Weekend Links: the Beauty of Bees, Ink Made from Air Pollution, Bad Moods Are Contagious Among Ravens 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.

Stiff Muscles Are a Counterintuitive Superpower of NBA Athletes

Philip Anloague writing for The Conversation

Stiffness is typically viewed as unpleasant and can limit one’s physical activities. Surprisingly, though, for elite athletes like professional basketball players, muscle stiffness is not only something that is necessary, you could say it’s their superpower.


This Ink Is Made From Air Pollution

Rachael Lallensack writing for Smithsonian

The technical term for the substance is “carbon black,” and it is the powder that remains after burning coal or oil. The powder is mixed with a polymer and a solvent to turn it into smooth, flowing black rollerball ink. “So, if you can do it with soot, can we do the same with air pollution?” Sharma explains.


A Smartphone App And A Paper Funnel Could Help Parents Diagnose Kids’ Ear Infections

Richard Harris writing for NPR

The app is still experimental and would require clearance by the Food and Drug Administration before it could hit the market. But early data, published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine, suggest that the smartphone can perform as well as an expensive test in a doctor’s office.


20 Photos of Bees That Will Make You Say, “Damn, Bees Are Beautiful”

Brian Resnick writing for Vox

Bees are powerful little engines of the agricultural economy. While foraging for their own food, they distribute the pollen that propagates our own. “Bees are worth literally billions of dollars,” Brad Plumer has explained. “If they vanished, our grocery aisles would suffer greatly.”


Bad Moods Could Be Contagious Among Ravens

Carolyn Wilke writing for Science News

When ravens saw fellow birds’ responses to a disliked food, but not the food itself, their interest in their own food options waned, researchers report May 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study suggests that the birds pick up on and even share negative emotions, the researchers say.


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