SciNews, Thursday, October 13, 2016


Bromeliads are superstars; Neandertals are not a dead-end species; Nobel Prize for molecular machines; environmental fallout of microplastic pollution; how heat moves; Europa may be venting water into space – 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

Houseplants suck up air pollutants that can sicken people. Science News for Students

With their stiff leaves and large spiky flowers, bromeliads can add drama to a plant stand or window sill. They are not the flashiest of houseplants. Still, some pollution scientists are ready to give them raves. Their new data show these plants are superstars when it comes to cleaning the air. Read more…

Animal hybrids may hold clues to Neandertal-human interbreeding. Science News

Neandertals are the comeback kids of human evolution. A mere decade ago, the burly, jut-jawed crowd was known as a dead-end species that lost out to us, Homo sapiens.

But once geneticists began extracting Neandertal DNA from fossils and comparing it with DNA from present-day folks, the story changed. Long-gone Neandertals rode the double helix express back to evolutionary relevance as bits of their DNA turned up in the genomes of living people. A molecular window into interbreeding between Neandertals and ancient humans suddenly flung open. Read more…

Chemistry

13698187_s from 123rf

Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded for ‘the world’s smallest machines’. CBC

The 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded jointly to researchers Jean-Pierre Sauvage, J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard Feringa “for their design and production of molecular machines,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced on Wednesday morning in Stockholm.

“They have developed molecules with controllable movements, which can perform a task when energy is added,” the organization said in a statement. Read more…

First evidence of deep-sea animals ingesting microplastics. Science Daily

Scientists working in the mid-Atlantic and south-west Indian Ocean have found evidence of microfibers ingested by deep sea animals including hermit crabs, squat lobsters and sea cucumbers, revealing for the first time the environmental fallout of microplastic pollution. Read more…

Physics

18685938_s from 123rf

Explainer: How heat moves. Science News for Students

Throughout the universe, it’s natural for energy to flow from one place to another. And unless people interfere, thermal energy — or heat — naturally flows in one direction only: from hot toward cold.

Heat moves naturally by any of three means. The processes are known as conduction, convection and radiation. Sometimes more than one may occur at the same time. Read more…

Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Europa spouting off again. Science News

Jupiter’s moon Europa might once again be venting water into space, further supporting the idea that an ocean hides beneath its thick shell of ice, researchers reported September 26 at a news conference. Read more…

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