Light Friday: How Money Helps Us Trust Each Other
August 30, 2013
Plus: Jurassic Prank Makes All Other Pranks Look Weak Scientists 3D Print Bio-Robots GE Creates Its Own (Mini) Sun A Dose of Pun Money is often linked to power and even stress, but researchers have found that money helps instill trust among strangers, which can help modern societies prosper. The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Gabriele Camera of Chapman University and her researchers performed a series of social experiments with undergraduate test subjects to find out whether they would help anonymous counterparts by giving them money. The researchers observed interactions in groups of two, four, eight, and 32 in a "helping game," which involved giving gifts to strangers, based solely on the trust that the charity would be returned by a stranger at a later time. In this part of the experiment, small groups were much more likely to aid each other than the largest group. In another version of the test, subjects had a chance to exchange tokens that had no cash value in exchange for help. In this case, people were more likely to cooperate, and subjects would give out tokens expecting help from others. "It's not that they trusted others, but they trusted that others would help in exchange for a token," Camera explained. "This object, which has no intrinsic value, acquired value and became a symbol of trust," she explained Ultimately, the findings show how money can be the catalyst of cooperation and an important sociological factor in modern societies, a sign that money really does make the world go round. Jurassic Prank Makes All Other Pranks Look Weak Think of the last prank you pulled: Drawing on a friend while he sleeps, a bucket of water placed precariously atop a door, a cubicle full of packing popcorn. Amateurs! A Japanese prank show has officially raised the bar for all pranks everywhere. In complete disregard for possible heart conditions, pregnancy, or the availability of a change of underwear, producers staged an artificial dinosaur attack on unsuspecting office workers. A YouTube video shows one victim -- and he truly is a victim -- get his first warning as actors run past him screaming in terror. They are followed shortly by a man in a terrifying dinosaur costume. Despite the clip going viral this week, including a spot on Fox & Friends, as of press time we were unable to determine the name of the show (so we could thank them for being awesome). [embedhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZGNk8pUj4Y[/embed Scientists 3D Print Bio-Robots Bioengineers at the University of Illinois are doing a lot more "could" thinking than "should," as they use 3D printers to generate biological material that can perform small tasks. Basically, the team is trying to print biobots Rashid Bashir, head of the university's bioengineering department, and other researchers have managed to print biobots out of a combination of muscle cells and gel as a stepping stone toward one day printing functional organs for implant. However, the technology is far from accomplishing that feat, as the researchers are only able to build a biobot that can move a strip of paper. As an experiment, the researchers used a 3D printer to print a gel substance into various shapes and thicknesses. When rat heart cells were added to the sheets, they began to combine and form clusters and, being heart cells, beating. Each contraction of the heart cells caused the gel paper to curl, and each release of the heart cells likewise released the paper. As a result, the gel paper curled its way forward. The University of Illinois team is just a component of a larger research project financed by the National Science Foundation to develop simple biological machines using muscle cells. Researcher Vincent Chan told the New York Times Yes, of course, spare no expense... GE Creates Its Own (Mini) Sun Our sun is composed of approximately 71 percent hydrogen and 21.7 percent helium, among other components. GE decided to take that mixture and fill a balloon with it - and subsequently set it ablaze. The resulting pyrotechnics were caught on 24 cameras to create a 360-degree view of this miniature sun. [embedhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTYQhqy8XiU&feature=share&list=PLxRhTjvLlyoJQ8kvPG08SK8OCcYY0z_7g[/embed Finally: A Dose of Pun When the moon hits your eye Like a big pizza pie That's a moray!