Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Jul 27

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for July 27, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Astronomers show how planets form in binary systems without getting crushed

Engineers may learn from bees for optimal honeycomb designs

Very-high energy gamma-ray emission detected from blazar TXS 1515–273

Exploring quantum systems that don't find equilibrium

Bezos offers NASA a $2 billion discount for Blue Origin Moon lander

'Talking drum' shown to accurately mimic speech patterns of west African language

Lack of species depth threatens mangroves

Under pressure, 'squishy' compound reacts in remarkable ways

Receptor protein in adipose tissue plays a role in controlling blood sugar levels

Tiny wireless device illuminates neuron activity in the brain

What makes some immune cells better at killing melanoma

Bipedal robot makes history by learning to run, completing a 5K

Decoding the secrets of a 310 million-year-old brain

On the hunt for 'hierarchical' black holes

Giant amoeba-infecting viruses rely on DNA-packing proteins

Physics news

Exploring quantum systems that don't find equilibrium

Some physical systems, especially in the quantum world, do not reach a stable equilibrium even after a long time. An ETH researcher has now found an elegant explanation for this phenomenon.

Under pressure, 'squishy' compound reacts in remarkable ways

Remarkable things happen when a "squishy" compound of manganese and sulfide (MnS2) is compressed in a diamond anvil, say researchers from the University of Rochester and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).

Why beer mats do not fly in a straight line

Anyone who has ever failed to throw a beer mat into a hat should take note: physicists at the University of Bonn have discovered why this task is so difficult. However, their study also suggests how to significantly increase accuracy and range. The results are being publishing in the European Physical Journal Plus.

How quantum fields could be used to break low-temperature records

At first glance, heat and cold do not have much to do with quantum physics. A single atom is neither hot nor cold. Temperature can traditionally only be defined for objects that consist of many particles. But at TU Wien, in collaboration with FU Berlin, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the University of Lisbon, it has now been possible to show what possibilities arise when thermodynamics and quantum physics are combined: One can specifically use quantum effects to cool a cloud of ultracold atoms even further.

Promising new technique is bringing the microscopic details of the brain into sharper focus

One of the greatest challenges in science is the study of the brain's anatomy and cellular architecture. A promising new technique, developed by scientists in Italy, the UK and Germany, is now bringing the microscopic details of the brain into sharper focus even over macroscopic volumes.

Researchers create powerful quantum source with meta-lens array

Researchers for the first time have demonstrated a quantum light source based on a meta-lens array. The approach offers a promising platform for both high-dimensional photon entanglement and the coherent control of multiple photons, making it suitable for advancing quantum technologies for secure communication, computing, and other applications.

Optical innovation could calm the jitters of high-power lasers

The Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA) Center at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has developed and tested an innovative optical system to precisely measure and control the position and pointing angle of high-power laser beams with unprecedented accuracy—without interrupting or disturbing the beams. The new system will help users throughout the sciences get the most out of high-power lasers.

Northern English verbal mannerisms being lost

Within just 45 years south eastern English pronunciations will be used across the UK, according to new research from the Universities of Portsmouth and Cambridge.

Amplified spontaneous emission source in a co-pumping, single-frequency Raman fiber amplifier

Recently, researchers from the Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics (SIOM) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have provided the new idea of co-pumping single-frequency Raman amplifiers. Relevant result was published in Optics Express on May 7.

Astronomy and Space news

Astronomers show how planets form in binary systems without getting crushed

Astronomers have developed the most realistic model to date of planet formation in binary star systems.

Very-high energy gamma-ray emission detected from blazar TXS 1515–273

An international team of astronomers has carried out multi-wavelength observations of a blazar known as TXS 1515–273; they detected very-high energy (VHE) gamma-ray emission from this source for the first time. The finding is detailed in a paper published July 20 on

Bezos offers NASA a $2 billion discount for Blue Origin Moon lander

Blue Origin owner Jeff Bezos wrote an open letter to NASA on Monday offering a $2 billion discount to allow his company to build a Moon lander.

On the hunt for 'hierarchical' black holes

Black holes, detected by their gravitational wave signal as they collide with other black holes, could be the product of much earlier parent collisions. Such an event has only been hinted at so far, but scientists at the University of Birmingham in the U.K., and Northwestern University in the U.S., believe we are getting close to tracking down the first of these so-called "hierarchical" black holes.

Global project observes rare meteor showers and meteorite falls

As billionaires battle it out in a space race that only a handful of the world's richest persons can play, a highly inclusive international project is looking in the other direction–what's flying towards Earth–and all are welcome.

Three dwarf spheroidal galaxies found to rotate

An international team of astrophysicists from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), the University of La Laguna (ULL) and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI, U.S.) has discovered the presence of transverse rotation (in the plane of the sky) in three dwarf spheroidal galaxies. These are a very faint type of galaxy and are quite difficult to observe. These new findings help to trace their evolutionary history. The finding was made using the most recent data from the GAIA satellite of the European Space Agency. The results of the study have just been published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS).

Technology news

Bipedal robot makes history by learning to run, completing a 5K

Cassie the robot, invented at Oregon State University and produced by OSU spinout company Agility Robotics, has made history by traversing 5 kilometers, completing the route in just over 53 minutes.

Hiding malware inside AI neural networks

A trio of researchers at Cornell University has found that it is possible to hide malware code inside of AI neural networks. Zhi Wang, Chaoge Liu and Xiang Cui have posted a paper describing their experiments with injecting code into neural networks on the arXiv preprint server.

'Founding Father' of lithium-ion batteries helps solve 40-year problem with his invention

In the late 1970s, M. Stanley Whittingham was the first to describe the concept of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, an achievement for which he would share the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Yet even he couldn't have anticipated the complex materials science challenges that would arise as these batteries came to power the world's portable electronics.

Study: New reusable shock absorber shows promise in lab tests

University at Buffalo engineers are reporting a new energy dissipation device that they say could have far-reaching applications in transportation safety.

Tesla reaches milestone with first $1B quarterly profit

Tesla's quarterly profit has surpassed $1 billion for the first time thanks to the electric car pioneer's ability to navigate through a pandemic-driven computer chip shortage that has caused major headaches for other automakers.

Amazon eyes cryptocurrency but not poised for Bitcoin

Amazon on Monday denied a report that the e-commerce giant planned to begin accepting Bitcoin payments by the end of this year, but acknowledged an interest in cryptocurrency.

Facebook assembles team to build 'metaverse'

Facebook on Monday said it was combining specialists from across its hardware, gaming and virtual reality units to build an immersive digital world known as the "metaverse."

Converting renewable electricity into stable molecules could provide long-term energy storage

For renewable energy and energy storage technologies, variation is the name of the game.

Fight for control threatens to destabilize and fragment the internet

You try to use your credit card, but it doesn't work. In fact, no one's credit card works. You try to go to some news sites to find out why, but you can't access any of those, either. Neither can anyone else. Panic-buying ensues. People empty ATMs of cash.

The 'privacy by design' approach for mobile apps: Why it's not enough

The mobile apps installed on our smartphones are one of the biggest threats to our digital privacy. They are capable of collecting vast amounts of personal data, often highly sensitive.

Up to 78 million batteries will be discarded daily by 2025

About 78 million batteries powering IoT devices will be dumped globally every day by 2025 if nothing is done to improve their lifespan. This dire statistic comes from EnABLES, an EU-funded project that's urging researchers and technologists to take action to ensure that batteries outlive the devices they power.

Instagram adds safety features after critics fret over service for children

Instagram on Tuesday introduced changes designed to keep young users safer by making them harder to find at the image-centric social network.

Mixing precision for model acceleration

A mixed-precision approach for modeling large geospatial datasets can achieve benchmark accuracy with a fraction of the computational run time.

New cybersecurity technique protects in-vehicle networks

Army researchers developed a new machine learning-based framework to enhance the security of computer networks inside vehicles without undermining performance.

Rougher interfaces may increase efficiency of next-generation solar cells

In simulations and experiments, researchers demonstrate that introducing tiny nanoscale texturing on the surfaces of materials in perovskite/silicon tandem solar cells can significantly increase efficiency by reducing the amount of light energy that is lost due to reflection. A new nanotextured design can achieve a power conversion efficiency potential above 29%, which simulations suggest could be further improved with better fabrication techniques and additional texturing.

Facebook's new privacy changes for Instagram's teen users met with both praise, scrutiny

Facing an onslaught of ongoing criticism, Facebook said that it's taking several steps to make Instagram safer and private for teens.

New AI system predicts building energy rates in less than a second

At a time when the UK is trying to reach net zero by 2050, the timely, accurate calculation of energy efficiency is a vital component of the design process for new and refurbished buildings.

Smart Eye Deputy CEO Rana el Kaliouby talks automotive AI

Rana el Kaliouby co-founded and led Boston startup Affectiva, which uses artificial intelligence and computer vision to analyze mood and emotion.

Research illuminates how energy costs vary nationwide

Costs for energy are borne unequally across the U.S. population. Argonne research is providing key data that can help inform decisions about which technologies can reduce disparities.

Keylime security software is deployed to IBM cloud

Keylime, a cloud security software architecture, is being adopted into IBM's cloud fleet. Originally developed at MIT Lincoln Laboratory to allow system administrators to ensure the security of their cloud environment, Keylime is now a Cloud Native Computing Foundation sandbox technology with more than 30 open-source developers contributing to it from around the world. The software will enable IBM to remotely attest to the security of its thousands of cloud servers.

Google parent Alphabet profit soars as ads surge

Google parent Alphabet on Tuesday reported quarterly profit that nearly tripled as money poured in from ads at its search engine and YouTube video platform.

Apple quarterly profit nearly doubles to $21.7 bn

Apple said Tuesday its profit in the just-ended quarter nearly doubled to $21.7 billion on growth in iPhone sales and digital services.

S.Africa's port terminals still disrupted days after cyber-attack

South Africa's state-owned logistics firm said Tuesday it was working to restore systems following a major cyber-attack last week that hit the country's key port terminals.

GE sees rise in industrial orders, lifting shares

Shares of General Electric rose early Tuesday as it scored increased orders in aviation and other key divisions while reporting a smaller loss compared with the year-ago period.

Pedestrians should get the green light on traffic signal prioritisation

Whether you're driving behind the wheel, cycling on a bike or a pedestrian at a junction waiting to cross, it may feel like traffic lights are never working in your favor.

New robot aims to make high-rise window and façade services faster and safer

A new robotic window and building façade cleaner currently being developed has the potential to be three times faster, safer, and more efficient than current methods, according to its co-inventors. SFU postdoctoral researcher Hossein Kamali and co-founder Mohammad Dabiri hope their robotic window cleaner will increase efficiency and eliminate risk of injuries and fatalities that come with traditional high-rise window cleaning—which has been carried out the same way for decades.

Activision workers plan walkout to protest sexism

Employees at Activision Blizzard planned a work stoppage on Thursday to protest sexism at the video game company, according to a rallying cry echoing on social media.

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