SciNews Aug 31, 2015

Space elevators, body odour and crime-stopping, betting against Stephen Hawking – and winning!, and why bacon smells so great.  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

Canadian stem cell trials impeded by federal regulations, doctors say. National Post

When a Swiss-based researcher announced this month he had achieved some improvement in profoundly paralyzed spinal-cord-injury patients with an injection of stem cells, he generated headlines worldwide. Dr. Armin Curt’s findings were the first evidence from actual humans — though far from conclusive — that the much-hyped stem-cell concept might work in paraplegic and quadriplegic patients. Read more…


Wanted: Crime-solving bacteria and body odor. Science News

Forensic biologist Silvana Tridico was puzzled by pubic hair.

Specifically, pubic hair samples donated by two volunteers.

She had just finished analyzing the bacteria stuck to the hair of seven people. If each hair sample carried unique mixes of bacteria, Tridico reasoned, investigators might have a new tool to help identify crime suspects. Hair bacteria, like fingerprints, could offer a forensic link between criminals and the bits of bodily debris they left behind. Read more…



13698187_s from 123rf

Nanosilver: Naughty or nice?. Science News for Students

Silver is beautiful — and a killer. The shiny white metal is a natural antibiotic. That means it kills bacteria. People have recognized this benefit since ancient times. Wealthy Romans ate using knives, forks and spoons made of silver. They understood that silver helped keep spoiled food from making them sick. In fact, historians think that is how we came to call eating utensils “silverware.” Read more…


Soaking up carbon dioxide and turning it into valuable products. Science Daily

Researchers double down on a good thing by incorporating catalysts into crystalline sponges

Researchers have incorporated molecules of porphyrin CO2 catalysts into the sponge-like crystals of covalent organic frameworks (COFs) to create a molecular system that not only absorbs carbon dioxide, but also selectively reduces it to CO, a primary building block for a wide range of chemical products. Read more…


Why Bacon Smells So Good. About Chemistry

Bacon is the king of food. You can savor it slice by slice, enjoy it in sandwiches, indulge in bacon-laced chocolate, or smear on bacon-flavored lip balm. There’s no mistaking the odor of bacon frying. You can smell it cooking anywhere in a building and when it gone, its lingering scent remains. Why does bacon smell so good? Science has the answer to the question. Chemistry explains its potent scent, while biology rationalizes a bacon craving. Read more…


18685938_s from 123rf

Evidence suggests subatomic particles could defy the standard model. Science Daily

A team of physicists has found new hints of particles — leptons, to be more precise — being treated in strange ways not predicted by the Standard Model. The discovery could prove to be a significant lead in the search for non-standard phenomena. Read more…


Higgs Boson bet scientist always confident of winning $100 from Stephen Hawking. National Post

The U.S. scientist who won a $100 wager with Stephen Hawking over whether the Higgs boson would ever be found said on Friday winning was the icing on the cake of a major scientific discovery. Read more…


Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Beliefs about global warming vary by country. Science News for Students

here you live can have a big effect on what you believe about global warming and other aspects of climate change. That’s the finding of a new study.

In 2007 and 2008, a Gallup World Poll surveyed people in 119 countries. That survey covered a range of issues. A group of scientists has now analyzed how people had responded to two of the questions: How much do you know about global warming, and how serious a threat does it pose to you and your family? And the responses, they report, were surprising. Read more…


Canadian company gets patent for 20-kilometre-high space elevator. Globe and Mail

Thoth Technology of Pembroke, Ont., is developing a 20-kilometre-high free-standing space elevator that would allow astronauts to launch into space from a platform high above the Earth.

In July, Thoth was granted a U.S. patent for the technology.

An artistic conception of the Jupiter-like exoplanet, 51 Eri b, seen in the near-infrared light that shows the hot layers deep in its atmosphere glowing through clouds. Because of its young age, this young cousin of our own Jupiter is still hot and carries information on the way it was formed 20 million years ago.

“From the top of the structure you would be able to launch using a single stage space plane directly into low Earth orbit, and the return to the top of the structure and you wouldn’t need any expendable rockets that would come off during the flight,” inventor Dr. Brendan Quine said from the Algonquin Radio Observatory in Pembroke, Ont. Read more…


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