SciNews Jan 29

DNA, causes of blindness, girls and boys in academic achievement, unboiling egg white and a near miss with an asteroid.  Lots of stuff to excite your students about science! 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

Big data studies come with replication challenges. Science News

In my quest to explore the unknown frontier inside my own body, I stumbled upon one of the most intractable problems facing science.

The issue, irreplicable results, is a dark cloud looming over the life and social sciences. My encounter began when I sent identical stool samples to two microbiome sequencing services (SN Online: 6/17/14). Read more…


Major cause of blindness linked to calcium deposits in the eye. Science Daily

Microscopic spheres of calcium phosphate have been linked to the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a major cause of blindness. AMD affects 1 in 5 people over 75, causing their vision to slowly deteriorate, but the cause of the most common form of the disease remains a mystery. The ability to spot the disease early and reliably halt its progression would improve the lives of millions, but this is simply not possible with current knowledge and techniques. Read more…



13698187_s from 123rf

Girls lead boys in academic achievement globally. Science Daily

Considerable attention has been paid to how boys’ educational achievements in science and math compare to girls’ accomplishments in those areas, often leading to the assumption that boys outperform girls in these areas. Now, using international data, researchers have determined that girls outperform boys in educational achievement in 70 percent of the countries they studied — regardless of the level of gender, political, economic or social equality. Read more…

Chemists find a way to unboil egg whites: Ability to quickly restore molecular proteins could slash biotechnology costs. Science Daily

Chemists have figured out how to unboil egg whites — an innovation that could dramatically reduce costs for cancer treatments, food production and other segments of the $160 billion global biotechnology industry, according to new findings. Read more…



Thorium Power Is the Safer Future of Nuclear Energy. Discover

Nuclear power has long been a contentious topic. It generates huge amounts of electricity with zero carbon emissions, and thus is held up as a solution to global energy woes. But it also entails several risks, including weapons development, meltdown, and the hazards of disposing of its waste products. Read more…


12693495_s from 123rfEarth and Space Science

New research re-creates planet formation, super-Earths and giant planets in the laboratory. Science Daily

New laser-driven compression experiments reproduce the conditions deep inside exotic super-Earths and giant planet cores, and the conditions during the violent birth of Earth-like planets, documenting the material properties that determined planets’ formation and evolution processes. Read more…

Large asteroid buzzes Earth. Science News

A large asteroid buzzed the Earth today at about three times the distance to the moon, the closest any known asteroid will come to our planet until 2027. The asteroid, designated 2004 BL86, is about five football fields across and poses no threat to Earth. Read more…