SciNews Sunday, March 6, 2016


Warning of meltdown in child with ASD; gene linked to grey hair; U of T scientist awarded Brain Prize; killing wolves may not benefit livestock; Canada need not rely on fossil fuels; scary to totally rely on GPS; bubble blowing dependent on speed; FRBs from outside our galaxy; home after 340 days in space – 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

Autism monitor developed at UBC one of six start-up ideas to join Innovation Hub. Vancouver Sun.

A new wearable sensor system developed at the University of B.C. could help children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their caregivers head off debilitating anxiety attacks.

The device, dubbed Reveal, is a an ankle bracelet that monitors sweat, heart rate and skin temperature and transmits data via Bluetooth in real time to a smartphone app that can warn parents when an emotional meltdown is developing.  Read more…

Gene for greying hair identified. CBC

They may not have settled the enduring debate over whether grey hair makes a person look distinguished or just plain old, but scientists have identified for the first time a gene behind greying hair.

Researchers said on Tuesday an analysis of DNA from more than 6,300 people from five Latin American countries enabled them to pinpoint a gene that affects a person’s likelihood of getting grey hair.  Read more…

U of T researcher earns world’s richest prize for brain research. Globe and Mail

A University of Toronto scientist who specializes in the neurobiological underpinnings of memory and learning has won the world’s most valuable prize for brain research.

Graham Collingridge, chair of U of T’s physiology department and a senior investigator at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital, is one of three researchers named on Tuesday as recipients of this year’s €1-million ($1.5-million Canadian) Brain Prize.  Read more…

How killing wolves to protect livestock may backfire. Science News

A couple of years ago, biologists from Washington State University found that killing a wolf to rid a threat to livestock actually increased the chances that cattle or sheep would be killed in the following year. Only eliminating a quarter or more of the wolves in a state resulted in declines in wolves killing livestock.  Read more…

Chemistry

13698187_s from 123rf

Clean disruption? Stanford group plans for 100% green-energy future. CBC

An environmental research team from the prestigious Stanford University in California has calculated exactly how Canada can move away from fossil fuels, transitioning to a totally clean-energy future through existing technologies.  Read more…

Physics

18685938_s from 123rf

The scary, practical reason the US Navy is once again teaching celestial navigation. Science Alert

As GPS technology steadily becomes better and better, so does our reliance on it. Need to go to the store? Google Maps. Need to go on a road trip to a distant city? Boot up the Garmin. You can even pinpoint why your Uber driver is taking so long to pick you up. At this point, if GPS suddenly vanished, we’d all be a bit confused and upset. Read more…

Bubble blowing gets scientific scrutiny. Science News

There’s a science behind the art of blowing soap bubbles.

It’s not the thickness of the soapy film but rather the speed of the blowing gust of air that determines whether bubbles will emerge, scientists in France report in the Feb. 19 Physical Review Letters.

“We have all blown soap bubbles,” says study coauthor Laurent Courbin, a physicist at the University of Rennes in France. “It’s nice to be able to explain simple experiments that we have all experienced in our lives.”  Read more…

Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Repeating mysterious radio bursts from deep space surprise scientists. CBC

Mysterious radio blips from deep space, far beyond our galaxy, have puzzled scientists since the first one was discovered in 2001.

Now, a Canadian scientist and his international collaborators have detected repeat performances of a “fast radio burst” for the first time. That raises new questions and new possibilities about what might be causing them.

Fast radio bursts or FRBs — single bursts of radio waves from outside our galaxy that last just one to 10 thousandths of a second — were first detected just 15 years ago by scientists using a radio telescope in Australia.   Read more…

U.S. astronaut heads home after unprecedented year in space for NASA. Globe and Mail

Astronaut Scott Kelly closed the door Tuesday to an unprecedented year in space for NASA, flying back to the planet and loved ones he left behind last March.

Kelly and his roommate for the past 340 days, Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, check out of the International Space Station on Tuesday night, U.S. time.

By the time their capsule lands in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, the pair will have travelled 144 million miles through space, circled the world 5,440 times and experienced 10,880 orbital sunrises and sunsets.  Read more…

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