5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

Including some troubling suicide stats and an autism study 'like no other'
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2015 5:25 AM CDT
5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week
Danger lurking in the litterbox?   (Shutterstock)

A warning to those who owned cats as kids and 100-year-old chalkboards make the list:

  • Female Veteran Suicide Rate 'Obscenely High': Women are generally a lot less likely to kill themselves than men, but female veterans are an exception, according to new research. Their suicide rate is higher than the rate among male civilians, nearly six times the rate of civilian women, and approaching the rate among male veterans. At least two factors might help explain this.
  • Behind a Blackboad, an Enchanting Find: Chalkboard drawings are made to be erased, but a set of them at Oklahoma City's Emerson High School managed to outlive all the teachers and students involved. Workers removing old chalkboards were amazed to find another set of chalkboards underneath that hadn't been touched since 1917. The principal says the writings and drawings that were on them gave her "goosebumps."

  • This Autism Study Is 'Like No Other': What makes it different: It's massive. Scientists studied the medical records of nearly 6 million kids across five countries, and one of their resulting finds: that paternal age had the greatest influence on autism risk. But for the first time, they also found that mom's age, in relation to dad's, also matters.
  • Have a Cat as a Kid? You Might Want to Read This: Because scientists have discovered that the Toxoplasma gondii parasite that's been found in feline feces could not only make you physically sick, but also possibly cause schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. People who owned cats when they were children are the ones who seem to carry more risk of that happening than those who were kitty-less.
  • Why Does It Feel So Much Shorter on the Way Home?: Ever wonder why getting to your destination seems to take forever, but the return trip passes in a flash? Japanese researchers shed some light on the phenomenon by explaining that our brains track the passage of time using two systems (one mathematical and one language-based)—and one of them often gets fooled during the trip.
Click to read about more discoveries, including how Saturn's mysterious outer ring is much bigger than thought. (More discoveries stories.)

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