Spring in your step, rings in your teeth, monkeys on boats, and more

Published April 15, 2020

Bound to happen: spring-heeled jacks

First there was the Segway. Then came those hov­er­boards. Next up (we hope): a spring-pow­ered exoskele­ton thing devel­oped at Vanderbilt University that they say “could allow humans to run 50 per­cent faster.”

Half pogo stick, half stilt, half pros­thet­ic limb, it’s only a mat­ter of time before you see hip­sters bound­ing down the street* from cof­fee shop to microbrewery.

* Vanderbilt says they could be used “for sports, rescue operations, and law enforcement.”

Kids these days…

…are prob­a­bly going to be fine, even with their faces glued to those screens. So finds a study out of OSU that found “Despite the time spent with smart­phones and social media, young peo­ple today are just as social­ly skilled as those from the pre­vi­ous generation.”

Even chil­dren […] who had the heav­i­est expo­sure to screens showed sim­i­lar devel­op­ment in social skills com­pared to those with lit­tle screen expo­sure, results showed.

On the oth­er hand, “Pregnant women exposed to high lev­els of radi­a­tion from cell­phones, microwaves and Wi-Fi may be increas­ing their baby’s risk for atten­tion deficit hyper­ac­tiv­i­ty dis­or­der.”

So that’s where it went

Have you lost a piece of an ancient con­ti­nent? It seems that (and this is embar­rass­ing), Canada has been sit­ting on it.

Tooth ‘rings’ tell stories

Teeth form rings just like trees do, and those annu­al lay­ers can tell a lot about some­one’s his­to­ry. (This will be use­ful most­ly for evo­lu­tion­ary biol­o­gy, but it’s still cool.)

“Just like tree rings, we can look at ‘tooth rings’: con­tin­u­ous­ly grow­ing lay­ers of tis­sue on the den­tal root sur­face. These rings are a faith­ful archive of an indi­vid­u­al’s phys­i­o­log­i­cal expe­ri­ences and stres­sors from preg­nan­cies and ill­ness­es to incar­cer­a­tions and menopause that all leave a dis­tinc­tive per­ma­nent mark.”

Come sail away

Ancient mon­keys — yes, mon­keys — appar­ent­ly crossed the Atlantic Ocean 34 mil­lion years ago, going from Egypt to Peru. That’s the con­clu­sion from look­ing at fos­silized teeth in both locations.

The mon­keys are believed to have made the more than 900-mile trip on float­ing rafts of veg­e­ta­tion that broke off from coast­lines, pos­si­bly dur­ing a storm.

Wait, wait — it gets bet­ter: The mon­keys were the third lin­eage of mam­mals to do this.

There is a sur­pris­ing amount of ‘mon­key in boat’ stock art.

Your cat wants you to read this

If you thought to your­self*, “I’m going to go to Hawai’i to get away from the mind-con­trol­ling par­a­site in cat poop,” we have some bad news for you.

* To be fair, who else would you think to?

Super-quick CoviD-19 news

WHO Says 70 Vaccines in the Works, With Three Leading Candidates

  • From CanSino Biologics/Beijing Institute of Biotechnology (phase 2)
  • From Moderna and from Inovio Pharmaceuticals (both phase 1)

We know who to blame: the pan­golins. Maybe.

Cry it out: “Low Risk of Coronavirus Spreading Through Tears

Snicker: “Porn use is up, thanks to the pan­dem­ic