Science X Newsletter Friday, Jun 11

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

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Using polymer inhibitors to enable larger dynamic windows

Astronomers spot a 'blinking giant' near the center of the galaxy

Pine Island Glacier's ice shelf is ripping apart, speeding up key Antarctic glacier

New discovery shows human cells can write RNA sequences into DNA

South African worker honeybees reproduce by making near-perfect clones of themselves

Fashion for pointy shoes unleashed plague of bunions in medieval Britain

Vitamin D deficiency may increase risk for addiction to opioids and ultraviolet rays

Machine learning aids in materials design

Uncovering cellular mechanisms driving epidermal form and function

Research identifies potential antiviral compound for COVID-19, flu, other viral infection

Nitride ferroelectric semiconductors for next-generation electronics

International team maps world's giant kelp forests

Vaccination helps protect the unvaccinated from COVID-19

International study reveals new insight into how continents were formed

New method makes generic polymers luminescent

Physics news

Researchers build first modular quantum brain sensor, record signal

A team of scientists at the University of Sussex have for the first time built a modular quantum brain scanner, and used it to record a brain signal. This is the first time a brain signal has been detected using a modular quantum brain sensor anywhere in the world. It's a major milestone for all researchers working on quantum brain imaging technology because modular sensors can be scaled up, like Lego bricks. The team have also connected two sensors like Lego bricks, proving that whole-brain scanning using this method is within reach—as detailed in their paper, which is published today in pre-print. This has not been possible with the currently commercially available quantum brain sensors from the United States.

Portable technology offers boost for nuclear security, arms control

About five years ago, Areg Danagoulian, associate professor in the MIT Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE), became intrigued by a technique developed by researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory that uses a neutron beam to identify unknown materials.

Astronomy and Space news

Astronomers spot a 'blinking giant' near the center of the galaxy

Astronomers have spotted a giant 'blinking' star towards the center of the Milky Way, more than 25,000 light years away.

Star's death will play a mean pinball with rhythmic planets

Four planets locked in a perfect rhythm around a nearby star are destined to be pinballed around their solar system when their sun eventually dies, according to a new study that peers into its future.

Variable emission from the Milky Way's supermassive black hole

At the center of our Milky Way lies a supermassive black hole (SMBH) called Sagittarius A* (SgrA*). Supermassive black holes reside at the centers of most galaxies, and when they actively accrete gas and dust onto their surrounding hot disks and environments, they radiate across the electromagnetic spectrum. The mass of SgrA* is about 4 million solar masses, much smaller than the billions of solar-mass SMBHs seen in some galaxies. However, it is relatively close by, only about 25,000 light-years distant, and this proximity provides astronomers with unique opportunities to probe the properties of SMBHs.

Classical nova explosions involve jets of oppositely directed hot gas, plasma

Scientists at the University of Oxford have discovered that classical nova explosions are accompanied by the ejection of jets of oppositely directed hot gas and plasma, and that this persists for years following the nova eruption. Previously, such jets had only been encountered emanating from very different systems such as black holes or newly collapsing stars.

ALMA discovers earliest gigantic black hole storm

Researchers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) discovered a titanic galactic wind driven by a supermassive black hole 13.1 billion years ago. This is the earliest example yet observed of such a wind to date and is a telltale sign that huge black holes have a profound effect on the growth of galaxies from the very early history of the universe.

Citizen scientists discover two gaseous planets around a bright, sun-like star

At night, seven-year-old Miguel likes talking to his father Cesar Rubio about planets and stars. "I try to nurture that," says Rubio, a machinist in Pomona, California, who makes parts for mining and power generation equipment.

Photos show Chinese rover on dusty, rocky Martian surface

The dusty, rocky Martian surface and a Chinese rover and lander bearing small national flags were seen in photos released Friday that the rover took on the red planet.

Queqiao: The bridge between Earth and the far side of the moon

China's Chang'e-4 probe marked the first soft-landing of a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon, which always faces away from Earth. To communicate with ground stations, Chang'e-4 relies on Queqiao, a relay communication satellite that orbits a point behind the Moon and bridges Earth and Chang'e-4. In a recent review, researchers explain the design of Queqiao and depict the future of lunar relay communication systems.

NASA launches baby squid and water bears to the International Space Station

From worms to quail, the ISS has housed all kinds of creatures great and small over the years. Animal research in space is about to welcome some new members to the club.

NASA selects new science investigations for future moon deliveries

As NASA continues plans for multiple commercial deliveries to the moon's surface per year, the agency has selected three new scientific investigation payload suites to advance understanding of Earth's nearest neighbor. Two of the payload suites will land on the far side of the moon, a first for NASA. All three investigations will receive rides to the lunar surface as part of NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services, or CLPS, initiative, part of the agency's Artemis approach.

Voyage 2050 sets sail: ESA chooses future science mission themes

ESA's large-class science missions for the timeframe 2035-2050 will focus on moons of the giant Solar System planets, temperate exoplanets or the galactic ecosystem, and new physical probes of the early universe.

Technology news

Using polymer inhibitors to enable larger dynamic windows

Dynamic windows are a valuable technology that can help to decrease the carbon footprint of buildings. Dynamic windows are a class of windows with adjustable tint that allow users greater control over the flow of light and heat passing through them.

Nitride ferroelectric semiconductors for next-generation electronics

For the first time, researchers achieved single-crystalline high quality ferroelectric III-V semiconductors that can be integrated into existing platforms for a broad range of ferroelectric, electronic, optoelectronic, and photonic device applications.

Using large-scale dataset experiments and machine learning to discover new theories of decision-making

A team of researchers from Princeton University along with one from Worcester Polytechnic Institute has developed a way to use large-scale dataset experiments and machine learning to discover new theories of decision-making. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their approach to using a common tradeoff experiment to generate large datasets for use in testing and developing new theories surrounding human decision-making. Sudeep Bhatia and Lisheng He with the University of Pennsylvania and Shanghai International Studies University, respectively, have published a Perspectives piece in the same journal issue outlining current issues with decision theory and the work done by the team in this new effort.

Bird-like wings could help drones keep stable in gusts

Wings that can vary their shapes as freely as birds' wings could have advantages for small aircraft in built environments, a new study led by engineers at the University of Michigan suggests.

Startup Kelekona develops a 40-seat drone bus

Inspired by the packed to the brim trains from New Jersey to New York, Braeden Kelekona came up with the idea for a 40-seat drone bus. This concept would aim to keep passenger numbers reasonable in order to accommodate desired social distancing in a post-COVID-19 world.

Energy Secretary says US wants 'responsible' lithium mining

Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said the Biden administration wants to see lithium needed for electric cars to be mined "in a responsible way" that respects the environment and Native American tribes.

Researchers study rooftop solar photovoltaic grid-tied system in Texas

Scientists are continuously looking for alternatives to fossil fuel-based power plants to diminish the adverse effects of fossil energy sources on the environment and build reliability. Researchers at Texas A&M University are studying the viability of solar photovoltaic (PV) grid-tied systems on rooftops to fill that need.

Scrambling against smudge attacks

The security-conscious among us use a PIN, a personal identification number, to "lock" our smartphones so that if the device is lost or stolen, a third party should not be able to access our contacts, messages, and other information held in myriad apps without a lot of effort to guess the PIN.

Need a DIY project? How to modify a 3D printer to make food or ceramics

While the pandemic has restricted us from doing many activities we like, household hobbies such as DIY, baking and crafts have become more popular. Now there's a way to combine all of these skills to create something entirely new. What you will need, however, is a 3D printer.

Rapid delivery grocery apps: Will they permanently change how we shop?

Billions of dollars are flowing to support companies you may never have heard of—startups with memorable names like Zapp, Deliveroo, Getir and Gorillas. These speedy delivery companies have become the go-to for many grocery shoppers trying to avoid busy supermarkets during the pandemic, and have caught the eyes of venture capitalists.

How artificial intelligence is changing the future of air transportation

A George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science professor is working on an interdisciplinary research project funded by NASA that aims to design and develop a safety management system for electric autonomous aircraft.

Drone with 3D mapping tech gives first responders near real-time data

The international ResponDrone project has integrated into its situation awareness system for emergency situations a near real-time 3D mapping solution to provide on-site emergency teams with tools that will help them to better evaluate their working environment.

Where digitalization is a goldmine, for real

Digitalizing multiple parts of the mining industry could generate value to the tune of U.S. $321 billion worldwide, according to the World Economic Forum.

Study compares the four largest internet meganetworks

In recent months, people have reported seeing a parade of star-like points passing across the night sky. The formation is not extraterrestrial, or even astrophysical in origin, but is in fact a line of satellites, recently launched by SpaceX, that will eventually be joined by many more to form Starlink, a "megaconstellation" that will wrap around the Earth as a global network designed to beam high-speed internet to users anywhere in the world.

Novel fast-beam-switching transceiver takes 5G to the next level

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and NEC Corporation have jointly developed a 28-GHz phased-array transceiver that supports efficient and reliable 5G communications. The proposed transceiver outperforms previous designs in various regards by adapting fast beam switching and a leakage cancelation mechanism.

Cryptocurrency wins votes of confidence from Texas governor, Department of Banking

Digital currencies skyrocketed during the pandemic and Texas doesn't want to be left out of a future boom in the industry.

Toyota targets carbon-neutral plants by 2035

Toyota, the world's biggest automaker, said Friday it aims to make its production carbon-neutral by 2035, replacing the previous target date of 2050.

Chinese ride-hailing app Didi files for New York listing

Ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing has filed to list its shares in New York, a high-profile move by a Chinese tech firm in the United States despite soaring tensions between the superpowers, with reports saying it could be one of the biggest IPOs this year.

G7 countries move closer to tax plan for US tech giants

G7 countries that make up lucrative markets for US tech giants have moved closer to a plan to squeeze more tax money from the coffers of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

US music publishers sue Roblox for $200 mn over copyright

US music publishers representing artists such as Ariana Grande, Imagine Dragons and the Rolling Stones said Thursday they are suing hit video game Roblox for allegedly using songs without permission.

Amazon now says remote work OK 2 days a week

Corporate and tech employees at Amazon won't have to work in offices full time after coronavirus restrictions are lifted.


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