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SciNews – Nov 10, 2014

This regular feature of STAOblog brings you a sampling of the latest science news that would be of particular interest to your students.  Build these stories into your lesson.  Or, use them as a “cool attention-grabber” at the start of class.  Above all, enjoy the discussion and get your kids excited about science! “SciNews” is published every Monday and Thursday.

Email your Science News “gems” to

7308778_s  from 123rfBiology

‘Bad patents’ on human genes hinder health care, hospital says.  The Globe and Mail

One of the country’s premiere pediatric hospitals is challenging the notion that human genes can be patented by filing a lawsuit that, if successful, could lead to a rewriting of patent law and sharply advance the advent of personalized medicine. Read more…

How birds lost their penises: Programmed cell death. Science Daily

In animals that reproduce by internal fertilization, as humans do, you’d think a penis would be an organ you couldn’t really do without, evolutionarily speaking. Surprisingly, though, most birds do exactly that, and now researchers have figured out where, developmentally speaking, birds’ penises have gone. Read more…


13698187_s from 123rfChemistry

9 Short Scientific Answers To Little Mysteries Of Life. World Science Festival.

Oftentimes, the beauty of science is in the elegant answers it has for simple questions about the world around us. Here are some of our favorite neat scientific explanations for everyday mysteries.  Read more…

Some common household chemicals should never be mixed. About Chemistry.

They may react to produce a toxic or deadly compound or they may cause undesirable consequences. Here’s what you need to know. Read more…

Plastic Chemical Linked to Changes in Baby Boys’ Genitals. Scientific American.

Boys exposed in the womb to high levels of a chemical found in vinyl products are born with slightly altered genital development, according to research published today. The study of nearly 200 Swedish babies is the first to link the chemical di-isononyl phthalate (DiNP) to changes in the development of the human male reproductive tract. Read more…


18685938_s  from 123rfPhysics

Eye-catching Space Technology Restoring Sight. Eureka Alert.

Millions of people around the world have had laser surgery to correct their eyesight, but did you know this surgery is only possible thanks to technology developed for use in space? Read more…


Raindrops break the speed limit. Science News for Students

Some of those tiny raindrops that keep falling on your head may be outlaws, of a sort. They have been caught breaking the speed limit. A falling object reaches what’s known as its terminal velocity when friction — the slowing force of air — cancels the downward pull of gravity.  That means the drop stops speeding up and keeps falling at a steady rate. This should be the top speed at which a droplet can move. Yet scientists have observed raindrops plummeting faster than their terminal velocity. Read more…


12693495_s from 123rfEarth and Space Science

Virgin Galactic’s Passenger Spacecraft Crash Kills Pilot. Scientific American.

One pilot is dead, and one injured after SpaceShipTwo failed during a rocket-powered test flight over Mohave, Calif. Read more…

The health issues astronauts face as they journey beyond the Earth’s surface. Canadian Geographic

Despite astronauts’ intensive training, regulated eating and monitored habits, anybody can get sick. Raffi Kuyumjian, the Canadian Space Agency’s new flight surgeon and former chief medical officer, discusses some of the health effects that astronauts deal with in space and on the ground. Read more…






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