SciNews Feb 12

Student smoking, cockroach colonoscopies, drinking wine, one more quark, and Pluto like you’ve never seen it before.  This eclectic collection of science news stories is brought to you by STAOBlog.

SciNews is published every Monday and Thursday. Stay tuned for more.

7308778_s  from 123rfBiology

Most students wrong on risks of smoking occasionally. Science News for Students

Most kids in middle and high school believe that smoking now and then isn’t bad for them, a new study finds. In fact, they’re wrong. In a national survey, just 1 in 3 students thought that smoking on some days, but not others, can cause a lot of harm. This smoking pattern is common. It also is dangerous. In fact, its health risks are about the same as smoking heavily, report Stephen Amrock and Michael Weitzman. Both work at New York University School of Medicine. Their new study’s findings highlight that most kids do not see risks in smoking the occasional cigarette. Read more…


Flashback Friday: An unusual finding during screening colonoscopy: a cockroach!. Discover

Giving colonoscopies probably gets boring after a while — long stretches of intestine, maybe a polyp here or there. So these doctors were probably pretty surprised when they came upon…a cockroach! “How did it get there?”, you might be asking (after vomiting a little in your mouth)? Apparently, the patient had a cockroach infestation at home, and the doctors guessed she may have inadvertently eaten one of the creepy crawlies. Whole. Probably best not to think about it too hard. Especially since this isn’t an isolated incident. Read more…



Chemistry13698187_s from 123rf

Another reason to drink wine: It could help you burn fat, study suggests. Science Daily

Drinking red grape juice or wine — in moderation — could improve the health of overweight people by helping them burn fat better, a new study indicates. The findings suggest that consuming dark-colored grapes, whether eating them or drinking juice or wine, might help people better manage obesity and related metabolic disorders such as fatty liver. Read more…

Vibrational Bond – New Type of Chemical Bonding. About Chemistry

Chemists have verified the existence of a new type of chemical bond — the vibrational bond. This new bond may form in reactions between heavy and light atoms. One interesting property of the bond is that it helps explain why, under certain conditions, some chemical reactions slow down rather than speed up as temperature increases. With other bonds, increasing temperature accelerates the rate of a chemical reaction. Read more…


New particle may be made of four quarks. Science News18685938_s  from 123rf

A newly discovered particle may have an exotic composition. The a1(1420) particle, reported January 23 online at, could be made up of four quarks — the fundamental constituents of protons, neutrons and many other particles — rather than two or three like the vast majority of quark-based particles of matter. Read more…


Earth and Space Science

Scientists predict Earth-like planets around most stars. Science Daily12693495_s from 123rf

Planetary scientists have calculated that there are hundreds of billions of Earth-like planets in our galaxy which might support life, by applying a 200 year old idea to the thousands of exo-planets discovered by the Kepler space telescope. Read more…

New Horizons spacecraft snaps new images of Pluto. CBC News

NASA’s New Horizon’s spacecraft, which will do a close flyby of Pluto and its moons in July, has sent back new images of the dwarf planet and its biggest moon. NASA released the new images on Wednesday, the birthday of Clyde Tombaugh, the American astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930. Read more…



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