Drones Disguised as Bees Could Soon Pollinate Crops

It’s no secret that bees are dying at a alarming rate, but what does that actually mean for us? Since bees are responsible for pollination, they are essential to the production of fruits and plant seeds and the consequences of their absence would be devastating to the future of food. The recent decline in bee populations worldwide are forcing scientists to evaluate how mass bee deaths will affect the global environment, and look for alternate avenues to pollination.

After learning about the bee crisis, Dr. Eijiro Miyako, a chemist at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Japan, took it upon himself to search for solutions to the pollination problem.

When Miyako stumbled upon a sealed up, long-forgotten gel in his lab, he witnessed the gel’s ability to trap tiny particles from the floor; similarly to the way that a honeybee’s hair gathers and carries pollen. Miyako’s lucky discovery might very well lead him toward revolutionizing the future of pollination.

He immediately took an interest in the gel, going on to formulate and test his theory of artificial pollination. In one test, he coated several ants with the gel and closed them inside a box of tulips. After three days, he discovered that the ants were covered in pollen. Miyako also added light reactive compounds to the gel to help camouflage the pollinators against potential predators.

In his latest experiment, Miyako took things up a notch by using drones as pollinators in order to have better control over their whereabouts. So far, he has successfully tested one small drone by combining his gel with short horsehair and electricity to give the drone bee-like fuzz that is perfect for pollinating. In this combination, the horsehair sticks to the drone by means of the gel, and the electricity makes the horsehair stand up to better collect the pollen.

Tests performed on Japanese Lilies so far indicate that successful artificial pollination has occurred more than a third of the time. Each test brings Miyako closer to the reality of artificial pollination.

Could this revelation mean a future with fleets of drones disguised as bees using GPS and artificial intelligence to pollinate crops? Miyako certainly thinks so. Perhaps this technological reality is not as far away as we once imagined.

Why Facebook Put 10 Tips on ‘Fake News’ in Your News Feed

This week Facebook began inserting advisory pop-ups in the news feeds of users in 14 countries, including the USA, about how to spot fake news. It’s all in support of a new Facebook feature that empowers Facebook to report propaganda websites that look like legit news.

The pop-ups, which Facebook tells Inverse began showing up on Monday, are part of a series of PSAs the site is producing with the News Literacy Project, aimed at “helping people make more informed decisions” when they encounter fake news. The guidelines, which are made up of 10 points, were written in collaboration with the nonprofit First Draft.

Facebook Vice President Adam Mosseri said in a press release earlier described the news feed as a “place for authentic communication.”

Click further to read the guidelines:

1. Be skeptical of headlines. False news stories often have catchy headlines in all caps with exclamation points. If shocking claims in the headline sound unbelievable, they probably are.

2. Look closely at the URL. A phony or look-alike URL may be a warning sign of false news. Many false news sites mimic authentic news sources by making small changes to the URL. You can go to the site to compare the URL to established sources.

3. Investigate the source. Ensure that the story is written by a source that you trust with a reputation for accuracy. If the story comes from an unfamiliar organization, check their “About” section to learn more.

4. Watch for unusual formatting. Many false news sites have misspellings or awkward layouts. Read carefully if you see these signs.

5. Consider the photos. False news stories often contain manipulated images or videos. Sometimes the photo may be authentic, but taken out of context. You can search for the photo or image to verify where it came from.

6. Inspect the dates. False news stories may contain timelines that make no sense, or event dates that have been altered.

7. Check the evidence. Check the author’s sources to confirm that they are accurate. Lack of evidence or reliance on unnamed experts may indicate a false news story.

8. Look at other reports. If no other news source is reporting the same story, it may indicate that the story is false. If the story is reported by multiple sources you trust, it’s more likely to be true.

9. Is the story a joke? Sometimes false news stories can be hard to distinguish from humor or satire. Check whether the source is known for parody, and whether the story’s details and tone suggest it may be just for fun.

10. Some stories are intentionally false. Think critically about the stories you read, and only share news that you know to be credible.

We already know the backstory of Facebook’s reform efforts by heart: In the run up to the 2016 presidential election, fake news spread across Facebook like wildfire, influencing people’s opinions about candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. This pattern may or may not have changed the outcome of the election, of course. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg insisted that it did not in the face of damning evidence, his actions to help people spot bullshit signaled some acceptance on the company’s part.

After you see these pop-ups a few times in your newsfeeds, they will disappear. It’s direct, but relatively unobtrusive, action.

Scientists May Have Finally Determined Just How Much Pee Is in That Pool You’re Swimming In

If you’re an avid user of public pools who wishes to remain ignorant about how much urine you’ve swam in/cooled off in/accidentally ingested over the years, feel free to exit right now. For the rest of you, read ahead.

A study by Canadian researchers sought to determine how to detect pee in pools because, contrary to what you may have been told when you were a kid, there’s no liquid that surrounds you with a certain color if you take a leak in one. Instead they may have found an answer to the age old question of just how much piss is an average public pool. The verdict? An alarmingly high amount.

The team came to their conclusion after monitoring a pair of pools (one of which was 110,000 gallons, the other of which was 220,000 gallons) over the course of three weeks. They conducted their experiment by measuring the prevalence of an artificial sweetener that couldn’t be broken down by the body. What they found was that swimmers filled the smaller pool with 7.92 gallons, and the larger pool was filled with nearly 20 gallons. So much for the honor system.

Furthermore, they analyzed 250 samples from 31 other pools, as well as hot tubs, and discovered that there was about 570 times more pee in those samples than there was in a typical specimen of tap water. The study also noted why this matters, besides just grossing yourself out, as they said that compounds found in urine (such as urea, ammonia, amino acids and creatinine) can lead to eye and respiratory irritation when reacting with disinfectants. Also people who spend an inordinate amount of their time in water, like avid swimmers and pool workers, can end up with asthma.

University of Alberta grad student Lindsay Blackstock, who was the lead researcher for this study, says we should focus on public education to properly inform the masses about just how gross this is. “We recommend that all pool users should rinse off excess personal care products in the provided showers before entering public pools,” she said. “Additionally, we should all be considerate of others and make sure to exit the pool to use the restroom.”

There you have it. No more taking the easy way out.

Study Finds That Regular Consumption Of Marijuana Keeps You Thin, Fit And Active

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Here’s a new health-related adage to consider: Regular consumption of marijuana keeps you thin and active.

According to researchers at Oregon Health and Science University, people who use marijuana more than five times per month have a lower body mass index (BMI) than people who do not marijuana.

The researchers concluded:

“Heavy users of cannabis had a lower mean BMI compared to that of never users, with a mean BMI being 26.7 kg/m in heavy users and 28.4 kg/m in never users.”

The study also suggested that people who consume marijuana on a regular basis are more physically activity than those that use it sporadically or not at all.

Of course, this is not the first time scientific studies have reached this conclusion:

  • A study published last year in the Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics suggests that regular consumers of cannabis have a lower BMI than those who do not use the drug.
  • A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that cannabis consumers have 16 percent lower levels of fasting insulin and 17 percent lower insulin resistance levels than non-users. The research found “significant associations between marijuana use and smaller waist circumferences.”
  • And data published in British Medical Journal in 2012 reported that cannabis consumers had a lower prevalence of type 2 diabetes and a lower risk of contracting the disease than did those with no history of cannabis consumption.

In the 2016 study, lead author Isabelle C. Beulaygue from the University of Miami concluded:

“There is a popular belief that people who consume marijuana have the munchies, and so [they] are going to eat a lot and gain weight, and we found that it is not necessarily the case.”

Researchers have not identified the reason behind the findings. But some suggest that those who consume cannabis regularly may be able to more easily break down blood sugar, which may help prevent weight gain.

Study: First-Born Children Are More Intelligent

According to a study recently published in the Journal of Human Resources, first born children tend to be more intelligent than their younger siblings. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh believe this is a result of the first-born child receiving more mental stimulation from parents during early developmental stages of life.

In the study, data from the U.S. Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth on nearly 5,000 children was collected. The children were monitored from pre-birth until they turned 14, and they were assessed every two years.

These assessments ranged in categories, from reading to vocabulary to matching letters. Information concerning environmental factors, such as family background and economic conditions was also collected.

The results of the assessments showed that first-born children typically outperformed their younger siblings, even as early as age one. Though the younger children were receiving the same emotional support as their oldest sibling, researchers found that parents gave their first-born children more support with tasks that develop thinking skills, including reading with the child, crafting and playing musical instruments.

It was also recorded that mothers took higher risks during pregnancies with their second and third children—such as increased smoking. These findings help explain the “birth order effect,” a phenomenon in which the first-born child makes more money and gets a higher education than his or her younger siblings.

Describing the study’s results, Ana Nuevo-Chiquero of the University of Edinburgh School of Economics said that “broad shifts in parental behavior are a plausible explanation for the observed birth order differences in education and labor market outcomes.”

‘Friending’ Your Ex on Social Media Could Doom Your Current Relationship

This Valentine’s Day, you’re likely doing one of two things: Celebrating the success of your present relationship, or ignoring the fact that you aren’t in one. (Both of these are fine positions to be in on a consumer holiday such as this one!) Regardless of where you’re at on the commitment spectrum, a new study has some solid advice for anyone using social media: Don’t “friend” your ex.

Joyce Baptist, a Kansas State University marriage and family therapy associate professor, found that crossing relationship boundaries online can cause serious damage. In a study of nearly 7,000 couples who use social media, Baptist found that for couples in which one or both partners communicated with someone they find physically attractive online, which she labeled “boundary crossing,” the more damage can be done to the relationship.

But before you go trolling your SO’s Facebook account for evidence of shady behavior, the study says there’s a difference between “boundary crossing” and what Baptist calls “boundary violation.”

A crossing is when a partner brushes a proverbial guard rail, possibly by having platonic but frequent contact with another individual he or she finds attractive. Boundary violation, on the other hand, may be emotional or physical infidelity, Baptist says.

Without an honest conversation outlining these “guard rails,” or what both partners feel is or isn’t appropriate behavior online, then someone can easily have their feelings hurt by what their partner does on social media. Furthermore, the study found that while some people accepted that their partner interacted or flirted with an ex online, it didn’t necessarily mean they were cool with it.

“Although they may say, ‘I trust you and it’s OK,’ they are not happy about it,” Baptist said. “They eventually perceive that their significant other is spending too much time connecting with others on social media rather than paying attention to their own partner.”

And that perceived threat may not be so innocent after all. “Keeping lines of communication open with former significant others can become a slippery slope,” the study found, “because relationships naturally have peaks and valleys. During a relationship’s lower points, a person may be tempted to confide in a previous partner.”

So what’s the best way to ensure your partner isn’t harboring some kind of grudge about you liking your ex’s Facebook status? Use your words. Describe what you’re comfortable with rather than what you’ll merely put up with. According to the study, Baptist says “couples ought to share not only what they are willing to tolerate but also what they would prefer so the couple can create a secure and satisfying relationship.”

Study Shows No Proven Link Between Weed-Smoking and Lung Cancer

The scope and methodology behind marijuana-related studies is often hindered by the fact that the weed-fearing gatekeepers have made it really difficult for researchers to, you know, research. But a fresh comprehensive study spotted by Esquire offers one of the most detailed looks at weed’s health effects yet, boasting 395 pages of raw research power.

“This report summarizes the current state of evidence regarding what is known about the health impacts of cannabis and cannabis-derived products, including effects related to therapeutic uses of cannabis and potential health risks related to certain cancers, diseases, mental health disorders, and injuries,” the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report states.

The report’s findings stem from the committee’s deep research into more than 10,000 scientific abstracts dating all the way back to 1999, aka the year Backstreet Boys’ Millennium was released. That’s probably definitely a good sign. Though the total haul of conclusions reached in the report are a bit too daunting to cram into a slice of Complex, here are some grav-worthy highlights:

  • Conclusive or substantial evidence shows that cannabis or cannabinoids are an effective method of treating chronic pain.
  • Conclusive or substantial evidence shows that cannabis or cannabinoids are an effective method of treating nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.
  • Moderate evidence shows that cannabis or cannabinoids are good for people plagued by forms of sleep disturbance, i.e. sleep apnea or chronic pain.

Seemingly obvious findings aside, it’s nice to hear that studies have—since 1999—consistently suggested those things to be probable. But the biggest highlight is likely this little number: There is moderate evidence of “no statistical association” between smoking cannabis and lung cancer. Additionally, there is moderate evidence of no statistical association between weed use and head and neck cancers.

Here’s the Full List of 2017 Academy Awards Nominees

From unexpected selections to disappointing snubs, the Academy Awards nominations never fail to provide plenty of surprises; however, this year’s nominees were announced a little bit differently than previous ones. Rather than conducting the announcement ceremony in front of a live audience, 2017’s contenders were unveiled via a global livestream as well as local broadcasters.

Oscar winners and nominees Jennifer Hudson, Brie Larson, Emmanuel Lubezki, Jason Reitman, and Ken Watanabe joined Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs to announce which films are set to be honored at the 89th Academy Awards. Just like every other year, the hype was palpable thanks to a strong list of frontrunners, including Manchester by the Sea, Fences, Moonlight, Arrival, and, of course, La La Land, which walked away with a record-breaking seven honors at this year’s Golden Globes.

La La Land swept the nominations with a record-tying 14 nominations this year; it now shares that record with Titanic (1997) and All About Eve (1950). Arrival and Moonlight were not far behind with eight nominations apiece, followed by Manchester by the SeaLion, and Hackshaw Ridge getting six nominations each, and Fences and Hell or High Water earning four apiece.

Peep the full list of nominees below. The 89th Academy Awards will be hosted by a noted Jimmy on Feb. 26.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
  • Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
  • Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
  • Dev Patel, Lion
  • Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Best Cinematography

  • Arrival
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Moonlight
  • Silence

Best Documentary Feature

  • Fire at Sea
  • I Am Not Your Negro
  • Life, Animated
  • O.J.: Made in America
  • 13th

Best Documentary Short Subject

  • Extremis
  • 4.1 Miles
  • Joe’s Violin
  • Watani: My Homeland
  • The White Helmets

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Land of Mine, Denmark
  • A Man Called Ove, Sweden
  • The Salesman, Iran
  • Tanna, Australia
  • Toni Erdmann, Germany

Best Live Action Short

  • Ennemis Intérieurs
  • La Femme et le TGV
  • Silent Nights
  • Sing
  • Timecode

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

  • Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
  • Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
  • Denzel Washington, Fences

Best Sound Editing

  • Arrival
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Sully

Best Sound Mixing

  • Arrival 
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • 13 Hours: Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Best Production Design

  • Arrival
  • Fantastic Beasts
  • Hail, Caesar!
  • La La Land
  • Passengers

Best Visual Effects

  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Doctor Strange
  • The Jungle Book
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Costume Design

  • Allied
  • Fantastic Beasts
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jackie
  • La La Land

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

  • A Man Called Ove
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Suicide Squad

Best Original Score

  • Jackie
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Moonlight
  • Passengers 

Best Original Song

  • “Audition,” La La Land
  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls
  • “City of Stars,” La La Land
  • “The Empty Chair,” Jim: The James Foley Story
  • “How Far I’ll Go,” Moana

Best Original Screenplay

  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • The Lobster
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • 20th Century Women

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hidden Figures
  • Lion
  • Moonlight

Best Animated Feature

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini
  • The Red Turtle
  • Zootopia

Best Animated Short Film

  • Blind Vaysha
  • Borrowed Time
  • Pear Cider and Cigarettes
  • Pearl
  • Piper

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Viola Davis, Fences
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman, Lion
  • Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Best Film Editing

  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • Moonlight

Best Actress in a Leading Role

  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle
  • Ruth Negga, Loving
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie
  • Emma Stone, La La Land
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Directing

  • Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
  • Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
  • Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Best Picture

  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hidden Figures
  • Lion
  • Moonlight
  • Fences
  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • Manchester by the Sea

New Study Suggests Massive Solar Storm Could Ravage Earth

Once every 100 years or so, Earth is gifted with a huge-ass solar storm. Awesome! So we’re all totally fucked, right? Kinda. Fresh research shows that solar storm-caused blackouts and other nuisances could cost the United States a hefty $41.5 billion per day, Gizmodo ruthlessly reported Thursday.

That number comes straight from a new study published by Space Weather, showing that a “sufficiently powerful” storm could place the U.S. economy in an extremely difficult spot by wiping out transformers (not that kind!) and disabling power grids.

“We felt it was important to look at how extreme space weather may affect domestic US production in various economic sectors, including manufacturing, government, and finance, as well as the potential economic loss in other nations owing to supply chain linkages,” Edward Oughton, co-author of the delightful study, said in a statement obtained by Gizmodo. Oughton was particularly surprised by what he said was a “lack of transparent research” into the costs of such an event in the past.

The real bastard in this worst case scenario, Gizmodo‘s George Dvorsky explains, are coronal mass ejections (CMEs). CMEs allow potentially bad shit such as x-rays and magnetized plasma to be sent in Earth’s general direction. Though smaller storms can take out something as seemingly arbitrary as one’s phone, massive ones—like the one for which some say our planet is due—can reportedly take down entire grids.

There isn’t total consensus among experts, however, on the actual intensity of these CME-imposed blackouts. Per Gizmodo:

“Some say the ensuing outages would be relatively brief, lasting only a few hours or days owing to the resilience of the existing transmission system. Others warn that blackouts could last weeks—or even months—because damaged transmission networks would need to be replaced.”

The Number of Americans Who Have Less Than $500 in Savings Is Pretty Crazy

Unless you’re a Kardashian or a member of Trump’s cabinet, money is a daily annoyance. Maybe you’ve got the day-to-day bullshit expenses (Netflix, Apple Music, weed) down to a fine science, but what if you’re hit with an unexpected bill of, say, $500? According to a new Bankrate report published by CNN Money, many Americans wouldn’t have enough in savings to cover it. Also, what the hell is this “savings” thing they’re talking about?

Nearly six in 10 Americans couldn’t pay a $500 or $1,000 “unplanned expense,” the report found. Just 41 percent of adults have enough in these mysterious “savings accounts” to handle sudden expenses of this magnitude, while just over 20 percent say they’d throw it on a credit card and another 20 percent would make cuts to their respective budgets. A whopping 11 percent, much like myself, would have to ask friends or family for help.

Though Bankrate retirement analyst Jill Cornfield told CNN Money this shows the persistence of an “American problem,” there’s a pair of not-so-depressing stats tucked inside the latest report too. Last year’s report found that just 37 percent of Americans, as opposed to this year’s 41 percent, could handle a sudden expense of $500 or more. Furthermore, young people (a.k.a. millennials) are currently considered the “most financially prepared” to handle money-related surprises. Regardless of demographic, finance experts recommend setting up an “emergency fund” in anticipation of these expenses.

The report also suggests cutting back on daily essentials such as coffee and alcohol, but that’s just not going to happen. Sorry.