Science online, colorful results edition

My favorite is Adaptationist Green. Photo by Patrick Powers.
  • Good science doesn’t match the sofa. People tend to prefer colors they associate with things they like. Therefore, natural selection is primarily responsible for humans’ color preferences. Wait, what? (Neurotopia)
  • I’m pretty sure that’s what “generalist” means. Invasive plants are no better defended than natives against a generalist native herbivore. (Conservation Maven)
  • Did you mean gesundheit? Google’s method of monitoring flu outbreaks by tracking search terms is almost as accurate as the CDC’s more expensive monitoring program. (Scientific American, but see Virology Blog)
  • From the folks who brought you octopodes wearing coconut shells: Solving a mystery that puzzled scientists since Aristotle, biologists have shown that the female argonaut octopus uses her paper-thin shell to trap air bubbles and control her buoyancy. (Not Exactly Rocket Science, Wired)
  • Insert “1up” joke here. Can playing video games improve cognitive skills? Dave Munger weighs the evidence. (
  • There are more than you think. This week’s Radiolab epdisode, “Famous Tumors,” is awesome with a side of neat evolutionary biology. (Radiolab)
  • No lightning involved whatsoever. A team led by Craig “first draft human genome” Venter built a genome from scratch, then inserted it into a bacterial cell and brought it to life. (NPR, NY Times, Wired, Oscillator)

And, in this week’s video, evidence that even something as bad-tempered and grungy as sloths are adorable when they’re young and properly groomed.