SciNews Feb 7, 2016

Zika virus, nuclear fusion, global warming and the human bacterial ecosystem – how’s that for variety! 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

Cell recount: People host far fewer germs. Science News for Students

For decades, scientists have been saying that our bodies are home to lots of germs. How many? About 10 bacteria for every truly human cell. But that old number, a new study finds, appears to be highly inaccurate. Humans do host lots of germs, it found — but only about 30 percent more germs than human cells, not 9,000 percent more. Read more…


Zika virus: Precious samples sought from Brazil by U.S., Europe. CBC

razil is not sharing enough samples and disease data to let researchers determine whether the Zika virus is, as feared, linked to the increased number of babies born with abnormally small heads in the South American country, U.N. and U.S. health officials say.

The lack of data is forcing laboratories in the United States and Europe to work with samples from previous outbreaks, and is frustrating efforts to develop diagnostic tests, drugs and vaccines. Scientists tell The Associated Press that having so little to work with is hampering their ability to track the virus’ evolution. Read more…





13698187_s from 123rf

LNG Canada delay marks new blow to B.C. hopes. Globe and Mail

British Columbia’s plan to become a major exporter of liquefied natural gas is facing mounting setbacks as energy companies grapple with weak prices and regulatory uncertainty.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC disclosed on Thursday that the LNG Canada joint venture in northern B.C. is being delayed by about nine months, saying the partners are now aiming to make a final investment decision at the end of 2016 instead of the first quarter. Read more…


Sluggish electrons caught in action. Science Daily

By creating and using the first optical attosecond pulse, scientists from the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics measured the time it takes electrons inside atoms to respond to the electromagnetic forces of light. Read more…



18685938_s from 123rf

Nuclear fusion device’s 1st test with hydrogen declared a success. CBC
Scientists in Germany flipped the switch Wednesday on an experiment they hope will advance the quest for nuclear fusion, considered a clean and safe form of nuclear power.
Following nine years of construction and testing, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Greifswald injected a tiny amount of hydrogen into a doughnut-shaped device — then zapped it with the equivalent of 6,000 microwave ovens. Read more…

Canadian scientists raise alarm over inadequate computing resources. Globe and Mail
Scientists across Canada who need access to fast and powerful supercomputers to conduct their federally funded research say they are falling behind their international competitors, or having to switch to less ambitious projects because the country’s digital research infrastructure is insufficient to meet their needs.Read more…

Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Conifer forest expansion blamed for boosting global warming.  CBC

An expansion of Europe’s forests towards dark green conifers has stoked global warming, according to a study on Thursday at odds with a widespread view that planting more trees helps human efforts to slow rising temperatures.Read more…






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