Discovered: 19,232 new species, the Choking Game trend, marriage isn't all that healthy after-all, a miracle tree, mental-illness abounds, challenging the women are bad at math research.
- Science discovered 19,232 new species on this already too-crowded planet. And almost 10,000 of them are insects. Lots of beetles. Gross. The stats come to us from the 2011 State of Observed Species report, which documents all the new creatures -- plants included -- that evolution or God (take your pick) put on this here Earth. The chart below shows the breakdown. Like we said, insects win with vascular plants coming in second at 2,184 newbs. Our team -- team mammal -- only added 41 to the pot. Next year, guys. [Arizona State University]
- The disturbing Choking Game trend. This sounds more dangerous than all that cocaine smart kids are doing. Nearly one out of seven college students surveyed had participated in the Choking Game, aka the Fainting Game, aka Pass Out, aka Space Monkey. As those names indicate, this isn't even an inane college drinking activity, but rather a game (game?!) where participants cut off blood flow to each others brains in order to get high. Why not just smoke a joint or blow some coke and call it a day? The study looked at 837 students at Texas University, 16 percent of whom admitted playing, so maybe this is just a Texas thing. [The Crime Victims' Institute]
- Marriage has few well-being benefits over cohabitation. This one's going to hurt that pro-family values cadre. Turns out marriage has fewer benefits than some would like. "While married couples experienced health gains – likely linked to the formal benefits of marriage such as shared healthcare plans," starts off researcher Kelly Musick, with seemingly good advice for marriage advocates. "Cohabiting couples experienced greater gains in happiness and self-esteem. For some, cohabitation may come with fewer unwanted obligations than marriage and allow for more flexibility, autonomy, and personal growth," she continues, bringing the marriage myth down with her. This should satisfy The Atlantic's resident single lady Kate Bolick. [Journal of Marriage and Family]
- A miracle tree that purifies water. Anything with the name "miracle" in it makes us skeptical, but science thinks the seeds of the Moringa oleifera could be used to purify drinking water. And it's cheap! And it's safe! And it's sustainable! And ... it sounds a bit too good to be true. But when sand was added to the seeds they killed dirty microbes. "The results open the possibility that … f-sand can provide a simple, locally sustainable process for producing storable drinking water," said optimistic researchers. [Langmuir]
- Mental-illness abounds. With the world falling apart, it's not too surprising that one in five American adults reported mental illness in 2010, found Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. With the way 2011 went we imagine the numbers haven't improved much. [Reuters]
- A challenger to the women are worse at math research. Hey, Larry Summers (and other doubters), some scientists have found out that all that research backing up this sexist-sounding finding has major methodological flaws. Like, some studies didn't even look at a male control group. "We were surprised the researchers did not subject males to the same experimental manipulations as female participants," researcher David Geary said. [University of Missouri]