Sunday, December 16, 2018

Science X Newsletter Sunday, Dec 16

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for December 16, 2018:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Oceans of garbage prompt war on plastics

Lyft drives patent talk on self-driving safety via messages for pedestrians, cyclists

Dutch build artificial islands to bring wildlife back

FastCharge prototype station shows three-minute time feat

Babies and toddlers at greater risk from second-hand smoke than previously thought, study finds

Tracking the footprints of protein synthesis

Laser-pointing system could help tiny satellites transmit data to Earth

A new neptune-size exoplanet

Newly identified enzyme could play key role in childbirth and muscle diseases

Cryptocurrency manipulation schemes could be found and foiled by new algorithm

A nuclear-powered 'tunnelbot' to search for life on Jupiter's icy moon Europa

Astronomy & Space news

A new neptune-size exoplanet

The remarkable exoplanet discoveries made by the Kepler and K2 missions have enabled astronomers to begin to piece together the history of the Earth and to understand how and why it differs from its diverse exoplanetary cousins. Two still outstanding puzzles include the differences between the formation and evolution of rocky versus non-rocky small planets, and why there seem to be a size gap with very few exoplanets at or about two Earth-radii in size (planets with smaller radii are likely to be rocky or Earth-like in their composition). In order to estimate an exoplanet's composition its density is needed, requiring a measurement of mass as well as size. While a radius can be estimated from the shape of the planet's transit curve as it blocks out its host star's light, a mass is more difficult to determine. In order to develop the emerging picture, however, precise and accurate masses are required for more planets that are similar in size to the Earth.

A nuclear-powered 'tunnelbot' to search for life on Jupiter's icy moon Europa

Between 1995 and 2003, NASA's Galileo spacecraft made several flybys of Jupiter's moon, Europa. Several findings from observations of the moon pointed to evidence of a liquid ocean beneath Europa's icy surface. The ocean, researchers believe, could harbor microbial life, or evidence of now-extinct microbial life.

December comet brings back Rosetta memories

A special visitor is crossing the sky: Comet 46P/Wirtanen, sighted with telescopes and binoculars in recent weeks, is on the way to its closest approach to Earth this weekend, when it might become visible to the naked eye.

Image: Giant black hole powers cosmic fountain

Before electrical power became available, water fountains worked by relying on gravity to channel water from a higher elevation to a lower one. This water could then be redirected to shoot out of the fountain and create a centerpiece for people to admire.

Hubble goes deep

This image from the Hubble Deep UV (HDUV) Legacy Survey encompasses 12,000 star-forming galaxies in a part of the constellation Fornax known as the GOODS-South field. With the addition of ultraviolet light imagery, astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have captured the largest panoramic view of the fire and fury of star birth in the distant universe.

The life and death of a planetary system

How did we get here?

Technology news

Lyft drives patent talk on self-driving safety via messages for pedestrians, cyclists

Lyft is in the news, as the United States Patent Office has granted Lyft with a patent for an autonomous vehicle notification system. '

FastCharge prototype station shows three-minute time feat

How easily, how conveniently, how fast, will I be able to charge my electric car? Simple questions and car makers are quite busy giving us answers that will impress.

Cryptocurrency manipulation schemes could be found and foiled by new algorithm

Imperial scientists have created an algorithm to predict when specific cryptocoins are at risk of 'pump-and-dump' schemes.

Fake news vs fact in online battle for truth

Since US President Donald Trump weaponised the term "fake news" during the 2016 presidential election campaign, the phrase has gone viral.

Somali-American Amazon workers demand better conditions

A group of Amazon workers in Minnesota who are Somali refugees resettled in the Midwestern US state demanded better working conditions Friday during a protest outside one of the retailer's warehouses.

Irish data authority probes Facebook photo breach

The Irish data watchdog on Friday launched an investigation into Facebook, after the social media titan admitted a "bug" may have exposed unposted photos from up to 6.8 million users.

Executive's arrest, security worries stymie Huawei's reach

While a Huawei executive faces possible U.S. charges over trade with Iran, the Chinese tech giant's ambition to be a leader in next-generation telecoms is colliding with security worries abroad.

5G: a revolution not without risks

The recent diplomatic dust-up over Chinese telecoms company Huawei, one of the leaders in developing equipment for fifth-generation mobile networks, has demonstrated that this technology which promises to enable an internet of things and self-driving vehicles also poses risks.

Shenzhen, China's reform pioneer, leads tech revolution

The southern city of Shenzhen is the symbol of the transformative reforms launched by China 40 years ago: former fishing villages that morphed into a global manufacturing hub.

Report aims at untapped workforce for Israel's growing high-tech sector

The growth of Israel's powerful high-tech sector is not being matched by adequate increases in employee numbers, a report said Sunday, with recruitment of more women, and Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jewish men needed.

'Donald' makes annual list of worst passwords of the year

Want a strong online password to protect your personal information? You should probably avoid drawing inspiration from President Donald Trump.

Facebook's controversial Portal video chat device gets browser, games: It may not matter

It's been five weeks since Facebook brought its Portal to market—and, yes, another day with another privacy-related apology from the world's largest social network.

Aleksander Madry on building trustworthy artificial intelligence

Machine learning algorithms now underlie much of the software we use, helping to personalize our news feeds and finish our thoughts before we're done typing. But as artificial intelligence becomes further embedded in daily life, expectations have risen. Before autonomous systems fully gain our confidence, we need to know they are reliable in most situations and can withstand outside interference; in engineering terms, that they are robust. We also need to understand the reasoning behind their decisions; that they are interpretable.

How many passwords can you remember? Get ready to remember more

Got too many passwords to remember? Just wait. It's going to get a lot worse.

Apple to roll out new Snoopy, Peanuts cartoon series

Apple will produce a new animated series starring Snoopy and the Peanuts gang, created by the late American cartoonist Charles Schulz, for its video platform, a source close to the deal said Friday, confirming press reports.

Amazon-owned Whole Foods ends partnership with Instacart

Whole Foods will no longer be working with Instacart, the grocery delivery company announced.

Medicine & Health news

Babies and toddlers at greater risk from second-hand smoke than previously thought, study finds

Infants and toddlers in low-income communities may be even more at risk from second- and third-hand smoke exposure than has been believed, according to new federally supported research.

Treatment shown to improve the odds against bone marrow cancer

Hope has emerged for patients with a serious type of bone marrow cancer as new research into a therapeutic drug has revealed improved outcomes and survival rates.

Save your skin from the ravages of cold weather

(HealthDay)—Winter can be hard on your skin, but you can take steps to keep it soft and supple, dermatologists say.

Post-inflammatory polyps not linked to colorectal neoplasia

(HealthDay)—For patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), post-inflammatory polyps (PIPs) are associated with greater severity and extent of colon inflammation and higher rates of colectomy, but not with development of colorectal neoplasia (CRN), according to a study published online Dec. 7 in Gastroenterology.

Phone-based intervention aids rheumatoid arthritis care

(HealthDay)—A nurse-based phone education intervention can promote shared decision making in patients with newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a study published online Dec. 5 in Musculoskeletal Care.

Q&A: Very little known about health effects of e-cigarettes

Dear Mayo Clinic: I've been a smoker for years. I'm thinking about switching to electronic cigarettes or to a nicotine inhaler because I've heard they aren't as bad for you as regular cigarettes. Is that true?

What to know about Lasik eye surgery following the suicide of a Detroit meteorologist

Jessica Starr, a meteorologist at a local station in Detroit, should have been happier on Nov. 13.

Black youths less protected from antisocial behaviors than white peers

Black youths are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. Yet, says University of Wisconsin–Madison Psychology Professor James Li, they are underrepresented by research studies examining the behaviors that can lead them there, and the potential interventions to help prevent it. Most studies have focused on predominantly white adolescents.

Lean vs. obese adipose tissue cells

Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell that plays many roles in the body, including helping to maintain metabolic homeostasis, the steady state that ensures the body is adequately fueled and waste is eliminated.

Small-scale poultry farming could mean big problem in developing countries

Small-scale farming in developing countries provides those in rural communities with income and access to protein, but it may have a large impact on antibiotic resistance, according to a new University of Michigan study.

Pension plan improving mental health in China

A new social pension program in rural China isn't just providing older adults with more financial security, Yale School of Public Health researchers say, it's also improving their mental health.

20 years after tobacco settlement, states still shortchanging prevention programs that save lives, health care dollars

Twenty years after reaching a landmark legal settlement with the tobacco companies, the states continue to spend only a small fraction of their billions in tobacco revenue on programs to prevent kids from using tobacco and help smokers quit, according to a report released today by a coalition of public health organizations. The report challenges states to do more to fight tobacco use – the nation's No. 1 cause of preventable disease and death – to accelerate progress, address large disparities in who still smokes and confront the growing epidemic of youth e-cigarette use in America.

Don't let holiday season stress worsen your allergies, asthma

(HealthDay)—Reducing stress could cut your risk of allergy and asthma symptoms during the holidays.

US judge rules Obamacare unconstitutional, Democrats vow to appeal

A federal judge in Texas ruled late Friday that the US health care law known as Obamacare is unconstitutional—a ruling that opposition Democrats vowed to appeal.

Biology news

Tracking the footprints of protein synthesis

To trace which proteins are produced and when, researchers say, just follow the ribosome "footprints."

Newly identified enzyme could play key role in childbirth and muscle diseases

Since the 1960s, scientists have known of a modification that occurs to a particular molecule in muscles, especially after exercise. What scientists haven't known is how that modification happens, or even why.

Cambodia seizes record 3-tonne haul of African ivory

Cambodia seized more than 3.2 tonnes of elephant tusks hidden in a storage container sent from Mozambique, a customs official said Sunday, marking the country's largest ivory bust.

Oyster aquaculture limits disease in wild oyster populations

A fisheries researcher at the University of Rhode Island has found that oyster aquaculture operations can limit the spread of disease among wild populations of oysters. The findings are contrary to long-held beliefs that diseases are often spread from farmed populations to wild populations.

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