Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Feb 10

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for February 10, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

How dark matter of the genome interacts with mitochondria—and affects the fate of cancer

Dragonflies perform upside down backflips to right themselves

A new way to look for life-sustaining planets

Research shows emissions of banned ozone-depleting substance are back on the decline

Scientists develop new, faster method for seeking out dark matter

Silicon chip provides low cost solution to help machines see the world clearly

New wearable device turns the body into a battery

Observations inspect radio emission from two magnetars

Astronomers uncover mysterious origins of 'super-Earths'

Scientists create liquid crystals that look a lot like their solid counterparts

Friends matter: Giraffes that group with others live longer

Baby vampire bat adopted by mom's best friend

Pre-COVID subway air polluted from DC to Boston, but New York region's is the worst

Dog show: Pet pooches play more when humans are watching

Function identified of 'mystery protein' that kills brain cells of people with Parkinson's

Physics news

Scientists develop new, faster method for seeking out dark matter

For nearly a century, scientists have worked to unravel the mystery of dark matter—an elusive substance that spreads through the universe and likely makes up much of its mass, but has so far proven impossible to detect in experiments. Now, a team of researchers have used an innovative technique called "quantum squeezing" to dramatically speed up the search for one candidate for dark matter in the lab.

Silicon chip provides low cost solution to help machines see the world clearly

Researchers in Southampton and San Francisco have developed the first compact 3-D LiDAR imaging system that can match and exceed the performance and accuracy of most advanced, mechanical systems currently used.

Quantum effects help minimize communication flaws

Noise limits the performance of modern quantum technologies. However, particles traveling in a superposition of paths can bypass noise in communication. A collaboration between the Universities of Hong-Kong, Grenoble and Vienna, as well as the Austrian Academy of Sciences, under the lead of Philip Walther, reveals novel techniques to reduce noise in quantum communication. The results, published in the latest issue of Physical Review Research, demonstrate that quantum particles traveling in a superposition of paths enable noise reduction in communications.

Bond-selective reactions observed during molecular collisions

A team of researchers from Germany and the U.K. has found that bond-selective reactions can be observed during certain molecular collisions. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group describes experiments they conducted that involved firing a large molecule at a wall of copper and what they discovered by doing so.

First-ever observation of multi-photon Fano effect could lead to boost in quantum computing

In the first study of its kind, published by Nature Communications, an international team of researchers led by the University of Surrey has proven the existence of the fabled multi-photon Fano effect in an experiment.

Researchers develop high-torque light-powered actuator

If you watch the leaves of a plant long enough, you may see them shift and turn toward the sunlight through the day. It happens slowly, but surely.

Stable armchairlike hexazine ring in tungsten hexanitride

Tungsten hexanitride with armchairlike hexazine N6 ring has been synthesized by a group of scientists led by Dr. Jin Liu and his former postdoc Nilesh Salke at HPSTAR (Center for High Pressure Science & Technology Advanced Research). WN6 is a promising high-energy-density and super-hard material. Their findings are published in the recent issue of Physical Review Letters.

Really random networks

Many natural and human-made networks, such as computer, biological or social networks have a connectivity structure that critically shapes their behavior. The academic field of network science is concerned with analyzing such real-world complex networks and understanding how their structure influences their function or behavior. Examples are the vascular network of our bodies, the network of neurons in our brain, or the network of how an epidemic is spreading through a society.

Placing cosmological constraints on quantum gravity phenomenology

A description of gravity compatible with the principles of quantum mechanics has long been a widely pursued goal in physics. Existing theories of this 'quantum gravity' often involve mathematical corrections to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle (HUP), which quantifies the inherent limits in the accuracy of any quantum measurement. These corrections arise when gravitational interactions are considered, leading to a 'Generalized Uncertainty Principle' (GUP). Two specific GUP models are often used: the first modifies the HUP with a linear correction, while the second introduces a quadratic one. Through new research published in EPJ C, Serena Giardino and Vincenzo Salzano at the University of Szczecin in Poland have used well-established cosmological observations to place tighter constraints on the quadratic model, while discrediting the linear model.

Astronomy and Space news

A new way to look for life-sustaining planets

It is now possible to capture images of planets that could potentially sustain life around nearby stars, thanks to advances reported by an international team of astronomers in the journal Nature Communications.

Observations inspect radio emission from two magnetars

Using the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), astronomers have conducted a study of two magnetars known as PSR J1622−4950 and 1E 1547.0−5408. Results of this investigation, published February 4 on, provide important information about radio emission from these two sources.

Astronomers uncover mysterious origins of 'super-Earths'

Mini-Neptunes and super-Earths up to four times the size of our own are the most common exoplanets orbiting stars beyond our solar system. Until now, super-Earths were thought to be the rocky cores of mini-Neptunes whose gassy atmospheres were blown away. In a new study published in The Astrophysical Journal, astronomers from McGill University show that some of these exoplanets never had gaseous atmospheres to begin with, shedding new light on their mysterious origins.

Spectacular 'honeycomb heart' revealed in iconic stellar explosion

A unique heart shape, with wisps of gas filaments showing an intricate honeycomb-like arrangement, has been discovered at the center of the iconic supernova remnant, the Crab Nebula. Astronomers have mapped the void in unprecedented detail, creating a realistic three-dimensional reconstruction. The new work is published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society .

A new anomaly detection pipeline for astronomical discovery and recommendation systems

The SNAD team, an international network formed by researchers from Russia, France and the U.S., has developed a pipeline to find rare and exotic objects among the haystacks of data from astronomical surveys.

Chinese spacecraft enters Mars' orbit, joining Arab ship

A Chinese spacecraft went into orbit around Mars on Wednesday on an expedition to land a rover on the surface and scout for signs of ancient life, authorities announced in a landmark step in the country's most ambitious deep-space mission yet.

Astronomers confirm orbit of most distant object ever observed in our solar system

A team of astronomers, including associate professor Chad Trujillo of Northern Arizona University's Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science, have confirmed a planetoid that is almost four times farther from the Sun than Pluto, making it the most distant object ever observed in our solar system. The planetoid, which has been nicknamed "Farfarout," was first detected in 2018, and the team has now collected enough observations to pin down its orbit. The Minor Planet Center has now given it the official designation of 2018 AG37.

Scientists detect water vapour emanating from Mars

Researchers said Wednesday they had observed water vapour escaping high up in the thin atmosphere of Mars, offering tantalising new clues as to whether the Red Planet could have once hosted life.

Chinese spacecraft nearing Mars, world's 2nd in 2 days

A Chinese spacecraft appears poised to enter orbit around Mars, one day after an orbiter from the United Arab Emirates did so and about a week ahead of an American attempt to put down another spacecraft on the surface of the red planet.

ESA and UNOOSA illustrate space debris problem

Space debris is an issue of global concern that threatens our continued use of near-Earth space for the benefit of humankind.

Image: Proba-V's plus one

This satellite mockup, seen during antenna testing, shows the shape of ESA's new Proba-V Companion CubeSat, which is due for launch at the end of this year.

As new probes reach Mars, here's what we know so far from trips to the red planet

Three new spacecraft are due to arrive at Mars this month, ending their seven-month journey through space.

Keeping it fluid: Probing how fluids behave in weightlessness

NASA astronaut Victor Glover installs the Fluid Dynamics in Space experiment, or Fluidics for short. Fluidics is the black cylinder pictured in the foreground of the European Columbus module of the International Space Station.

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

The successful entry of China's Tianwen-1 probe into Mars' orbit on Wednesday underlined just how far the country has come in achieving its space dream.

ESA's Solar Orbiter ducks behind the sun

Name: Solar Orbiter, or "Solo' as the mission control team fondly call it, is one of the European Space Agency's pluckiest missions and is now cruising toward the sun.

Technology news

New wearable device turns the body into a battery

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a new, low-cost wearable device that transforms the human body into a biological battery.

Combining machine learning with smartphone tracking data to forecast the spread of the flu

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the U.S. including Google Inc. and the CDC has found that it is possible to combine machine learning technology with smartphone tracking data to create an application that accurately estimates the spread of the flu. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the group describes how they created their app and how well it tested against conventional viral spread estimation systems.

A language learning system that pays attention more efficiently than ever before

Human language can be inefficient. Some words are vital. Others, expendable.

Hyundai TIGER vehicle rolls smoothly, walks around obstacles

Autos today warn us of potential collisions, park themselves in tight spots, drive up to us from the parking lot to where we exit from a store on a rainy day, and they steer and change lanes for us as we coast along major highways. When it seems there's not much left for a smart car to do for us, someone usually comes along and gets a leg up on the competition.

WhatsApp flap shows importance of message platform to Facebook

When WhatsApp users began to raise concerns about a new privacy policy being rolled out, members of a Washington pickup soccer group decided to switch their communications to rival messaging platform Signal, ditching the Facebook-owned service.

Chip shortage puts the brakes on automakers

A shortage of silicon chips is forcing automakers to cut back on production across the globe and may encourage efforts to cut reliance on Asian suppliers.

Emerging robotics technology may lead to better buildings in less time

Emerging robotics technology may soon help construction companies and contractors create buildings in less time at higher quality and at lower costs.

Toyota says Q3 net profit soared, hikes full-year outlook

Toyota said Wednesday that net profit soared 50 percent in the third quarter and upgraded its full-year forecasts as the global auto industry gradually recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

Cumbria coal mine could usher in a net-zero-compliant fossil fuel industry – or prove it was always a fantasy

West Cumbria suffered a "once-in-a-thousand-year" flood in 2009. And then again in 2015. And 2019. No, it's not that meteorologists can't count. Climate change is increasing the risk of precisely the kind of intense downpours that triggered these floods, so that once-freak weather events now happen far more regularly.

Back with a boom? Supersonic planes get ready for a quieter, greener comeback

Almost 20 years after Concorde was grounded, civilian supersonic aircraft seem ready to take off again. New technology is pushing a new generation of aircraft forward, but challenges remain, from regulations to plain old economics.

Model for solar awnings to recharge vehicles

The number of people who own electric vehicles (EVs) is increasing, but they face a conundrum: Unlike those who own gasoline-burning cars, EV owners can't just pop down to the corner gas station for a fill-up. Particularly in rural areas, charging stations can be few and far between.

With flexible policy, Salesforce says 9-5 workday is 'dead'

Most employees at Salesforce will be able to work remotely indefinitely under a new policy unveiled by the cloud computing giant, which says the 9-to-5 workday is "dead."

Tougher EU privacy rules loom for Messenger, Zoom

Messaging apps such as Messenger or WhatsApp and video calls on Zoom face stricter privacy rules in Europe, after a draft law passed a key EU hurdle on Wednesday.

Facebook rolls out news feeds with less politics

Facebook said Wednesday it began rolling out news feeds with less political subject matter in line with a plan outlined by chief Mark Zuckerberg to reduce inflammatory content.

Tests reveal cybersecurity vulnerabilities of common seismological equipment

Seismic monitoring devices linked to the internet are vulnerable to cyberattacks that could disrupt data collection and processing, say researchers who have probed the devices for weak points.

The future of solar technology: New technology makes foldable cells a practical reality

With the recent development of foldable mobile phone screens, research on foldable electronics has never been so intensive. One particularly useful application of the foldable technology is in solar panels.

Toyota to add electric, plug-in hybrid vehicles next year

Toyota says it will roll out two new battery-electric vehicles and one plug-in gas-electric hybrid in the U.S. this year as the parade of new EVs continues.

Qualcomm's new 5G modem promises 10 gigabits per second peak download speeds

Qualcomm rolled out its next generation of 5G processors Tuesday that the company says can deliver peak download speeds of 10 gigabits per seconds to smartphones, laptops, household Internet and private business networks.

Google Scholar renders documents not in English invisible

The visibility of scientific articles and conference papers is conditional upon being easily found in academic search engines, especially Google Scholar. To enhance this visibility, search engine optimization (SEO) has been applied in recent years to academic search engines in order to optimize documents and, thereby, ensure they are better ranked in search pages (i.e., academic search engine optimization or ASEO).

Ohio State opens up Apple app development and coding program to the public

An educational program at Ohio State University teaching students app development and coding using Apple's Swift programming language will be available to the public.

Covid-19 prompts more to grasp for 'digital nomad' dream

"When I talked about this before the pandemic, people thought I was crazy . Now they tell me I was right after all," said Arnaud Wilbrod, a French freelance editor who moved to the Estonian capital Tallinn after his home country went into lockdown.

Turbine giant Vestas looking offshore after strong 2020 results

Vestas, the global leader in wind turbines, posted stronger annual results Wednesday and said it was looking to expand crucial offshore operations with a giant new model.

GM 2020 profit drops, but it makes $6.43B despite pandemic

General Motors' profit fell 4.5% in 2020, but a strong second half more than offset the effects of pandemic-related factory closures and a costly air bag recall.

Police in Europe bust gang hijacking celeb phones, arrest 10

Police have arrested 10 people in the U.K., Belgium and Malta for allegedly hijacking mobile phones belonging to U.S. celebrities including internet influencers, sports stars and musicians to steal personal information and millions in cryptocurrency, authorities said.

Air France must trade slots for aid: Ryanair

Europe's leading airline, Ryanair, urged Wednesday that Air France be forced to give up lucrative French airport slots if it receives more state aid.

Report: TikTok sale pushed by Trump is shelved

The Biden administration has "indefinitely" shelved a proposed U.S. takeover of the popular video app TikTok, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Last year, the Trump administration brokered a deal that would have had U.S. corporations Oracle and Walmart take a large stake in the Chinese-owned app on national-security grounds.

EPA again orders Amazon to stop selling illegal pesticides

For the third time in three years, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered Amazon to stop selling illegal pesticides on its online marketplace, saying the chemicals pose "a significant and immediate health risk to consumers, children, pets, and others exposed to the products."

Major camera company can sort people by race, alert police when it spots Uighurs

Facial recognition software developed by China-based Dahua, one of the world's largest manufacturers of video surveillance technology, purports to detect the race of individuals caught on camera and offers to alert police clients when it identifies members of the Turkic ethnic group Uighurs.

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