SciNews July 13, 2015

The buzz on bubblebee disappearance, overhydration kills, Pluto flyby and so much more.  This eclectic collection of current science news stories is brought to you by STAOBlog.

SciNews is published every Monday. Stay tuned for more.

7308778_s  from 123rfBiology

Buzz the alarm: Climate change puts squeeze on bumblebees. Science Daily

Decline in bumblebee species, and their habitats, caused by global warming

In the most comprehensive study ever conducted of the impacts of climate change on critical pollinators, scientists have discovered that global warming is rapidly shrinking the area where bumblebees are found in both North America and Europe. Read more…


Gene therapy restores hearing in mice. Science News

In a possible step toward treating genetic human deafness, scientists have used gene therapy to partially restore hearing in deaf mice.  Read more…




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The Problem of Artificial Willpower. Scientific American

For the avid coffee drinker bound to a monotonous desk job, there is a moment – perhaps two thirds of the way through a cup – when the unbearably tedious task at hand starts to look doable. Interesting, even. Suddenly, data entry is not something that merely pays the rent, it’s something you’re into. A caffeine-triggered surge of adrenaline and dopamine works to enhance your motivation, and the meaninglessness of it all fades as you are absorbed into your computer screen. Read more…


Overhydration potentially deadly for athletes, experts warn. Science Daily

New guidelines: Athletes should drink only when thirsty

While the risks of dehydration are well known, new international guidelines seek to protect athletes from the serious health risks associated with drinking too many fluids while exercising — potentially including death. Read more…



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Mystery plasma blobs lurk in deep space and no one knows why. New Scientist

WE’RE homing in on the blobs from outer space. In the past three decades astronomers have seen dips in the radio signals from quasars and pulsars, seemingly caused by a dark object passing by.

These events don’t all look the same, so it isn’t clear if they share a cause. Sometimes different radio frequencies are delayed by different amounts, while other times the radio signal twinkles. Read more…



Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Pluto: A timeline of 85 years of discovery. Science News

Clyde Tombaugh began searching for a ninth planet in 1929 and stumbled upon Pluto the following year. In the decades since, our view of Pluto hasn’t changed much. All of that changes on July 14 when the New Horizons spacecraft, nearly 5 billion kilometers from home, slips past Pluto and gives humankind its only look at this icy world (see “Rendezvous with Pluto,” SN: 6/27/15, p. 16). Below are several milestones leading up to the 2015 Pluto flyby. Read more…


WATCH: Spectacular NASA Video Shows Giant Eruption Arching High Above the Sun and Exploding Into Space. Discover

The Sun was very restless late in June.

Starting in the third week of the month, it erupted with numerous flares and flung giant clouds of solar material, called coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, toward Earth. One result: A strong geomagnetic storm that caused the skies to ignite in spectacular displays of the Northern Lights much farther south than usual. Read more…


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