Learning! Roundup: We the Sheeple, Counting Bees, Ecological Tipping Points, Body Cams, and More!

A roundup of research from the past week, including the fact that people will pretty much do anything to conform, bees have four nerve cells and can count to exactly four, ecological tipping points, and body cam issues
Photo by Jørgen Håland

We the Sheeple

It turns out my high school punkish friends and I were right: we're all sheeple! A new study shows that adults will adopt almost any social norm, as long as they don't think they will meet someone who is hurt by it. We just want to be part of a group.


With only four nerve cells in their brains, bees are still capable of counting up to four. Maybe we are only capable of counting to the number of nerve cells we have?

Ecological Tipping Points

Unsurprisingly, there are elements to climate change that we haven't been taking seriously enough (and I'm not just talking about the fact that climate change exists and is a real threat that we need to do something about). One of those things is ecological tipping points and the interrelatedness of different ecological systems. Basically, we've got a domino effect looming that could be prettttty disastrous.

Helping Babies Feel Better

Many parents (and adults) will instinctively stroke a baby during a distressing, but necessary, event like a medical procedure. Well, now science has affirmed that this helps babies feel less pain. Hooray!

Fixing Photosynthesis

I am always super wary whenever people think we can improve mother nature. She is a perfect system! Except that, apparently, sometimes she's not? I don't know, there are always consequences to messing with nature, so we'll find out what the consequence is of this: there is apparently a flaw in photosynthesis where the enzyme that is supposed to grab CO2 sometimes grabs an oxygen molecule instead. If this is fixed, we could have lots more food.

Body Cams and Judgement

Here's a fun psychology thing: when people watch footage from body cams, they attribute less blame to the police officer than if they watch the same events on a dash cam. The effect may be thanks to the fact that we can't actually see the officer in the body cam footage, and so are less likely to attribute actions to then.

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