SciNews Nov 12, 2015

Snake bites, kangaroo farts, solar wind, zombie physics – just some of the crazy fun themes in today’s eclectic collection of SciNews.  Share these stories with your students and get them excited about science.

SciNews is published twice weekly. Stay tuned for more.

7308778_s from 123rfBiology

Stem-cell scientists redefine how blood is made, toppling conventional ‘textbook’ view from 1960s. Science Daily

A completely new view of how human blood is made has been discovered by scientists, upending conventional dogma from the 1960s. Read more…


What It Feels Like To Die of a Boomslang Bite. Discover

It’s estimated that somewhere between one and five million people are bitten by snakes every year, with around 1/5 of those resulting in death. That number is a lot lower than it once was — several decades ago, antivenoms for deadly snakes were few and far between, so people frequently succumbed to bites. One such victim was American herpetologist Karl P. Schmidt. Read more…



13698187_s from 123rf

Kangaroo farts may not be so eco-friendly after all. Science News

Kangaroos do blow farts spiked with methane. More methane is escaping the behinds of kangaroos than previously thought, an international group of researchers reports online November 4 in the Journal of Experimental Biology. It’s still less than many other grazing animals, though, the researchers say. They think that microbe populations haven’t reached a stage of their life cycle during which they produce a lot of methane, helping to keep the animal’s gassy emissions down. Read more…



Plastic Contaminates Table Salt in China. Scientific American

Diners in China who season their meals with sea salt may be unwittingly consuming microscopic pieces of plastic pollution. When researchers analyzed fifteen brands of common table salt bought at supermarkets across China, they found among the grains of seasoning micro-sized particles of the common water bottle plastic polyethylene terephthalate, as well as polyethylene, cellophane, and a wide variety of other plastics (Env. Sci.& Tech. 2015, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b03163). Read more…



18685938_s from 123rf

Zombie Physics: 6 Baffling Results That Just Won’t Die. Scientific American

When a scientific result seems to show something genuinely new, subsequent experiments are supposed to either confirm it—triggering a textbook rewrite—or show it to be a measurement anomaly or experimental blunder. But some findings seem to remain forever stuck in the middle ground between light and shadow. Even efforts to replicate these results—normally science’s equivalent of Valyrian steel—have little effect. Welcome to the realm of undead physics. Read more…


Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

NASA mission reveals speed of solar wind stripping Martian atmosphere. Science Daily

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission has identified the process that appears to have played a key role in the transition of the Martian climate from an early, warm and wet environment that might have supported surface life to the cold, arid planet Mars is today. Read more…


Distant world’s weather is mixed bag of hot dust, molten rain. Science Daily

Weather patterns in a mysterious world beyond our solar system have been revealed for the first time, report scientists. Layers of clouds, made up of hot dust and droplets of molten iron, have been detected on a planet-like object found 75 light years from Earth, the researchers say. Read more…


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