The race to save chocolate from climate change

Chocolate: without it, peanut butter cups are just weird. And we may be facing just such weirdness in the future, thanks to climate change. But a team of scientists is working to save it (chocolate, not the climate).

It’s true, chocolate, the main ingredient in fudge, could cease to be in the decades ahead, because the cacao plant is losing its habitat thanks to climate change. Cacao plants need to be grown in a very specific, unchanging environment, which is why they don’t stand a chance as things continue to get crazy weatherwise. That’s why a team of researchers is using gene editing technology to make cacao better able to grow at higher elevations, where weather is generally more stable.

However, if we do run out of chocolate, at least all the chocoholics will get clean.

Science: Drinking makes you live longer, avoid dementia

This holiday season, there’s plenty to feel bad about. You forgot to send your aunt a Christmas card. You’ve been pigging out on way too many cookies at your company’s holiday party. But don’t feel bad about how much you drink.

According to a new study, drinkers are less likely to have dementia when they reach 85. Researchers at the University of California San Diego conducted a 29-year study, because 30 years is excessive, and found that regular moderate drinkers are more likely to live to see 85, and not have dementia when they get there.

Even better, both women and men 85 and up who were moderate-to-heavy drinkers were found to have better cognitive health than those who didn’t imbibe at all.

The Guys are going to pick out retirement homes now because it looks like we’ll be around a while.

Science: Men really do have worse cold, flu symptoms

Maybe not the most positive image.

We all have social media these days, which means we all know that people we haven’t physically talked to in five years like to post stuff attacking a group of people they’re not a part of. Women who hate their husbands love to post memes about how men are pussies when they get a cold. Science says you’re wrong, ladies.

A new study has found that when men complain about cold or flu symptoms, it could be because they actually feel the effects more than women. That’s right, the popular “man flu” meme is crap because men’s immune systems leave them at greater risk for serious systems and even death.

And you know what else makes a cold worse for men? When you won’t just leave us alone.

You’re drunker than you think, science says

So you’ve had a couple drinks but you’re still basically sober, right? Science says you’re having a better time than you realize. Turns out, you have no idea how drunk you really are.

Australian researchers went to some bars and interviewed patrons in the name of science. They asked the drinkers how drunk they thought they were, then gave them a Breathalyzer test. Most of the test subjects thought they were far more sober than they actually were. And it didn’t matter if it was just an average Joe or someone who sees drunk people all the time, like a cop or a doctor. Everyone underestimated their level of intoxication.

Either that, or the Aussies just can’t old their booze.

Scientists bent on creating super spiders

Spiders, despite having one time created a superhero, are awful. They are creepy, they spin nasty webs, and they’re probably plotting against us. But what if scientists gave them the ability to spin super-strong webs?

A team of researchers in the Italy and the U.K. have figured out a way to make spiders poop out webs that are so strong they can support a person’s weight. How do they do it? By feeding the spiders a graphene solution. The plan is to use the enhanced spider silk to make stronger parachutes or cables.

But we all know that it’s only a matter of time before the creatures figure out what they need to eat to create this webbing, and then they’ll start catching us all.

Extraterrestrial bacteria lives on ISS skin, cosmonaut says

If you believe the opinion of a Russian cosmonaut, there’s a very good chance that the exterior of the International Space Station is crawling with life from another planet.

Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov will be heading to the ISS for the third time next month, and he believes that bacteria samples that have been collected from the outside of the space station came from space, not Earth. Locally-sourced microorganisms have been found growing on the station before, but this latest batch is special, Shkaplerov claims.

The good news is that he says the samples are still being studied and appear to be safe. Yeah, safe — for now.

Science: Rodent relationships end if they don’t drink the same

A couple is happy until one starts drinking too much, and before long, the relationship is over. It’s a well-known tale — at least in prairie vole circles.

According to a new study, prairie voles (picture morbidly obese field mice) don’t end up staying together if they don’t drink about the same amount of alcohol. Voles have life-long monogamous relationships, but alcohol can get in the way. The more alcohol a male vole drinks, the more likely he is to go find another female to mate with, while the more of a lush the female vole, the more likely she is to stay with her original mate.

Researchers determined this by monitoring voles’ alcohol intake, and listening to them drunkenly ramble on about how their wives just don’t understand them.

Christmas music makes you crazy, experts say

As we noted recently, it’s Christmas season, whether we like it or not. But a word of caution: don’t get too into the holiday spirit, it’s for your own good.

Experts say that constant exposure to Christmas music and scents can negatively affect your mental health. Studies show that holiday-related stress is a fairly common affliction. Psychologists warn that being unable to escape reminders of the holiday season can increase the pressure that we put on ourselves by not allowing a mental escape. By bombarding ourselves with Christmas music and scents the associate with the holidays, we put our mental health at risk.

So turn off the holiday jams, put out that pine-scented candle and thow out your maple pecan gingerbread coffee drink. You’re driving yourself crazy.

Study links marijuana use, doin’ it

A new study has linked marijuana use to sexual activity–as if you needed another reason to stay away from the gateway drug.

Researchers examined data from a federal survey and found a clear connection between smoking marijuana and frequency of sexual activity. Meaning, those who get high generally have more sex. The results were the same for men and women: those who said they had used marijuana in the past year reported having sex an average of seven times in the past month, while those who hadn’t smoked up in the past year only had sex an average of six times the previous month.

So let that be a lesson to all the kids out there: don’t do drugs. Smoking pot isn’t cool, and it is statistically linked to having more sex.

Drinking helps you slur in foreign languages

You plan a big trip to somewhere that your native language isn’t widely spoken, so you learn some important phrases. Then when you get there decide to just go with hand gestures. If only you’d had a couple drinks first.

Researchers in Europe have found that if you have a couple snorts in you, you’re more fluent in a foreign language. This seems counterintuitive, because alcohol makes us worse at talking in our native tongues. But a study found that native German speakers who have learned a working knowledge Dutch and had a buzz going were more fluent than their sober counterparts. The thinking is that alcohol gives you a little courage to speak a different language.

The down side is that you’re probably more likely to ramble in a different language, too.