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Reuters

A series of recently tested hypersonic missiles in North Korea brings forth concerns about vulnerability for U.S. troops and their allies in Asia, reports Josh Smith for Reuters. Research affiliate David Wright warns that “South Korea and the roughly 28,500 U.S. troops based there are so close that incoming missiles could fly on even lower trajectories, with a much shorter flight time, making defense more difficult,” writes Smith.

Mashable

MIT researchers have developed a new technique for producing low-voltage, power-dense actuators that can propel flying microrobots, reports Danica D'Souza for Mashable. “The new technique lets them make soft actuators that can carry 80 percent more payload,” D’Souza reports. 

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Mark Sullivan spotlights QuEra Computing as one of the 15 startups to watch in 2022. “Research breakthroughs by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University led to the launch of QuEra Computing, which uses a unique quantum architecture and laser techniques to arrange and direct the tiny qubits or quantum bits, in its 256-qubit system,” writes Sullivan.

Fast Company

MIT researchers have developed a new approach to removing methane emissions from the air using zeolite, an inexpensive material used in cat litter, reports Adele Peters for Fast Company. Prof. Desiree Plata explains that compared to carbon dioxide, “methane is actually much worse, from a global warming perspective. What this allows us to do is bring immediate climate benefit into the Earth system and actually change global warming rates in our lifetime.”

New York Times

New York Times reporter Steve Lohr spotlights Institute Prof. Daron Acemoglu’s research showing that “excessive automation” has contributed to rising inequality. “We need to redirect technology so it works for people,” says Acemoglu, “not against them.”

Newsweek

A study conducted by researchers from MIT and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found that some N95 masks can undergo a standard decontamination process and remain effective, reports Meghan Roos for Newsweek. “After going through the VHP process 25 times, the N95 masks were found to retain a 95 percent filtration efficiency or greater,” writes Roos.

The Conversation

The Conversation reporter Stacy Morford spotlights research by climatologist Judah Cohen and atmospheric scientist Mathew Barlow, which shows how changes in the Arctic can lead to changes in the stratospheric polar vortex, and cold waves in North America and Asia. “Our research reinforces two crucial lessons of climate change: First, the change doesn’t have to occur in your backyard to have a big effect on you,” write Cohen and Barlow. “Second, the unexpected consequences can be quite severe.”

New York Times

An international team of scholars, including MIT researchers, has published a new study exploring the history and use of letterlocking, reports William J. Broad for The New York Times. The researchers note that they hope their work prompts “novel kinds of archival research, and allows even very well-known artefacts to be examined anew.”

Stat

STAT reporter Megan Molteni writes that a new study by MIT researchers finds that senescent cells, which are linked to aging, may potentially be a cause of Down syndrome. “We hope it opens up new avenues for how we look at Down syndrome — that there seems to be this whole other element that plays on a different timeline that we really need to explore more.”

New York Times

New York Times reporter Veronique Greenwood writes that Prof. Tami Lieberman examined the human skin and found that each pore had a single variety of Cutibacterium acnes bacteria living inside. “Each person’s skin had a unique combination of strains, but what surprised the researchers most was that each pore housed a single variety of C. acnes,” writes Greenwood. “The pores were different from their neighbors, too — there was no clear pattern uniting the pores of the left cheek or forehead across the volunteers, for instance.”

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter Mark Hulbert writes that a new study by MIT researchers finds that most investors “can do much better than the one-size-fits-all approach to equity allocations that target-date funds offer for your retirement portfolio.”

Fast Company

A new study by MIT economists finds that a one-time economic boost can help improve a person’s income, mental health and productivity even a decade later, reports Kristin Toussaint for Fast Company. “There is one very common concern, that somehow they will become lazy as a result of getting this opportunity; and if anything, we find the opposite. They work a little harder,” says Professor Abhijit Banerjee. “But most importantly, they’re enterprising.” 

Inside Science

Inside Science reporter Will Sullivan writes that a new study co-authored by MIT researchers finds that during Covid-19 lockdowns in the spring of 2020 there was a reduction in human activities that release aerosols into the atmosphere, resulting in diminished lightning activity. 

IEEE Spectrum

IEEE Spectrum reporter Prachi Patel writes that researchers from MIT and Google Brain have developed a new open-source tool that could streamline solar cell improvement and discovery. The new system should “speed up development of more efficient solar cells by allowing quick assessment of a wide variety of possible materials and device structures,” writes Patel.

Forbes

MIT researchers have proposed a conceptual hovering rover that would use the moon’s static charge to stay airborne, reports Elizabeth Howell for Forbes. “We think a future [moon] mission could send out small hovering rovers to explore the surface of the moon and other asteroids,” says graduate student Oliver Jia-Richards.