Scienceline Staff Picks

Eight legs, six legs, and two legs

Our favorites from the week

December 2, 2011
[Image Credits, left to right: <a href= "">Wikimedia Commons</a>, Mark Moffett (Minden Pictures), <a href= "">Peter Hilton</a> via Flickr]
[Image Credits, left to right: Wikimedia Commons, Mark Moffett (Minden Pictures), Peter Hilton via Flickr]

From Laura Geggel:

I’m sorry, didn’t you know? Compassionate people are more likely to apologize, but what about people who avoid those two little words? Canadian researchers found that people who have low self-esteem tend to apologize less. The same goes for narcissists. To learn more, check out this story in Scientific American Mind. Sorry if you can’t read the entire article, but at least the first part of it is free.

Speaking of money, bone-marrow donors might be able to make a quick buck. A three-judge panel in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that people using a new technology to donate bone marrow can be compensated for their services, according to The Associated Press. The National Marrow Donor Program is opposed to the ruling, but Institute for Justice, the nonprofit whose lawyers filed the case, are quite pleased.

This is kind of gross, but scientists just sequenced the first known arachnid genome. Who was the lucky candidate? The spider mite, reports Science Centric. Spider mites are known to snack on crops, including tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and strawberries, making farmers keen to understand how spider mite genes aid the critters’ resistance to pesticides.


From Miriam Kramer:

Every wonder how the most extreme of science nerds show their love for atomic structure or Charles Darwin? They get a tattoo, of course! This slideshow from the New York Times puts on display some of the most extreme scientific tattoos from Carl Zimmer’s newest book, Science Ink. I particularly love number 16…

Well, this is just terrifying. Scienceline readers, I present to you, the biggest bug in the world. It’s sort of a cross between a cricket and one of those aliens from District 9. Assuming you enjoy cuddling with giant scary bugs, it could even be described as somewhat cute. Have fun getting that image out of your head before you fall asleep.

This is a nice little run down from Smithsonian Magazine of some odd models scientists are using to reconstruct human evolution. It’s an easy to read, straightforward approach and it’s very informative. In general, Hominid Hunting is a great blog that’s definitely worth checking out. Plus, this article has an adorable video of a capuchin monkey breaking open a nut with a rock embedded at the end. Worth it!


From Susan Matthews:

As shoppers headed out to save this past Black Friday, researchers were attempting to collect data on what exactly makes people wake up at such ridiculous hours in pursuit of a good deal. Or, at least, they were attempting to assess how the body responds to spending money, and were just capitalizing on the insane spending frenzy that is Black Friday. The Wall Street Journal has the story here — and hopefully the researchers will come to some conclusions before the Christmas shopping season comes to a close.

The space program may be pulling back on exploration, but that doesn’t mean space buffs are any less enthusiastic about NASA. This weekend, according to the LA Times, some 150 people came together to tweet their excitement about the Mars Science Laboratory. One even wants to become an astronaut…turns out that it’s not a dead career path after all.

Time Magazine takes a minute to reconsider a mass extinction that happened millions of years ago. Take note, researchers say, as history has a funny way of repeating itself.


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