SciNews, Sunday, May 22, 2016

Possibly a second Zika-spreading mosquito; T-rex probably had lips; breakthroughs generate skepticism; how can an animal with no eyes see?; learn from your mistakes; how to keep samples at right temperature without electricity; what is appropriate with live streams?; the challenges of a scientist living in a foreign country; David Saint-Jacques, next Canadian in space; Arctic Ocean to get spicier – 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.

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Scientists wrestle with possibility of second Zika-spreading mosquito. Science News

Sure, mosquitoes spread Zika virus. Scientists have already identified the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) as a major spreader in the Americas of Zika and its risk of birth defects and possible paralysis. But Ae. aegypti may not be the only culprit. Recent evidence raises concerns that a relative, the Asian tiger mosquito (Ae. albopictus), might also play a role.  Read more…

Tyrannosaurus Rex would have had lips, Toronto paleontologist says.  CBC

One of the world’s most famous predators, the fearsome Tyrannosaurus Rex is typically shown baring dozens of sharp, jagged teeth — but a Toronto researcher says the carnivore likely had lips to cover them.

Robert Reisz, a professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in vertebrate paleontology, says that contrary to what’s shown in movies and even museums, T. Rex and his fellow theropods would not have teeth that stick out even when their mouths are closed.  Read more…

Studies touted as breakthroughs aren’t always what they seem.  Globe and Mail

Last month, researchers in Britain published a remarkable study showing that your genes may dictate whether you respond better to power- or endurance-style training. Doing the “right” training for your DNA would triple your gains in both strength and endurance, the results suggested.

As a science and health journalist, I live for such breakthroughs, which combine cutting-edge science with immediate practical impact. I planned to write about the study, but as I began canvassing other experts in the burgeoning field of exercise genetics, I encountered vigorous skepticism.  Read more…

Some animals ‘see’ the world through oddball eyes. Science News

It sounds like a riddling trick: How can an animal with no eyes still see? But it’s a serious scientific question — the trickiest kind of riddle.

Sea urchins don’t have anything that people recognize as an eye, says Sönke Johnsen of Duke University. Urchin bodies are mobile pincushions in purples and pinks to browns and blacks, bristling with a mix of spiky spines and soft, stretchy tube feet.  Read more…


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Lab Failures Turn to Gold in Search for New Materials. Scientific American

“Learn from your mistakes.” It’s a familiar adage but people still tend to highlight their successes and sweep their failures under the rug, as a professor at Princeton University pointed out last week when he published his “CV of Failures” (pdf), which has since gone viral. Now, in a study published this week in Nature, a team of researchers at Haverford College in Pennsylvania have taken this idea to the next level—by applying it to the scientific community. (Scientific American is part of Springer Nature.)  Read more…

Keeping samples cool without electricity. Science News for Students

Doctors can face many challenges in remote areas. A big one can be a lack of refrigeration. If blood or vaccines get too warm, they can go bad. Freeze them, and the blood cells will pop or the vaccines will become inactive. So when electricity isn’t guaranteed, keeping samples at just the right temperature can be tough. Two teens have invented devices to overcome that problem. Each will keep vaccines and blood at just the right temperature. One solution is the size of a wagon. The other is only the size of a Popsicle.   Read more…


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When anyone with a phone can live stream to the world, where to draw the line? CBC

When medical staff at California’s Mercy San Juan Medical Center were delivering a baby boy on Monday, they were focused on doing their job. They had no idea the world was watching them assist a birth on live video, contractions and all. Now that almost anyone with a phone can make a live broadcast, what is appropriate for these streams?  Read more…

Physics and gender issues top Canada’s G7 science tour. Globe and Mail

For a tourist on a first trip to Japan, just figuring out how to buy a new toothbrush can be a challenge. But imagine you’re a scientist newly arrived from Canada and having to order up a specialized piece of hardware for a sensitive physics experiment – let alone find an apartment.  Read more…

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David Saint-Jacques ‘can’t wait’ to be next Canadian in space. Globe and Mail

When David Saint-Jacques was a boy, growing up in Saint-Lambert, Que., near Montreal, his father gave him a Rubik’s Cube to keep him occupied in the back seat during long road trips.

“It was a technical challenge and there is also something kind of artistic about the Rubik’s Cube. It’s very dear to me,” he said.  Read more…

The Arctic Ocean is about to get spicier. Science News

Relative temperature and salinity variations within seawater of the same density. Warmer, saltier ocean water is considered spicy while cooler, fresher water is minty.

Climate change will spice up the Arctic Ocean, researchers report in the April Journal of Physical Oceanography.  Read more…

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