SciNews, Sunday, May 1, 2016


Good bacteria keeps teeth healthy; 140 million year old fossils in Nova Scotia; fracking causes earthquakes; world’s tiniest thermometer; tiny microrobots tow car; new state of water molecule discovered; China to launch “core module”around 2018; tiny moon orbiting tiny planet – 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

Newly discovered microbe keeps teeth healthy. Science News for Students

What’s the best way to keep teeth healthy? The answer is simple. Regular brushing and flossing along with a diet low in sugary sweets and drinks. But the mouth also works to protect itself. In fact, some bacteria can halt or limit the tooth erosion that leads to decay, a new study finds. These germs naturally live in and around teeth. But not everyone’s pearly whites host a lot of these beneficial bacteria. Some scientists would now like to change that.  Read more…

Nova Scotia home to oldest known pine tree fossils. CBC

Nova Scotia can lay claim to the oldest known pine tree fossils, which date back to the time of the dinosaurs. The fossils, which measure between seven and 20 millimetres and are approximately 140 million years old, were discovered in a gypsum quarry near Windsor that is operated by Fundy Gypsum.

Paleontologist Howard Falcon-Lang of Royal Holloway University of London discovered the fossils in Nova Scotia and brought some back to his office in the U.K. The fossils sat for five years while Falcon-Long worked on other projects.   Read more…

Chemistry

13698187_s from 123rf

Do fracking activities cause earthquakes? Seismologists and the state of Oklahoma say yes.  CBC

In the heartland of Oklahoma sits a pretty town dotted with American flags and a quaint main street of century-old brick buildings. But in Guthrie, the devastating impact of oil-industry-induced earthquakes is being felt hard.

Look closely and you see cracks in the historic buildings, where the old masonry is giving way to a shifting ground. Guthrie has seen a wave of earthquakes since hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — picked up in the area.  Read more…

Chemists use DNA to build the world’s tiniest thermometer. Science Daily

Researchers have created a programmable DNA thermometer that is 20,000x smaller than a human hair. One of the main advantages of using DNA to engineer molecular thermometers is that DNA chemistry is relatively simple and programmable. So, the research team has created various DNA structures that can fold and unfold at specifically defined temperatures.  Read more…

Physics

18685938_s from 123rf

Tiny microrobots team up and move full-size car. Science News for Students

A group of ants can move objects many times larger and heavier than themselves. This ability inspired a team of researchers to develop small robots that can do the same thing. The team created 29-millimeter (1.1-inch) long robots that can get a firm grip on the ground. In tests, six of the ‘bots have just worked together to tow a full-size car. Read more… 

New state of water molecule discovered. Science Daily

Neutron scattering and computational modeling have revealed unique and unexpected behavior of water molecules under extreme confinement that is unmatched by any known gas, liquid or solid states.  Read more…

Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

China to launch “core module” for space station around 2018. Globe and Mail

China will launch a “core module” for its first space station some time around 2018, a senior official told the state-run Xinhua news agency on Thursday, part of a plan to have a permanent manned space station in service around 2022.  Read more…

Hubble telescope finds small moon orbiting dwarf planet Makemake

In the backwaters of the solar system beyond Pluto, lies the dwarf planet Makemake. And the tiny world has an even tinier moon, NASA announced April 26. The moon was spotted as a dark smudge orbiting Makemake in April 2015 images from the Hubble Space Telescope.   Read more…

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