Science X Newsletter Friday, Apr 9

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for April 9, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A single spin-orbit torque device to sense 3D magnetic fields

New, reversible CRISPR method can control gene expression while leaving underlying DNA sequence unchanged

Better solutions for making hydrogen may lie just at the surface

New research reveals secret to Jupiter's curious aurora activity

Long-awaited review reveals journey of water from interstellar clouds to habitable worlds

Earth's crust mineralogy drives hotspots for intraterrestrial life

Could Mario Kart teach us how to reduce world poverty and improve sustainability?

X-ray study recasts role of battery material from cathode to catalyst

Three-man crew docks at ISS after flight honouring Gagarin (Update)

Biodiversity 'hot spots' devastated in warming world

Childhood diet and exercise creates healthier, less anxious adults

Exploration of ocean currents beneath the 'Doomsday Glacier'

Fighting dementia with play: Cognitive motor training improves function

Balancing between build-up and break-down of bone

Different neutron energies enhance asteroid deflection

Physics news

Learning what makes the nucleus tick

Michigan State University's Witold Nazarewicz has a simple way to describe the complex work he does at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or FRIB.

How we found hints of new particles or forces of nature – and why it could change physics

Seven years ago, a huge magnet was transported over 3,200 miles (5,150km) across land and sea, in the hope of studying a subatomic particle called a muon.

Astronomy and Space news

New research reveals secret to Jupiter's curious aurora activity

Auroral displays continue to intrigue scientists, whether the bright lights shine over Earth or over another planet. The lights hold clues to the makeup of a planet's magnetic field and how that field operates.

Long-awaited review reveals journey of water from interstellar clouds to habitable worlds

Dutch astronomer Ewine van Dishoeck (Leiden University, the Netherlands), together with an international team of colleagues, has written an overview of everything we know about water in interstellar clouds thanks to the Herschel space observatory. The article, published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, summarizes existing knowledge and provides new information about the origin of water on new, potentially habitable, worlds. The article is expected to serve as a reference work for the next twenty years.

Three-man crew docks at ISS after flight honouring Gagarin (Update)

A three-man crew docked at the international Space Station Friday after a flight honouring the 60th anniversary of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becoming the first person in space.

Different neutron energies enhance asteroid deflection

A research collaboration between Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) investigates how the neutron energy output from a nuclear device detonation can affect the deflection of an asteroid.

Shedding more light on molecules linked to life on other planets

The search for life on other planets has received a major boost after scientists revealed the spectral signatures of almost 1000 atmospheric molecules that may be involved in the production or consumption of phosphine, a study led by UNSW Sydney revealed.

NASA's Mars Helicopter to make first flight attempt Sunday

NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is two days away from making humanity's first attempt at powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet. If all proceeds as planned, the 4-pound (1.8-kg) rotorcraft is expected to take off from Mars' Jezero Crater Sunday, April 11, at 12:30 p.m. local Mars solar time (10:54 p.m. EDT), hovering 10 feet (3 meters) above the surface for up to 30 seconds. Mission control specialists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California expect to receive the first data from the first flight attempt the following morning at around 4:15 a.m. EDT.

Liftoff! Pioneers of space

Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space 60 years ago next week.

What are the best ways to search for technosignatures?

The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) has long roots in human history. With the advent of modern technologies, scientists were finally able to start scanning the skies for any sign of life. When the search first started back in the 1960s, it focused almost exclusively on trying to detect radio signals. Over the decades, no irrefutable evidence of any artificial radio signals was ever found. Financial support started to drift away from the discipline, and where the money goes so do many scientists.

NASA selects innovative, early-stage tech concepts for continued study

JPL's Lunar Crater Radio Telescope advanced concept is among the projects that have been selected for further research and development.

American, Russians dock at International Space Station

A trio of Russian and American space travelers launched successfully and reached the International Space Station on Friday.

Hubble takes a spiral snapshot

The luminous heart of the galaxy M61 dominates this image, framed by its winding spiral arms threaded with dark tendrils of dust. As well as the usual bright bands of stars, the spiral arms of M61 are studded with ruby-red patches of light. Tell-tale signs of recent star formation, these glowing regions lead to M61's classification as a starburst galaxy.

Technology news

A single spin-orbit torque device to sense 3D magnetic fields

Sensors that can detect magnetic fields have many potential applications, for instance, in the development of sophisticated medical devices and transportation systems. Most approaches for detecting 3D magnetic fields developed so far, however, require several sensors, which makes them bulky and difficult to implement on a large-scale.

X-ray study recasts role of battery material from cathode to catalyst

An international team working at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) used a unique X-ray instrument to learn new things about lithium-rich battery materials that have been the subject of much study for their potential to extend the range of electric vehicles and the operation of electronic devices.

Robo-starfish aims to enable closer study of aquatic life

Biologists have long experienced the challenges of documenting ocean life, with many species of fish proving quite sensitive to the underwater movements of humans.

New machine learning method accurately predicts battery state of health

Electrical batteries are increasingly crucial in a variety of applications, from integration of intermittent energy sources with demand, to unlocking carbon-free power for the transportation sector through electric vehicles (EVs), trains and ships, to a host of advanced electronics and robotic applications.

Neuralink developing brain-machine interface technology to help people with paralysis operate computers

Since the year 2019, the neurotechnology company Neuralink has been developing technology to better capture the brain activity of humans. Beginning with tests on rodents, the company founded by Elon Musk has succeeded in creating a connector through the skin coupled with wired leads as part of a robotics-based surgical approach and ultra low-power custom application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) toward the magnification and processing of neural signals.

Computer model fosters potential improvements to 'bionic eye' technology

There are millions of people who face the loss of their eyesight from degenerative eye diseases. The genetic disorder retinitis pigmentosa alone affects 1 in 4,000 people worldwide.

Verizon recalls mobile hotspots sold to schools, in stores (Update)

Verizon is recalling 2.5 million mobile hotspots after some reports of overheating and two reports of minor burns.

Chipmaker TSMC says revenue up 16.7% as demand surges

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's biggest contract producer of processor chips, said Friday its revenue rose 16.7% in the latest quarter over a year ago as the global economy rebounded from the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan to announce Fukushima water release into sea soon

The Japanese government has decided to dispose of massive amounts of treated but still radioactive water stored in tanks at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant by releasing it into the Pacific Ocean, local media reported Friday, a conclusion widely expected but delayed for years amid protests and safety concerns.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced parents' hands on data collection and privacy issues

With the return to remote learning during the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, parents and students are agreeing to risky data collection practices and privacy-invasive technologies. This unprecedented collection of data includes video recordings of student's interactions with their teachers, collection of health information such as whether an absence is related to COVID-19 symptoms, system log-in time and student chat history.

In an AI world we need to teach students how to work with robot writers

Robots are writing more of what we read on the internet. And artificial intelligence (AI) writing tools are becoming freely available for anyone, including students, to use.

AI-assisted detection of biosignals and human emotions

Fundamental methodology research on autonomous learning can benefit most, if not all, computer vision tasks. With the aid of autonomous learning, we can automatically design a contextual-aware neural network for different perceived data given specific computer vision tasks.

Some Boeing 737 MAX planes temporarily grounded after 'potential' issue

US aircraft manufacturer Boeing said Friday it had recommended that 16 airlines flying its 737 MAX planes address a "potential electrical issue," a new setback for its top-selling model.

Call for fire: ONR tests virtual training systems for JTACs, fire support marines

The Marine scanned the open field and spotted an enemy tank approaching. Using a handheld tablet, he called for an air strike. A helicopter quickly flew in and launched a rocket, destroying the tank.

Microchip security continues to confound Pentagon

Nearly nine years ago, the Senate Armed Services Committee reported the results of an investigation of counterfeit electronic parts in the U.S. military. The year-long probe found fully 1 million bogus parts, including components for several types of combat aircraft.

White House convenes CEO summit on semiconductor shortage

The White House will hold a virtual summit with leading CEOs on Monday to discuss the global semiconductor shortage that has crimped automakers and electronics companies, officials announced Friday.

Researchers investigate a new form of interaction between humans and machines

Sifting through job applications, analyzing X-ray images, suggesting a new track list—interaction between humans and machines has become an integral part of modern life. The basis for these artificial intelligence (AI) processes is algorithmic decision-making. However, as these are generally difficult to understand, they often prove less useful than anticipated. Researchers at Paderborn and Bielefeld University are hoping to change this, and are discussing how the explainability of artificial intelligence can be improved and adapted to the needs of human users. Their work has recently been published in the respected journal IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems. The researchers describe explanation as a social practice, in which both parties co-construct the process of understanding.

Amazon appears to have enough votes to block union effort

Amazon appears to have enough votes to block a union effort at a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, proving the might of the online shopping giant and cutting off a path that labor activists had hoped would lead to similar efforts throughout the company and beyond.

US sanctions Chinese computer makers in widening tech fight

China's government on Friday criticized the Biden administration's curbs on access to U.S. technology for its supercomputer developers and said sanctions "only strengthen China's determination" to invent its own.

Long road ahead for buyout offer, Toshiba boardmember warns

A British hedge fund's buyout offer for Toshiba faces a long road, including seeking regulatory approval and additional financing, a senior member of the Japanese firm's board warned Friday.

Pinterest establishes legal entity in Turkey to avoid bans

The image-sharing platform Pinterest became the latest social media company to agree to set up a legal entity in Turkey to comply with a controversial social media law.

Amazon warehouse workers reject union bid in Alabama

Amazon workers voted against forming a union at a warehouse in Alabama, handing the online retail giant a decisive victory and cutting off a path that labor activists had hoped would lead to similar efforts throughout the company and beyond.

Facebook to convert part of Calif. headquarters into COVID vaccination site

Facebook is launching an effort to get more Americans vaccinated against COVID-19, including converting part of its Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters into a vaccination site.

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