SciNews Nov 22

Stretch marks, tractor beams, new addition to the solar system, and bad news for global warming- 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.

7308778_s from 123rfBiology

Stretch mark science: What happens to your skin when pregnancy gives you a stretch mark?

Most topical treatments currently available are not evidence-based. Don’t believe the hype when you see those creams and ointments promising to prevent or reduce pregnancy stretch marks. Dermatologists are still learning about what causes stretch marks in the first place. For a new study, researchers investigate what could be causing them at the molecular level.  Read more…


Profile: A human touch for animals. Science News for Students

Temple Grandin, 68, is one of the world’s top experts on nurturing farm animals. She trains farmers and ranchers to raise livestock without causing them pain or fear. Those methods and insights make their care — called animal husbandry — faster and easier because the animals do not become anxious.

Grandin also has designed slaughterhouses, facilities where animals are killed for food. Animals move through these facilities without stress. Death comes instantly and painlessly. About 30 million cattle are killed for meat every year in the United States. Today more than half of those cattle are processed in systems that Grandin designed. Read more…




13698187_s from 123rf

Atmospheric Greenhouse Gas Levels Hit Record, Report Says. New York Times

Global concentrations of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere surpassed 400 parts per million for a monthly average this past spring, breaching a symbolic barrier set by climate scientists and policy makers, according to a report released Monday. Read more…


Move over moonshine, here comes sunshine.  Chemistry World

Researchers in the US have demonstrated a remarkably efficient new way to distil alcohol from water – using light. The method needs less energy than conventional thermal distillation and produces a more concentrated distillate. While the new method is unlikely to displace conventional distillation in industry, the researchers say, it could find niche applications in separation and purification processes. Read more…



18685938_s from 123rf

Star Wars style sonic tractor beam invented by scientists. Independent

Darth Vader’s Death Star and Captain Kirk’s Starship Enterprise both had one. Now the tractor beam, that science fiction favourite deployed to memorable effect in numerous films and television series over the years, has finally arrived on Earth.

A team of researchers at two British universities has created the world’s first fully functioning sonic tractor beam, capable of suspending, moving and manipulating small objects using only the power of sound waves.  Read more…


Zeno effect’ verified: Atoms won’t move while you watch. Cornell Chronicle

One of the oddest predictions of quantum theory – that a system can’t change while you’re watching it – has been confirmed in an experiment by Cornell physicists. Their work opens the door to a fundamentally new method to control and manipulate the quantum states of atoms and could lead to new kinds of sensors. Read more…



Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Newly found miniature planet is most distant object in the solar system. CBCNews

Astronomers have discovered what appears to be a miniature planet that is the most distant body ever found in the solar system, scientists said on Wednesday.

“We can’t really classify the object yet, as we don’t know its orbit,” said Scott Sheppard, an astronomer with the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C. “We only just found this object a few weeks ago.” Read more…


Meet the Canadian astronauts who have lived aboard the ISS.  Canadian Geographic

Before the dawn of the 21st Century, human life in space was the stuff of science fiction, but 15 years ago, almost to the day, fiction became reality. On November 2, 2000, American Commander William Shepherd and Russian astronauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev docked at the ISS, after a two-day journey aboard the Soyuz TM-31. They only stayed for four and a half months, but kicked off a decade and a half of continuous human presence on board the International Space Station. Read more…




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