SciNews Jan 24, 2016

Lizards in heat, Planet 9, Life in Antarctica, Spiderman myth and black holes – such a cool collection of eclectic science stories to share with your students.  You gotta love science! SciNews is published twice weekly. Stay tuned for more.

7308778_s from 123rfBiology

Cold-blooded tegu lizards crank up the heat in mating season. CBC

Tegu lizards are cold-blooded, but it turns out they really crank up the heat when it’s time for some lizard love — a surprising finding that could help scientists get one step closer to solving a mystery of evolution.

The half-metre long lizards, native to large swathes of South America, spend most of the day basking and foraging in the sunshine before retiring to burrows at night, where they quickly cool to the surrounding temperature. Read more…


Study reveals life’s outer limits in Antarctic valley. Globe and Mail

When Jacqueline Goordial first laid eyes on University Valley in Antarctica, it looked like the loneliest place on Earth. It would take her five years to prove it.

“It’s really desolate,” the McGill University researcher said. “There are no insects, no plants, no birds flying through the area. I’ve never been anywhere so silent.” Read more…




13698187_s from 123rf

Why Spiderman can’t exist: Geckos are ‘size limit’ for sticking to walls. Science Daily

Latest research reveals why geckos are the largest animals able to scale smooth vertical walls — even larger climbers would require unmanageably large sticky footpads. Scientists estimate that a human would need adhesive pads covering 40 percent of their body surface in order to walk up a wall like Spiderman, and believe their insights have implications for the feasibility of large-scale, gecko-like adhesives. Read more…


Ottawa must spend more to ensure health of Great Lakes, report says. Globe and Mail

The Liberal government needs to boost spending on water infrastructure and assessment of groundwater resources to ensure the health of the Great Lakes, as they face threats from climate change and unsustainable use, the International Joint Commission urged Tuesday. In a report to governments on both sides of the border, the binational commission applauded measures taken by states and provinces to protect the world’s largest freshwater system from large-scale diversions or excessive consumption. But more needs to be done, it concluded. Read more…



18685938_s from 123rf

At last, some details on Stephen Hawking’s solution to black hole problem. Science News

Stephen Hawking has finally provided more information about how black holes might preserve information. Following up on an intriguing talk he gave in August, the 74-year-old physicist coauthored a paper posted January 5 to describing how someone outside a black hole may be able to learn what’s inside. Read more…



Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

How did we miss Planet 9? — Bob McDonald. CBC

While scientists are excited about the latest evidence of a new planet beyond Pluto, actually seeing it will be more difficult than spotting galaxies at the edge of the universe.

It’s a strange irony that telescopes, which are so good at imaging objects at extreme distances, are sometimes hampered finding those that are up close. The new Planet 9, as it is called, is up to 25 times farther away than Pluto, which is very far away by earthly standards, but it is still in our cosmic backyard. Yet finding it will involve a painstaking search by telescopes that could take years. Read more…


5 planets visible at once for 1st time in a decade. CBC

For the first time in more than a decade, you have the rare opportunity to spot five planets in the night sky at the same time.

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are the planets in our solar system that are visible with the naked eye. (Uranus and Neptune are only visible with telescopes.) The five bright planets line up across the sky before dawn for the next month, until around Feb. 20. Read more…



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