Discovered: Men more likely to be attracted to—and project attraction on—their female friends; Office of Naval Research builds mechanical fish; smallest photographs; diagnosing sex addiction.
Is "just friends" just a myth? Science doesn't preclude the possibility that people of the opposite gender might be friends, but it does suggest that men have a harder time with it than women. Scientists behind a new study conducted research on the age-old question by interviewing 88 pairs of undergraduate opposite-sex heterosexual friends. When asked whether they considered their friends attractive, men were more likely to confess attraction to their female friends. And they were more likely to think their female friends were attracted to them. In a follow-up study, men were more likely to list the possibility of developing "romantic feelings" as a benefit of opposite-sex friendship than women. [Scientific American]
Robot fish. OK, researchers at the Office of Naval Research are just trying to bring their childhood daydreams to life now. Under the cover of "studying" how "creatures move in water," ONR scientists are building robot eels, jellyfish, and bluegill sunfish. "We, as engineers, haven't created anything that swims nearly as well as a very basic fish," says Drexel University's James Tangorra. "There are great things we can learn from fish ... The way they propel themselves; the way in which they sense water." The field of hydrodynamics has been buzzing about new theories from scientists like the University of New Orleans' William Vorus, who believes that the physics of sinuous undulation could be used to move robots through the water slowly, but with no wake in their trails. The Navy hopes that these mechanical creatures will help them build, "the next generation of robotics that would operate in that very Navy-unique underwater domain." [AP]