SciNews Feb 5

Hearts, hair loss, DNA, Xrays, and the first movements of the universe – just another typical edition of SciNews.  This eclectic collection of current science news stories is brought to you by STAOBlog.

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

7308778_s  from 123rfBiology

Resilient hearts for deep-sea divers. Science News for Students

Many of us struggle to hold our breath for a minute. It’s not unusual, however, for seals and other marine mammals to take hour-long plunges underwater — and swim pretty fast during that time. How do these deep-diving mammals pull it off? It’s not as straightforward as biologists had thought, a new study shows. Read more…

Using stem cells to grow new hair. Science Daily

Researchers have used human pluripotent stem cells to generate new hair. The study represents the first step toward the development of a cell-based treatment for people with hair loss. In the United States alone, more than 40 million men and 21 million women are affected by hair loss. Read more…


Top 10 scientific mysteries for the 21st century. Science News13698187_s from 123rf

The last few centuries have been pretty good for science. In the 17th century, Isaac Newton solved the ancient controversy over the nature of forces and motion with his three laws. In the 18th, Ben Franklin figured out a lot about electricity. In the 19th, Darwin explained the diversity of species, Maxwell revealed the physics of light, Mendeleyev defined the families of chemical elements. In the 20th we had Einstein, who figured out all sorts of stuff, including gravity. No to mention Watson and Crick, who deciphered the molecular foundation for genetics and life. What more do you want? Read more…

Air pollution can mess with our DNA. Science News for Students

Air pollution can make it hard to breathe. It also can increase someone’s blood pressure and heart rate. Those problems are well known. Now research suggests breathing diesel fumes can trigger another toxic change. It can inappropriately turn some genes on, while turning others off. A gene is a segment of DNA that tells cells of the body what to do — and when. Genes can be controlled by a type of chemical switch, known as a methyl group (a carbon atom attached to three hydrogen atoms). Methyl groups cause a chemical reaction — called methylation — affecting a component of DNA. This tends to happen near a gene. Added methyl groups usually turn some gene off. The opposite tends to occur when you take a methyl group away, or demethylate a gene. Either change can alter health. Read more…



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X-Rays Reveal Contents of Ancient Scrolls Buried by Mt. Vesuvius. Discover

Scientists are proving you can judge a “book” without ever cracking open the cover. And by book, we mean a 2,000-year-old scroll buried after the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Over 260 years ago, archaeologists discovered hundreds of ancient scrolls left behind in an ancient library in Herculaneum, which was covered in volcanic material after the infamous eruption in 79 A.D. Unfortunately, these charred scrolls are next to impossible to open without destroying them, leaving their contents largely a mystery. But a new imaging technique allows researchers to see what’s written inside, without ever opening the delicate artifacts. Read more…


Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Global warming won’t mean more storms: Big storms to get bigger, small storms to shrink, experts predict. Science Daily

Atmospheric physicists predict that global warming will not lead to an overall increasingly stormy atmosphere, a topic debated by scientists for decades. Instead, strong storms will become stronger while weak storms become weaker, and the cumulative result of the number of storms will remain unchanged. Read more…

Scientists say patterns in deep space shed light on first moments of the universe.  Globe and Mail

Like a biography with a missing first chapter, the story of our universe has always left a big question unanswered about how it all began. Observations that probe the farthest reaches of space have taken scientists nearly 13.8 billion years back in time, but no farther. Before then, light could not travel freely, and so the earliest moments of the universe are opaque to astronomers. Read more…



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