2020 Media Watch Archives

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Medical Xpress

When do people retweet health agencies' COVID-19 messages?

Medical Xpress -
An analysis of Twitter messages has surfaced certain features of COVID-19-related tweets by public health agencies that were associated with a higher likelihood of the tweets being passed along—"retweeted"—by individual Twitter users. Jeannette Sutton of the University at Albany, New York, and co-investigator Carter T. Butts at the University of California, Irvine, present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on September 16, 2020. Read More
E&E News

Coffee-cup-size gadget could hack solar power — study

E&E News - Energywire -
Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that solar inverters — which link solar panels to the wider grid — can be shut down or manipulated to potentially disrupt the flow of electricity. They first presented their new study at the virtual USENIX Security 2020 conference earlier this month. Mohammad Al Faruque, a UC Irvine associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science who led the research, said inverters can be hijacked with equipment worth less than $50. Read More

Slippery superfluids push jets to breaking point

Phys.Org -
To update this field for the 21st century, the Thoroddsen group collaborated with researchers at the University of California, Irvine, to build a device capable of reaching temperatures near absolute zero with windows for viewing with high-speed cameras. At these chilly depths, liquid helium can take on a range of different behaviors, including as a frictionless superfluid. Read More
Pasadena Weekly

Sandra Tsing Loh recommends watching in PJs with wine

Pasadena Weekly -
In 2005 Sandra Tsing Loh reconnected with the institute when Caltech and KPCC created a podcast for Loh to host “The Loh Down on Science.” The show is co-produced by LDOS Media Lab, Inc. and SCPR (Southern California Public Radio), in association with the University of California, Irvine Science Communications. The actual content is researched, written and edited by students from the UC Irvine School of Physical Sciences, School of Biological Sciences and School of Engineering. The 90-second show …  is broadcast five times a week to over 4 million listeners on 150 public radio stations …. Read More

California blackouts trigger debate about electric grid resilience

Marketplace -
“Before the incorporation of all these renewables and other things, you have the load profile, and then you just turn power plants on and off to meet the load profile,” said Brian Tarroja, a researcher in the Advanced Power and Energy Program at the University of California, Irvine. Some blamed California’s adoption of renewable energy for triggering the blackouts, but Tarroja said that’s an oversimplification. The real culprit is a lack of integration of these renewables and the difficulty of getting all that power where it needs to go. Another issue is that there’s no incentive for utilities to update. Read More

After a year of lobbying, Johnson backs fossil fuel bill over green objections

Politico -
“The thing that we must realize is that actually achieving a zero emissions goal is a little more complicated than the popular thinking understands,” said Jack Brouwer, director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center at the University of California, Irvine. Read More

University engineering clubs get moving again

Medium -
The current restrictions, as a result of the COVID-19 social distancing measures, is shaping and testing a new generation of young professionals in ways that will yield greater resiliency and adaptability in the workplace of the future. The University of California, Irvine Solar Car team is no exception. Like most research university engineering clubs, they have a limited timeframe to complete their objectives, are resource constrained and have their normal coursework to attend to. … The project manager of UC Irvine’s Solar Car team, Subin Shrestha, is one of those young engineering mavens that is traversing the challenges of our day. Read More
The Athletic

The ball is different again, and it’s changing the way pitches move. Now what?

The Athletic -
Now there’s new research from Glenn Healey and Lequan Wang in the electrical engineering and computer science departments at the University of California, Irvine which shows that as the seam height changes, the movement on pitches changes. By using optical and radar tracking, and correcting for weather effects, Healey and Wang were able to graph the movement of pitches by season in major league baseball. … Healey’s new study has the benefit of over 700,000 pitches of TrackMan data behind it. [Subscription required, you can request an electronic copy of the article by sending an email to communications@uci.edu.] Read More
SC Magazine

Is the electric grid closer to a devastating cyberattack that could mean lights out?

SC Magazine -
And then there’s the evidence presented … by researchers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) that a spoofing mechanism tucked into a disposable coffee cup could generate a 32 percent change in output voltage, a 200 percent increase in low-frequency harmonics power and a 250 percent boost in real power from a solar inverter. “Without touching the solar inverter, without even getting close to it, I can just place a coffee cup nearby and then leave and go anywhere in the world, from which I can destabilize the grid,” said Mohammad Al Faruque’s research group in UCI’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering. Read More
Chemistry World

Microscopy reveals mantis shrimp’s shock-absorbing secrets

Chemistry World -
A team led by University of California, Irvine, materials scientist David Kisailus has analyzed the impact-resistant coating on the shrimp’s dactyl club. Using transmission electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy the researchers made a 3D map of the club’s surface layer. … The researchers say that the particulate layer’s combination of stiffness and shock-absorbing properties outperform many artificial materials and could provide inspiration for new lightweight protective coatings with potential uses in construction, vehicles and body armor. Read More


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