Seven days; lots of science in the news. Here’s our roundup of this week’s most notable and quotable items:
90 percent of the galaxies in the observable universe may be unfit for life, thanks to gamma ray bursts. A 1,700-year-old cemetery was unearthed along the trail of the ancient Silk Road. Researchers videotaped a ‘black seadevil’ (genus Melanocetus), a type of deep-sea anglerfish, in the wild for the first time ever. Global warming may make it harder for airplanes to take off—and, consequently, further restrict the amount of luggage you can bring aboard.
Vultures may use bacteria that are normally toxic to other animals—along with their exceptionally acidic stomachs—to help them digest rotten flesh. Automatic hand dryers are spewing lots of bacteria onto you along with all that hot air. Cheerful people tend to think they are quite empathetic compared to other people, but they really aren’t. Climate change may endanger bees in northern Europe—warmer temperatures will allow an exotic gut parasite of the insects to thrive. Dark energy could be chowing down on dark matter, and slowing the expansion of the universe in the process.
Scientists used a Blu-ray disc of a Jackie Chan movie to make a solar panel significantly more efficient; the technique should also work with non-Jackie Chan movies. Dogs are sloppy drinkers because they just smash their tongues into the water to scoop it up, unlike cats, which use their tongues to neatly pull up columns of liquid. A specially designed cup could allow astronauts on the International Space Station to sip espresso in zero-gravity.
Illustration by Sarah Peavey