Best of Last Week—Creating negative mass, consequences of drinking soda and isolating a higher state of consciousness

April 24, 2017 by Bob Yirka recap
Experimental TOF images of the effectively 1D expanding SOC BEC for expansion times of 0, 10, and 14 ms.

(ScienceX)—It was another good week for physics as a team at Washington State University announced that they had created 'negative mass'—a fluid that accelerates in the opposite direction of a force pushed against it. And a European team demonstrated a new way to violate local causality using a new type of Bell inequality that takes into account two state sources that are independent. Also, another team created time crystals, suggesting a new form of matter may hold the key to developing quantum machines. And a team working on the Large Hadron Collider b project reported on finding new hints of possible deviations from the Standard Model regarding the manner in which some particles were found to decay—though of limited statistical significance, it adds credence to other recent findings.

In other news, an international team of researchers reported on the discovery of a science fiction horror that wriggled into reality with the discovery of a giant sulfur-powered shipworm—in a lagoon rife with rotting wood. Also, a team with the Australian National University announced that the origins of Indonesian hobbits had finally been revealed—they found that the diminutive Homo floresiensis likely evolved from ancestors in Africa. Also, two teams of researchers made headlines by asking if soda bad is for your brain, and whether diet soda is worse.

The first, led by a professor at Boston University, found that sugary drinks might be causing a decrease in the size of the hippocampus in people who consume them. The second team, also affiliated with Boston University, found evidence suggesting that people who drink may be putting themselves at risk of developing dementia. And officials in Iceland expressed concern that the Icelandic language is at risk because robots and computers can't grasp it—and because English has become so pervasive. Also, a team with members from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Princeton University announced that they have found a way to harness the mysterious Casimir force for tiny devices—in a silicon chip.

And finally, if you are someone who takes LSD or other hallucinogenic drugs, you might be interested in a study conducted by a team at the University of Sussex. They claim to have found the first evidence for a higher state of consciousness —brain scans of people consuming psychedelic drugs showed a sustained increase in neural signal diversity, indicating a higher degree of complexity of brain activity.

Explore further: Is soda bad for your brain? (and is diet soda worse?)