He did what? Innnnteresting…
Thorough scientific study has revealed that lots of supposed vices can have surprising upsides: alcohol, sex, caffeine. Thanks to UC Berkeley researchers, we can now add another so-bad-but-oh-so-good habit to the list: Gossip, their new study suggests, can be a selfless act of public service.
Surreptitiously passing along the news that someone has behaved badly—what’s technically called “prosocial gossip”—can relieve stress, as well as warn others to regard the rule-breaker with a wary eye, the researchers say. (The study didn’t look directly at other forms of gossip—rumormongering, telling lies, anything said to a confessional cam on reality TV—so make of that what you will.)
What do you get if you fake your fighting skills, little wasp? A walloping, that’s what. A recent study says that Polistes dominulus, commonly known as paper wasps, punish individuals who misrepresent their combat abilities. Yes, you could call those fakers paper gangsters.
Paper wasps show their strength all over their faces, New Scientist reports: Fragmented facial markings are a warning that the fight won’t be easy. Elizabeth Tibbetts and Amanda Izzo wanted to determine why wasps don’t cheat–why weaklings don’t also opt for a don’t-mess-with-me facial pattern.
They altered submissive wasps’ faces to appear more dominant and then sent them into the ring for a confrontation. Though at first the truly stronger wasp submitted, it later attacked with more vigor. The faker got a harsher smackdown than did weak wasps that showed their true colors.
In a different twist, the researchers made some weak wasps strong by giving them hormones, but left the wasps’ faces unaltered. The opponent wasps refused to yield, and continued to fight the enhanced weak-faces. Wasps with no facial alterations, the scientists say, entered into stable relationships, perhaps hinting at why it doesn’t pay to pretend.
Discoblog: Meet the Suicidal, Child-Soldier, Sexless Cloned Wasps
Discoblog: Caterpillars Beware: Parasitic Wasps Come in a Wide Variety
Discoblog: This Fish Has Seen the Enemy, and It Is Him
Discoblog: Each Shot of Mezcal Contains a Little Bit of DNA From the “Worm”
Worried your man is cheating? Don’t rely on hunches, send his undies to the lab. Some suspicious people are paying upwards of $500 to air their dirty laundry, and a DNA-testing company is happily testing suspected spouses’ condoms, sheets, and tighty whities for genetic signs of infidelity.
Chromosomal Laboratories Inc., the same company that has offered paternal-testing giveaways on Father’s Day, is now in the unmentionables business. The company offers a smorgasbord of tests starting with a UV-light sweep and going as far as a microscopic search for sperm heads.
On the version of the company’s website designed for suspicious men, the biological sleuths describe a test for Prostate Specific Antigen and boast: “The technique is extremely powerful because it can confirm the presence of semen even in samples from sterile or vasectomized men.”
Meg Ryan made headlines this week…because of her chin. A study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences says that women with large chins are more likely to be unfaithful to their husbands. By tabloid standards, Meg Ryan has a big chin (an arguable diagnosis) and she cheated on her husband, Dennis Quaid (who, for all we know, may have been cheating as well). Given this staunch evidence, The Telegraph warns men: “Women with large chins are more likely to cheat.” Fox News reported the same thing: “Study: Women With Prominent Chins More Likely to Cheat.” The U.K.’s Mail Online had the best headline by far: “Looking for a faithful wife? Women with strong jawlines have more affairs, research shows.”
But men, before you begin to suspect your girlfriend, wife, or the girl you are dating of cheating, let’s take a closer look at this study.
Researchers from four universities in the U.S. and Canada, including Lorne Campbell from Western Ontario University, asked a group of young women about their sexual histories and fantasies. They found that women with larger chins were more sexually active.
Then, the researchers asked men to rate the women’s desirability level as a life-long partner. The men were not told about the results of the sex survey. They tended to steer clear of women with masculine features, such as large chins. The scientists reasoned that when women produce an excess amount of testosterone, it makes women act more like men and can make them more sexually assertive.