Discovered: Rich people steal candy from babies, the existence of an immortal worm, democracy does not work, and death by sleeping pills.
- Rich people steal candy from babies. At least, they did in this study in which researchers "manipulated" -- whatever that means -- participants into feeling rich. The wealthy group did plenty of mean-spirited things, like lying, cheating, and breaking traffic laws. "It’s not that the rich are innately bad, but as you rise in the ranks -- whether as a person or a nonhuman primate -- you become more self-focused," explains researcher Paul Piff. Troubling? Yes. Surprising? Not really -- getting rich takes a certain ruthlessness. But the cause isn't hopeless! Rich people don't have to take candy from babies forever, continues Piff. "You can change that by reminding upper-class people of the needs of others. That may not be their default, but [to] have them do it is sufficient to increase their patterns of altruistic behavior." And, yet, how do we reward these evil rising stars? Cash money. [Bloomberg]
- This worm has discovered the secret to immortality. Here's one for our Beverly Hills housewives readers. There's a worm out there that's defying aging. Instead of dying, it just regenerates indefinitely. "Usually when stem cells divide -- to heal wounds, or during reproduction or for growth -- they start to show signs of aging," explains researcher Dr. Aziz Aboobaker. "Planarian worms and their stem cells are somehow able to avoid the aging process and to keep their cells dividing," he continues. If this worm can remain forever young, why can't we? Cue: absurd worm trend. [University of Nottingham]
- Democracy doesn't pick the best leaders. Uh oh, America: New research finds that your great government isn't so great after all. Basically, people are too dumb to elect the right officials. "Very smart ideas are going to be hard for people to adopt, because most people don’t have the sophistication to recognize how good an idea is," explained researcher David Dunning. Sounds a bit elitist to us, but if science says so... [Live Science]
- Death by sleeping pills. It's not a cause-and-effect thing, but those who take prescription sleeping pills have an increased likelihood of death, finds a new study. "Those prescribed up to 18 doses a year were more than 3.5 times as likely to die as those prescribed none, while those prescribed between 18 and 132 doses were more than four times as likely to do so," explains the write-up. So, insomniacs, be careful. [BMJ Open]
Image via Shutterstock by Sergey Mironov.