SciNews Thursday, February 18, 2016

Paraplegics could be given greater mobility, homes full of bugs, olive oil and bulletproof fabrics, taser shock disrupts brain function, artists interpreting science, gravitational waves spotted, floating ice shelves critically important – 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

New device to get people with paralysis back on their feet. Science Daily

Medical researchers have created a new minimally invasive brain-machine interface, giving people with spinal cord injuries new hope to walk again with the power of thought. Read more…

Bugs that call your house home. Science News for Students

Scientists went looking for flies, spiders, ants and other arthropods in North Carolina homes — and found plenty. In fact, no home was completely free of insects or arachnids. And only five out of 554 rooms sampled were totally clear of the creepy-crawlies. Our homes, it appears, are full of bugs. But don’t sweat it: Most were not pests.  Read more…


13698187_s from 123rf

Olive oil untangles plastic. Science News for Students

Chefs often add olive oil to spaghetti to aid the cooking process and improve flavor. Now a study finds that olive oil and other vegetable oils can also help make one type of plastic into super-strong fibers. Those fibers are ideal for making products such as bulletproof fabrics or ropes that anchor offshore oil rigs.  Read more…


18685938_s from 123rf

Taser shock disrupts brain function, has implications for police interrogations. Science Daily

In a randomized control trial, volunteer participants were subjected to Taser shocks and tested for cognitive impairment. Some showed short-term declines in cognitive functioning comparable to dementia, raising serious questions about the ability of police suspects to understand their rights at the point of arrest.  Read more…

A TRIUMF for art and science at the home of particle and nuclear physics. Globe and Mail

Art is colliding with science inside Canada’s home for particle and nuclear physics. The artist-in-residence program at TRIUMF in Vancouver is bridging the divide between the two disciplines, allowing artists to interpret science, while bringing those scientific ideas to the public in a more accessible fashion.  Read more…

Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

‘Woohoo!’ email stokes rumor that gravitational waves have been spotted. Science Mag

It’s just a rumor, but if specificity is any measure of credibility, it might just be right. For weeks, gossip has spread around the Internet that researchers with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) have spotted gravitational waves—ripples in space itself set off by violent astrophysical events. In particular, rumor has it that LIGO physicists have seen two black holes spiraling into each other and merging. But now, an email message that ended up on Twitter adds some specific numbers to those rumors. The author says he got the details from people who have seen the manuscript of the LIGO paper that will describe the discovery.  Read more…

Antarctic Ice Safety Band Is At Risk. Space Ref

New research, which includes using data from satellites such as ESA’s heritage Envisat, has revealed that there is a critical point where these shelves act as a safety band, holding back the ice that flows towards the sea. If lost, it could be the point of no return.

These floating ice shelves can be enormous. For example, the largest, the Ross Ice Shelf, is about the size of Spain and towers hundreds of metres above the waterline.  Read more…

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