This Week in Geek: What’s out and nifty news

Nifty News

It’s easy to get busy and forget to check out the news from the science world. So, for your pleasure, I’ve compiled a couple news articles you might have missed this past week.

Of Penises and Men

Illustration by Jessica Clark

Are you tall or short? How about big or small? Height has long been known to increase attractiveness of male bodies to women. Now scientists know the truth: penis size has the same effect, according to the article “Size Does Matter”. Where penises are bigger, women rate attractiveness higher. Are we really surprised?

There’s a catch, though. A long penis did little to boost the attractiveness of a short, pear-shaped man, according to the Science News article. Still, all hope is not lost. Rating attractiveness and making mating decisions are two very different—heh, heh—ball games.

I’d be most interested to know if exposure to penis enlargement ads and pornography affects how women rate attractiveness and penis size. Are all those ads aimed at cashing in on male insecurities setting the stage for women to view smaller penises as less desirable? Talk about a vicious cycle.

Transparent Brains

Illustration by Jessica Clark

Scientists have made a mouse brain and part of a human brain completely clear. Why, you ask? They did it so they would be able to light the brains up like the Magic Tree.

Essentially, scientists light up the brains with colors in order to study the firing of neurons without slicing and dicing. This new method is called Clarity, and it “may help uncover the physical underpinnings of devastating mental disorders like schizophrenia, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder and others,” according to the New York Times article.

A full transparent brain hasn’t been done yet. But oh boy, what a conversation starter that will be when it’s achieved!

Don’t Stop the Music

Illustration by Jessica Clark

The brain is a puzzle-solving machine.

Did you think you liked that new song because it was any good? Perhaps not. It could be that your brain was playing a game when you heard it.The game is to try to guess what’s coming next. A cluster of neurons deep inside the brain is essentially working to detect patters, according to a Science News article. If your brain wins the game, it gets to ride out a wave of pleasure.

So what if you habitually avoid new music like me? I’d like to know whether my neuron cluster is broken or whether I’m just a music scrooge.



Game: Injustice: God’s Among Us
Platforms: iOS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U
Rating: T?
Released: April

Fighting with superheroes—this is a dream game that satisfies the little kid in all of us. Who wouldn’t want to duke-it-out with DC Comics characters? Similar to PlayStation All Stars, you perform awesome combos to fill up the “super meter,” which allows the fighter to do a special attack. Can anyone else say “button-mashing contest”?


Game: Painkiller: Hell and Damnation
Platform: Xbox 360
Rating: M (Mature)
Pushed Back (again)

If the world was right and all games came out on schedule, fans of this franchise would be fighting evil as Daniel Garner again in this shooter. But the release date has once again been moved back. The last press release from Painkiller’s official website promised the game would come out on April 5. Gamestop listed the release date as April 16. Several Google searches, extensive brow furrowing and a pint of confusion later, it appears that Painkiller will hit both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 on June 4.

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