SciNews Thursday, February 25, 2016

50 million year old bird in Arctic; stress-related virus in coral reefs; volleyballene nets; 1/2 the world short-sighted by 2050; more about gravity waves;  tracking meteors – 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

Giant, flightless birds wandered Canadian Arctic 50 million years ago. CBC

More than 50 million years ago, Canada’s Arctic was a warm, wet place, home to alligators, giant tortoises and — as it now turns out — giant, flightless birds.

A new study by scientists  from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and the University of Colorado Boulder has confirmed that a single fossilized toe bone discovered in the early 1970s on Ellesmere Island in what is now Nunavut belonged to a species called Gastornis.  Read more…

Herpes-Like Virus Emerges in Stressed-Out Coral Reefs. Discover

Long-term stress may trigger herpes outbreaks in humans, and the same could be true in the Great Barrier Reef.

While examining samples taken from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, researchers from Oregon State University happened to observe coral as it went through a bleaching event. The team noticed that viral populations on the coral multiplied after samples had turned white. One of viruses described by researchers in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology  is morphologically similar to the herpes virus that affects humans and other animals.  Read more…


13698187_s from 123rf

Volleyballene nets a place in the buckyball family. Chemistry World

Scientists in China have identified an exceptionally stable volleyball-shaped molecular cluster, which they have dubbed ‘volleyballene’. The hollow cage arrangement contains 20 scandium atoms arranged in octagons and 60 carbon atoms in pentagons to give a bulbous configuration.  Read more…


18685938_s from 123rf

Half the world to be short-sighted by 2050. Science Daily

Half the world’s population (nearly 5 billion) will be short-sighted (myopic) by 2050, with up to one-fifth of them (1 billion) at a significantly increased risk of blindness if current trends continue, says a new study.  Read more…

Say hello to gravity waves. Science News for Students

On February 11, 2016, scientists announced that they had detected a burst of special waves. These waves — gravitational waves — are ripples in in the fabric of space, the result of two black holes slamming into each other. The famous physicist Albert Einstein predicted the existence of these waves 100 years ago. Now, the detection of these undulations has changed how we see the universe. Check out our new stories about gravity waves, along with some of our older coverage.  Read more…

Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Meteor Radar Observations.  University of Western Ontario

The Western meteor physics group operates a triple-frequency, meteor orbital radar 100 km from London (near Tavistock, Ontario) where  we record ~2500 meteoroid orbits per day. CMOR is a multi-frequency HF/ VHF radar used to detect the ionized trails associated with ablating meteoroids. It has been in single-station operation (echoes) since 1999 and multi-station (orbits) since January of 2002. The radar produces data on the range, angle of arrival, and velocity/orbit in some instances. To the end of 2009 we have measured 4 million individual orbits.  Read more…

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