Science X Newsletter Monday, May 10

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for May 10, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A genetically encoded sensor to measure serotonin dynamics in vivo

SurvNet: A backward elimination procedure to enhance variable selection for deep neural networks

In the emptiness of space, Voyager 1 detects plasma 'hum'

How planets form controls elements essential for life

New neuroelectronic system can read and modify brain circuits

Ocean-bottom sediments tell a story about ancient Greenland summers

New sub-Neptune exoplanet discovered by astronomers

Animal production responsible for vast majority of air quality-related health impacts from US food

Structure motif-centric learning framework for inorganic crystalline systems

Researchers reconstruct the oral microbiomes of Neanderthals, primates, and humans

Your old mobile phone number could compromise your cybersecurity

First discovery of methanol in a warm planet-forming disk

Cricket bats should be made from bamboo not willow, study finds

Physicists observe modified energy landscapes at the intersection of 2D materials

What a buzz: saving Malaysia's bees, one nest at a time

Physics news

Active cavity solitons: Ultra-stable, high-power optical pulses for measuring light waves

Unlike the oscillations of sound waves, the oscillations of light are so fast that extremely complex equipment is needed to observe them directly. However, it is possible to measure the frequencies of these oscillations indirectly with frequency combs. These combs are made up of a set of regularly spaced 'teeth' where each tooth corresponds to a frequency. Used as a graduated ruler, they offer the possibility of measuring an optical frequency with great precision. This makes it possible, among other things, to measure variations in the distance between the Earth and the Moon with an accuracy equivalent to the size of a hair.

'Flipping' optical wavefront eliminates distortions in multimode fibers

The use of multimode optical fibers to boost the information capacity of the Internet is severely hampered by distortions that occur during the transmission of images because of a phenomenon called modal crosstalk.

A scanning quantum sensing microscope with nanoscale electric-field imaging

Recently, Professor Jiang Ying from International Center for Quantum Materials and Research Center for Light-Element Advanced Materials of Peking University, in collaboration with Professor Jörg Wrachtrup from Stuttgart University and Professor Yang Sen from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, has developed a scanning quantum sensing microscope by using a solid-state quantum bit (qubit), nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center, as the quantum sensor. They have, for the first time, realized NV-based nanoscale electric-field imaging and its charge-state control, demonstrating the possibility of scanning NV electrometry. This work, titled "Nanoscale electric-field imaging based on a quantum sensor and its charge-state control under ambient condition," has been published in Nature Communications.

Researchers in Sweden develop light emitter for quantum circuits

The promise of a quantum internet depends on the complexities of harnessing light to transmit quantum information over fiber optic networks. A potential step forward was reported today by researchers in Sweden who developed integrated chips that can generate light particles on demand and without the need for extreme refrigeration.

THz emission spectroscopy reveals optical response of GaInN/GaN multiple quantum wells

A team of researchers at the Institute of Laser Engineering, Osaka University, in collaboration with Bielefeld University and Technical University Braunschweig in Germany, came closer to unraveling the complicated optical response of wide-bandgap semiconductor multiple quantum wells and how atomic-scale lattice vibration can generate free space terahertz emission. Their work provides a significant push towards the application of laser terahertz emission microscopes to nano-seismology of wide-bandgap quantum devices.

Researchers achieve 51.5dB nonreciprocal isolation

Chinese researchers achieved 51.5dB nonreciprocal isolation in the atomic ensemble, which is the highest isolation ratio in the non-magnetic nonreciprocal field. They discussed the quantum noise problem in nonreciprocal devices for the first time.

Researchers realize coherent storage of light over one hour

Remote quantum distribution on the ground is limited because of the loss of photons in optical fibers. One solution for remote quantum communication lies in quantum memories: photons are stored in long-lived quantum memory (quantum flash drive) and then quantum information is transmitted by the transportation of the quantum memory. Given the speed of aircraft and high-speed trains, it is critical to increase the storage time of quantum memories to the order of hours.

Making the shift from blue to red for better LEDs

A new micro-light-emitting diode (micro-LED) developed at KAUST can efficiently emit pure red light and may help in the quest to develop full-color displays based on just a single semiconductor.

Astronomy and Space news

In the emptiness of space, Voyager 1 detects plasma 'hum'

Voyager 1—one of two sibling NASA spacecraft launched 44 years ago and now the most distant human-made object in space—still works and zooms toward infinity.

New sub-Neptune exoplanet discovered by astronomers

A team of astronomers from the Grenoble Alpes University in France and elsewhere, reports the detection of a new sub-Neptune exoplanet orbiting an M dwarf star. The newly found alien world, designated TOI-269 b, is nearly three times larger than the Earth. The finding was detailed in a paper published April 30 on the arXiv pre-print repository.

First discovery of methanol in a warm planet-forming disk

An international team of researchers led by Alice Booth (Leiden University, the Netherlands) have discovered methanol-ijs in the warm part of a planet-forming disk. The methanol cannot have been produced there and must have originated in the cold gas clouds from which the star and the disk formed. Thus, the methanol is inherited. If that is common, it could give the development of life a flying start. The researchers will publish their findings on Monday evening in Nature Astronomy.

High-mass stars are formed not from dust disk but from debris

A Dutch-led team of astronomers has discovered that high-mass stars are formed differently from their smaller siblings. Whereas small stars are often surrounded by an orderly disk of dust and matter, the supply of matter to large stars is a chaotic mess. The researchers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope for their observations, and recently published their findings in the Astrophysical Journal.

NASA spacecraft begins 2-year trip home with asteroid rubble

With rubble from an asteroid tucked inside, a NASA spacecraft fired its engines and began the long journey back to Earth on Monday, leaving the ancient space rock in its rearview mirror.

SpaceX to launch lunar mission paid with cryptocurrency Dogecoin

SpaceX will launch a satellite to the Moon next year funded entirely with the cryptocurrency Dogecoin, Canadian company Geometric Energy Corporation, which will lead the lunar mission, announced Sunday.

Image: Hubble gazes at a cluster full of cosmic clues

This detailed image features Abell 3827, a galaxy cluster that offers a wealth of exciting possibilities for study. Hubble observed it in order to study dark matter, which is one of the greatest puzzles cosmologists face today. The science team used Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3 to complete their observations. The two cameras have different specifications and can observe different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, so using them both allowed the astronomers to collect more complete information. Hubble also observed Abell 3827 previously because of the interesting gravitational lens at its core.

We could detect extraterrestrial satellite megaconstellations within a few hundred light-years

Starlink is one of the most ambitious space missions we've ever undertaken. The current plan is to put 12,000 communication satellites in low-Earth orbit, with the possibility of another 30,000 later. Just getting them into orbit is a huge engineering challenge, and with so many chunks of metal in orbit, some folks worry it could lead to a cascade of collisions that makes it impossible for satellites to survive. But suppose we solve these problems and Starlink is successful. What's the next step? What if we take it further, creating a mega-constellation of satellites and space stations? What if an alien civilization has already created such a mega-constellation around their world? Could we see it from Earth?

China defends handling of rocket that fell to Earth

China's government defended its handling of a rocket booster that burned up over the Indian Ocean and said Monday it was unfairly being held to different standards than the U.S. and other space programs.

From iron rain on exoplanets to lightning on Jupiter: 4 examples of alien weather

When Oscar Wilde said "conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative" he was unaware of some of the more extreme weather on planets and moons other than Earth.

A new era of spaceflight? Promising advances in rocket propulsion

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) has recently commissioned three private companies, Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin and General Atomics, to develop nuclear fission thermal rockets for use in lunar orbit.

Crew training begins soon for first private trip to ISS

Training of the crew for the first entirely private trip to the International Space Station (ISS) is to begin soon, Axiom Space, the company behind the flight, said Monday at a joint press conference with NASA.

Technology news

SurvNet: A backward elimination procedure to enhance variable selection for deep neural networks

In recent years, models based on deep neural networks have achieved remarkable results on numerous tasks. Despite their high prediction accuracy, these models are known for their "black-box" nature, which essentially means that the processes that lead to their predictions are difficult to interpret.

Your old mobile phone number could compromise your cybersecurity

The Department of Computer Science and Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University has conducted a study and released a paper assessing the security and privacy risks of phone number recycling by mobile characters in the United States.

Cricket bats should be made from bamboo not willow, study finds

Bamboo cricket bats are stronger, offer a better 'sweet spot' and deliver more energy to the ball than those made from traditional willow, tests conducted by the University of Cambridge show. Bamboo could, the study argues, help cricket to expand faster in poorer parts of the world and make the sport more environmentally friendly.

Researchers create AiFoam for robots to interact intelligently with their surroundings

Robots and machines are getting smarter with the advancement of artificial intelligence, but they still lack the ability to touch and feel their subtle and complex surroundings like human beings. Now, researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have invented a smart foam that can give machines more than a human touch.

Electric vehicles cheaper than combustion by 2027: study

Electric cars will be cheaper to build than fossil fuel vehicles across Europe within six years and could represent 100 percent of new sales by 2035, according to a study published Monday.

Self-learning robots go full steam ahead

Researchers from AMOLF's Soft Robotic Matter group have shown that a group of small autonomous, self-learning robots can adapt easily to changing circumstances. They connected these simple robots in a line, after which each individual robot taught itself to move forward as quickly as possible. The results were published today in the scientific journal PNAS.

This system helps robots better navigate emergency rooms

Computer scientists at the University of California San Diego have developed a more accurate navigation system that will allow robots to better negotiate busy clinical environments in general and emergency departments more specifically. The researchers have also developed a dataset of open source videos to help train robotic navigation systems in the future.

Chill out: Advanced solar tech runs cooler and lasts longer

Australian photovoltaics researchers have made a 'cool' discovery: Singlet fission and tandem solar cells—two innovative ways to generate solar power more efficiently—also help to lower operating temperatures and keep devices running for longer.

Light meets superconducting circuits

In the last few years, several technology companies including Google, Microsoft, and IBM, have massively invested in quantum computing systems based on microwave superconducting circuit platforms in an effort to scale them up from small research-oriented systems to commercialized computing platforms. But fulfilling the potential of quantum computers requires a significant increase in the number of qubits, the building blocks of quantum computers, which can store and manipulate quantum information.

Flying at up to Mach 16 could become reality with UCF's developing propulsion system

University of Central Florida researchers are building on their technology that could pave the way for hypersonic flight, such as travel from New York to Los Angeles in under 30 minutes.

'Unmaking' a move: Correcting motion blur in single-photon images

Single-photon imaging is the future of high-speed digital photography and vastly surpasses conventional cameras in low-light conditions. However, fixing the blurring caused by the motion of independent objects remains challenging. Recently, researchers at Tokyo University of Science developed an innovative deblurring approach that accurately estimates the motion of individual objects and adjusts the final image accordingly. Their strategy produces high-quality images even in complex dynamic scenes and may find applications in medicine, science, and security.

Timing is everything in new implant tech

Implants that require a steady source of power but don't need wires are an idea whose time has come.

Major US pipeline struggles to reopen after ransomware attack

The US government declared a regional emergency Sunday as the largest fuel pipeline system in the United States remained largely shut down, two days after a major ransomware attack was detected.

Amazon blocked 10 billion listings in counterfeit crackdown

Amazon, which has been under pressure from shoppers, brands and lawmakers to crack down on counterfeits on its site, said Monday that it blocked more than 10 billion suspected phony listings last year before any of their offerings could be sold.

Android users join the conversation: Clubhouse expands beyond Apple users in the US

Android users in the U.S. can now join the invite-only Clubhouse, more than a year after the social audio app debuted.

A little walk can make ridesharing a lot more efficient

Ridesharing can benefit from using pick-up and drop-off points and asking users to walk a small distance. Researchers at TU Delft have analyzed this by using a real dataset of 10.000 Manhattan taxi trips. They have published their results online in Transportation Research Part C.

Research shows trust needed in digital tech

New Zealanders are worried about bias in automated decision-making, according to research conducted by Massey University research group Toi Āria: Design for Public Good.

FBI: DarkSide group behind ransomware hacking of US Colonial Pipeline

The FBI said Monday that ransomware from the shadowy DarkSide group forced the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline network, as the major fuel supplier said it was beginning to resume operations after the three-day freeze.

Dogecoin: 'joke' virtual currency touted by Elon Musk

Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency originally created as a joke, has grabbed the headlines thanks to repeated interest from tech billionaire Elon Musk—and despite doubts in the financial community.

US states oppose a children's version of Instagram

Officials representing most US states on Monday called on Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg to nix plans to launch a version of Instagram for children.

It's not just Scripps. Ransomware has become rampant in health care during pandemic

On a local level, the ransomware attack that engulfed Scripps Health this past week, paralyzing digital resources from hospitals to outpatient clinics, was isolated. Other health care systems in the region have been unaffected and able to assist diverted patients with serious and immediate needs including heart attacks and strokes.

Integrating medical imaging and cancer biology with deep neural networks

Despite our remarkable advances in medicine and healthcare, the cure to cancer continues to elude us. On the bright side, we have made considerable progress in detecting several cancers in earlier stages, allowing doctors to provide treatments that increase long-term survival. The credit for this is due to "integrated diagnosis," an approach to patient care that combines molecular information and medical imaging data to diagnose the cancer type and, eventually, predict treatment outcomes.

Pentagon reconsidering huge JEDI cloud-computing contract

The Pentagon is reconsidering how to make a massive shift to cloud computing, officials said Monday, suggesting it could scrap the so-called JEDI contract potentially worth $10 billion that was awarded to Microsoft Corp. but is mired in legal challenges.

Americans set another pandemic-era record for air travel

Americans set a record for pandemic-era air travel, then broke it again over the Mother's Day holiday weekend.

NTSB: Tesla owner got into driver's seat before deadly crash

Home security camera footage shows that the owner of a Tesla got into the driver's seat of the car shortly before a deadly crash in suburban Houston, according to a government report Monday.

Colonial pipeline is undamaged, White House official says

The Colonial fuel pipeline that was crippled by a ransomware attack late Friday hasn't suffered damage and can be brought back online "relatively quickly," a White House official said Monday.


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