Discovered: A red-wine research fraud, the world's smallest frog, what makes alcohol addictive, the Internet's mind-altering properties, a new Mars-like planet.
- Red wine health fraud? We've been rooting for the health benefits of red wine for awhile now. But, turns out one of the scientists who told us downing vino would make us live longer falsified and fabricated data. An investigation that began back in 2008 found 145 counts of made up stuff. Oy. Luckily, this guy is just one of the many researchers who have found positive links between wine. So keep on drinking. In moderation. [Reuters]
- A frog that fits on a dime. He's so small you could put him in your pocket. But don't do that because you would most definitely lose or squish him. At .27 inches long this frog is the smallest vertabrate known to mankind. So tiny that the group of researchers who discovered the little guy had trouble finding him, even though they could hear him. (Duh.) "It was night, these things are incredibly small; so what we did after several frustrating attempts was to grab a whole handful of leaf litter and throw it inside a clear plastic bag," researcher Chris Austin told the BBC. This frog, the Paedophryne amauensis, took the title from the Brazilian Golden frog, another tiny guy, who fit on fingernails, but is almost too fat for a dime. [BBC]
- Drinking is fun for this reason. A benefit not even the fraudulent findings of the sham red-wine researcher above can take away from us: "Alcohol induces reward in the human brain," straight from the mouth of the UCSF scientist who made this discovery. Meaning your body wants you to drink. It gives you chemical gold stars for drinking. The way it works: Like exercising, when we suck down our happy hour libations, the brain releases endorphines -- the happy people chemical, as Elle Woods taught us.The "opiate-like" effects of the endorphines make the whole thing addictive and fun. [UCSF]
- The Internet's mind-altering properties. Like drinking and doing drugs, the Internet is both addictive and messes with our brain. When looking at teens addicted to the Interwebs, MRI scans found their brains looked different, explaining why Internet freaks are such weirdos in person. Specifically, the images showed impairment of white matter connecting regions involved in emotional processing, attention, decision making and cognitive control. Again, explaining the behavior of many an Internet dweller we've met in human. [The Independent]
- A new Mars-like planet. Keplar has discovered some new, non-gasseous planets orbiting a star, leading NASA to believe that other solar systems like ours exist out there. Usually NASA fins big gassy Saturn-like planets."Finding one as small as Mars is amazing, and hints that there may be a bounty of rocky planets all around us," said scientist Doug Hudgins. And the more of these out there, the bigger chance of alien life, he continues. "That boosts the chances of other life being in the universe -- that's the ultimate result here. If these planets are as common as they appear -- and because red dwarfs themselves are so common -- then the whole galaxy must be just swarming with little habitable planets around faint red dwarfs." [NASA]