THE BLOG
11/21/2014 02:26 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

This Week in Science: Cheating Bankers, November's Freeze, and the Microbiology of Kissing

Seven days; lots of science in the news. Here's our roundup of this week's most notable and quotable items:

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Image credit: Michael Marcelle

CERN physicists found two never-before-seen subatomic particles: Xi_b'- and Xi_b*-, both of which are baryons -- a class of particle that includes protons and neutrons. Researchers spotted what might be the first confirmed orphaned black hole -- kicked out of its galaxy by a celestial collision--lying 90 million light years away from Earth. In just ten seconds of kissing, couples were found to exchange about 80 million bacteria.

The Philae lander found organic molecules on Comet 67P--but as that just means there are molecules with carbon on the comet, it's not something to get excited about just yet. Tianhe-2 remains the world's fastest supercomputer, performing calculations at 33.86 petaflops (nearly 34 quadrillion floating-point operations per second) in a recent speed test. Young male fur seals are sexually harassing penguins on Marion Island, which lies between South Africa and Antarctica.

Children adopted from China may not remember the language of their birth country, but their brains still respond unconsciously to Chinese more than a decade later. This past Tuesday was the coldest November morning recorded in the U.S. since 1976, with a national average of 19.5 degrees Fahrenheit and all 50 states registering temperatures of 32 degrees or below.

Bankers are more likely to cheat at a coin-flipping game than non-bankers--but only if they are "primed" to do so by being reminded of their jobs in the financial industry. Scientists may have been unwittingly dooming fish by tagging them with acoustic markers that emit ultrasonic sound; seals seem to be able to hear the sound and follow it to an easy meal. Glitches in GPS timing data could yield the signature of dark matter.

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