Science X Newsletter Friday, Jun 4

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for June 4, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Smashing gold with finesse: Shockless compression experiments establish new pressure scales

Research points to strong impact from water purification to drug manufacturing

A catalyst that destroys perchlorate in water could clean Martian soil

New form of silicon could enable next-gen electronic and energy devices

Arctic sea ice thinning faster than expected

70-year-old coffee-killing fungus brought back to life to fight the disease

Lessons from the last pandemic point the way toward universal flu vaccines

NASA's Juno to get a close look at Jupiter's moon Ganymede

Researchers make ultracompact on-chip computational infrared spectrometer

Fundamental advance in understanding T cell immunity

Gene therapy more cost effective than current treatments for hemophilia B

Deficient immune cells implicated in TB disease progression

Rapid, at-home blood test could confirm COVID-19 vaccination in minutes

Bacteria are connected to how babies experience fear

Guppy research shows ADHD drugs can affect later generations

Physics news

Smashing gold with finesse: Shockless compression experiments establish new pressure scales

To test the Standard Model of particle physics, scientists often collide particles using gigantic underground rings. In a similar fashion, high-pressure physicists compress materials to ever greater pressures to further test the quantum theory of condensed matter and challenge predictions made using the most powerful computers.

New form of silicon could enable next-gen electronic and energy devices

A team led by Carnegie's Thomas Shiell and Timothy Strobel developed a new method for synthesizing a novel crystalline form of silicon with a hexagonal structure that could potentially be used to create next-generation electronic and energy devices with enhanced properties that exceed those of the "normal" cubic form of silicon used today.

Researchers make ultracompact on-chip computational infrared spectrometer

An international team of researchers has developed a mid-infrared spectrometer smaller than the diameter of a human hair.

Quantum holds the key to secure conference calls

The world is one step closer to ultimately secure conference calls, thanks to a collaboration between Quantum Communications Hub researchers and their German colleagues, enabling a quantum-secure conversation to take place between four parties simultaneously.

Lasers capable of transmitting signals at 224 gigabits per second, enough to achieve 800 gigabit ethernet

With the massive proliferation of data-heavy services, including high-resolution video streaming and conferencing, cloud services infrastructure growth in 2021 is expected to reach a 27% CAGR. Consequently, while 400 gigabit ethernet (GbE) is currently enjoying widespread deployment, 800 GbE is poised to rapidly follow to address these bandwidth demands.

Magnetism drives metals to insulators in new experiment

Like all metals, silver, copper, and gold are conductors. Electrons flow across them, carrying heat and electricity. While gold is a good conductor under any conditions, some materials have the property of behaving like metal conductors only if temperatures are high enough; at low temperatures, they act like insulators and do not do a good job of carrying electricity. In other words, these unusual materials go from acting like a chunk of gold to acting like a piece of wood as temperatures are lowered. Physicists have developed theories to explain this so-called metal-insulator transition, but the mechanisms behind the transitions are not always clear.

Astronomy and Space news

NASA's Juno to get a close look at Jupiter's moon Ganymede

The first of the gas-giant orbiter's back-to-back flybys will provide a close encounter with the massive moon after over 20 years.

NASA is returning to Venus, where surface temperatures are 470 degrees Celsius—will we find life when we get there?

NASA has selected two missions, dubbed DAVINCI+ and VERITAS, to study the "lost habitable" world of Venus. Each mission will receive approximately US$500 million for development and both are expected to launch between 2028 and 2030.

Giant, low-surface-brightness galaxies

Forty years ago, astronomers using sensitive new imaging techniques discovered a class of large, faint galaxies they named low-surface-brightness galaxies. Giant low-surface-brightness galaxies (gLSBGs) are a subset whose masses are comparable to the Milky Way's but whose radii are ten times bigger, as much as four hundred thousand light-years. These gLSBGs raise a problem for astronomers: despite being massive, the galaxy disks are (kinematically speaking) relatively inactive. The usual formation paradigm for high mass galaxies imagines them evolving out of galaxy mergers, a process that stirs up the disk and should make it kinematically active. Moreover, most gLSBGs are found with no other galaxies in their vicinities suggesting that collisions were probably not important in their formation.

TikToker in space: Virgin Galactic to send up well-known researcher

Space tourism company Virgin Galactic announced Thursday it will send researcher Kellie Gerardi, a well-known figure on TikTok, into space to conduct experiments for several minutes while weightless.

Video: NASA's OSIRIS-REx celebrates perfect departure maneuver from asteroid Bennu

NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is 328,000 miles, or 528,000 kilometers, away from the asteroid Bennu, having fired its engines on May 10 to initiate a return trip to Earth. The spacecraft is on track to deliver an asteroid sample to Earth on September 24, 2023.

Rocket team to discern if our star count should go way up

The universe contains a mind-boggling number of stars—but scientists' best estimates may be an undercount. A NASA-funded sounding rocket is launching with an improved instrument to look for evidence of extra stars that may have been missed in stellar head counts.

ExoMars rover twin begins Earth-based mission in Mars Terrain Simulator

The replica ExoMars rover that will be used in the Rover Operations Control Centre to support mission training and operations is fully assembled and has completed its first drive around the Mars Terrain Simulator at ALTEC, in Turin, Italy.

Technology news

Landmark study puts cost of windfarm development in the picture

A landmark study has found that excluding windfarm development in Great Britain's most scenic areas results in 18% less renewable electricity generation potential and up to 26% higher costs for operators.

Nanoleaf develops classy lighting with a wood-like finish for your home

Already out for a while now, Nanoleaf Shapes have served as smart light panels for customers looking to spice up the style of any room in a home or other building space. However, when these light panels switch off, they assume a dull white color.

European regulators launch fresh probes of Facebook, Google (Update)

European Union and British regulators opened dual antitrust investigations Friday into whether Facebook distorts competition in the classified advertising market by using data to compete unfairly against rival services.

US traffic deaths up 7% last year, highest number since 2007

U.S. traffic deaths rose 7% last year, the biggest increase in 13 years even though people drove fewer miles due to the coronavirus pandemic, the government's road safety agency reported Thursday.

Nissan delays launch of electric car over chip shortage

Japanese carmaker Nissan said Friday it will delay the planned summer launch of its flagship new electric Ariya model to this winter over the global chip shortage plaguing automakers.

Amazon's Ring to make police video requests public

Amazon's smart doorbell and camera offshoot Ring will make police requests for home security videos public, in a tweak to its policy apparently aimed at easing concerns about surveillance.

Following e-cigarette conversations on Twitter using artificial intelligence

The advertising of nicotine products is highly restricted, but social media allows a way for these products to be marketed to young people. What's more, e-cigarette flavorings make them particularly appealing to teenagers and young adults. A team of researchers have developed machine learning methods to track the conversations on social media about flavored products by one of the most popular e-cigarette brands, JUUL.

How sewage plants and data centres could help heat one in five UK homes

Gas boilers heat around 85% of homes in the UK, but their installation in new homes is to be banned from 2025. While heating produces over a third of the country's CO₂ emissions, there are only two low-carbon heating alternatives that most people hear about: heat pumps or hydrogen boilers.

Square chief Dorsey mulls pocket wallet for bitcoin

Jack Dorsey on Friday put out word that his financial payments startup Square is thinking about making a real-world wallet for safely pocketing bitcoin.

Reports: Facebook to end rule exemptions for politicians

Facebook plans to end a contentious policy championed by CEO Mark Zuckerberg that exempted politicians from certain moderation rules on its site, according to several news reports.

$1B in grants to go for broadband on tribal lands

The Biden administration is making available $1 billion in federal grants to expand the availability of high-speed internet on tribal lands.

Biden expands blacklist of Chinese firms off-limits to US investors

US President Joe Biden on Thursday expanded a blacklist of Chinese firms that are off-limits to American investors over their links to Beijing's "military-industrial complex," in a sign of Washington's continued pressure campaign against the Asian power.

Booking.com to repay Dutch COVID aid in bonus row

Online travel agency Booking.com said on Friday it will repay more than 60 million euros of coronavirus aid to the Dutch government after a row over bonuses for its bosses.

Facebook imposes 2-year Trump ban, revises rules for politicians

Facebook on Friday set its ban on former US president Donald Trump for two years, saying he deserved the maximum punishment for violating platform rules over a deadly attack by his supporters on the US Capitol.


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