Science X Newsletter Tuesday, May 11

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for May 11, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Research sheds more light on the nature of a complex planetary nebula

Scientists catch exciting magnetic waves in action in the Sun's photosphere

No connection between father-son relationships, adherence to masculine norms

An artificial neural network to acquire grounded representations of robot actions and language

University of Washington study suggests COVID-19 deaths far higher than official reports

Discovery of new geologic process calls for changes to plate tectonic cycle

Graphene key for novel hardware security

The formation of the Amazon Basin influenced the distribution of manatees

Team unravels mysteries of carbon release in permafrost soils

Algorithm to improve aid response to victims in disaster zones

Fluorinated interphase bolsters water-based zinc battery

The Aqueduct of Constantinople: Managing the longest water channel of the ancient world

Non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients: Low-risk of serious long-term effects, but more visits to doctor

New material to treat wounds can protect against resistant bacteria

Quantum mechanics paves the way for more stable organic solar cells

Physics news

Low-temperature physics gives insight into turbulence

A novel technique for studying vortices in quantum fluids has been developed by Lancaster physicists.

Researchers generate tunable twin particles of light

Identical twins might seem 'indistinguishable,' but in the quantum world the word takes on a new level of meaning. While identical twins share many traits, the universe treats two indistinguishable quantum particles as intrinsically interchangeable. This opens the door for indistinguishable particles to interact in unique ways—such as in quantum interference—that are needed for quantum computers.

Researchers develop magnetic thin film for spin-thermoelectric energy conversion

A team of researchers, affiliated with UNIST has recently introduced a new class of magnetic materials for spin caloritronics. Published in the February 2021 issue of Nature Communications, the demonstrated STE applications of a new class of magnets will pave the way for versatile recycling of ubiquitous waste heat. This breakthrough has been led by Professor Jung-Woo Yoo and his research team in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at UNIST.

Researchers use optical data to reveal the basic structure of spacetime in rotating frames

One of the most basic structural aspects of relativistic spacetime is the description of how time and distances are altered by motion. The theory of special relativity describes a spacetime framework for linear constant motion in which time dilates and lengths contract in response to motion. This framework is described by the Lorentz transformation, which encompasses mathematical formulas that describe how time and distance are altered between moving reference frames. The Lorentz transformation also describes how a stationary observer views time in the moving frame to be offset with distance. The offsetting of time with distance between reference frames generates differential simultaneity, in which events that are simultaneous for one observer will not be simultaneous for a second observer moving relative to the first observer.

World's fastest information-fueled engine designed by university researchers

Simon Fraser University researchers have designed a remarkably fast engine that taps into a new kind of fuel—information.

Simulating sneezes and coughs to show how COVID-19 spreads

Two groups of researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have published papers on the droplets of liquid sprayed by coughs or sneezes and how far they can travel under different conditions.

Astronomy and Space news

Research sheds more light on the nature of a complex planetary nebula

Astronomers have performed high-resolution observations of a complex planetary nebula known as NGC 1514. Results of the study provide essential information about morpho-kinematical structure and chemical composition of this nebula, which could help researchers to better understand its nature. The research was published May 4 on arXiv.org.

Scientists catch exciting magnetic waves in action in the Sun's photosphere

Researchers have confirmed the existence of magnetic plasma waves, known as Alfvén waves, in the Sun's photosphere. The study, published in Nature Astronomy, provides new insights into these fascinating waves that were first discovered by the Nobel Prize winning scientist Hannes Alfvén in 1947.

Understanding astronaut muscle wasting at the molecular level

Researchers from the University of Tsukuba have sent mice into space to explore effects of spaceflight and reduced gravity on muscle atrophy, or wasting, at the molecular level.

Space telescope's golden mirror wings open one last time on Earth

For the last time while it is on Earth, the world's largest and most powerful space science telescope opened its iconic primary mirror. This event marked a key milestone in preparing the observatory for launch later this year.

Technology news

An artificial neural network to acquire grounded representations of robot actions and language

To best assist human users while they complete everyday tasks, robots should be able to understand their queries, answer them and perform actions accordingly. In other words, they should be able to flexibly generate and perform actions that are aligned with a user's verbal instructions.

Quantum mechanics paves the way for more stable organic solar cells

Quantum mechanics can be used to create more stable and more easily produced organic solar cells. These are the findings of new research from the University of Gothenburg.

Acoustic Lighthouse field tests: Engineered noise to reduce bird-structure collisions

The Delmarva Peninsula, which includes Virginia's Eastern Shore, is the avian version of a southbound interstate during the fall migration of raptors and songbirds.

The brain game: What causes engagement and addiction to video games?

History tells us that games are an inseparable facet of humanity, and mainly for good reasons. Advocates of video games laud their pros: they help develop problem-solving skills, socialize, relieve stress, and exercise the mind and body—all at the same time! However, games also have a dark side: the potential for addiction. The explosive growth of the video game industry has spawned all sorts of games targeting different groups of people. This includes digital adaptations of popular board games like chess, but also extends to gambling-type games like online casinos and betting on horse races. While virtually all engaging forms of entertainment lend themselves to addictive behavior under specific circumstances, some video games are more commonly associated with addiction than others. But what exactly makes these games so potentially addictive?

Why perovskite solar cells tend to segregate under the influence of light

Solar cells made of perovskite are cheap, easy to produce, and almost as efficient as silicon, the material traditionally used in solar cells. However, perovskite cells have a love-hate-relationship with the Sun. The light that they need to generate electricity also happens to impair the quality of the cells, thus severely limiting their efficiency and stability over time. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology have now developed a theory that explains why compound perovskite cells are unstable in sunlight. The study was published in Nature Communications.

Novel circuitry solves multiple computationally intensive problems with minimum energy

From the branching pattern of leaf veins to the variety of interconnected pathways that spread the coronavirus, nature thrives on networks—grids that link the different components of complex systems. Networks underlie such real-life problems as determining the most efficient route for a trucking company to deliver life-saving drugs and calculating the smallest number of mutations required to transform one string of DNA into another.

Security researcher manages to jailbreak the Apple AirTag

After Apple's recent release of the AirTag for locating misplaced items, security researchers have just succeeded in jailbreaking the new tagging device. The German researcher, stacksmashing, reported hacking into, dumping and reflashing the AirTag's microcontroller.

Tiny, wireless, injectable chips use ultrasound to monitor body processes

Widely used to monitor and map biological signals, to support and enhance physiological functions, and to treat diseases, implantable medical devices are transforming healthcare and improving the quality of life for millions of people. Researchers are increasingly interested in designing wireless, miniaturized implantable medical devices for in vivo and in situ physiological monitoring. These devices could be used to monitor physiological conditions, such as temperature, blood pressure, glucose, and respiration for both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

FBI names pipeline cyberattackers as company promises return

Hit by a cyberattack, the operator of a major U.S. fuel pipeline said Monday it hopes to have services mostly restored by the end of the week as the FBI and administration officials identified the culprits as a gang of criminal hackers.

Renewable energy powers ahead in 2020: report

Renewable energy grew at its fastest rate in two decades, driven primarily by gains in China and wind power, the International Energy Agency said in a report Tuesday.

Development of a smart system for fake news detection

A research team from the universities of Jaén and Alicante has created an application that automatically analyzes news stories and determines their truthfulness with a high degree of accuracy. Although the model is still in the testing phase, it is proposed as a useful tool for filtering the vast amount of information that reaches journalists and private readers every day.

A mechanical approach to more efficiently clean desalination membranes

Filtration membranes are critical to a wide variety of industries around the world. Made of materials as varied as cellulose, graphene, and nylon, they serve as the barriers that turn seawater into drinking water, separate and process milk and dairy products, and pull contaminants from wastewater. They serve as an essential technology to these and other industries but are plagued with an Achilles heel: fouling.

Researchers use robotic platform to study the reflex network of walking cats

A group of researchers from Osaka University developed a quadruped robot platform that can reproduce the neuromuscular dynamics of animals (Figure 1), discovering that a steady gait and experimental behaviors of walking cats emerged from the reflex circuit in walking experiments on this robot. Their research results were published in Frontiers in Neurorobotics.

A new method simulates the universe 1000 times faster

Cosmologists love universe simulations. Even models covering hundreds of millions of light years can be useful for understanding fundamental aspects of cosmology and the early universe. There's just one problem—they're extremely computationally intensive. A 500-million-light-year swath of the universe could take more than three weeks to simulate. Now, scientists led by Yin Li at the Flatiron Institute have developed a way to run these cosmically huge models 1000 times faster. That 500-million-year light-year swath could then be simulated in 36 minutes.

Net zero: Despite the greenwash, it's vital for tackling climate change

It might seem odd to find supporters of climate action debating the merits of a concept that science shows to be essential for halting climate change, and which is accordingly embedded at the heart of the defining global agreement.

Huawei's ability to eavesdrop on Dutch mobile users is a wake-up call for the telecoms industry

Chinese technology provider Huawei was recently accused of being able to monitor all calls made using Dutch mobile operator KPN. The revelations are from a secret 2010 report made by consultancy firm Capgemini, which KPN commissioned to evaluate the risks of working with Huawei infrastructure.

Smartphones have led to the 'death of proximity'

A UCL study across nine countries shows smartphones are more than devices we use, they're 'the place where we live' and swap for close contact with others.

Researchers study anti-vax Facebook groups in early days of COVID-19 pandemic

Social media has become a powerful force for spreading information, and unfortunately, misinformation. Anti-vaccine groups have established a strong presence on social media sites like Facebook. A pair of UConn researchers recently found these groups quickly seized on the COVID-19 pandemic as their next avenue of mongering fears over a vaccine before it even existed.

Scientists develop new eco-technologies for hydrogen production

Employees of Samara Polytech University, the specialists from the Department of Gas Processing, Hydrogen and Special Technologies and the Research Center "Fundamental Problems of Thermophysics and Mechanics," conducted theoretical and experimental studies of hydrodynamics, heat transfer and diffusion during methane pyrolysis (natural gas) in a layer of molten tin. The latest research results are published in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy.

Scientists will protect the 'Smart City' from cyber threats

St. Petersburg, like other cities in the Russian Federation, is actively participating in the establishment of the 'Smart City' program, which will provide new services for residents of the megalopolis, increasing the safety of citizens. Digital services are essential for such a system.

Scientist develops an image recognition algorithm that works 40% faster than analogs

A scientist from HSE University has developed an image recognition algorithm that works 40% faster than analogs. It can speed up real-time processing of video-based image recognition systems. The results of the study have been published in the journal Information Sciences.

Study shows renewable energy will enhance power grid's resilience

A new Dartmouth Engineering study shows that integrating renewable energy into the American Electric Power System (AEPS) would enhance the grid's resilience, meaning a highly resilient and decarbonized energy system is possible. The researchers' analysis is based upon the incremental incorporation of architectural changes that would be required to integrate renewable energy into AEPS.

Ransomware gang threatens release of DC police records

A Russian-speaking ransomware syndicate that stole data from the Washington, D.C., police department says negotiations over payment have broken down, with it rejecting a $100,000 payment, and it will release sensitive information that could put lives at risk if more money is not offered.

German watchdog bans Facebook from processing WhatsApp data

A German privacy watchdog banned Facebook on Tuesday from gathering data on users of its WhatsApp chat app, citing an update to its privacy policy that it said breaches stringent European data protection rules.

Artificial intelligence and drones will help pin down Sosnovsky's hogweed

Skoltech scientists have created a new monitoring system for agricultural applications that performs real-time image segmentation aboard drones to identify hogweed. The research was published in a high-profile journal, IEEE Transactions on Computers.

US approves its biggest offshore wind farm yet

The US announced on Tuesday that it had granted final approval for its biggest wind power project yet, which will be located off the coast of the eastern state of Massachusetts.

New tech coalition seeks US aid to respond to chip shortage

A newly formed coalition of technology firms called Tuesday for $50 billion in US government aid to boost incentives for domestic semiconductor manufacturing in the face of a deepening chip shortage.

Research may help Twitter run faster

Research from Carnegie Mellon University may soon help Twitter run faster and more efficiently.

Army of fake fans boosts China's messaging on Twitter

China's ruling Communist Party has opened a new front in its long, ambitious war to shape global public opinion: Western social media.

Samsung won't attend global telecoms meet in-person

South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics said Tuesday it won't be physically present at Mobile World Congress, the telecoms industry's biggest annual gathering, next month in Barcelona due to the pandemic.


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