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Smore Science Digest

A biweekly science newsletter for kids
Edition 8 | Aug 15,2022 – Aug 31,2022

Trending News

Scientists from Yale revive dead pig’s organs

organEx
Resurrection: Scientists reactivate brain, heart, kidney, and liver function after death in pigs by pumping in a solution called OrganEx. Credit: kallerna

The pigs in the lab lay dead for over an hour. They were neither breathing nor did their hearts beat. That is, until the scientists pumped a solution called OrganEx into each dead pig’s body with a device similar to a heart–lung machine. The events that followed pose the question: How much do the boundaries that science places between life and death hold?

Piece of SpaceX capsule crashes in a field in Australia

The piece of space debris from a SpaceX capsule. Image Credit: Dr Brad Tucker, Twitter
The piece of space debris from a SpaceX capsule. Image Credit: Dr Brad Tucker, Twitter

On July 9, 2022, a black object landed on a field in New South Wales, Australia. It wasn’t until several weeks later that Mick Miners, a farmer and the owner of the land, discovered the rather peculiar debris. Initially, Miners thought the black object sticking out of his land was a dead tree. 

Science Experiment

Hydroponics: gardening without soil

Soil isn’t always necessary to garden. Hydroponics needs just nutrient-rich water to grow a plant. There are multiple ways to set up hydroponic growing; here we will focus on the wick method.

Materials needed:

1. 1⁄2 US gal. (1.9 L) bottle
2. A pair of scissors (use under adult supervision)
3. Twine or wick
4. Water
5. Nutrient mix
6. Growing medium (perlite, coconut coir, etc.)

Futoshiki

Can you do a Futoshiki?

Futoshiki

Rules:  

  1. Fill in the 5 x 5 grid with numbers from 1 to 5, such that no number is repeated twice in a row or column.
  2. Place numbers according to the greater than and lesser than signs wherever applicable.

Previous edition’s answer: 

Answer for the previous issue

STEM Around Us

Ballooning: How spiders fly

Bon Voyage
Bon Voyage—Young spiders ballooning in the Santa Cruz Mountains of the San Francisco Peninsula, Credit:: Little Grove Farms

One of the best pilots in nature has no wings!

From birds and bats to insects that fly, wings are the most common organs of flight. However, their eight-legged neighbours prefer using webs to wings. Spiders use silk to hunt and nest. However, young spiders spin webs that help them to fly, even across seas and oceans. This method of flight is called ballooning.

Like a kite, the spider needs to catch a breeze to balloon. Next, the spider faces into the direction of the breeze and lifts its abdomen. At this point, it stands on the tips of its legs.

Science Video

Slime mold form a map of the Tokyo-area railway system

Slime molds act in clever ways, even though they don’t have a brain. These gooey, slimy blobs form veins as they spread along dead logs or leaves, or anything that they deem as food. Slime molds are unique and do not fit well into the current system of classification. When it comes to research on slime molds, bright, yellow-colored Physarum is the lab rat. It can detect food, changes in humidity, pH, and even light using receptors. Receptors are similar to sense organs like eyes or ears. Within a blob of slime mold, one can find veins. Long proteins are associated with these veins. Jelly-like protoplasm runs through these veins, and on smelling food, these veins grow outwards. The proteins squeeze and relax, pushing the protoplasm towards the growing end.

Brain Teaser

In the given identical dice, which symbol will be on the face opposite the face with symbol *?

Previous edition’s answer:

Gorbl translates to fan. Similarly, flur means screw; pixn means ceiling; arth means tile; tusl means roof. And: pixnarth

Would you rather

Would you rather:

Develop a vaccine to end a pandemic?

Or

Find a cure for cancer?

STEM Careers

Forensic Scientist Kelly Knight

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As a forensic DNA scientist, I tested evidence from crimes that occurred in the state of Maryland. I also got to research new techniques. Because I worked with evidence from crimes, a big part of my job involved going to court. I explained my tests and conclusions to lawyers, judges, and juries. This information helped the jury make its decisions.

Did you know?

Eat an apple, keep the peel! Apple peels, when added to unclean water, can draw out various contaminants and impurities. These impurities stick to the surface of apple peels by a phenomenon called adsorption. Tomato peels can also be used in the same way.

Science In Depth

How Did Darwin Predict the Existence of a Moth?

Orchid with long mouthpart could only reach nectar

Fantastical traits like foot-long tongues can arise from coevolution. Darwin guessed the existence of a new species based on the traits of one species! Coevolution is fairly common in nature, though not always as odd.

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