Weekend Links: the Origin of the Five Second Rule, Why Zebras Have Stripes and More

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.

How Does an Electric Fish Get its Charge?

Brittney Borowiec writing for Massive Science

Electric fish are strange creatures. These real-life Pikachus—the cute Pokemon character that can store electricity—actually have specialized organs that can create large electric fields.

Zebra Stripes Protect Against Flies — Now We Know How

Tim Caro and Martin How writing for Discover

Zebras are famous for their contrasting black and white stripes – but until very recently no one really knew why they sport their unusual striped pattern. It’s a question that’s been discussed as far back as 150 years ago by great Victorian biologists like Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.

The Value of Tinkering

Aaron Schomburg writing for Scientific American

Of course, many teachers allow and encourage students to engage in creative play: we know that young children need the chance to explore, daydream, imagine, play and build without an outcome or even a product in mind—a place free from failure, because failure is not even part of the equation. But this often takes place outside the classroom.

The Origin Of ‘The Five-Second Rule’

Johanna Mayer writing for Science Friday

Whether you call it the five-second rule, three-second rule, or the __-second rule, you know what this rule is. Someone drops a tasty morsel of food on the ground and scoops it right back up, declaring that, according to the “rule,” there was no time for the bacteria to glom onto the treat.

The Genome of the Great White Shark Shows How It Uniquely Evolved to Be a Survivor

Katherine Ellen Foley writing for Quartz

New research shows that superior healing abilities may have also lent a hand (er, fin) to great white sharks’ long-term survival. And the genes that gave them these abilities, the researchers believe, could one day help fight cancers and age-related diseases in humans.

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