Scientists have completed the first big survey of people's attitudes about miscarriages, and the findings are pretty shocking. As Jesse Singal explains at the Science of Us, many people think miscarriages are rare, when they actually affect 15-20% of pregnancies. And people believe they're caused by lifting heavy objects (nope), a past abortion (nope), or not wanting the pregnancy (nope). The myth that a woman's bad choices are to blame for most miscarriages no doubt explains why nobody wants to talk about them.
Dan Vergano, a science reporter on our desk, had a fun scoop this week. A month ago, the U.S. Army published a manual for its soldiers about "cultural understanding," with such insights as "chewing gum irritates Germans" and "Africans dislike firm handshakes." Dan sent the manual to a bunch of anthropologists and military experts, who found it silly and, in some instances, plagiarized. In the face of this embarrassing scrutiny, the U.S. Army has withdrawn the manual.
In the wake of the terrifying Amtrak accident, Arielle Duhaime-Ross and Russell Brandom at The Verge asked a question I'd never thought about before: In today's age of the internet and smart phones, why do most places still coordinate disaster relief over radios? It's a fascinating (and rare) example of low tech being the best tech.
I'm a podcast fanatic, and this week Gizmodo launched a great one. On each episode of Meanwhile in the Future, science writer Rose Eveleth will consider a possible future scenario. What would happen if we no longer had antibiotics? What if contact sports were banned? Or — as she discusses on the first episode — what if fetuses could develop in an artificial womb?
If you want more weekend reads, subscribe to our Sunday features newsletter.
Contact teamnewsapp at Nicholas.Quahfirstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.