This week in science – Jan. 13

Mark Hendricks, Science & Technology Editor Ω

New early paleoindian sites found in North America

Nearly 20 archaeological dig sites have been found off the western coast of California on Santa Rosa Island.

These sites have been dated between 11,000 and 12,000 years old and show definitive proof that early humans existed there at the end of the last ice age. This suggests that at least some early humans migrated south from Alaska along the coastline instead of travelling inland and using the ice-free corridor that was important to the predominant theory.

This is an important discovery, as finding proof of coastal habitation of paleoindians (those who first inhabited the American continents) has been difficult since the sea levels now are different than they were in the last ice age. What was coastline for the paleoindians 12,000 years ago is now underwater for us.

Find out more: http://westerndigs.org/

Link found between social media use and narcissism

New research published in Sciencedirect has linked frequent twitter usage with narcissistic tendencies. Andy Melton/Flickr commons

New research published in Sciencedirect has linked frequent twitter usage with narcissistic tendencies. Andy Melton/Flickr commons

A recently published study in the online journal Sciencedirect has found a positive link between the amount of tweets a person creates, the amount of status updates a person posts on Facebook and narcissistic tendencies.

Narcissism is found to be the primary driver for an individual’s desire for Twitter followers, which in turn causes a person to tweet more.

There is a generational gap between the social media platform of choice for narcissists. College students with narcissistic tendencies tend to post more updates on Twitter. Older individuals with narcissistic tendencies will post more status updates on Facebook.

The generational gap is believed to be due to the fact that younger generations grew up with Facebook as a means to communicate. Adults who did not grow up with Facebook are more likely to need a reason to post status updates.

Find out more: http://www.sciencedirect.com/

Catapulting stars out of the Milky Way

A previously thought to be understood astronomical phenomenon now has scientists baffled as stars are being launched out of the Milky Way. Credit: NASA Godard Space Flight Center/Flickr commons

A previously thought to be understood astronomical phenomenon now has scientists baffled as stars are being launched out of the Milky Way.
Credit: NASA Godard Space Flight Center/Flickr commons

Astronomers have found a new group of 20 hypervelocity stars that are leaving them baffled.

Hypervelocity stars are stars that are moving at such a fast pace that they are actually leaving the gravitational pull of the Milky Way. Astronomers had previously found 18 hypervelocity stars and believed that they were the result of one of a pair of binary stars passing too close to the black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

These new stars shatter that previous theory however as none of them appear to have originated their trajectory at the center of the galaxy.

Several theories have been offered as to why this could be the case but as of yet none have been strong enough to persuade their colleagues, so for now this remains an astronomical mystery.

Find out more: http://science.time.com