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The ‘Cow’ mystery strikes back: Two more rare, explosive events captured

The ‘Cow’ is not alone; with the help of W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea in Hawaii, astronomers have discovered two more like it—the ‘Koala’ and a similar mysterious bright object called CSS161010. This trio of fast blue optical transients (FBOTs) appear to be relatives, all belonging to a highly-luminous family that has a track record for surprising astronomers with their fast, powerful bursts of energy.

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Oriented hexagonal boron nitride foster new type of information carrier

Today’s computers use the presence or absence of charge (0s and 1s) to encode information, where the physical motion of charges consume energy and cause heat. A novel alternative is to utilize the wave quantum number of electrons by which information encoding is possible without physically moving the carriers. This study shows that manipulation of the wave quantum number is possible by controlling the stacking configuration and the orientation of different two-dimensional materials.

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The genome of jojoba: The only plant to store wax in its seeds

The seeds of jojoba are one of the only known sustainable sources of liquid wax esters. They have been used as an eco-friendly replacement for similar oils that were once harvested from the spermaceti organ of the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), which nearly drove it to extinction. “Jojoba is the only plant to store wax in its seeds. Such a vegetable oil has heretofore been unavailable,” says Dr. Eberhard Munz (research group AAN).

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Machine-learning tool could help develop tougher materials

For engineers developing new materials or protective coatings, there are billions of different possibilities to sort through. Lab tests or even detailed computer simulations to determine their exact properties, such as toughness, can take hours, days, or more for each variation. Now, a new artificial intelligence-based approach developed at MIT could reduce that to a matter of milliseconds, making it practical to screen vast arrays of candidate materials.

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