Science X Newsletter Friday, Mar 12

Dear ymilog,

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

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Researchers create a new transistor based on metal nanoparticles and ionic gradients

A protocol to explore entanglement dynamics via spacetime duality

Experts recreate a mechanical Cosmos for the world's first computer

Controlled by light alone, new smart materials twist, bend and move

Traces of Earth's early magma ocean identified in Greenland rocks

Hierarchical mechanical metamaterials offer multiple stable configurations

New perovskite LED emits a circularly polarized glow

Astronomers detect a black hole on the move

Preterm birth, prolonged labor influenced by progesterone balance

How India's rice production can adapt to climate change challenges

Large asteroid to pass by Earth on March 21: NASA

Accurate aging of wild animals thanks to first epigenetic clock for bats

Study provides insights into architecture of abnormal protein deposits in brain disorders

RNA editing protein ADAR1 protects telomeres and supports proliferation in cancer cells

Artificial intelligence calculates suicide attempt risk

Physics news

A protocol to explore entanglement dynamics via spacetime duality

In recent years, there have been significant advancements in the development of digital quantum computers and simulators. These emerging physical systems are opening up unprecedented possibilities for controlling and measuring a variety of quantum dynamics. As a result, some fundamental questions in many-body physics that would have previously been considered speculative and outside the realm of experimental exploration can now be examined in laboratory settings.

Controlled by light alone, new smart materials twist, bend and move

Researchers at Tufts University School of Engineering have created light-activated composite devices able to execute precise, visible movements and form complex three-dimensional shapes without the need for wires or other actuating materials or energy sources. The design combines programmable photonic crystals with an elastomeric composite that can be engineered at the macro and nano scale to respond to illumination.

New perovskite LED emits a circularly polarized glow

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have revolutionized the displays industry. LEDs use electric current to produce visible light without the excess heat found in traditional light bulbs, a glow called electroluminescence. This breakthrough led to the eye-popping, high-definition viewing experience we've come to expect from our screens. Now, a group of physicists and chemists have developed a new type of LED that utilizes spintronics without needing a magnetic field, magnetic materials or cryogenic temperatures; a 'quantum leap' that could take displays to the next level.

Fourth-generation wire micrometer that rivals best in the world

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a dramatically improved laser-based instrument that measures the diameter of fine-gauge wires, fibers and other objects only about three times the thickness of a human hair. Known as a laser micrometer, the device's accuracy equals that of its state-of-the-art counterparts but is cheaper, simpler to operate and easier to maintain.

Shaping radio signals using light

Shaping radio signals using photonics technologies seems like a detour. But the versatility of current programmable silicon photonic circuits can open new possibilities according to researchers of the University of Twente. They have presented their microwave photonic spectral shaper inAPL Photonics .

Researchers make breakthrough in solar cell materials

By using laser spectroscopy in a photophysics experiment, Clemson University researchers have broken new ground that could result in faster and cheaper energy to power electronics.

Remote control for quantum emitters

In order to exploit the properties of quantum physics technologically, quantum objects and their interaction must be precisely controlled. In many cases, this is done using light. Researchers at the University of Innsbruck and the Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences have now developed a method to individually address quantum emitters using tailored light pulses. "Not only is it important to individually control and read the state of the emitters," says Oriol Romero-Isart, "but also to do so while leaving the system as undisturbed as possible." Together with Juan Jose Garcia-Ripoll (IQOQI visiting fellow) from the Instituto de Fisica Fundamental in Madrid, Romero-Isart's research group has now investigated how specifically engineered pulses can be used to focus light on a single quantum emitter.

Astronomy and Space news

Astronomers detect a black hole on the move

Scientists have long theorized that supermassive black holes can wander through space—but catching them in the act has proven difficult.

Large asteroid to pass by Earth on March 21: NASA

The largest asteroid to pass by Earth this year will approach within some 1.25 million miles (two million kilometers) of our planet on March 21, NASA said Thursday.

Researchers explore mass segregation of galaxy globular clusters

Globular clusters are old and dense star systems in the Galaxy halo and bulge. Their average age is almost equal to the age of our universe.

How can some planets be hotter than stars? We've started to unravel the mystery

Until the early 2000s, the only known planets were located in our own neighborhood, the Solar System. They broadly form two categories: the small rocky planets in the inner Solar System and the cold gaseous planets located in the outer part. With the discovery of exoplanets, planets orbiting stars other than the Sun, additional classes of planets were discovered and a new picture started to emerge. Our Solar System is by no means typical.

The circumnuclear starburst ring in infrared ultraluminous galaxies

Ultraluminous infrared galaxies (ULIRGs), powered by starburst activity and often with supermassive black holes accreting material at their nuclei, contain large reservoirs of molecular gas. This is to be expected: Molecular gas is the raw material for new stars and moreover the presence of the infrared luminous warm dust implies an abundance of molecular gas. Galaxy collisions often trigger star formation activity and simulations reveal that as the two galaxies merge their gas tends to fall towards the nuclear region where it develops into a disk with a radius of roughly 1500 light-years. Many such galaxies are observed to have strong circumnuclear starbursts, apparently as a result. Observations of the carbon monoxide gas (CO) in ULIRGs, an abundant but low density molecular species, have indeed found evidence for circumnuclear disks in the broad range of velocities the gas displays, characteristic of rotating disks. However, astronomers know that star formation requires the presence of gas that is 10-100 times denser than that traced by CO; they are unsure about the distribution of denser material, and also the role that the active nucleus might play in shaping the disk.

Scientists sketch aged star system using over a century of observations

Astronomers have painted their best picture yet of an RV Tauri variable, a rare type of stellar binary where two stars—one approaching the end of its life—orbit within a sprawling disk of dust. Their 130-year dataset spans the widest range of light yet collected for one of these systems, from radio to X-rays.

NASA's Perseverance Mars rover mission honors Navajo language

Working with the Navajo Nation, the rover team has named features on Mars with words from the Navajo language.

International Space Station images trace bird migrations

Those who see Earth from the International Space Station often say it provides a new appreciation of our planet. The Avian Migration Aerial Surface Space project, or AMASS, takes advantage of thousands of images captured by astronauts to give people an appreciation of the migrations many birds undertake across the planet.

France runs satellite war game in European first

France on Friday prepared to simulate an attack by a hostile power on one of its satellites in a war game scenario the government said is less outlandishly futuristic than it may seem.

Technology news

Researchers create a new transistor based on metal nanoparticles and ionic gradients

Transistors, devices that can amplify, conduct or switch electronic signals or electric current, are key components of many electronics on the market today. These devices can be fabricated using a variety of inorganic and organic semiconducting materials.

Experts recreate a mechanical Cosmos for the world's first computer

Researchers at UCL have solved a major piece of the puzzle that makes up the ancient Greek astronomical calculator known as the Antikythera Mechanism, a hand-powered mechanical device that was used to predict astronomical events.

New ransomware strain exploits Microsoft Exchange security flaw

A new strain of ransomware has emerged which exploits a security flaw in Microsoft Exchange servers, signaling potentially damaging consequences from a high-profile hack.

Honda of America plans to sell 2 fully electric SUVs in 2024

Honda has plans to sell two all-electric SUVs in the U.S. for the 2024 model year, and it soon will offer hybrid gas-electric versions of its top-selling models.

From 'Minecraft' to 'Valheim', Sweden conquers gaming world

Sweden has given the world music stars like ABBA and Robyn, but its biggest cultural export these days is video games, which now rival the country's traditional shipments of iron ore and paper.

Tape that: Dutch inventor of audio cassette dies at age 94

Lou Ottens, the Dutch inventor of the cassette tape, the medium of choice for millions of bedroom mix tapes, has died, said Philips, the company where he also helped develop the compact disc.

There's still life in the old combustion engine: Meet the Argon Power Cycle

The combustion engine—a thing of the past? Think again! Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology believe they have found a way to make this unsustainable power source ready for the future. The secret: the noble gas argon. Their main challenge now is to find a way to ignite the gas mixture at just the right moment. Or as Jeroen van Oijen, researcher at the department of Mechanical Engineering of TU/e, puts it: "We want to know when to push the swing."

Artificial intelligence that more closely mimics the mind

For all the progress that's been made in the field of artificial intelligence, the world's most flexible, efficient information processor remains the human brain. Although we can quickly make decisions based on incomplete and changing information, many of today's artificial intelligence systems only work after being trained on well-labeled data, and when new information is available, a complete retraining is often required to incorporate it.

AI and you: Confusion about the technology that runs our world threatens democracy

Thomas Jefferson, the American statesman and third US president, was many things (including, notoriously, a slave owner). But whatever else he was (or wasn't), he was a firm believer in what he called the "suffrage of the people"—what today we'd call democracy.

Netflix is testing a new feature to crack down on shared passwords

The days of using someone else's Netflix password may be numbered.

Shedding light on perovskite films

Photovoltaics decisively contributes to sustainable energy supply. The efficiency of solar cells in directly converting light energy into electrical energy depends on the material used. Metal-halide perovskites are considered very promising materials for solar cells of the next generation. With these semiconductors named after their special crystal structure, a considerable increase in efficiency was achieved in the past years. Meanwhile, perovskite solar cells have reached an efficiency of up to 25.5%, which is quite close to that of silicon solar cells that are presently dominating the market. Moreover, the materials needed for perovskite solar cells are rather abundant. The solar cells can be produced easily and at low cost and they can be used for various applications. The theoretically achievable efficiency of perovskite solar cells is about 30.5%.

Europe sees e-vehicle battery self-sufficiency by 2025

European firms will have the capacity to supply all the lithium-ion batteries needed for the continent's automakers by 2025 as they ramp up electric vehicle output to meet strict pollution limits, EU officials said Friday.

German IT safety chief: act on Exchange hack or go offline

The head of Germany's cybersecurity agency warned IT system administrators Friday to swiftly patch known holes in Microsoft Exchange servers or take those systems offline amid concerns of an imminent wave of ransomware attacks.

New machine learning model could remove bias from social network connections

Did you ever wonder how social networking applications like Facebook and LinkedIn make recommendations on the people you should friend or pages you should follow?

EXPLAINER: What's this craze for 'NFTs' all about, anyway?

A digital art piece, tweaked using cryptocurrency technology to make it one-of-a-kind, sold at auction this week for nearly $70 million. That transaction made global headlines and buoyed already-mushrooming interest in these kinds of digital objects—known as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs—that have captured the attention of artists and collectors alike.

US moves closer to retaliation over hacking as cyber woes grow

A senior US official said Friday the Biden administration is close to a decision on retaliation for state-sponsored hacking as fears grew over the fallout from the latest of two major cyberattacks.

China denies plan for $1 bn Alibaba fine, but tech firms take a blow

China denied on Friday it was planning to hit e-commerce giant Alibaba with a record fine of almost $1 billion for allegedly flouting monopoly rules, as authorities turned up the pressure on the country's vast technology sector.

Japan Post, Rakuten tie-up in digital delivery, cashless pay

Japan's postal system is investing 150 billion yen ($1.4 billion) in an 8% stake in the e-commerce venture Rakuten to strengthen a partnership in deliveries, fintech and other areas.

Airtime: Flight simulators keep pilots sharp during pandemic

The coronavirus crisis has clipped the wings of airline pilots but those who have kept their jobs are doing what they can to stay sharp—using flight simulators when they're not in the few planes in the air.

China regulator fines 12 firms over anti-monopoly law

China's market regulator said Friday that it fined a dozen companies, including games company Tencent Holdings and Chinese search engine firm Baidu Inc., for not disclosing past deals as authorities step up anti-monopoly scrutiny in the internet sector.

Cutting-edge scale-out technology from will take fintech and logistics to new level

Toshiba Corporation, the industry leader in solutions for large-scale optimization problems, today announced a scale-out technology that minimizes hardware limitations, an evolution of its optimization computer, the Simulation Bifurcation Machine (SBM), that supports continued increases in computing speed and scale. Toshiba expects the new SBM to be a game changer for real-world problems that require large-scale, high-speed and low-latency, such as simultaneous financial transactions involving large numbers of stock, and complex control of multiple robots. The research results were published in Nature Electronics on March 1.

US investment firm orders 24 Boeing 737 MAX planes

Investment firm 777 Partners has ordered 24 of Boeing's 737 MAX 8 aircraft, with an option to order 60 more, the firms announced Friday.

Next generation of Ford family to take seats on board

The next generation of Henry Ford's descendents are set to take seats on the board of the American auto giant he founded in 1903.

Mystery buyer of $69 mn digital artwork known only as 'Metakovan'

The buyer of a landmark work by the digital artist Beeple, which sold for $69.3 million, is a leading collector of new technologies who operates under the pseudonym Metakovan, the auction house Christie's announced Friday.

UN agency rejects COVID vaccine as air travel prerequisite

COVID-19 vaccinations should not be required for international travel, the UN civil aviation agency said Friday as part of updated pandemic guidelines for the air transportation sector.

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