Discovered: Weight loss might be contagious, just thinking about kids ruins women scientists, a new black hole, the Internet does not help failing relationships.
- Is weight loss contagious? The other day science told us that we -- if we were mice -- could catch obesity. Now, it looks like it works the other way around, too. Skinny is contagious! "In our study, weight loss clearly clustered within teams, which suggests that teammates influenced each other, perhaps by providing accountability, setting expectations of weight loss, and providing encouragement and support," explained study author Tricia Leahey. "Being surrounded by others with similar health goals all working to achieve the same thing may have really helped people with their weight loss efforts," she continued. So, if we understand correctly, science wants us to ditch our fat friends for healthy ones. Smells discriminatory to us. [Obesity]
- Having kids ruins women scientists' careers. Really, don't even think about it. "Motherhood – and the policies that make it incompatible with a tenure-track research career – takes a toll on women that is detrimental to their professional lives," said researchers Wendy Williams and Stephen Ceci. "Even just the plan to have children in the future is associated with women exiting the research fast-track at a rate twice that of men," they continue. Is it really an unborn child's fault? Probably not. "It is time for universities to move past thinking about underrepresentation of women in science solely as a consequence of biased hiring and evaluation, and instead think about it as resulting from outdated policies created at a time when men with stay-at-home wives ruled the academy," adds Williams. [American Scientist]
- More reasons to play outside. Without Vitamin D humans basically disintegrate. The other month science linked deficiencies of this sun-related vitamin to depression; today we find out that mothers who don't get enough can have children with language impairments. "The logical thought is that maternal Vitamin D insufficiency during pregnancy is affecting the normal course of brain development," said study author Andrew Whitehouse. Add those ailments to heart disease and spinal problems, and we think we've got a pretty compelling case for adult recess. [Reuters]
- A new black hole. The first intermediate-mass black hole, ever, actually. "For the first time, we have evidence on the environment, and thus the origin, of this middle-weight black hole," said researcher Mathieu Servillat. Besides being the first ever found, always an important accolade, this discovery will help researchers understand the way space works, something that blows our minds, at least. "It's not clear how supermassive black holes (like the four million solar-mass monster at the center of the Milky Way) form in the cores of galaxies," explains the report. This newbie might help them figure it out. [Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics]
- Contrary to popular (?) belief, Internet role play does not help marriages. As creatures of the Internet, that the web does not help failing relationships does not surprise us. But here's the science to back that up: "In those gaming couples where the marital satisfaction was low, the same issues existed. For example, if they argued about gaming and bedtime rituals were interrupted, even though they gamed together, they still had lower marital satisfaction scores," explained researcher Neil Lundberg. Listen up from someone who knows all about Internet life: Communicating via these here tubes will not fix "in real" life things. [Journal of Leisure Research]
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