Science X Newsletter Week 27

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 27:

Compulsory jabs: Pressure grows on anti-vaxxers

A growing number of countries and territories around the world are forcing people, often in specific sectors, to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Israel data 'preliminary signal' Delta variant can bypass vaccine: expert

Rising coronavirus cases in Israel, where most residents are inoculated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, offer "a preliminary signal" the vaccine may be less effective in preventing mild illness from the Delta variant, a top expert said Monday.

Scientists solve 40-year mystery over Jupiter's X-ray aurora

A research team co-led by UCL has solved a decades-old mystery as to how Jupiter produces a spectacular burst of X-rays every few minutes.

Kepler telescope glimpses population of free-floating planets

Tantalizing evidence has been uncovered for a mysterious population of "free-floating" planets, planets that may be alone in deep space, unbound to any host star. The results include four new discoveries that are consistent with planets of similar masses to Earth, published today in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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.

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."

Longest known continuous record of the Paleozoic discovered in Yukon wilderness

Hundreds of millions of years ago, in the middle of what would eventually become Canada's Yukon Territory, an ocean swirled with armored trilobites, clam-like brachiopods and soft, squishy creatures akin to slugs and squid.

Rare meteorite could hold secrets to life on Earth

Scientists are set to uncover the secrets of a rare meteorite and possibly the origins of oceans and life on Earth, thanks to Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) funding.

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.

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.

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.

Ancient bone carving could change the way we think about Neanderthals

The design may be simple, but a chevron pattern etched onto a deer bone more than 50,000 years ago suggests that Neanderthals had their own artistic tradition before modern humans arrived on the scene, researchers said Monday.

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.

Lab analysis finds near-meat and meat are not nutritionally equivalent

Plant-based meat substitutes taste and chew remarkably similar to real beef, and the 13 items listed on their nutrition labels—vitamins, fats and protein—make them seem essentially equivalent.

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.

Ancient diamonds show Earth was primed for life's explosion at least 2.7 billion years ago

A unique study of ancient diamonds has shown that the basic chemical composition of the Earth's atmosphere which makes it suitable for life's explosion of diversity was laid down at least 2.7 billion years ago. Volatile gases conserved in diamonds found in ancient rocks were present in similar proportions to those found in today's mantle, which in turn indicates that there has been no fundamental change in the proportions of volatiles in the atmosphere over the last few billion years. This shows that one of the basic conditions necessary to support life, the presence of life-giving elements in sufficient quantity, appeared soon after Earth formed, and has remained fairly constant ever since.

Quantum particles: Pulled and compressed

Very recently, researchers led by Markus Aspelmeyer at the University of Vienna and Lukas Novotny at ETH Zurich cooled a glass nanoparticle into the quantum regime for the first time. To do this, the particle is deprived of its kinetic energy with the help of lasers. What remains are movements, so-called quantum fluctuations, which no longer follow the laws of classical physics but those of quantum physics. The glass sphere with which this has been achieved is significantly smaller than a grain of sand, but still consists of several hundred million atoms. In contrast to the microscopic world of photons and atoms, nanoparticles provide an insight into the quantum nature of macroscopic objects. In collaboration with experimental physicist Markus Aspelmeyer, a team of theoretical physicists led by Oriol Romero-Isart of the University of Innsbruck and the Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences is now proposing a way to harness the quantum properties of nanoparticles for various applications.

New method for oxygenating lakes shows promising results

A pilot project in Lake Søllerød has successfully used electrodes to oxygenate lake bed. The method should now be tested in a large demonstration trial.

Match matters: The right combination of parents can turn a gene off indefinitely

Evidence suggests that what happens in one generation—diet, toxin exposure, trauma, fear—can have lasting effects on future generations. Scientists believe these effects result from epigenetic changes that occur in response to the environment and turn genes on or off without altering the genome or DNA sequence.

Methane in the plumes of Saturn's moon Enceladus: Possible signs of life?

An unknown methane-producing process is likely at work in the hidden ocean beneath the icy shell of Saturn's moon Enceladus, suggests a new study published in Nature Astronomy by scientists at the University of Arizona and Paris Sciences & Lettres University.


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Science X Newsletter Sunday, Jul 11

Dear ymilog,

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

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Billionaire Richard Branson reaches space in his own ship

Normal brain growth curves for children developed childhood brain disorders, infections and injuries

Explainer: How Richard Branson will ride own rocket to space

Square making real-world wallet for bitcoin

17 years after founding Virgin Galactic, Branson bound for space

Common prescription drugs (not themselves antibiotics) may increase risk of developing antibiotic resistance

Highly mutated SARS-CoV-2 emerged from someone living with advanced HIV

Testosterone therapy reduces heart attack and stroke

For pediatric patients with Crohn's disease, factors associated with statural growth differ by sex

The 'hijab effect': Feminist backlash to Muslim immigrants in Germany

Study model explores impact of police action on population health

Heat pumps on the rise after Minnesota passes new energy law

FDA head calls for inquiry into Alzheimer's drug review

French scientists warn high vaccine rate needed to stop Delta

WHO sees 'likely' COVID vaccine link to rare heart inflammation

Astronomy and Space news

Billionaire Richard Branson reaches space in his own ship

Swashbuckling entrepreneur Richard Branson hurtled into space aboard his own winged rocket ship Sunday in his boldest adventure yet, beating out fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos.

Explainer: How Richard Branson will ride own rocket to space

Virgin Galactic will become the first rocket company to launch the boss when Richard Branson straps into one of his sleek, shiny space planes this weekend.

17 years after founding Virgin Galactic, Branson bound for space

He's always dreamed of it, and in 2004 founded his own company to make it happen.

Image: Hubble glimpses a galactic duo

Two enormous galaxies capture your attention in this spectacular image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope using the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). The galaxy on the left is a lenticular galaxy, named 2MASX J03193743+4137580. The side-on spiral galaxy on the right is more simply named UGC 2665. Both galaxies lie approximately 350 million light-years from Earth, and they both form part of the huge Perseus galaxy cluster. 

Technology news

Square making real-world wallet for bitcoin

Financial payments startup Square was at work Friday on a real-world wallet for safely pocketing bitcoin cryptocurrency.

Heat pumps on the rise after Minnesota passes new energy law

Air source heat pumps are on the rise in rural Minnesota and utility officials expect momentum to grow as a result of the state's new energy conservation law.

Why China is hobbling its tech sector

Scuttled listings and share prices hammered by official threats: Beijing has launched a withering and very public assault on some of China's biggest tech names.

China orders takedown of 25 apps from ride service Didi

China's regulator ordered the removal from app stores of 25 apps owned by Didi Global Inc., the country's largest ride-hailing service, citing severe violations of rules against collecting personal data.

Hackers disrupt Iran's rail service with fake delay messages

Iran's railroad system came under cyberattack on Friday, a semi-official news agency reported, with hackers posting fake messages about train delays or cancellations on display boards at stations across the country.

More competition: Biden signs order targeting big business

President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Friday targeting what he labeled anticompetitive practices in tech, health care and other parts of the economy, declaring it would fortify an American ideal "that true capitalism depends on fair and open competition."

Chinese regulator halts Huya-Douyu game-streaming merger

China's market regulator on Saturday blocked the merger of Tencent-backed game streaming platforms Douyu and Huya following an anti-monopoly investigation, as authorities ramp up scrutiny of some of the country's biggest technology companies.

United sees more travel rebound, adds flights to warm spots

United Airlines said Friday it will add nearly 150 flights this winter to warm-weather destinations in the U.S. and will also add flights to beach spots in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

G20 endorses historic global tax reform

G20 finance ministers on Saturday gave their backing to a historic deal to overhaul the way multinational companies are taxed, and urged hold-out countries to get on board.


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