Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Mar 24

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for March 24, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Investigating the role of cobalt in rechargeable batteries to develop more effective cobalt-free cathodes

Astronomers discover four new 'hot Jupiters'

Understanding the structural and chemical heterogeneities of surface species at the single-bond limit

Study compares three top atomic clocks with record accuracy over both fiber and air

Soils or plants will absorb more CO2 as carbon levels rise—but not both

Optical fiber could boost power of superconducting quantum computers

Weird earthquake reveals hidden mechanism

Astronomers image magnetic fields at the edge of M87's black hole

Individual SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody immunity lasts from days to decades

Light pollution drives increased risk of West Nile virus

Snappy evolution was behind the success of ancient crocodiles

Study finds new inroads in fast charging for lithium-ion batteries

Part of Wright brothers' 1st airplane on NASA's Mars chopper

One degree of global warming causes a 50% increase in population displacement risk

Ignoring climate change will lead to unprecedented, societally disruptive heat extremes in the Middle East

Physics news

Study compares three top atomic clocks with record accuracy over both fiber and air

In a significant advance toward the future redefinition of the international unit of time, the second, a research team led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has compared three of the world's leading atomic clocks with record accuracy over both air and optical fiber links.

Optical fiber could boost power of superconducting quantum computers

The secret to building superconducting quantum computers with massive processing power may be an ordinary telecommunications technology—optical fiber.

E. Coli calculus: Bacteria find the derivative optimally

Scientists from the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology at The University of Tokyo calculated the efficiency of the sensory network that bacteria use to move towards food and found it to be optimal from an information theory standpoint. This work may lead to a better understanding of bacterial behavior and their sensory networks.

Searching for hints of new physics in the subatomic world

Peer deeper into the heart of the atom than any microscope allows and scientists hypothesize that you will find a rich world of particles popping in and out of the vacuum, decaying into other particles, and adding to the weirdness of the visible world. These subatomic particles are governed by the quantum nature of the Universe and find tangible, physical form in experimental results.

New machine learning tool diagnoses electron beams in an efficient, non-invasive way

Beams of accelerated electrons power electron microscopes, X-ray lasers, medical accelerators and other devices. To optimize the performance of these applications, operators must be able to analyze the quality of the beams and adjust them as needed.

Effective Field Theories and the nature of the universe

What is the world made of? This question, which goes back millennia, was revisited by theoretical physicist Steven Weinberg from the University of Texas in Austin, TX, USA in the first of an international seminar series, 'All Things EFT.' Weinberg's seminar has now been published as an article in the journal EPJ H.

Astronomy and Space news

Astronomers discover four new 'hot Jupiters'

An international team of astronomers has detected four new "hot Jupiter" exoplanets as part of the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS). The newly found alien worlds are at least 10% larger than Jupiter but less massive than the solar system's biggest planet. The finding is reported in a paper published March 18 on

Astronomers image magnetic fields at the edge of M87's black hole

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration, which produced the first-ever image of a black hole, has today revealed a new view of the massive object at the center of the Messier 87 (M87) galaxy: How it looks in polarized light. This is the first time astronomers have been able to measure polarization, a signature of magnetic fields, this close to the edge of a black hole. The observations are key to explaining how the M87 galaxy, located 55 million light-years away, is able to launch energetic jets from its core.

Part of Wright brothers' 1st airplane on NASA's Mars chopper

A piece of the Wright brothers' first airplane is on Mars.

Pandora mission would expand NASA's capabilities in probing alien worlds

In the quest for habitable planets beyond our own, NASA is studying a mission concept called Pandora, which could eventually help decode the atmospheric mysteries of distant worlds in our galaxy. One of four low-cost astrophysics missions selected for further concept development under NASA's new Pioneers program, Pandora would study approximately 20 stars and exoplanets—planets outside of our solar system—to provide precise measurements of exoplanetary atmospheres.

NASA Ingenuity Mars helicopter prepares for first flight

Now uncocooned from its protective carbon-fiber shield, the helicopter is being readied for its next steps.

Is the nearest star cluster to the sun being destroyed?

Data from ESA's Gaia star mapping satellite have revealed tantalizing evidence that the nearest star cluster to the sun is being disrupted by the gravitational influence of a massive but unseen structure in our galaxy.

Cosmic mouthful: Tasters savor fine wine that orbited Earth

It tastes like rose petals. It smells like a campfire. It glistens with a burnt-orange hue. What is it? A 5,000-euro bottle of Petrus Pomerol wine that spent a year in space.

NASA will attempt first off-world flight in early April

NASA is targeting early April for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter to make the first attempt at powered, controlled flight on another planet, the space agency said Tuesday.

Chandra X-ray data sonification: Stellar, galactic, and black hole

This latest installment from our data sonification series features three diverse cosmic scenes. In each, astronomical data collected by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes are converted into sounds. Data sonification maps the data from these space-based telescopes into a form that users can hear instead of only see, embodying the data in a new form without changing the original content.

World-leading CubeSat satellites launched

UNSW Canberra Space's M2 CubeSat satellites successfully launched with Rocket Lab's "They Go Up So Fast' mission from New Zealand earlier today, representing a significant step forward in Australia's sovereign space capabilities.

Lunar cave explorer

What might look like a dangling hamster ball is actually a robotic sphere to explore the depths of lunar caves.

Technology news

Investigating the role of cobalt in rechargeable batteries to develop more effective cobalt-free cathodes

Many automotive companies worldwide are currently investing in the development of electric vehicles, which could help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Electric vehicles require large rechargeable batteries that exhibit a high performance, durability and energy-efficiency.

Study finds new inroads in fast charging for lithium-ion batteries

Perhaps the most frustrating limitation of owning an all-electric car is how long it takes to fully charge the battery. For a Tesla, for example, it takes about 40 minutes to charge it to 80% capacity using the most powerful charging station.

Mixed reality gets a machine learning upgrade

Scientists from the Division of Sustainable Energy and Environmental Engineering at Osaka University employed deep learning artificial intelligence to improve mobile mixed reality generation. They found that occluding objects recognized by the algorithm could be dynamically removed using a video game engine. This work may lead to a revolution in green architecture and city revitalization.

Dow-like index for energy prices might help smooth transition to clean power

Since the early industrial revolution in the mid-1700s, fossil fuels have acquired an ever-growing footprint in energy production. However, the environmental concerns of fossil fuels use and their inevitable depletion have led to a global shift toward renewable energy sources. These transitions, however, raise questions about the best choice of renewables and the impact of investing in these resources on consumer cost.

Cloudflare enables browser isolation for teams of all sizes

Every time a user navigates to a website link, their web browser processes and downloads a great deal of external data to their local system. Organizations like Cloudflare help to ensure users can mitigate any risks posed by harmful content from the Internet.

Stock trading app company Robinhood files plan to go public

Stock trading app company Robinhood said Tuesday that it has submitted a confidential plan to go public later this year.

Intel announces Arizona expansion as chipmaker seeks footing

Intel announced Tuesday it will build two new factories in Arizona and outsource more of its production as a new CEO looks to turnaround the struggling chipmaker.

Knitting roads: Digitalized road construction uses no concrete

A robotic arm lays out a string in a mandala-like pattern on a bed of gravel. What appears to be a contemporary art performance is basic research that explores new ways in road construction. On the one hand, robot-assisted construction techniques for road building are being tested that have so far only been used in structural engineering. On the other hand, a new type of mechanical reinforcement is intended to change the typical structure of the road surface and thus to help save valuable resources in future or even to recycle road surfaces altogether.

Spotting and stopping online abuse

Social media has brought huge benefits to many of those around the world with the resources to access its apps and websites. Indeed, there are billions of people using the popular platforms every month in almost, if not, every country of the world. Researchers writing in the International Journal of High Performance Systems Architecture, point out that as with much in life there are downsides that counter the positives of social media. One might refer to one such negative facet of social media as "cyber violence."

Tuning in the noise? New electromagnetic circuit simulator visualizes radiation phenomena

Most of the devices used in our daily lives are operated and controlled by electricity. From the standpoint of safety and the tight supply and demand of electricity, circuit design that satisfies low electromagnetic noise and power saving is becoming increasingly important.

Study explains why some new stories get more clicks from social media than others

Few industries have suffered more disruption from the internet than the news media. Over two decades or more, journalism has been hit by a "perfect storm" due to the loss of geographical monopolies that national and regional news organizations once enjoyed as well as the emergence of amateur content producers such as bloggers.

Floating solar farms could help reduce impacts of climate change on lakes and reservoirs

Floating solar farms could help to protect lakes and reservoirs from some of the harms of climate change, a new study suggests.

Bitcoin rises as Tesla officially begins transactions

Tesla began officially accepting bitcoin as currency to purchase electric autos, Chief Executive Elon Musk said Wednesday, further boosting the digital money.

Renesas fire threatens to deepen global chip supply woes

Japan's government and automakers are lining up to offer support to a key chip manufacturer following a factory fire that could worsen a global semiconductor shortage plaguing car firms.

Facebook outlines proposal for online platform liability reform

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg urged US lawmakers Wednesday to reform the rules for online platforms' liability to require systems in place for removing unlawful content.

Japan's Toyota, Isuzu, Hino join in truck technology tie up

Japanese automakers Toyota, Isuzu and Hino said Wednesday they are setting up a partnership in commercial vehicles to work together in electric, hydrogen, connected and autonomous driving technologies.

New fire-simulating tool could improve in-flight fire safety

Some of the most dangerous fires are the ones you don't see coming. That goes not only for fires in buildings but for those kilometers off the ground, aboard commercial airliners. Many aircraft have systems to detect fires early on, but fires that spark in their attics, or overhead compartments—spaces with curved ceilings, filled with air ducts, electrical wiring and structural elements—could potentially sneak past them.

Los Angeles now has a road map for 100% renewable energy

Los Angeles is one of the last places in California still burning coal for electricity—and if all goes according to plan, it could become one of the country's first major cities to nearly eliminate fossil fuels from its power supply.

Miami mayor envisions Musk-built mass transit system

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez believes Elon Musk's Boring Company tunnel-makers could build a new mass transit system in Miami's urban core—a considerably larger vision than the original Brickell Avenue tunnel Musk initially proposed.

Insurance giant CNA hit with 'disruptive' cybersecurity attack

CNA's website remained down Wednesday morning, three days after the Chicago-based insurance giant was hit with what it called a "sophisticated cybersecurity attack" Sunday.

This is what happens when ICE asks Google for your user information

You're scrolling through your Gmail inbox and see an email with a strange subject line: A string of numbers followed by "Notification from Google."

Support system to help the visually impaired navigate tactile paving

Sight is by far the sense that we humans use the most when navigating an environment. When those who are blind or visually impaired walk alone, they put themselves at great risk of falling or colliding with obstacles, especially when traversing new places. Unfortunately, the number of visually impaired people throughout the world is likely to increase in the near future because of the rapidly aging population. Thus, there is an urgent need for innovative and cost-effective solutions to help visually impaired people navigate safely.

Betting sites offer software blocks for compulsive gamblers

Some sports betting companies are offering tools that allow compulsive gamblers to block themselves from most online sites.

Amazon brings back former executive to run cloud business

Amazon said Tuesday that it's bringing back a former executive to run its cloud-computing unit, which has become the online shopping giant's most profitable business.

Prince Harry joins $1.7 bn US counseling startup

Britain's Prince Harry on Tuesday added to a growing portfolio of post-royal jobs, becoming "chief impact officer" at a San Francisco startup that provides mobile-based coaching, counseling and mentorship.

Congress to grill US internet giants over disinformation

The heads of Facebook, Google and Twitter will be grilled by members of Congress Thursday on disinformation, following a tense US election, Capitol attack and rise of a new administration seemingly intent on doing battle with Big Tech.

How Biden can jumpstart U.S. nuclear waste strategy

Nuclear power is likely to be key to the clean energy transition, but the problem of what to do with nuclear waste represents a major hurdle to new nuclear energy projects in the United States. In order to meet its ambitious climate goals, the Biden administration will need to solve this thorny issue, according to several Stanford University experts.

Virus-hit airline Ryanair optimistic over summer

Irish no-frills airline Ryanair on Wednesday expressed optimism over the summer holiday outlook despite a third coronavirus wave sweeping Europe.

Neymar joins 'Fortnite' as video game universe expands

Gamers are used to taking control of Neymar in virtual football pitches, but the Brazilian star has found a new field to run wild on: the shoot'em up mega-hit "Fortnite".

Amazon Prime Video to stream 21 Yankees games

Amazon Prime Video will stream 21 Yankees games to members in New York's broadcast market for the second straight season, a slate that starts with an April 18 matchup against Tampa Bay.

Tinder will roll out new background check feature to help daters feel safe

Tinder is trying to make it easier to safely spark a love connection with a new feature designed to help love-seekers vet their matches.

Facebook accused of taking money for ads to fake people after disabling 1.3 billion fake accounts

Facebook, which in 2019 paid advertisers a $40 million settlement over inflated video-viewing metrics and is fighting a lawsuit over its "reach" to users, is now taking flak over its revelation this week that it took down 1.3 billion fake accounts during just three months last year.

Now playing on Sonos: High-resolution music from streaming service Qobuz

Wireless speaker maker Sonos is blasting high-resolution music.

Facebook finds Chinese hacking operation targeting Uyghurs

Hackers in China used fake Facebook accounts and impostor websites to try to break into the computers and smartphones of Uyghur Muslims, the social network said Wednesday.

US prosecutors demand Facebook, Twitter crack down on anti-vaccine posts

Twelve US state prosecutors demanded Wednesday that Facebook and Twitter take stronger action to stop the spread of false information about COVID-19 vaccines on the social media sites.

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