Science X Newsletter Monday, Jul 5

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for July 5, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

The observation of 1D Coulomb drag between adjacent QSH edges separated by an air gap

Piezoelectric microelectromechanical system-based optical metasurfaces

'Lakes' under Mars' south pole: A muddy picture?

Fossil shark scales provide a glimpse of reef predator populations before human impact

Seabird colony creates 'halo' of depleted fish stocks

Male dragonflies lose their 'bling' in hotter climates

Constructed wetlands are best protection for agricultural runoff into waterways

Study provides a unified description of non-radiative voltage losses in organic solar cells

Best of Last Week: Hawking's black hole theorem, computer generated lyrics, five-minute workout

Astronomers discover an oversized black hole population in the star cluster Palomar 5

Study investigates X-ray emission from the galaxy NGC 3894

Ancient bone carving could change the way we think about Neanderthals

Sculpted by starlight: A meteorite witness to the solar system's birth

Ransomware attack before holiday leaves companies scrambling

The City of David and the sharks' teeth mystery

Physics news

Piezoelectric microelectromechanical system-based optical metasurfaces

Optical metasurfaces can unprecedently regulate versatile wavefronts at the subwavelength scale. Most well-established optical metasurfaces are, however, static and feature well-defined optical responses that are determined by optical metasurface configurations set during their development. The dynamic configurations of the materials investigated so far often show specific limitations and reduced reconfigurability. In a new report now published on Science Advances, Chao Meng and a research team in nanotechnology, nano-optics, and electronics in Denmark, Norway and China, combined a thin-film piezoelectric micromechanical system (MEMS) with a gap-surface plasmon-based optical metasurface (OMS). Using the setup, they developed an electrically driven, dynamic microelectromechanical system-optical metasurface platform to regulate phases alongside amplitude modulations of the reflected light by finely actuating the MEMS mirror. Using this platform, they showed how the components afforded polarization-independent beam steering and two-dimensional focusing with high modulation efficiencies and fast responses. The platform offers flexible solutions to realize complex dynamics of 2D wavefront regulations with applications in reconfigurable and adaptive optical networks and systems.

Researchers discover unusual competition between charge density wave and superconductivity

A research team led by Prof. Chen Xianhui from University of Science and Technology of China of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) found an unusual competition between charge density wave (CDW) and superconductivity in CsV3Sb5, a layered kagome metal, which provides key experimental evidence for understanding novel CDW and superconductivity. The result was published in Nature Communications and recommended as featured article.

Software evaluates qubits, characterizes noise in quantum annealers

High-performance computer users in the market for a quantum annealing machine or looking for ways to get the most out of one they already have will benefit from a new, open-source software tool for evaluating these emerging platforms at the individual qubit level.

Astronomy and Space news

'Lakes' under Mars' south pole: A muddy picture?

Two research teams, using data from the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter, have recently published results suggesting that what were thought to be subsurface lakes on Mars may not really be lakes at all.

Astronomers discover an oversized black hole population in the star cluster Palomar 5

Palomar 5 is a unique star cluster. In a paper published today in Nature Astronomy, an international team of astrophysicists led by the University of Barcelona show that distinguishing features of Palomar 5 are likely the result of an oversized black hole population of more than 100 of them in the center of the cluster.

Study investigates X-ray emission from the galaxy NGC 3894

Using NASA's Chandra spacecraft, astronomers have inspected X-ray emission from the center of a young radio galaxy known as NGC 3894. Results of this study, presented in a paper published June 24 on the arXiv pre-print server, yield essential information that could shed more light on the nature of this galaxy and its X-ray emission.

Sculpted by starlight: A meteorite witness to the solar system's birth

In 2011, scientists confirmed a suspicion: There was a split in the local cosmos. Samples of the solar wind brought back to Earth by the Genesis mission definitively determined oxygen isotopes in the sun differ from those found on Earth, the moon and the other planets and satellites in the solar system.

Chinese astronauts make first spacewalk outside new station

Two astronauts on Sunday made the first spacewalk outside China's new orbital station to set up cameras and other equipment using a 15-meter-long (50-foot-long) robotic arm.

A small satellite with a solar sail could catch up with an interstellar object

When 'Oumuamua, the first interstellar object ever observed passing through the solar system, was discovered in 2017, it exhibited some unexpected properties that left astronomers scratching their heads. Its elongated shape, lack of a coma, and the fact that it changed its trajectory were all surprising, leading to several competing theories about its origin: was it a hydrogen iceberg exhibiting outgassing, or maybe an extraterrestrial solar sail (sorry folks, not likely) on a deep-space journey? We may never know the answer, because 'Oumuamua was moving too fast, and was observed too late, to get a good look.

From atoms to planets, the longest-running Space Station experiment

As Europe celebrates 20 years of ESA astronauts on the International Space Station, a Russian-European experiment has been running quietly in the weightless research center for just as long: the Plasma Kristall (PK) suite of investigations into fundamental science.

Europa Clipper to determine whether icy moon has ingredients necessary for life

In 1610, Galileo peered through his telescope and spotted four bright moons orbiting Jupiter, dispelling the long-held notion that all celestial bodies revolved around the Earth. In 2024, when scientists expect to send the Europa Clipper spacecraft to investigate one of those moons, they too may find evidence that fundamentally alters our understanding of the solar system.

Image: This camera will be the eye of the ESA's asteroid mission

This is the main camera that ESA's Hera mission for planetary defense will be relying on to explore and maneuver around the Didymos asteroid system.

Technology news

The observation of 1D Coulomb drag between adjacent QSH edges separated by an air gap

Two important factors limiting Moore's Law are power consumption and Coulomb interactions. Coulomb interactions are interactions between electric charges that follow Coloumb's law, an electrodynamics theory.

Study provides a unified description of non-radiative voltage losses in organic solar cells

In recent years, researchers have been trying to develop increasingly efficient and advanced solar technologies. One way of increasing the efficiency of solar cells is to reduce energy losses (i.e., voltage losses) caused by non-radiative recombination processes.

Ransomware attack before holiday leaves companies scrambling

Businesses around the world rushed Saturday to contain a ransomware attack that has paralyzed their computer networks, a situation complicated in the U.S. by offices lightly staffed at the start of the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

New chemistry enables using existing technology to print stretchable, bendable circuits on artificial skin

Chemical engineer Zhenan Bao and her team of researchers at Stanford have spent nearly two decades trying to develop skin-like integrated circuits that can be stretched, folded, bent and twisted—working all the while—and then snap back without fail, every time. Such circuits presage a day of wearable and implantable products, but one hurdle has always stood in the way.

Microsoft warns of PrintNightmare vulnerability due to flaw in Windows Print Spooler

Microsoft and multiple other entities are warning users and entity operators of a vulnerability in Windows Print Spooler that can allow criminals to hack into Windows computers and remotely execute code. In its post on the company's Security Update Guide, Microsoft labels the vulnerability as CVE-2021-34527, noting that it is aware of the vulnerability and is working on a patch.

Wildfire detection: Drones paired with ground-based sensors

The twin technologies of unmanned aerial vehicles and wireless sensors could be the ideal combination to counter forest fires.

Hackers demand $70 mn after Kaseya ransomware attack

Hackers were on Monday demanding $70 million in bitcoin in exchange for data stolen during an attack on a US IT company that has shuttered hundreds of Swedish supermarkets.

Manufacturing drone wings with locust wing capabilities

A team of researchers from the University of Lincoln in the U.S. and Huazhong University of Science and Technology and Guangzhou University, both in China, has developed a way to manufacture drone wings with locust wing properties, allowing drones to glide for long distances. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group describes how they developed their technique and how well it worked when tested.

Bezos leaves enduring legacy as he steps away as Amazon CEO

As he prepares to blast off into a new career stage, Jeff Bezos leaves an enduring legacy after transforming Amazon from a modest online bookseller into one of the world's most powerful corporations.

EXPLAINER: Ransomware and its role in supply chain attacks

Another holiday weekend in the U.S., another ransomware attack that has paralyzed businesses around the world.

Bugs and bird nests: Airlines dust off planes grounded by COVID

As travel picks up this summer, airlines are dusting off planes that were grounded during the pandemic, checking they are clear of fungus, bugs and bird nests before sending them back in the air.

China extends probe into US-listed tech firms after Didi blow

Beijing widened a crackdown on its embattled technology sector Monday by announcing probes into two more US-listed Chinese companies, a day after banning ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing from app stores following its huge New York initial public offering.

Fallout continues from biggest global ransomware attack

The single biggest global ransomware attack yet continued to bite Monday as details emerged on how the Russia-linked gang responsible breached the company whose software was the conduit. In essence, the criminals used a tool that helps protect against malware to spread it widely.

Video: Complexity of investigation into Surfside condo collapse

As search and rescue teams from all over the world continue to work around the clock at the site of last week's deadly collapse of a Surfside condominium, local government officials and investigators remain steadfast in determining what exactly caused the cataclysmic collapse.

What are the warning signs before a building collapses?

The terrifying collapse of a high-rise oceanfront building in Surfside, Florida, has raised concerns that other buildings may be vulnerable.

Right at your fingertips: researcher creating digital touch

For many, the ability to see and hear our family, friends and colleagues using digital devices like mobile phones and video-calls has long been a reality—never more so than during the pandemic. But one day, we may also be able to reach out and touch someone miles away.

Collective battery storage beneficial for decarbonized world

Batteries are potentially a game-changing technology as we decarbonize our economy, and their benefits are even greater when shared across communities, a University of Otago-led study has found.

EXPLAINER: Why China is investigating tech firms like Didi

Chinese regulators have clamped down on the country's largest ride-hailing app, Didi Global Inc., days after its shares began trading in New York. Authorities told Didi to stop new registrations and ordered its app removed from China's app stores pending a cybersecurity review. The government said it was acting to prevent security risks and protect the public interest. Didi is the latest company to face intensified scrutiny in a crackdown on some of China's biggest technology giants.

Amazon begins new chapter as Bezos hands over CEO role

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos stepped down as CEO on Monday, handing over the reins as the company navigates the challenges of a world fighting to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

Andy Jassy, an Amazon pioneer, inherits Bezos's challenges and rewards

Amazon's new CEO Andy Jassy has been a trusted lieutenant to founder Jeff Bezos since the early days of the online behemoth, but he is taking over a company that faces new scrutiny to its expanding influence.

Facebook tests alerting users to extremist posts

A Facebook test of pop-up boxes asking people whether they think friends are becoming extremists raised concerns Friday among US conservatives who felt their voices might be stifled.

Southwest, American delays hint at hard summer for travelers

This summer is already shaping up to be a difficult one for air travelers.

Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant back online after two weeks

Iran's only nuclear power plant has been brought back online, its manager said early Monday, after two weeks off-grid amid a power shortage and rolling blackouts across the Islamic republic.

Salesforce exec draws up post-pandemic playbook for work

After reshaping their businesses to deal with threats posed by the pandemic, many companies are facing another daunting challenge: how to bring remote workers back to the office when people are still debating face masks and not everyone has received the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Kaseya ransomware supply chain attack: What you need to know

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ZDNet Insights
July 5, 2021
Kaseya ransomware supply chain attack: What you need to know
A ransomware gang is demanding a huge payment after a major software supply chain attack. Here is everything we know so far.


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