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Hank goes from space to sex and then to motherhood, covering the SpaceX launch, a mission to the moons of Jupiter, intersexual workplace rivalries, the evolution of male homosexuality, the fossil evidence of squishy baby skulls, toddler body bias, and the price of breastfeeding.

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Hello, and welcome back to my office for another episode of SciShow News.


First, an update on the historic SpaceX launch to the International Space Station I was talking about a couple of weeks ago. Since you last saw me SpaceX has delayed this mission several times, and now it plans to lift of Saturday, May nineteenth. Fortunately for the six astronauts aboard the ISS the mission is just to deliver non-essential supplies. So the crew will just have to get another few days out of those dirty socks and underwear, whatever, while SpaceX finishes its tests.

But so far so good, SpaceX successfully tested its Falcon 9 rocket in Cape Canaveral on April thirtieth and the last report it was testing software that will guide the cargo vehicle Dragon, to dock with the ISS on day four of its mission. This will be just the first of twelve resupply missions that SpaceX has agreed to conduct for NASA and provided they pull it off, it'll mark the first time that a private spacecraft has docked with the ISS, or anything else in space for that matter.

So beyond that, though, where are we headed? Well, the European Space Agency has just announced the target of its next wave of exploration, and I have to say I'm pretty psyched about it.

Next stop, the moons of Jupiter! Over the course of about ten years, a new ESA probe will give us our closest look yet at some of the most mind-meltingly awesome bodies in the source... NO! That's wrong, kind-of body... sorry, that was Scarlett Johansson.

I'm referring here to three of the so-called Galilean moons; Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto, the leading contenders for extraterrestrial life in our solar system. They're all thought to have water, ice and sub-surface oceans.

Plus, Ganymede is the only moon in the solar system that has its own magnetic field, which is handy if you want things to live on you.

And Europa is so frickin' cool I just wanna talk about it for a long ti- actually I did do that, I did a whole episode on it.

The new probe, called Jupiter Icy Moons Explore, or JUICE, which is just... that's just great, we got the juice!, will measure the thickness of the moons' ice sheets, study the dynamics of their internal oceans, and in the case of Europe, identify possible sites for future landings!

But, I wouldn't pop the popcorn for take-off just yet because juice isn't scheduled to launch until 2022, very sad, painful almost, and it won't reach the Jupiter metro area until 2030, but still!

If you spend a lot of the past week geeking-out over the supermoon or what have you, you probably weren't giving enough thought to sex, but two new studies have some pretty interesting things to say about human sexual behavior.

The first study was carried out by scientists from three of the world's sexiest countries as far as I'm concerned; Spain, Argentina, and the Netherlands. And they were looking at sex and rivalry in the workplace.

After reviewing questionnaires from two hundred people of various ages and in all kinds of different careers, the researchers found out that women overwhelmingly felt more jealously and envy towards other women who were More attractive or had more power at work.

Men, meanwhile, didn't care about either of those things and were only jealous of other guys who had better social skills. So this might explain some of the reptilian office politics that we've all seen, but the research focused specifically on interasexual rivalry; How people of the same sex compete to get access to the opposite sex.

Their finding suggested that women feel the need to not only be physically attractive, but also professionally dominant to appeal to men, while guys just need to, ya know, tell a good fart-joke every once and awhile. Sometimes I am really glad I'm a dude.

So that tells use something about heterosexual behavior, but another study from Samoa looks at the controversial link between homosexuality and heredity. The new research, done by Canadian psychologists, sought to explore what's called the sexual antagonism hypothesis. This hypotheses suggests that being gay may be at least partially genetic. Because even if men who are strongly attracted to other men reproduce a lot less, the same trait may exist in the gay man's female relatives, who would then be very attracted to men, and who would reproduce much more often.

So, in terms of reproductive success, the families of gay men would basically break even. To test the hypothesis the team studied an interesting group of Samoan men, known locally as the Fa'afafine. These are men who display feminine behavior and assume woman's roles in Samoan society and are typically attracted to other men.

The team looked at the extended families of straight men and of Fa'afafine and found that both maternal and paternal grandmothers of fa'afafine reproduced much more than the grandmothers of straight men. 

Previous researched had found that the same was true for mothers of Fa'afaine, leading the scientist to conclude that sexual antagonism was a hypothesis that was at least a quote "tenable" explanation for the evolution of male homosexuality.

Controversial topic possibly; see discussions in the comments below.

Update: Sunday is Mother's Day, at least here in America, and just in case you forgot I've got three new facts about Motherhood that will make you want to bring your mom breakfast in bed.

First, you mom was only able to give birth to you (at least if she did it naturally) because your skull bones didn't fuse together until you were about two years old. This nifty little human trait allows a fetus's skull to flex as it passes through the birth canal and leaves room for the explosive growth our brains undergo in early childhood.

This week a team of anthropologists revealed that this squishy skull trait dates back nearly 3 Million years.Studying the fossil skull of an Australopithecus 4 year old child, the team found that it's bones hadn't finished fusing, indicating that other human ancestors had soft skulls as kids, too. They also fond similar growth patterns in neanderthals and homoerectus, suggesting that the appearance of soft headed babes coincided with the development of bigger brains.

Second, if your mother breast-fed you, there were a lot of benefits, including helping her burn off some of her baby weight and conveying vital immune system support to you. Unfortunately, she also probably lost a lot of money. A new study conducted by sociologists in Iowa surveyed 1,300 first time mothers about how they fed their babies, with bottles or with breasts, and compared their incomes after giving birth. The results showed that women who breast fed for more than 6 months gave up considerable income, compared with short term breast feeders and bottle feeders. That's because long term breast feeders were most likely to switch to part time work or leave the work force entirely, since you can't exactly take your baby to the office every day, and, like, mom can't, like, be everywhere at once, okay? But your mom was probably too nice to say it like that.

Finally, a mother's desire to feel like a good mother is so strong that it can literally affect how she sees you. Research done on 280 mothers and their toddlers in Maryland found that the vast majority of moms could not accurately assess the size and weight of their children. When asked to select the silhouette that most closely reflected their child's shape, 70% of women could not pick the right one, in particular, mothers of overweight toddlers were nearly 90% less likely to accurately assess their child's size, and they were also more likely to say that they were satisfied with their kid's weight. Researchers think that this is because women often idealize their children, and also see bigger kids as a sign of successful parenting, even though bigger obviously does not mean healthier. Motherhood, it makes you weird.


Thank you for watching this episode of SciShow news. If you have any questions, ideas, or comments, you can leave them in the comments below because that's where comments go. You can also get in touch with us on facebook or twitter, and we'll see you next time for more SciShow News.