Amazing New Discoveries

If you have an appetite for the weird and bizarre, the field of science will never disappoint; stretching your brain and expanding your knowledge about the real world through amazing scientific discoveries and findings.

Facebook Addiction: Exists!

Facebook, social media
Credit: pixabay

Scientists have actually found that "Facebook addiction" is a real thing. It seems that this addiction can actually be measured in the brain using an MRI. When people have feelings of a compulsion to use Facebook, the brain patterns look very similar to a drug addict! However, Facebook addicts have a greater ability to control their addiction. Phew!

So, if you have a constant need to be checking your Facebook Timeline, you may have a problem. And if you experience strong feelings when "friends" don't like the picture of a funny cat you posted; or, you feel sad when you see others having fun and visiting great places, you can be fairly confident that "Facebook" is messing with your brain.

The part of the brain that has been found to be most affected by Facebook use is the nucelus accumbens, often called the "reward centre". fluctuations in nucleus accumbens activity, found using an MRI, was proportional to an individual’s Facebook use.

Hybrid Species: Zedonk

When I went to school, they used to tell us that different species could not produce offspring together. It seems that this is not strictly true.

Credit: Wikipedia

There are some species of animals that can mate with a closely related species and produce a hybrid animal. The offspring appear to be mostly infertile. The name of these hybrid animals also depends on the sex and species of the parents, as a different phenotype results. For example, a zorse is the offspring of a zebra stallion and a horse mare. A horse stallion and a zebra mere, however, is generally called a horbra.

A cama is a cross between a camel and a llama. And a wholphin is a fertile cross between a false killer whale and a bottlenose dolphin. Crosses between lions and tigers are called ligers and tiglons.

As far as humans go, lab-made hybrids (chimeras), in which cells from two strains or species coexist in a single organism, are common. For example, Chinese scientists embedded the genes for human milk proteins into a mouse genome and created human-milk-producing goats. Hybrid animals with human brain tissue, however, appear to be a no go area at the moment.

Suport For a Multiverse

Many well-known physicists, like Stephen Hawking and Neil deGrasse Tyson, support the hypothesis that a multiverse exists. The main reason being that the existence of a multiverse has explanatory power.

Credit: pixabay

According to inflationary theory, our universe doubled in size 100000 times in just a fraction of a second right after the Big Bang. Inflationary theory also predicts a multiverse.

The idea is that, in the beginning, there existed a vacuum of dark energy, and from this energy bubbles began to form. Each bubble expanded and formed a universe. It's a great story, but the cosmic inflation theory isn’t accepted by all physicists. This inflationary theory is supported, however, by some observations and scientists are working to make this hypothesis testable.

Tattoos and Evolution

According to Penn State anthropologist, Nina Jablonski, hairless skin first evolved in humans as a way to stay cool. Soon, however, humans began decorating their skin to look cool and attractive to potential romantic partners. And, sometimes, as a way to look menacing and scary.

Ötzi the Iceman
Credit: wikepedia

Ötzi the Iceman was discovered by hikers on  the 19th September 1991 in the Ötztal Alps, while still frozen in the glacier. He was found to be a natural mummy of a man who lived around 3,300 BCE. He has some of the oldest documented tattoos in the world; made using carbon powder.

Lady Tattoo
Credit: Flickr

Scientists have used non-invasive photographic techniques to study Ötzi's tattoos and to try and work out whether his tattoo's had a therapeutic, symbolic or religious significance. So far, scientists have found 61 skin markings on Ötzi.

The tattoos are quite different to modern tattoos and involved making incisions in the skin and rubbing charcoal into the design of lines and crosses. Interestingly, studies have found that the tattoos correspond to skin acupuncture lines.

Pessimistic Dogs

Many dog owner already probably know this: some dogs are optimists and others have pessimistic personalities.

Sad Bulldog
Credit: Wikipedia

Researchers from the University of Sydney found that some dogs are much more pessimistic than others. In their studies, they found that dogs with an optimistic personality expect more good things to happen, and less bad things.  However, a dog with a pessimistic personality may become stressed easier; be more risk aversive and give up easily.

Information like this can be useful for the selection of therapy dogs and farm dogs, for example.

Binging on TV

Do you spend your weekend's binge watching TV shows like Mad Men, Family Guy, Lost, or The Office? If so, there is a chance that you might be lonely and depressed.

Watching TV
Credit: Wikipedia

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found in their studies, that the more lonely and depressed you are, the more you are likely to spend time watching marathon sessions of your favourite TV shows. People who were lacking in self-control, were also more likely to binge watch TV, as self-regulation is connected to addictive behaviour.

Science and Chocolate

Most people love chocolate. And, according to many scientific studies, it seems that chocolate is in many ways good for us too!

Yummy Chocolate
Credit: Wikipedia

According to studies, there are various reasons why chocolate is good for you. Researchers at Louisiana State University, for example, have found that good bacteria in the stomach feasts on dark chocolate to produce compounds that are good for your heart. Other research has found that dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries and also prevents white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels (The FASEB Journal).

Generally, it has been found that, chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants and contains more polyphenols and flavanols than fruit juice (BioMed Central). And, keep in mind that, for people with hypertension, eating dark chocolate can significantly reduce blood pressure (American Academy of Neurology).


Science is simply amazing and useful.