Cutting-Edge Scientific Studies Worth Knowing About

March 31, 2017 5:00 am
(NASA via Flickr)
(NASA via Flickr)
(NASA via Flickr)
(NASA via Flickr)


Scientists are a prolific bunch. There are over 240,000 studies taking place worldwide right now—and those are the ones registered with the National Institutes of Health.

It would take a PhD in time management to sort through them all, so RealClearLife did some of our own research for you. Below are six fascinating ones that might’ve slipped under the radar:


Baby boomers don’t work harder than younger generations

Social psychologists have pointed to the Protestant work ethic of the baby boomer generation as a key role in American economic growth during the 20th century, according to UPISeveral studies have compared the work ethic of various generations and all have come away with mixed results. Research published in the Journal of Business and Psychology looked at 77 different studies that comprised 105 different measurements of work ethic, finding no discernible difference in the work ethic of various generations.


Children have better relationships with their pets than with their brothers or sisters

Oh, brother. Researchers from the University of Cambridge found that children had better relationships with their pets than they did with their siblings. To further strain the familial bonds, it turns out kids gained more satisfaction from those relationships with their pets as well. “Even though pets may not fully understand or respond verbally, the level of disclosure to pets was no less than to siblings,” said Matt Cassels, the lead researcher. “The fact that pets cannot understand or talk back may even be a benefit as it means they are completely non-judgmental.”


Giraffes are four distinct species, not one

Biologists have long considered giraffes to be one species, but made of smaller groups called subspecies. Naturally, they were shocked when DNA analysis revealed they were wrong. In fact, when Julian Fennessy and his research team analyzed the giraffes’ genetic make-up, some had greater differences in their DNA than brown bears and polar bears have. Research published Current Biology detail the quartet of new species—Masai giraffe, reticulated giraffe, southern giraffe, and northern giraffe.


Being rude to doctors could lead to major errors

Doctors have a tough job, especially when they have to deliver bad news. Emotions naturally run high and they run even higher when children are in involved. New research demonstrated rudeness could have “devastating effects on medical performance,” the study’s lead author University of Florida management professor Amir Erez said. The study, which was based on simulations, suggested doctors made 40 percent more errors after parents were rude to them prior to conducting surgery on their infant children. The findings were published in Pediatrics.


Dragonfly wings shred bacteria

Especially in hospitals, bacteria-killing surfaces are a field of material design that’s gaining attention. One type is nanotextured surfaces, which are basically tiny “beds of nails.” Black silicon, for instance, is thought to work by puncturing the cell walls of bacteria. However, Australian and Nigerian researchers examined the wings of dragonflies—another example of a nanotextured surface—at the molecular scale to discover something different. In their finding, published in Applied Materials and Interfaces, the study says the dragonfly wing’ tiny “beds of nails” have adhesive forces that use shear forces to physically rip bacteria apart.


Biggest divorce factor: husband’s employment status

Whether it’s spending habits or who pays the bills, it seems like there’s always something for married couples to disagree on. This Harvard study might settle that, though. After examining 46 years of data, sociologist Alexandra Killewald found that marriages a third more likely to break up if the husband isn’t employed full time. On a given year, husbands without a full-time position have a 3.3 percent chance of getting dumped, compared to those with a full-time job (they’ve got a 2.3 percent chance).

The study contained some interesting factoids about chores, too. Couples married before 1975 were more likely to get divorced if they split chores evenly. Since than year, however, the husband’s job has been the biggest factor. Killewald also found that the couple’s income or the wife’s economic independence weren’t much of a factor. Read the study, published in the American Sociological Review, here.


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