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Dinner Party Download: Self-healing polymer, sad yuppies and more

Spanish scientists have created a self-healing polymer.
Spanish scientists have created a self-healing polymer.
Royal Society of Chemistry 2013

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Every week we get your weekend conversation starters with Rico Gagliano and Brendan Newnam, the hosts of the Dinner Party Download podcast and radio show.

On tap this week:

Spanish Scientists Create Self-Healing Polymer

Scientists in Spain have developed what they call "the Terminator 2 polymer."  Like the deadly robot in that movie, when you damage this polymer, IT CAN "HEAL" ITSELF.  The above article includes a video showing a cylinder of this polymer being cut in half with a razor, then stuck back together, and within 2 hours of just sitting there, it has fused itself whole, 97% as strong as it was before.  

I predict that in the future, someone is going to be sent back to today to destroy this polymer and save our species.  Meanwhile, start hoarding grenade launchers and liquid nitrogen to protect yourself against it.  You might also want to construct a big vat of molten metal in which to dunk the polymer when it attacks.

Why Are Generation Y Yuppies Unhappy?

For a great dinner party fracas, drop this topic into a conversation between a group of folks who come from different generations: 

Late last week, the above post from the blog "wait but why" -- also published in the HuffPo -- went viral.  It claims to explain why Generation Y yuppies are unhappy.  What it boils down to: They've been told their whole lives to expect not just a successful career, but a fulfilling one (this is due to their boomer parents having grown up in an economic boom in which they way outperformed their own expectations).  

Then they've each been told they are super-special, so their fulfilling career should be even more fulfilling than their peers'.  Then social media makes it seems like all their friends have actually achieved this special fulfilling life (not true -- people don't post on Facebook about their failures, generally), which makes the Gen Yer feel like they're falling short.

Wide-Faced Men Make Others Act Selfishly

Several studies have shown wide-faced men (that is, guys who have a higher width-to-height ratio in their faces) tend to be more aggressive and deceptive (and also tend to run more successful businesses than thin-faced men).  

But a new study shows it's not necessarily biological -- that people tend to behave more selfishly when interacting with wide-faced men, which may cause them to respond with aggression and deception.  

Lesson I'm gleaning from this: be nice to the wide-faces and maybe their companies will stop outperforming yours.