Weekend Links: The History of Dragons, the Miracles of Penguin Poop, the Complexities of Scallop Eyes 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.

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Bored and Lonely? Blame Your Phone.

Sean Illing writing for Vox

Most people assume social media is making us more narcissistic, more compulsive, and lonelier. But is that really true?


In Antarctica, Where Penguins Poop, Life Blooms

Lacy Schley writing for Discover Blog

Penguins love company — some colonies of the flightless bird boast numbers over 1 million. And with squads that can run that deep, you can be sure they make a mess of things, if you know what I mean. (Hint: I’m talking about poop.) But penguin waste isn’t just messy, it can be useful, too. Researchers have used it to help spot colonies in the past. Now, it seems that poop might be good for something else as well.


What Scallops’ Many Eyes Can Teach Us About the Evolution of Vision

Viviane Callier writing for Smithsonian

The complexities of these mollusk eyes are still being unveiled. A new study published in Current Biology reveals that scallop eyes have pupils that dilate and contract in response to light, making them far more dynamic than previously believed.


Coffee, Beer, Or Soft Drinks? Your Genes May Hold The Answer

Mikael Angelo Francisco writing for Flip Science

Some people find it absolutely necessary to start their day with coffee. Others can’t seem to resist the draw of a nice, cold beer. And of course, there are those who swear by soda, diet or otherwise. The question is: Why are there certain kinds of drinks that we just can’t seem to resist?


Here Be Dragons

Kelly Reidy writing for Scientific American

What about the fire-breathing capabilities of European dragons, or the rain-bringing skills of Asian dragons, or the people-eating habits of Maori dragons? And why do some dragons fly while others slither?


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