The Willpower Circuit | Wired Science The marshmallow test needs no introduction. Walter Mischel’s ingenious experiment – first conducted in 1968 – has entered the pop culture canon. The study has even spawned an adorable series of YouTube imitations, such as this clip featuring little kids wrestling with temptation: The experiment went like this: Mischel invited a four-year old student at the Bing Nursery School into a small room, barely bigger than a closet.
Back in 1936, renowned sculptor Isamu Noguchi was in Mexico working on a 72-ft-long public mural when he hit a snag: for some reason, he couldn't precisely recall the famous formula, E=mc². Rather than risk a mistake, he decided to seek advice and wired his good friend, Buckminster Fuller — a famed architect and great admirer of Einstein — for clarification. Rather than just respond with the equation, Fuller went the extra mile and soon sent the following to his friend — a magnificent telegram in which he also explained it in 264 words. Transcript follows. ENERGY EQUALS MASS TIMES THE SPEED OF LIGHT SQUARED STOP
David J. Linden is the author of a new book,The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good. He is a professor of neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Chief Editor of the Journal of Neurophysiology. Ray Kurzweil, the prominent inventor and futurist, can't wait to get nanobots into his brain. In his view, these devices will be equipped with a variety of sensors and stimulators and will communicate wirelessly with computers outside of the body. In addition to providing unprecedented insight into brain function at the cellular level, brain-penetrating nanobots would provide the ultimate virtual reality experience. The Singularity is Far: A Neuroscientist’s View – Boing Boing
Facebook will destroy your children's brains | Science Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have left a generation of young adults vulnerable to degeneration of the brain, we can exclusively reveal for about the fifth time. Symptoms include self-obsession, short attention spans and a childlike desire for constant feedback, according to a 'top scientist' with no record of published research on the issue. Repeated exposure to the internet leaves people with an 'identity crisis', wanting attention in the manner of a toddler saying, 'Look at me, Mummy,' or a scientist touting their latest brain-fart in the national press. The scientist believes that use of the internet – and computer games – could 'rewire' the brain, causing neurons to establish new connections and pathways.
“Majestically Scientific” Federal Study On BPA Has Stunning Findings: So Why Is The Media Ignoring It? - Trevor Butterworth - Medialand
Reef Madness Begins: Louis Agassiz, Creationist Magpie | Wired Science Below is the first in a series of self-standing excerpts from my book Reef Madness: Charles Darwin, Alexander Agassiz, and the Meaning of Coral (Pantheon, 2005), that, in an experimental act of re-publishing, I will run a dozen or so of these over the next several weeks, partially serializing the book. Each post will stand on its own as an intriguing story within a larger context: the struggle of some of history’s smartest and most determined people, including Charles Darwin, to figure out how to do science — to look at the world accurately, generate ideas about how it works, and test those ideas in a way that gives you reliable answers. This was usually (certainly not always, as we’ll see) a polite debate. Yet it was also, always, a high-stakes war about what science is, and that war continues today. In this case it revolved around two of the 19th century’s hottest scientific questions: the origin of species, and the origin of coral reefs.
Climate-controlled clothing: Don't forget to recharge your jacket
Eight of the nine top Chinese government officials are scientists. This same sort of ratio is found at all levels of the Chinese government. Did you know that the president of China is a scientist? President Hu Jintao was trained as a hydraulic engineer. Likewise his Premier, Wen Jiabao, is a geomechanical engineer. In fact, 8 out of China’s top 9 government officials are scientists. Eight Out Of China’s Top Nine Government Officials Are Scientists
You Know More Than You Know | Wired Science There’s a fascinating new paper in Psychological Science by the Dutch psychologist Ap Dijksterhuis on the virtues of unconscious thought when it comes to predicting the outcome of soccer matches. It turns out that the conscious brain – that rational voice in your head deliberating over the alternatives – gets in the way of expertise. Although we tend to think of experts as being weighted down by information, their intelligence dependent on a vast set of explicit knowledge, this experiment suggests that successful experts don’t consciously access these facts.
You know that friend you have, the one who likes cars, watchin’ action flicks and talking about physics, except the last time they actually “studied” any science was in junior high? Yeah, that friend… Well, I read the book for them today. E=MC²: Simple Physics: Why Balloons Rise, Apples Fall, and Golf Balls Go Awry by Jeff Stewart, published by Readers Digest. A kind publicist sent a copy of the latest in the Reader’s Digest Blackboard Books™ series last week and I have to say, it was a pretty cute read. The book basically covers all of the content that you’d find in a high school curriculum, but without any math, making it ideal for an adult learner looking for a qualitative picture of physics. It also ends with a little bit of general relativity, quantum mechanics, and cosmology, because, frankly, that’s where popular interest lies (and should, because it’s the good stuff, after all). Book Review: E=MC²: Simple Physics by Jeff Stewart | The Language of Bad Physics
While I work on some more detailed physics posts, I thought it would be a good time to recap some recent weird science facts that I’ve posted to Twitter under my longtime hashtag #weirdscifacts! This one speaks for itself! (Via @kyliesturgess ) Who knew that Poe had a scientific connection? (Via @NMNH ) Skulls in the Stars | The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction
Harrison Ford and Dr. E.O. Wilson to Hold Press Conference | Rebecca Costa October 6, 2010 SAN JOSE, CA – October 6, 2010 – Actor and conservationist Harrison Ford, and world acclaimed naturalist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Dr. Edward O. Wilson will hold a press conference at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, October 15, at the Garden Court Hotel in Palo Alto, California, to announce the newly created PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.
DNA Ends: Just the Beginning (Nobel Lecture) - Szostak - 2010 - Angewandte Chemie International Edition
Scienceblogging: science3.0.com – a Q&A with Mark Hahnel
The Sound of Science
In which I notice a trend - Mind the Gap Blog | Nature Publishing Group Less than two weeks remain until my big fellowship application is due – the one I’m banking on to rescue me from the dwindling life of my latest short-term contract. If I get the fellowship, my position should finally be secure. If not, I’ll need to scrabble together another fellowship or short-term contract, or try to find a different position altogether. All of this is happening in the context of the mind-blowingly large number of pounds I have just set up as a monthly standing order to Joshua’s new nursery starting in February, and the stark fact that after childcare fees, the mortgage and the other household bills, there are only a few pence left to rub together for anything else. An interruption in salary, no matter how short, is simply not an option.
What if the Public Had Perfect Climate Information?
Eggplants in the 14th Century An interesting website, Zester, explores the culture of food and drink – including a range of different species with potential for exploitation, as well as recipes about cooking them. Hopefully it does not give too much encouragement of wild collection (Sept 17: see comment below) or unsustainable fishing practices! I was particularly interested in an article, “Eggplant’s Rich History: From ancient Arab diets to Sicilian recipes, the versatile eggplant has evolved around the globe”. Two papers in Annals of Botany provide a remarkable insight into the appearance of the earliest eggplants/aubergines used as food, and the ways they were cultivated. Amazingly, the first reliable written record comes from China in 59 BC. The Rich History of Eggplant or Aubergine
science is vital
Science Online 2010
So easy a cat can do it! - Image by Vicki's Pics via Flickr I’m a student blogger – that is to say an undergraduate student blogger – and undergraduates as we all know are lazy, underacheiving, skivers…. or at least that is the impression you would get if you talk to most adults in the UK, my dad included, and read too many newspapers (sadly about the only thing red-tops and the telegraph agree on). Obviously I would beg to differ, given that I maintain this blog, a personal website, write for my secondary school alumni newspaper, work within my students union and on my degree. That said of course I would be willing to be proven wrong, and given some of the activities I have witnessed at university I can see that not being too difficult. On Student Bloggery « BenjaminDBrooks' Blog
Why let your waste go to waste when it could be powering your mobile phone – or even your car? IT IS a bright spring morning here at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK, where I have come to meet my interviewee for this article, Shanwen Tao . Normally when I interview someone, I give them a business card and maybe the latest issue of New Scientist . Pee is for power: Your electrifying excretions - tech - 24 August 2010
In The Shadow Of The Sun The light of the Sun is the primary source of the free energy that potentiates life on Earth. Solar energy is naturally harnessed by chlorophyll in the leaves of trees and plants; and together with water from the soil and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the process of photosynthesis propagates the release of oxygen. As humans, therefore, we have an indirect dependence on the sun and without it, we would all perish. Remarkably, we are also able to harness solar energy by using solar panels, as ways of producing electricity both domestically and commercially. On Saturday 21st August, as part of the British Film Institute's Film Science season, Dr Adam Rutherford hosted an event called In the Shadow of the Sun at BFI Southbank.
Stimulating quasi-erotic excitement through organic structure determination
What is scientific practice? | False vacuum: a weblog by Aaron Sidney Wright
How Many Deep-Sea Nematodes Are There & Why We Many Never Know
Oppositional Defiant Disorder: I am Opposed « Shirah Vollmer MD
Cocktail Party Physics: mucus, slime and killer snot monsters
How to become a fossil « Thoughtomics
What happens when you teach monkeys to use money? « O'Really?
Sex at Dawn
Problems with Pitch: Congenital Amusia and Tone Languages
How About That!
How About That!
New Biotopes in the North Sea: Wind Turbines Create Artificial Reef - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International