Weekend Links: Our Brains Are Getting Smaller, the Secret Code of Sea Shells, the Proper Way to Nap and More

Welcome to Weekend Links, a collection of fascinating science stories from across the web, curated by your science-loving friends at the Mass General Research Institute.

The first image of a black hole, courtesy of Harvard Gazette

This is the First-ever Picture of a Black Hole

Brian Resnick writing for Vox

This is a picture of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Messier 87 galaxy, which is 53.49 million light-years away. The black hole at its center is massive, some 6.5 billion times the mass of our sun, all contained in a single point of infinite density.


The Human Brain Has been Getting Smaller Since the Stone Age

Bridget Alex writing for Discover

I don’t mean to alarm you, but the average human brain size is shrinking. And we can’t blame reality T.V. or twitter. No, this decline began tens of thousands of years ago.


Napping Is Good for You, Experts Say—if You Do It the Right Way

Alexandra Hansen writing for Quartzy

Often during the day I feel the need to have a bit of a lie-down. Whether it’s been a busy day, I didn’t sleep well the night before, or for no particular reason I know of. But some will warn that you’ll be ruined for sleep that night if you nap during the day. We asked five experts if we should nap during the day.


Meet the Scientist Painter Who Turns Deadly Viruses into Beautiful Works of Art

Jon Cohen writing for Science

HIV, Ebola, and Zika are ugly, nasty viruses. David Goodsell makes them look beautiful, even alluring. And the unusual precision of his depictions is driven by science—some of it his own research.


The Secret Code of Sea Shells

Harini Chakravarthy writing for Massive Science

Their beautiful patterns made led Meinhardt wonder how they were formed. When he investigated, Meinhardt soon found that the same rules—outlined by mathematician Alan Turing in his paper, ‘The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis’—that govern the formation of other patterns in nature, like leaf arrangements, also control sea shells.


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Mass General Research Roundup for April 2019

Man wake up and stretching in morning with sunlight

Are You an Early Bird or a Night Owl? Study Finds Early Birds Have Lower Rates of Depression

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