Discovered: The race to invent a real, life invisibility cloak forges on, old nice people live longer than crotchety ones, sometimes being fat isn't bad for your heart, and Spanish women are into contraception, at first.
- The race to invent the invisibility cloak continues. Who knew that Harry Potter would have such a profound effect on the sciences? In just the last few months we've seen many attempts or claims that science has invented the Harry Potter dream. And today we get another one. Actually we get 25,000 more, with researchers putting together thousands of tiny cloaks, which trap light. "In our array, light is stopped at the boundary of each of the cloaks, meaning we observe the trapped rainbow at the edge of each cloak," explains researcher Vera Smolyaninova. Unlike Harry, who used his cloak to fight bad-guys and do other bad-ass things, science just wants to look at these rainbows. "This means we could do 'spectroscopy on-a-chip' and examine fluorescence at thousands of points all in one go," continues Smolyaninova. That's kind of boring, science. But we guess there's no Voldemort who needs slaying. [Institute of Physics]
- Nice old people live longer than mean ones do. This too-contrarian-to-believe finding shocked science. "When I started working with centenarians, I thought we'd find that they survived so long in part because they were mean and ornery," explains researcher Nir Barzilai. (For real.) But, the data shows that karma wins in the end. "When we assessed the personalities of these 243 centenarians, we found qualities that clearly reflect a positive attitude towards life. Most were outgoing, optimistic and easygoing. They considered laughter an important part of life and had a large social network. They expressed emotions openly rather than bottling them up," continues Barzilai. So, guys, be nice. [Albert Einstein College of Medecine]
- Sometimes being fat is not bad for your heart. Some heartening news for our ever-fattening nation: obesity does not automatically lead to horrible heart health. "People with good metabolic health are not at risk of future heart disease -- even if they are obese," explains researcher Mark Hamer. Metabolic health means things like blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol. Also sometimes being skinny isn't so good for your heart. "BMI doesn't always tell you everything," adds researcher Dr. Cora Lewis. We're looking at you infuriating people who eat whatever they want and stay stick thin. [Reuters]
- Spanish women are all about contraception, at first. Over 70 percent of Spanish women use some sort of protection during their first sexual encounter. Of course the experiences varied based on the educational and religious background of these women, as expected. "Contraceptive use during the first sexual encounter was more common amongst non-religious women in developed countries who had high educational attainment and their first sexual experience was between the ages of 18 and 19 years," explains researcher Ruiz Muñoz. For comparison, in the U.S. almost 100 percent of women have used contraception at one time or another. Spain is a Catholic country, though. [Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology]