This Week in Science: Aspartame, ‘Foot Surgery’, and the Sound of Silence

1.  If a surgeon wanted to operate on you using their feet . . . you’d probably go find a different surgeon.  But it’s a real option now.  A team in Switzerland built a new type of surgical robot with four arms.  Surgeons control two with their hands like normal, and the other two with their feet.

2.  A study at Johns Hopkins found people can hear the sound of silence, or at least our brains process it in the same way.  Quote, “What our work suggests is that ‘nothing’ is also something you can hear.”

3.  Do you ever enjoy being bored?  If so, you might be a highly creative person.  A study at the University of Arizona found creative people tend to enjoy moments of boredom more than others.

4.  The World Health Organization says the artificial sweetener aspartame might cause cancer.  It’s what’s in Equal, Nutrasweet, and a ton of products like Diet Coke.  They’re not 100% sure though, and say it’s probably okay in moderation.

5.  Do you love fish but worry about all the mercury that’s in it?  A new study figured out the safest time of year to eat it.  Fish caught in the fall tends to have less mercury.  They say summer’s not a bad time to eat it either.

6.  Elon Musk launched a new A.I. company this week called xAI.  He plans for it to “work closely with [Twitter] and Tesla.”  But the website says its core goal is to, quote, “understand the true nature of the universe.”

7.  NASA posted a cool new image from the James Webb telescope on Wednesday to celebrate its one-year anniversary.  It launched back in 2021, but the first images from it were released on July 12th last year.