SciNews, Sunday, October 30, 2016

Childhood obesity and heart damage; adult brain can learn to see again; wildlife disappearing rapidly; atomic nucleus with bubble; unable to detect single particle of dark matter; Mars not easy to land on; Trump’s views on science ignorant – 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

Heart damage linked to obesity in kids. Science News for Students

A big, strong heart is important to staying healthy and active. But hearts can grow too big. Now, a study finds that obese children as young as eight often have enlarged, potentially unhealthy, hearts.  Read more…

After blindness, the adult brain can learn to see again. Science Daily

More than 40 million people worldwide are blind, and many of them reach this condition after many years of slow and progressive retinal degeneration. The development of sophisticated prostheses or new light-responsive elements, aiming to replace the disrupted retinal function and to feed restored visual signals to the brain, has provided new hope. However, very little is known about whether the brain of blind people retains residual capacity to process restored or artificial visual inputs.  Read more…

Two-thirds of wildlife will disappear by 2020, WWF says.  CBC

Worldwide populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles have plunged by almost 60 per cent since 1970 as human activities overwhelm the environment, the WWF conservation group said on Thursday.  Read more…


13698187_s from 123rf

Physicists find atomic nucleus with a ‘bubble’ in the middle. Science News

Scientists have found the first experimental evidence that an atomic nucleus can harbor bubbles. The unstable isotope silicon-34 has a bubblelike centre with a paucity of protons, scientists report October 24 in Nature Physics. This unusual “bubble nucleus” could help scientists understand how heavy elements are born in the universe, and help scientists find new, ultraheavy stable isotopes.  Read more…


18685938_s from 123rf

Latest dark matter searches leave scientists empty-handed. Science News

Scientists have lost their latest round of hide-and-seek with dark matter, but they’re not out of the game.

Despite overwhelming evidence that an exotic form of matter lurks unseen in the cosmos, decades of searches have failed to definitively detect a single particle of dark matter. While some scientists continue down the road of increasingly larger detectors designed to catch the particles, others are beginning to consider a broader landscape of possibilities for what dark matter might be.  Read more…

Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Why it’s so hard to land on Mars: Bob McDonald.  CBC

It looks more and more like the Schiaparelli lander crashed on Mars this week, a huge disappointment for the European Space Agency and the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.

But the incident is only the last in a long history of robot missions to Mars, where almost 60 per cent have failed for one reason or another. That’s because our neighbouring planet is not easy to land on.  Read more…

Trump’s Views on Science Are Shockingly Ignorant. Scientific American

One of the major-party presidential candidates has had plenty to say during this year’s campaign. But almost none of the words from Donald J. Trump have been about the importance of science and science literacy to the nation’s economic growth, security and international prestige—as well as to the health and well-being of the American people and the future of the planet itself. Trump has, however, made statements about science over the years, many of them in the form of tweets. They betray his beliefs about scientific issues, so we are reprinting a selection of them here. We have not fact-checked them.  Read more…

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