SciNews, Monday, July 18, 2016


Only 4 countries at risk for spreading Zika virus; opposite responses between genders after MRI; chemical signals in the air at the movies; electricity generated through osmosis; Canadian military using Canadian bionic knee brace; solar plane lands in Egypt; swordfish grease heads; first pictures of Jupiter from Juno – 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 weekly during summer. Stay tuned for more.

7308778_s from 123rfBiology

Risk of travelers to Olympics sparking new Zika outbreaks low. Science News

Any traveler to the Olympics could potentially bring Zika home, but just four countries bear a substantial risk of seeing the virus spread.

Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea and Yemen all have the right ingredients to sustain mosquito-borne transmission, researchers report July 13 in a weekly report of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Few people typically travel from those countries to places where Zika virus is active, but the Olympics will change that.  Read more…

More evidence that male and female brains are wired differently. Science Daily

While measuring brain activity with magnetic resonance imaging during blood pressure trials, researchers found that men and women had opposite responses in the right front of the insular cortex, a part of the brain integral to the experience of emotions, blood pressure control and self-awareness.  Read more…

Gasp! At the movies, your breaths reveal your emotions. Science News for Students

Spoiler alert: Scientists can figure out a movie’s emotional tone from the gasps of its audience. Sure, the sounds are a cue. But so are the chemicals that viewers exhale each time they sigh and scream. These gases could point the way to a subtle form of human communication, a new study suggests.

“There’s an invisible concerto going on,” says Jonathan Williams. “You hear the music and see the pictures, but you don’t realize there are chemical signals in the air.” And they, too, could be affecting you,” says Williams, who led the study. As an atmospheric chemist, he studies the chemical makeup of the air around us. He works at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany.  Read more…

Chemistry

13698187_s from 123rf

Electricity generated with water, salt and a 3-atoms-thick membrane. Science Daily

Proponents of clean energy will soon have a new source to add: osmotic power. Or more specifically, energy generated by a natural phenomenon occurring when fresh water comes into contact with seawater through a membrane. Researchers have developed a system that generates electricity from osmosis with unparalleled efficiency. Their work uses seawater, fresh water, and a new type of membrane just 3 atoms thick.  Read more…

Physics

18685938_s from 123rf

Halifax company gets $1M contract to give bionic braces to Canadian Army. CBC

The Canadian military is now putting a Halifax company’s bionic knee brace to the test.

Spring Loaded Technology delivered the first of 60 knee braces to the Canadian Army’s headquarters in Ottawa. Another 130 braces will eventually be delivered as part of a $1-million contract awarded under the Build in Canada Innovation Program.

Called the Upshot, the military-grade brace weighs under 0.9 kg and uses a liquid spring technology to absorb shock and reduce impact on soldiers’ knees.  Read more…

Solar-powered plane arrives in Egypt on globe-circling trip. CBC

Flying low over haze-covered Pyramids in Giza, an experimental solar-powered airplane arrived on Wednesday in Egypt as part of its globe-circling voyage.

The aircraft, Solar Impulse 2, flew out of the Seville airport in Spain on Monday and landed at the Cairo International Airport on Wednesday morning. This leg of the trip had been expected to last about 50 hours and 30 minutes.  Read more…

To zip through water, swordfish reduce drag. Science News

Olympic swimmers shave their bodies before a big race to break records. Swordfish use a different trick, a new study suggests: They grease their heads. The fish (Xiphias gladius) are among the fastest in the ocean — their streamlined bodies can cut through the water at about 90 kilometers per hour.  Read more…

Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Juno snaps its first pic of Jupiter. Science News

NASA’s Juno spacecraft has sent back its first picture of Jupiter since arriving at the planet July 4 (SN: 7/23/16, p. 14). The image, taken July 10 when the spacecraft was 4.3 million kilometers from Jupiter, shows off the planet’s clouds, its Great Red Spot (a storm a bit wider than Earth) and three of its moons (Io, Europa and Ganymede).  Read more…

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