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A drill rig in Uintah Basin, Utah. (Photo Credit: Scott Sandberg, NOAA)

Oil industries and winter ozone pollution

A new study explains the mechanism by which ground-level ozone pollution peaks during winter in oil and gas producing regions. Winter ozone pollution is hard to explain because the summer sunlight is normally needed to spark the chemical reactions that create ground-level ozone. The authors analyzed the chemical reactions happening in the atmosphere during winter in […]

A monarch butterfly about to emerge from its chrysalis. (Photo credit: Jaap de Roode)

On the origins of the monarch butterfly

Monarch butterflies originated in North America 20,000 years ago at the end of the last glacial maximum before dispersing out to locations around the world, a new study shows. The authors sequenced the whole genome of 101 monarch butterflies from around the world to better understand the genetic basis of its migration patterns. The researchers […]

Chimps use sponges made of leaves and moss to soak up hard-to-reach drinking water. A new study tracks an innovation in tool use as it spreads via social learning through the entire group. (Photo credit: Catherine Hobaiter)

Roots of culture: How chimps learn from each other

  It’s long been suspected that tool use in chimps is passed on socially, but a new study catches them in the act and puts a number on the impact. Researchers observing chimps in Uganda noticed that when one adult male discovered a new way of using leaves and moss to soak up water for drinking, […]

A small and portable solar cell module constructed with nano-sized gold “antennae” that help gather and concentration light, boosting the cell’s efficience by up to 10 per cent. (Photo credit: Henry Leparskas)

Gold nanoparticle ‘antennae’ could boost solar cell performance

  Researchers have created tiny gold antennae that gather and concentrate light in order to increase the efficiency of solar cells by up to ten per cent. Solar cells often don’t absorb very well in the red or infrared part of the solar spectrum. Previous researchers have tried to use gold nanoparticles – which do capture and […]

Project Ice Storm was conceived following the January 1998 Quebec ice storm. In the picture, a before and after picture of the ice storm.  (Photo Credit: Doug, flickr.com)

DNA signature in ice storm babies

A new study has detected a distinctive ‘signature’ in the DNA of children born in the aftermath of the 1998 Quebec ice storm. Five months after the 1998 Quebec ice storm, researchers recruited women who had been pregnant during the disaster and assessed their degrees of distress in a study called Project Ice Storm. Fifteen […]

Artist’s impression of Ziapelta sanjuanensis, a new species of ankylosaur discovered in New Mexico, but related to species from Alberta. (Image by Sydney Mohr)

New “punk-rock” armoured dinosaur species described

Researchers have discovered a new species of ankylosaur in New Mexico that is related to others found in Alberta. The new species is called Ziapelta sanjuanensis and sports unusually tall spikes on the cervical half ring, a structure like a yoke of bone sitting over the neck, which looks a bit like a punk-rock collar. […]

Researchers Justine Renard and Steven Laviolette discuss neuron recording results. Their new study explains how a single marijuana-like drug can have opposite effects at different doses. (Photo credit: Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University)

The highs and lows of marijuana use

A new study helps explain why the same drug can have opposite effects at different doses. Using a drug that binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain – the same ones that are activated by cannabis – researchers showed the precise pathway by which low doses stimulate the brain’s dopamine system, which can lead to […]

A new study of fights between birds, including hummingbirds like this sparkling violetear, shows
how smaller birds can evolve the ability to win fights against larger ones. (Photo credit: Queen’s University)

David vs. Goliath: How small birds compete

One might think that larger birds invariably win fights with smaller ones, but a new study explains why that is not always the case. Researchers studied vultures at carcasses, hummingbirds at nectar sources, as well as antbirds and woodcreepers at army ant swarms to discover that some small birds have evolved ways to beat their opponents. […]

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SMCC in the news

The Agenda with Steve Paikin, a current affairs television program on TVO, recently featured a panel of experts to discuss the importance of science literacy in Canada. The Science Media Centre of Canada’s Executive Director, Penny Park, was included in the panel. The Agenda has additionally created an online quiz (available here) for viewers to test how scientifically […]

In this diagram, each blue dot represents an existing drug molecule that was screened for its ability to disrupt the ribosomes of bacteria. The red dot shows the successful compound, lamotrigine (molecular structure at left) which is already used as an anticonvulsant drug. (Image credit: Shawn French, McMaster University)

Old drug may be key to new antibiotics

Researchers screening old drugs for new uses have found one that offers a previously untapped strategy for preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. Many antibiotics work by interfering with the bacterial ribosome, a kind of biochemical workshop where proteins and enzymes needed for the growth of the bacterium are produced. In this case, the team […]

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