Top Technology News 25. July


Averting toxic chats: Computer model predicts when online conversations turn sour

Posted: 24 Jul 2018 02:43 PM PDT

The internet offers the potential for constructive dialogue and cooperation, but online conversations too often degenerate into personal attacks. In hopes that those attacks can be averted, researchers have created a model to predict which civil conversations might take a turn and derail.


Fitness trackers prove helpful in monitoring cancer patients

Posted: 24 Jul 2018 02:43 PM PDT

Fitness trackers can be valuable tools for assessing the quality of life and daily functioning of cancer patients during treatment, a new study has found. The trackers, also known as wearable activity monitors, include commercial devices worn on the wrist that log a wearer’s step counts, stairs climbed, calories, heart rate and sleep.


Young galaxy’s halo offers clues to its growth and evolution

Posted: 24 Jul 2018 02:42 PM PDT

A team of astronomers has tested a new way of studying the properties of the gaseous halo surrounding a galaxy using W. M. Keck Observatory’s new instrument, the Keck Cosmic Web Imager. The analysis is the first of its kind and could offer clues about galaxy formation and evolution.


Scientists develop new materials that move in response to light

Posted: 24 Jul 2018 02:42 PM PDT

Researchers have developed magnetic elastomeric composites that move in different ways when exposed to light, raising the possibility that these materials could enable a wide range of products that perform simple to complex movements, from tiny engines and valves to solar arrays that bend toward the sunlight.


Where Martian dust comes from

Posted: 24 Jul 2018 09:08 AM PDT

The dust that coats much of the surface of Mars originates largely from a single thousand-kilometer-long geological formation near the Red Planet’s equator.


Blasting tiny craters in glass, creating material to miniaturize telecommunication devices

Posted: 24 Jul 2018 08:43 AM PDT

Modern communication systems often employ optical fibers to carry signals across or between devices, combining more than one function into a single circuit. However, signal transmission requires long optical fibers, which makes miniaturizing the device difficult. Instead of long optical fibers, scientists have started testing planar waveguides. Investigators now report on a laser-assisted study of a type of glass that shows promise as a material for broadband planar waveguide amplifiers.


Liquid microscopy technique reveals new problem with lithium-oxygen batteries

Posted: 24 Jul 2018 08:02 AM PDT

Using an advanced, new microscopy technique that can visualize chemical reactions occurring in liquid environments, researchers have discovered a new reason lithium-oxygen batteries — which promise up to five times more energy than the lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles and cell phones — tend to slow down and die after just a few charge/discharge cycles.


Generation of random numbers by measuring phase fluctuations from a laser diode with a silicon-on-in

Posted: 24 Jul 2018 08:02 AM PDT

Researchers have shown that a chip-based device measuring a millimeter square could be used to generate quantum-based random numbers at gigabit per second speeds. The tiny device requires little power and could enable stand-alone random number generators or be incorporated into laptops and smart phones to offer real-time encryption.


More mysteries of metallic hydrogen

Posted: 24 Jul 2018 08:02 AM PDT

Liquid metallic hydrogen is not present naturally on Earth and has only been created in a handful of places. Now scientists are researching the properties of liquid metallic hydrogen to understand how planets both inside and outside our solar system form magnetic shields.


New crime fighting algorithm could predict reoccurring illegal activity

Posted: 24 Jul 2018 08:02 AM PDT

A new algorithm developed by researchers could give police departments the upper hand in their fight against crime. The approach is similar to that used in weather forecasting and the Apollo space missions.


Unwrapping the brewing secrets of barley

Posted: 24 Jul 2018 08:02 AM PDT

Researchers have uncovered fundamental new information about the malting characteristics of barley grains. They say their finding could pave the way to more stable brewing processes or new malts for craft brewers.


World-first quantum computer simulation of chemical bonds using trapped ions

Posted: 24 Jul 2018 08:00 AM PDT

Simulation of chemical bonds and reactions is expected to be one of the first applications for at-scale quantum computers. Physicists have now demonstrated the world-first simulation of a chemical bond using trapped ion qubits, one of the most promising pathways to full-scale quantum computing.


Hydrogen and plastic production: New catalyst with a dual function

Posted: 24 Jul 2018 08:00 AM PDT

Chemists have developed a new, low-cost catalyst for plastic production. It turns a biorefinery product into a starting material for the synthesis of plastics, which could represent a sustainable alternative to widespread PET. At the same time, the potential energy source hydrogen can also be formed during the reaction.


Dark energy? No sign of symmetrons

Posted: 24 Jul 2018 07:59 AM PDT

One of the candidates for ‘dark energy’ is the symmetron field. Researchers have developed an experiment capable of measuring extremely small forces with the help of neutrons. The measurements could have provided pointers to the mysterious symmetrons, but the particles didn’t show up. This excludes the possibility of symmetrons in a broad parameter range. ‘Dark energy’ is going to have to be explained differently.


Made-to-measure silicon building blocks

Posted: 24 Jul 2018 07:59 AM PDT

Silicones are synthetic materials used in a broad range of applications. Thanks to the stability of the silicon-oxygen bond, they are resistant to chemicals and environmental influences and also harmless from a physiological point of view. As a result, silicones contribute to making everyday life easier in almost all areas.Chemists have now described a new way to produce long-awaited silicon building blocks in a simple and efficient way.


New application of blue light sees through fire

Posted: 23 Jul 2018 12:57 PM PDT

Researchers have demonstrated that ordinary blue light can be used to significantly improve the ability to see objects engulfed by large, non-smoky natural gas fires — like those used in laboratory fire studies and fire-resistance standards testing.


A 3-D model of a human heart ventricle

Posted: 23 Jul 2018 12:57 PM PDT

Researchers have bioengineered a three-dimensional model of a human left heart ventricle that could be used to study diseases, test drugs and develop patient-specific treatments for heart conditions such as arrhythmia.


Model fuses social media, remote sensing data with goal of identifying nuclear threats

Posted: 23 Jul 2018 12:23 PM PDT

A new computational model allows researchers to draw on normally incompatible data sets, such as satellite imagery and social media posts, to answer questions about what is happening in targeted locations. The researchers developed the model to serve as a tool for identifying violations of nuclear nonproliferation agreements.


The short, tumultuous working life of a major league baseball pitcher

Posted: 23 Jul 2018 11:29 AM PDT

There are pitchers in Major League Baseball (MLB) who have had 30-year careers, but as a demographer points out, these are extreme outliers and often the stars of the game who receive most of the media’s attention. The reality for most pitchers in baseball is that their professional working lives are surprisingly short — 3.99 years on average — according to a new method of calculating working life expectancies.


The great NFL practice conundrum: How much should you train to avoid injury?

Posted: 23 Jul 2018 11:29 AM PDT

Researchers studied whether there were any sudden changes in injuries after the NSF implemented practice restrictions in 2011, while adjusting for the fact that more attention has been paid to NFL injuries over time, which means the number of reported injuries had been going up even before the new CBA. In a nutshell, we they didn’t seem to go up or down on balance.


Why did home runs surge in baseball? Statistics provides twist on hot topic

Posted: 23 Jul 2018 11:29 AM PDT

Around the middle of the 2015 season, something odd started happening in Major League Baseball (MLB): Home runs surged. They surged again in 2016 and then again in 2017. Statisticians now provide an explanation. The quality of pitching between 2015 and 2017 had gotten worse if one breaks a pitch down into measurable components and then measured pitching quality over time. Wilson called this measure ”Quality of Pitch” (QOP).


Are star players over-rated in MLB? A key statistic doesn’t stand up to scrutiny

Posted: 23 Jul 2018 11:29 AM PDT

Assessing play quality In baseball is complicated. ”Wins above replacement player” (WARP) aggregate a player’s total contribution to their team — offense and defense and primary position — into one easily understood statistics. But does it actually measure — or even roughly estimate — player value?


Organic Mega Flow Battery transcends lifetime, voltage thresholds

Posted: 23 Jul 2018 11:28 AM PDT

Researchers have demonstrated a new organic molecule that outlives and outperforms its predecessors, offering the longest-lasting high-performance organic flow battery to date. Nicknamed the Methuselah quinone — after the longest-lived Biblical figure — this molecule could usefully store and release energy many tens of thousands of times over multi-year periods.


Ytterbium: The quantum memory of tomorrow

Posted: 23 Jul 2018 11:28 AM PDT

Researchers have discovered a new material that can be used to store and repeat quantum signals rapidly — a promising step toward a global quantum network.


States boost renewable energy and development when utilities adopt renewable standards

Posted: 23 Jul 2018 11:28 AM PDT

States that require utilities to increase renewable energy see expansion of renewable energy facilities and generation — including wind and other renewable sources, but especially solar — according to new research.


Virtual reality may help students experience life with dementia first hand

Posted: 23 Jul 2018 11:28 AM PDT

Virtual reality technology gives high school students greater insight into what it’s like to be someone with suspected mild cognitive impairment, or someone progressing through the continuum of Alzheimer’s disease.


Alarming error common in survey analyses

Posted: 23 Jul 2018 10:22 AM PDT

The benefits of survey data have coexisted with a lack of training in how to interpret them correctly, especially when it came to secondary analyses — researchers reanalyzing survey data that had been collected by a previous study.

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