Best of Last Week–Less than zero energy, alternative to Bitcoin and men should avoid alcohol prior to conceiving a child
It was a good week for physics, as a team at Goethe University solved a mystery surrounding photon momentum using a new spectrometer they built with previously unattainable resolution. And an international team investigated the possibility of less-than-zero energy in a quantum vacuum—they report that such energy must be "paid back" in the end. Also, another international team reported on experiments in which quantum material went where none had gone before as part of mapping quantum criticality.
In technology news, a team at UC Santa Barbara developed a new method to identify a person through walls from candidate video footage using only WiFi—it could distinguish whether a person behind a wall was the same individual who appeared in a given video. Also, a team at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology demonstrated a new water-splitting technique to generate clean hydrogen—it involved separating the oxygen and hydrogen compartments in a PEC cell. And a team at Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology developed a tactile interaction strategy for human-swarm communication—called SwarmTouch, it allows a human operator to communicate with a swarm of drones to guide their formation, while receiving feedback in the form of vibrations. Also, a team at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne invented a low-cost alternative to Bitcoin—called Byzantine Reliable Broadcast, it does away with the consensus requirement.
In other news, the international team that makes up the Deep Carbon Observatory announced that study of a decade's worth of data showed that humanity's emissions are 100 times greater than volcanoes. Also, a combined team of researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital found a link between omega-3 fish oil supplements and a lower risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease.
And finally, if you are one of the millions of men around the world who are hoping to father a child, you might want to check out the results of a study conducted by a team at Central South University in China—they found that fathers-to-be should avoid alcohol six months before conception to protect against congenital heart defects in their offspring.
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