Learning! Roundup: The spiders are listening, jokes matter, carbon dioxide transforms, and more!

Full Disclosure: I couldn't bring myself to post a photo of an actual spider. Too scary!

The Spiders Are Listening

Okay, not everything, but spiders hear through the wiggling of the little hairs on their legs, and they can hear you walking and talking up to 5 meters away! (Previously it was assumed they could only hear a few centimetres away.) Obviously this means they are all tracking my movements to plot my eventual capture and death.

Maybe someone who isn't deathly afraid of these creatures will just see this as interesting information.

Just a Joke?

One of the reasons I hate it when people say that something is "just a joke" is that it completely undermines comedy. Comedy isn't ineffectual and pointless. It's hilarious because it's true, most of the time, and comics can be the best people to point out our foibles because when we're laughing we don't see it coming.

That's why sexist (and racist and homophobic) jokes actually matter. A recent study backs this up: showing that sexist jokes can make men think sexism is normal.

Transforming Carbon Dioxide

As scientists madly scramble to try to find ways to stop our terrifying destruction of the planet earth, they come up with some pretty cool things. Most recently, scientists have figured out how to turn carbon dioxide into ethanol.

The best part? It was an accident! I mean, they were trying to transform carbon dioxide by reversing the combustion process, but they didn't think it would happen so easily. Go science!

More Generational Mumbo Jumbo

People who dislike millennials really like to talk about the work ethic of baby boomers and how much better it is/was. New research shows that baby boomers don't work any harder than millennials.

Turn 30, Ditch Your Friends

Speaking of millennials, apparently it's not only normal, but healthy to ditch half your friends when you turn 30. I know I did a terrible job of this - how are you supposed to cut your friendship circle down when you keep meeting awesome people???

Body Disconnection

A new study scanning the brains of trans people showed that trans people are more mentally "disconnected" from the parts of their body they don't identify with. This study involved people with female bodies, half of which identified as male and strongly desired male anatomy, while the other half identified as female. When tapped on the breast (pause for a moment to enjoy the awkward phrasing of an advertisement for such a study: "Wanted: People with female bodies who want their breasts tapped"), the trans group had lower activity in their somatosensory cortex as well as the supramarginal gyrus than the cis participants. The latter area of the brain is responsible for sensing touch, while the former for a sense of ownership.

This, of course, doesn't explain anything outright: perhaps people have less mental connection to body parts that they simply wish they didn't have. However, it certainly helps reveal the different relationship trans people have with their bodies.


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