SciNews, Monday, July 25, 2016


3-D weaving growing new hip; thumb sucking not all bad; teens’ brains and hormones; new source of helium; internet-beaming solar drone; science-savvy songs; Viking 1 40 years old; possible habitability on two 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 weekly during the summer. Stay tuned for more.

7308778_s from 123rfBiology

Stem cells engineered to grow cartilage, fight inflammation. Science Daily

Technique uses 3-D weaving to grow a living hip replacement.

With a goal of treating worn, arthritic hips without extensive surgery to replace them, scientists have programmed stem cells to grow new cartilage on a 3-D template shaped like the ball of a hip joint. What’s more, using gene therapy, they have activated the new cartilage to release anti-inflammatory molecules to fend off a return of arthritis.  Read more…

Nail-biting and thumb-sucking may not be all bad. Science News

There are plenty of reasons to tell kids not to bite their nails or suck their thumbs. Raw fingernail areas pick up infection, and thumbs can eventually move teeth into the wrong place. Not to mention these habits slop spit everywhere. But these bad habits might actually be good for something: Kids who sucked their thumbs or chewed their nails had lower rates of allergic reactions in lab tests, a new study finds.  Read more…

Hormone affects how teens’ brains control emotions. Science News for Students

Adolescence can mean facing the emotional challenges of adults for the first time. But what part of a teen’s brain processes those emotions depends on how mature that brain is, a new study finds.

As kids grow up, hormone levels will begin to surge in areas of their brains that manage emotions. The first surge starts deep within the brain. With time and maturity, some areas right behind the forehead will also get involved. And those new areas are important. They can be key to making decisions that allow teens to keep their cool.  Read more…

Chemistry

13698187_s from 123rf

Helium discovery blows away shortage worries. Science News for Students

The world’s known stores of helium have just ballooned. Scientists have uncovered a vast reservoir of more than a trillion liters (260 million gallons) of the gas. It sits beneath Tanzania in East Africa. That’s enough helium to satisfy the world’s needs for about seven years.  Read more…

Physics

18685938_s from 123rf

Facebook’s giant internet-beaming solar drone takes off. CBC

Facebook says it has successfully run the first test flight for its solar-powered, pilotless airplane that it plans to use to beam wireless internet to remote parts of the world.

The 90-minute flight lasted three times longer than planned, the company said in a post Thursday on its website, during which the aircraft, named Aquila, remained at a low altitude to enable checks of its batteries, control systems and design.  Read more…

Ditties for dorks: Physics institute compiles ‘ultimate science playlist’. CBC

For those who say artists have a hard time with science, the Perimeter Institute would have you think again.

The theoretical physics institute in Waterloo, Ont., has published a summer soundtrack of science-savvy songs, from a ditty about the periodic table to a Kate Bush ode where she sings more than a hundred digits of pi.

The list includes at least one tune by an astrophysicist — the song ’39 by British rock band Queen, whose lead guitarist, Brian May, completed a PhD in 2007.  Read more…

Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

40 years ago, Viking 1 pioneered U.S. exploration on Mars. Science News

Happy 40th anniversary, Viking 1! Four decades ago — July 20, 1976 — the robotic probe became the first U.S. mission to land on Mars. Its sister spacecraft, Viking 2, touched down 45 days later.  Read more… 

First atmospheric study of Earth-sized exoplanets points to possible habitability. Science Daily

Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have conducted the first search for atmospheres around temperate, Earth-sized planets beyond our solar system and found indications that increase the chances of habitability on two exoplanets.  Read more…

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