"UGH" is a statistically likely response to this news.
Everyone's heard their fair share of annoying arguments as to why certain fields of study like science and technology are more male-dominated; often people claim that women just aren't trying as hard as men to succeed in their careers, or that most aren't as naturally interested in certain subjects as men are. Or, maybe, it could be that there's little to no support for women who need to report hostile work environments, which ends up turning them away.
Parents of Young Children Say, "Yeah, We Know. Oh How We Know."
Taking pleasure in the misfortune of others is a human trait (because we are all basically monsters) that may start earlier than you might think. A new study shows that children as young as two years old can take delight in watching something bad happen to someone else.
Oh, also, they officially claim it's a word.
If someone says something you don't understand, it's common to reply with, "Huh?" but we didn't realize just how common. It's so common that it's universal, say a team of researchers. They examined conversations in ten different languages, and "Huh?" or something very similar shows up in all of them.
Scientists find signs of complex life in an Antarctic lake buried under two miles of ice. There may even be fish!
Lake Vostok, a body of water located about two miles beneath Antarctica's icy surface, may be home to a viable ecosystem in spite of intense cold, complete darkness, lack of nutrients, and possible volcanic activity. And what's more, new evidence uncovered from samples of organic material suggest that the lake's inhabitants could include complex life forms such as arthropods, mollusks, and even fish. A group of researchers at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) concluded in a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE that "although Lake Vostok is oligotrophic," or nutrient poor, "based on the metagenomic and metatranscriptomic results presented here, it is far from sterile."
This battle to the death doubles as housecleaning for the pitcher plant that both creatures call home
Holy crap, you guys, nature is amazeballs. If you need a reminder, and we all do sometimes, the above video should do the trick. It's footage of a diving ant, Camponotus schmitzi, hunting a mosquito larva, and it's better than any UFC match you are ever likely to see, not least because the whole thing takes place in the mouth of a carnivorous pitcher plant. To compete, Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez would have to hold their next match in the mouth of a shark the size of a small house.
Researchers may have a new clue as to what's behind the feelings of well-being that come with activities like yoga or guided meditation. A new study shows that these forms of practiced relaxation have the potential to change which genes a person is expressing almost instantaneously. One yoga session is not going to alter your genetic structure and turn you into a superhuman, of course, but it could influence the function of genes associated with metabolism and immune system function in a hot second, which, really, is weird and surprising enough for our tastes.
Did you know that rodents -- from the humble mouse to the noble beaver -- are incapable of vomiting? It's true, and a team of investigators led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh
turned their not insignificant brain power on finding out why. The result is the single most compelling study released by the open-access journal PLOS ONE this week: "Why Can’t Rodents Vomit? A Comparative Behavioral, Anatomical, and Physiological Study."
If you're the sort of person interested in the digestive tracts and neuroanatomy of rodents, and I think you are, it makes for some great beach reading.
Here's some nightmare fuel you could have gone the rest of your life without knowing: every continent except Antarctica hosts spiders so large, they can trap bats in their webs.
That's according to a study released earlier this month in the open-access journal PLOS ONE that records in often gruesome detail 50 incidents of spiders ensnaring bats.
In related news, who is moving to Antarctica with me right the hell now?
Earlier today, we brought you news of a sea lion that dances along to Backstreet Boys. This evening brings more news of animals partaking in an activity once thought to be the sole dominion of enlightened animals like us humans: Oral sex. Analysis of a colony of flying foxes in India found that males of the species perform oral sex on females. Yup, you read that right.
3D printing has brought us all sorts of neat household gadgets and delightful statuettes and toys, but the real advances made possible by the technology might not be in the home, but in the lab. Take, for example, this replacement human ear, engineered from rat tail cells and cow cartilage and given shape in a 3D printed mold of a patient's own ear.
Do you suffer from sinusitis? Like, really bad sinusitis?
Sinusitis that you would describe as "nightmarish" or... well, you get the point. No matter how badly your cavities are clogged, a team at Newcastle University may have hope
for you yet. They're reporting in the journal PLOS ONE that a microbe-derived spray initially developed to clean the hulls of ships could be just the thing to break up the brick-like mucus found in folks suffering from chronic sinusitis.
If you're anything like me, you still haven't given up on that dream of being an astronaut one day, breaking the surly bonds of Earth and experiencing the wonder and vastness of space firsthand. That's why I bring you the following story with a heavy heart -- according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center
, the list of dangers involved in space travel just got a little longer, with "alien attacks," "insane computer AIs," and "being sucked out of an airlock" joined by a new hazard to space flight -- an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease.
The three little pigs better not be planning to build a summer villa in Italy anytime soon, since a recent study of Italian wolves showed that local wild boar accounts for nearly two-thirds of the predator's overall diet, while the remaining one-third is roe deer. Biologists learned about the wolves' discerning tastes after sifting through and analyzing numerous samples of wolf fecal matter from the population in Tuscany over a period of nine years. Based on these findings, in conjunction with the Italian wolf's behavior, there is a chance that the species can be reintroduced into parts of Europe without disturbing the land of local farmers or their livestock.
Researchers from the Hungarian Natural History Museum
and University of Alberta
have discovered fossils that they believe represent the world's first real river monster -- a never-before-identified breed of mosasaur that thrived in fresh water rather than open ocean.
The specimens represent the first evidence of mosasaurs
-- initially land-dwelling reptiles that returned to the sea like modern dolphins and whales -- who left their ocean habitats in favor of freshwater homes like rivers
, developing adaptations that would have let them thrive in the new environments where they were likely to top of the food chain.
Be it a slice or ten of bacon in the morning or a good steak for dinner, most meat shares a common bond -- it is pretty awesome to eat. While this is clearly the best thing about meat, it is also one of the biggest knocks against it. Since meat is awesome, everyone wants to eat it. Taken alongside the fact that meat takes a significant amount of time, energy, and resources to get as awesome as it is, that means that while meat is awesome, it is actually a pretty inefficient and unsustainable way to feed a lot of people.
A pair of researchers at Wageningen University
in the Netherlands has proposed a new way to get cheap, nutritious, lean protein into the diets of people worldwide -- by turning mealworms into the mainstream meat of tomorrow.
Wondering what the most fun way to be gruesomely devoured alive is? Wonder no more. Microscopic hairs coat the surface of carnivorous pitcher plants
, and when those hairs get wet, watch out -- just a little rain can turn the plant walls into water slides for the insects the plant preys upon, sending them careening helplessly down into the stomach of the plant.
You can see the slippery slide in action in the video below, as ants crawl adeptly over the dry plant, but drop helplessly into the wet one like characters in a Benny Hill sketch.
A team of European paleontologists have described s nine million-year-old rhinoceros skull in a nearly unbelievable state of preservation
, thanks to the fact that it once belonged to a rhino who suffered the unlucky fate of being flash-cooked in volcanic ash.
While it sounds like a pretty terrible way to go for the rhino, the immaculately preserved skull is a boon for researchers, who are getting a better look at the ancient mammal than they ever thought possible.
Sharing isn't always caring, it would seem. In penguins, for example, sharing seems to be the result of being kind of a jerk. Researchers investigating the physics of how penguins share warmth by huddling together on particularly cold Antarctic days found that each penguin is trying only to maximize the heat it retains while snuggling with its colleagues, but that the result is an egalitarian cuddle pile in which every penguin has more or less the same access to warmth.
In other more important news, there are researchers working hard on revealing the science behind penguin snuggling, because hooray for science.
Researchers at the University of Guelph
have finally decided to ask the burning question that is on everyone's minds: "What do mink do when they get bored?"
The answer may sound familiar -- they lay in bed awake all day and eat too much.
Throw in like half a dozen episodes of Arrested Development on Netflix and you have pretty much our average Saturday. Wanna make something of it?
It's good news, bad news time again, everyone! The good news? Five-year-old kids can be very generous and inclined to share their toys
. The bad news? They're only likely to do so if they know they're being watched
. So anyone who was still holding onto that dream wherein we're all just naturally good people who are inclined to help one another out: You can let that one die. On the plus side, the rest of us will finally stop laughing at you. Y'know, to your face anyway.