SciNews August 10, 2015

Venomous frogs, hijacking ribosomes, nitrogen rivers on Pluto – how cool is that! This eclectic collection of current science news stories is brought to you by STAOBlog.

SciNews is published every Monday and Thursday. Stay tuned for more.

7308778_s  from 123rfBiology

First known venomous frogs stab with toxin-dripping lip spikes. Science News

Carlos Jared discovered the first known venomous frog by accident. And it took him a long time to connect his pain with tree frogs that head-butted his hand.

Jared, now at the Butantan Institute in São Paulo, got his first hint of true venom when collecting yellow-skinned frogs (Corythomantis greeningi) among cacti and shrubs in Brazil’s dry Caatinga region. For hours after grabbing the frogs, intense pain radiated up his arm for no obvious reason. Read more…


What’s Not To Like? Scientists Discover A New Species Of Sundew On Facebook. Discover

It was just another normal day on Facebook,” claims Paulo Gonella, a PhD student at the Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil. “I was scrolling down my newsfeed when I came across a post by a friend. He was sharing a photo originally posted by Reginaldo Vasconcelos, a plant enthusiast from Governador Valadares, showing some plants in their natural habitat.” But as Paulo looked at the low-resolution image, some of the plants jumped out at him. They looked like sundews — in the genus Drosera — but unlike any of the thirty species that are found in Brazil. Read more…


Hacked Molecular Machine Could Pump Out Custom Chemicals. Scientific American

By hijacking the cellular machinery that makes proteins, bioengineers have developed a tool that could allow them to better understand protein synthesis, explore how antibiotics work and convert cells into custom chemical factories. Read more…


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Small oxygen jump in atmosphere helped enable animals take first breaths. Science Daily

Measurements of iron speciation in ancient rocks were used to construct the chemistry of ancient oceans. Analysis suggests that it took less oxygen than previously thought to trigger the appearance of complicated life forms. Read more…


Number of Atoms in the Universe. About Chemistry

Question: How Many Atoms Are in the Universe? How Do Scientists Estimate This Number?

Scientists estimate there are 1080 atoms in the universe. The number of atoms in the universe is an estimate. It is a calculated value and not just some random, made-up number. Read more…


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New math: Fail + try again = real learning. Science News for Students

Last year, I took an improvisational comedy class in a successful attempt to stretch my comfort zone and to have fun. One of the first things our teacher, Myles Goldin, told us to do whenever anyone made a mistake during an exercise was to throw our hands high in the air and yell, “Wahoo!” Within a couple of minutes of starting our first game — essentially, speed-catch with several invisible balls of different colors — some student failed to catch the virtual blue ball. Suddenly, Goldin was leading us in a round of yelling “Wahoo!” This happened over and over each class. Read more…


Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Cosmic threads may hide some of universe’s missing matter. Science News

Some people have trouble finding their keys; astronomers, meanwhile, have been having trouble locating half of the atoms in the universe. Fortunately, researchers have a good idea of where to look. The misplaced matter seems to have collected in cosmic filaments, hundreds of millions of light-years long, which connect galaxy clusters across the cosmos. Read more…


Stunning GIF shows moon crossing Earth from new satellite 1 million miles away. Washington Post.

NASA just released a pretty amazing GIF from a brand new, solar wind-monitoring satellite DSCOVR. From one million miles away, the satellite captured the far side of the moon as it passed in front of Earth on July 16.

While DSCOVR’s main objective is to provide solar wind data for NOAA’s space weather forecasts, it has a remarkable telescope and high-resolution camera that is trained toward Earth. DSCOVR arrived at its final orbiting place just a few weeks ago, after it was launched into space in February. But as the satellite has been getting comfortable in its new orbit, DSCOVR has been wowing us with full-disk images of our home planet. Read more…


Flowing glaciers of nitrogen hint at Pluto’s inner vigour. Globe and Mail

Ten days after NASA’s New Horizons probe whizzed by Pluto, scientists say they are closer to understanding the remote world’s most distinctive and intriguing feature – the heart-shaped patch named after Pluto’s discoverer, Clyde Tombaugh. Read more…



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