Discovered: dinosaur power-walkers, brain scan's potential to treat psychosis, another good thing about fatherhood, and still no need to worry about an end-of-the-world asteroid.
- What would it take for the T-Rex to be considered not scary at all? Other than finding out that a T-Rex had very dull, gummy chompers or that they weren't humongous, learning that the Tyrannosaurus rex may have been a "power-walker" is probably the least intimidating thing we've heard the feared dinosaur being called. But, according to a new study reported by Nature, power-walking is a good description of how they purportedly got around. "These huge animals may have been able to move quite quickly by walking much as race-walkers do," said the researcher, Heinrich Mallison, a palaeontologist at the Museum of Natural History in Berlin, to Nature. And the ironic thing, as Nature notes, is that Mallison's study contradicts others showing that the dinosaurs purportedly moved even slower. [Nature News]
- How brain scanning may eventually be used to help psychosis patients. Brain scanning research, whether trying to identify dream content or early versions of mind-reading, seems to be in the stage where the tangible benefits gleaned are sometimes a ways away. Today, from Reuters, we learned that a research team that has published work in the journal Psychological Medicine has completed a "first step toward being able to use brain imaging to provide tangible benefit to patients affected by psychosis," said the study's co-lead author, Paola Dazzan, to the news outlet. This is the hoped for outcome, which appears to be less prescriptions for those that may not need them: "this could in future lead to a quick reliable way of predicting how a patient's illness will develop, allowing doctors to give the best treatments to those most in need and avoid giving long courses of antipsychotic drugs to people with only very mild forms of psychosis." [Reuters]
- Men who are becoming fathers show some signs of responsibility. At least in one case study involving 831 male participants tracked over a 19 year period, we learn that becoming a father lessens marijuana, tobacco and alcohol usage. "Controlling for the aging process, fatherhood was an independent factor in predicting decreases in crime, alcohol and tobacco use," said the study's lead author, David Kerr from Oregon State University, in a release. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the participants who became fathers later in their 20's or 30's were more likely to lessen their usage of alcohol. [Oregon State University via Eurekalert]
- That huge asteroid zooming by Earth on Tuesday is still nothing to worry about. We've already pointed to the nifty NASA GIF showing that projected trajectory of the asteroid, YU55, would safely leave Earth intact . But, apparently, rumors connected with this weekend's series of earthquakes in Oklahoma has forced notable Bad Astronomer blogger, Phil Plait to clarify once again: "no asteroid, YU55 or otherwise, can cause earthquakes as they pass. Even Ceres, the largest asteroid in the solar system, would have to practically skim the top of our atmosphere to have any real effect on us. YU55 is dinky, and will miss us by 25 times the diameter of the Earth!" [Bad Astronomy]
- How certain, hypothetical, political sex scandals affect people's vote. In a study highlighted by Miller-McCune magazine, a political scientist at the University of Illinois co-authored research that surveyed the opinions of 800 participants on the transgressions of a fake politician, Mark Jones, who got entangled in variations of different scandals. This is how participants felt about the affair scandal: "Simply having an affair had the least impact on participants’ willingness to vote for Jones, as well as for their evaluation of his job performance. It did impact their views of him personally, but relatively few people viewed this behavior as a disqualification to hold office." [Miller-McCune]