The top three news stories of the week, as chosen by our resident students. This week’s top stories include pyramids scattering electromagnetic waves, subway surfing bacteria and the effect of cat poo on human behaviour.
By Fuad Mosis
Pyramids scatter and focus electromagnetic waves.
The purpose of the Giza pyramids has bewildered scholars and conspiracy theorists alike from generation to generation. The largest of these, the Great Pyramid of Giza built for Pharaoh Khufu, was mathematically modelled to measure how it would respond to electromagnetic waves. Researchers found that it was able to scatter the electromagnetic waves and concentrate their energy into chambers within the structure to generate highly-focused regions of energy. While this finding has aroused speculation in experts who suggest that ancient Egyptians wouldn’t have been familiar with this type of energy, it could still be a source of inspiration for novel nanoparticles within the field of electromagnetism. Check out the original research paper here.
Subway surfing bacteria!
The Hong Kong subway sees five million trips made every day. Unsurprisingly, the metro system is teeming with all sorts of bacterial species, most of which thankfully are completely harmless. A new study saw participants use one of each of the eight lines on the system for half an hour, including compulsory handrail-holding during their journey, before their hands were swabbed to test the characteristics of the microbial community on each line. While each line appeared to have its own selection of microbes in the morning, these grew more and more similar to each other as the day progressed. This study highlights the efficiency with which these bugs can spread within the city. Check out the original study here.
Could cat poo make you more courageous?
Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite found in cat faeces which can infect a variety of animals, where it develops cysts in the host brain and alters its biochemistry. This can result in several behavioural consequences, including braver mice when they face cats. In humans, infection with the parasite has been linked to depression and bipolar disorder, amongst other conditions. A recent study of 1,495 students found that an infection with this parasite meant that they were 1.4× more likely to major in business, and 1.7× more likely to focus on management and entrepreneurship. Infection with Toxoplasma gondii is thought to reduce an individual’s fear when facing risk, which could be more associated with an entrepreneurial thought process. Check out the original paper here.