Weekend Links: How Birth Order May Affect Personality, Plastic in Raindrops and More

Water droplet

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.

Does Birth Order Affect Personality?

Corinna Hartmann and Sara Goudarzi writing for Scientific American

Mussolini was a firstborn, and Gandhi was the youngest of six. So what? Over a century of research and conjecture reveals some of the fascinating effects that the order of your birth might have. 

It’s Raining Plastic: Microscopic Fibers Fall from the Sky in Rocky Mountains

Maanvi Singh writing for The Guardian

When geological surveyor George Wetherbee sampled rainwater from the Rockies, he thought he’d only find soil. His discovery; tiny plastic fibers floating in the water droplets, might have enormous implications for how plastic affects our ecosystems.

Afternoon Delight: How to Have a Successful Nap

Emine Saner writing for The Guardian

Naps can leave us feeling worse than before, or we can wake up fully refreshed. According to new studies, however, napping may be a warning sign for a more serious problem. Experts detail the potential causes of daytime drowsiness, as well as the science behind the perfect afternoon siesta. 

These Robotic Shorts Make Everyday Strolls Feel Like a Moving Airport Walkway

Jennifer Walter writing for Discover

If you’re a soldier hauling massive amounts of gear on your back for an extended period of time, putting one foot in front of the other can get exhausting. That’s where the idea for a soft, futuristic “exosuit” came about in 2011 – when DARPA funded a project, called Warrior Web.

Organic Food Health Benefits Have Been Hard to Assess, But That Could Change

Cynthia Curl writing for The Conversation

While a small number of studies have shown associations between organic food consumption and decreased incidence of disease, no studies to date have been designed to answer the question of whether organic food consumption causes an improvement in health.

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