Weekend Links: Real-life Supersuits, Bug Poop Could Be the Secret to Good Sourdough and More

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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.

It’s 2019 — Where’s My Supersuit?

Karl Zelik writing for The Conversation

Over the last three years, the research team I lead has been developing a clothing-like exoskeleton, which might be more aptly described as mechanized clothing, a spring-powered exosuit or even just a supersuit.

Seabird Poop Speeds Up Coral Growth

Gemma Conroy writing for Scientific American

Seabird excrement, or guano, is known to have a fertilizer effect in tropical marine ecosystems; it boosts the numbers of tiny phytoplankton at the base of the food web and enhances fish growth.

Why Is This Viral Image of Unrecognizable Objects So Creepy?

Mindy Weisberger writing for Live Science

What do you see in this image? Viewers are finding it virtually impossible to identify any of the almost-familiar objects in the picture — and it’s freaking them out.

Scientists Explain A Common Fight In Basketball

Merrit Kennedy writing for NPR

It happens all the time during basketball games. Two players are going for the ball. They touch it at the same time but neither controls it, and it flies out of bounds. At that point, tempers rise — both are certain that the other player was the last to touch it, which should earn their own team a chance to control the ball.

The Secret to San Francisco’s Famous Sourdough Bread: Bug Poop

Charlotte Druckman and Kevin Gray writing for Popular Science

The predominant bacteria in sourdough is called Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis. It’s a species that produces lactic and acetic acids, which give sourdough its distinctive and nominal flavor. For decades, foodies believed, as did Boudin’s bakers and others, that the city’s fog and temperate climate helped foster these microorganisms. As it turns out, they may come from insects.

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