401 articles from THURSDAY 12.11.2020

COVID-19 fatality rate down 30% since April, study finds

In the United States, COVID-19 now kills about 0.6% of people infected with the virus, compared with around 0.9% early in the pandemic, IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray told Reuters. Experts have struggled to accurately measure a crucial metric in the pandemic: the fatality rate, or percentage of people infected with the pathogen who are likely to die. IHME said it had been using an...

Dogs are sensitive to their owners' choice despite their own preference

Inspired by work on infants, researchers at the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE ) investigated whether dogs' behaviors are guided by human displays of preference or by the animals' own choices. They found that dogs' looking times, but not fetching behavior, were influenced by the owner's expression of preference. Although the studies did not demonstrate that dogs override their own preferences...

Advancing fusion energy through improved understanding of fast plasma particles

Unlocking the zig-zagging dance of hot, charged plasma particles that fuel fusion reactions can help to harness on Earth the fusion energy that powers the sun and stars. At the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), an experimentalist and two theorists have developed a new algorithm, or set of computer rules, for tracking volatile particles that could advance...

Chemists discover the structure of a key coronavirus protein

Chemists have determined the molecular structure of a protein found in the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This protein forms a cation-selective channel and plays a key role in the virus's ability to replicate itself. If researchers could devise ways to block this channel, they may be able to reduce the pathogenicity of the virus and interfere with viral replication.

Stretchable 'skin' sensor gives robots human sensation

Cornell University researchers have created a fiber-optic sensor that combines low-cost LEDs and dyes, resulting in a stretchable ''skin'' that detects deformations such as pressure, bending and strain. This sensor could give soft robotic systems - and anyone using augmented reality technology - the ability to feel the same rich, tactile sensations that mammals depend on to navigate the natural...

Weather-proof chip aims to take self-driving tech, wireless communications to next level

Modern communications technology, regardless of use, relies on a similar formula: devices send signals and information through data centers, towers and satellites en route to their final destination. The effectiveness of the communication relies on how well that information travels, and there are a variety of factors that can slow down that journey—geography, weather and more.

Escape from Mars: How water fled the red planet

Mars once had oceans but is now bone-dry, leaving many to wonder how the water was lost. University of Arizona researchers have discovered a surprisingly large amount of water in the upper atmosphere of Mars, where it is rapidly destroyed, explaining part of this Martian mystery.

In a warming climate, can birds take the heat?

We don't know precisely how hot things will get as climate change marches on, but there's reason to believe animals in the tropics may not fare as well as their temperate relatives. Many scientists think tropical animals, because they're accustomed to a more stable thermal environment, may be pushed beyond their limits quickly as temperatures soar. And that could lead to massive species loss.

A cosmic amethyst in a dying star

On Earth, amethysts can form when gas bubbles in lava cool under the right conditions. In space, a dying star with a mass similar to the Sun is capable of producing a structure on par with the appeal of these beautiful gems.

Research produces intense light beams with quantum correlations

The properties of quantum states of light are already leveraged by such highly sophisticated leading-edge technologies as those of the latest sensitivity upgrades to LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, deployed to detect gravitational waves since September 2015, or the encryption keys used for satellite on-board security.

New study outlines steps higher education should take to prepare a new quantum workforce

A new study outlines ways colleges and universities can update their curricula to prepare the workforce for a new wave of quantum technology jobs. Three researchers, including Rochester Institute of Technology Associate Professor Ben Zwickl, suggested steps that need to be taken in a new paper in Physical Review Physics Education Research after interviewing managers at more than 20 quantum...