Discovered: Why character building names build character, more evidence of man-made climate change, super silk worms, the tobacco industry's lies.
- The plight of having a weird name. Blue Ivy probably won't have these issues because she's made of gold. But, having an odd, "character-building" name is not only hard to overcome as a child, but could even affect one's dating life. Out of 12,000 people surveyed, a majority said they would rather remain single than date someone with an "undesirable name," found studies conducted through European dating site eDarling. These same people with offensive namesakes also were more likely to smoke, have less education and lower self-esteem than normal-named folk. "It's remarkable that just a name can influence how your social environment reacts to you, and how this reaction can influence your life," said study author Wiebke Neberich. [NY Daily News]
- Humans made climate change. Ok, we're extrapolating here. But new research has confirmed for the umpmillionth time "unprecedented levels" of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. "We are now at 390 parts per million," professor Jim Channell said. Earth's carbon dioxide levels have never reached higher than 280 parts per million. This latest spike occurred within the last 150 years. Around the time humans started industrializing and stuff. It just makes sense. Either way, Channell and his crew believe these high levels of carbon dioxide will heat things up and delay the next ice age for tens of thousands of years. Man-made or not, science tells us all this heating is having some gnarly effects. [Nature Geoscience]
- Genetically engineered super-silk producing silk worms. Unable to farm regular silkworms for commercial purposes, researchers at the University of Notre Dame have engineered worms that can make silk strong enough for sutures, artificial limbs and parachutes. That's the silk there, to the right. It's mesmerizing. While it's noble and all to use it for health and safety related things, we imagine many an 8-year-old would love to brush a silk-haired American Girl doll. [Notre Dame]
- The tobacco industry lied. Surprise, surprise: Philip Morris manipulated data on the health effects of additives in cigarettes. The authors believe this is evidence enough to have these additives removed from cigarettes on public health grounds. "When we conducted our own analysis by studying additives per cigarette – following Philip Morris' original protocol -- we found that 15 carcinogenic chemicals increased by 20 percent or more," said study auther Stanton A. Glantz. Lucky for the tobacco industry they don't sell health, they sell cool. And no study we've heard of has found any harmful health effects of being cool. [UCSF]