Today in Research: Gossip Is Both Fun and Good for Your Health

Discovered: A new type of computer, gossiping is healthy, why even the rich stop spending during a recession, 6.7 million bat deaths, and how fruit flies navigate.

  • Of course gossip is therapeutic. It's not like we do it to fulfill some type of civic duty, but science has confirmed that we gossip because it feels good. "Spreading information about the person whom they had seen behave badly tended to make people feel better, quieting the frustration that drove their gossip," explained Berkeley researcher Rob Willer. But for those looking for some scientific justification for talking trash about others, the researchers say we shouldn't feel guilty for our habits because we do it for altruistic reasons. A central reason for engaging in gossip was to help others out -- more so than just to talk trash about the selfish individual," said lead author Matthew Feinberg. We'll take that. Gossip on! [Berkeley]
  • How fruit flies get around. This is embarrassing for us, as we have to use both Google Maps and our iPhone maps feature to get anywhere. But all the fruit flies need to fly across continents is the sky, specifically "using the polarization pattern of natural skylight," explains a study out of the University of Washington. Putting the flies in a magnetic field, researchers tracked their flight patterns, finding that the flies navigated based on different light patterns. [University of Washington]

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