Science X Newsletter Friday, May 21

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for May 21, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A new replication crisis: Research that is less likely to be true is cited more

Salts could be important piece of Martian organic puzzle, scientists find

Russians infected with crossover flu virus suggests possibility of another pandemic

Researchers see atoms at record resolution

Scientists discover gene signature responsible for plaque-eating microglia in Alzheimer's disease

Scientists reveal structural details of how SARS-CoV-2 variants escape immune response

New detector finds gamma rays from surprising cosmic sources

Plutonium particles from nuclear testing more complex than previously thought

Polish firm opens cutting-edge solar energy plant

Brain's memory center stays active during 'infantile amnesia'

Sand's urban role demands key part on sustainability stage

Providing medications for free leads to greater adherence and cost-savings, study shows

Nanoparticles: The complex rhythm of chemistry

New therapy shows promise in future treatment of multiple myeloma

Rare earth supply disruptions have long-range impacts, computer model shows

Physics news

Researchers see atoms at record resolution

In 2018, Cornell researchers built a high-powered detector that, in combination with an algorithm-driven process called ptychography, set a world record by tripling the resolution of a state-of-the-art electron microscope.

New detector finds gamma rays from surprising cosmic sources

Astrophysicist Cao Zhen opens a steel hatch on a windswept Tibetan Plateau and climbs down a ladder into inky darkness. His flashlight picks out a boat floating on a pool of purified water above thousands of glittering orbs the size of beachballs.

A new spintronic phenomenon: Chiral-spin rotation found in non-collinear antiferromagnet

Researchers at Tohoku University and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) have discovered a new spintronic phenomenon—a persistent rotation of chiral-spin structure.

Study reveals new details on what happened in the first microsecond of Big Bang

Researchers from University of Copenhagen have investigated what happened to a specific kind of plasma—the first matter ever to be present—during the first microsecond of Big Bang. Their findings provide a piece of the puzzle to the evolution of the universe, as we know it today.

Chirality memory effect of ferromagnetic domain walls

Using magnets, a collaborative group have furthered our understanding of chirality.

Deeper insight into Higgs boson production using W bosons

Discovering the Higgs boson in 2012 was only the start. Physicists immediately began measuring its properties, an investigation that is still ongoing as they try to unravel if the Higgs mechanism is realized in nature as predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics. Earlier this spring, researchers at CERN's ATLAS Experiment announced they had measured the Higgs boson in its decays to W bosons. W bosons are particularly interesting in this context, as the properties of their self-interaction (vector boson scattering) gave credibility to the mechanism that predicted the Higgs boson.

Handwritten example of famous Einstein equation gets $1.2M

A letter written by Albert Einstein in which he writes out his famous E = mc2 equation has sold at auction for more than $1.2 million, about three times more than it was expected to get, Boston-based RR Auction said Friday.

Astronomy and Space news

Salts could be important piece of Martian organic puzzle, scientists find

A NASA team has found that organic salts are likely present on Mars. Like shards of ancient pottery, these salts are the chemical remnants of organic compounds, such as those previously detected by NASA's Curiosity rover. Organic compounds and salts on Mars could have formed by geologic processes or be remnants of ancient microbial life.

Tardigrades survive impacts of up to 825 meters per second

A pair of researchers at the University of Kent has found that tardigrades are able to survive impacts at speeds of up to 825 meters per second. In their paper published in the journal Astrobiology, Alejandra Traspas and Mark Burchell describe experiments they conducted that involved firing canisters containing tardigrades at high speeds at sand targets.

Landing on Mars is difficult, often fails, and will never be risk-free

China's rover Zhurong, named after the mythological fire god, successfully touched down on Mars on May 14—the first time that China has successfully landed a rover on the red planet.

Super blood moon: Your questions answered

This month brings the "most super" of the year's supermoons, and on top of that, a total lunar eclipse. In other words, on May 26, 2021, the full moon will enter Earth's shadow—and, when the moon is not in our planet's shade, it will appear even bigger and brighter than usual.

When will the first baby be born in space?

When the first baby is born off-Earth, it will be a milestone as momentous as humanity's first steps out of Africa. Such a birth would mark the beginning of a multi–planet civilization for the human species.

Mushrooms on Mars? Five unproven claims that alien life exists

A recent study claims to have found evidence for mushroom-like life forms on the surface of Mars. As it happens, these particular features are well known and were discovered by cameras aboard Nasa's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, shortly after it landed in 2004.

New ExoMars parachute ready for high altitude drop

A series of ground-based high-speed extraction tests confirm the readiness of a new and upgraded parachute and bag system for a high-altitude drop test in early June, part of critical preparations to keep the ExoMars 2022 mission on track for its next launch window.

Swarms of robots could dig underground cities on Mars

Underground habitats have recently become a focal point of off-planet colonization efforts. Protection from micrometeorites, radiation and other potential hazards makes underground sites desirable compared to surface dwellings. Building such subterranean structures presents a plethora of challenges, not the least of which is how to actually construct them. A team of researchers at the Delft University of Technology (TUD) is working on a plan to excavate material and then use it to print habitats. All that would be done with a group of swarming robots.

Technology news

Polish firm opens cutting-edge solar energy plant

A Polish company on Friday launched the world's first industrial production line of solar panels based on groundbreaking perovskite technology, which could revolutionise access to solar power.

Rare earth supply disruptions have long-range impacts, computer model shows

Rare earth materials are essential to a variety of industries. A new study from Argonne explores the effects of supply disruptions such as mine shutdowns.

Best ways to cut carbon emissions from the cement industry explored

A new Imperial report identifies alternative materials and carbon capture technologies as critical in decarbonising the cement industry.

New nondestructive broadband imager is the next step toward advanced technology

One of the key aspects of academic and industrial research today is non-destructive imaging, a technique in which an object or sample is imaged (using light) without causing any damage to it. Often, such imaging techniques are crucial to ensuring safety and quality of industrial products, subsequently leading to growing demands for high-performance imaging of objects with arbitrary structures and locations.

Researchers develop advanced model to improve safety of next-generation reactors

When one of the largest modern earthquakes struck Japan on March 11, 2011, the nuclear reactors at Fukushima-Daiichi automatically shut down, as designed. The emergency systems, which would have helped maintain the necessary cooling of the core, were destroyed by the subsequent tsunami. Because the reactor could no longer cool itself, the core overheated, resulting in a severe nuclear meltdown, the likes of which haven't been seen since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

Misconfiguration of third party mobile apps exposes the data of 100 million users

Despite the obvious benefits of contemporary cloud-based, mobile application development solutions—such as cloud storage, notification management, real-time databases, and analytics—many developers of these solutions fail to properly take into account the potential security risks involved when these apps are misconfigured.

Researchers create world's most power-efficient high-speed ADC microchip

To meet soaring demand for lightning-quick mobile technology, each year tech giants create faster, more powerful devices with longer-lasting battery power than previous models.

Powerful US nuclear test reactor getting rare major overhaul

Scientists in Idaho this summer plan to remove the 62,000-pound (28,100-kilogram) stainless steel lid on one of the world's most powerful nuclear test reactors for a rare internal overhaul.

Microsoft announces retirement of Internet Explorer

Microsoft said it is retiring Internet Explorer, the browser it created more than 25 years and which is now largely abandoned as people instead use competitors like Google's Chrome or Apple's Safari.

Slaves to speed, we'd all benefit from 'slow cities'

Slowing transport in cities provides immense benefits for the health of people, economies and the planet, so why are we still obsessed with speed?

Electric cars can advance environmental justice for low-income and racially diverse drivers

The global auto industry has begun a historic shift from gas- and diesel-fueled cars to electric vehicles. President Biden's infrastructure plan seeks to speed up this transition by requesting billions of dollars to modernize the electric grid and build 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations.

How robots could limit the environmental impact of offshore windfarms

Spending on global offshore renewable energy infrastructure over the next ten years is expected to reach over US$16 billion (£11.3bn). This involves creating an extra 2.5 million kilometers of global submarine cables by 2030.

Zero-trust security: Assume everyone on the internet is out to get you—and already has

President Joe Biden's cybersecurity executive order, signed May 12, 2021, calls for the federal government to adopt a "zero-trust architecture."

Robot enables communication between people in quarantine and their relatives

Researchers of the Integrated Systems Engineering Group of the University of Malaga (UMA) have designed a telepresence robot that enables people suffering from COVID-19 to talk to their loved ones.

App Store would be 'toxic' mess without control, Apple CEO says

Apple's online marketplace would become a "toxic" mess if the iPhone maker were forced to allow third-party apps without reviewing them, chief executive Tim Cook told a high-stakes trial Friday challenging the company's tight control of its platform.

After battle, hedge fund wins Tribune Publishing newspaper chain

A hedge fund won approval Friday after a bitter campaign to acquire Tribune Publishing and create the second-largest US newspaper chain, raising fears of deeper newsroom cuts in the troubled sector.

Ford CEO: Electric vehicle demand will transform industry

A new electric version of Ford's immensely popular F-150 pickup truck might just be the catalyst that hastens America's transition from gasoline to battery-powered vehicles.

Ford CEO says US needs to regulate automated driving systems

The CEO of America's second-largest auto company is calling for the federal government to set standards for fully or partially automated vehicles to tighten the safety of electronic driving systems.

Netflix searching for exec to lead video game push: report

Netflix is on the hunt for a senior executive to lead its push into the lucrative video game sector, tech publication The Information reported Friday.

Tax changes would boost IRS monitoring of cryptocurrency use

The Biden administration is taking steps to ensure Americans who pay for goods or services with cryptocurrencies don't sidestep the tax man.

Korean firm to invest $10M, hire 285, to make battery parts

A Korean auto supplier will invest $10 million and hire 285 people northeast of Atlanta to make parts that will accompany electric vehicle batteries that SK Innovation will produce nearby.

TikTok and geopolitics: How 'digital nationalism' threatens to entrench big tech

The massive digital platform market has until recently been dominated by a handful of US-based companies such as Facebook and Google. However, as foreign governments and competing platforms try to erode this domination, platforms are becoming a new sphere of geopolitical maneuvering.

Expert discusses the 'horrendously complex science' behind online advertising research

As an expert in the algorithmic engines that drive online advertising, Harikesh Nair loves to explore that rarified zone where deep scholastic research and real-world business needs overlap.

China authorities name 105 apps for improper data practices

China's internet watchdog said Friday it had found Bytedance's Douyin, Microsoft Bing, LinkedIn and 102 other apps were engaged in improper collection and use of data and ordered them to fix the problem.

WhatsApp denies it will drop privacy update for Turkey users

Turkey's competition watchdog said Friday it was told by WhatsApp that the chat app won't apply a controversial privacy update following an investigation, but the announcement was contradicted by the Facebook-owned app, which said it still plans to roll out the update for Turkish users.

Startup Breeze Airways says it will begin flying in late May

American travelers are about to get their second new airline of the spring.

MI5 chief warns Facebook encryption gives 'free pass' to suspects

Extremism on social media is as much a national security risk now as terrorism from Afghanistan or Syria, the head of UK domestic intelligence has warned as he slammed Facebook in particular.

Dating apps team up to make vaccinating hot

Vaxxing, not waxing, is the new must-do before a hot date, with dating apps joining the White House on Friday to promote COVID-19 shots.

Markets ponder Musk role in cryptocurrency turbulence

First he loved them, then he doubted them, but is he manipulating them? Tesla boss Elon Musk's tweets about cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are annoying their devotees and raising eyebrows among market watchers.


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