background preloader

Science & knowledge

Facebook Twitter

Marketing

Invisible Manipulators of Your Mind | by Tamsin Shaw. The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis Norton, 362 pp., $28.95 We are living in an age in which the behavioral sciences have become inescapable. The findings of social psychology and behavioral economics are being employed to determine the news we read, the products we buy, the cultural and intellectual spheres we inhabit, and the human networks, online and in real life, of which we are a part. Aspects of human societies that were formerly guided by habit and tradition, or spontaneity and whim, are now increasingly the intended or unintended consequences of decisions made on the basis of scientific theories of the human mind and human well-being. The behavioral techniques that are being employed by governments and private corporations do not appeal to our reason; they do not seek to persuade us consciously with information and argument.

Many of these heuristics are easy to recognize in ourselves. Nonrational forms of persuasion are clearly nothing new. Blue light has a dark side - Harvard Health. Exposure to blue light at night, emitted by electronics and energy-efficient lightbulbs, harmful to your health. Until the advent of artificial lighting, the sun was the major source of lighting, and people spent their evenings in (relative) darkness.

Now, in much of the world, evenings are illuminated, and we take our easy access to all those lumens pretty much for granted. But we may be paying a price for basking in all that light. At night, light throws the body's biological clock—the circadian rhythm—out of whack. Sleep suffers. But not all colors of light have the same effect. Daily rhythms influenced by light Everyone has slightly different circadian rhythms, but the average length is 24 and one-quarter hours. The health risks of nighttime light Study after study has linked working the night shift and exposure to light at night to several types of cancer (breast, prostate), diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

The power of the blues Less-blue light What you can do. Rue89. Some Strange Things Are Happening To Astronauts Returning To Earth. The Cloud Will Cure Cancer. Editor’s note: Mark Kaganovich is founder of SolveBio and a doctoral candidate in genetics at Stanford University. Follow him on Twitter @markkaganovich. Much ink has been spilled on the huge leaps in communications, social networking, and commerce that have resulted from impressive gains in IT and processing power over the last 30 years.

However, relatively little has been said about how computing power is about to impact our lives in the biggest way yet: Health. Two things are happening in parallel: technology to collect biological data is taking off and computing is becoming massively scalable. Understanding disease and how to treat it requires a deep knowledge of human biology and what goes wrong in diseased cells. New technology is changing research A major challenge thus far has been the difficulty in gaining access to clinical data. Developments in biotechnology over the last 10 years are painting a picture of how the new world of “Big Bio” might come into existence. CAN MACHINES THINK? WHEN GARRY KASPAROV FACED OFF AGAINST AN IBM COMPUTER in last month's celebrated chess match, he wasn't just after more fame and money. By his own account, the world chess champion was playing for you, me, the whole human species. He was trying, as he put it shortly before the match, to "help defend our dignity.

" Nice of him to offer. But if human dignity has much to do with chess mastery, then most of us are so abject that not even Kasparov can save us. If we must vest the honor of our species in some quintessentially human feat... Subscribe Now Get TIME the way you want it One Week Digital Pass — $4.99 Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS — $2.99 One Year ALL ACCESS — Just $30!

2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal. Swarm Theory. I used to think ants knew what they were doing. The ones marching across my kitchen counter looked so confident, I just figured they had a plan, knew where they were going and what needed to be done. How else could ants organize highways, build elaborate nests, stage epic raids, and do all the other things ants do? Turns out I was wrong. Ants aren't clever little engineers, architects, or warriors after all—at least not as individuals. When it comes to deciding what to do next, most ants don't have a clue. "If you watch an ant try to accomplish something, you'll be impressed by how inept it is," says Deborah M. How do we explain, then, the success of Earth's 12,000 or so known ant species? "Ants aren't smart," Gordon says. Where this intelligence comes from raises a fundamental question in nature: How do the simple actions of individuals add up to the complex behavior of a group?

One key to an ant colony, for example, is that no one's in charge. RSA Animate - Crises of Capitalism. RSA Animate - The Secret Powers of Time. Stowe Boyd • Social Cognition, From Defrag. [These are the notes I used to prepare for a talk at Defrag, November 17 2010, formerly titled Social Cognition, From Defrag. Now heavily modified and extended.] It probably is no surprise to you that all known human cultures have language, music, and dance. And yes, puns. Even deaf people have puns. These are human universals, along with a bunch of others. If you leave a child alone — perhaps living in the woods with wolves — they will not learn language. It turns out that we are innately talkative, but innumerate and illiterate. There are many universals that come naturally to all of us. I’ve been looking into recent research on social cognition — the way that our connections to others influence our thinking, values, and capabilities — and learned that being social is at the core of our being, more so than we formerly imagined.

Recent studies on group effectiveness by Anita Woolley and others have shown that adding smarter people into groups does not lead to better decision making.

Statistiques

Six-Legged Giant Finds Secret Hideaway, Hides For 80 Years : Krulwich Wonders... No, this isn't a make-believe place. It's real. They call it "Ball's Pyramid. " It's what's left of an old volcano that emerged from the sea about 7 million years ago. A British naval officer named Ball was the first European to see it in 1788. What's more, for years this place had a secret. A satellite view of Ball's Pyramid in the Tasman Sea off the eastern coast of Australia.

Toggle caption Google Maps Here's the story: About 13 miles from this spindle of rock, there's a bigger island, called Lord Howe Island. On Lord Howe, there used to be an insect, famous for being big. Then one day in 1918, a supply ship, the S.S. Totally gone. There was a rumor, though. Some climbers scaling Ball's Pyramid in the 1960s said they'd seen a few stick insect corpses lying on the rocks that looked "recently dead. " Climbing The Pyramid Fast forward to 2001, when two Australian scientists, David Priddel and Nicholas Carlile, with two assistants, decided to take a closer look. That wasn't so easy.

Genetics

STEPHEN HAWKING: How to build a time machine. By STEPHEN HAWKING Created: 18:47 GMT, 27 April 2010 All you need is a wormhole, the Large Hadron Collider or a rocket that goes really, really fast 'Through the wormhole, the scientist can see himself as he was one minute ago. But what if our scientist uses the wormhole to shoot his earlier self? He's now dead. So who fired the shot? ' Hello. Time travel was once considered scientific heresy. To see how this might be possible, we need to look at time as physicists do - at the fourth dimension. But there is another kind of length, a length in time. To see what that means, let's imagine we're doing a bit of normal, everyday car travel. Let's indulge in a little science fiction for a moment.

Physicists have been thinking about tunnels in time too, but we come at it from a different angle. Enlarge Nothing is flat or solid. Unfortunately, these real-life time tunnels are just a billion-trillion-trillionths of a centimetre across. The fastest manned vehicle in history was Apollo 10. Gamers make faster decisions than nongamers, just as accurate.

There's a significant controversy over the value of games that are designed to improve people's mental faculties, as some studies have indicated that brain training only helps prepare you for similar tasks, while others indicate that general improvements are possible. But there turns out to be a type of game that is known to boost a variety of skills, from decision making to tracking multiple objects: standard action games. A study, released today by Current Biology attempts to explain how these video games can produce such wide-ranging improvements. The authors of the study argue that the root of all these tasks involves making a probabilistic inference, where complete information is missing, so people have to make a best guess based on known odds. Video gaming, in their view, increases the efficiency at which people can process the odds and make an accurate decision—gamers simply can do more with less.

As a result, any task of this sort sees benefits. Op-Ed Contributor - Mind Over Mass Media.