SciNews Oct 28, 2015

Reattaching a head, Quantum Mechanics is weird (I new that!), time travel made simple and much, much more.   This eclectic collection of current science news stories is brought to you by STAOBlog.

SciNews is published twice weekly. Stay tuned for more.

7308778_s from 123rfBiology

 How Surgeons Reattached a Toddler’s Head. Scientific American

When Rylea Taylor pulled her son Jaxon from the wreckage of their family car on September 15, she knew instantly that his neck was broken—an injury that usually leaves victims paralyzed or dead. The force of the 70-mile-per-hour head-on collision had fractured Jaxon’s top two vertebrae and torn apart the ligaments that stabilize them. His top vertebra and skull were completely detached from the rest of his spinal column. The spinal cord itself was bent at a 45-degree angle and dangerously vulnerable to further movements that could sever critical nerves. Read more…



13698187_s from 123rf

Zippy videos teach chemistry behind everyday life. Science News

Two molecules give Sriracha hot sauce a fiery flavor by tripping a cellular alarm in the mouth that usually signals blazing-hot foods above 42° Celsius. When guacamole goes from a delectable green to an icky brown, it’s forming the pigment melanin, which also tints human skin. And there’s scientific truth to being hangry — a hunger-induced rage, possibly fueled by inferior breakfast foods. Read more…


Nanoparticles in foods raise safety questions. Science News

t seemed like a small thing when Paul Westerhoff’s 8-year-old son appeared, with his tongue and lips coated bright white. The boy had just polished off a giant Gobstopper, a confectionery made of sugary, melt-in-the-mouth layers. Curious about the white coating, Westerhoff, an environmental engineer, pored over the jawbreaker’s contents and discovered just how incredibly small the matter was. Read more…




18685938_s from 123rf

Confirmed: Quantum mechanics is weird. Science News

A new experiment checks all the boxes in validating the weirdness of quantum physics. The first demonstration of a loophole-free Bell test, reported October 21 in Nature, confirms that particles coaxed into a state called entanglement share a relationship that cannot be explained by the physical laws that govern everyday life. Read more…


Time Travel Made Simple. World Science Festival

In movies, time travel methods are mostly explained along the lines of “something something plutonium something wormhole.” But physicists do have some idea of methods that might allow for actual time travel—though they might not necessarily prevent you from killing your own grandfather.

One trope in time travel science fiction is slightly plausible, if physically impossible—traveling faster than the speed of light. The crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise did this in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, by using the sun’s gravitational pull to accelerate their spaceship to super-light speed. If it were possible to travel faster than light (Einstein calculated it would take an infinite amount of power), it is theoretically possible for signals to be sent back in time; it’s questionable if the same method could work with people. Read more…


Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Magnetism: From Neuroscience to Climate Change? Discover

A few weeks ago, a pair of Canadian scientists, David Vares and Michael Persinger, published a paper concluding that climate change is not caused by carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from burning fossil fuels, as most people believe. Instead, they say, global warming and the rise in CO2 are both caused by decreases in the strength of the earth’s magnetic field: Earth’s Diminishing Magnetic Dipole Moment is Driving Global Carbon Dioxide Levels and Global Warming. Read more…




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