Science

Kepler space telescope; image: NASA
News Science

Two Earth-Sized Planets Discovered

Two planets have been discovered, about 1,000 light years away from Earth.

Both of the planets are about the size of Earth. Kepler-20e is slightly smaller, and Kepler-20f is slighty larger than Earth.

The surface of the planets are too hot for water to exist on them; it would not be possible for life to exist on them either. They are hot because they orbit close to a star very much like our sun.

Kepler-20e has a termperature of about 760 degrees Celcius. (In contrast, Earth’s average surface temperature is 14 degrees Celsius.)

The planets were discovered during a mission by NASA using the Kepler space telescope. They have been combing the skies searching for planets since about 2009.

Rhinos; Image: Princess. Tilly
Animals News

Rhinos Being Poached For Horns

Rhinos are being poached in South Africa.

“Poaching” is when people (“poachers”) illegally kill a wild animal.

This year so far 341 rhinos have been poached in South Africa.

That’s the most, ever, for one year.

Rhino horns are believed by some people, particularly in Asia, to be able to cure ailments like nosebleeds and fevers.

No one knows if this is actually true.

Canadian polymer $100 note; Image: With permission from the Bank of Canada
Science Technology

New $100 Canadian Bill Has A Window

The Bank of Canada introduced a new $100 bill recently – and it has a window in it.

It’s Canada’s first “polymer” (a type of flexible plastic) bill.

The new $100 bill features a picture of Sir Robert Borden, who was the Prime Minister from 1911 and 1920.

The back of the bill celebrates innovation in medical research, including the Canadian discovery of insulin, which is used to treat diabetes.

Truck in Thai flood, 2011
Environment News

TKN Exclusive: How Thailand’s Floods Have Affected Me

Nat Atherton is a Canadian living and working in Thailand. He gave TKN a first-hand account of the day-to-day havoc this year’s floods have caused.

The flooding here has been horrible. It hasn’t yet come into the centre of the capital (Bangkok), where I live, but has affected many of the people I work with.

Many of the poorer Thais live in the surrounding areas, which are flooded chest deep (1.5 metres) in some places.

I know a great many people who have lost their houses.

Many others haven’t been able to go home to check on their homes since rivers of dirty water separate their work from their houses.

Many well-known tourist districts have also been affected, including the world’s largest outdoor market, Chatuchak.

Phobos-Grunt Russian space vehicle
News Science Technology

Phobos-Grunt Mission To Mars Misfires

In the 1970s, a space project called the Phobos-Grunt project was proposed by Russian space experts.

At the time, it represented a dream for the Russian space program. To build a vehicle that could go all the way to Mars, to collect information from one of its moons, Phobos. It would be Russia’s first deep-space mission, developed entirely in the post-Soviet era.

The project had lots of problems over the years. They include mismanagement, political issues and serious technical problems, according to Russian journalist Anatoly Zak.

However, the Russian space agency persisted, and eventually the Phobos-Grunt became a reality.

The Phobos-Grunt launched on Nov. 9.

Unfortunately, the unmanned vehicle would not make it to Mars.

Shark Lagoon at the proposed Toronto Aquarium
Animals Entertainment Environment

New Toronto Aquarium — 13,500 Creatures, Shark Tunnel

The people who are building a huge new aquarium in downtown Toronto have released some exciting new details about it.

Ripley’s Entertainment Corporation – which publishes Ripley’s Believe It Or Not – plans to open the aquarium in 2013.

It will be one of the largest aquariums in North America.

It will be located near the base of the CN Tower.

More than 13,500 underwater creatures from around the world will be on display at the aquarium.

There will be exhibits on jellyfish, seahorses, stingrays, the Great Lakes, tropical reefs and more.

The aquarium is designed to be fully interactive.

Alan Billis; image: AFP Photo/Khaled Desouki
Science

The First Mummy In 3,000 Years

The body of Alan Billis, who died of cancer recently will be the first one in the modern world to be mummified like the ancient Egyptians were.

While he was terminally ill with lung cancer, Billis—a taxi driver in the UK—signed up for the procedure.

Dr. Stephen Buckley is a scientist who has been working for nearly 20 years to figure out how to mummify bodies in the same way Egyptian bodies like Tutankhamun’s were preserved.

His process was filmed for a television documentary on Britain’s Channel Four TV station.

Vancouver Island map; image: Birds of a Feather B&B
Animals News

Cougars Spotted On Vancouver Island, BC

Cougars are becoming a problem on Vancouver Island, BC.

Last September, four cougars were spotted prowling through Victoria (the capital of BC), on Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island has a growing population of deer who look for food in city gardens and the cougars are following them into the city.

Cougars rarely attack humans, but in the cases where it has happened it is usually because the cougar is hurt or startled.

Dieter Gerhard is a long-time resident of Victoria. “We have a very fat cougar living on the property next door to us,” he said. The cougar is attracted to the deer who come to graze nearby.

Nobel_Prize
News Science

Canadian Nobel Winner Allowed To Keep Award

A Canadian-born scientist recently won the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

The Nobel Prize in Medicine is one of five Nobel Prizes given out each year for achievement in various scientific fields.

This year, a very unusual situation occurred – one that required a special emergency meeting of the Nobel Prize committee.

When the Nobel Foundation announced that it was giving the award to three scientists: Bruce Beutler, Jules Hoffmann and Canadian Ralph Steinman, it didn’t realize that Steinman had died from cancer three days earlier.

Mummies at the salon; image BNPS.CO.UK
Lighter Science

Mummies With Hair Gel

The Ancient Egyptians probably used hair gel to style their hair, new research on mummies shows.

Scientists at the University of Manchester, UK published an article in the Journal of Archaeological Science that said, “…in cases where the (mummies’) hair was styled, the embalming process was adapted to preserve the hairstyle.”

In other words, when the bodies were turned into mummies, the embalmers made sure their hair didn’t get mussed.

The researchers studied hair from 18 mummies who lived around 300 B.C. in Egypt.

Under a microscope, the scientists noticed that the hair on nine of the mummies had a coating on it. When they analysed it, it turned out to be made of plant and animal fats.