Best of Last Week – Discovery of hidden brown dwarfs, internet at risk of solar storm and reducing salt saves lives

September 6, 2021 by Bob Yirka
Brown Dwarf
Brown Dwarf illustration. Credit: NOIRLab

It was a good week for space science as a team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced that the 1,000th near-Earth asteroid since 1968 had been spotted—such sightings, the team noted, help space scientists learn about objects that might be on a collision path with Earthin the future. Also, an international team of astronomers discovered how star making pollutes the cosmos by confirming that material that flows into a galaxy is cleaner than the material that flows out of it. And a team with members from across the U.S. and one in the U.K. made an accidental discovery that hints at a hidden population of cosmic objects—in finding a brown dwarf that has been named "The Accident," the team found evidence suggesting that there may be many more of them in the Milky Way galaxy.

In technology news, Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi, a computer scientist at the University of California, Irvine, warned that the global internet is not prepared for a large solar storm. Also, a combined team from the University of Michigan and the University of Tokyo announced that they had developed a system to safely deliver electricity over the air, which could possibly turn entire buildings into charging stations. And a team with members from Technische Universitat Dresden, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden Rossendorf and Northwestern Polytechnical University described a process for realizing vertical organic permeable dual-based transistors for logic circuits. Also, a team with members from Technische Universitat Darmstadt, Huawei R&D and University College London, developed a trajectory optimization technique that could allow the use of general-purpose robotic manipulators with high-speed robot air hockey.

In other news, a team of researchers at Kaunas University of Technology announced that they had developed an algorithm that could predict possible Alzheimer's with nearly 100 percent accuracy. And an international team of researchers found that the threat of catastrophic super-volcanic eruptions is ever-present.

And finally, if you are one of the hundreds of millions of people around the world at risk of dying from a stroke or heart attack, you may want to look into the results of a study done by an international team of researchers—they found that simply swapping out salt for other food seasonings could prevent millions of deaths each year.

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