Also in today’s links: stopping shopping, spooks’ looks and more.

  • Why is it easy to rack up credit card purchases, while it hurts to pay cash? Blame (or thank) a part of the brain called the insula.
  • Has your insula not stood you well? Well, at some point the world might end, clearing the slate of all your debts. Here’s a list of how we might all go, such as bumping into a black hole or stumbling into the sun (based on the premise that there’s no way global warming could do us in — it’s just a bit pesky for people who live on some coasts!).
  • Supposing we get to the point where we can clone extinct animals, only certain species were around recently enough or preserved in certain conditions such that scientists would have a good chance of getting workable DNA. Here’s a list of some possible candidates. Personally, I vote for the giant ground sloth and the Irish elk, because I love the idea of megafauna — familiar in appearance, but horror-movie sized.
  • Once again: there ought to be more pictures! Scientists dusted mice with fluorescent green, pink, blue, yellow and orange talcum powder, then watched to see which ones fought most — as evidenced by a “colored bite mark” on victims — and mated most often, to assess which ones were most likely to spread hantavirus through direct contact.
  • The appropriately named brownsnout spookfish has mirrors that focus the light onto its eyes, apparently the single such instance of this trait in vertebrate evolution. When you live 1,000 meters below the sea, you got to evolve what you got to evolve.