This Week in Science: Plague Gerbils, Spilling Coffee, and the Downside of Dishwashers
Seven days, lots of science in the news. Here’s our roundup of some of the week’s most notable and quotable items:
Illustration by Sarah Peavey
The waves of bubonic plague that washed through medieval Europe might have been driven by gerbils, not rats.
Doses of the “love hormone” oxytocin kept rats from getting drunk, suggesting a possible treatment for alcoholism.
Dragonflies have superior color vision, thanks to eyes containing up to 30 different kinds of opsins, a group of light-sensitive proteins; humans, by comparison, possess merely three types of opsins.
The ideal length of eyelashes is one-third the width of the eye.
It’s 12 billion times larger than the sun — this newly discovered black hole is so big that it’s challenging theories about how black holes grow.
After leaving Africa, groups of ancient humans lingered in Arabia for much longer than initially thought based on the trail of stone tools throughout the region.
A Google artificial intelligence program has learned to play Atari video games — and it’s already starting to beat people at them.
Physicists figured out why a cup of coffee is more likely to spill than a foamy latte.