Science X Newsletter Thursday, Apr 8

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for April 8, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Dozens of ultra-compact dwarf galaxies detected

Giant radio pulses from pulsars are hundreds of times more energetic than previously believed

Complete chromosome 8 sequence reveals novel genes and disease risks

Engineering researchers visualize the motion of vortices in superfluid turbulence

A discovery that 'literally changes the textbook'

New method advances single-cell transcriptomic technologies

The truth about doublespeak: Is it lying or just being persuasive?

A drug that can stop tumors from growing

The ulti-mutt pet? Chinese tech company develops robo-dogs

Third of Antarctic ice shelf area at risk of collapse as planet warms

Researchers develop blood test for depression, bipolar disorder

After Hurricane Maria, rhesus macaques in Puerto Rico sought out new social relationships

Mutations in overlooked DNA could have profound impact on survival for bowel cancer patients

Researchers illuminate mystery of sea turtles' epic migrations

PLD3 gene contributes to risk of Alzheimer's disease

Physics news

Engineering researchers visualize the motion of vortices in superfluid turbulence

Nobel laureate in physics Richard Feynman once described turbulence as "the most important unsolved problem of classical physics."

Using the human hand as a powerless infrared radiation source

A team of researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, has found that the human hand can be used as a powerless infrared radiation (IR) source in multiple kinds of applications. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group notes that the human hand naturally emits IR and they demonstrate that the radiation can be captured and used.

Researchers report breakthrough that enables practical semiconductor spintronics

It may be possible in the future to use information technology where electron spin is used to store, process and transfer information in quantum computers. It has long been the goal of scientists to be able to use spin-based quantum information technology at room temperature. A team of researchers from Sweden, Finland and Japan have now constructed a semiconductor component in which information can be efficiently exchanged between electron spin and light at room temperature and above. The new method is described in an article published in Nature Photonics.

The spintronics technology revolution could be just a hopfion away

A decade ago, the discovery of quasiparticles called magnetic skyrmions provided important new clues into how microscopic spin textures will enable spintronics, a new class of electronics that use the orientation of an electron's spin rather than its charge to encode data.

Astronomy and Space news

Dozens of ultra-compact dwarf galaxies detected

Astronomers from the University of Groningen and elsewhere have identified 44 new ultra-compact dwarf galaxies (UCDs). The newly found objects most likely belong to the Fornax Cluster. The discovery is reported in a paper published March 31 on the arXiv pre-print server.

Giant radio pulses from pulsars are hundreds of times more energetic than previously believed

A global science collaboration using data from NASA's Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) telescope on the International Space Station has discovered X-ray surges accompanying radio bursts from the pulsar in the Crab Nebula. The finding shows that these bursts, called giant radio pulses, release far more energy than previously suspected.

Say cheese on Mars: Perseverance's selfie with Ingenuity

NASA's Perseverance Mars rover took a selfie with the Ingenuity helicopter, seen here about 13 feet (4 meters) away in this image from April 6, 2021, the 46th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. Perseverance captured the image using a camera called WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering), part of the SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals) instrument, located at the end of the rover's robotic arm.

NASA's OSIRIS-REx completes final tour of asteroid Bennu

NASA's OSIRIS-REx completed its last flyover of Bennu around 6 a.m. EDT (4 a.m. MDT) April 7 and is now slowly drifting away from the asteroid; however, the mission team will have to wait a few more days to find out how the spacecraft changed the surface of Bennu when it grabbed a sample of the asteroid.

NASA's Odyssey orbiter marks 20 historic years of mapping Mars

NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft launched 20 years ago on April 7, making it the oldest spacecraft still working at the Red Planet. The orbiter, which takes its name from Arthur C. Clarke's classic sci-fi novel "2001: A Space Odyssey" (Clarke blessed its use before launch), was sent to map the composition of the Martian surface, providing a window to the past so scientists could piece together how the planet evolved.

New research shows that Mars did not dry up all at once

While attention has been focused on the Perseverance rover that landed on Mars last month, its predecessor Curiosity continues to explore the base of Mount Sharp on the red planet and is still making discoveries. Research published today in the journal Geology shows that Mars had drier and wetter eras before drying up completely about 3 billion years ago.

Asteroid crater on Earth provides clues about Martian craters

The almost 15-million-year-old Nördlinger Ries is an asteroid impact crater filled with lake sediments. Its structure is comparable to the craters currently being explored on Mars. In addition to various other deposits on the rim of the basin, the crater fill is mainly formed by stratified clay deposits. Unexpectedly, a research team led by the University of Göttingen has now discovered a volcanic ash layer in the asteroid crater. In addition, the team was able to show that the ground under the crater is sinking in the long term, which provides important insights for the exploration of craters on Mars, such as the ancient Gale and Jezero crater basin lakes, currently being explored by the NASA Curiosity and Perseverance Rovers. The results of the study have been published in the Journal of Geophysical Research Planets.

More than 5,000 tons of extraterrestrial dust fall to Earth each year

Every year, our planet encounters dust from comets and asteroids. These interplanetary dust particles pass through our atmosphere and give rise to shooting stars. Some of them reach the ground in the form of micrometeorites.

Lunar brightness temperature for calibration of microwave humidity sounders

Calibration and validation (CAL/VAL) is a key technology for quantitative application of space-borne remote sensing data. However, the complex space environment can cause many uncertainties and degrade calibration accuracy. In-flight calibration is always needed. The thermal emission of the Moon is stable over hundreds of years because there is no atmosphere and no significant physical or chemical change on its surface. The deep space view of the Microwave Humidity Sounder onboard NOAA-18 has viewed the Moon many times every year. Under solar illumination, the lunar surface shows stable and periodical variation in microwave brightness temperature (TB). The Moon is a potential calibration source for thermal calibration

Technology news

The ulti-mutt pet? Chinese tech company develops robo-dogs

It's whip fast, obeys commands and doesn't leave unpleasant surprises on the floor—meet the AlphaDog, a robotic response to two of China's burgeoning loves: pets and technology.

Researchers study online 'pseudo-reviews' that mock products

The popularity of purchasing goods and services through online retailers such as Amazon continues to increase, making it overwhelming for consumers to differentiate fact from fiction in online product and service reviews. Thanks to the latest research from professors at UA, consumers, as well as marketers, can better identify and understand the impact of exaggerated or phony online reviews, helping them to make more informed decisions.

Embrace the unexpected: To teach AI how to handle new situations, change the rules of the game

My colleagues and I changed a digital version of Monopoly so that instead of getting US$200 each time a player passes Go, the player is charged a wealth tax. We didn't do this to gain an advantage or trick anyone. The purpose is to throw a curveball at artificial intelligence agents that play the game.

Warm feelings about human-looking robots can turn icy when bots blunder

If a robot worker makes a mistake on the job, or annoys customers, businesses may not give it a pink slip and a cardboard box for its office belongings, but companies may be forced to shut down these expensive machines, according to a team of researchers.

A better nasal swab for COVID-19 testing

Over nearly seven years researching 3D printing systems in MIT's Media Lab, Jifei Ou began to suspect the work could lead to better products. He never could have imagined it would help address supply shortages caused by a global pandemic.

New Android malware uses WhatsApp to spread

A new form of Android malware has begun spreading itself by creating auto-replies in WhatsApp. Check Point Research recently discovered the malware in a fake application on Google Play.

Influenced by Clubhouse, Facebook experiments with audio

Facebook on Wednesday launched an experimental online forum called Hotline, an attempt by the social media giant to keep up with the live audio trend made popular by the likes of Clubhouse.

French rail company orders 12 hydrogen trains

French national railway SNCF said Thursday it has ordered 12 hydrogen-powered trains to begin tests in four regions in 2023 as it eyes a zero-emissions future with the nascent technology.

Offshore wind data release propels wind prospecting

At first glance, today's wind resource assessors and mining prospectors of the past seem quite different. Look closer and you will find some striking similarities. Notably, a willingness to sift through volumes of information to dig up resource nuggets worth their weight in gold.

Sustainability rankings don't always identify sustainable companies

British American Tobacco (famous for cigarettes), Coca-Cola (world-renowned for its sugary soft drinks) and Glencore (a British/Swiss mining company) were recently ranked in the top five most environmentally and socially responsible companies on the FTSE 100, the share index of the 100 biggest companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Wearable tech set to tackle head injuries in sport

Wearable tech which measures and tracks head impact force in sport and recreational activities is set to aid research and support informed decisions on the risk of brain injury.

Smart windows regulate right light in the greenhouse

Greenhouses can allow the growth of high quality crops in otherwise unproductive areas. Important, as the world population is growing and the land area appropriate for farming is limited. One thing that is still difficult to control, even in high-tech greenhouses, is the light that reaches the crops. TU/e-researcher Gilles Timmermans created smart windows to regulate intensity and spectral content of light in the greenhouse.

Home improvers and influencers vital to achieving UK net zero domestic heating targets

The U.K. needs an army of climate conscious home improvers and influencers if it hopes to get close to Government targets of 600,000 domestic heat pumps by 2028, new research from the University of Sussex Business School suggests.

Optical links to connect air passengers securely

A laser communications terminal prototype to demonstrate this vision is currently being developed by satellite manufacturer Airbus, working in partnership with the Netherlands organization for applied scientific research (TNO). The project is co-financed by Airbus, TNO and the Netherlands Space Office.

Tesla slams German bureaucracy, offers reform proposals

Electric carmaker Tesla said Thursday it was "irritated" by administrative delays to the construction of its new gigafactory outside Berlin, and put forward its own reform proposals.

Filling the gaps using image inpainting

Image inpainting is a computer vision technique in which pixels missing from an image are filled in. It is often used to remove unwanted objects from an image or to recreate missing regions of occluded images. Inpainting is a common tool for predicting missing image data, but it's challenging to synthesize the missing pixels in a realistic and coherent way.

Chip shortage forces more production cuts by General Motors

The global shortage of semiconductors has forced General Motors to further cut production at six North American factories as chip supplies seem to be growing tighter.

Best Buy Beta: Electronics giant piloting membership program to take on Amazon

Best Buy has launched a pilot membership program which could take on rivals such as Amazon Prime and Walmart.

Increased use of video chats is turning us to 'Zoom zombie' drivers, survey claims

Is our dependence on Zoom and other video chat software during the pandemic turning us into bad drivers?

All-in-one device uses microwave power for defense, medicine

An invention from Purdue University innovators may provide a new option to use directed energy for biomedical and defense applications.

EXPLAINER: What to know about the Amazon union vote count

Amazon is known for quick delivery. But finding out whether Amazon warehouse workers voted for or against unionizing is going to take some more time.

Longtime tax target Amazon now leads charge for reform

A longtime lightning rod for critics of corporate tax avoidance, Amazon now wants to lead the way on reform.

Twitch to boot users for transgressions elsewhere

Twitch on Wednesday said that it will ban people from the popular live video streaming service for abusive or violent behavior in the real world or on other online venues.

System simulating emergency in electric power system faster than in real time created

Scientists of Tomsk Polytechnic University have created a decision support system (DSS) for dispatching personnel of electric power systems (EPS). The system allows dispatchers to quickly test their actions on the management of the EPS, to control and evaluate their consequences using a digital simulator in a regime that is faster than real time.

2 new airlines await Americans looking to fly somewhere

Americans are traveling in the greatest numbers in more than a year, and soon they will have two new leisure-oriented airlines to consider for those trips.

Union vote count nears final stage for Amazon warehouse

The tallying of votes by Amazon workers in Alabama neared a public phase on Thursday, with the potential outcome being the first labor union at the e-commerce colossus.

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