Science X Newsletter Monday, Jun 7

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for June 7, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A framework to simulate the same physics using two different Hamiltonians

A system to benchmark the posture control and balance of humanoid robots

A new material made from carbon nanotubes can generate electricity by scavenging energy from its environment

Experiment evaluates the effect of human decisions on climate reconstructions

Physicists report definitive evidence how auroras are created

This forest has stayed wild for 5,000 years—we can tell because of the soil

Being social generates larger genomes in snapping shrimp

Turning off lights can save migrating birds from crashing into buildings

Radio halo detected in a low-mass galaxy cluster

Study sheds light on pre-Columbian life in understudied area of SW Amazon

A quantum step to a heat switch with no moving parts

Trained viruses prove more effective at fighting antibiotic resistance

Delta variant '40 percent more transmissible': UK health minister

An 'atlas' of the brain's choroid plexus across the lifespan

Global travelers pick up numerous genes that promote microbial resistance

Physics news

A framework to simulate the same physics using two different Hamiltonians

Researchers at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University in Japan have recently been investigating situations in which two distinct Hamiltonians could be used to simulate the same physical phenomena. A Hamiltonian is a function or model used to describe a dynamic system, such as the motion of particles.

Physicists report definitive evidence how auroras are created

The aurora borealis, or northern lights, that fill the sky in high-latitude regions have fascinated people for thousands of years. But how they're created, while theorized, had not been conclusively proven.

A quantum step to a heat switch with no moving parts

Researchers have discovered a new electronic property at the frontier between the thermal and quantum sciences in a specially engineered metal alloy—and in the process identified a promising material for future devices that could turn heat on and off with the application of a magnetic "switch."

An atom chip interferometer that could detect quantum gravity

Physicists in Israel have created a quantum interferometer on an atom chip. This device can be used to explore the fundamentals of quantum theory by studying the interference pattern between two beams of atoms. University of Groningen physicist, Anupam Mazumdar, describes how the device could be adapted to use mesoscopic particles instead of atoms. This modification would allow for expanded applications. A description of the device, and theoretical considerations concerning its application by Mazumdar, were published on 28 May in the journal Science Advances.

How coronavirus aerosols travel through lungs

More than 65% of inhaled coronavirus particles reach the deepest region of our lungs where damage to cells can lead to low blood oxygen levels, new research has discovered, and more of these aerosols reach the right lung than the left.

Lighting up ultrafast magnetism in a metal oxide

What happens when very short pulses of laser light strike a magnetic material? A large international collaboration led by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory set out to answer this very question. As they just reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the laser suppressed magnetic order across the entire material for several picoseconds, or trillionths of a second. Understanding how magnetic correlations change on ultrafast timescales is the first step in being able to control magnetism in application-oriented ways. For example, with such control, we may be able to more quickly write data to memory devices or enhance superconductivity (the phenomenon in which a material conducts electricity without energy loss), which often competes with other states like magnetism.

New COVID-19 model reveals effectiveness of travel restrictions

More strategic and coordinated travel restrictions likely could have reduced the spread of COVID-19 in the early stages of the pandemic. That's according to new research published in Communications Physics. This finding stems from new modeling conducted by a multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Infrared imaging leaves invasive pythons nowhere to hide

For more than 25 years, Burmese pythons have been living and breeding in the Florida Everglades, where they prey on native wildlife and disrupt the region's delicate ecosystems. A new study shows that infrared cameras could make it easier to spot these invasive snakes in the Florida foliage, providing a new tool in the effort to remove them.

Artificial intelligence and data mining are being used to measure aerodynamic flows

Developing new ways to measure turbulent flows that are more efficient and reliable is the main objective of the NEXTFLOW research project at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), funded by an ERC Starting Grant from the European Union. These techniques, which use new developments in artificial intelligence and data mining, can be used to improve the aerodynamics of means of transport and reduce their environmental impact.

Generalizing the measurement postulate in quantum mechanics

The measurement postulate is crucial to quantum mechanics. If we measure a quantum system, we can only get one of the eigenvalues of the measured observable, such as position, energy and so on, with a probability. Immediately after the measurement, the system will collapse into the corresponding eigenstate instantly, known as state collapse. It is argued that the non-cloning theorem is actually a result of the measurement postulate, because non-cloning theorem would also hold in classical physics. The possibility of cloning in classical physics is actually the ability to fully measure a classical system, so that a classical state can be measured and prepared.

Astronomy and Space news

Radio halo detected in a low-mass galaxy cluster

Using the LOw Frequency ARray (LOFAR), European astronomers have carried out radio observations of a low-mass galaxy cluster known as PSZ2G145.92-12.53, dubbed the Ant Cluster. In result, they identified a radio halo—a feature rarely found in low-mass galaxy clusters. The discovery is reported in a paper published May 28 on the arXiv pre-print repository.

Blistering stars in the Universe: Rare insights into the evolution of stars

What happens if a supernova explosion goes off right beside another star? The star swells up which scientists predict as a frequent occurrence in the universe. Supernova explosions are the dramatic deaths of massive stars that are about eight times heavier than the sun.

GMRT measures the atomic hydrogen gas mass in galaxies 9 billion years ago

A team of astronomers from the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA-TIFR) in Pune, and the Raman Research Institute (RRI), in Bangalore, has used the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) to measure the atomic hydrogen gas content of galaxies 9 billion years ago, in the young universe. This is the earliest epoch in the universe for which there is a measurement of the atomic hydrogen content of galaxies. The new result is a crucial confirmation of the group's earlier result, where they had measured the atomic hydrogen content of galaxies 8 billion years ago, and pushes our understanding of galaxies to even earlier in the universe. The new research is published in the 2 June 2021 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Jeff Bezos will blast into space on rocket's 1st crew flight

Outdoing his fellow billionaires in daredevilry, Jeff Bezos will blast into space next month when his Blue Origin company makes its first flight with a crew.

Axions could be the fossil of the universe researchers have been waiting for

Finding the hypothetical particle axion could mean finding out for the first time what happened in the Universe a second after the Big Bang, suggests a new study published in Physical Review D on June 7.

Origin of first structures formed in galaxies like the Milky Way identified

An international team of scientists led from the Centre for Astrobiology (CAB, CSIC-INTA), with participation from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), has used the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) to study a representative sample of galaxies, both disc and spheroidal, in a deep sky zone in the constellation of the Great Bear to characterize the properties of the stellar populations of galactic bulges. The researchers have been able to determine the mode of formation and development of these galactic structures. The results of this study were recently published in The Astrophysical Journal.

Stream of stars extends thousands of light-years across the Milky Way

It's hard to see more than a handful of stars from Princeton University, because the lights from New York City, Princeton and Philadelphia prevent our sky from ever getting pitch black, but stargazers who get into more rural areas can see hundreds of naked-eye stars—and a few smudgy objects, too.

Space travel weakens our immune systems: Now scientists may know why

Microgravity in space perturbs human physiology and is detrimental for astronaut health, a fact first realized during early Apollo missions when astronauts experienced inner ear disturbances, heart arrhythmia, low blood pressure, dehydration, and loss of calcium from their bones after their missions.

What we would have learned from NASA's rejected missions to moons of Jupiter and Neptune

It's been 30 years since Nasa last visited Venus, with the Magellan orbiter in 1990. Now, two new missions have been selected to explore the deadly atmosphere, crushing pressures and volcanic landscape.

Artificial intelligence spots coronal holes to automate space weather prediction

Scientists from the University of Graz (Austria), Skoltech and their colleagues from the US and Germany have developed a new neural network that can reliably detect coronal holes from space-based observations. This application paves the way for more reliable space weather predictions and provides valuable information for the study of the solar activity cycle. The paper was published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Hubble images a galaxy in dazzling detail

This image features the spiral galaxy NGC 691, imaged in fantastic detail using Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). This galaxy is a member of the NGC 691 galaxy group named after it, which features a group of gravitationally bound galaxies that lie about 120 million light-years from Earth.

Technology news

A system to benchmark the posture control and balance of humanoid robots

In recent years, roboticists have developed a wide variety of robots with human-like capabilities. This includes robots with bodies that structurally resemble those of humans, also known as humanoid robots.

Innovative batteries put flying cars on the horizon

Jet packs, robot maids and flying cars were all promises for the 21st century. We got mechanized, autonomous vacuum cleaners instead. Now a team of Penn State researchers are exploring the requirements for electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles and designing and testing potential battery power sources.

Computers can now predict our preferences directly from our brain

A research team from the University of Copenhagen and University of Helsinki demonstrates it is possible to predict individual preferences based on how a person's brain responses match up to others. This could potentially be used to provide individually-tailored media content—and perhaps even to enlighten us about ourselves.

Samsung researchers announce the feasibility of commercial 'stretchable' devices

With the established success of flexible computer screen displays, many users are wondering how display technology will advance next. So far, free-form displays have grown popular as a next-generation product that offers both portability and high-resolution visuals.

Apple previews new software for iPhone, other gadgets

Apple kicked off its second annual all-virtual developer conference with a keynote that outlined new updates to its software for iPhones and other devices. The presentation highlighted more privacy options for paid iCloud accounts and a "Find My" service that helps find errant AirPods, but included no major product announcements.

Stabilizing gassy electrolytes could make ultra-low temperature batteries safer

A new technology could dramatically improve the safety of lithium-ion batteries that operate with gas electrolytes at ultra-low temperatures. Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego developed a separator—the part of the battery that serves as a barrier between the anode and cathode—that keeps the gas-based electrolytes in these batteries from vaporizing. This new separator could, in turn, help prevent the buildup of pressure inside the battery that leads to swelling and explosions.

Experts look into possible cyberattack at Florida hospitals

Experts are investigating after the computer systems of two central Florida hospitals showed signs of unusual activity, an official said.

Miami, looking to be next crypto hotspot, hosts huge bitcoin event

Thousands of people have descended on Miami for a massive two-day bitcoin conference that opened Friday—a sign that the US city, in the midst of a tech boom, is hoping to become the next cryptocurrency hub.

Sotheby's sells first NFT that sparked a craze

The first non-fungible token (NFT) ever created, the origin of a craze that is sweeping the art market, has gone on sale at Sotheby's.

Global war on ransomware? Hurdles hinder the US response

Foreign keyboard criminals with scant fear of repercussions have paralyzed U.S. schools and hospitals, leaked highly sensitive police files, triggered fuel shortages and, most recently, threatened global food supply chains.

Collectors of digital NFTs see a 'Wild West' market worth the risk

They are technology enthusiasts on the hunt for opportunities in the Wild West market surrounding NFTs: the popular certified digital objects that have spawned a new generation of collectors convinced of their huge potential.

Energy chief cites risk of cyberattacks crippling power grid

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Sunday called for more public-private cooperation on cyber defenses and said U.S. adversaries already are capable of using cyber intrusions to shut down the U.S. power grid.

Former boss to pay Volkswagen record sum over Dieselgate

Former Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn will pay the auto giant a record mulimillion sum to settle a negligence claim surrounding the "Dieselgate" emissions scandal, informed sources said Sunday.

Capturing water to make the renewable fuels of the future

A successful outcome for the energy transition is very much dependent on the development of alternative fuel solutions that are ultra-clean, renewable, and low in carbon emissions. Fuels that must be replaced include liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and diesel, which are fuels frequently used in vehicles and in heating. A promising replacement fuel is dimethyl ether (DME). Unlike current fossil fuels, DME leads to low emissions and it can be produced renewably. However, current DME production processes are limited when it comes to producing renewable DME from biomass or CO2, particularly due to problems handling steam in the process. For his Ph.D. research, Jasper van Kampen developed a new process for producing DME, and he defends his thesis on June 4th at the department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry.

It's far too easy for abusers to exploit smart toys and trackers

The wearable technology market is booming, with half a billion wearables sold globally in 2020. Apps on these devices, or the devices themselves, often claim to monitor our health to spot illnesses, track our workouts to help us reach our fitness goals, or keep an eye on our children's whereabouts to enhance their safety.

Development of a novel thermoelectric material with record-high conversion efficiency

NIMS has succeeded in enhancing the thermoelectric performance of an n-type Mg3Sb2-based material by minutely doping with copper. NIMS and AIST then constructed a module by combining this material with a high-performance p-type material, achieving a conversion efficiency of 7.3% between room temperature and 320°C. This performance is comparable to the best Bi2Te3-based modules, champion for more than a half century. Moreover, the high material performance itself indicates possible efficiency of as high as 11%.

France fines Google for abusing 'dominant' ads position

Google is being fined 220 million euros ($268 million) by France's antitrust watchdog for abusing its 'dominant' position in online advertising.

Tesla scraps plan for ultra-luxe Plaid+ model

Tesla has abandoned a plan for an ultra-deluxe Plaid+ version of its Model S vehicle, according to founder Elon Musk.

Bosch opens $1.2B semiconductor factory in eastern Germany

German technology company Bosch on Monday opened a 1 billion euro ($1.2 billion) chip factory in the eastern city of Dresden to help meet the growing demand for semiconductors.

US Navy uses drone to refuel plane during flight

The US Navy successfully used a Boeing drone to refuel an airplane during flight, the manufacturer said on Monday.

Improved method for generating synthetic data solves major privacy issues in research

A lack of data is a major bottleneck for many kinds of research, and especially for the development of better medical treatments and drugs. This data is extremely sensitive and, understandably, people and companies alike are often unwilling to share their information with others.

Army researchers develop innovative framework for training AI

Army researchers have developed a pioneering framework that provides a baseline for the development of collaborative multi-agent systems.

Automakers face a threat to EV sales: Slow charging times

If the auto industry is to succeed in its bet that electric vehicles will soon dominate the roads, it will need to overcome a big reason why many people are still avoiding them: Fear of running out of juice between Point A and Point B.

US recovers over half of ransom paid to pipeline hackers

The US Justice Department announced Monday that it had recovered more than half of the $4.4 million paid by Colonial Pipeline to Russia-based ransomware extortionists Darkside, who had forced the shutdown of a major US fuel network.

Apple faces employee resistance in office return plan: report

Apple is reportedly facing employee resistance to its hybrid plan to bring employees back to the office starting in September.

Hopes for 'historic' global corporate tax deal as G7 meets

Finance ministers from wealthy G7 nations are on Saturday expected to announce support for a minimum global level of corporate tax, aimed at getting multinationals—especially tech giants—to pay more into government coffers hit hard by the pandemic.

Microsoft says "tank man" image blocking due to human error

Microsoft Corp. blamed "accidental human error" for its Bing search engine briefly not showing image results for the search term "tank man" on the anniversary of the bloody military crackdown in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989.

India warns Twitter to comply with new IT rules

India on Saturday issued "one last notice" to Twitter to comply with new IT regulations that the social media giant says threaten privacy guarantees.

Toyota reaches settlement over bullied engineer's suicide

Japanese automaker Toyota has reached a settlement with the family of an engineer whose suicide was ruled a job-related death due to harassment from his boss.

Taiwan tech sector hit by coronavirus outbreak

A leading Taiwanese chip testing and packaging company said Monday that all its migrant employees have been suspended from working for around two weeks to contain a coronavirus outbreak.

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