Discovered: An even better invisibility cloak, the crime genes, working hard is depressing, the speed limit of particles, and heart attack deaths halved over the last 10 years.
- A better invisibility cloak than that other invisibility cloak science made. No, we didn't get our Harry Potter references out of our system the last time researchers ostensibly recreated J.K. Rowling's magic. Get your Marauder's Maps out: We're headed to Hogwarts! Science has created an even better cloak than last time, when researchers made one 40 trillionths of a second invisible. This time, physicists have cloaked a 3D object standing in free space, using what they call a "plasmonic cloaking technique." Basically, the used a special material to scatter light away from an object. "When the scattered fields from the cloak and the object interfere, they cancel each other out and the overall effect is transparency and invisibility at all angles of observation," explains study co-author Professor Andrea Alu. [Institute of Physics]
- The crime gene(s) is real. We say genes plural because it's not like there's one isolated part of our DNA that science will be able to isolate and extract in some Gattaca-like future. But, a combination of a bunch of genes influences who turns into a criminal, found researchers, even more than environmental factors. Hear that parents of devil children: It's not that terrible child rearing skills that messes children up, it's terrible genes. We guess that still means it's your fault, but in a deep scientific way that's impossible to fix. [Criminology]
- Working hard is depressing. Bosses: those demanding 11 hour days are inciting depression. Not like, "Oh, man, working isn't very fun, we wish we could not do it so much" type of depression, but more like the clinical type. Workers who blogged, er, we mean, did whatever activity other jobs entail for 11 hours or more per day were twice as likely to have a "major depressive episode," according to research out of University College London. "Although occasionally working overtime may have benefits for the individual and society, it is important to recognize that working excessive hours is also associated with an increased risk of major depression," said Marianna Virtanen. Ok, we're going to go home now. [University College London]
- Deaths from heart attacks halved in a decade. In England! Almost sounded like good news for our obesity epidemic here. But no, this celebratory bit goes to our British brethren. Looking at 840,175 men and women, University of Oxford researchers found that deaths from heart attacks were down 50 percent in men and 53 percent in women. Congrats, Brits. We'll be wallowing at McDonalds. [University of Oxford]
- The speed limit of quantum particles. Just plain impressive, scientists have measured the speed of quantum particles, not via calculations but by doing an actual experiment, trapping a quantum gas in an optical lattice between intersecting lasers. We realize that's a lot of science speak. We don't really get it either. But basically, knowing the speed will help researchers with more quantum physics experiments, which maybe one day will change the future of computing and technology and stuff. Trust us: it's big. [Ars Technica]
Image via Shutterstock by Fer Gregory.