SciNews Sunday, February 14, 2016

Zika and birth defects, winter not to blame for depression, using poop and pee for energy, Einstein confirmed, uncharged nucleus, the summer Milky Way and aurora, boy hit by meteorite – 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

Zika worries go global. Science News for Students

The recent wave of birth defects and brain disorders linked to Zika virus is an international “public health emergency,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The agency is part of the United Nations. It tries to control the spread of disease around the world. It declared the emergency February 1.  Read more…

Don’t blame winter for that bleak mood. Science News

Winter doesn’t deserve its dour reputation as the season of depression, scientists say.

Rates of major depression, a psychiatric condition marked by intense sadness, hopelessness, insomnia and a general loss of interest or pleasure, don’t markedly change from one season to another among U.S. adults, says a team led by psychologist Steven LoBello of Auburn University at Montgomery in Alabama. Neither do symptoms intensify or become more numerous during winter among those already suffering from depression, the researchers report online January 19 in Clinical Psychological Science.  Read more…


13698187_s from 123rf

Powered by poop and pee? Science News for Students

Every day, people visit the toilet. Or, in developing nations, the field, pit or other location where they can relieve themselves. With more than 7 billion people on the planet, that’s a lot of waste. Mixed with water, these wastes are known as sewage. Because they host germs, they can’t just be left lying around. If they taint the water people use for eating, drinking and bathing, those germs can spread disease. So cleaning up the daily production of human wastes is an important part of keeping people healthy.  Read more…


18685938_s from 123rf

A wrinkle in space-time confirms Einstein’s gravitation.

Astronomers finally found evidence of gravitation waves. Now things are getting interesting.  Read more…

Physicists find signs of four-neutron nucleus. Science News

The suspected discovery of an atomic nucleus with four neutrons but no protons has physicists scratching their heads. If confirmed by further experiments, this “tetraneutron” would be the first example of an uncharged nucleus, something that many theorists say should not exist. “It would be something of a sensation,” says Peter Schuck, a nuclear theorist at the National Center for Scientific Research in France who was not involved in the work. Details on the tetraneutron appear in the Feb. 5 Physical Review Letters.  Read more…


Gravitational waves discovery aided by Alberta brothers – Calgary – CBC News

It’s being called one of the most significant scientific discoveries from the past 50 years, and some Albertans had a hand in it. Scientists announced on Thursday they had discovered gravitational waves — ripples in space time. It’s the confirmation scientists needed of a theory predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity 100 years ago.  Read more…


Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Northern lights on a blustery midwinter night

Shot just before the start of predawn on a windy winter night. The summer Milky Way can be seen rising above the aurora at right.  Read more…

14-year-old hit by 30,000 mph space meteorite.  The Telegraph

Gerrit Blank, 14, was on his way to school when he saw “ball of light” heading straight towards him from the sky. A red hot, pea-sized piece of rock then hit his hand before bouncing off and causing a foot wide crater in the ground. The teenager survived the strike, the chances of which are just 1 in a million – but with a nasty three-inch long scar on his hand. He said: “At first I just saw a large ball of light, and then I suddenly felt a pain in my hand.  Read more…

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