SciNews Jan 8

Spiders, bed bugs, climate change, super Earths and Benedict Cumberbatch – guaranteed to ignite the curiosity of your students and turn them onto 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

Spidey sense: Eight-legged pollution monitors.  Science News for Students

As spiders eat, their bodies will accumulate some of the chemicals polluting the environment. By measuring what taints their bodies, scientists can discover the types, locations, concentrations — and even potential risks — of water pollutants. Spiders may even give better results than the direct testing of a polluted river, researchers say. Read more…


Bedbugs put to rest after discovery by SFU scientists,  Globe and Mail.

After more than 180,000 bedbug bites, biologist Regine Gries hopes she’s drained the life out of the global bedbug epidemic. Ms. Gries, along with her husband and biologist Dr. Gerhard Gries, chemist Dr. Robert Britton and a group of students at Simon Fraser University have discovered what they believe is the world’s first effective and affordable bedbug bait and trap. Read more…

Chemistry13698187_s from 123rf

What Have Climate Scientists Learned from 20-Year Fight with Deniers? Scientific American

Two decades ago, Benjamin Santer chose 12 words that changed his life forever: “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.” Read more…



Electric eels get on their prey’s nerves. Science News for Students

A zap from an electric eel acts like a natural Taser. It gives the creature the power to stop prey in its tracks. This gives the eel the upper hand — er, fin — that allows it to prevent dinner from swimming away. And that zap acts directly on the prey’s nervous system, scientists now show.  Read more…


‘The Imitation Game’ entertains at the expense of accuracy.  Science News for Students

Ordinarily the life of a mathematician isn’t ideal fodder for a major Hollywood movie. But when that mathematician is Alan Turing — the British genius who inspired the modern computer, protected Allied soldiers from Nazi attacks with his code-breaking prowess and was a closeted gay man — you’ve got yourself a film with Oscar buzz.  Read more…


12693495_s from 123rfEarth and Space Science

Super-Earth confirmed by UBC astronomer using MOST space telescope.  CBC News

A UBC astronomer and a Canadian space telescope played pivotal roles in the discovery of a new planet — a so-called Super-Earth — found orbiting a sun well beyond our solar system.  Read more…