Discovered: Pretty much every high schooler is on social media when they shouldn't be; glowing shellfish found in Scotland; Antarctic drilling research called off; monkeys process nice gestures.
Almost all kids are using social media during school. Pop culture's depictions of always-wired kids who can't put down their iPhones for two seconds might not be so far off the mark, according to new research on high schoolers' use of social media during school hours. Researchers led by the University of Haifa's Dr. Itai Beeri found that 94 percent of Israeli students use their phones while class is in session. "The students use their mobile phones in various ways," Beeri says. "To surf the Internet and access social media, to listen to music, take photos, play games, and send text messages and photos. Based on our findings, there is almost no moment during any class when some pupil isn't using their cell phone." [University of Haifa]
Look at these glowing shellfish. Flame shells have got to be one of the most striking looking sea creatures, and Marine Scotland researchers just found what might be the biggest colony of these brightly hued shellfish off the west coast of Scotland. A recent marine protection survey counted They found 100 million of the orange-tentacled creatures in a massive colony bed between Scotland and Skye. "Not only are flame shells beautiful to look at," says Scotland's Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead, "these enigmatic shellfish form a reef that offers a safe and productive environment for many other species." [BBC News]
Antarctic drilling research suspended. Researchers have long hoped to probe the water beneath Antarctica's ice for signs of life. One effort to make those desires come true has been foiled, with researchers led by the University of Bristol's Martin Siegert packing it in after failing to drill through the ice successfully. "While the equipment was working well, the progress was slower than we had planned for, and we did a calculation which showed us that we didn’t have enough fuel to get to the surface of the lake," says Siegert. "This is very sad for us, and we’re extremely disappointed." Their potential findings may have been useful for scientists speculating about the possibility of extraterrestrial life on icy planets. [Science News]
Monkeys feel good after doing a favor. Duke University researchers have discovered that if you give a monkey some juice, it will likely keep it for itself at first. But if you give it some juice on the precondition that it has to either gift the juice to another monkey or have it taken away, most monkeys will choose to gift. By hooking up the monkeys to electrodes, the scientists were able to see a region of their pre-frontal cortexes light up when they gave the juice away. In humans, this area corresponds with feelings of empathy, suggesting that humans aren't the only ones who get that feel-good effect from performing a nice gesture. [Discover]
Inset photo: Marine Scotland/PA