SciNews Nov 15, 2015

Antimatter, high calorie foods, El Nino, radiactive foods, spooky entanglement  and what’s new with Pluto – just a few of the 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

Sunnybrook doctor first to perform blood-brain barrier procedure using focused ultrasound waves. Globe and Mail

Dr. Todd Mainprize leaned over and peered through his wire-rim glasses at a computer screen showing the brain scan of his brain cancer patient, Bonny Hall, who lay in a magnetic resonance imaging machine (MRI) in the adjacent room.

“This has gone exactly the way we hoped,” the neurosurgeon said, crossing his arms. He smiled and nodded. His experimental procedure had been a success. Read more…


Are you hardwired to enjoy high-calorie foods? Research links genes to heightened brain reward responses to foods high in fat and sugar. Science News

For the first time, researchers have identified two genetic variants that interact to alter the brain responses to high-calorie foods, a tie that could aid in the development of targeted treatments for obesity and overweight. Researchers found that two gene variants – FTO and DRD2 – influenced activity in the brain reward system when looking at pictures of high-calorie foods. Read more…


13698187_s from 123rf

10 Common Naturally Radioactive Foods. About Chemistry

Technically, all food is slightly radioactive. This is because all food and other organic molecules contain carbon, which naturally exists as a mixture of isotopes, including radioactive carbon-14. That’s the basis for carbon dating, used to identify the age of fossils. However, some foods emit much more radiation than others. Here’s a look at 10 naturally radioactive foods and how much radiation you get from them. Read more…


Antimatter not so different after all. Science Daily

Scientists help make first measurement of antiproton attraction. Researchers share the first measurements of the attractive force between antiprotons. The discovery gives physicists new ways to look at the forces that bind matter and antimatter. Read more…



18685938_s from 123rf

New algorithm cracks graph problem. Science News

A puzzle that has long flummoxed computers and the scientists who program them has suddenly become far more manageable.  A new algorithm efficiently solves the graph isomorphism problem, computer scientist László Babai announced November 10 at a Combinatorics and Theoretical Computer Science seminar at the University of Chicago. The problem requires determining whether two separate sets of interconnected points, known as graphs, are linked in the same way even if the graphs look very different. In practice, existing algorithms can do the job in reasonable time, but it was possible that extremely complex graphs would make the problem intractable. Not anymore.  Read more…


Spooky action at a distance’ is really real. Science Daily

Einstein was wrong about at least one thing: There are, in fact, ‘spooky actions at a distance,’ as now proven by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Read more…


Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Will El Niño Finally Blast North America? Discover

Waiting for El Niño hasn’t exactly been like waiting for Godot. Even so, it sure feels like we’ve been waiting awhile for the predicted weather impacts to show up unequivocally. Well, we may not have to wait that much longer. Read more…


Chile telescope array spots nearby Earth-sized planet. Science News

The nearest Earth-sized planet beyond the solar system is at most 39 light-years away.

That’s the distance to GJ 1132b, a newly discovered rocky planet about 1.2 times as large as Earth that orbits a small, dim star in the constellation Vela. The planet is almost certainly too hot to support life, but it is about 90 light-years nearer to us than the next-closest known Earth-sized planets. The discovery could herald the era of probing the atmospheres of nearby small worlds for signs of life. GJ 1132b is “arguably the most important planet ever found outside the solar system,” Drake Deming, an astronomer at the University of Maryland in College Park, writes in a review that accompanies the study in the Nov. 12 Nature. Read more…



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