SciNews, Thursday, May 26, 2016

Nose shaped by genes; viruses infecting bacteria; BBP can increase body’s fat stores; number of solar panels increasing; new and better deodorants; new currency reader for blind; a better understanding of volcanoes; double the number of exoplanets – 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

Five genes that give your nose its shape. Science Mag

Whether you have a huge honker, a puny proboscis, or a snubbed schnoz, the shape of your nose is in your genes. Now, researchers have sniffed out five of those stretches of DNA that control nose and chin shape.  Read more…

How viruses infect bacteria: A tale of a tail. Science Daily

Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria. Using state-of-the-art tools, scientists have described a million-atom ‘tail’ that bacteriophages use to breach bacterial surfaces. The breakthrough has major implications for science and medicine, as bacteriophages are widely used in research.  Read more…

Can plastic program your baby to be obese? Chemical used in food processing. Science Daily

Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), a chemical commonly used in the food manufacturing process, can increase fat stores in the body even before we’re born, according to a new study. BBP is not used in food preparation, but it is used in the conveyor belts and plastic fittings on machines used to process many prepared foods. Food becomes contaminated when BBP leeches into it from the plastic.  Read more…


13698187_s from 123rf

Here comes the sun for Phantin U of T News

By 2017, it’s estimated Canada will have enough working solar panels to fill 55,000 football fields and generate 6GW of electricity each year.

Across the globe, vast fields of solar panels are growing China’s solar market by more than 10 GW of power every year.  Read more…

“Plastic Antibodies” in Deodorant Attack Your Smelly Molecules. Scientific American

French researchers have incorporated molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs)—dubbed “plastic antibodies”—into a cosmetic product to capture precursor chemicals in human sweat that cause bad smells. It’s the first time that MIPs have been added to a cosmetic formulation and could lead to better deodorants.  Read more…


18685938_s from 123rf

New device identifies money by its color. Science News for Students

People who are blind have difficulty with many everyday tasks. Among them is figuring out the value of banknotes (paper money), especially when they are the same size. While shopping, many have to trust cashiers or other people to truthfully tell them the value of a bill in their hand. But now, two teens have invented a device to check a bill’s color and report its value.

The teens showcased their new currency reader here, this week, at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Created by Society for Science & the Public and sponsored by Intel, the 2016 competition brought together more than 1,600 students from over 70 countries. (SSP also publishes Science News for Students.)  Read more…

Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Cool Jobs: Getting to know volcanoes. Science News for Students

Something was wrong with Ben Kennedy’s pumice. He had placed the porous, volcanic rock into an autoclave. The high temperature and pressure inside this device would imitate the interior of a volcano. But when the scientist opened the door to take out the rock, it had shrunk. It was now only about half its original size.

Kennedy didn’t think it had simply melted. “The weird thing was, it didn’t just shrink vertically,” he recalls. “It also shrank sideways.” Kennedy began a years-long quest to figure out what had happened to his pumice. It would lead this volcanologist to a discovery that changed scientists’ understanding of how volcanoes work. Read more…

Kepler telescope doubles its count of known exoplanets. Science News

The galaxy is starting to feel a little crowded. Over 1,000 planets have just been added to the roster of worlds known to orbit other stars in the Milky Way, researchers announced May 10 at a news briefing. This is the largest number of exoplanets announced at once.  Read more…

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