SciNews Sunday, March 27, 2016


Genetically-engineered potato coming to Canada; plant-based fish feed less healthy; teen scientists win big; new idea to extract hydrogen from water; mercury contamination spread by insects; Vancouver to Toronto in 3 hours; David Suzuki and his 80th birthday; moon’s poles have shifted – 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 genetically-engineered potato approved for Canada. CBC

Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency gave the green light to a new genetically modified potato on Monday.

Innate potatoes are engineered to reduce bruising and black spots and to stop them from browning. They were created by the company J.R. Simplot in Idaho.

No browning, less bruising Innate potatoes

Potatoes that don’t brown if they’re pre-cut will be an advantage for chip trucks, fast food businesses and other restaurants, according to MacIsaac. (Hand out photo, J.R. Simplot )

That resulted in trials that showed 15 per cent fewer of these genetically-modified potatoes had to be thrown away by farmers, according to Kevin MacIsaac of the United Potato Growers of Canada.  Read more…

Shift to plant-based fish feed could hurt health, environment. CBC

In an effort to make fish farming more sustainable, the aquaculture industry has been cutting back on feed made of other fish and replacing it with plant-based alternatives. But a new study warns that may make the fish less healthy to eat and have negative impacts on the environment.  Read more…

Teen scientists win big for health and environmental-cleanup research. Science News for Students

When life hands people problems, many try to find a way around them. But this year, the three top winners of the 75th annual Intel Science Talent Search (STS) tackled head on the problems they saw in the world. One designed a way to clean polluted streams. Another developed a way to detect lung problems. A third found new targets for treating cancer.  Read more…

Chemistry

13698187_s from 123rf

New type of catalyst could aid hydrogen fuel. Science News

For a long time now, hydrogen has been the fuel of the future. A new idea for extracting hydrogen from water might help that future arrive a little sooner.

Today, producing hydrogen requires burning fossil fuels or using water-splitting catalysts that work relatively inefficiently, says physicist Arvin Kakekhani of Yale University. But Kakekhani and Sohrab Ismail-Beigi, also at Yale, identified a strategy using materials known as ferroelectric oxides to catalytically separate hydrogen from oxygen more effectively.  Read more…

You taste like mercury, said the spider to the fly. Science Daily

More mercury than previously thought is moving from aquatic to land food webs when stream insects are consumed by spiders, a new study shows. The findings shed new light on the influence of dissolved organic carbon in the spread of mercury contamination.  Read more…

Physics

18685938_s from 123rf

Hyperloop: Imagine Toronto to Vancouver in 3 hours. CBC

It’s simple: Imagine a capsule filled with people, hovering inside a tube, moving faster than a jet. Vancouver to Toronto in about three hours. Toronto to Montreal in 30 minutes. And Montreal to Miami in less than two hours. It would mean the ability to commute to work not just from another area code, but another province.  Read more…

Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

CBC to air special documentary on David Suzuki for his 80th birthday. Globe and Mail

When your first memory involves buying camping supplies, it may be no surprise that nature – and the nature of things – shapes your life. David Suzuki’s first memory involves a trip downtown, in Vancouver, with his father – to buy gear for a camping trip. He was four.

“We pitched a tent right on the floor there and crawled in,” Suzuki said during an interview last week. “What was so exciting to me was Dad was just as excited as I was. When we crawled in, he just held me in his arms and I felt so comfortable. As a kid, that was the most exciting moment of my life. And of course ever since then, camping has been a huge part of my life.”  Read more…

The moon’s poles have no fixed address. Science News

The moon’s poles have slightly shifted over the last several billion years, a new study suggests. And extinct lunar volcanoes might be to blame.  Read more…

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