SciNews, Thursday, September 29, 2016

Mouth germs team up in a bad way; frog-hunting bats adapting; the power of girls in science; results of VW emissions cheat; quantum internet; effect of ‘weather bomb’ storms – 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

Mouth germs team up to boost disease risk. Science News for Students

The mouth is full of germs. Many are harmless bacteria. Others may be pathogens, microbes that can cause disease. Now a study finds that the goodies can sometimes help the baddies by feeding them.

This teamwork lets infections spread more easily. But knowing how it works might point toward a new way to fight infections that attack the gums and teeth.  Read more…

Frog-hunting bats have ‘cocktail party effect’ workaround. Science News

An experiment with fake frogs shows how certain bats adjust their hunting technique to compensate for unnatural noises.

Humankind is loud, and research already suggests that birds alter their singing in urban noise. Now tests show that bats listening for the frogs they hunt switch from mostly quiet eavesdropping to pinging echolocating when artificial sounds mask the frog calls. That way, the bats can detect the motion of the frogs’ vocal sac poofing out with each call, researchers report in the Sept. 16 Science. Read more…


13698187_s from 123rf

A woman’s place is in science. Science News for Students

Last October in a noisy ballroom in Nashville, Tenn., six girls sat at a round table to design a spacecraft that could land on the moon. They started by thinking about ways the craft could fail. If it lands too hard, for example, the astronauts could be injured or killed. And a parachute won’t help. It works only when it falls through the air — which the moon doesn’t have. At length, the girls settled on two designs. Both relied on springs to soften the landing. Read more…

VW emissions cheat may lead to 50 premature deaths, $423 million in economic costs, study shows. Science Daily

Beginning in 2008, Volkswagen installed software to circumvent emissions testing by turning off the nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions control system in real-world driving in nearly half a million cars. A new analysis using a tool developed and used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to assess the health and economic impacts related to air quality calculates that a single year of elevated emissions from the affected VW vehicles could lead to as many as 50 premature deaths, 3,000 lost workdays, and $423 million in economic costs. Read more…


18685938_s from 123rf

Taming photons, electrons pave way for quantum internet. Science News

A quantum internet could one day allow ultrasecure communications worldwide — but first, scientists must learn to tame unruly quantum particles such as electrons and photons. Several new developments in quantum technology, discussed at a recent meeting, have brought scientists closer to such mastery. Scientists are now teleporting particles’ properties across cities, satellite experiments are gearing up for quantum communications in space, and other scientists are developing ways to hold quantum information in memory. Read more…

Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

‘Weather bomb’ storms send tremors through Earth. Science News for Students

Recently, researchers detected a rare type of deep-Earth tremor. It was triggered by a hurricane. In this case, the source was a “weather bomb” strengthening rapidly over the North Atlantic Ocean.

“Weather bombs” are a type of extreme storm. Scientists can detect the seafloor quivers that these storms trigger. It starts as whipping winds stir up towering ocean swells. When two opposing ocean swells collide, the meet-up can send a pressure pulse down to the ocean floor. That pulse thumps the seafloor. The resulting Earth tremors — or seismic waves — penetrate deep into the planet. Read more…

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