Creativity: The weird and wonderful art of animals

By Jason G Goldman A few animals are prodigious producers of ‘art’, says Jason G Goldman. Why do they do it? Do they enjoy the creative process? And is their work any good?A At first glance, the Vogelkop Gardener bowerbird is pretty boring. Its drab olive-brown plumage makes it hard to spot against the dirt on which it lives. However, a closer look reveals that this otherwise dull bird has a secret: the males build some of the most elaborate, aesthetically-pleasing objects of any bird. Bowers are decorated structures that the males build to woo females. In some places they’re … Continue reading Creativity: The weird and wonderful art of animals

Racism: Further Considerations from Psychological Science

Racism is undeniably a matter of concern across countries and cultures. In the United States, where slavery was abolished in 1865 and segregation outlawed in 1954, the effects of racism are still pervasive in everyday life. Here is a look at what psychological scientists have uncovered on the topic in recent years. Collectively, they address the nature of implicit biases (i.e., beliefs that influence our behavior without our awareness) and the social processes that maintain them; examine the issues of structural and institutional racism; and explore the social, psychological, and physical consequences of various forms of racism. They also suggest … Continue reading Racism: Further Considerations from Psychological Science

Water Might Be the Weirdest Liquid in the Universe, and Now We Know Why

By Bryan Nelson Water might seem ubiquitous and ordinary; it covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, not to mention being the primary fluid in most living organisms. But when you step back and look at water from the point of view of physics and chemistry, it’s truly an oddball molecule. For one, water has a highly unusual density. Most liquids become more dense as they cool down, but after water cools past 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit, it defies this general rule and instead becomes less dense. By the time it freezes solid, the resultant ice actually floats on liquid water. Again, because water … Continue reading Water Might Be the Weirdest Liquid in the Universe, and Now We Know Why

HOW OLD ARE DOGS IN HUMAN YEARS? STUDY UPENDS 7-YEAR RULE

Scientists present a chart that can help you figure out how old your dog is if it was human. by NINA PULLANO It’s an old trick: To tell how old your dog is in human years, simply multiply the pup’s age by seven. However, new research suggests the popular dog-age-calculating method isn’t actually all that accurate. Scientists now present a novel method for determining a more reliable comparison instead. Dogs and humans age at different rates, so the relationship between the two aging processes isn’t linear, finds a study released Thursday in the journal Cell. Researchers present an alternative formula to calculate how old a dog is … Continue reading HOW OLD ARE DOGS IN HUMAN YEARS? STUDY UPENDS 7-YEAR RULE

WHAT THE FUCK ?

New swine flu with pandemic potential identified by China researchers G4 strain has already infected 10% of industry’s workers in China but no evidence yet that it can be passed from human to human. Researchers in China have discovered a new type of swine flu that is capable of triggering a pandemic, according to a study in the US science journal PNAS, although experts said there is no imminent threat. Named G4, it is genetically descended from the H1N1 strain that caused a pandemic in 2009. It possesses “all the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans”, said the authors, … Continue reading WHAT THE FUCK ?

Moderate drinking may improve cognitive health for older adults, study says

By Sandee LaMotte, CNN (CNN)If you enjoy a daily cocktail or some wine with dinner, you’ll want to raise your glass to this: A new study found low to moderate drinking may improve cognitive function for White middle-aged or older adults.Low to moderate drinking was defined as less than eight drinks per week for women and less than 15 drinks per week for men.The findings support prior research which found that, generally, one standard drink a day for women and two a day for men — which is the US guidance — appears to offer some cognitive benefits.A standard alcoholic … Continue reading Moderate drinking may improve cognitive health for older adults, study says

New Study Draws Attention to The Devastating Effects of Breast Implant Illness

 by Soren Dreier Breast augmentation is one of the most popular surgical procedures in the United States, and yet it’s hardly a trivial affair. Not only do these implants require lifelong maintenance and surveillance, some types have also been linked to a constellation of worrying systemic side effects, known collectively as breast implant illness (BII). The good news? This syndrome appears easily reversible, at least from initial studies. Following the removal of either a silicone or saline implant, new research has shown a significant and sustained improvement in nearly a dozen of the most common BII symptoms. Today, BII is poorly defined and … Continue reading New Study Draws Attention to The Devastating Effects of Breast Implant Illness

Pretty Ugly: New book explores the science behind our personal tastes

As a species, humans have developed the ability to quickly recognize what we’re encountering, whether that’s a log floating in the river or a crocodile, says psychologist Daphne Maurer, explaining how we learn to appreciate patterns. by KATE TAYLOR Imagine that you are an early human walking through the jungle and a tiger is lurking nearby. To survive, you would need an ear that could distinguish the sound waves released by the tiger’s footfall from all the other noises around you. Or an eye that could catch sight of the slightest spot of orange among the many green leaves. You … Continue reading Pretty Ugly: New book explores the science behind our personal tastes

From chaos to free will

A crude understanding of physics sees determinism at work in the Universe. Luckily, molecular uncertainty ensures this isn’t so George Ellis is the Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Complex Systems in the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He co-authored The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time (1973) with Stephen Hawking.Listen here Edited by Sally Davies The French mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749-1827) believed that the Universe was a piece of machinery, and that physics determines everything. Napoleon, who had read up on Laplace’s work, confronted him about the conspicuous absence of a creator in his theory. … Continue reading From chaos to free will

Duke University researchers say every brain activity study you’ve ever read is wrong

BY ARIANNE COHEN You know all those studies about brain activity? The ones that reveal thought patterns and feelings as a person performs a task? There’s a problem: The measurement they’re based on is inaccurate, according to a study out of Duke University that is rocking the field. Functional MRI machines (fMRIs) are excellent at determining the brain structures involved in a task. For example, a study asking 50 people to count or remember names while undergoing an fMRI scan would accurately identify which parts of the brain are active during the task. The trouble is that when the same person is asked … Continue reading Duke University researchers say every brain activity study you’ve ever read is wrong