What you might have missed: Saturn’s spokes, sniffing tears, and bias jurors

It’s spoke season on Saturn

Although the JWST is getting most of the attention, Hubble isn’t out of the game yet.

An image taken in late October from Hubble, show’s the spokes on Saturn’s rings.

The spokes connect to the rings, and move around with them. The spokes are seasonal, and will appear for around seven Earth years. (Saturn orbits the sun in 29.4 Earth years.)

“We are heading towards Saturn equinox, when we’d expect maximum spoke activity, with higher frequency and darker spokes appearing over the next few years,” said the Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy program lead scientist, Amy Simon of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Men calm down after sniffing women’s tears

This could be up there with the weirdest research of the year.

We already knew that male aggression in rodents is known to be blocked when they smell female tears. Is that the same for humans?

Taking 62 male humans, they found something similar. Revenge-seeking aggressive behaviour during a game where the men thought the opponent was cheating dropped more than 40% after the men sniffed the tears.

They also double checked this in an MRI scanner. The prefrontal cortex and anterior insula became more active when the men were provoked during the game, but did not become as active in the same situations when the men were sniffing the tears.

Yeah, I’m weirded out too.

Jurors recommend death penalty based on looks

Those with downturned lips and a heavy brow have a hard lot in life. These features make people appear untrustworthy to others.  

A study from Columbia researchers took 1,400 volunteers, and put them in a mock jury scenario. They found that when real-world defendants have facial features that appear ‘untrustworthy’, they are more likely to be sentenced to death than life in prison.

However, the good news is that the team found this could also be counteracted. Participants who underwent a training session about unconscious principles no longer relied on facial stereotypes. Bring on the jury training.

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