SciNews Thursday, March 10, 2016

Alligators protect nests; ouchless measles vaccine; microbial vandals destroying art; rethink pipelines; air pollutants kill; deep ocean noisy; new devices to assist disabled; oceans cool 3.5 billion years ago – 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

Breeding birds use alligators to protect nests from raccoons, opossums. Science Daily

Dropped chicks may also provide source of food for alligators in Everglades. Breeding birds that nest above alligators for protection from mammalian predators may also provide a source of food for the alligators living in the Everglades, Florida, according to a new study.  Read more…

Ouchless measles vaccine could save lives. Science News for Students

Measles is a killer. This viral disease claimed more than 300 lives every day, on average, in 2014 alone. That’s according to the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Yet a life-saving vaccine has been available since 1963. Two doses can keep almost everyone who gets them from catching the measles. And outbreaks can largely be prevented if most people who are able to get the vaccine in fact do receive it. And a new drug-dispensing patch could help that happen.  Read more…

Meet the Microbial Vandals Destroying Leonardo da Vinci’s Priceless Renaissance Work. Discover

Microbiologists often hope to answer key questions – which microbes are present, and what are they doing? – in non-destructive ways. After all, if you’re changing the very system you’re hoping to analyze, how can you be sure that your measurements reflect native conditions?

The importance of non-destructive analyses takes on a new dimension when objects of cultural significance are involved. Disruptive techniques won’t merely perturb the natural system, but could destroy a priceless artifact. Leonardo da Vinci’s famous self-portrait, drawn around 1510 using red chalk, is one such work. From the fine, shadowed lines, a wizened man in three-quarter view emerges from the page, casting a solemn stare into the distance.  Read more…


13698187_s from 123rf

Scientists urge Trudeau, premiers to rethink pipelines in open letter. Globe and Mail

Scientists have written an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the premiers saying that spending on infrastructure for fossil fuels may not be the most productive use of resources.

In a second letter to the ministers, a group of 50 executives from British Columbia’s clean technology industry has proposed a series of multibillion-dollar incentives for what they say is Canada’s next source of economic growth.  Read more…

Tiny air pollutants are big, big killers. Science News for Students

Air pollution is now the world’s fourth leading cause of early death. It killed some 5.5 million people in 2013 alone. And those numbers are only likely to grow, reports an international team of researchers. They just shared the grim news, here, at a major science meeting.

Air pollution includes many substances that can cause illness and death. The new research focused on one type known as particulates. These include tiny particles of soot, dust and metals along with droplets of acids and other chemicals.  Read more…


18685938_s from 123rf

Seven miles deep, ocean still a noisy place. Science Daily

Sound recorded from deepest part of the world’s ocean

For what may be the first time, NOAA and partner scientists eavesdropped on the deepest part of the world’s ocean and instead of finding a sea of silence, discovered a cacophony of sounds both natural and caused by humans.  Read more…

New devices coming to assist the disabled. Science News for Students

When someone suffers a devastating injury, everyday tasks can become difficult, if not impossible. A person who loses an arm or hand can’t grip and turn a doorknob. For someone in a wheelchair, even a small step can block their way. But on February 15, researchers at a major science meeting described a host of new devices being developed to overcome such physical limitations. Many are now undergoing early testing. They won’t be for sale soon. But one day in the not-too-distant future, advanced versions of these devices could make life easier for many people.  Read more…

Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

3.5 billion years ago, oceans were cool, not hot. Science News

About 3.5 billion years ago, Earth’s oceans were cool, not inhospitably hot as previously thought. In fact, the entire planet at the time was probably locked in a cold snap that lasted at least 30 million years, a new study concludes. The findings, published online February 26 in Science Advances, could change the view of Earth’s ancient climate and life’s earliest years.  Read more…

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