SciNews, Thursday, October 6, 2016


3-parent baby; elephant poaching increasing; indoor pollutants sent outdoors through washing; nicotine passes through skin; Wi-Fi distinguishes between household members; Rosetta spacecraft to land on comet; tiny bit of summer tan from stars – 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

First ‘three-parent baby’ born from nuclear transfer. Science News

A baby boy born on April 6 is the first person to be born from a technique used to cure mitochondrial diseases, New Scientist reports.

The child’s mother carries Leigh syndrome, a fatal disease caused by faulty mitochondria. Mitochondria generate most of a cell’s energy and perform other functions that keep cells healthy. Each mitochondria has a circle of DNA containing 37 genes needed for mitochondrial function. A mutation in one of those genes causes Leigh syndrome. The woman herself is healthy, but previously had two children who both died of Leigh syndrome.  Read more…

Poaching behind worst African elephant losses in 25 years. Science News

Africa’s overall elephant population has seen the worst declines in 25 years, mainly due to poaching over the past ten years — according to IUCN’s African Elephant Status Report.  Read more…

Chemistry

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Laundering clothes may send indoor pollutants outdoors. Science News for Students

Many items in homes, schools and businesses give off air pollutants, some of which may pose a risk to health. Those chemicals can be absorbed by clothing. And later, those pollutants can go down the drain with the wash water. Or they may even be sent into the air through a dryer’s vent. That’s the finding of a new study.  Read more…

Nicotine from smoke enters body through the skin. Science News for Students

Breathing isn’t the only way that chemicals in cigarette smoke can enter the body. A new study shows that nicotine, a toxic chemical, can pass through skin and into the blood from the air or from smoky clothes.  Read more…

Physics

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Wi-Fi can help house distinguish between members. Science News

In smart homes of the future, computers may identify inhabitants and cater to their needs using a tool already at hand: Wi-Fi. Human bodies partially block the radio waves that carry the wireless signal between router and computer. Differences in shape, size and even gait among household members yield different patterns in the received Wi-Fi signals. A computer can analyze the signals to distinguish dad from mom, according to a report posted online August 11 at arXiv.org.  Read more…

Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Rosetta spacecraft prepares to land on comet, solve lingering mysteries. Science/AAAS

All good things must come to an end, and so it will be on 30 September when the Rosetta spacecraft makes its planned soft landing onto the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the culmination of 2 years of close-up studies. Solar power has waned as 67P’s orbit takes it and the orbiting Rosetta farther from the sun, and so the mission team decided to go on a last data-gathering descent before the lights go out. Contact with Rosetta will almost certainly be lost after it lands, as its communication dish is unlikely to be pointed toward Earth.  Read more…

The sun isn’t the only light source behind that summer tan. Science News

Your summer suntan is almost entirely locally sourced. But a smidgen of that healthy glow hails not from the sun but from the ultraviolet light of nearby stars and other galaxies: less than one-billionth of 1 percent. Even photons lingering from the Big Bang contribute some: roughly 0.001 percent.  Read more…

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