Best of Last Week: Yellow rivers, delayed aging, and iPhone shuts off implanted heart device

January 11, 2021 by Bob Yirka
river yellow
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

It was a big week for Earth science as a team of researchers with members from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Colorado State University found that a third of the rivers in the U.S. changed from blue to green and yellow over the past several decades due to increases in sediment and pollutants. Also, a team with members affiliated with a host of institutions across the U.S. reported that a reawakened geyser did not foretell future Yellowstone volcanic eruptions—after Steamboat Geyser reawakened in 2018, scientists worried that it might portend an explosive period in the park. And scientists around the world noted that the Earth has been spinning faster lately—maybe enough to force the addition of a negative leap second.

In technology news, a team with members affiliated with several institutions in Europe succeeded in isolating single artificial atoms in silicon—a way to enhance the performance of silicon-based integrated quantum circuits. Also, a team at the TCS Robotics Research Lab in India created a system that could transform images of the human face into drawings—called Chitrakar, the system uses the Jordan curve to create the cartoon-like faces. And an international team of researchers created a new kind of paper that demonstrated photonic structures for AI applications—they called it machine learning at the speed of light. Also, a team at Savitribai Phule Pune University developed a framework to evaluate the cognitive capabilities of machine-learning agents.

In other news, a team of researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences developed a new kind of gene therapy strategy to delay aging using a genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 screening system. Also, a combined team from the U.S. Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University captured the first glimpse of polarons forming, in a promising next-gen energy material.

And finally, people with tachycardia who have implantable heart devices may be interested in research by a team at Henry Ford Hospital—they found that placing an iPhone near the implant site, such as in a breast pocket, could shut the device off.

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