SciNews, Thursday, November 24, 2016

Weakening of heart muscle from marijuana use; gray jay Canada’s national bird; carbon is not the enemy; units of measure upgraded; predicting storms; Pluto very active – 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

Marijuana use weakens heart muscle. Science News

Marijuana use is associated with an almost doubled risk of developing stress cardiomyopathy, a sudden life-threatening weakening of the heart muscle, according to a new study. Cannabis fans may find the results surprising, since two-thirds believe the drug has no lasting health effects. But as more states approve recreational use, scientists say there’s a renewed urgency to learn about the drug’s effects.  Read more…

Gray jay? Canadians ruffled over national bird they’ve never heard of. CTV News

Canadian Geographic has recommended the gray jay as Canada’s new national bird, prompting many across the country to ask: “Why didn’t they pick a Canadian bird I’ve heard of?”

The Canadian nature magazine essentially threw out the results of its own poll to select the gray jay on Wednesday night, despite more popular support for the loon and the snowy owl. The loon led Canadian Geographic’s national poll of 50,000 respondents with 13,995 votes, followed by the snowy owl (8,948) and the gray jay (7,918). But the magazine staff opted to skip those first two options because they were provincial symbols.  Read more…


13698187_s from 123rf

New View: Carbon Is Not the Enemy. Scientific American

Carbon dioxide is bad—it causes global warming. Carbon dioxide is political—U.S. democrats want regulations to reduce emissions into the atmosphere and republicans, led by president-elect Donald Trump, want to scrap such rules. But William McDonough says all that is wrong. “Carbon is not the enemy,” he said in a keynote speech at the recent SXSW Eco conference. The same phrase headlines his new commentary published today in Nature. “It is we who have made carbon toxic,” he writes. “In the right place, carbon is a resource and a tool.”  Read more…


18685938_s from 123rf

Units of measure are getting a fundamental upgrade. Science News

If scientists had sacred objects, this would be one of them: a single, closely guarded 137-year-old cylinder of metal, housed in a vault outside of Paris. It is a prototype that precisely defines a kilogram of mass everywhere in the universe.  Read more…

Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Cool Jobs: Wet and wild weather. Science News for Students

Weather forecasting can’t prevent severe weather. It can, however, spot when storms are on the way. The more accurate those forecasts can be, the better. Then people can plan to avoid the worst consequences.  Read more…

Cracked, frozen and tipped over: New clues from Pluto’s past. Science Daily

New research by planetary scientists reveals fascinating clues about Pluto, suggesting the small world at the fringes of our solar system is much more active than anyone ever imagined.  Read more…

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