This Week in
Weird Science: Scientists discover the first ever fluorescent frogs, and perhaps their new status as rave props at Electric Forest. Next, a group of researchers from Harvard finally figured out what all ugly ducklings in high school had hoped: Attractive people can’t hold a relationship to save their lives. And, finally, the nerds at MIT have discovered a new state of matter. Literally, it’s not a solid, liquid, gas or plasma … it’s a c-c-combo.
Scientists Have Dicovered the First Fluorescent Frogs … Ever.
When have you ever seen an animal look like this?
If you haven’t, then you clearly haven’t climbed many trees in South America. Herpetologists at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina were shocked to find a species of frog that, when under a UVA flashlight, turned a bright, fluorescent green—glow-stick green.
“We couldn’t believe it,” Julián Faivovich, one of the study leads, told Nature.
It’s even hard to believe if you see the frog under normal lighting conditions. It’s hues of a pale, disappointing, yellowish color, topped with some brownish spots looks more like 1970s basement furniture than that of the electronic rave it resembles under the blacklight.
The research team believes the frog’s fluorescence stems from the animal’s need to navigate the night. Some animals—like parrots, scorpions and innumerable sea creatures—have the same capabilities. But this is the first of its kind ever found in an amphibian.
In the future, the team plans to study another 250 tree-frog species, perhaps carrying a UV light, to see where else in the world this exists.
The hotter you are, the more likely you are to end up divorced. So eat shit, Ryan Gosling.
Good looks may get you a better job, more money, more happiness, and, obviously, all the bitches. But what it won’t get you is a long-lasting relationship, says a study out of Harvard.
The results out of the aptly titled study “Attractiveness and relationship longevity: Beauty is not what it is cracked up to be,” published in the journal Personal Relationships, suggest that attractive people are more likely to be divorced than the ugly ducklings of the world.
Christine Ma-Kellams and her Harvard team began the study by asking two women to rate the attractiveness of 238 men in their thirty-year-old high school yearbooks—the days when men looked like Steve Perry. It just so happens the men the women found most attractive—you know, the quarterbacks, that one burnout, the one who clearly drove a busted Camaro—tended to be divorced. The researchers followed this up by asking the same females to rate the appeal the top 20 actors and actresses on IMDB and Forbes magazine’s 100 most powerful celebrities. Again, the more attractive the celebrity, the more likely they were to be divorced.
Now that we know women, somehow subconsciously, find a divorced man with problems more attractive than the rest, the study sought to find out if attractive people in a relationship fancied opposite sex as much as others fancy them. Turns out, these blessed individuals showed “heightened interest” in another partner. Basically, attractiveness puts you on the road to infidelity.
Sadly, Ma-Kellams and her team didn’t tackle “why” this is occurs. Perhaps is evolution at work—attractive people spread their genes to create a more attractive population. If that’s the case, who wouldn’t want to be part of a species of Beckham’s and Timberlake’s and Alba’s?
MIT has created a new form of matter. It’s supersolid and superfluid—at the same time.
And it’s not Flubber!
The MIT scientists used lasers to manipulate Bose-Einstein condensate, a superfluid that’s a dilute gas of bosons cooled to absolute zero. By doing this, the team coaxed the condensate into a quantum phase. Like something out of a sci-fi flick, this quantum phase, meaning at a temperature of zero, exhibited both the rigid structure of a solid but with the ability to flow without viscosity like a superfluid.
So what’s the purpose of this?
Well, even the researcher in charge, Wolfgang Ketterle, John. D. MacArthur Professor of Physics at MIT, told MIT News that it’s kind of counterintuitive. “If your coffee was superfluid and you stirred it, it would continue to spin around forever.”
Great for hypnosis. Also impractical.
The hope with the findings is that the contractionary phase of matter could lead to a deeper knowledge of superfluids and superconductors, a key component in technologies like superconducting magnets and sensors. Currently supersolids only exist at extremely low temperatures and under vacuum conditions. But there’s hope to map out what’s possible in nature.
“Now that we have experimentally proven that the theories predicting supersolids are correct, we hope to inspire further research, possibly with unanticipated results.”
Let’s hope Ketterle means Flubber.
Top photo by Dawn Ashley CC BY-ND 2.0
is a travel writer, part-time hitchhiker, and he’s currently trying to imitate Where in the World is Carmen San Diego but with more sunscreen and jorts.