Weekend links is a collection of interesting science stories from across the web, curated by your friends at the Mass General Research Institute.
Can MDMA help people with autism overcome social anxiety?
(Benjamin Bell writing for Massive Science)
For the nightly news and cop shows, Ecstasy is the scourge of music festivals, the substance of interest in raves and DEA raids. For veterans of war, survivors of abuse, and autistic people, the drug increasingly suggests a feeling of tentative hope. Read more
This Origami-inspired Claw Will Gently Fold Around Jellyfish
(Laura Yan writing for Popular Mechanics)
Invertebrate, soft-bodied creatures like jellyfish and octopus take up seven percent of the world’s biomass (that’s more than 100 times the biomass of humans). But these delicate ocean dwellers can be hard to capture, which means they’ve been often neglected in scientific studies. Engineers and marine biologists have finally designed a nifty, 3D-printed, 12-sided origami-inspired trap called the rotary actuated dodecahedron (RAD) that can fold around squids and octopuses without damaging them. Read more.
See the robot in action:
Brain differences in men and women after soccer injuries
(Brenda Kelly Kim writing for the Labroots website)
New research from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York shows that in women who play soccer and frequently “head” the ball suffer damage that is five times more extensive than their male counterparts who also hit the ball with their heads. Read more
Unknown Unknowns: The Problem of Hypocognition
(Kadi Wu and David Dunning writing on the Observations blog for Scientific American)
Hypocognition, a term introduced to modern behavioral science by anthropologist Robert Levy, means the lack of a linguistic or cognitive representation for an object, category, or idea. Consider this: how well can you discern different shades of blue? If you speak Russian, Greek, Turkish, Korean or Japanese, your chances are much better than if you speak English.
Hypocognition also lies in the muddle of emotional experiences that we encounter but fail to explicate. We are hypocognitive amidst the rumbling moments of frustration when we are at a loss for words to describe how we feel. Read more