Welcome to Weekend Links, a collection of fascinating science stories from across the web, curated by your science-loving friends at the Mass General Research Institute.
Science Funding is a Mess. Could Grant Lotteries Make it Better?
Kelsey Piper writing for Vox
Science has a funding crisis. Nearly all academic researchers in the sciences rely on outside grants in order to pay salaries and buy their equipment. But that pool of funding is shrinking, grant approval rates are dropping, and researchers are stuck spending more and more of their time and energy applying for grants.
Mice, Like People, Like to Be Rocked to Sleep
Mary Beckman writing for Science
Forget the running wheel. If your pet mouse is an insomniac, what it really needs is a hammock. New research shows that mice, just like humans, fall asleep faster with a gentle sway.
In a Series of Experiments, Scientists Are Learning How to Farm on Mars
Benjamin Plackett writing for Discover
Growing plants in space is tough — low gravity means water distribution is difficult to manage, the roots are often starved of oxygen, and stagnant air reduces evaporation and increases the leaf temperature. But in a recent study, published in the journal Life, Wolff conducted a sequence of trial-and-error tests to perfect the process of growing lettuce, data which the researchers plan to use to grow salad in space.
Flowers Are Talking to Animals—and Humans Are Just Starting to Listen
Ephrat Livni writing for Quartz
The petals don’t conjugate verbs or use adjectives to tell a bee it looks nice when it flies by, at least not as far as we know. But the plants do respond to the airborne sounds of a pollinator buzzing past and greet the bees with increased production of a sweet nectar, hoping to entice the bee to land.
Check Out These Amazing Super-Detailed Images of Fruit Fly Brains
Rafi Letzter writing for LiveScience
A team of neuroscientists has produced a series of amazing, detailed images of fruit fly brains. The images aren’t quite photos, but they were made by capturing visible light.