SciNews Sunday, April 10, 2016


World heritage sites threatened by industry; gum disease affects whole body; soot causing dome effect in China; life is deep; bacteria are everywhere; bubbles clean teeth; new state of matter; northern Ontario company awarded space contract; exploding supernovae leave debris on moon – 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

UNESCO World Heritage sites under threat by industry: WWF. CBC

Industrial activity such as mining and logging threatens almost half of the world’s natural World Heritage sites, from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru, the WWF conservation group said on Wednesday.

It urged companies to obey U.N. appeals to declare all heritage sites “no go” areas for oil and gas exploration, mines, unsustainable timber production and over-fishing.  Read more…

Gum disease opens up the body to a host of infections. Science News

For centuries, the mouth and the body have been disconnected — at least when it comes to health care. Through the Middle Ages and beyond, teeth fell under the care of barbers, who could shave a customer and pull a molar with equal skill. In the 1700s, French surgeon Pierre Fauchard published the Treatise on Teeth, establishing dentistry as its own science.  Read more…

Chemistry

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Dome effect leaves Chinese megacities under thick haze. Science News

Airborne black carbon, also called soot, can cause the dome effect by warming the atmosphere’s top layer and blocking sunlight that would otherwise warm the surface air. The reduced temperature difference between the two layers lowers the boundary between them. This effect traps pollution around major cities, worsening air quality, new research suggests.  Read more…

How deep does life go? Study describes microbial neighborhood beneath ocean floor. Science Daily

A new study offers the first description of an active microbial community buried in cold oceanic crust at North Pond, an isolated sediment pond on the western flank of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Read more…

Microbes mine treasure from waste. Science News for Students

Moldy food, dirty toilet water and bags of garbage. What do these disgusting things have in common? Tiny, one-celled microbes called bacteria love them. These germs are too small to see with your eyes, but they live all around you. Bacteria set up camp in sewage pipes, ponds and dirt. They also live in your house, on your food, in your mouth and in your gut. Some of these germs make you sick. That is why it’s important to wash your hands after going to the bathroom or taking out the trash.’  Read more…

Physics

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Scrubbing bubbles: Secret to ouch-free dental cleanings? Science News for Students

People with sensitive teeth often hate visiting the dentist. One reason: Having their teeth cleaned and polished can hurt. Now, scientists have taken a close-up look at the tool that dentists use for that cleaning — and the tiny bubbles it creates. They think their work could lead to a new tool that can clean teeth without ever touching them. It would simply let the bubbles do the scrubbing.  Read more…

Mysterious new state of matter discovered: Quantum spin liquid is seen in a real-world material 40 YEARS after being predicted – and it could make computers superfast. Daily Mail, UK

But in a material containing a spin liquid state, even if that material is cooled to absolute zero, the bar magnets would not align but form an entangled soup caused by quantum fluctuations.  Read more…

Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Northern Ontario firm lands contract to develop device for mining on moon, Mars. CBC

A northern Ontario company is being awarded a Canadian Space Agency contract to work on a multi-purpose device that’s designed for future mining on the moon and Mars. Deltion Innovations Ltd. of Capreol, Ont., in Greater Sudbury will develop the combination drill and rotary multi-use tool, which it describes as a space-age Swiss Army knife.  Read more…

Earth barraged by supernovae millions of years ago, debris found on moon. Science

It sounds like the plot of a disaster movie: A nearby star explodes as a supernova, outshining the sun in the sky. The fleeting light show blows away Earth’s ozone layer, leaving the planet’s inhabitants—human and otherwise—exposed to the full force of the sun’s radiation. Cancer skyrockets, crops fail, and civilization falls apart. Far-fetched, perhaps, but two independent teams of researchers have found evidence that within the past 10 million years, our planet was in fact exposed to multiple nearby supernovae. Although these were too far away to cause death and destruction, the blasts would have been bright enough to see during the day—and could conceivably have sparked Earth’s recent ice ages.  Read more…

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