Scienceline Staff Picks

Viral vengeance, courtly crickets, and helping the homeless

Our favorites from the week

October 14, 2011

Each week, the Scienceline staff combs through the web to find the smartest, coolest, and newest stuff for you to read. See what we’ve got this week!

From Benjamin Plackett:

According to research from Sterling University, United Kingdom, if a women meets her boyfriend while on the pill she is more likely to be emotionally satisfied, but less likely to be sexually satisfied.

Coughs and sneezes spread diseases! Doctors warn that ‘old’ diseases are back, with retribution. It seems that many diseases we had previously thought of as near exterminated have returned, and what is more, they are resistant.

What lies beneath? Scientists are to use a hot water drill in search of potential signs of life in an Antarctic subterranean lake, which has remained separate from our biosphere for at least 125,000 years.

From Ashley Taylor:

First came birth control; now, H.I.V. control? A daily dose of an anti-retroviral drug used for treating H.I.V. prevents people from contracting the virus, three studies have indicated. This finding raises social and ethical questions. Would a prophylactic drug make people reckless? Should drugs go toward preventing the virus in some while others go untreated?

Crickets, in addition to their exoskeleton armor, have another courtly attribute. Male crickets let females enter the burrow first and protect the females against predators, even though doing so puts them at risk. The payoff? Increased transmission of their genes by the females they protect.

Twitter: a paean to sleep? A study that analyzed Twitter feeds to monitor mood found that, worldwide, people are happiest when they first wake up and again around midnight. This Science podcast says it all. But don’t take anyone’s word for it; do your own Twitter analysis on the data used in the study.

From Allison McCann:

In the New York Times, Scienceline’s own Ritchie King reports on the “stalker boyfriend” cricket misnomer: new research suggests that male crickets don’t hover after sex because of jealousy issues, but instead hang around to protect females from potential predators.

Nissan claims to have created a ten-minute charger for the Leaf. While still a ways off from commercial availability, the technology is a huge breakthrough for electric car aficionados everywhere.

Disclaimer: I love playing soccer. Here’s another reason to play the beautiful game, even if you’re not homeless.

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