Friday, September 30, 2022

BIG Wrap

Unique thermoelectric compound could be disruptive

Clemson University physicist Jian He and collaborators from China and Denmark created a potentially paradigm-shifting high-performance thermoelectric compound, reports Tech Xplore. "Our material is a unique hybrid atomic structure with half being crystalline and half amorphous," said He. "If you have a unique or peculiar atomic structure, you would expect to see very unusual properties because properties follow structure." The researchers created the hybrid material by intentionally mixing elements in the same group on the periodic...

To dye for – food scientists break blue colour barrier

A team of scientists claims to have cracked the code to a natural blue food dye. Some colours of artificial dyes are easy to replace, such as turmeric for yellow or beets for red, but finding a non-purplish natural source for the colour blue has stymied food scientists, reports CBC's Quirks & Quarks. In a study published in the journal Science Advances, a team of scientists says it has found a way to produce true blue,...

Heavy rains reveal hominid footprints thought to be 106,000 years old

A team of researchers has identified 87 Neanderthal footprints found on an ancient shoreline on the Iberian Peninsula, phys.org reports. Researchers found evidence of as many as 36 individuals walking along a beach. The work involved studying footprints left on Matalascañas beach, in Doñana National Park, in Spain. Testing in sedimentary rock showed the footprints to be about 106,000 years old. They were revealed recently due to heavy rains. Researchers did not find evidence...

Evaporation method could be game changer in providing drinking water to vulnerable

Researchers have developed a cost-effective technique that could deliver safe drinking water to millions of vulnerable people using cheap, sustainable materials and sunlight, reports Tech Xplore. A team led by associate professor Haolan Xu at UniSA's Future Industries Institute has refined a technique to derive freshwater from seawater, brackish water, or contaminated water, through highly efficient solar evaporation. "In recent years, there has been a lot of attention on using solar evaporation to create...

Artificial intelligence helps pinpoint pollution hotspots

Researchers at Duke University have developed a method that uses machine learning, satellite imagery and weather data to autonomously find hotspots of heavy air pollution, city block by city block, reports phys.org. The technique could be a boon for finding and mitigating sources of hazardous aerosols, studying the effects of air pollution on human health, and making better informed, socially just public policy decisions. The air pollutants in which the Duke team is most interested...

Study indicates human languages ideally balanced in complexity, accuracy

Recent studies have shown that human languages are optimally balanced between accuracy and complexity, Tech Xplore reports. In a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers formed two artificial neural networks trained with two generic deep learning methods. As researcher Marco Baroni explains: "We made the networks play a colour-naming game in which they had to communicate about colour chips from a continuous colour space. We did not limit the...

Coinbase valuation surpasses oil giant BP

Cryptocurrency exchange firm Coinbase hit a market value of nearly $100 billion in its stock market listing, higher than many blue-chip companies including BP. Shares debuted on Nasdaq at $381 but closed below $330. The listing was seen as the latest step toward cryptocurrencies gaining wider acceptance among traditional investors, the BBC reports. The price of Bitcoin hit a record high of more than $63,000 today ahead of the Coinbase listing. Coinbase, which makes money primarily by charging transaction fees, had...

Scientists seek solutions to post-vaccine clotting problems

The team from Oxford University and British-Swedish biotech firm AstraZeneca began injecting doses of vaccine Vaxzevria into patients in April 2020. It's approved for use in almost 100 countries and forms the backbone of the World Health Organization's COVAX initiative, which aims to provide equitable access to vaccines across the globe. However, as CNET reports, the vaccine has suffered setbacks. Miscommunications with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and dosing mistakes in clinical trials eroded confidence in...

Scientists gather to tackle space junk collection

Scientists, industry experts, and policymakers will discuss the latest issues surrounding space debris in a four-day conference beginning April 20. The European Space Agency will conduct the eighth European Conference on Space Debris from Darmstadt, Germany, at which they will exchange research and attempt to determine solutions to the problem of 129 million objects larger than a millimeter in orbits around Earth.   https://scitechdaily.com/space-debris-danger-to-satellites-over-129-million-objects-in-orbit-around-the-earth-video/

Wearable devices could help diagnose COVID-19

Researchers are developing wearable devices to transform the way we monitor, diagnose and treat acute and chronic conditions, including COVID-19, Tech Xplore reports. There are a variety of devices being developed, including tattoos, contact lenses, and clothing, that can monitor a range of health signals and provide real-time data about our bodies. In an article published in Nature Electronics, researchers suggest that this data could help diagnose and treat COVID-19.   https://techxplore.com/news/2021-04-wearable-devices-future-personalized-diagnostics.html