Science X Newsletter Friday, Feb 12

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for February 12, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A new framework for robotics applications that merges reservoir computing with origami

Birds can 'read' the Earth's magnetic signature well enough to get back on course

Applying quantum computing to a particle process

TESS discovers new worlds in a river of young stars

Women better at reading minds than men, new study finds

STING activation reduces graft-versus-host disease in a mouse model

Tuning the circadian clock, boosting rhythms may be key to future treatments and medicines

New research tackles a central challenge of powerful quantum computing

Lemurs show there's no single formula for lasting love

Green tea compound aids p53, 'guardian of the genome' and tumor suppressor

Researchers identify potential revolutionary new drug treatment for fatal childhood cancer

Promising new approach to stop growth of brain cancer cells

Study reveals mutations that drive therapy-related myeloid neoplasms in children

Stonehenge likely made with stones from older monument: study

China's Mars probe sends back video of Red Planet

Physics news

Applying quantum computing to a particle process

A team of researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) used a quantum computer to successfully simulate an aspect of particle collisions that is typically neglected in high-energy physics experiments, such as those that occur at CERN's Large Hadron Collider.

New research tackles a central challenge of powerful quantum computing

To build a universal quantum computer from fragile quantum components, effective implementation of quantum error correction (QEC) is an essential requirement and a central challenge. QEC is used in quantum computing, which has the potential to solve scientific problems beyond the scope of supercomputers, to protect quantum information from errors due to various noise.

New machine learning theory raises questions about nature of science

A novel computer algorithm, or set of rules, that accurately predicts the orbits of planets in the solar system could be adapted to better predict and control the behavior of the plasma that fuels fusion facilities designed to harvest on Earth the fusion energy that powers the sun and stars.

Research team develops joint splints for sports and medicine inspired by dragonfly wings

Around 80% of sports injuries are so-called musculoskeletal injuries, for example sprains, strains or overstretching. Such injuries can occur especially in those sports with high loads on the wrists, such as handball, basketball or weightlifting. Conventional supports either do not provide enough stability or restrict the mobility of the joint too much. A research team from the Zoological Institute at Kiel University (CAU) has now developed a flexible joint splint that combines maximum mobility and optimal stability. The source of their inspiration was the ultra-thin wings of dragonflies, which have to withstand substantial external loads during flight. Their study was published yesterday in the journal Applied Physics A. Now the scientists want to bring their design into practice, a patent has already been filed.

Electron refrigerator: Ultrafast cooling mechanism discovered in novel plasma

Researchers from the Cluster of Excellence "CUI: Advanced Imaging of Matter" have achieved a breakthrough—creating a completely new type of plasma by combining state-of-the-art technologies using ultrashort laser pulses and ultracold atomic gases. They report on a novel electron cooling mechanism occurring in such plasmas in the journal Nature Communications.

Astronomy and Space news

TESS discovers new worlds in a river of young stars

Using observations from NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), an international team of astronomers has discovered a trio of hot worlds larger than Earth orbiting a much younger version of our Sun called TOI 451. The system resides in the recently discovered Pisces-Eridanus stream, a collection of stars less than 3% the age of our solar system that stretches across one-third of the sky.

China's Mars probe sends back video of Red Planet

China's space agency released video footage from its spacecraft circling Mars on Friday, two days after it successfully entered the planet's orbit in Beijing's latest ambitious space mission.

Lab team uses giant lasers to compress iron oxide, revealing the secret interior of rocky exoplanets

Advances in astronomical observations have resulted in the discovery of an extraordinary number of extrasolar planets, some of which are believed to have a rocky composition similar to Earth. Learning more about their interior structure could provide important clues about their potential habitability.

Research highlights ways to protect astronaut cardiovascular health from space radiation

Space: the final frontier. What's stopping us from exploring it? Well, lots of things, but one of the major issues is space radiation, and the effects it can have on astronaut health during long voyages. A new review in the open-access journal Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine explores what we know about the ways that space radiation can negatively affect cardiovascular health, and discusses methods to protect astronauts. These include radioprotective drugs, and antioxidant treatments, some of which are more common than you might think.

Perseverance will make sure it has a safe landing

To casual observers, landing a rover on Mars can seem kind of like old news, believe it or not, especially after all of NASA's successes. But many are likely not aware of the so-called "Mars Curse." The fact is, many of the spacecraft that attempt to land there fail and crash.

ESA Mars orbiters support NASA Perseverance landing

NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover is due to land on the Red Planet at 21:43 CET on 18 February 2021. In order to communicate with Earth from its landing site in Jezero Crater, the rover will rely on spacecraft orbiting Mars to relay the images and other data it collects back to Earth and pass on the commands from engineers beamed across space in the other direction.

Timing of next Virgin Galactic flight still up in the air

A window is set to open for Virgin Galactic to make another attempt at a rocket-powered flight from New Mexico to the fringe of space, but the company announced Friday it would be holding off on a new effort.

Goddard's Core Flight software chosen for NASA's Lunar Gateway

NASA is improving a flight software system to help create and certify essential software for the lunar Gateway.

Technology news

A new framework for robotics applications that merges reservoir computing with origami

Reservoir computing is a highly promising computational framework based on artificial recurrent neural networks (RNNs). Over the past few years, this framework was successfully applied to a variety of tasks, ranging from time-series predictions (i.e., stock market or weather forecasting), to robotic motion planning and speech recognition.

Electric transmission operators could benefit from temperature-dependent resource adequacy modeling

How much does a power system's reliability depend on the temperature? Electric power system generator resource adequacy modeling is designed to help determine capacity requirements for electric power system operators across the United States. While calculating resource adequacy requirements has been done for a century, it requires ongoing attention as the generation mix is constantly expanding and changing. A new paper contributes to these ongoing reliability considerations by using a unique data set to determine how both low and high temperatures reduce the reliability of coal, gas, diesel, hydroelectric, and nuclear power generators and thus affect the amount of generation markets should contract for.

Australia report says make Google and Facebook pay for news

Australia's Parliament will debate making Google and Facebook pay for news after a Senate committee on Friday recommended no changes to drafts of the world's first such laws.

Amazon faces biggest union push in its history

The second Jennifer Bates walks away from her post at the Amazon warehouse where she works, the clock starts ticking.

'All we have left': dating apps on frontline of loneliness pandemic

Dating apps are booming in lockdown—no longer just a way of hooking up but also of simple interaction at a time when the coronavirus inflicts loneliness on millions.

Why the world is watching Australia's new big-tech rules

Australia on Friday moved a step closer to introducing pioneering legislation that would force tech giants to pay for sharing news content, a move that could change how people worldwide experience the internet.

Microsoft backs search engines paying for news worldwide

Microsoft on Thursday lobbied for other countries to follow Australia's lead in calling for news outlets to be paid for stories published online, a move opposed by Facebook and Google.

Disney streaming services gaining ground on Netflix

Disney said Thursday its streaming services flourished while its parks, travel and film businesses remained hobbled by the pandemic at the end of last year.

Exploring unknown environments with ultrasound

Many underground liquid-filled environments are difficult to access for humans—think of deep underground oil wells or water distribution systems. Even with modern cutting-edge technologies, it is difficult to map these areas. The PHOENIX project developed a swarm of sensor nodes to explore these unknown environments. Ph.D. candidate Gönenç Berkol worked on ultrasound communication between these nodes, an ingenious way to map the distance and location without the use of GPS. Berkol will defend his thesis on February 24th at the department of Electrical Engineering.

High-speed infrared helps reveal safer hypergolic propellant

When SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule splashed down off the Florida coast in August following its first crewed mission, the two astronauts inside could not exit the capsule immediately. Technicians outside had to confirm there were no airborne vapors from hydrazine, a highly toxic fuel used by the vehicle's hypergolic thrusters.

India's top court takes up social media content

India's top court on Friday sought the government and Twitter's response to a petition seeking a mechanism to check fake news, hate messages and what officials consider seditious and incendiary content on social media platforms.

Biden team seeks pause in US WeChat ban litigation

The Biden administration asked a US court Thursday to suspend litigation connected to former president Donald Trump's proposed ban on WeChat while it reviews the policy.

Airlines push White House to reject testing for US flights

Leaders of several major U.S. airlines met online Friday with White House officials to press their case against requiring coronavirus tests for passengers on domestic flights, saying it would undermine the already fragile industry.

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