Best of Last Week – Teleporting a quantum gate, a mini space elevator and problems with jet-air hand dryers

September 10, 2018 by Bob Yirka
Network overview of the modular quantum architecture demonstrated in the new study. Credit: Yale University

It was another good week for physics as a team with members from the University of Queensland and the NÉEL Institute found quantum weirdness in the 'chicken or egg' paradox—suggesting they could both come first. And a group at Yale University 'teleported' a quantum gate—a key step in the development of a useable quantum computer.

In space news, a team at Shizuoka University announced that they had set in motion plans to a test a mini 'space elevator'—it will consist of a box just six centimeters long moving along a 10-meter cable held in place between two orbiting satellites. And a team at the University of Central Florida suggested that Pluto should be reclassified as a planet because the standard for classifying planets is not supported in the research literature.

In other news, an international team of researchers found that large wind and solar farms in the Sahara would increase heat, rain and vegetation—which they suggest would likely benefit the area. And a team with members from the U.S. Geological Survey, Oregon State University and the University of Canterbury found that new imagery solved the mystery of why Mount St. Helens is out of line with other volcanoes—a giant subsurface rock formation has forced the volcano out of line with the Cascade Arc. Also, a team at Wake Forest School of Medicine found that 'mindful people' feel less pain—their study involved using MRI imaging to pinpoint brain activity in people. And a team with members from several institutions in the U.S. and one in the U.K. found that ancient farmers spared us from glaciers but profoundly changed Earth's climate. They found evidence suggesting that early farming practices caused the planet to warm. And officials at Dulles airport revealed plans for installing two new kinds of face recognition systems, touting them as user friendly systems for airports.

And finally, if you have occasion to stay in or visit someone at a hospital any time soon, you might want to rethink how you dry your hands as an international team of researchers found that jet-air dryers should not be used in hospital toilets—they lead to the spread of more germs than paper towels.

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