Human connection bolsters the immune system. That’s why it’s more important than ever to be kind.

By The Washington Post · Sarah Kaplan Don’t go to work. Don’t see your friends. Don’t visit your grandmother in the nursing home. Don’t bring food to your sister who works at a hospital. Don’t hold your wife’s hand while she gives birth. Don’t play together. Don’t pray together. Don’t hug. Of the many crueltiesContinue reading “Human connection bolsters the immune system. That’s why it’s more important than ever to be kind.”

Plants “talk” to neighbors to ward off pests

Goldenrods that evolved in the presence of herbivores release volatile chemicals that trigger defenses in neighboring plants of their species, even those that are genetically unrelated. by Ashley Yeager When a beetle larva bites into the leaf of a goldenrod plant, a perennial herb known for its bright yellow flowers, it gets a mouthful ofContinue reading “Plants “talk” to neighbors to ward off pests”

Sun bears copy each other’s facial expressions to communicate

The world’s smallest bears copy one another’s facial expressions as a means of communication. A team at the University of Portsmouth, UK, studied 22 sun bears at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Malaysia. In total, 21 matched the open-mouthed expressions of their playmates during face-to-face interactions. When they were facing each other, 13Continue reading “Sun bears copy each other’s facial expressions to communicate”

Humans couldn’t pronounce ‘f’ and ‘v’ sounds before farming developed

By Alison George Human speech contains more than 2000 different sounds, from the ubiquitous “m” and “a” to the rare clicks of some southern African languages. But why are certain sounds more common than others? A ground-breaking, five-year investigation shows that diet-related changes in human bite led to new speech sounds that are now foundContinue reading “Humans couldn’t pronounce ‘f’ and ‘v’ sounds before farming developed”

Experiments Reveal What Birds See in Their Mind’s Eye

Songbirds known as Japanese tits communicate using human-like rules for language and can mentally picture what they’re talking about, research suggests. by Brandon Keim Hear a word, particularly an important one — like “snake!” — and an image appears in your mind. Now scientists are finding that this basic property of human language is sharedContinue reading “Experiments Reveal What Birds See in Their Mind’s Eye”

People with depression use language differently

From the way you move and sleep, to how you interact with people around you, depression changes just about everything. It is even noticeable in the way you speak and express yourself in writing. Sometimes this “language of depression” can have a powerful effect on others. Just consider the impact of the poetry and songContinue reading “People with depression use language differently”

Scientists Finally Figured Out Why Whales Do Awesome Leaps Into the Air

By Drake Baer Everybody knows that humpback whales make excellent professional wrestlers: With zero hesitation, these gentle giants will leap out of the sea, corkscrew their bodies, and then slam back into the water with 66,000 pounds of fury. It turns out that these cetaceans aren’t just doing this to show off: According to aContinue reading “Scientists Finally Figured Out Why Whales Do Awesome Leaps Into the Air”

Pain Sensitivity Can Be Socially Transmitted Via Olfactory Cues

by Tori Rodriguez, MA, LPC The social transmission of emotions has been reported in several studies in recent years. Research published in 2013, for example, found that joy and fear are transmissible between people, while a 2011 study showed that stress — as measured by an increase in cortisol — can be transmitted from othersContinue reading “Pain Sensitivity Can Be Socially Transmitted Via Olfactory Cues”

Dolphins may have a spoken language, new research suggests

By Ben Westcott A conversation between dolphins may have been recorded by scientists for the first time, a Russian researcher claims. Two adult Black Sea bottlenose dolphins, named Yasha and Yana, didn’t interrupt each other during an interaction taped by scientists and may have formed words and sentences with a series of pulses, Vyacheslav RyabovContinue reading “Dolphins may have a spoken language, new research suggests”

English bar blocks cell phones, tries to get patrons talking

A new English cocktail bar offers something truly old-fashioned on its menu: the chance to talk to real people instead of staring down your cell phone. The Gin Tub in Brighton has won rave reviews in its first week of business by installing a cell signal blocker and placing throwback rotary phones at its tables.Continue reading “English bar blocks cell phones, tries to get patrons talking”