Discovered: Today's pop music is loud and monotonous; termites send their elderly on suicide missions; storms can damage the ozone layer; Monday isn't actually a mood killer.
No cases of the Mondays. From Garfield to that classic line from Office Space, it seems like everyone loathes Mondays. Not true, say three psychologists who studied data from Gallup polls that asked 340,000 American citizens about their mood on various days of the week. They found no convincing statistical evidence that moods get worse on Mondays. However, "there was a bit of a TGIF effect, with moods ticking upwards on Friday," reports The Washington Post. [The Washington Post]
Science is not a fan of Top 40. Researchers in Spain have determined that today's pop music has gotten louder and all sounds the same. They reached these conclusions by crunching numbers from the Million Song Dataset, a huge collection of data points about pop songs from 1955 through 2010. "We found evidence of a progressive homogenization of the musical discourse," says artificial intelligence specialist Joan Serra. "In particular, we obtained numerical indicators that the diversity of transitions between note combinations—roughly speaking chords plus melodies—has consistently diminished in the last 50 years." In plainspeak: "You kids have no taste." [Reuters]
Storms thin the ozone layer. All the storms tearing through the Eastern seaboard this summer aren't just causing power outages and downed trees. They're also damaging the ozone layer, researchers at Harvard University say. Such storms push water up into the higher reaches of our atmosphere, where it doesn't belong. Compound this phenomenon with global warming, and the ozone layer has been taking quite the toll lately. "This problem now is of deep concern to me," says James G. Anderson, who led the study. "I never would have suspected this." [The New York Times]
Kamikaze termites. Bugs don't bother with pampering the elderly. In fact, they sometimes send the oldest amongst them on suicide missions against enemy insects. "We send our young men to war; ants send their old ladies," write researchers from the Czech Republic and Belgium, grimly. They've studied the number of ways termites chemically attack their opponents, and now they've discovered a new strategy. Termites can suicidally burst parts of their own bodies to release a sticky fluid that immobilizes nearby termites. Watch a video of such an attack below. [Discover]