SciNews May 14

Extinction, gender gap in science fame, Musk’s solar batteries, and asteroid water.  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

 One in Six Species Could Go Extinct With Climate Change. DiscoverIf climate change continues on its current track, one out of every six species on Earth could be at risk of extinction. That’s the conclusion of a new meta-analysis of 131 published studies, looking at everything from Costa Rica’s insects to Arctic foxes to California oak trees. The study is one of the most comprehensive surveys of how biodiversity will fare in a warmer climate. It found that the rate of biodiversity loss doesn’t rise linearly but actually accelerates with each degree of warming – highlighting the need for an urgent change of course. Read More…


Canadian museum urged to address gender gap in science hall of fame. Globe and Mail

Nearly 100 faculty members at the University of British Columbia and other universities across the country are pressing the head of the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa to take swifter action in addressing the lack of female nominees to the hall of fame it hosts.

The issue was first reported in The Globe and Mail last month after Judy Illes and Catherine Anderson, both UBC faculty members, resigned from the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame’s selection committee because no women had been nominated for the second year running and the museum had declined to reopen nominations. Read More…



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What Is the Heaviest Noble Gas? About Chemistry

Question: Which noble gas is the heaviest or most dense?

Answer: Usually, the heaviest noble gas is considered to be radon, but some sources cite xenon or element 118 as the answer. Read More…


Tesla’s Elon Musk Unveils Solar Batteries for Homes and Small Businesses. Scientific American

From a man who made his name and charted his career with lofty goals and often unexpected financial decisions, the news came with little surprise: Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors Inc., unveiled a product line of electric batteries late last night in Los Angeles. Read More…


Canadian research advocates criticize ‘big science’ budget. Globe and Mail

An election year budget that focuses on investments in research infrastructure and partnerships with industry but flatlines funding for basic science is being lamented as a lost opportunity by Canadian research advocates. At issue is the funding for the three federal granting councils that distribute money for academic work in the natural, health and social sciences. Read More…



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Fabian Oefner: Painting With Physics. World Science Festival

The works of Fabian Oefner are a perfect illustration of Vladimir Nabokov’s assertion that “there is no science without fancy and no art without facts.” Oefner’s multimedia art often uses paint, photography, and other tools in the artist’s toolkit, but he often puts aside brushes and palette knives in favor of a different set of tools: the forces of physics. Read More…


Lens turns smartphone into a microscope: Costs only 3 cents. Science Daily

Researchers have created an optical lens that can be placed on an inexpensive smartphone to magnify images by a magnitude of 120, all for just 3 cents a lens. Read More…


Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Fresh evidence for how water reached Earth found in asteroid debris. Science Daily

New research strongly suggests that water delivery via asteroids or comets is likely taking place in many other planetary systems, just as it happened on Earth. The quantity of water on Earth is not unique. Read More…

7 Remarkable Lessons from Messenger’s Mission to Mercury. Discover

Through most of its life, NASA’s scrappy Messenger probe was something of a unsung hero. The first spacecraft ever to orbit Mercury didn’t have the you-are-there immediacy of a Mars rover, the daredevil appeal of landing on a comet, or the romance of visiting a beautiful ringed planet. But with today’s death–the result of a long-anticipated crash into the planet it studied–we can clearly see what an incredibly successful explorer Messenger was. Read More…


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