SciNews – Thursday, April 28, 2016

Specializing in one sport is key risk factor; spotting diseases early; batteries that don’t need to be replaced; converting nitrogen to a consumable form; feeling objects that aren’t there; will we know extraterrestrial life when we see it? – 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

Focusing on one sport ups a teen’s risk of injury. Science News for Students

“Fun is the number one reason kids play sports,” says David Bell. “And lack of fun is the number one reason kids quit.” Nothing takes the fun out of sports faster than an injury. That’s why Bell, an athletic trainer, conducted a new study to figure out why kids get hurt playing sports. And specializing in a single sport is a key risk factor, he and his team now find.

Their data are among the first to show such a link. And they’ll share their findings soon in an upcoming issue of The American Journal of Sports Medicine.  Read more…

Gotcha! New test stalks diseases early.  Science News for Students

Diseases sneak up on us. They begin triggering changes in the body long before we feel sick. But a new method has the potential to spot telltale signs early, before a disease gains a foothold. That could help doctors diagnose — and treat — disorders before they do too much damage.

The new technique detects antibodies. These are substances made by the immune system. They stick to foreign material, such as germs or cancer cells. This essentially brands the foreigners so the body knows to attack those cells. But occasionally antibodies will brand the wrong cells, triggering their destruction. That can lead to what is known as autoimmune disease. Such conditions include a type of diabetes that can occur in children.  Read more…


13698187_s from 123rf

Battery tech with off-the-charts charging capacity. Science Daily

Researchers have invented nanowire-based battery material that can be recharged hundreds of thousands of times, moving us closer to a battery that would never require replacement. The breakthrough work could lead to commercial batteries with greatly lengthened lifespans for computers, smartphones, appliances, cars and spacecraft.  Read more…

Chemists shed new light on global energy, food supply challenge. Science Daily

All living things require nitrogen for survival, but the world depends on only two known processes to break nitrogen’s ultra-strong bonds to allow conversion to a form humans, animals and plants can consume. One is a natural, bacterial process on which farmers have relied since the dawn of agriculture. The other is the century-old Haber-Bösch process, which revolutionized fertilizer production and spurred unprecedented growth of the global food supply.  Read more…


18685938_s from 123rf

Feeling objects that aren’t there. Science News for Students

Imagine this. You wake up in the morning to the irritating buzz of your alarm. Instead of fumbling for a snooze button, you wave your hand in the air in the general direction of the clock. There, in mid-air, you find it: an invisible button. It’s an illusion you can feel, like a hologram for your fingers. One swipe at the button, and the alarm shuts off. You’re free to sleep for a few more minutes — even though you never touched the clock.  Read more…

Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Will we know extraterrestrial life when we see it? Science News

In a 1967 episode of Star Trek, Captain Kirk and crew investigated the mysterious murders of miners on the planet Janus VI. The killer, it turned out, was a rock monster called the Horta. But the Enterprise’s sensors hadn’t registered any signs of life in the creature. The Horta was a silicon-based life-form, rather than carbon-based like living things on Earth.  Read more…

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