SciNews July 20

Biological Clock, the latest from pluto, redefining the kilogram, rising sea levels 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

The origin of biological clocks. Science News

The Earth has rhythm. Every 24 hours, the planet pirouettes on its axis, bathing its surface alternately in sunlight and darkness.

Organisms from algae to people have evolved to keep time with the planet’s light/dark beat. They do so using the world’s most important timekeepers: daily, or circadian, clocks that allow organisms to schedule their days so as not to be caught off guard by sunrise and sunset. Read more…


Genetically Modifed Mosquitoes Battle Dengue Fever in Brazil. Discover

In the fight against disease-bearing mosquitoes, residents in the Brazilian city of Piracicaba have a new ally: mosquitoes.

A biotech company has released into the wild an army of genetically modified male mosquitoes that will never see their children. That’s because these mosquito dads pass on a gene to their offspring that causes them to die before they ever mature. Read more…


Could dissolvable microneedles replace injected vaccines? Science Daily

Flu vaccines delivered using microneedles that dissolve in the skin can protect people against infection even better than the standard needle-delivered vaccine, according to new research. The authors of the study say their dissolvable patch – the only vaccination system of its kind – could make vaccination easier, safer and less painful. According to the World Health Organization, immunization prevents an estimated 2-3 million deaths every year. Read more…



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Sea Level Could Rise at Least 6 Meters. Scientific American

ven if world manages to limit global warming to 2°C — the target number for current climate negotiations — sea levels may still rise at least 6 meters (20 feet) above their current heights, radically reshaping the world’s coastline and affecting millions in the process.

That finding comes from a new paper published on Thursday in Science that shows how high sea levels rose the last time carbon dioxide levels were this high. Read more…


More precise estimate of Avogadro’s number to help redefine kilogram. Science Daily

An ongoing international effort to redefine the kilogram by 2018 has been helped by recent efforts from a team researchers from Italy, Japan and Germany to correlate two of the most precise measurements of Avogadro’s number and obtain one averaged value that can be used for future calculations. Read more…



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Special Report: Dimensions of Time. Science News

Time, as the late physicist John Archibald Wheeler liked to say, is nature’s way of keeping everything from happening all at once.

But time also has many other jobs. It keeps eggs from unscrambling, glass from unbreaking, and somehow accommodates the expansion of the universe. Time helps humans and other organisms function on a recurring daily schedule that alternates light with darkness. Time in the brain underlies synchronization of sights and sounds needed to make sense of the external world. Read more…



Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Latest images from Pluto probe reveal a bizarre polygonal plain.  Globe and Mail

Scientists are continuing to report startling diversity on the surface of Pluto as close-up images trickle in from NASA’s New Horizons probe.

In the latest views, released during a Friday news briefing in Washington, the discussion has shifted from Pluto’s surprisingly tall ice mountains to an adjacent plain that appears to be carved into polygon-shaped segments. Read more…


Profile: Looking for life beyond the solar system. Science News for Students

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The summer before astronomer Sara Seager entered graduate school, she spent two months canoeing the wilderness of Canada’s Nunavut Territory. Her heavy load of gear included a physics book. Mike Wevrick, her future husband, journeyed with her. Together, they paddled rapids and crossed lake after lake. In between, they hauled their canoe through forests. Read more…


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