If you miss the bus, just wait
If you have ever waited for a late bus, you've surely known that sinking feeling of deciding to walk, thinking it would be faster than standing there, only to watch the bus zoom by. Turns out you should have listened to your inner mathematician. A crack team of number crunchers from Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena has confirmed that the faster option* on average is indeed to wait, not walk—so long as the interval between buses isn't too long or the distance between stops too short. (preprint)
It's not easy being green in the U.S.
That's according to a new report that scored 149 nations for environmental quality based on greenhouse emissions, air pollution, sanitation and more than a dozen other factors. The U.S. landed at the bottom of the Group of Eight industrialized countries and 39th overall, a dip from its 28th place in the 2006 rankings (which put less weight on greenhouse emissions). Nations topping the list: Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Finland, followed by Austria, France, Latvia, Costa Rica, Colombia and New Zealand. Yale and Columbia University researchers have issued the rankings, released this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, four times since 2002. (Yale Environmental Performance Index; The New York Times)
Quick, Houston—build a better a roach trap!
First we learned that bacteria born in outer space are tougher than their earthly counterparts. Now it seems the same is true of cockroaches. The Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported that roaches conceived during a flight on Russia's Foton M satellite last September grew faster and were hardier than the normal bugs, which can already survive decapitation. Thankfully, invasive space roaches could presumably be corralled by robots as in a November experiment (that is, assuming they don't have personal jetpacks). We can only hope that scientists won't try this with sharks or grizzlies. (RIA Novosti)
Couples who argue live longer
A new study finds that members of couples who verbally slug it out when angry are more likely to live longer than those who silently stew. Researchers followed 192 couples from Tecumseh, Mich., for 17 years and assessed whether they suppressed or expressed their anger. Couples in which both kept mum when they felt unfairly attacked died at twice the rate of those in which both got their anger off their chests. Sounds reasonable—as long as nobody gets beaten up. That could really complicate the making up process. (University of Michigan at Ann Arbor)
Creationist museum profits from sale of mastodon fossil
Fossil hunter Joe Taylor, head of the Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum in Crosbyton, Tex., has just auctioned off a rare mastodon skull to keep his museum afloat. But if you think the $191,200 sale was a bittersweet victory for those eager to enlighten the world about evolution, check out the museum's motto: "Digging up the facts of God's Creation: One fossil at a time." Taylor, who calls himself the only creationist field paleontologist, needed $136,000 to cover legal fees incurred in a dispute over the ownership of another fossil. (Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum; Associated Press)