Weekly News Bites: Judgy babies, alien signals, and catnip mosquito repellent

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are babies that dole out punishments, signals that might come from extraterrestrial civilizations, and repelling mosquitos by chewing catnip.

Morality and judgement seem to be embedded in us from an early age says study by Osaka University and Otsuma Women’s University. They studied 8-month-old babies using a video game and observed that the babies appeared to judge and dole out punishments.

Seaweed is an important source of income for many coastal or island regions and provides minerals for cosmetics and food. Climate change is affecting and endangering some strains, so Mindanao State University Tawi-Tawi College of Technology and Oceanography have created a disease- and climate-change-resistant strain of seaweed they hope to distribute to farmers for mass production.

If anyone had aliens on their 2022 bingo cards, they might be able to cross off that square! According to scientists from Beijing Normal University the 500-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST or “Sky Eye” informally) has picked up some suspicious signals that might suggest extraterrestrial civilizations… or radio interference.

Using satellites and algorithms to spot oil slicks, a team from Nanjing University, Florida State University, and the University of South Florida produced a global “map” of these oily patches. The resulting map showed that between 2014-2019 oil covered an area that was more than twice the size of France and the researchers concluded that, sadly, 90% of oil leaks were due to human activity.

According to the Digital News Report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, people in the Philippines have higher trust in the news and have a preference for local stories. However, many avoid it due to repetitiveness and negative effects on their mood.

Researchers from the University of Delhi studying sauropod fossils in India discovered an abnormal “egg-in-egg” fossil. This can occur when birds lay eggs but has never been spotted in reptiles. This finding gives us more clues to dino reproductive biology by suggesting that the sauropods have reproductive traits similar to both birds and reptiles.

Cats an act a little crazy with catnip, sometimes chewing it up and spitting it out. Researchers from Iwate University may have found the reason for this strange spitting behavior. When catnip leaves are scrunched or chewed up, they release natural mosquito-repelling chemicals.