Science X Newsletter Friday, Apr 23

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for April 23, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

The secret lives of T cell receptors and their role in the immune response

The effects of solar flares on Earth's magnetosphere

Flexible diet may help leaf-eating lemurs resist deforestation

Synthetic gelatin-like material mimics lobster underbelly's stretch and strength

Value and neural representations during goal-directed behavior

Naturally GM: Crops steal genes from other species to accelerate evolution

What Parkinson's disease patients reveal about how art is experienced and valued

Chemists show ions' staged release from gold-silver nanoparticles could be useful property

Research paves way for improved lasers, communications

Fossils of 'giant cloud rats' discovered in Philippine caves

Climate-friendly microbes chomp dead plants without releasing heat-trapping methane

3D motion tracking system could streamline vision for autonomous tech

With new optical device, engineers can fine tune the color of light

Asteroid that hit Botswana in 2018 likely came from Vesta

Researchers develop ultrathin, self-powered e-health patches that can monitor a user's pulse and blood pressure

Physics news

Research paves way for improved lasers, communications

New photonics research paves the way for improved lasers, high-speed computing and optical communications for the Army.

With new optical device, engineers can fine tune the color of light

Among the first lessons any grade school science student learns is that white light is not white at all, but rather a composite of many photons, those little droplets of energy that make up light, from every color of the rainbow—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.

Quantum steering for more precise measurements

Quantum systems consisting of several particles can be used to measure magnetic or electric fields more precisely. A young physicist at the University of Basel has now proposed a new scheme for such measurements that uses a particular kind of correlation between quantum particles.

Using a new kind of electron microscopy to measure weak van der Waals interactions

A team of researchers from China, the Netherland and Saudi Arabia has used a new kind of electron microscopy to measure weak van der Waals interactions. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes creating what they describe as a molecular compass to measure weak van der Waals interactions using a new type of electron microscopy developed in the Netherlands.

Researchers realize high-efficiency frequency conversion on integrated photonic chip

A team led by Prof. GUO Guangcan and Prof. ZOU Changling from the University of Science and Technology of China of the Chinese Academy of Sciences realized efficient frequency conversion in microresonators via a degenerate sum-frequency process, and achieved cross-band frequency conversion and amplification of converted signal through observing the cascaded nonlinear optical effects inside the microresonator. The study was published in Physical Review Letters.

Engineering single-molecule fluorescence with asymmetric nano-antennas

NIR fluorescence has shown great potential in bioscience, but low quantum-yield has largely impeded research on most NIR fluorophores. Here, scientists in China use asymmetric plasmonic nano-antennas to drastically enhance an NIR dye's single-molecule fluorescence intensity. The asymmetry provides an additional tuning parameter that offers new possibilities to modulate near-field and far-field properties of the plasmonic modes, thereby improving fluorescence without compromising the molecule's photostability. This work provides a universal scheme for engineering NIR single-molecule fluorescence.

Astronomy and Space news

The effects of solar flares on Earth's magnetosphere

Planet Earth is surrounded by a system of magnetic fields known as the magnetosphere. This vast, comet-shaped system deflects charged particles coming from the sun, shielding our planet from harmful particle radiation and preventing solar wind (i.e., a stream of charged particles released from the sun's upper atmosphere) from eroding the atmosphere.

Asteroid that hit Botswana in 2018 likely came from Vesta

An international team of researchers searched for pieces of a small asteroid tracked in space and then observed to impact Botswana on June 2, 2018. Guided by SETI Institute meteor astronomer Peter Jenniskens, they found 23 meteorites deep inside the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and now have published their findings online in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

Mars-directed coronal mass ejection erupts from the sun

NASA's STEREO-A and ESA/NASA's SOHO spacecraft detected a coronal mass ejection, or CME, leaving the sun on April 17 at 12:36 p.m. EDT. This CME did not impact Earth but did move toward Mars, passing the planet in the late evening and early morning hours of April 21 and 22.

SpaceX launches 3rd crew with recycled rocket and capsule

SpaceX launched four astronauts into orbit Friday using a recycled rocket and capsule, the third crew flight in less than a year for Elon Musk's rapidly expanding company.

How do you test a helicopter bound for Mars?

The Ingenuity helicopter may be the first vehicle ever to fly on Mars, but Mars was not the first place it has ever flown. Before packaging it up and blasting it to the Red Planet, engineers at JPL gave the helicopter a trial run in a special wind tunnel designed with help from researchers at Caltech.

Astronomers see first hint of the silhouette of a spaghettified star

For decades astronomers have been spotting bursts of electromagnetic radiation coming from black holes. They assumed those are the result of stars being torn apart, but they have never seen the silhouette of the actual material ligaments. Now a group of astronomers, including lead author Giacomo Cannizzaro and Peter Jonker from SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research/Radboud University, has for the first time observed spectral absorption lines caused by strands of a spaghettified star. Publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Scientists make further step towards understanding dark energy

The extended Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (eBOSS) collaboration has released its latest scientific results. These results include two studies on dark energy led by Prof. Zhao Gongbo and Prof. Wang Yuting, respectively, from National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC).

Hubble captures giant star on the edge of destruction

The expanding shell of gas and dust that surrounds the star is about five light-years wide, which equals the distance from here to the nearest star beyond the Sun, Proxima Centauri.

Feeling confinement in the gut: Microbiome alterations common in astronauts

Crew members who took part in the Mars500 experiment showed significant changes in their gut microbiota from their 520 days in confinement, according to a new study by scientists at Université de Montreal and McGill University.

A superluminous supernova from a massive progenitor star

Stars greater than about eight solar-masses end their lives spectacularly as supernovae. These single-star supernovae are called core collapse supernovae because their dense cores, composed primarily of iron at this late stage of their lives, are no longer able to withstand the inward pressure of gravity and they collapse before exploding. Core collapse supernovae that display strong atomic hydrogen emission lines are thought to result from the explosions of red supergiant stars, massive stars that have evolved beyond their principle hydrogen burning stage and swelled in radius. Until recently, astronomers thought these stars were relatively quiescent until their final demise, but evidence has been accumulating that they actually experience strong mass loss before exploding. In some models, additional radiation is emitted when ejecta from the supernovae encounter these mass loss envelopes in shocks, and variations in this process are responsible for the observed differences in the emission from core collapse supernovae.

SpaceX set for pre-dawn launch to ISS

SpaceX is set to launch its third crew to the International Space Station an hour before sunrise Friday, recycling a rocket and spacecraft for the first time.

Astronauts arrive at pad for SpaceX flight on used rocket

Four astronauts arrived at their launch pad early Friday morning for a SpaceX flight to the International Space Station, the company's third bon voyage for a NASA crew in under a year.

This supermoon has a twist – expect flooding, but a lunar cycle is masking effects of sea level rise

A "super full moon" is coming on April 27, 2021, and coastal cities like Miami know that means one thing: a heightened risk of tidal flooding.

Seismicity on Mars full of surprises, in first continuous year of data

The SEIS seismometer package from the Mars InSight lander has collected its first continuous Martian year of data, revealing some surprises among the more than 500 marsquakes detected so far.

Two pilots, rocket scientist, oceanographer flying SpaceX

SpaceX's third crew has an attack helicopter pilot, a former Air France pilot, a Japanese rocket scientist and an oceanographer.

Technology news

Researchers develop ultrathin, self-powered e-health patches that can monitor a user's pulse and blood pressure

Scientists at Osaka University, in cooperation with Joanneum Research (Weiz, Austria), have developed wireless health monitoring patches that use embedded piezoelectric nanogenerators to power themselves with harvested biomechanical energy. This work may lead to new autonomous health sensors as well as battery-free wearable electronic devices.

Rethinking hydropower for energy and environmental sustainability

A California company, Natel Energy, is hard at work developing a low-head, low-impact hydropower approach that addresses one of the leading concerns of new deployment—impacts to natural stream flows.

Heavy-duty vehicles an ideal entry into hydrogen fuel cell use

Through a consortium of Department of Energy national laboratories, Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists are applying their expertise to provide solutions that enable the commercialization of emission-free hydrogen fuel cell technology for heavy-duty vehicles, or HDV. As a viable alternative to internal combustion engines powered by gasoline, hydrogen fuel cells can provide sustainable, clean energy with a comparable user experience.

Toward new solar cells with active learning

How can I prepare myself for something I do not yet know? Scientists from the Fritz Haber Institute in Berlin and from the Technical University of Munich have addressed this almost philosophical question in the context of machine learning. Learning is no more than drawing on prior experience. In order to deal with a new situation, one needs to have dealt with roughly similar situations before. In machine learning, this correspondingly means that a learning algorithm needs to have been exposed to roughly similar data. But what can we do if there is a nearly infinite amount of possibilities so that it is simply impossible to generate data that covers all situations?

New Windows 10 taskbar offers personalized news and interest features

Microsoft has just announced the new Windows 10 taskbar, personalized to the individual user. This taskbar offers high-quality content based on your news and interests with a single click or tap.

Researchers show enhanced electrode-water interactions in metal-free aqueous batteries

Batteries are a part of everyday modern life, powering everything from laptops, phones and robot vacuums to hearing aids, pacemakers and even electric cars. But these batteries potentially pose safety and environmental risks.

Taking down human traffickers through online ads

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and McGill University have adapted an algorithm first developed to spot anomalies in data, like typos in patient information at hospitals or errant figures in accounting, to identify similarities across escort ads.

Intel tops expectations as chip demand high

US semiconductor giant Intel on Thursday said it took in more money than expected in the first quarter amid "explosive" growth in demand for computer chips.

Scrutiny of Tesla grows after apparently driverless fatal crash

Tesla came under renewed scrutiny Thursday following a report its cars could be fooled into driving with no one behind the wheel, as two senators demanded a vigorous federal probe of a fatal crash in Texas.

Facebook wants users' responses to improve feeds

Facebook said Thursday it would emphasize user feedback when prioritizing posts on the leading social network, the latest move to quell concerns over its algorithms.

Researchers develop smartphone-powered emergency alert system

A team of computer science researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have created and tested a new, Bluetooth-based system for disseminating emergency messages in an urban environment.

How the gaming industry justifies in-game gambling

Despite soaring revenues, companies are increasingly embedding gambling devices in games. A new study examines why this is the new norm.

Simulations reveal potential for up to 17% energy savings through traffic congestion controls

Inching forward in bumper-to-bumper traffic, drivers bemoan the years of their lives sacrificed in bad commutes. Even with the pandemic dramatically reducing the volume of traffic, Americans still lost an average of 26 hours last year to road congestion. In a typical year, U.S. drivers spend closer to 46 hours stuck behind the wheel—which can add up to thousands of hours in the course of a lifetime.

An easy-to-use platform is a gateway to AI in microscopy

A new, freely available platform helps non-experts use artificial intelligence to analyze microscopy images. The platform has been developed at Åbo Akademi University in Finland and Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Portugal, and will be of big help in research and diagnostics using modern day microscopes.

Submarines are designed to hide, so what happens if one is missing?

In waters north of Bali, a frantic search is underway for the Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala, missing with 53 crew since the boat failed to make a routine signal report on Wednesday morning.

How techno-economic analysis can improve energy technologies

For new energy technologies, the time elapsed from when a breakthrough is made in a laboratory setting until when it is validated, scaled up, piloted, and then widely commercialized can be years or even decades. But in the race to avoid the most damaging impacts of climate warming, the need for negative emissions technologies is urgent.

Public relations scholar explores the use of AI-driven chatbots for PR

Building upon her background in corporate communication research, Public Relations Associate Professor Rita Men went into high gear during the pandemic to study effective communications from CEOs as well as chatbots used for social listening.

Honda aiming for 100% electric vehicles by 2040

Japanese car giant Honda said Friday it would aim to have electric and fuel cell vehicles account for 100 percent of all sales by 2040 to promote climate goals.

Approaches to help scientists assess how well autonomous systems and humans communicate

Army and Arizona State University researchers identified a set of approaches to help scientists assess how well autonomous systems and humans communicate.

3D models to explore the future of urban digitization

ScanVan, a four-year project to develop new technology to digitize cities, reached its culmination in March 2021. This was a tripartite Swiss collaboration between researchers at the EPFL Digital Humanities Laboratory, the HES-SO Valais/Wallis Institute of Systems Engineering, and the University of Zurich's Center for Information Technology, Society, and Law, with funding from the SNSF's Big Data National Research Program. Together the team carried the project from theoretical conception, through practical implementation, to exploration of future social and commercial applications.

A critical understanding of why and how solid-state batteries fail

Researchers from the Faraday Institution's SOLBAT project have made a significant step in understanding how and why solid-state batteries (SSBs) fail. A paper, published in Nature Materials on 22 April, provides answers to one important piece of the scientific puzzle.

Turkey seeks arrest of crypto boss over huge fraud, detains dozens

Turkey issued an international arrest warrant on Friday for the founder of a cryptocurrency exchange who fled with a reported $2 billion in investors' assets, state media reported.

Delta plans to buy 25 Airbus planes amid expected travel rebound

Delta Air Lines announced Thursday it was exercising options to buy 25 Airbus A321neo aircraft and accelerating deliveries of three other planes as it banks on a rebound in travel demand as Covid-19 ebbs.

UK spy chief says West faces 'moment of reckoning' on tech

Western countries risk losing control of technologies that are key to internet security and economic prosperity to nations like China and Russia if they don't act to deal with the threat, one of the U.K.'s top spy chiefs warned Friday.

US-British firm to build 3.5 bn euro data centre in Portugal

A British-US company announced Friday that it would invest up to 3.5 billion euros to build a massive data centre in Portugal by 2025 in response to demand for trans-Atlantic connections.

New tool to help anyone learn how to spot fake news

Several years of research and development are behind the News Evaluator, a tool that teaches an evidence-based method for online source criticism. The tool has now been launched in English and Swedish versions for use by those wanting to teach source criticism, as well as anyone wanting to learn how to evaluate the credibility of online news themselves.

Panasonic to buy AI logistics firm Blue Yonder for $7.1 bn

Panasonic will buy American AI supply chain software firm Blue Yonder for $7.1 billion, the Japanese company said Friday.

VW demands billion-euro 'dieselgate' payout from ex-CEO: report

Auto giant Volkswagen is seeking more than a billion euros ($1.2 billion) in damages from ex-CEO Martin Winterkorn over the "dieselgate" emissions cheating scandal, German media reported on Friday.

Dating app boast nets US Capitol riot charges

A Bumble dating app boast about invading the US Capitol left a man facing criminal charges on Friday after his prospective match turned him in to police.

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