Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Jul 21

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for July 21, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

New 3D images of shark intestines show they function like Nikola Tesla's valve

Microbially produced fibers: Stronger than steel, tougher than Kevlar

Muddied waters: Sinking organics alter seafloor records

'Magic-angle' trilayer graphene may be a rare, magnet-proof superconductor

Researchers discover a 'layer hall effect' in a 2D topological Axion antiferromagnet

DNA from 93-year-old butterfly confirms the first US case of human-led insect extinction

SuperBIT: A low-cost, balloon-borne telescope to rival Hubble

Planetary shields will buckle under stellar winds from their dying stars

Smartphone gaming can be harmful for some seeking relief from boredom

Tiny organisms shed big light on ocean nutrients

Fossil reveals burrowing lifestyle of tiny dino

Older people are worse at learning to self-help, but just as good learning to help others

Harnessing the combined power of Vitamin C and TET proteins may give scientists a leg up in treating autoimmune diseases

Unexpected proteome plasticity in response to persistent temperature rise

Study finds calcium precisely directs blood flow in the brain

Physics news

'Magic-angle' trilayer graphene may be a rare, magnet-proof superconductor

MIT physicists have observed signs of a rare type of superconductivity in a material called magic-angle twisted trilayer graphene. In a study appearing in Nature, the researchers report that the material exhibits superconductivity at surprisingly high magnetic fields of up to 10 Tesla, which is three times higher than what the material is predicted to endure if it were a conventional superconductor.

Researchers discover a 'layer hall effect' in a 2D topological Axion antiferromagnet

Researchers have discovered a "layer" Hall effect in a solid state chip constructed of antiferromagnetic manganese bismuth telluride, a finding that signals a much sought-after topological Axion insulating state, the team reports in the current edition of the journal Nature.

Glass sponges reveal important properties for the design of ships, skyscrapers and planes of the future

The remarkable structural properties of the Venus flower basket sponge (E. aspergillum) might seem fathoms removed from human-engineered structures. However, insights into how the organism's latticework of holes and ridges influences the hydrodynamics of seawater in its vicinity could lead to advanced designs for buildings, bridges, marine vehicles and aircraft, and anything that must respond safely to forces imposed by the flow of air or water.

Using ultra-low temperatures to understand high-temperature superconductivity

A surprising discovery at TU Wien could help solve the riddle of high-temperature superconductivity: A famous "strange metal" turned out to be a superconductor.

Nanostructures enable record high-harmonic generation

Cornell researchers have developed nanostructures that enable record-breaking conversion of laser pulses into high-harmonic generation, paving the way for new scientific tools for high-resolution imaging and studying physical processes that occur at the scale of an attosecond.

Rounding errors could make certain stopwatches pick wrong race winners

As the Summer Olympics draw near, the world will shift its focus to photo finishes and races determined by mere fractions of a second. Obtaining such split-second measurements relies on faultlessly rounding a raw time recorded by a stopwatch or electronic timing system to a submitted time.

Astronomy and Space news

SuperBIT: A low-cost, balloon-borne telescope to rival Hubble

Durham, Toronto and Princeton Universities have teamed up with NASA and the Canadian Space Agency to build a new kind of astronomical telescope. SuperBIT flies above 99.5% of the Earth's atmosphere, carried by a helium balloon the size of a football stadium. The telescope will make its operational debut next April and when deployed should obtain high-resolution images rivaling those of the Hubble Space Telescope. Mohamed Shaaban, a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto, will describe SuperBIT in his talk today (Wednesday 21 July) at the online RAS National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 2021).

Planetary shields will buckle under stellar winds from their dying stars

Any life identified on planets orbiting white dwarf stars almost certainly evolved after the star's death, says a new study led by the University of Warwick that reveals the consequences of the intense and furious stellar winds that will batter a planet as its star is dying. The research is published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, and lead author Dr. Dimitri Veras will present it today (21 July) at the online National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 2021).

Space-based infrared imaging reveals the nighttime weather on Venus

Little is known about Venus weather at night, as the absence of sunlight makes imaging difficult. Now, researchers have devised a way to use infrared sensors on board the Venus orbiter Akatsuki to reveal the first details of the nighttime weather of our nearest neighbor. Their analytical methods could be used to study other planets including Mars and gas giants as well. Furthermore, the study of Venusian weather granted by their methods could allow researchers to learn more about the mechanisms underpinning Earth's weather systems.

Astrophysicist outlines plans for a gravitational wave observatory on the moon

Vanderbilt astrophysicist Karan Jani has led a series of studies that make the first case for a gravitational wave infrastructure on the surface of the moon. The experiment, dubbed Gravitational-Wave Lunar Observatory for Cosmology, uses the moon's environment and geocentric orbit to analyze mergers of black holes, neuron stars and dark matter candidates within almost 70 percent of the entire observable volume of the universe, he said.

A large tidal stream observed in the Sombrero galaxy

According to the latest cosmological models, large spiral galaxies such as the Milky Way grew by absorbing smaller galaxies, by a sort of galactic cannibalism. Evidence for this is given by very large structures, the tidal stellar streams, which are observed around them, which are the remains of these satellite galaxies. But the full histories of the majority of these cases are hard to study, because these flows of stars are very faint, and only the remains of the most recent mergers have been detected.

Perseverance Mars Rover to acquire first sample

NASA is making final preparations for its Perseverance Mars rover to collect its first-ever sample of Martian rock, which future planned missions will transport to Earth. The six-wheeled geologist is searching for a scientifically interesting target in a part of Jezero Crater called the "Cratered Floor Fractured Rough."

ESA advances Vega rocket evolution beyond 2025

ESA will further increase the competitiveness and environmental sustainability of Europe's Vega launch system beyond 2025 through a contract signed with Avio in Italy.

Russia launches lab module to International Space Station

Russia on Wednesday successfully launched a long-delayed lab module for the International Space Station that is intended to provide more room for scientific experiments and space for the crew.

LunaH-Map spacecraft safely delivered to NASA's Kennedy Space Center

The ASU-led team that built NASA's Lunar Polar Hydrogen Mapper, or "LunaH-Map" for short, has safely delivered their spacecraft to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for a launch expected later this year on NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) Artemis I rocket.

View from Juno during its flyby of Ganymede and Jupiter

Visualizations shape how we perceive space exploration. Whether it's the Pale Blue Dot, the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, Earthrise, or any other myriad images captured as part of this great endeavor, they all help inspire the next generation of explorers. Now, with advances in image capture and processing technology, we can finally start to take the next step in those visualizations—video. Ingenuity was recently captured on video during its first flight a few months ago. And this week, NASA released a breathtaking video of Juno's view of Jupiter and Ganymede, one of its moons, as it flew past the gas giant.

Technology news

Wearable brain-machine interface turns intentions into actions

A new wearable brain-machine interface (BMI) system could improve the quality of life for people with motor dysfunction or paralysis, even those struggling with locked-in syndrome—when a person is fully conscious but unable to move or communicate.

Green hydrogen production from curtailed wind and solar power

Designing future low-carbon energy systems to use power generated in excess of the grid's demands to produce hydrogen fuel could substantially lower electricity costs, according to new work published by Advances in Applied Energy by Carnegie's Tyler Ruggles and Ken Caldeira.

New algorithm flies drones faster than human racing pilots

For the first time, an autonomously flying quadrotor has outperformed two human pilots in a drone race. The success is based on a novel algorithm that was developed by researchers of the University of Zurich. It calculates time-optimal trajectories that fully consider the drones' limitations.

How managing building energy demand can aid the clean energy transition

Since buildings consume 75% of electricity in the U.S., they offer great potential for saving energy and reducing the demands on our rapidly changing electric grid. But how much, where, and through which strategies could better management of building energy use actually impact the electricity system?

Novel scientific computing method for studying utility-scale renewable power systems

The United States has 37 gigawatts (GW) of utility-scale solar capacity—enough to power over 4,070,000,000 LED lights—with an impressive additional 112 GW of capacity currently under development.

Windows 10/11 vulnerability exposes admin passwords to local users

A Twitter user has found and made public a Windows 10/11 vulnerability that exposes admin passwords to local users who can then escalate their privileges up to admin, giving them total system access. As he notes on his posts, he found that Windows Security Account Manager (SAM) data could be read by users with very limited privileges, giving them access to admin passwords. Microsoft apparently caught wind of the vulnerability and posted an Executive Summary of the issue on its Security Vulnerability page.

Better batteries for grid-scale energy storage

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have designed a new class of molten sodium batteries for grid-scale energy storage. The new battery design was shared in a paper published today in the scientific journal Cell Reports Physical Science.

Origami comes to life with new shape-changing materials

Imagine opening up a book of nature photos only to see a kaleidoscope of graceful butterflies flutter out from the page.

Bezos' comments on workers after spaceflight draws rebuke

The world's richest man wanted to say thanks to the people who made his brief trip into space Tuesday possible.

Netflix confirms move into video games as its growth slows

Netflix reported its worst slowdown in subscriber growth in eight years as people emerge from their pandemic cocoons. So it's adding a new attraction to its marquee: Video games.

Daimler: $4.3 billion quarterly profit despite chip shortage

German auto maker Daimler reaped strong profits in the second quarter as demand for its Mercedes luxury cars continued to rebound from the depths of the pandemic, generating cash that the company can invest in its shift to electric vehicles.

Warning on rising cybercrime during the pandemic

A new study of almost 12,000 Australians has found one-third of the adult population has experienced pure cybercrime during their lifetime, with 14% reporting this disruption to network systems in the past 12 months.

How Pegasus spyware works and how it affects your phone

A major journalistic investigation has found evidence of malicious software being used by governments around the world, including allegations of spying on prominent individuals.

Building resilient telecommunications infrastructure

Australia's national science agency, CSIRO, and Optus have released findings of a joint nationwide project to improve bushfire resilience of critical telecommunications.

Printing perovskite solar cells

To reach the target of carbon neutral, a transition from fossil energy to renewable energy generation is indispensable. Photovoltaic technology is considered as one of the most prominent sources of renewable energy. For decades, about 90% of global solar cell market has been dominated by silicon solar cells. Although the price of silicon solar panels decreases year by year, it is a big challenge to significantly reduce its manufacturing cost further. Hence, next-generation photovoltaic technologies are in urgent need of new materials and novel techniques. Recently, metal halide perovskite solar cells (PSCs) have attracted extensive attention from both academia and industry, due to their excellent photoelectric conversion efficiency and great commercial potential.

Ford, Argo AI team with Lyft to launch self-driving robotaxi service in Miami, Austin

Ford Motor Co. and Argo AI will launch a limited robotaxi service on ride-sharing company Lyft's platform beginning later this year, the companies announced Wednesday.

Cyber-attacks: what is hybrid warfare and why is it such a threat?

Washington and Moscow are engaged in a war of words over a spate of ransomware attacks against organizations and businesses in the US and other countries. These increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks represent a new type of warfare aimed at disorganising and even destroying a nation's economy.

Samsung may soon 'unfold' plans for new foldable and flip smartphones

Samsung looks to be ready to unveil some new flip and foldable phones.

SolarWinds spins off business unit into new company, N-able

Austin-based software maker SolarWinds has spun off its managed service provider business into a separate company called N-able.

Japan's Toyota adds 'kei' makers to technology partnership

Japan's top automaker Toyota is adding two companies specializing in tiny "kei" cars, Daihatsu and Suzuki, to a partnership in commercial vehicles it set up with Hino and Isuzu earlier this year.

Stellantis CEO expects chip shortage to drag into next year

The leader of the world's fourth-largest automaker expects a global computer chip shortage that has cut vehicle production to last into next year.

Agency eyes 'right-to-repair' rules to aid consumers, shops

Americans would be freer to repair their broken cellphones, computers, videogame consoles and even tractors themselves or to use independent repair shops under changes being eyed by federal regulators that target manufacturer restrictions.

Suspect in 2020 Twitter celebrity hack arrested in Spain

A British national charged in last year's hack of Twitter accounts of celebrities and politicians has been arrested in Spain, US officials said Wednesday.

Japan ups 2030 renewables goal in draft energy policy

Japan aims to hike its 2030 renewable energy target as part of efforts to slash emissions, according to draft documents released Wednesday, but activists described the planned goal as "disappointing".

Breakthrough technique speeds up smart tech manufacturing nearly 600 times

Researchers have developed a new polymerization technique to simultaneously cure and vascularize high-performance materials in a matter of minutes instead of days, according to a new paper in Nature Communications.

No more invites. No more wait lists. Exclusive Clubhouse app goes public

Clubhouse, the popular audio-streaming app accessible only by invitation, just got a lot more inviting.

Zoom Apps: How the video conferencing experience is changing

Zoom has a plan for getting its users past "Zoom fatigue" as pandemic restrictions lift and we seek out more human interaction.

High-tech TV tricks for fan-free Tokyo Olympics

There'll be no fans in the stands, and less media on the ground, so when it comes to covering the Tokyo Olympics, broadcasters are relying on technology to give viewers a more vivid experience.

United Airlines suffers quarterly loss, but sees profits ahead

United Airlines turned in another loss in the second quarter but expects profits to return in the second half of 2021 as travel picks up, the company reported Tuesday.

A global comparison of life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars

A far-reaching new study of the life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from passenger cars, including SUVs, draws sharp and meticulous distinctions between the climate impacts of battery and fuel cell electric vehicles on one hand and combustion vehicles on the other.

China fines tech giants for content exploiting children

China's internet watchdog said Wednesday it has fined platforms operated by e-commerce company Alibaba and gaming firm Tencent for spreading sexually suggestive content involving children, as regulators seek to clean up content harmful to minors.

Biden to meet next month with private sector on cyber issues

President Joe Biden and members of his national security team plan to meet next month with business executives about cybersecurity, an official said Wednesday.

Saudi Aramco facing $50M cyber extortion over leaked data

Saudi Arabia's state oil giant acknowledged Wednesday that leaked data from the company—files now apparently being used in a cyber-extortion attempt involving a $50 million ransom demand—likely came from one of its contractors.

A small victory: Used-car prices slip from dizzy heights

For months, anyone who wandered onto a dealer lot to look for a used car could be forgiven for doing a double take—and then wandering right off the lot.


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