SciNews August 24 2015

Ten years after Katrina, Vaping leads to smoking, the latest in subatomic particles,  and the shrinking universe. 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

Vaping can lead to teen smoking, new study finds. Science News for Students

Teens who vape are more likely to start smoking tobacco products than are teens who don’t use electronic cigarettes. That’s the finding of a new study.

Stanton Glantz is a tobacco-control researcher of the University of California, San Francisco. He and many health officials had worried that e-cigarettes might serve as a “gateway” habit. By that they meant it might serve as a stepping stone to tobacco smoking, hookah use and cigars. But until now, there had been no data to support this idea. Read more…

Long distance travelers likely contributing to antibiotic resistance’s spread. Science Daily

Swedish exchange students who studied in India and in central Africa returned from their sojourns with an increased diversity of antibiotic resistance genes in their gut microbiomes, research indicates. Read more…



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Breastfeeding may expose infants to toxic chemicals. Science Daily

A widely used class of industrial chemicals linked with cancer and interference with immune function — perfluorinated alkylate substances, or PFASs — appears to build up in infants by 20-30 percent for each month they’re breastfed, according to a new study. It is the first study to show the extent to which PFASs are transferred to babies through breast milk, and to quantify their levels over time. Read more…


‘Diamonds from the sky’ approach turns CO2 into valuable products. Science Daily

Finding a technology to shift carbon dioxide, the most abundant anthropogenic greenhouse gas, from a climate change problem to a valuable commodity has long been a dream. Now, a team of chemists says they have developed a technology to economically convert atmospheric CO2 directly into highly valued carbon nanofibers for industrial and consumer products. Read more…



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Quest for room-temperature superconductivity warms up. Science News

The tantalizing but contentious claim that a material can conduct electrical current without resistance at temperatures as high as –70° Celsius has cleared another hurdle: It’s been published in a peer-reviewed journal. A study published August 17 in Nature provides multiple lines of evidence that pressurized hydrogen sulfide is the highest temperature superconductor ever discovered. Read more…


Long-sought subatomic particle ‘seen’ at last. Science News for Students

A subatomic particle that was first predicted to exist before the discovery of Pluto, 85 years ago, has finally been spotted on Earth. Known as Weyl fermions, they are like electrons. But unlike electrons, they have no mass. Physicists found them inside a material made of the elements tantalum and arsenic. These fermions dart around and through it in strange and exciting ways. Read more…


Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Katrina’s legacy: Refining hurricane forecasting. Science News

Ten years ago, the sea and sky rallied to unleash one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. During the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, the most active season on record, 27 named storms —from Arlene to Zeta — swirled into existence. By far the most destructive was Hurricane Katrina. Read more…


Fade to black? The universe is in decline. Science News for Students

You won’t be alive 100 billion years from now? Don’t worry. You won’t be missing much. Astronomers say that by then, the universe will be dark, empty and boring.

This new finding comes from looking at more than 200,000 galaxies. The energy they are producing today is about half of what it was 2 billion years ago. In other words, the universe is fading. More stars are dying than are being born. And as space continues to expand, things will get farther apart. With the stars’ falling output of light now spread over a broader expanse of space, the universe will dim even more. Read more…



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