News for Nerds - Why Are Babies So Cute?

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  • Posted by: Dom Testa|
  • 4/25/2014 |
  • 10:00 am
News for Nerds - Why Are Babies So Cute?

Welcome back to News for Nerds! This week I'll explain why guys aren't as sexy as they think, why Saturn's tiny, iciest moon just got a lot more interesting, and why your afternoon naps might be killing you. But first, here are your headlines.

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Babies are cute, right? Even the most cold-hearted among us would have to concede that there's something about a baby that makes you want to pick it up, hold it, and maybe even care for it -- even when the kid isn't yours. But why?

As with many of the issues I tackle in News for Nerds, the answer has a lot to do with evolution.

Unlike many other species' offspring, human babies are totally helpless. They need round-the-clock care and supervision for at least the first few years (and in some cases, well into their 30s). As a result, humans have evolved to value certain traits, known as baby schema, which includes a large, rounded head, large eyes below the midline of the face, protruding cheeks, a big forehead, round body, soft surfaces, and the ability to pick just the right moment to spit up on that brand new blouse you're wearing. (Okay, I made that last one up. But it's still kinda true.)

I could go into more detail here, but I'm sure you'd rather watch this short video of a very cute baby instead:

- story and video from AsapSCIENCE, photo from Sojoaim via Wikimedia Commons

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Let's face it: everybody poops. (Someone should write a book!) Most people don't like to talk about it, but we all do it. Some of us even have our own rituals -- for instance, it's well-known amongst my friends and listeners that I prefer the, um, home court advantage.

But I digress.

My friends over at LiveScience have done us all the courtesy of putting together a list of five common misconceptions about defecation. You can find the full explanation for each of these here, but the bullet-pointed list looks like this:

Misconception 1: Daily pooping is normal and optimal.

Misconception 2: It's supposed to smell bad.

Misconception 3: The colon needs a good flushing.

Misconception 4: Taking your time is healthy.

Misconception 5: More pooping leads to more weight loss.

Again, there's some really good information in the full article, so I suggest you read it . . . but not in the bathroom, okay?

- story from LiveScience, photo from Tristanb via Wikimedia Commons

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And here are a few other cool science stories you might enjoy:

  • A British study involving 16,000 people over the course of 13 years says that middle-aged and elderly adults who take daytime naps may be at an increased risk of early death. Yikes. This sounds like bad news for people who are sleepy in the afternoon because they wake up at 4:00 a.m. to come to work.
  • Saturn has a tiny, icy moon called Enceladus. You've probably never heard of it. But Enceladus is worthy of our attention, because it appears to have an actual living ocean that's roughly the size of Lake Superior. Keep an eye on this. NASA sure is.
  • And finally, some advice for all the guys out there: Stop trying to sound sexy. Women can (and should) lower their pitch and boost their hoarseness to get our attention. But a new study says that when men try to do it, they're actually making themselves less attractive. So knock it off, fellas. You're welcome.

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That's all for now! I'll be back with more News for Nerds next week, but be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter, and to sign up for the free e-Newsletter so that you can properly get your nerd on every single month! And please send any juicy News for Nerds tips to me right here!

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