Science X Newsletter Monday, Apr 5

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for April 5, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Lightning strikes will more than double in Arctic as climate warms

Sex differences in brain in response to midlife stress linked to fetal stress exposures

Overfishing of Atlantic cod likely did not cause genetic changes: study

New web app ranks spillover risk for newly detected viruses

A sun reflector for Earth? Scientists explore the potential risks and benefits

Unusual flaring activity observed from the ultraluminous X-ray source NGC 4559 X7

This hydrogen fuel machine could be the ultimate guide to self-improvement

A diversity of wildlife is good for our health

Research reveals why redheads may have different pain thresholds

Prioritizing who gets vaccinated for COVID-19 saves lives: study

Piece of SpaceX rocket debris lands at Washington state farm

Apple patents force-sensitive input structure for electronic devices

Google to restrict which apps can view already installed applications on your device

Robot artist sells art for $688,888, now eyeing music career

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter dropped on Mars' surface ahead of flight

Physics news

Under the radar: Searching for stealthy supersymmetry

The standard model of particle physics encapsulates our current knowledge of elementary particles and their interactions. The standard model is not complete; for example, it does not describe observations such as gravity, has no prediction for dark matter, which makes up most of the matter in the universe, or that neutrinos have mass.

Researchers extend the life of a dipolar molecule

In 2018, Kang-Kuen Ni and her lab earned the cover of Science with an impressive feat: They took two individual atoms, a sodium and a cesium, and forged them into a single dipolar molecule, sodium cesium.

Study shows masks, ventilation stop COVID spread better than social distancing

A new study from the University of Central Florida suggests that masks and a good ventilation system are more important than social distancing for reducing the airborne spread of COVID-19 in classrooms.

Computational tool for materials physics growing in popularity

A new piece of software developed at Caltech makes it easier to study the behavior of electrons in materials—even materials that have been predicted but do not yet exist. The software, called Perturbo, is gaining traction among researchers.

NIST demo adds key capability to atom-based radio communications

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and collaborators have demonstrated an atom-based sensor that can determine the direction of an incoming radio signal, another key part for a potential atomic communications system that could be smaller and work better in noisy environments than conventional technology.

New 'quantum' approach helps solve an old problem in materials science

One of the most important classes of problems that all scientists and mathematicians aspire to solve, due to their relevance in both science and real life, are optimization problems. From esoteric computer science puzzles to the more realistic problems of vehicle routing, investment portfolio design, and digital marketing—at the heart of it all lies an optimization problem that needs to be solved.

Scientists achieve single-photon imaging over 200 kilomters

A research team led by Professor Pan Jianwei and Professor Xu Feihu from University of Science and Technology of China achieved single-photon 3D imaging over 200 km using high-efficiency optical devices and a new noise-suppression technique, which was commented on by the reviewer as an almost "heroic" attempt at single photon lidar imaging at very long distances.

Nonlinear wave mixing facilitates subwavelength imaging

The diffraction limit, also known as the Abbe diffraction limit in optics, poses a great challenge in many systems that involve wave dynamics, such as imaging, astronomy, and photolithography. For example, the best optical microscope only possesses resolution around 200 nm, but the physical size of the photolithography process with an excimer laser is around tens of nanometers. Meanwhile, physical sizes in current research and applications in biology and the semiconductor industry have scaled down to several nanometers, which is far beyond the ability of optical waves.

Astronomy and Space news

Unusual flaring activity observed from the ultraluminous X-ray source NGC 4559 X7

Italian astronomers have performed X-ray observations of an ultraluminous X-ray source (ULX) known as NGC 4559 X7 and found that this source exhibits unusual flaring activity. The finding is reported in a paper published March 26 on the arXiv pre-print repository.

Piece of SpaceX rocket debris lands at Washington state farm

A piece of burning rocket debris seen streaking across the Pacific Northwest sky last week crashed on a farm in eastern Washington state, authorities said.

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter dropped on Mars' surface ahead of flight

NASA's Ingenuity mini-helicopter has been dropped on the surface of Mars in preparation for its first flight, the US space agency said.

New study ties solar variability to the onset of decadal La Nina events

A new study shows a correlation between the end of solar cycles and a switch from El Nino to La Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean, suggesting that solar variability can drive seasonal weather variability on Earth.

Astronomer publishes survey of young stars

An international research group led by a postdoctoral fellow in the University of Virginia's Department of Astronomy identified a rich organic chemistry in young disks surrounding 50 newly formed stars.

Size of raindrops can help identify potentially habitable planets outside our solar system

One day, humankind may step foot on another habitable planet. That planet may look very different from Earth, but one thing will feel familiar—the rain.

If astronomers see isoprene in the atmosphere of an alien world, there's a good chance there's life there

It is no exaggeration to say that the study of extrasolar planets has exploded in recent decades. To date, 4,375 exoplanets have been confirmed in 3,247 systems, with another 5,856 candidates awaiting confirmation. In recent years, exoplanet studies have started to transition from the process of discovery to one of characterization. This process is expected to accelerate once next-generation telescopes become operational.

Team uses mass spectrometry to study composition of meteorites

Scientists from Russia and Germany studied the molecular composition of carbonaceous chondrites—the insoluble organic matter of the Murchison and Allende meteorites—in an attempt to identify their origin. Ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry revealed a wide diversity of chemical compositions and unexpected similarities between meteorites from different groups. The research was published in Scientific Reports.

NASA's Curiosity team names Martian hill that serves as mission 'gateway'

The team of scientists and engineers behind NASA's Curiosity rover named a hill along the rover's path on Mars in honor of a recently deceased mission scientist. A craggy hump that stretches 450 feet (120 meters) tall, "Rafael Navarro mountain" is located on Mount Sharp in northwest Gale Crater.

Technology news

Apple patents force-sensitive input structure for electronic devices

Apple's MacBook team has announced the development of a force-sensitive input structure for electronic devices, recently approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Google to restrict which apps can view already installed applications on your device

Google has announced an update to its Developer Program Policy that will help to prevent applications from viewing which other apps are installed on an Android device. The company states that they consider installed apps to be private user information and therefore, aim to protect Android users by keeping this data secure.

Robot artist sells art for $688,888, now eyeing music career

Sophia is a robot of many talents—she speaks, jokes, sings and even makes art. In March, she caused a stir in the art world when a digital work she created as part of a collaboration was sold at an auction for $688,888 in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT).

Researcher develops better tools for understanding, protecting big data

Patterns and anomalies in big data can help businesses target likely customers, reveal fraud or even predict drug interactions. Unfortunately, these patterns are often not easily observable. To extract the needles of useful information out of haystacks of data, data scientists need increasingly powerful methods of machine learning.

Millimeter wave and sub-terahertz spatial statistical channel model for an indoor office building

Driven by ubiquitous usage of mobile devices and the explosive growth and diversification of the Internet of Things (IoT), sixth-generation (6G) wireless systems will need to offer unprecedented high data rate and system throughput, which can be achieved in part by deploying systems transmitting and receiving at millimeter-wave (mmWave) and Terahertz (THz) frequencies (i.e., 30 GHz—3 THz). These regions of the electromagnetic spectrum are capable of massive data throughput at near zero latency, key to future data traffic demand created by such wireless applications as augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) and autonomous driving.

A new, positive approach could be the key to next-generation, transparent electronics

A new study published this week could pave the way to revolutionary, transparent electronics. Such see-through devices could potentially be integrated in glass, in flexible displays, and in smart contact lenses, bringing to life futuristic devices that seem like the product of science fiction.

A new version of Siri could base speech on environment and user input

Apple has announced research into orienting Siri to recognize user speech patterns. This type of awareness could help inform Siri whether to respond to user voice commands with a shout or a whisper.

Aluminum-anode batteries offer sustainable alternative

The cost of harvesting solar energy has dropped so much in recent years that it's giving traditional energy sources a run for their money. However, the challenges of energy storage—which require the capacity to bank an intermittent and seasonally variable supply of solar energy—have kept the technology from being economically competitive.

LinkedIn gives staff week off for well-being

Professional social network LinkedIn is giving nearly all of its 15,900 full-time workers next week off as it seeks to avoid burnout and allow its employees to recharge, the company told AFP Friday.

US lawmakers press online ad auctioneers over user data

A bipartisan group of US senators has sent letters to major digital ad exchanges, including Google and Twitter, asking whether user data was sold to foreign entities who could use it for blackmail or other malicious ends.

Unopened Super Mario Bros. game from 1986 sells for $660,000

An unopened copy of Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. that was bought in 1986 and then forgotten about in a desk drawer has sold at auction for $660,000.

University of California victim of nationwide hack attack

The University of California is warning its students and staff that a ransomware group might have stolen and published their personal data and that of hundreds of other schools, government agencies and companies nationwide.

Data from 500 mn Facebook accounts posted online: reports

Data affecting more than 500 million Facebook users that was originally leaked in 2019, including email addresses and phone numbers, has been posted on an online hackers forum, according to media reports and a cybercrime expert.

SKorea's LG to exit loss-making mobile phone business

South Korean electronics maker LG said Monday it is getting out of its loss-making mobile phone business to focus on electric vehicle components, robotics, artificial intelligence and other products and services.

What it takes to realize a circular economy for solar photovoltaic system materials

Rapidly increasing solar photovoltaic (PV) installations has led to environmental and supply chains concerns. The United States relies on imports of raw materials for solar module manufacturing and imports of PV cells and modules to meet domestic demand. As PV demand increases, so will the need to mine valuable materials—a motivation for domestic reuse and recycling.

Google prevails over Oracle in US copyright case

The US Supreme Court on Monday handed Google a major win in a long-running copyright battle with Oracle, ruling that the use of the Java programming language for the Android mobile operating system was "fair use."

Recycling – A batteries passport

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have devised a method to identify the unique chemical makeup of every lithium-ion battery around the world, information that could accelerate recycling, recover critical materials and resolve a growing waste stream.

TikTok videos pushing QAnon, COVID vaccine conspiracies surging despite crackdown, report says

TikTok videos promoting QAnon and anti-vaccine conspiracies are surging in popularity despite a crackdown by the popular social media app, according to a new report shared exclusively with U.S. TODAY.

In apology, Amazon admits some drivers have to 'pee in bottles'

E-commerce giant Amazon has apologized to a US lawmaker after falsely denying that some of its drivers are forced at times to urinate in plastic bottles.

France claims EU green light for more Air France aid

The French government said Sunday it has reached a deal with the European Commission allowing it to inject fresh money into flagship airline Air France, whose finances are creaking under the impact of coronavirus restrictions.

Delta cancels about 100 flights, opens some middle seats

Delta Air Lines canceled about 100 flights Sunday due to staff shortages, and it opened up middle seats a month earlier than expected in order to carry more passengers.

Facing pressure at home, Chinese tech giants expand in Singapore

Chinese tech giants are expanding in Singapore as they face a crackdown at home and growing pressure in other key markets—but they may struggle to find talent in the city-state.

GameStop finally announces a share sale

Two months after a market phenomenon took shares of GameStop to the moon, the video game retailer said Monday that it will sell up to 3.5 million of its shares with the price still vastly elevated.

Twitter slowdown in Russia until mid-May; no block for now

Russian authorities said Monday they would continue to slow down Twitter until mid-May, but wouldn't block the social media platform for now because it has started to remove banned content faster.

Talking Tech: More NFTs on the way. Apple, Facebook and CVS want to help you get your COVID-19 vaccination

NFTs ... They are still hot.

US labor board finds Amazon wrongly fired activist workers

US labor regulators on Monday sided with two Amazon workers who claimed they were improperly fired after calling on the company to do more to protect workers and the environment.

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