SciNews Jan 6, 2016

Fat transport, Daddy’s genes, Dancing water and avalanches – what do they all have in common? They’re in this week’s 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

Blocking fat transport linked to longevity. Science Daily

Everybody knows that a buildup of the wrong kind of fats can cause cardiovascular disease. A new study in nematode worms and mice also finds that a protein that transports fats around the body can hinder protective processes in cells and affect life span. Read more…


How to Stick to Your New Year Resolutions. Scientific American

The first I ever heard of New Year resolutions was after I moved from Spain to the US for my postdoctoral training, in 1997. In Spain, the New Year’s party rituals are different too: instead of a countdown of the last ten seconds followed by a rendition of “Auld Lang Syne,” we Spaniards close the year by eating twelve grapes of luck— or “uvas de la suerte”—one for each of the twelve strokes of midnight’s bells. The grape-eating custom—said to have been started by grape growers in the early 20th century—is akin to blowing out the candles on your birthday cake. You formulate a wish just as midnight approaches (some people do twelve wishes, but I think that’s just greedy). Read more…

Are you inheriting more than genes from your father? Science.

Male mice bequeath an unexpected legacy to their progeny. Two studies published online this week in Science reveal that sperm from the rodents carry pieces of RNAs that alter the metabolism of their offspring. The RNAs spotlighted by the studies normally help synthesize proteins, so the findings point to an unconventional form of inheritance. The results are “exciting and surprising, but not impossible,” says geneticist Joseph Nadeau of the Pacific Northwest Diabetes Research Institute in Seattle, Washington. Read more…



13698187_s from 123rf

Safety Data Sheets: Information that Could Save Your Life. ChemMatters

On September 15, 2014, a high school chemistry teacher in Colorado intended to demonstrate the characteristic emission spectra of metal ions with a flame test large enough for the entire classroom to watch. The different colored flames produce the so-called rainbow effect, which would certainly impress the students. Unfortunately, in this instance, four students were injured.  All four suffered burns, one seriously. Read more…



18685938_s from 123rf

Surface physics: How water learns to dance. Science Daily

Pole dancing water molecules: Researchers have seen this remarkable phenomenon on the surface of an important technological material. Read more…


The science of avalanches. Science News

Olivia Buchanan loved to ski. She grew up in the high country of Colorado and, at age 23, was studying snow science at Montana State University in Bozeman, hoping to make a career in the mountains she adored. On January 6, 2015, however, the snow turned against her. In the backcountry terrain of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, Buchanan’s skis cut through the powder, freeing a slab of hard older snow beneath. An avalanche tumbled 700 feet down the mountain, carrying Buchanan to her death. It was Colorado’s second avalanche fatality in a week. Read more…





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