When it comes to the world of science, discoveries and breakthroughs are made every day. To help you keep up with them, The Battalion compiles a few of the most compelling scientific stories from the past week.
Animal Science: ‘Superblack’ bird of paradise feathers absorb 99.95 percent of light
A new study has revealed some species of paradise riflebird have feathers that absorb 99.95 percent of light. The light is able to be absorbed by the way the bird’s feathers are structured around its body. A typical bird feather is structured with branches that branch off of each other, but these male birds of paradise have irregular shapes which form cavities and when light strikes the feather, it is absorbed and scattered.
When the bird goes to mate, it moves its wings to create a satellite dish shape and reveals a band of blue set against the black feathers. This blue band comes from the light being bounced off and gives a sheen that changes depending on the angle. Scientists believe working with these feathers can lead to new materials with this absorption of light.
Engineering: A tooth-mounted sensor offers new method to track diet
Scientists at Tufts University have created a tooth-mounted sensor that can look at glucose, salt and alcohol intake to help one’s diet. The 2-millimeter-by-2-millimeter sized device sends data to a person’s smartphone and sends radio waves to the app when it receives a specific nutrient or chemical.
Scientists said while the sensor cannot measure the amount of food being ingested, it can expand on other chemicals and nutrients, which could lead to benefits in more nutritional and environmental studies, where it could measure toxins in a certain area.
Psychology: Late night phone use, often called vamping, interferes with young people’s sleep patterns and threatens mental health.
In a study of over 1,100 teenagers, late-night textings has been linked to depressed moods and lower self-esteem. Conducted at Murdoch University, the study looked at the reports of growing numbers of teens who texted during normal sleeping hours and linking it to a decline in well-being and academic performance.
The study was done over four years and saw changes each year. The model showed initial high levels of night-time phone usage and high levels of poor sleep behavior and one year later, students reported higher levels of depressed moods, low self-esteem and poor coping abilities.