Science X Newsletter Friday, Sep 10

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for September 10, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A framework to evaluate techniques for simulating physical systems

Research on beards, wads of gum wins 2021 Ig Nobel prizes

New programmable gene editing proteins found outside of CRISPR systems

Scientists reveal the fossilised skin of a bull-like carnivorous dinosaur

Medicine that treats gout could also battle COVID-19

New technology designed to genetically control disease-spreading mosquitoes

Gut flora composition may impact susceptibility to konzo, a neurological disease caused by world staple crop cassava

Study: AI can make better clinical decisions than humans

Drugs that mimic effects of cigarette smoke reduce SARS-CoV-2's ability to enter cells

A new gold standard for detecting cancer mutations

Personality matters, even for squirrels

Researchers find 70 percent increase in atmospheric hydrogen over the past 150 years

A T-cell power-up for tumor treatments

Emissions from computing and ICT could be worse than previously thought

Caught in a web: Study reveals that immune cells cooperate to trap and kill bacteria

Physics news

Engineering various sources of loss provides new features for perfect light absorption

Natural and manmade physical structures all lose energy, and scientists work hard to eliminate that loss or compensate for it. Optical and photonic devices lose energy through light scattering, radiation or material absorption. In some situations, however, intentionally yet carefully designing loss in open optical devices and systems can lead to unconventional physical phenomena which inspires novel methods for optical control and engineering.

New research integrates the most effective practices for eye tracking in AR eyewear

The eyes have it. They are constantly on the move when viewing scenes in augmented reality (AR).

High average output power achieved in PAPS photocathode drive laser system

The photocathode drive laser is one of the key parts of the beam test system of the Platform of Advanced Photon Source (PAPS). Recently, the researchers from Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences obtained the output power exceeding 116 W after the main amplifier of the laser. The study was published in Optics Express.

How a state-of-the-art optics system will make the Advanced Photon Source upgrade possible

To provide X-ray beams that are both very bright and very tightly focused, an Argonne team had to create a new system of mirrors, lenses and equipment for the upgraded Advanced Photon Source.

Astronomy and Space news

Black holes found to exert a pressure on their environment

Physicists at the University of Sussex have discovered that black holes exert a pressure on their environment, in a scientific first.

Largest virtual universe free for anyone to explore

Forget about online games that promise you a "whole world" to explore. An international team of researchers has generated an entire virtual universe, and made it freely available on the cloud to everyone.

Protoplanetary disks throw out more material than gets turned into planets

When a young solar system gets going it's little more than a young star and a rotating disk of debris. Accepted thinking says that the swirling debris is swept up in planet formation. But a new study says that much of the matter in the disk could face a different fate.

Image: Volcanic trenches on Mars

This image of the young volcanic region of Elysium Planitia on Mars [10.3°N, 159.5°E] was taken on 14 April 2021 by the CaSSIS camera on the ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO).

Technology news

A framework to evaluate techniques for simulating physical systems

The simulation of physical systems using computing tools can have numerous valuable applications, both in research and real-world settings. Most existing tools for simulating physical systems are based on physics theory and numerical calculations. In recent years, however, computer scientists have been trying to develop techniques that could complement these tools, which are based on the analysis of large amounts of data.

Study: AI can make better clinical decisions than humans

It's an old adage: there's no harm in getting a second opinion. But what if that second opinion could be generated by a computer, using artificial intelligence? Would it come up with better treatment recommendations than your professional proposes?

A new dataset for better augmented and mixed reality

Computer scientists at the University of California San Diego have released OpenRooms, an new, open source dataset with tools that will help users manipulate objects, materials, lighting and other properties in indoor 3D scenes to advance augmented reality and robotics.

A way to spot computer-generated faces

A small team of researchers from The State University of New York at Albany, the State University of New York at Buffalo and Keya Medical has found a common flaw in computer-generated faces by which they can be identified. The group has written a paper describing their findings and have uploaded them to the arXiv preprint server.

MAX-phase ceramics can self-heal cracks even at room temperature

Ceramics are resilient to heat and extreme environments, but they are fragile and crack easily. Recently, in a study published in Science Advances, researchers at Texas A&M University have discovered a self-healing mechanism within a type of ceramics, called MAX phases.

SSD-Insider++: A firmware-based approach to thwarting ransomware attacks

An international team of researchers is promoting the idea of using firmware to stop ransomware attacks before they can encrypt user data stored on a solid-state drive (SSD). The group presented their ideas back in 2018 at the IEEE International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, and more recently spoke to a reporter at The Register describing their ideas.

A spoonful of sugar opens a path to longer lasting lithium sulfur batteries

Simply by adding sugar, researchers from the Monash Energy Institute have created a longer-lasting, lighter, more sustainable rival to the lithium-ion batteries that are essential for aviation, electric vehicles and submarines.

Ultra-efficient tech to power devices of tomorrow and forge sustainable energy future

Researchers from The Australian National University (ANU) have developed a system to transport data using atomically-thin semiconductors in a way that is extremely energy-efficient.

Toyota cuts production further on virus issues, chip woes

Toyota, the world's top-selling automaker, said on Friday it would further slash production in Japan and abroad because of ongoing virus disruptions and a chronic global chip shortage.

Epic seeks 'Fortnite' return on Apple's S. Korea App Store

Major US videogame developer Epic Games has asked Apple to restore its flagship game "Fortnite" on the South Korean app store after Seoul passed a law curbing the monopolistic power of platform operators, it said Friday.

New roadmap guides industries to invest in low-cost, low-energy salt water treatment and recycle wastewater

Agriculture accounts for about 90% of total water consumption in the western United States and around 80% in the rest of the country.

How the terrifying evacuations from the twin towers on 9/11 helped make today's skyscrapers safer

The 2001 World Trade Center disaster was the most significant high-rise evacuation in modern times, and the harrowing experiences of the thousands of survivors who successfully escaped the twin towers have had a significant influence on building codes and standards. One legacy of the 9/11 tragedy is that today's skyscrapers can be emptied much more safely and easily in an emergency.

NASA innovations will help US meet sustainable aviation goals

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson joined federal government and industry leaders Thursday at a White House event highlighting sustainable aviation and the administration's focus on medium- and long-term goals to combat climate change.

Uber ordered to pay taxi drivers damages in France

A French court on Friday ordered ride-hailing service Uber to pay damages to taxi drivers whose business suffered from unlicensed competitors.

Apple rejects Epic "Fortnite" request despite S. Korea antitrust law

Apple refused to reinstate the wildly popular "Fortnite" game to its South Korean App Store Friday despite a new Seoul anti-monopoly law that effectively outlaws its lucrative digital payment platform, escalating an ongoing dispute with videogame developer Epic Games.

Big Tech made billions during 'war on terror': report

Tech giants made billions through contracts with the US military and other government agencies during the so-called "war on terror", according to a report released ahead of the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

Apple must allow in-app purchasing outside App Store, judge says in Epic Games vs. Apple verdict

A federal court has filed a permanent injunction forcing Apple to allow developers to provide options for purchases that circumvent the tech giant's App Store.

Texas bans social networks booting users over politics

Texas on Thursday made it illegal for popular social media platforms to ban users "simply based on their political viewpoints."

For new hires, remote work brings challenges, opportunities

Rebekah Ingram's remote internship has come with a series of unexpected challenges: She lacks a proper office set-up, her mother often calls for her while she works, and her dog barks during video calls.

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter will fight Texas crackdown on 'censorship' of Trump, conservative speech

Facebook, Google's YouTube and Twitter will fight a new Texas law cracking down on social media companies for allegedly censoring conservative speech and former President Donald Trump.

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We commemorate the electric CitiCar

A look back into EV history, Hyundai's hydrogen future, our thoughts on IAA Mobility, space insurance, and more.
TNW View in browser →

Greetings and salutations Shifties!


We've had a busy, busy week with news from the floor of IAA Mobility here in Germany, with plenty of concept cars on show, as well as new rooms of bikes and micromobility galore.


We're particularly big fans of the open-air test circuit to try out different bikes.


It's a necessary pivot by IAA, as fewer members of the public walk the showroom floor. The way people buy cars is changing, does the way we mass market them also need an update? 


This week we also saw Hyundai put their name and reputation behind a mighty push to move the mass hydrogen movement forward by 2040.


We also explore insurance for space travelers, changes to airport design, and take a look at the history of the CitiCar. 


Strap yourself in, check your mirrors, and get ready to roll.



Throwback to the legendary 1970s electric CitiCar


The background:

Bob Beaumont was a car salesman and founder of Sebring-Vanguard. He started working on an electric car in the 1960s. 

Sold for $3000 in the 1970's, the EVs were cheaper than the average gas-powered cars at the time.

Between 1974 and 1977, about 2,600 CitiCars were produced, making Sebring-Vanguard the sixth bigger auto manufacturer in the US behind GM, Ford, Chrysler, AMC, and Checker Motors Corporation.

After the resolution of the Iranian oil crisis, the company unfortunately went bankrupt and the cars were sold to another maker. 

However, the CitiCar is still an impressive electric automobile, especially considering the limited technology available during its time.

What's happening: 

Both the CitiCar and today's EV growth explosion have been prompted by serious crises, the most recent being the global climate crisis. They show how sociopolitical trends can drive vehicle innovation forward. 

A quick take:

We celebrate World EV Day by going back to the future with the electric CitiCar, an electric vehicle years ahead of its time. 

Want to know more? Read the full story here.

This week's top stories

HYDROGENUNDI?! Hyundai's commercial vehicles will all be hydrogen-powered by 2030

Hyundai went all out this week with the launch of its Hydrogen Vision 2040 at an online event called Hydrogen Wave. 

The company aims to become the first automaker to apply fuel cell systems to all commercial vehicle models by 2028. 

Hyundai showcased one of its most exciting combination products in decades ⁠— the Trailor Drone. This autonomous hydrogen truck can be combined with Fuel Cell e-Bogies to facilitate different use cases, including modular shape-shifting and platooning.

Ultimately, the event showed the way forward for a hydrogen-powered future with Hyundai head of the pack. 

Click here to find out more



Here's how to calculate the cost of driving an EV per km (or mile)

Ever wondered how much it costs to drive an EV per kilometer? 

The maths of EV charging can confuse those of us who don't carry around calculators and still use our fingers to count occasionally.

 But no stress ⁠— we've got the answer.

EVs measure energy efficiency in a few different ways, and those measurements affect how we calculate how much it costs to drive one kilometer or one mile.

There are two main measurements:

1. kWh per 100 kilometers.

2. Kilometers per kWh.

If your car measures energy consumption in kWh per 100 km, you want the kWh figure displayed on your car's dashboard to be as low as you can get it!

However, if your EV measures efficiency in kilometers per kWh, you want the kilometer figure to be as big as possible. In this case, kWh is a constant, so you want to maximize how far you go on every single kWh of power.

Want more more info? Read this handy guide to get the low down.

Stuff you need to know about


Will tester programs stop the public's fear of autonomous cars? (SHIFT)


Why IAA's expansion to micromobility is necessary (SHIFT)


You can book travel insurance for your next trip to space (SHIFT)

Sponsored by TNW

TNW Conference is back in person!

TNW Conference is returning to Amsterdam AND the world wide web on September 30 and October 1. Join us in-person or online at Europe's leading tech festival, for two days of business, knowledge sharing sessions, TNW surprises, and a whole lot of fun. 

Even better: SHIFT will get its own track dedicated to mobility tech. Expect speakers from brands like BlaBlaCar, Ford Motor Company, Lucid Motors, and Cabify, and lots of amazing content. 

Tickets are currently up to 60% off and going fast! Snag yourself a deal and reserve your ticket today!

What we're reading


 Love the idea of quiet airport design (NY Times )


Cheaper micromobility in lieu of parking: Hell, yes! (City Lab)


Keystone cops on bikes (Streetsblog)

Something for the weekend

EV uptake is coming meaning the pressure is on for the grid.

While the UK's national energy provider has assured consumers that there is "definitely enough energy" to facilitate mass EV adoption, the problem lies in sustainably and cheaply supplying cars with power.

UK local networks were not designed to charge millions of cars with energy simultaneously and, as we move towards a zero-carbon electricity system with variable wind and solar generation, the energy may not be there when we need it most.

Using our cars to help balance our grid will likely be cheaper than energy storage alternatives since we already have some of the infrastructure we need.

But to make this happen, car manufacturers, network operators, and energy suppliers – and the UK government – must coordinate to put the right chargers in the right places at the right time.

Take a read to find out more.


Another Friday is drawing to an end and it's time to get on our respective skates, scooters, trams, and bikes, and travel into the weekend!  

Forever yours in moving forward, Cate. 



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