Cry about it: Scientists can produce energy from tears

This week really isn’t off to a good start. Between Las Vegas and Tom Petty, there seems to be a lot to be sad about. But if there is any bright spot to be made, it’s that we have finally found a truly limitless source of energy.

Researchers in Ireland say they have found a way to harvest energy from human tears. Lysozyme crystals can be found in your tears and your saliva, and scientists have found that these crystals have an electric current if they are pressurized. That means that if we cry and drool enough, we can be our own sources of renewable energy.

Lysozyme crystals can also be found in the whites of birds’ eggs and in the milk of mammals. So if you’re sitting down to a mouthwatering breakfast that includes eggs and milk, and you’re crying about the mistakes you made the night before, we’re going to say your carbon footprint doesn’t exist.

Drinking makes you feel good, science claims

Everyone, stop what you’re doing, take a deep breath and collect yourself. The next sentence is so earth-shattering you will likely never view life the same way again. Beer makes you happy.

Researchers in Germany (of course) have found that a compound in beer called Hordenine activate the dopamine receptors in your brain. Meaning, your brain basically treats the compound as if it were dopamine. Scientists said Hordenine is found in beer because large amounts of it exist in malted barley, a key ingredient in beer.

Ready for some even better news? Barley is also used to make a lot of whiskies, so it seems likely to us that the same compound will be found in the brown stuff, too.

It’s Friday, go out and make yourself happy.

Now we have a huge new rat to worry about

Rats are just about the worst thing on the planet. They are big, ugly things that get into everything and can’t really be stopped. Plus, they carry diseases, like that time they killed a third of Europe with the plague. So good luck, everyone, we have new species of rat, and it’s huge.

Researchers have discovered a rat four times the size of the ones you’re used to seeing. It’s got teeth so big it can crack coconuts. The only good news here is that it’s confined to the Solomon Islands, which means there’s a chance we can keep this nasty species isolated.

Then again, rats are so common around the world because they snuck onto ships centuries ago. So we’re probably doomed.

Some exciting research about slee … *snoooooore*

Another example of why science needs to study “obvious” things: peeing on jellyfish stings is a terrible idea.

One of the more interesting aspects about the scientific process is that it cannot be based on commonly held or assumed wisdom. This leads to criticism of experiments and, by extension, the entire field of science when researchers test something we all assume we know. For example: calling fruit fly research a waste of government funding because we all know what fruit flies are, dontchaknow?

Which is why it seems strange to research sleep. You know, that thing we all hate when we’re young and elusively seek as we age. But, what’s sleep for, other than to chase bunnies or be Vikings?

The prevailing theory is that animals need sleep to basically recharge the brain. But, then that would mean that brainless animals, like jellyfish, wouldn’t need sleep. Except it turns out that they totally do, you guys.

In what could easily be the plot of an already-cancelled Real Genius TV series (you’re welcome, Netflix), three Caltech students snuck into the jellyfish lab after hours to settle a bet: whether jellyfish sleep. They observed sleep-like behavior in the jellyfish:

1.  They didn’t move much at a set time of night.
2. They were slow to react to stimulus in this state.
3. After being kept up all night by squirt torture (welcome to SeriouslyGuys, disappointed porn Googlers), they were clearly out of sorts and needed a deeper sleep the next night.

So, it turns out you don’t need a brain to need sleep. Which means that, while we still don’t know why we sleep, this does explain why certain relatives will be passed out on your couch this Thanksgiving.

Science can make drinks out o’ thin air

Livin’ the dream.

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day, ye swabs! By now ye should know about this high holiday, and if ye don’t, ye can figure out how to celebrate. Let us talk about a new way to make booze while cleanin’ up the air.

Scientists agree that climate change is real, and fer we pirates, that means fewer islands to pillage because of rising sea levels, and stronger hurricanes that could sink us. But now we might be able to take carbon emissions out o’ the air and put them to good use: getting us drunk. Ph.D student Ming Ma has devised a way to take carbon emissions captured from smokestacks and turn them into a variety of chemicals, especially ethanol. Ye may know ethanol as a fancy word fer grog.

We can make alcohol from the air. What a glorious time to be a pirate.

Science: Don’t move in with your partner

So you and your significant other are really happy and you’ve decided to move in together. Congratulations! Hope you’re not planning on having sex anymore.

According to a recent study, cohabitation with a partner leads to decreased sexual interest in that person, regardless of gender. The study did find that women were more likely to lose interest in sex than men (tell us about it), but both genders were affected. Researchers believe this is because the longer a relationship lasts, the more likely it is to turn from passion to compassion.

The guys have a simpler theory: You share a bathroom with someone for a while and eventually you stop finding them sexy.

‘Old man’ getting older

The “old man” in A Christmas Story was 23. During the Depression.

If it seems like dads are getting older on average (and yet playing more video games and collecting their own toys later than younger generations), then you’re not wrong. According to a study by Stanford’s School of Medicine just published in the journal Human Reproduction, today’s average dad is three and a half years older than dads were on average 45 years ago.

While 1972’s dads were around 27.4 years old and chain-smoking in the waiting room, 2015’s dads in the delivery room are nearly 31 years old. Analysis also revealed that the number of dads over 40 and 50 both doubled in that time.

But, before our male readers get excited, no, it’s not because women prefer older men. Mothers are also getting older and are actually closer in age to the fathers of their children today. Unlike in the ’70s, when all of those ladies were marrying eligible bachelor-captains of the gold medallion and polyester industries.

Just in case everyone pushing 30 is getting anxious: relax, it’s an average. The study includes one 88-year-old father and, on the other extreme, an 11-year-old one. And if the latter doesn’t shame you into putting on a button-up shirt next time you go on a date, then maybe you’ll have better luck in your 40s or 50s.

Your head would be bigger if your ancestors didn’t eat cheese

Thousands of years ago, people decided to stop roaming around and killing stuff and set up farms. And somehow our heads stopped growing because we invented cheese.

According to researchers, humans began to have smaller heads and sleeker jaws around the time that we started relying on dairy foods, like milk and cheese, and farmed plants, for sustenance. The argument is that humans started eating softer foods, rather than crunching and grinding away on whatever we could rustle up in the forest. This meant that we didn’t need huge, powerful jaws anymore.

But it’s important to keep in mind that the whole reason we started farming was to make beer. Society as we know it today was founded on beer and cheese.

Science says a little water makes your whiskey taste better

A lot of Booze News stuff lately. It must be the winding down of summer and everyone thinking about relaxing with a nice drink. Today, science is here to validate whiskey drinkers.

According to a recent study, if you like a little water in your whiskey, you haven’t been imagining a difference. Scientists have found that the taste of the compound guaiacol can be increased when whiskey is diluted. This compound enhances the flavor and smell of the booze, and it rises to the surface of the glass when water is added, according to researchers. However, if you add too much water to your whiskey, the guaiacol falls away from the surface, meaning less flavor and smell.

So go ahead, add a little water to your brown water.

Science: Don’t use emoji in your work emails 🙁

One day we will do all of our written communication through emoji, but today is not that day, according to a recent study.

Researchers in Israel tested hundreds of people from 29 different countries, and found that pretty much everyone around the world who reads a work email that contains an emoji immediately thinks the person who wrote it is an idiot. Rather than see the icon and interpret it as an emotional reaction, the readers just think less of the writer. On top of that, if they don’t know the gender of the person, they are more likely to assume the author is female.

The lesson here is that if you are a dude and use emoji in your work emails, it’s probably best to put an eggplant in your signature.