scientific study

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Air Around Hand Dryers Is Pretty Germy

27 times more bacteria found in air around jet-air dryers than around paper towels

(Newser) - Given the choice between noisy hand dryers and tree-felling paper towels, dryers are the better option, right? Maybe not, at least when it comes to your health. A University of Leeds study finds hand dryers, especially "jet-air" models, can actually spread germs around a public bathroom. To simulate what... More »

Guys Dig Women in High Heels: Science

Surprise-to-no-one study shows the higher the heel, the more likely men are to help

(Newser) - From the researcher who showed female hitchhikers with big breasts got picked up more by men than their flatter-chested counterparts comes another revealing study: one that appears to confirm that guys think high heels are sexier than flats. In a report published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior , the University... More »

In a French Kiss, You Swap More Than Spit

Smooch for 10 seconds, and you've transferred 80M bacteria

(Newser) - A kiss is just a kiss—except for when it's a major bacteria conduit. A new study published in Microbiome takes a look at what happens when we kiss intimately, and finds that 10 seconds of passion can result in the transfer of up to 80 million bacteria. Dutch... More »

Why 25% of Mammals Commit Infanticide

It boils down to sex, researchers say

(Newser) - The co-author of a new study estimates that 25% of our planet's mammals practice infanticide—and she thinks she knows why. Elise Huchard and Dieter Lukas studied 260 species; in about 45% of them, babies are killed by male adults. And it all boils down to sex, says Huchard.... More »

Pantyhose Help Reveal Why Mosquitoes Prefer Humans

Researchers use stockings to zero in on a human-only body odor

(Newser) - Thousands of years ago some mosquitoes made "a really good evolutionary move": They developed a taste for humans. A new study digs into the genes that led to this evolutionary shift, which had many mosquitoes give up on furry forest animals—and it relied on guinea pigs and pantyhose... More »

Scientists Find 6 Flame Retardants in Our Bodies

Small study analyzed urine of 16 Californians

(Newser) - Much of the furniture in your home is likely coated in flame retardants—and it turns out those same flame retardants may be making themselves at home in our bodies. The Silent Spring Institute, working in tandem with Belgian researchers, tested 16 Californians for biomarkers of six flame-retardant chemicals using... More »

Scientists Find Key Culprit in Antarctic Ice Melt

Underwater storms bringing warm water to polar ice: study

(Newser) - Storms aren't just a result of global warming, they may actually be causing the unstoppable Antarctic ice melt . Robots patrolling more than 3,250 feet below the Weddell Sea have discovered underwater storms are helping thaw Antarctic ice as they drive warm water toward polar ice shelves. Essentially, researchers... More »

Chewing on Ice Better Than Sex (for Some)

Ice may offer mental boost for pagophagia sufferers

(Newser) - If you need coffee as a morning pick-me-up, you're not alone. If you need to chomp through a cup of ice, you're also not alone—but there are fewer people like you. Such ice-eaters may suffer from pagophagia (a compulsive craving for ice) that could be caused by... More »

Insects Made History 400M Years Ago

They were first to grow wings, rule the skies

(Newser) - Want human beings to feel a massive ego-boost? Then look elsewhere, because a ground-breaking study published by Science finds that insects ruled the Earth about 400 million years ago and grew wings long before any other animal, reports Heritage Daily . They cropped up as plants began diversifying, in fact, and... More »

Your Weird Sex Fantasies Are Probably Really Vanilla

Research finds humans experience 'wide range of erotic fantasies'

(Newser) - Some might be shy about admitting weird sexual fantasies, but 1,516 participants did just that for a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine —and most of their fantasies aren't that weird at all. There's a wide spectrum of them, and most folks fall well within... More »

In Bat Battles, Rivals Jam Each Other's Sonar

Study identifies technique for first time in Mexican free-tailed bats

(Newser) - Bats don't mess around when it comes to food fights—they can prevent rivals from snagging prey by emitting a noise that essentially jams the other bat's sonar. One researcher discovered the tactic for the first time among the Mexican free-tailed bat, which, like all bats, uses "... More »

Here's How Penises Evolved

Scientists identify link between genitalia and growth of limbs

(Newser) - Most guys probably don't sit around the locker room pondering the finer points of how the male penis evolved, so leave this one to Harvard researchers: The mystery is solved thanks to … lizard limbs. Yup, Harvard scientists investigating the origin of external genitalia have found a link relating... More »

Why You Should Gamble Before You Chow Down

Hungry people might make better long-term decisions, researchers say

(Newser) - You know not to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. But making complex decisions while your stomach's rumbling? Go for it, Utrecht University researchers say, claiming that hungry people might delay gratification and make better long-term choices, Pacific Standard reports. A study published in PLoS One conducted three... More »

Birth Season Affects Your Temperament

Hungarian study says summer babies have more mood swings

(Newser) - Getting moodier as you grow older? That may be because you were born in summer—assuming, of course, that you were born in summer, according to a new study out of Hungary. Researchers in Budapest who analyzed 400 people say they found a direct connection between the subjects' temperament and... More »

Scientists Determine Your 'Optimal' Amount of Sleep

7.6 hours for women, 7.8 hours for men

(Newser) - Suspect you're not getting enough sleep? You can now verify whether that is indeed the case. In a study published last month in the journal Sleep , researchers claim to have determined exactly how much sleep we need: 7.6 hours for women and 7.8 hours for men. The... More »

Scientists Surprised by Central Park Dirt

It has as much biodiversity as soils 'from the Arctic to Antarctica'

(Newser) - Dirt probably isn't something you'd think of as having "so much going on," but scientist Kelly Ramirez begs to differ. She's sampled dirt from tropical forests to deserts around the world and found it "teeming with so many different types of organisms," she... More »

Your Dog Might Be a Pessimist

Research indicates 'pessimistic' pups give up more easily, seem to expect the worst

(Newser) - Certain dogs apparently feel like they're perpetually in the doghouse, according to a University of Sydney study that says some dogs are pessimists, getting demoralized more easily than other dogs and just giving up on tasks when they've had enough. The research, published this week in the Plos ... More »

Macho Men Have So-So Sperm

Tradeoff between looks and virility might be at play, says study

(Newser) - Macho guys may attract more women, but the quality of their sperm might not be of he-man standards, a new study suggests. Oddly, the sperm of good-looking guys—but not necessarily macho ones with square jaws and distinct cheekbones—is just fine, reports Medical Daily . The link was found when... More »

1 in 7 'Sleep Drunk' After Waking

And you know you who are

(Newser) - Have you ever woken up so confused you've mistaken a water bottle for a telephone, or the closet for a toilet? If so, you might be among the one in seven people estimated to suffer from a sleep disorder called "confusional arousal," reports MedPage Today . Or to... More »

Scientists Turn Bad Memories to Happy Ones

Research could mean more effective treatment for human disorders

(Newser) - Scared to death of spiders after you found one crawling in your bed? Scientists may have discovered a way for you to find them positively cuddly. After identifying the neurons powered by positive and negative memories in mice, MIT neuroscientists found a way to use light to essentially rewrite a... More »

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