Science News Round up – February 2016.

Even with the extra day the month has flown by. The year is off to a flying start … here are some of the big stories from the world of science that surfaced this month:

1. This big, BIG story of this month was the confirmed detection of gravitational waves.

If you are still unsure of what gravitational waves are and how LIGO detected them, this is a very helpful video:


2. In the last week we heard that viable sperm was grown in-vitro; A team of scientists in China say that they successfully grew mouse sperm  from embryonic stem cells and that the resulting sperm cells have been used to successfully fertilise an egg, producing healthy, fertile young.


3. We all know about the effect of global warming on our planet, but, just in case you were in any doubt… newly reported data shows that … “the modern rate of sea level rise in the 20th century is faster than anything we’ve seen in the previous two millennia“.


Image Credit: Geoffrey Whiteway; Image Source: Freerange Stock;


4. 3D printing took another step forward with this bioengineering transplant. A team of bioengineers in North Carolina revealed that they successfully printed an organic human ear and then transplanted it onto the back of a mouse, where it not only survived, but grew.  


5. And finally… not exactly international news, but a nice little first for Science Wows; you may have noticed that I published a mini science magazine here (and here for a mobile version) all about the science of pancakes! I have had the idea for a children’s science magazine for a very, very long time; this mini magazine was my first realisation of that idea; With a lot of determination, hard work and luck, a full blown magazine may become a reality. So, if you checked it out, I’d really, really love your feedback; Please let me know in the comments below, or get in contact in other ways.


These are only some of the science events from February, have you any more to add?

Science News round up – January 2016.

Science News round up – January 2016.

I can’t believe that January is over already, 2016 is well underway. Here are just a few stories that made the science headlines this month:

planet nine

Image source: Wiki Commons
  • And for some really BIG news, the biggest dinosaur fossil ever found, a Titanosaur, was unveiled at the American Museum of National History. For many of us not lucky enough to be able to attend in person, we got to see this spectacular species through our tv screens, documented by the wonderful Sir David Attenborough.
  • For the first time in 11 years, five planets have aligned in the morning skies: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn; Visible to the naked eye under the right conditions.
  • British astronaut, Tim Peake made history as he became the first UK representative to perform a space walk. He even tweeted a space walk selfie.

Tim Peake's selfie

I wonder what stories will unfold in February. Do you have any favourite science stories from the news this month?

Science Snippets -A top five round up of recent science news

Science Snippets -A top five round up of recent science news

I get to read some really interesting reports and stories each week, as I try to keep up to date with what is going on in the world of science. I thought it might be nice to share some of the stories that really stood out for me; and what better time to start than on a bank holiday weekend. So, grab a coffee and find a comfy chair and dip in to the amazing and amusing world of science this week.



Ancient viruses may be the Mary Poppins of the womb:

Some ancient viral DNA lurking in our genome actually gets activated during early embryonic development… new research suggests that they may make the original retrovirus that then acts as a soldier, guarding against other invading viruses and keeping the embryo safe at a very vulnerable stage.

NASA’s Mercury Messenger Satellite adds to the landmarks it has been photographing:

Last Thursday NASA’s messenger satellite ended four years of orbiting, photographing and mapping the surface of Mercury. Ironically, once the satellite ran out of fuel, it impacted with the planet’s surface, at a speed of 3.9km per second, leaving it’s own impression on the landscape it has been monitoring.

Just before the satellite fell out of orbit, it was announced that one of Mercury’s craters that it photographed has been named after the Irish musician and composer,  Turlough O’Carolan.

Image Credit: NASA/JHU APL/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Image Credit: NASA/JHU APL/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Lawnmowers and telescopes go head to head:

Astronomers are concerned for the safe operation of their radio telescopes after iRobot file for use of the same band of radio frequency, to assist operation of their new lawnmower-bots. The worry is that use of the same radio spectrum (transmitted from stakes marking lawn boundaries) anywhere within 88 km of the telescopes may sabotage their operation. Both sides are standing firm as the argument heats up.

China is all about the birds this week, from new species to very old ones:

A new species of bird, the Locustella chengi or Sichaun Bush Warbler is very elusive and was only tracked down by its song. Meanwhile, a small Chinese dinosaur has caused quite a flutter; the pigeon sized animal not only has a very short name for a dinosaur, Yi qi, it was also unusual in that is had a feathered body and bat like wings!

And then there was the zombie bacteria….

Silver has long been know as a great antibacterial agent, it plays havoc with every system of a bugs mechanics, even shutting down their genetic replication. What was unknown until recently, was that bacteria killed with silver products can still kill other bacteria … a zombie effect. It would appear that the bacteria soak up excess silver which leaches out, killing other bugs in their environment.

If you came across any other science stories of interest this week please pop them in the comments below.

Thanks for stopping by, have a great week!

Fun Friday – Our favourite Sound Experiments and facts for kids

Fun Friday – Our favourite Sound Experiments and facts for kids

This week’s Fun Friday post is a round up of all our favourite sound experiments and facts. Hear it, make it, feel it and even see it… guaranteed for a weekend full of fun!

 Here are three of our favourite sound experiments…


1. Make Sound…

Make a spooky sound cup


We love this simple experiment to make a spooky sound cup… see what kind of sounds you can make with it.

Just click on this link to find out what to do…


2. Feel Sound…

All you need is a balloon and a radio
All you need is a balloon and a radio

All you need for this one is a balloon and a radio or other music player.

Blow up a balloon and tie it. Turn on the radio to a song with low base music. Hold the balloon between your two hands and hold it very
near the speaker of the radio.

What can you feel?

Change to a different radio station and see if the vibrations change.


3. See Sound…

For that extra "WOW"...
For that extra “WOW”…


This one never ceases to get a WOW from everyone, and for a change Dr. How is on the other side of the camera to show how it works … click on this link to check it out.


And here are five fun facts about sound…


photo credit: superUbO via photopin cc
photo credit: superUbO via photopin cc
  • Sound waves travel in water at a speed of nearly one mile a second, which is more than four times faster than sound travels through air!
  • Thunder is the sound made by lightning! Sound travels in air at a speed of about one mile in five seconds. If you count the seconds between seeing the lightning and hearing the thunder you can work out the distance from the source of the thunder! For example, if you count ten seconds between the lightning and the thunder then you can tell the storm is about two miles away!
  • An echo is made when sound waves you make bounce off a solid object and travel back to your ear.
  • Some mammals use echoes to help to navigate and to find food – this is called echolocation!
  • Bats use echolocation to fly and hunt at night; they send out high pitched squeaks and clicks almost constantly. These sounds are called untrasonic, they are too high for humans to hear. A bat can detect an object as small as a human hair using echolocation!


We love playing with sound in this house… hope you have some fun with it too