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Science News for Students | Science News Magazine

March 9, 2022

[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

And students are age 6 to 60, right? Right!
Science News is a great magazine to which I’ve subscribed for about 30 years. They cover all topics in science from astrophysics to zoology. They describe Science News for Students as:

An award-winning, free online magazine that reports daily on research and new developments across scientific disciplines for inquiring minds of every age — from middle school on up.

I wish this had been available when I was young.
On-line, where space is not at a premium, they add:

Science News for Students (formerly Science News for Kids) publishes award-winning journalism on research across the breadth of science, health and technology fields. It aims to bring these new developments to a younger audience. Published daily, Science News for Students posts both shorter news stories and longer features, all written with a vocabulary and sentence structure aimed at readers 9 to 14 years old. The breadth of technical subjects and tone attracts many advanced readers as well. Our stories highlight ongoing research in fields ranging from astronomy to zoology. (Science News for Students does not publish original scientific results.) Stories are reported by experienced science journalists, many with PhDs in the fields on which they write.

[Above] Their menu of main categories

Here’s a few examples.

A new way to make plastics could keep them from littering the seas
For inspiration on how to make plastics break down, designers turned to RNA molecules.

Most ocean plastics, like those shown above, would take centuries to fully degrade. That’s one reason plastics now make up 80 percent of ocean trash. But a new type of polylactide, or PLA — a popular plastic made out of corn and potato starch — may change that. Like most plastics, its building blocks are linked into a chain. Scientists in the Netherlands have just tweaked some of those links to make them water-soluble and therefore easier to break down in water. Weakening 3 percent of the links caused PLA to break down after about two years in seawater. With 15 percent weakened, that breakdown dropped to just two weeks.

Let’s learn about snot
Snot and other kinds of mucus play a crucial role in keeping us healthy

Snot gets a bad rap. It’s sticky and gross. And when you’re sick, it can stuff up your nose. But snot is actually your friend. It’s an important part of the immune system that keeps you healthy.

When you inhale, the snot in your nose traps dust, pollen and germs in the air that could irritate or infect your lungs. Tiny, hairlike structures called cilia move that mucus toward the front of the nose or the back of the throat. The mucus can then be blown into a tissue. Or, it can be swallowed and broken down by stomach acid. Swallowing snot might sound disgusting. But your nose and sinuses produce about a liter (a quarter of a gallon) of snot each day. Most of that slime slides down your throat without you even noticing.

What the mummy’s curse reveals about your brain
Here’s why it’s easy to confuse random coincidence with meaningful patterns

Two men peered through a small hole in the wall of a tomb. It was the final resting place of an ancient Egyptian king. “Can you see anything?” asked one. “Yes, wonderful things,” answered the other. Statues and golden treasure glinted in the dim light.

The two men were Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon. For six years, Carter had been searching for a lost tomb. Carnarvon paid for the expeditions. Finally, in November 1922, the men and their workers had found what they sought. The treasure-filled room was one of four associated with the tomb of Tutankhamen. This pharaoh, or king of ancient Egypt, had died in the 1320s BC. He was just 18 or 19 years old.

The discovery captivated the world. But Lord Carnarvon did not get to enjoy it for long. He died unexpectedly the next April at the age of 56. This was six weeks after opening and entering the actual burial chamber of the tomb.

Go and explore.
May learning never cease.

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