Posts

September 06, 2014

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3:32 PM | How to live passionately—no matter your age
Author Isabel Allende is 71. Yes, she has a few wrinkles—but she has incredible perspective too. In this candid talk, meant for viewers of all ages, she talks about her fears as she gets older and shares how she plans to keep on living passionately.
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3:06 PM | Ancient peach stones offer clues to fruit's origins
Anyone who enjoys biting into a sweet, fleshy peach can now give thanks to the people who first began domesticating this fruit: Chinese farmers who lived 7,500 years ago. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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2:40 AM | ‘Atheist Church’ comes to Cleveland
The Sunday Assembly movement began in the UK and is sponsoring ‘atheist churches’ around the world for the growing number of nonbelievers to get together regularly for fellowship and to work for good causes around the motto “Live Better, Help Often, and Wonder More." Subject:  Atheism & Religion

September 05, 2014

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5:57 PM | How to thrive through close relationships
Close and caring relationships are undeniably linked to health and well-being for all ages. Previous research has shown that individuals with supportive and rewarding relationships have better physical and mental health and lower mortality rates. However, exactly how meaningful relationships affect health has remained less clear. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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3:14 PM | Breakthrough experiment achieves direct brain-to-brain communication in human subjects
In a first-of-its-kind study, an international team of neuroscientists and robotics engineers have demonstrated the viability of direct brain-to-brain communication in humans. Recently published in PLOS ONE the highly novel findings describe the successful transmission of information via the internet between the intact scalps of two human subjects – located 5,000 miles apart. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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3:03 PM | Brain mechanism underlying the recognition of hand gestures develops even when blind
Does a distinctive mechanism work in the brain of congenitally blind individuals when understanding and learning others' gestures? Or does the same mechanism as with sighted individuals work? Japanese researchers figured out that activated brain regions of congenitally blind individuals and activated brain regions of sighted individuals share common regions when recognizing human hand gestures. They indicated that a region of the neural network that recognizes others' hand gestures […]
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2:57 PM | Soil to release more greenhouse gases as temperatures rise
A new study published in the international journal Nature Opens in a new window reveals changing global temperatures could effect the activity of subterranean microbes triggering soils to release more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Subject:  Earth Science
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1:11 AM | More than words: saying ‘thank you’ does make a difference
Most of us were taught that saying “thank you” is simply the polite thing to do. But recent research in social psychology suggests that saying “thank you” goes beyond good manners – it also serves to build and maintain social relationships. This premise has its base in the find-remind-and-bind theory of gratitude, proposed by US psychologist Sara Algoe, from the University of North Carolina. According to this theory, gratitude prompts: Subject:  […]
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12:44 AM | Net neutrality under threat
The telecommunication companies are pushing hard against net neutrality so that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can charge different rates to companies for use of their networks. This would result in large companies that are willing to pay being able to provide faster response times than smaller, poorer companies, eventually squeezing the latter out of business. President Obama appointed the head of the lobbying body of the cable companies to head the FCC, which strongly hinted […]

September 04, 2014

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8:14 PM | Rare stem cells may restore infertility
Rare stem cells in testis that produce a biomarker protein called PAX7 help give rise to new sperm cells — and may hold a key to restoring fertility, research by scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center suggests. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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6:53 PM | Could Common Core be the antidote for Creationist teachers?
Bill Nye (The Science Guy!) discusses two lines of logic for Common Core opponents. The first is that standardization might stymie the passion of teachers and take the fun out of learning, an idea that Nye admits deserves some consideration. The second (and inappropriate) reason is that fringe anti-scientists like Creationists would be forced to stop pushing their distorted agenda.
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6:49 PM | Breakthrough study identifies genetic link between the circadian clock and seasonal timing
Researchers from the University of Leicester have for the first time provided experimental evidence for a genetic link between two major timing mechanisms, the circadian clock and the seasonal timer. Subject:  Genetics
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6:02 PM | How perceived control over setbacks promotes persistence
What makes people decide whether to persist or to give up on their goals in the face of setbacks? Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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5:53 PM | Which is better: 2-D or 3-D movies?
The increased visual realism of 3-D films is believed to offer viewers a more vivid and lifelike experience—more thrilling and intense than 2-D because it more closely approximates real life. However, psychology researchers at the University of Utah, among those who use film clips routinely in the lab to study patients' emotional conditions, have found that there is no significant difference between the two formats. The results were published recently in PLOS ONE. […]
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4:40 PM | How movies trick your brain into empathizing with characters
There’s a scene near the end of Black Swan, where Nina finally loses her grip on reality. Nina, played by Natalie Portman, is the protagonist of this 2010 psychological thriller, a ballerina stressed to the breaking point by competing with another dancer for a starring role. She begins to hallucinate black feathers poking through her skin, a sign she’s becoming the part she’s meant to play. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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4:25 PM | Cinematic cuts exploit how your brain edits what you see
In his classic book on film editing, In the Blink of an Eye, Walter Murch writes about the violence of the cut. In an instant, everything you see onscreen is erased and replaced with something else. Often the scene jumps to another place or time. “Nothing in our day-to-day experience seems to prepare us for such a thing,” Murch writes. And yet, in movies this happens all the time, and we accept it without giving it a second thought. Subject:  […]
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4:04 PM | T. rex times 7: New dinosaur species is discovered in Argentina
Scientists have discovered and described a new supermassive dinosaur species with the most complete skeleton ever found of its type. At 85 feet long and weighing about 65 tons in life, Dreadnoughtus schrani is the largest land animal for which a body mass can be accurately calculated. Subject:  Animal Research
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1:30 AM | Handheld scanner could aid complete removal of brain tumors
Cancerous brain tumors are notorious for growing back despite surgical attempts to remove them—and for leading to a dire prognosis for patients. But scientists are developing a new way to try to root out malignant cells during surgery so fewer or none get left behind to form new tumors. The method, reported in the journal ACS Nano, could someday vastly improve the outlook for patients. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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1:22 AM | New time travel simulation may resolve 'Grandfather Paradox'
On June 28, 2009, the world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking threw a party at the University of Cambridge, complete with balloons, hors d'oeuvres and iced champagne. Everyone was invited but no one showed up. Hawking had expected as much, because he only sent out invitations after his party had concluded. It was, he said, "a welcome reception for future time travelers," a tongue-in-cheek experiment to reinforce his 1992 conjecture that travel into the past is effectively impossible. […]
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1:14 AM | Does brain-enhancing electrical stimulation really work?
Would you experiment with your own brain? Perhaps there's a Dr. Frankenstein in us all.

September 03, 2014

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11:22 PM | How much gravity is enough?
Keeping upright in a low-gravity environment is not easy, and NASA documents abound with examples of astronauts falling on the lunar surface. Now, a new study by an international team of researchers led by York University professors Laurence Harris and Michael Jenkin, published today in PLOS ONE, suggests that the reason for all these moon mishaps might be because its gravity isn't sufficient to provide astronauts with unambiguous information on which way is "up." Subject:  […]
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11:11 PM | Breakthrough for carbon nanotube solar cells
Lighter, more flexible and cheaper than conventional solar-cell materials, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have long shown promise for photovoltaics. But research stalled when CNTs proved to be inefficient, converting far less sunlight into power than other methods. Subject:  Technology
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11:05 PM | A new foundation for mathematics
Is there a revolution coming along in mathematics? A shift that will fundamentally change the way in which mathematicians work? In the near future, will computers rather than humans reliably verify whether a mathematical proof is correct? Subject:  Technology
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10:54 PM | Who is to blame when iCloud is ‘hacked’ – you or Apple?
A hacker’s release of personal photos of actress Jennifer Lawrence and other female celebrities on the internet on the weekend has again drawn our attention to the security of our personal information online. Are we really aware of what we upload? And how can we make sure the information we intend for private viewing remains private? Subject:  Technology
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10:42 PM | Can lack of sleep affect brain size?
Sleep difficulties may be linked to faster rates of decline in brain volume, according to a study published in the September 3, 2014, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Sleep has been proposed to be "the brain's housekeeper," serving to repair and restore the brain. The study included 147 adults 20 and 84 years old. Researchers examined the link between sleep difficulties, such as having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at […]
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10:26 PM | New clues to determining the solar cycle
Approximately every 11 years, the sun undergoes a complete personality change from quiet and calm to violently active. The height of the sun's activity, known as solar maximum, is a time of numerous sunspots, punctuated with profound eruptions that send radiation and solar particles out into the far reaches of space. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology
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5:10 PM | Will superintelligent AIs be our doom?
Nick Bostrom says artificial intelligence poses an existential threat to humanity. Every morning Nick Bostrom wakes up, brushes his teeth, and gets to work thinking about how the human species may be wiped off the face of the earth. Bostrom, director of the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, is an expert on existential threats to humanity. Of all the perils that make his list, though, he’s most concerned with the threat posed by artificial intelligence. […]
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4:26 PM | Re-inventing the grid
Cambridge-based MIT startup Ambri is building a novel liquid metal battery for grid-level storage to revolutionize energy in the 21st century. The challenge of selling any new idea is that it has to compete with every other new idea. The process is more difficult when the idea’s technology hasn’t existed and addresses an issue that some industries don’t see as a problem. Such is the reality of Ambri. Subject:  Technology
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4:09 PM | Why HIV patients develop dementia
Since the introduction of the combination anti-retroviral therapy (cART) in the mid-90s, the life expectancy of HIV patients has significantly improved. As a result, long-term complications are becoming more relevant: almost every second HIV patient is affected by neurocognitive disorders, which can lead to dementia. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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4:00 PM | Facing death-8: Being remembered forever
I have discussed that some have a strong desire to want to live on in some capacity forever, and thus yield to the temptation to believe in an immortal soul that exists in an afterlife in heaven or is reincarnated in some way. But others who may not believe that may still seek to find ways to make their names live on even after they have died, to be at least remembered forever. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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