SciNews Thursday, January 28, 2016

Our largest organ, Venus flytraps count, the plague of zits,  bacteria or virus, information to save lives, banning indoor tanning by teens, our 9th planet.- 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

Explainer: What is skin? Science News for Students

The human body’s largest organ — skin — is active, living tissue. It serves as tough but flexible armor to keep harmful microbes, chemicals or strong rays of light away from more sensitive inner tissues. At the same time, nerves within the skin relay important information about the world around us by sensing pain, textures and temperatures. Read more…

Hunting secrets of the Venus flytrap (hint: They can count). Science Daily

Carnivorous plants such as the Venus flytrap depend on meals of insects to survive in nutrient-poor soil. They sense the arrival of juicy insects, lured by the plants’ fruity scent, with the aid of sensitive trigger hairs on the inner surfaces of their traps. Now, researchers have looked more closely at exactly how the plants decide when to keep their traps shut and begin producing their acidic, prey-decomposing cocktail of enzymes. The short answer is: they count.  Read more… 

The truth about zits. Science News for Students

Have you ever woken up in the morning only to feel a throbbing ache on the side of your nose? You wander into the bathroom, and — horror of horrors! — a huge red zit sprouted in the middle of the night. If you’re lucky, this doesn’t happen to you on school picture day or the night of a dance. But it could. At some point, pimples will erupt on the face of about 17 in every 20 people. This unpleasant skin condition, known as acne, plagues teens more than any other age group.  Read more… 

Behavior of genes could identify type of infection. Science News for Students

Coughs, fevers and green mucus can accompany a respiratory infection. Most of the time, doctors can only guess whether bacteria or viruses were responsible. A new study now points out a new way to identify the perp.

An infection changes the actions of the sick person’s genes. And that response differs depending on whether bacteria or viruses are doing the damage, scientists now report. Knowing which it is could help doctors quickly figure out what ails a person. And it could tell them whether the best treatment is antibiotics, antiviral drugs or just chicken soup and sleep. 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

FDA wants to ban indoor tanning by teens. Science News for Students

In the average U.S. city, there are more tanning salons than Starbucks. More than 1 million people visit them every day. But sitting under tanning-bed lights increases the risk of skin cancer, especially in children. Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed a new rule that would prevent anyone under the age of 18 from indoor tanning.  Read more…


Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Beyond Pluto: A new 9th planet? Science News for Students

An unseen planet may be hiding in the outskirts of our solar system. Planetary scientists have just projected its existence based on oddities in the orbits of some far-flung icy bodies. Those tiny objects reside in the distant Kuiper (KY-pur) belt — a vast expanse of space beyond the orbit of Neptune.

Konstantin Batygin and Michael Brown work at Caltech in Pasadena, Calif. Their new calculations suggest this new mystery world would be roughly 10 times as massive as Earth. And if it exists, it must travel a highly elongated orbit.  Read more…

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