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What a Trip: 5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

Including tips to spot fibbers and the glory of magic mushrooms
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2015 5:03 AM CST
Magic mushrooms are seen in a grow room at the Procare farm in Hazerswoude, central Netherlands on this Aug. 3, 2007 file photo.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

(Newser) – A surprise finding about cancers of all types and a study of the Putin stroll make the list:

  • Almost All Cancer Cases Are Our Fault: A Stony Brook University study shows that up to 90% of cancers are caused by external factors such as smoking, drinking, sun exposure, and air pollution, and are thus more preventable than previously thought. The findings turn a recent "bad luck" hypothesis on its head.
  • Magic Mushroom Ingredient Did Months of Good: Those with a cancer diagnosis or battling depression or anxiety might consider munching on magic mushrooms. Johns Hopkins scientists say a single dose of psilocybin, the hallucinogenic ingredient in mushrooms, appears to have a protective effect that lasts for an astonishing six months. Most of those who got the highest dosage found it remarkable in another way.

  • Physicists May Have Spotted Another New Particle: First, scientists experimenting with CERN's Large Hadron Collider discovered the Higgs boson. Next came the possible discovery of pentaquarks. Now scientists may have detected a new, unknown particle. if confirmed, it's a "total game changer."
  • To Spot a Liar, Look for These 6 Clues: Most of us reveal ourselves through the tiniest physical and verbal clues, and new lie-detecting software developed at the University of Michigan analyzes words and gestures to determine with 75% accuracy whether someone is lying. One piece of advice: Practice keeping your hands at your sides while fibbing.
  • Why Putin Walks That Weird Walk: The peculiar gait of the Russian leader (left arm swinging naturally, right arm stiff at his side) used to be attributed to some kind of childhood illness or stroke. But a group of Dutch neuroscientists recently studied a slew of YouTube videos and found a) he's not the only high-ranking Russian who walks like that, and b) it might trace back to the KGB.
Click to read about more discoveries. (Read more discoveries stories.)

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