A new wearable device turns the touch of a finger, or even micro-droplets of sweat, into a source of energy harvesting for small devices and sensors, according to a new study published today in the journal Joule.

Engineers at the University of California San Diego developed these thin, flexible strip, which can be worn on a fingertip. They generate small amounts of electricity when a person’s finger sweats, or when the wearer presses on it.

What’s special about this device is that it generates power even while the wearer is asleep or sitting still. This is potentially a big deal…

A new study published today in Social Psychological and Personality Science finds that two thirds of romantic couples started out in a platonic relationship.

This “friends-first” initiation of romance is often overlooked by researchers. Examining a sample of previous studies on how relationships begin, the authors found that nearly 75% focused on the spark of romance between strangers. By contrast, only 8% centered on romance that develops among friends over time.

“There are a lot of people who would feel very confident saying that we know why and how people choose partners and become a couple and fall in love…

A study published on June 10 in the Journal of Personnel Psychology has found that older job seekers on LinkedIn receive fewer job offers than younger ones. But using a profile photo with a younger appearance reduces this effect.

The study, written by researchers from Switzerland and the United States, recruited two groups of U.S.-based LinkedIn users: an older group and a younger group. The average age of the 110 participants in the younger group was 28. The average age of the 88 people in the older group was 55.

About half had a bachelor’s degree, a quarter had a…

Laurent Simons, a child prodigy from the Belgian coastal town of Ostend, has obtained his bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Antwerp, summa cum laude, at the age of 11, the Dutch public broadcaster NOS reports.

Simons only took a year to complete the bachelor’s degree, which usually takes at least three years.

“I don’t really care if I’m the youngest,” Simons told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. “For me, it’s all about acquiring knowledge.”

“In April of last year,” he said, “I had started some courses on classical mechanics and quantum physics. I immediately wanted to know everything…

According to a study published today in the journal Nature Catalysis, a new water purification technology using just hydrogen and air is “millions of times more effective” at killing viruses and bacteria than traditional commercial methods.

The researchers, from Cardiff University, say the results could revolutionise water disinfection technologies and present an unprecedented opportunity to provide clean water to communities that need it most.

The “creation of hydrogen peroxide in situ could provide clean, drinkable water to communities in the poorest nations around the world,” the researchers say.

Instant hydrogen peroxide

Their new method works by using a catalyst made from gold and…

A city’s street names can provide a glimpse into its cultural values, according to a study published today in the journal PLOS ONE by Melanie Bancilhon from Washington University and colleagues.

Ever since street names have existed, they have been used as a form of social engineering, mirroring a town or city’s social, cultural, political, and religious values.

Introducing “streetonomics,” the science of street names

Building off this concept in what they term “streetonomics,” Bancilhon and colleagues used street names as an alternative route to quantify cultural values in four influential Western cities: Paris, Vienna, London, and New York.

The authors used multiple open data sources to…

Engineers at MIT and Harvard University have designed a novel face mask that can diagnose the wearer with Covid-19 within about 90 minutes. The masks are embedded with tiny, disposable sensors that can be fitted into other face masks and could also be adapted to detect other viruses.

The paper explaining the invention appeared today in Nature Biotechnology.

“This test is as sensitive as the gold standard, highly sensitive PCR tests, but it’s as fast as the antigen tests that are used for quick analysis of Covid-19,” said the study’s co-author Peter Nguyen.

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A new bird call identifier app from Cornell University identifies the sounds of 400 bird species. For free, and in real time.

The free Merlin Bird ID app, made by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, makes a quantum leap in bird identification. By just holding up your phone towards the sound, Merlin listens with you and uses AI to identify the species. Even if multiple species are singing at once.

Merlin can now help you identify more than 400 bird species by sound throughout the United States and Canada; with more species and regions are being added soon.

A previous…

Summary: a new study on antidepressants and pregnancy found no strong links between the use of SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy and enhanced risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or developmental delay (DD) in offspring.

The question of whether antidepressants and pregnancy can be safely combined has a long history.

Women with depression and other mood disorders are generally advised to continue taking antidepressant medications during pregnancy.

But many women still worry about the possible effects. The drugs are widely considered safe, but the effect of these medications on the unborn fetus has remained a topic of some concern.

But according…

A new study on mongoose society has found that because mothers in groups of mongooses all give birth on the same night, this creates a “veil of ignorance” about which pups belong to which moms. And this leads to the pups being raised equitably, in a communal fashion.

The new paper appeared today in the journal Nature Communications, and was written by researchers from the universities of Exeter and Roehampton.

Mongoose moms eagerly redistribute food to whatever pups are hungry

In the new study, half of the pregnant mothers in wild mongoose groups were regularly given extra food, which deliberately led to increased inequality in the birth weights of their…

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