The Power of Playing Dead

nytimes.com – A study shows that pretending to be immobile — sometimes for an hour or more — helps larvae of an insects called antlions outlast hungry predators.

Source: Nigel R. Franks, Alan Worley, Ana B. Sendova-Franks. Hide-and-seek strategies and post-contact immobility. Biology Letters, 2021.

Scientists Announce a Physical Warp Drive Is Now Possible. Seriously.

popularmechanics.com – Humans are one step closer to traveling at faster-than-light speeds.

Source: Alexey Bobrick, Gianni Martire. Introducing Physical Warp Drives. arXiv, 2021.

Can't solve a riddle? The answer might lie in knowing what doesn't work

eurekalert.org – With the help of about 200 human puzzle-takers, a computer model and functional MRI images, University of Washington researchers have learned more about the processes of reasoning and decision making, pinpointing the brain pathway that springs into action when problem-solving goes south.

Source: Andrea Stocco, Chantel S. Prat, Lauren K. Graham. Individual Differences in Reward‐Based Learning Predict Fluid Reasoning Abilities. Cognitive Science, 2021.

Why we're so bad at daydreaming, and how to fix it

eurekalert.org – We don't intuitively understand how to think enjoyable thoughts. But when researchers provided participants with a list of examples that were pleasant and meaningful, they enjoyed thinking 50% more than when they were instructed to think about whatever they wanted.

Source: Erin C. Westgate, Timothy D. Wilson, Nicholas R. Buttrick, Rémy A. Furrer, Daniel T. Gilbert. What makes thinking for pleasure pleasurable?. Emotion, 2021.

Frogs use their lungs to drown out the mating calls of other species

upi.com – Frog lungs work kind of like noise cancelling headphones, according to a new study, helping females drown out the overwhelming cacophony of competing mating calls.

Source: Norman Lee, Jakob Christensen-Dalsgaard, Lauren A. White, Katrina M. Schrode, Mark A. Bee. Lung Mediated Auditory Contrast Enhancement Improves the Signal-to-Noise Ratio for Communication in Frogs. Current Biology, 2021.

When more Covid-19 data doesn't equal more understanding

eurekalert.org – MIT researchers found that Covid-19 skeptics on Twitter and Facebook -- far from being ''data illiterate'' -- often use sophisticated data visualization techniques to argue against public health precautions like mask mandates.

Source: Crystal Lee, Tanya Yang, Gabrielle Inchoco, Graham M. Jones, Arvind Satyanarayan. Viral Visualizations: How Coronavirus Skeptics Use Orthodox Data Practices to Promote Unorthodox Science Online. arXiv, 2021.

Study on Dandelions Could Help Develop Bioinspired Devices for Underwater Operations

azom.com – During spring, fields are covered with dandelions, which is a very common plant with toothed leaves and yellow gold flowers.

Source: M.C. Pugno, D. Misseroni, N.M. Pugno. Air-encapsulating elastic mechanism of submerged Taraxacum blowballs. Materials Today Bio, 2021.

Gold-infused contact lenses that treat red-green color blindness could hit the market soon

zmescience.com – If you're struggling with such a condition, well, then this is some very good news for hue!

Source: Ahmed E. Salih, Mohamed Elsherif, Fahad Alam, Ali K. Yetisen, Haider Butt. Gold Nanocomposite Contact Lenses for Color Blindness Management. ACS Nano, 2021.

Astronomers find the fastest spinning black hole to date

livescience.com – The first black hole ever discovered just put on a lot of mass, and it has astronomers confused.

Source: James C. A. Miller-Jones, et al. Cygnus X-1 contains a 21–solar mass black hole—Implications for massive star winds. Science, 2021.

Primate ancestor of all humans likely roamed with the dinosaurs

livescience.com – Our ancient ancestors looked like squirrels.

Source: Gregory P. Wilson Mantilla, et al. Earliest Palaeocene purgatoriids and the initial radiation of stem primates. Royal Society Open Science, 2021.