SciNews Feb 4, 2016

Explosion of life, Zombie stars, new diabetes treatment, and rainbows – who would’ve thought science could be so interesting!  These are 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

No more insulin injections?

Encapsulated pancreatic cells offer possible new diabetes treatment

In patients suffering from Type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the pancreas, eventually leaving patients without the ability to naturally control blood sugar. These patients must carefully monitor the amount of sugar in their blood, measuring it several times a day and then injecting themselves with insulin to keep their blood sugar levels within a healthy range, which is a challenge for many reasons. Now researchers report that encapsulated pancreatic cells offer possible new diabetes treatment. Read more…
Life exploded on Earth after slow rise of oxygen. Science Daily

It took 100 million years for oxygen levels in the oceans and atmosphere to increase to the level that allowed the explosion of animal life on Earth about 600 million years ago, according to a study. Read more…




13698187_s from 123rf

Group 6 diatomic bonding is all relative. Chemistry World

Scientists in China say that the trends governing the periodic table may need a rethink as relativistic effects in group 6 diatomic molecules contradicts some of them.

The periodic table is a powerful resource that describes the mass, electronic configuration and properties of elements. Quantum mechanics has helped reaffirm this by providing a tool to calculate electron configurations and explain periodic behaviour. Read more…



18685938_s from 123rf

An Impractical, Ahistorical, Mathematically Elegant Way to Figure out the Earth Is a Sphere. Scientific American

How can you tell what your planet looks like? One way is to develop a space program, send vessels up, and take pictures of it from far away. Several cameras and a very small percentage of humans have left the planet to look at it from space, and they say it looks like a sphere. But what if they’re lying? While a recent paper suggests it would be difficult to sustain a global conspiracy of all space agencies, astronauts, and planetary scientists, we don’t have to take their word for it. Read more…


News Brief: Why rainbows can lose some hues. Science News for Students

Some rainbows are missing a few colors. When the sun is low in the sky, those colorful arcs may contain only a fraction of the traditional red-to-violet hues. Or that’s what researchers reported December 17. They shared their new findings here at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting.

Rainbows emerge as sunlight bends while passing through water droplets in the air. The water acts like a prism. It bends different parts of the light spectrum — or colors — by different amounts. This breaks the rainbow’s light into bands of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. What results is a vibrant and colorful arc. Read more…


Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Zombie stars: A source of gravitational waves? Science News for Students

Pulsars are the dense cores of dead stars. But these zombies still communicate. They emit intense beams of radio waves with the regularity of a nearly perfect clock. A dancing pair of these cosmic radio beacons has just provided scientists with the best gauge that gravitational waves exist.

Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space. If you throw a rock into a pond, it creates ripples — waves in the water — that stretch and squeeze back again. Similarly, accelerating masses should send gravitational waves into space, ripples that cause space to stretch and squeeze back again. For instance, the universe should have unleashed gravitational waves right after its explosive start in the Big Bang. Read more…


Fireball spotted over southern Ontario, northeastern U.S. CBC

More than 670 people reported seeing a large fireball shoot through the sky over the northeastern U.S. and southern Ontario on Saturday. Read more…

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