When it comes to weird creatures not many beat the roundworm discovered by German researchers on the island of Réunion, which pulls five different faces in response to different kinds of food. You can tell by looking at it what it likes. Useful if you ever want to go out for a meal together. Pristionchus borbonicus – that’s its name – lives in figs and is as ugly as sin.
Are students better at coping on too little sleep than other people? The Dutch Association for Research on Sleep and Wakefulness intends to find out. On www.nswo.nl, the association is asking students to take part in a survey and test which take 45 minutes in all. A sleep-inducing activity. The reward is a chance of winning a voucher worth 25 euros. Yes, there’s money for science these days.
There is such a thing as free will, claim German researchers. Test subjects are able to deliberately break off movements, predicted by a computer in their brains on the basis of brain activity, before they start. This is proof that we are not entirely governed by the unconscious. In other words: you could have consciously chosen not to read this piece. Too late now.
Customers order more from fat waiters, shows a study by the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University. When served by overweight waiters, customers drink 17 percent more alcohol and are four times more likely to order a dessert. So the researchers’ advice is: decide what you want to order before the waiter comes along. Or ask the waiter to send a slimmer colleague.