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News flash - January 2021

With COVID19 overloading news channels, both the popular and scientific ones, it seems that the virus attacked our society in many unexpected and bitter ways... However, there is plenty of fascinating things happening that might be difficult to “sieve” from the COVID19-dominated news. Here are SciBlogger’s January 2021 picks from the leading science online magazines.

New Scientist: Wood can easily be turned transparent to make energy-saving windows

How to decrease window's thermal conductivity? By using transparent wood instead of glass! Researchers from the University of Maryland came up with an idea that can help to modify lignin (a wood component) in a fast and more environmentally friendly way to produce wood that allows over 90 % of light to pass through. Read more here.

Science: Who needs a teacher? Artificial intelligence designs lesson plans for itself

For those working in academia, teaching is an important, yet often undervalued, part of their scientist’s job. But what if the teaching could be done by artificial intelligence? Researchers developed an AI that can design and implement its own learning process, tailored to specific needs/knowledge level. The invention might be useful in many different fields, from self-driving cars to teaching. For more details go here.

MIT Technology Review: What Musk’s $100 million carbon capture prize could mean

In recent years Elon Musk has become a superstar of the technology world. He is the founder, CEO, CTO and chief designer of SpaceX; CEO and product architect of Tesla, Inc.; founder of The Boring Company; co-founder of Neuralink…. and since January 2021 a centibillionaire (person worth more than $100 billion). Having this amount of money, it is not strange that he would like to donate part of it for something meaningful. This time Musk set a $100 million carbon capture prize. Is it enough to change anything in this sector? Read more: here.

Nature: Ten computer codes that transformed science

Are you interested in computer science? Me neither (☺). However, this article can change that. Computers are behind almost all major scientific breakthroughs. Astronomy, biology, chemistry - all the disciplines are heavily dependent on computer computations. And it all started in 1957... Read more here.

Smithsonian: These Are the Highest Resolution Photos Ever Taken of Snowflakes

This year's winter surprised many with a huge amount of snow and frosty days. In Luleå, where I live, 100 km from the arctic circle, snow is considered boring since it is laying around from late November up to beginning of May... However, looking closely at snowflakes in high resolution? Well, it is stunning! Check out this article.

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