Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Mar 16

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for March 16, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Music Circles: An interactive data visualization tool that helps users discover new music

Researchers identify a class of neurons that are most active during non-REM sleep

Magnetar SGR J1935+2154 investigated in detail

Lightning strikes played a vital role in life's origins on Earth: study

Exploring complex graphs using three-dimensional quantum walks of correlated photons

What happened to Mars's water? It is still trapped there

Cosmic lens reveals faint radio galaxy

NASA's Juno reveals dark origins of one of Jupiter's grand light shows

An ancient Maya ambassador's bones show a life of privilege and hardship

Israeli experts announce discovery of more Dead Sea scrolls

New study finds slow walkers four times more likely to die from COVID-19: study

Researchers model a safe new normal

Leprosy drug holds promise as at-home treatment for COVID-19

Machine learning can identify cancerous cells by their acidity

Brain disease research reveals differences between sexes

Physics news

Exploring complex graphs using three-dimensional quantum walks of correlated photons

Graph representations can solve complex problems in natural science, as patterns of connectivity can give rise to a magnitude of emergent phenomena. Graph-based approaches are specifically important during quantum communication, alongside quantum search algorithms in highly branched quantum networks. In a new report now published on Science Advances, Max Ehrhardt and a team of scientists in physics, experimental physics and quantum science in Germany introduced a hitherto unidentified paradigm to directly realize excitation dynamics associated with three-dimensional networks. To accomplish this, they explored the hybrid action of space and polarization degrees of freedom of photon pairs inside complex waveguide circuits. The team experimentally explored multiparticle quantum walks on complex and highly connected graphs as testbeds to pave the way to explore the potential applications of fermionic dynamics in integrated photonics.

Researchers enhance quantum machine learning algorithms

A Florida State University professor's research could help quantum computing fulfill its promise as a powerful computational tool.

From a window to a mirror: New material paves the way to faster computing

Research led by the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge has identified a material that could help tackle speed and energy, the two biggest challenges for computers of the future.

Quadruple fusion imaging via transparent ultrasound transducer

A quadruple fusion optical and ultrasound imaging system has been developed that allows diagnosis of eye conditions or tumors or to see the environment inside the body using a transparent ultrasound transducer.

Smart quantum technologies for secure communication

Researchers from Louisiana State University have introduced a smart quantum technology for the spatial mode correction of single photons. In a paper featured on the cover of the March 2021 issue of Advanced Quantum Technologies, the authors exploit the self-learning and self-evolving features of artificial neural networks to correct the distorted spatial profile of single photons.

How do birds breathe better? Researchers' discovery will throw you for a loop

Birds breathe with greater efficiency than humans due to the structure of their lungs—looped airways that facilitate air flows that go in one direction—a team of researchers has found through a series of lab experiments and simulations.

New imaging technology could help predict heart attacks

Researchers have developed a new intravascular imaging technique that could one day be used to detect coronary plaques that are likely to lead to a heart attack. Heart attacks are often triggered when an unstable plaque ruptures and then blocks a major artery that carries blood and oxygen to the heart.

Researchers find a novel way to correct autonomous quantum errors

Joint Army- and Air Force-funded researchers have taken a step toward building a fault-tolerant quantum computer, which could provide enhanced data processing capabilities.

Controlling sloshing motions in sea-based fish farming cages improves fish welfare

Sea-based fish farming systems using net pens are hard on the environment and the fish. A closed cage can improve fish welfare, but fresh seawater must be continuously circulated through the cage. However, ocean waves can cause this circulating water to slosh inside the cage, creating violent motions and endangering the cage and the fish.

Intel's cryoprober for quantum research is unlike any other tool

In the world of exotic high-tech tools—they can be as big as school buses and cost millions of dollars—one that sits in a lab at Intel's Ronler Acres campus in Oregon is truly unique.

Biosensing with whispering-gallery mode lasers

Whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) microresonators are opening up many new research directions that enable the detection of proteins, enzymes and DNA, down to single molecules. A new class of sensors makes use of active microresonators to drastically expand the functionality and range of WGM sensor applications, especially for biological and chemical assays. We review the most recent advances of WGM microlasers for biosensing and provide an outlook on exciting new research directions and emerging WGM sensor applications.

Astronomy and Space news

Magnetar SGR J1935+2154 investigated in detail

Using various ground-based facilities worldwide, an international team of astronomers has carried out long-term multi-frequency radio observations of a galactic magnetar known as SGR J1935+2154. Results of the observational campaign, published March 10 on, shed more light on the properties of radio emission from this source.

What happened to Mars's water? It is still trapped there

Billions of years ago, the Red Planet was far more blue; according to evidence still found on the surface, abundant water flowed across Mars and forming pools, lakes, and deep oceans. The question, then, is where did all that water go?

Cosmic lens reveals faint radio galaxy

Radio telescopes are the world's most sensitive radio receivers, capable of finding extremely faint wisps of radio emission coming from objects at the farthest reaches of the universe. Recently, a team of astronomers used the National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) to take advantage of a helping hand from nature to detect a distant galaxy that likely is the faintest radio-emitting object yet found.

NASA's Juno reveals dark origins of one of Jupiter's grand light shows

New results from the Ultraviolet Spectrograph instrument on NASA's Juno mission reveal for the first time the birth of auroral dawn storms—the early morning brightening unique to Jupiter's spectacular aurorae. These immense, transient displays of light occur at both Jovian poles and had previously been observed only by ground-based and Earth-orbiting observatories, notably NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Results of this study were published March 16 in the journal AGU Advances.

Researcher theorizes worlds with underground oceans support, conceal life

One of the most profound discoveries in planetary science over the past 25 years is that worlds with oceans beneath layers of rock and ice are common in our solar system. Such worlds include the icy satellites of the giant planets, like Europa, Titan and Enceladus, and distant planets like Pluto.

Ancient light illuminates matter that fuels galaxy formation

Using light from the Big Bang, an international team led by Cornell University and the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has begun to unveil the material which fuels galaxy formation.

Is there life on Mars today and where?

In a comment published today in Nature Astronomy, Dr. Nathalie Cabrol, Director of the Carl Sagan Center for Research at the SETI Institute, challenges assumptions about the possibility of modern life on Mars held by many in the scientific community.

Scientists unearth meteorite from the birth of the solar system

Scientists believe they have identified a meteorite formed in the first million years of our solar system, making it the oldest known meteor of volcanic origin.

New footprints from the Gaia-sausage-enceladus merger event

Looking up at the starry sky, the deep Universe appears quiet and mysterious. It is hard to imagine that the ancient dwarf galaxy Enceladus violently collided and was torn apart by our own Milky Way Galaxy, leaving behind the cries of a whole new generation of children from the hundred-handed giant.

Technology news

Music Circles: An interactive data visualization tool that helps users discover new music

Today, users can listen to music and discover new artists, songs or albums on a variety of music streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music Unlimited and more. Many developers have been trying to create tools that could improve these services, such as music recommendation systems that suggest new songs or playlists to users based on their preferences and on music they listened to in the past.

Facebook announces AI that learns from videos

As a platform hosting a great deal of content, Facebook developers are creating an AI project called Learning from Videos that can learn from publicly available videos uploaded to the website. This AI aims to use audio, textual and visual data to add to its lexicon of content from users spanning the globe.

Quadruped robot automatically adapts in unstructured outdoor environments

The four-legged robot Dyret can adjust the length of its legs to adapt the body to the surface. Along the way, it learns what works best. This way it is better equipped the next time it encounters an unknown environment.

A novel pathway for 'drop-in' sustainable aviation fuel for net-zero flights

Aircraft stand at a turning point in the race to reduce emissions to mitigate climate change. Although the aircraft sector only accounts for a sliver of transportation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United States—at 9%—it is difficult to decarbonize.

Engineers utilize 'swarmalation' to design active materials for self-regulating soft robots

During the swarming of birds or fish, each entity coordinates its location relative to the others, so that the swarm moves as one larger, coherent unit. Fireflies on the other hand coordinate their temporal behavior: within a group, they eventually all flash on and off at the same time and thus act as synchronized oscillators.

Virtual reality at your fingertips

When a person taps with their fingers, each finger generates a different vibration profile propagating to the wrist through bones. ETH Zurich researchers have now leveraged this discovery in the development of a dual-sensor wristband that brings intuitive free-hand interaction to virtual productivity spaces.

Keeping it cool: New approach to thermal protection in outdoor wearable electronics

Wearable electronic devices like fitness trackers and biosensors are very promising for healthcare applications and research. They can be used to measure relevant biosignals in real-time and send gathered data wirelessly, opening up new ways to study how our bodies react to different types of activities and exercise. However, most body-worn devices face a common enemy: heat.

How to prevent short-circuiting in next-gen lithium batteries

As researchers push the boundaries of battery design, seeking to pack ever greater amounts of power and energy into a given amount of space or weight, one of the more promising technologies being studied is lithium-ion batteries that use a solid electrolyte material between the two electrodes, rather than the typical liquid.

News Corp strikes Facebook pay deal for Australian news

News Corp and Facebook have reached pay deals for news in Australia three weeks after the government passed laws that would make digital giants help cover the costs of journalism.

US sends team to Detroit to investigate Tesla-semi crash

The U.S. government's highway safety agency is sending a team to Detroit to investigate a crash involving a Tesla that drove beneath a semitrailer.

Messaging app Signal no longer working in China

The encrypted messaging app Signal, recommended by Tesla's Elon Musk, appeared to have been blocked in China on Tuesday, closing off one of the last US social media platforms still freely available in the country.

Electricity has become a jigsaw and coal is unable to provide the missing pieces

There's something the energy minister said when they announced the early closure of Victoria's second-biggest coal-fired power station last week that was less than complete.

Expensive airline tickets and political efforts: How the aviation industry must change after COVID-19

COVID-19 has led to a dramatic decrease in passenger air travel, which has also resulted in a decrease in carbon dioxide emissions. The reduced demand for passenger air travel brings with it an opportunity for the aviation industry to make a transition, according to the researchers who have looked at different models for what such a transition may look like.

Commercial truck electrification is within reach

When it comes to electric vehicles, particularly for heavy-duty trucks, the limitations of battery technology are often seen as the main barrier to widespread adoption. However, a new analysis concludes that it's the lack of appropriate policies around adoption incentives, charging infrastructure, and electricity pricing that prevents widespread electrification of commercial trucking fleets.

Ford partners with U-M on robotics research, new building

Digit marches on two legs across the floor of the University of Michigan's Ford Motor Co. Robotics Building, while Mini-Cheetah—staccato-like—does the same on four and the yellow-legged Cassie steps deliberately side-to-side.

Instagram boosts child protection tools, including age prediction

Facebook-owned Instagram unveiled technology Tuesday aimed at preventing underage children from creating accounts and blocking adults from contacting young users they don't know.

Google gets into sleep surveillance with new Nest Hub screen

Google's next internet-connected home device will test whether consumers trust the company enough to let it snoop on their sleep.

Online game developed by researchers shows challenges facing the world of work in the future

We live in a world where robots increasingly build our cars, algorithms trade stocks and computers translate texts. Robotics, digitalization and artificial intelligence are transforming numerous professions. Some jobs are disappearing, while other new ones are being created. The online game 'The Automated Life', launched recently, now enables users to try out how they might survive in an increasingly automated world of work. The game was developed in the Center for Humans and Machines at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.

Google cuts mobile app store fee in half amid scrutiny

Google on Tuesday said it will halve the controversial fee it charges developers at its online shop for digital content tailored for Android-powered mobile devices.

New Lyft program lets users book a ride to get their COVID vaccine or fund a ride for others

Lyft launched new website to help people book COVID-19 vaccine rides or to fund a ride for someone in need, according to a blog post from the rideshare company.

China state TV raps Kohler, BMW for using facial recognition

Chinese state TV has criticized bathroom fixtures brand Kohler and automaker BMW for the use of facial recognition technology on visitors to their outlets in possible violation of privacy rules that took effect this year.

Why New Zealand should invest in smart rail before green hydrogen to decarbonise transport

Green hydrogen is being touted as an alternative to fossil fuels in New Zealand. The government has invested NZ$8.4 million to explore its potential and $19.9 million in a hydrogen energy facility.

Nokia to cut up to 10,000 jobs to ramp up R&D in 5G race

Wireless network maker Nokia says it is planning to cut up to 10,000 jobs, or over 10% of its staff, to reduce costs as it invests in research and development and tries to cement its role as a key supplier of 5G technology.

Foxconn mulls making electric vehicles at Wisconsin plant

Foxconn Technology Group, the world's largest electronics manufacturer, is considering making electric vehicles at its highly anticipated Wisconsin plant that has been scaled back since its announcement in 2017, the company's chairman said Tuesday.

Russia gives Twitter one month to remove 'banned' content

Russia's media regulator Roskomnadzor on Tuesday gave Twitter a one-month ultimatum to remove "banned" content, threatening to consider blocking the social media platform within the country if it does not comply.

Rynanair plans 200 more Germany-Spain flights for Easter

Ryanair said Tuesday it will offer 200 additional flights between Germany and Spain during Easter, a period when travel between Spanish regions will be banned to battle the coranavirus.

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