Discovered: Mars's ocean, cake for breakfast, giving the middle finger is hard and conservative movies sell.
- The ocean that once covered Mars. On the ongoing quest to determine the inhabitability of our red neighbor, the European Space Agency has made some progress, determining that a big salty ocean once covered part of Mars. One of their RADAR machines detected what looked like ocean floor. "We interpret these as sedimentary deposits, maybe ice-rich," says Dr Mouginot. "It is a strong new indication that there was once an ocean here." Below we have a rendering of what they expect an oceanic Mars looked like. This isn't as exciting as finding real water, something NASA has maybe done already? But, the space experts think it's useful. "This adds new pieces of information to the puzzle but the question remains: where did all the water go?" [European Space Agency]
- Cake for breakfast. Best discovery ever, ever, ever: doctors have sanctioned eating dessert first thing in the morning. (We do this anyway, but it's nice to have science on our side.) Adding a treat to a 600 calorie balanced breakfast helps dieters lose more weight in the long run, found research out of the Tel Aviv University. And, it gets better. The research found that cutting carbs in the morning hindered long term weight loss. "But the group that consumed a bigger breakfast, including dessert, experienced few if any cravings for these foods later in the day," said researcher Daniela Jakubowicz. Chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast every day, doctor's orders. [Tel Aviv University]
- Giving the middle finger is harder than it looks. Physically speaking. We have no moral qualms with flipping the bird. But research tells us that outside fingers have the quickest reaction time, meaning that middle one has the worst performance. Here's why: "In other words, the high level of inhibition received by the nerve cells of the middle fingers mean that it takes longer for the excitement to build up – they therefore react more slowly," said Dr. Hubert Dinse. But Dr. Dinse has come up with a way to help our little offensive buddy. "If, for example, you stimulate one finger electrically or by means of vibration for two to three hours, then its representation in the brain changes," Dr. Dinse explained. That sounds like a lot of pain and effort for quicker flip-offs. [Neural Plasticity Lab at the Institute for Neuroral Computation]