Monday, March 6, 2017

Science X Newsletter Week 09

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 09:

Lithium-ion battery inventor introduces new technology for fast-charging, noncombustible batteries

A team of engineers led by 94-year-old John Goodenough, professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin and co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery, has developed the first all-solid-state battery cells that could lead to safer, faster-charging, longer-lasting rechargeable batteries for handheld mobile devices, electric cars and stationary energy storage.

Researchers store computer operating system and short movie on DNA

Humanity may soon generate more data than hard drives or magnetic tape can handle, a problem that has scientists turning to nature's age-old solution for information-storage—DNA.

Scientists reveal new super-fast form of computer that 'grows as it computes'

Researchers from The University of Manchester have shown it is possible to build a new super-fast form of computer that "grows as it computes".

4 billion years: World's oldest fossils unearthed

Remains of microorganisms at least 3,770 million years old have been discovered by an international team led by UCL scientists, providing direct evidence of one of the oldest life forms on Earth.

Intestinal bacteria alter gut and brain function

Research from McMaster University has found that bacteria in the gut impacts both intestinal and behavioural symptoms in patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a finding which could lead to new microbiota-directed treatments.

NASA proposes a magnetic shield to protect Mars' atmosphere

NASA proposes a magnetic shield to protect Mars' atmosphere

Team puts dark matter on the map

A Yale-led team has produced one of the highest-resolution maps of dark matter ever created, offering a detailed case for the existence of cold dark matter—sluggish particles that comprise the bulk of matter in the universe.

SpaceX says it will fly 2 people to moon next year (Update)

SpaceX said Monday it will fly two people to the moon next year, a feat not attempted since NASA's Apollo heyday close to half a century ago.

Mathematician breaks down how to defend against quantum computing attacks

The encryption codes that safeguard internet data today won't be secure forever.

Researchers create new form of matter—supersolid is crystalline and superfluid at the same time

MIT physicists have created a new form of matter, a supersolid, which combines the properties of solids with those of superfluids.

Study shows link between microbiome in the gut and Parkinson's

There is growing evidence showing a connection between Parkinson's disease—a neurodegenerative condition—and the composition of the microbiome of the gut. A new study from researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham shows that Parkinson's disease, and medications to treat Parkinson's, have distinct effects on the composition of the trillions of bacteria that make up the gut microbiome.

Newfound primate teeth take a big bite out of the evolutionary tree of life

Fossil hunters have found part of an ancient primate jawbone related to lemurs—the primitive primate group distantly connected to monkeys, apes and humans, a USC researcher said.

Making math more Lego-like—3-D picture language has far-reaching potential, including in physics

Galileo called mathematics the "language with which God wrote the universe." He described a picture-language, and now that language has a new dimension.

OLYMPUS experiment sheds light on structure of protons

A mystery concerning the structure of protons is a step closer to being solved, thanks to a seven-year experiment led by researchers at MIT.

Study suggests we reclassify the moon as a planet—reopening a centuries-old debate

Every now and then a scientific paper makes a real splash. We had one recently, to judge from recent headlines. "Moon rises to claim its place as a planet" said The Sunday Times on February 19, while the Mail Online asked "Is this lunarcy?". The articles were among many responding to the humble paper: "A Geophysical Planet Definition", which suggested that the criteria for determining what constitutes a planet need an overhaul. It argued that the moon, Pluto and several other bodies in the solar system should be upgraded to planets.

Spontaneous 'dust traps': Astronomers discover a missing link in planet formation

Planets are thought to form in the disks of dust and gas found around young stars. But astronomers have struggled to assemble a complete theory of their origin that explains how the initial dust develops into planetary systems. A French-UK-Australian team now think they have the answer, with their simulations showing the formation of 'dust traps' where pebble-sized fragments collect and stick together, to grow into the building blocks of planets. They publish their results in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Evidence disproving tropical 'thermostat' theory: global warming can breach limits for life

New research findings show that as the world warmed millions of years ago, conditions in the tropics may have made it so hot some organisms couldn't survive.

3-D printing with cellulose: World's most abundant polymer could rival petroleum-based plastics

For centuries, cellulose has formed the basis of the world's most abundantly printed-on material: paper. Now, thanks to new research at MIT, it may also become an abundant material to print with—potentially providing a renewable, biodegradable alternative to the polymers currently used in 3-D printing materials.

Sound-shaping metamaterial invented

A super-material that bends, shapes and focuses sound waves that pass through it has been invented by scientists.

How social media has synchronized human civilization

Human activity, whether commercial or social, contains patterns and moments of synchronicity. In recent years, social media like Twitter has provided an unprecedented volume of data on the daily activities of humans all over the world. Observing this activity on the scale of a city, a continent, or the globe reveals the patterns. In a paper published by the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, researchers at the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) have observed a new pattern of synchronized activity: a simultaneous peak of Twitter activity stretching across half the planet, from Europe and Africa to Asia and Oceania.

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