Missing, Molecular, Mysterious: Our Best Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

As loneliness becomes an increasing object of study, researchers debate its causes and possible solutions. max-kegfire/Thinkstock

With work eating up so much of your time, the weekend seems like a to-do list marathon, but don't forget to enjoy your off-days. Sit back, relax and catch up on some of the HowStuffWorks articles you may have missed this week.

The Missing

Technologies like the internet and smartphones were expected to bring people together, which they have in some ways, but more people, especially the elderly, report feeling isolated. Are people getting lonelier? Experts are divided. Behavioral scientist Brian Primack believes some are at increased risk of loneliness because of certain societal trends. In the past, Americans lived in smaller spaces with larger families, but now everyone has their own car, room, TV, and they are less likely to communicate face-to-face. For most of human history, people have interacted with each other using facial expressions, hand gestures and body language. Computer-assisted communication often fails to convey the same nuance and subtleties.

The Molecular

The second season of Netflix's hit show "Stranger Things" follows a group of children who must kill the Shadow Monster before it destroys their town. Fans of the show know that the Shadow Monster lives in the Upside Down, an invisible world that's similar to our own, but darker. The idea that there is a dark counterpart to our reality may be more grounded in fact than sci-fi fans realize. Scientists believe that 84.5 percent of the matter in the universe is dark matter, which is invisible and doesn't interact with the normal variety that lay people are familiar with. In 2017, the famed theoretical physicist Lisa Randall hypothesized that dark matter could spawn "shadow life."

The Mysterious

National parks in the U.S. are enormous, and it's easy to understand how some visitors can vanish without a trace. In fact, there's no federal database that tracks the number of people who go missing in national parks. Even with satellite imagery, GPS, and park rangers patrolling the grounds, many areas remain unexplored. This week on the Stuff They Don't Want You To Know podcast, Noel, Matt, and Ben debate whether an entire culture has been lost at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. To find out more about the Grand Canyon's lost civilization and the men who may have unearthed it, you'll have to listen to the very end.