Tag: research

Dogs Can Recognize Bad People, Research Shows

Americans love their pups. These four-legged friends happen to be one of the most popular choices as companions. In fact, more than 89.7 million dogs were owned as pets in the United States in 2017. What’s more, new research indicates humans may have another reason to love dogs as much as they do: dogs can detect bad people.

A recent study, published in the journal, Neuroscience & Behavioral Reviews, shows that not only can your dog tell when you’re being a jerk, but they’re probably judging you for it, too. While many people trust their dogs to be great judges of character, adding a bit of science and research to back up this claim never hurt.

Man’s Best Friend

Dogs are some of the most loyal animals on the planet. Often protective of their owners, there’s no question that they’ve earned the title of “man’s best friend.”


Many people believe the bond between humans and dogs is so strong due to domestication, that humans and canines developed alongside each other after thousands of years together.

Others think that dogs love humans so much because they consider themselves equals to their humans.

However, a group of researchers out of Japan wanted to know more. They sought to uncover whether dogs’ responses to humans are simply automatic, or if they change depending on the humans’ actions.

Behind The Study

“Dogs are known to consistently follow human pointing gestures,” the researchers explained. “In this study, we asked whether dogs ‘automatically’ do this or whether they flexibly adjust their behavior depending upon the reliability of the pointer, demonstrated in an immediately preceding event.”

During the study, several dogs went through various scenarios. In one scenario, a volunteer was instructed to assist someone struggling to open a jar.

In the first group, the volunteer helped the person open the jar. In the second group, the volunteer refused to help. Then, the same volunteers offered the pups a treat to determine how, if at all, they responded to the volunteers’ behavior.

As it turns out, the dogs were way more receptive to the volunteer who helped open the jar and took the treat from them. However, the dogs completely ignored the volunteer who refused to help, even with a treat in the volunteer’s hand.

This indicates that dogs can understand and evaluate when people are being mean. In addition, they favor those who exhibit kind, helpful behaviors and choose to ignore people with bad attitudes.

Incredible Inferences

“These results suggest that not only dogs are highly skilled at understanding human pointing gestures, but also they make inferences about the reliability of a human who presents cues and consequently modify their behavior flexibly depending on the inference,” the researchers concluded.

Amazingly, it seems that dogs are an even better judge of character than some humans. The lesson here? Think twice before acting like a jerk in front of your dog. Better yet, think twice before acting like a jerk, period.

How Much Does The Earth Weigh? You’re About To Find Out

The average person may feel that they know a fair amount about the basics of the planet we all live on. For instance, we know the Earth’s shape and what it revolves around along with the other planets in our solar system. But there is one question about this planet scientists have struggled to answer: how much does it weigh? This is a question that has been answered before, but that has only more recently been determined down to a more specific, accurate figure.


Educated guesses made by researchers have put the blue planet at 13.17 septillion pounds. This number comes from a measurement that’s a bit shakey, however, as it is based on the planet’s gravity, rather than an actual measurement of mass. Measuring how the Earth distrubutes its mass has also been attempted, primarily by measuring how seismic waves move through it. Unfortunately, these estimations are also imprecise.

Looking to come up with something more accurate, researchers from an institute in Spain have devised a new method.

Space Particles

These researchers have taken to a detector that finds ultralight particles called neutrinos. These are light particles that pass freely through most objects. When passing through the Earth, however, some of them collide with its mass. Researchers studied the number of neutrinos that did not make it out of the planet and were essentially able to figure out the Earth’s mass by studying the shadows of the neutrinos.

The result was a measurement of about 13 septillion pounds.

Future Uses

Scientists have lauded this new technique as helpful to the study of our planet. One scientist, Véronique Van Elewyck, an astrophysicist at the Laboratoire Astroparticule et Cosmologie at Paris Diderot University in France, spoke of the work as potentially important for scientists in the future who might attempt to probe the interior of the Earth.

This scientist made it clear, however, that at this time the most important implication of this method’s success is just that and not anything in particular about the Earth’s interior.

A Nod To Our Predecessors

The weight and mass of the Earth are figures that humans have pondered for years. While the use of neutrinos has now made measuring this more accurate, it is worth noting that scientists of the past such as Newton gave us a pretty decent method some years ago. This method utilizes the gravitational attraction all objects have to one another.

With the formula F = G(M1*M2/R2), one can figure out an approximate weight of Earth. Not bad for someone without all of the fancy technology of today, right?

With continuously improving research and scientific methods, the answers to what might seem like the simplest questions about our planets are becoming more and more accurate and plausible to solve. So if you ever wonder something like, “how heavy is the Earth?” think of all of the great researchers both current and who have come before us who have devised clever and useful techniques for solving our planets most interesting riddles.