Science X Newsletter Week 16

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 16:

Black hole is closest to Earth, among the smallest ever discovered

Scientists have discovered one of the smallest black holes on record—and the closest one to Earth found to date.

NASA's New Horizons reaches a rare space milestone

In the weeks following its launch in early 2006, when NASA's New Horizons was still close to home, it took just minutes to transmit a command to the spacecraft, and hear back that the onboard computer received and was ready to carry out the instructions.

Humongous flare from sun's nearest neighbor breaks records

Scientists have spotted the largest flare ever recorded from the sun's nearest neighbor, the star Proxima Centauri.

Ingenuity helicopter successfully flew on Mars (Update)

NASA's experimental helicopter Ingenuity rose into the thin air above the dusty red surface of Mars on Monday, achieving the first powered flight by an aircraft on another planet.

DNA robots designed in minutes instead of days

Someday, scientists believe, tiny DNA-based robots and other nanodevices will deliver medicine inside our bodies, detect the presence of deadly pathogens, and help manufacture increasingly smaller electronics.

'Undruggable' cancer protein becomes druggable, thanks to shrub

A chemist from Purdue University has found a way to synthesize a compound to fight a previously "undruggable" cancer protein with benefits across a myriad of cancer types.

Astronauts flying reused SpaceX rocket, capsule for 1st time

For the first time, NASA is putting its trust in a recycled SpaceX rocket and capsule for a crew.

Wild horses flourish in Chernobyl 35 years after explosion

Down an overgrown country road, three startled wild horses with rugged coats and rigid manes dart into the flourishing overgrowth of their unlikely nature reserve: the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

Astronomers release new all-sky map of the Milky Way's outer reaches

Astronomers using data from NASA and the ESA (European Space Agency) telescopes have released a new all-sky map of the outermost region of our galaxy. Known as the galactic halo, this area lies outside the swirling spiral arms that form the Milky Way's recognizable central disk and is sparsely populated with stars. Though the halo may appear mostly empty, it is also predicted to contain a massive reservoir of dark matter, a mysterious and invisible substance thought to make up the bulk of all the mass in the universe.

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.

Study reveals the workings of nature's own earthquake blocker

A new study finds a naturally occurring "earthquake gate" that decides which earthquakes are allowed to grow into magnitude 8 or greater.

Teaching children to play chess found to decrease risk aversion

A trio of researchers from Monash University and Deakin University has found that teaching children to play chess can reduce their aversion to risk. In their paper published in Journal of Development Economics, Asad Islam, Wang-Sheng Lee and Aaron Nicholas describe studying the impact of learning chess on 400 children in the U.K.

Walk the dinosaur: New biomechanical model shows Tyrannosaurus rex in a swinging gait

Researchers from the Netherlands have created a new approach to envision how dinosaurs walked. By modeling a T. rex tail as a suspension bridge, the scientists formed a new idea of the animal's walking speed. Trix, the tyrannosaur from Naturalis museum in the Netherlands, probably strolled slower—but with more spring in its step—than assumed. This is a first step towards more realistic dinosaur motion.

New process makes 'biodegradable' plastics truly compostable

Biodegradable plastics have been advertised as one solution to the plastic pollution problem bedeviling the world, but today's "compostable" plastic bags, utensils and cup lids don't break down during typical composting and contaminate other recyclable plastics, creating headaches for recyclers. Most compostable plastics, made primarily of the polyester known as polylactic acid, or PLA, end up in landfills and last as long as forever plastics.

In Texas, a rancher swaps his oil pumps for wind turbines

Cattle rancher Bobby Helmers cranes to listen as the blades of his six giant wind turbines slice through the air in the same Texas fields that once echoed with the sounds of oil pumps.

Scientists probe mysterious melting of Earth's crust in western North America

A group of University of Wyoming professors and students has identified an unusual belt of igneous rocks that stretches for over 2,000 miles from British Columbia, Canada, to Sonora, Mexico.

Essential oils restore insecticide effectiveness against bed bugs

Bed bugs tuck themselves away into dark, unseen spaces and multiply rapidly, making them difficult to control. That job has gotten even harder in recent years as the pests have developed resistance to the insecticides long used to eradicate them from homes, hotel rooms and other spaces.

Flushing a public toilet? Don't linger, because aerosolized droplets do

Flushing a toilet can generate large quantities of microbe-containing aerosols depending on the design, water pressure or flushing power of the toilet. A variety of pathogens are usually found in stagnant water as well as in urine, feces and vomit. When dispersed widely through aerosolization, these pathogens can cause Ebola, norovirus that results in violent food poisoning, as well as COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2.

A more efficient, safer alternative to sourcing copper via bacteria

Copper remains one of the single most ubiquitous metals in everyday life. As a conductor of heat and electricity, it is utilized in wires, roofing and plumbing, as well as a catalyst for petrochemical plants, solar and electrical conductors and for a wide range of energy related applications. Subsequently, any method to harvest more of the valuable commodity proves a useful endeavor.

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.


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Science X Newsletter Sunday, Apr 25

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for April 25, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Simple robots, smart algorithms

Old SpaceX capsule delivers new crew to space station

Out of the cave: French isolation study ends after 40 days (Update)

Body's natural pain killers can be enhanced

Targeting drug-resistant breast cancer with estrogen

China names Mars rover for traditional fire god

A more efficient, safer alternative to sourcing copper via bacteria

A breakthrough astrophysics code rapidly models stellar collisions

Biggest space station crowd in decade after SpaceX arrival

NASA's Mars helicopter's third flight goes farther, faster than before

Hatchery reviving Britain's near-extinct local oysters

California to ban new fracking from 2024

US experts recommend resuming J&J COVID vaccinations

Simple foot test detects heart rhythm disorder in patients with diabetes

Study highlights risks of anxiety and depression after cardiac device implantation

Astronomy and Space news

Old SpaceX capsule delivers new crew to space station

A recycled SpaceX capsule carrying four astronauts arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday, the third high-flying taxi ride in less than a year for Elon Musk's company.

China names Mars rover for traditional fire god

China's first Mars rover will be named Zhurong after a traditional fire god, the government announced Saturday.

A breakthrough astrophysics code rapidly models stellar collisions

A breakthrough astrophysics code, named Octo-Tiger, simulates the evolution of self-gravitating and rotating systems of arbitrary geometry using adaptive mesh refinement and a new method to parallelize the code to achieve superior speeds.

Biggest space station crowd in decade after SpaceX arrival

The International Space Station's population swelled to 11 on Saturday with the jubilant arrival of SpaceX's third crew capsule in less than a year.

NASA's Mars helicopter's third flight goes farther, faster than before

NASA's mini helicopter Ingenuity on Sunday successfully completed its third flight on Mars, moving farther and faster than ever before, with a peak speed of 6.6 feet per second.

Official: China's moon probe will carry French, Russian gear

China will launch its next robot lunar lander in 2024, and it will carry equipment from France, Sweden, Russia and Italy, the official news agency reported.

Technology news

Simple robots, smart algorithms

Anyone with children knows that while controlling one child can be hard, controlling many at once can be nearly impossible. Getting swarms of robots to work collectively can be equally challenging, unless researchers carefully choreograph their interactions—like planes in formation—using increasingly sophisticated components and algorithms. But what can be reliably accomplished when the robots on hand are simple, inconsistent, and lack sophisticated programming for coordinated behavior?

The big Pentagon internet mystery now partially solved

A very strange thing happened on the internet the day President Joe Biden was sworn in. A shadowy company residing at a shared workspace above a Florida bank announced to the world's computer networks that it was now managing a colossal, previously idle chunk of the internet owned by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk adding SNL hosting job to his to-do list

Technology mogul Elon Musk has a lined up a new gig in addition to his jobs as CEO of electric car maker Tesla and spaceship maker SpaceX. He is going to host the iconic TV show "Saturday Night Live."

Computer chip shortage may leave auto sector idling

What was initially downplayed as a brief hiccup in the supply of semiconductors looks more and more like a shortage that may last throughout the year in what would be a big blow to automakers.

Apple moving forward on app privacy, despite pushback

An update to the software powering some billion iPhones around the world kicks in Monday with an enhanced privacy feature critics fear will roil the internet advertising world.

Outages blamed on malware still plaguing budget airlines

A technology provider says a malware attack triggered a dayslong outage that has caused reservations systems to crash at about 20 low-cost airlines around the world.

Turkey probes second crypto exchange as market implodes

Turkey on Saturday detained the chief of one of the country's biggest cryptocurrency firms after launching a manhunt for the founder of another exchange who fled to Albania.


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