SciNews Jan 3, 2016

Dog behaviour,  Canada’s Climate Change Commitments, Weird Pluto, Recycling Phones and Football Practice Without Helmets – lots of great stuff to talk about on your first day back to school.  Share these eclectic science stories with your students and get them excited about science.

SciNews is published twice weekly. Stay tuned for more.

7308778_s from 123rfBiology

Do dogs have a sense of self?. Science News for Students

When Spot answers to his name, does he realize that this name is his? Maybe he only knows that it’s a good idea to come when he hears “Spot” because he might get a treat. People know their names and realize that they exist separately from other people. Many have wondered what other animals share this type of self-awareness. A new study now suggests that dogs are aware of who they are. Their nose knows.

Psychologists are scientists that study the mind. And they have a clever way to test for self-awareness in people. A researcher might place a mark on a child’s forehead while he or she is sleeping — and unaware. When the child wakes, the researcher then asks the child to look into a mirror. If the child touches the mark on his or her own face after seeing the mark in the mirror, then he or she has passed the test. Touching the mark shows that the child understands: “The child in the mirror is me.” Read more…


How seeing ‘Star Wars’ satisfies your narcissistic tendencies. Science News

Many of us will see the new Star Wars flick in the coming weeks, which offers not only the antidote to years of anticipation but also a break from the holiday fracas. But for the super geeks among us, The Force Awakens serves another purpose: It awakens a feeling of specialness. Read more…



13698187_s from 123rf

Open for Discussion: Be Smart—Recycle that Old Cell Phone! ChemMatters

What should you do with your cell phone when it dies? Is it safe to just throw it in the trash? If you recycle your cell phone, what happens to it? Read more…


Canada faces tough realities to reach Paris climate change target. Globe and Mail

After this weekend’s historic global accord in Paris, Ottawa’s climate-change focus now turns to reaching a detailed national climate strategy with the provinces by early March while also moving toward a North American agreement on energy and environmental issues. Read more…


Synthetic radioactive element 113 will be named by Japanese researchers. CBC

A team of Japanese scientists have met the criteria for naming a new element, the synthetic highly radioactive element 113, more than a dozen years after they began working to create it.

Kosuke Morita, who was leading the research at the government-affiliated Riken Nishina Centre for Accelerator-Based Science, was notified of the decision on Thursday by the U.S.-based International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. Read more…



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Helmetless-tackling drills significantly reduce head impact. Science Daily

Sparked by national debate and efforts to help make football safer for players, research has found that a novel set of helmetless-tackling drills are effective in reducing head impacts by 28 percent in one season. Read more…


Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

The mysterious boundary.  Science News

black hole’s event horizon is a one-way bridge to nowhere, a gateway to a netherworld cut off from the rest of the cosmos. Understanding what happens at that pivotal boundary could reveal the hidden influences that have molded the universe from the instant of the Big Bang.

Today some of the best minds in physics are fixated on the event horizon, pondering what would happen to hypothetical astronauts and subatomic particles upon reaching the precipice of a black hole. At stake is the nearly 100-year quest to unify the well-tested theories of general relativity and quantum mechanics into a supertheory of quantum gravity. Read more…



Weird Pluto gives up its secrets. Science News for Students

Pluto is a weirder place than scientists had ever imagined. It has widely different landscapes, a family of wildly spinning moons and volcano-like mountains that spew ice instead of rock. Those surprises are among the many that NASA’s New Horizons mission uncovered this year. Its scientists reported their findings in November at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s planetary sciences division.

The Pluto mission is offering scientists rich lessons, said Alan Stern. He led the program to get a spacecraft to Pluto. “It’s going to take the larger planetary science community many years to digest all this,” he noted at a news briefing. Read more…




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