Friday Coffee Break

Every Friday at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! our contributors pass around links to new scientific results, or science-y news, or videos of adorable wildlife, that they’re most likely to bring up while waiting in line for a latte.

From Sarah: In celebration of the Olympics, a picture gallery of olympian flowers!

From CJ: Speaking of Olympians, this cool graph from BBC will have you wasting your time wondering how you measure up to Olympic athletes.

And how athletic mutants are born, not made:

Athletes who perform at the elite level aren’t like the rest of us. Their feats of strength, accuracy, and endurance often appear superhuman — which probably explains why we enjoy watching them so much. And the suggestion that many of these athletes are somehow performing outside of “normal” human bounds is not an exaggeration. Professional sports, it would seem, are being increasingly dominated by the mutants among us.

From Noah: We’re in the middle of extinction crises for both biological diversity and human cultural diversity; but the relationships between the two goes deeper.

A recent study noted that most of the 6,900 languages spoken on Earth occur in regions of high biodiversity. These findings point to a strong correlation between biological and linguistic diversity, with languages closely connected to the habitats where they are found.

And from Jeremy: A new antibacterial coating, inspired by the interior surface of pitcher plants’ pitfalls, works by being really, really slippery.

Drops of water, blood and crude oil sit on the SLIPS [synthetic, super-slippery surface] as spheres. If the SLIPS are gently angled, the drops roll off, leaving nothing behind. Ice won’t form on the slips either – the second the crystals come together, they slide off. Nor can insects get a grip – an ant, climbing after a dollop of jam, slips off just as it would on the rim of a pitcher plant (with the jam quickly following).

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