sciences, particularly as a framework to explain strategic interactions in markets and the resulting outcomes.

3D-printed objects that sense how a user is interacting with them

MIT researchers have developed a new method to 3D print mechanisms that detect how force is being applied to an object. The structures are made from a single piece of material, so they can be rapidly prototyped. A designer could use this method to 3D print "interactive input devices," like a joystick, switch, or handheld controller, in one go.

UK trial of hydrogen blended gas regarded a success

Members of the consortium running the U.K.'s first hydrogen blended gas project are hailing it as a success. The project, known as HyDeploy, has been running at Keele University, where both university buildings and homes have been heated using hydrogen blended with natural gas.

Inequality built into the grid

It is known that future uptake of distributed energy resources like wind and solar could be limited due to constraints in electrical grids. Now, a study from Berkeley researchers shows that grid limitations in California could also exacerbate existing racial inequities by limiting access to renewable energy in different communities and economic classes, making it even more difficult to overcome inequity in renewable energy adoption.

Taking lessons from a sea slug, study points to better hardware for artificial intelligence

For artificial intelligence to get any smarter, it needs first to be as intelligent as one of the simplest creatures in the animal kingdom: the sea slug.

Technologies can help drivers maintain the two-second rule to improve road safety and traffic flow

The two-second rule, taught in driver's ed classes across the country, is a rule of thumb that helps drivers maintain a safe distance from the car ahead at any speed. Adhering to the two-second rule can be difficult. A team of engineers led by Dan Work, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, has developed an assistive technology to help drivers maintain this guidance to smooth out traffic jams and improve safety.

Solar cells with 30-year lifetimes for power-generating windows

A new transparency-friendly solar cell design could marry high efficiencies with 30-year estimated lifetimes, research led by the University of Michigan has shown. It may pave the way for windows that also provide solar power.

Apple's next iPhone mirrors last year's, adds more storage

Apple unveiled its next iPhone line-up, including a model that offers twice the storage available in earlier versions and other modest upgrades to last year's editions that proved to be a big hit among consumers devouring the latest technology during the pandemic.

Amazon brings palm-swiping tech to Red Rocks concert venue

Your palm could soon be your ticket into a concert.

SKorea to fine Google $177M for forcing software on devices

South Korea's competition watchdog plans to fine Google at least 207.4 billion won ($177 million) for allegedly blocking smartphone makers like Samsung from using other operating systems, in what would be one of the country's biggest antitrust penalties ever.

Apple users urged to download Pegasus spyware flaw fix

Apple users were urged Tuesday to update their devices after the tech giant announced a fix for a major software flaw that allows the Pegasus spyware to be installed on phones without so much as a click.

Facebook shields VIPs from some of its rules: report

Facebook exempts certain celebrities, politicians and other high-profile users from some its own rules for posts as part of a program launched as a quality-control mechanism, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Much of the world's energy comes from fossil fuels. Could we replace it all with renewables?

How are fossil fuels formed, why do they release carbon dioxide and how much of the world's energy do they provide? And what are the renewable energy sources that could replace fossil fuels?

Improving carbon capture efficiency to help net zero emissions

As the UK's National Metrology Institute, NPL has a significant role to play in supporting climate change mitigation action and enabling the innovations which will help industry deliver on their goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Geological storage of carbon has gained a lot of attention, but a more versatile carbon capture solution is required if it is to become a reliable mitigation to emissions.

Drugs, robots and the pursuit of pleasure: Why experts are worried about AIs becoming addicts

In 1953, a Harvard psychologist thought he discovered pleasure—accidentally—within the cranium of a rat. With an electrode inserted into a specific area of its brain, the rat was allowed to pulse the implant by pulling a lever. It kept returning for more: insatiably, incessantly, lever-pulling. In fact, the rat didn't seem to want to do anything else. Seemingly, the reward center of the brain had been located.

Boeing sees full commercial air recovery by 2024

Boeing said Tuesday that the commercial aviation market should fully recover by 2024 from its pandemic slump, as the industry giant lifted its aerospace forecast for the next decade.

Fukushima plant failed to probe cause of faulty filters

Officials at Japan's wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant have acknowledged they neglected to investigate the cause of faulty exhaust filters that are key to preventing radioactive pollution, after being forced to replace them twice.

A new technology that can prevent Li-ion battery fires

Materials scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have found a way to prevent internal short-circuits, the main cause of fires in lithium (Li)-ion batteries.

A 3D-imaging workflow has benefits for medicine, electric cars and nuclear deterrence

Sandia National Laboratories researchers have created a method of processing 3D images for computer simulations that could have beneficial implications for several industries, including health care, manufacturing and electric vehicles.

Apple security flaw: How do 'zero-click' attacks work?

Apple has spent the past week rushing to develop a fix for a major security flaw which allows spyware to be downloaded on an iPhone or iPad without the owner even clicking a button.

Peachy robot: A glimpse into the peach orchard of the future

Peaches, not surprisingly, pack a punch for Georgia's economy.

For Tesla probe, US regulators seek data from 12 automakers

The US highway safety watchdog asked 12 automakers Tuesday to provide data on their driver assistance systems as part of a preliminary investigation of Tesla, whose cars were involved in several accidents with first responder vehicles.

Russia fines Facebook and Twitter over banned content

Russia fined Facebook and Twitter on Tuesday for not deleting banned content, adding to a slew of penalties the government has imposed on foreign tech giants.

Amazon to hire 125,000 more ground workers in United States

Amazon announced plans Tuesday to hire 125,000 more workers in the United States as it broadens its logistical footprint amid strong e-commerce growth during the pandemic.

El Salvador president says half a million using new bitcoin wallet

There are now more than half a million people using El Salvador's bitcoin wallet, President Nayib Bukele announced.

How chatbots could train our mental condition

Technology will play an increasingly social and even emotional role in our lives. Minha Lee—digital designer, information scientist, philosopher and world citizen—is fascinated by this fact. The assistant professor develops chatbots that can help people create a more positive self-image.

Powering sea to space

Magnetic materials pose major limitations in power electronic applications at high frequencies, but MSE Professor Michael McHenry and alums Paul Ohodnicki, Alex Leary and Sam Kernion have made advancements on materials and their processing that can greatly increase motor and transformer efficiencies.

How to update Apple devices to correct security flaw

Apple has released a critical software patch to fix a security vulnerability that researchers say could allow hackers to directly infect iPhones and other Apple devices without any involvement of the owner.

Embattled Apple unveils new products

Apple CEO Tim Cook strode through a slickly produced video Tuesday to launch a new iPhone, with few hints of the exceptional string of troubles facing his company including policy reversals, a spyware attack and legal fights.

Problems continue to plague El Savador's bitcoin rollout

One week after El Salvador became the first country to make bitcoin legal tender, problems continued to plague the system Tuesday.

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