Science X Newsletter Thursday, Jul 8

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for July 8, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A high-energy density and long-life initial-anode-free lithium battery

The realization of topologically protected valley-dependent quantum photonic chips

Climate changed the size of our bodies and, to some extent, our brains

Stem cells can use same method as plants and insects to protect against viruses

Engineering seeds to resist drought

Model predicts when rivers that cross faults will change course

Solving the plastic shortage with a new chemical catalyst

A peek inside a flying bat's brain uncovers clues to mammalian navigation

Team develops quantum simulator with 256 qubits, largest of its kind ever created

First study of nickelate's magnetism finds a strong kinship with cuprate superconductors

The pressure is off and high temperature superconductivity remains

Curiosity rover finds patches of rock record erased, revealing clues

Reading the rocks: Geologist finds clues to ancient climate patterns in chert

Five million deaths a year caused by global climate related abnormal temps

Novel study of high-potency cannabis shows some memory effects

Physics news

The realization of topologically protected valley-dependent quantum photonic chips

The field of topological photonics, specialized in the development of a class of materials known as photonic topological insulators, has advanced considerably over the past few decades. Photonic topological insulators have many promising qualities, including the ability to control the flow of classic light.

Team develops quantum simulator with 256 qubits, largest of its kind ever created

A team of physicists from the Harvard-MIT Center for Ultracold Atoms and other universities has developed a special type of quantum computer known as a programmable quantum simulator capable of operating with 256 quantum bits, or "qubits."

First study of nickelate's magnetism finds a strong kinship with cuprate superconductors

Ever since the 1986 discovery that copper oxide materials, or cuprates, could carry electrical current with no loss at unexpectedly high temperatures, scientists have been looking for other unconventional superconductors that could operate even closer to room temperature. This would allow for a host of everyday applications that could transform society by making energy transmission more efficient, for instance.

The pressure is off and high temperature superconductivity remains

In a critical next step toward room-temperature superconductivity at ambient pressure, Paul Chu, Founding Director and Chief Scientist at the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston (TcSUH), Liangzi Deng, research assistant professor of physics at TcSUH, and their colleagues at TcSUH conceived and developed a pressure-quench (PQ) technique that retains the pressure-enhanced and/or -induced high transition temperature (Tc) phase even after the removal of the applied pressure that generates this phase.

Infrared cameras and artificial intelligence uncover the physics of boiling

Boiling is not just for heating up dinner. It's also for cooling things down. Turning liquid into gas removes energy from hot surfaces, and keeps everything from nuclear power plants to powerful computer chips from overheating. But when surfaces grow too hot, they might experience what's called a boiling crisis.

Scientists propose source of unexplained solar jets

Nothing seems more familiar than the sun in the sky. But mysterious swirls, jets, and flashes of powerful light that scientists cannot explain occur in the sun's outer atmosphere all the time. Now, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have gained insight into these puzzling phenomena.

Scientists observe a new type of topological defect in chiral magnets for the first time

'Topological defects' are formed when the symmetry of a magnetic material is disrupted. Domain walls (DWs) are a type of topological defect that separates regions of different magnetic orientations. A widely studied phenomenon, the manipulation of these defects has potential applications in high-performance memory storage devices, energy processing devices, and quantum computing.

Researchers bring attack-proof quantum communication two steps forward

Quantum key distribution (QKD) is a method for secure communication that uses quantum mechanics to encrypt information. While the security of QKD is unbreakable in principle, if it is incorrectly implemented, vital information could still be stolen by attackers. These are known as side-channel attacks, where the attackers exploit weaknesses in the setup of the information system to eavesdrop on the exchange of secret keys.

Record-breaking simulations of turbulence's smallest structures

When you pour cream into a cup of coffee, the viscous liquid seems to lazily disperse throughout the cup. Take a mixing spoon or straw to the cup, though, and the cream and coffee seem to quickly and seamlessly combine into a lighter color and, at least for some, a more enjoyable beverage.

Astronomy and Space news

Curiosity rover finds patches of rock record erased, revealing clues

A new paper enriches scientists' understanding of where the rock record preserved or destroyed evidence of Mars' past and possible signs of ancient life.

LHAASO measures Crab Nebula brightness, yields new UHE gamma-ray standard

The Large High Altitude Air Shower Observatory (LHAASO), one of China's key national science and technology infrastructure facilities, has accurately measured the brightness over 3.5 orders of magnitude of the standard candle in high-energy astronomy, thus calibrating a new standard for ultra-high-energy (UHE) gamma-ray sources. The standard candle is the famous Crab Nebula, which evolved from the "guest star" recorded by the imperial astronomers of China's Song Dynasty.

Thousands of galaxies classified in the blink of an eye

Astronomers have designed and trained a computer program that can classify tens of thousands of galaxies in just a few seconds, a task that usually takes months to accomplish.

New radio receiver opens wider window to radio universe

Researchers have used the latest wireless technology to develop a new radio receiver for astronomy. The receiver is capable of capturing radio waves at frequencies over a range several times wider than conventional ones, and can detect radio waves emitted by many types of molecules in space at once. This is expected to enable significant progresses in the study of the evolution of the universe and the mechanisms of star and planet formation.

Icequakes likely rumble along geyser-spitting fractures in Saturn's icy moon Enceladus

Tidal stresses may be causing constant icequakes on Saturn's sixth largest moon Enceladus, a world of interest in the search for life beyond Earth, according to a new study. A better understanding of seismic activity could reveal what's under the moon's icy crust and provide clues to the habitability of its ocean.

Billionaire Blastoff: Rich riding own rockets into space

Two billionaires are putting everything on the line this month to ride their own rockets into space.

Goldilocks planets 'with a tilt' may develop more complex life

Planets which are tilted on their axis, like Earth, are more capable of evolving complex life. This finding will help scientists refine the search for more advanced life on exoplanets. This NASA-funded research is presented at the Goldschmidt Geochemistry Conference.

Meet the open-source software powering NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter

When NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter hovered above the Red Planet April 19 on its maiden voyage, the moment was hailed as the first instance of powered, controlled flight on another planet. Figuring out how to fly on Mars, where the air is thin but gravity is about a third of that on Earth, took years of work. Along with the challenge of developing a craft that was up to the task, the mission needed software to make the unprecedented flights possible.

Image: Protecting the Meteosat Third Generation–Imaging satellite from the sun

From ESA's Materials and Electrical Components Laboratory—one of a suite of labs based at the ESTEC technical center in Noordwijk, the Netherlands—a view from an intricate test campaign for the next generation of European weather satellites.

Russia to launch new International Space Station module

The long-delayed Russian module for the International Space Station is set to be finally launched this month, but the date has been pushed back several days, the head of the country's space corporation said Thursday.

Astronomers map interstellar dust grains in Milky Way

Between the stars in our Milky Way, vast amounts of tiny dust grains are floating aimlessly around. They form the building blocks of new stars and planets. But we still don't know what elements exactly are available to form planets like Earth. A research team at SRON led by Elisa Costantini has now matched observations from X-ray telescopes with data from synchrotron facilities to create a map of interstellar grains in the Milky Way.

Video: European Robotic Arm ready for space

The European Robotic Arm (ERA) will be launched to the International Space Station together with the Russian Multipurpose Laboratory Module, called 'Nauka'. ERA is the first robot able to 'walk' around the Russian segment of the Space Station. It has the ability to anchor itself to the Station and move back and forward by itself, hand-over-hand between fixed base-points. This 11-metre intelligent space robot will serve as main manipulator on the Russian part of the Space Station, assisting the astronauts during spacewalks. The robot arm can help install, deploy and replace elements in outer space

Technology news

A high-energy density and long-life initial-anode-free lithium battery

Lithium-metal batteries (LMBs), an emerging type of rechargeable lithium-based batteries made of solid-state metal instead of lithium-ions, are among the most promising high-energy-density rechargeable battery technologies. Although they have some advantageous characteristics, these batteries have several limitations, including a poor energy density and safety-related issues.

More cell phone data use is negatively affecting Wi-Fi performance, study finds

If service becomes slow when you're trying to send a quick email on your smartphone, you might scroll through your network options and discover how many Wi-Fi networks there are. In fact, this plethora of options is itself the problem. These networks are in competition with one another, limiting the speed at which each can operate.

Smarter electronics a step closer with nanotech advance

As silicon-based technology reaches its absolute limits, a material engineered by University of Queensland researchers could herald the next generation of electronics with more memory, faster speeds and advanced features.

China's Tencent turns to facial recognition to snag late-night child gamers

Chinese tech giant Tencent has rolled out a facial recognition "midnight patrol" function to root out children masquerading as adults to get around a government curfew on underage gamers.

US states accuse Google of app store monopoly

Dozens of US states joined forces in a lawsuit filed Wednesday accusing Google of abusing its power when it comes to getting apps for Android-powered mobile devices.

Microsoft patches 'PrintNightmare' flaw in Windows

Microsoft on Wednesday urged users of Windows-powered computers to install a freshly released patch to thwart hackers trying to take advantage of a potentially serious flaw in the operating system.

Why social media design makes it hard to have constructive disagreements online

Good-faith disagreements are a normal part of society and building strong relationships. Yet it's difficult to engage in good-faith disagreements on the internet, and people reach less common ground online compared with face-to-face disagreements.

A screw that can halve the level of perceived sound

Could noisy neighbors become a thing of the past? If you are disturbed by crashes, bangs, and muffled voices from next door, then you are not alone, but a Malmö University researcher thinks the answer is as simple as a screw.

Films made for Netflix look more like TV shows—here's the technical reason why

The history of cinema as an art parallels its history as a technology. Ever wondered why the colour in The Wizard of Oz is so saturated? Well, it wasn't the first technicolor film, but it was the first to effectively advertise MGM's new three-strip colour process to a global audience. Why advertise something at half mast?

UN nuclear agency to help monitor Fukushima water release

The United Nations' nuclear watchdog said it reached an agreement with Japan Thursday on helping monitor and review the release of treated radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima plant into the Pacific Ocean.

Stellantis: 98% of models to be electric or hybrid by 2025

Stellantis is a little late to the global electric vehicle party, but on Thursday it pledged to catch up and pass its competitors.

EU fines German car makers $1B over emission collusion

The European Union handed down $1 billion in fines to major German car manufacturers Thursday, saying they colluded to limit the development and rollout of car emission-control systems.

Venture capital surge delivers record for 'unicorn births'

Venture capital funding to startups around the world surged to the highest level in a decade in the second quarter, led by a record for US-based firms, a research firm said Thursday.

EU prepares to send petrol cars to the scrap heap

Europe's prestigious carmakers lead the world in perfecting the internal combustion engine—but the days of the petrol motor are numbered, and the continent is changing gear.

A neural network to identify tiger mosquitoes

A study by researchers in the Scene understanding and artificial intelligence (SUNAI) research group, of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya's (UOC) Faculty of Computer Science, Multimedia and Telecommunications, has developed a method that can learn to identify mosquitoes using a large number of images that volunteers took using mobile phones and uploaded to Mosquito Alert platform.

An AI for sea ice identification

If you've watched Netflix, shopped online, or run your robot vacuum cleaner, you've interacted with artificial intelligence, AI. AI is what allows computers to comb through an enormous amount of data to detect patterns or solve problems. The European Union says AI is set to be a "defining future technology."

Machine learning models based on thermal data predict solar radiation

A research team at the University of Córdoba has developed and evaluated models for the prediction of solar radiation in nine locations in southern Spain and North Carolina (USA).

Women and lower-education users more likely to tweet personal information

When it comes to what users share on Twitter, women and users who never attended college voluntarily disclose more personal information than users from other socioeconomic and demographic backgrounds—potentially making these populations more susceptible to online privacy threats, according to a recent study led by the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology.

Opel to be 100% electric in Europe by 2028: CEO

German carmaker Opel said Thursday that it would stop producing cars with internal combustion engines in Europe by 2028, one of the most ambitious greening targets in the accelerating shift to electric vehicles.

Restart after hacks delayed again by software firm

A US software firm hit by a ransomware attack that crippled companies worldwide put off restarting its servers until Sunday to harden defenses against further breaches.

TikTok launches video resume feature as US firms struggle to hire

TikTok, the social network known for short entertainment videos popular with young people, has launched a recruiting platform that allows users to respond to job offers with a short video rather than a traditional resume.

Should planes be more like birds?

Would planes be better if they were more like birds? Engineers from the University of Bristol and the Royal Veterinary College have been studying our feathered-friends to answer this very question, the answer to which will be revealed at the Royal Society Summer Science 2021.

Indian food delivery giant Zomato eyes $1.3bn IPO

Indian food delivery giant Zomato announced plans Thursday to raise 93.75 billion rupees ($1.3 billion) via an initial public offering, the latest firm to take advantage of a strong rally in local equities.


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