We H. Sapiens Sapiens appear to be an infestation on this planet. After the slow-burning evolution of hominins in Africa, our ancestral populations erupted out into Eurasia in a geological eye-blink, spread into the Americas by way of the Bering land bridge (sea levels being somewhat lower during the ice ages) and finally reaching even the remotest islands of oceania around twelve thousand years ago. How habitable is the Earth?
Growing Skyscrapers: The Rise of Vertical Farms Energy & Sustainability :: Feature Articles :: November 16, 2009 :: :: Email :: Print See Inside Growing crops in city skyscrapers would use less water and fossil fuel than outdoor farming, eliminate agricultural runoff, and provide fresh food By Dickson Despommier
Foreign subtitles improve speech perception Wednesday, November 11, 2009 Do you speak English as a second language well, but still have trouble understanding movies with unfamiliar accents, such as Brad Pitt's southern accent in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds? In a new study, published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, Holger Mitterer (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics) and James McQueen (MPI and Radboud University Nijmegen) show how you can improve your second-language listening ability by watching the movie with subtitles—as long as these subtitles are in the same language as the film. Subtitles in one's native language, the default in some European countries, may actually be counter-productive to learning to understand foreign speech. Mitterer and McQueen show that listeners can tune in to an unfamiliar regional accent in a foreign language. Dutch students showed improvements in their ability to recognise Scottish or Australian English after only 25 minutes of exposure to video material.
Jon's shtick on The Daily Show
No pain, no gain: Mastering a skill makes us stressed in the mom No pain, no gain: Mastering a skill makes us stressed in the moment, happy long term Sunday, November 1, 2009 No pain, no gain applies to happiness, too, according to new research published online this week in the Journal of Happiness Studies . People who work hard at improving a skill or ability, such as mastering a math problem or learning to drive, may experience stress in the moment, but experience greater happiness on a daily basis and longer term, the study suggests.
In 2008, half the people who watched the Fox News Channel were over sixty-three, which is the oldest demographic in the cable-news business, and, according to a poll, the majority of the ones who watched the most strident programs, such as Sean Hannity’s and Bill O’Reilly’s shows, were men. All that chesty fulminating apparently functions as political Cialis. Fox News shows should probably carry a warning: Contact your doctor if you have rage lasting more than four hours. By effectively cornering the market on anti-Administration animus, Fox News has had a robust 2009 so far, and the recent decision by the White House to declare war on the channel is not likely to put a dent in the ratings. The White House’s war with Fox News
Dr. Yongsoon Park and colleagues recently published a great article in the British Journal of Nutrition titled "Erythrocyte fatty acid profiles can predict acute non-fatal myocardial infarction". Stated simply, the title says that the fat in your red blood cell membranes, which reflects dietary fat composition, can predict your likelihood of having a heart attack*. More accurately than standard measures of heart attack risk such as blood cholesterol. Let's cut to the data. The investigators examined the fat composition of red blood cells in people who had suffered a heart attack, versus an equal number who had not. The Low-Hanging Fruit
Why Johnny can't hypothesize: a discussion about math and s Maureen McCarthy is a PhD Candidate in Integrative and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Southern California. She received her Master’s Degree in Experimental Psychology from Central Washington University, where she studied the gestural communication of chimpanzees who have acquired American Sign Language. She has more than a decade of experience studying captive and free-ranging primates. Maureen is currently in Uganda for a year to study the behavioral ecology and genetics of chimpanzees in fragmented forest habitats. Dr. Craig Stanford advises her research.
IBM Debuts Food Traceability iPhone App
When delegates from 192 nations arrive in Copenhagen in December for the UN COP15 summit, they will confront a 181-page draft negotiation text, 2,000 bracketed passages still in dispute, and just 11 days in which to come to some sort of consensus. To power them through these discussions, Denmark has promised a smorgasbord of ecologically minded fare: All water will be tap (not bottled), tea and coffee will be fair trade, and the food menu will be no less than 65 percent organic. Though undoubtedly well-intentioned, this last provision is troubling, but not because anyone really cares about the provenance of Ban Ki-Moon’s turnip greens. Rather, it suggests a willful and dangerous ignorance about the tenuous state of global agriculture, and the prospects for feeding 9 billion people while also addressing biodiversity loss, water shortage, and, yes, climate change. A Natural Obsession
FDA to beef up standards for "health" food labeling Currently abundant on most grocery store shelves, seals of approval for purportedly healthful food selections may become scarcer in the coming year. Some labels claiming foods are "smart choices" or "heart healthy" are patently misleading, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has threatened to prohibit such promotional labeling when it ignores unhealthy aspects of a product. "There are some foods that have gotten the Smart Choices check mark that are almost 50 percent sugar ," Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the FDA, said in a Tuesday call with reporters, the Associated Press reported.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009 Drinking. Drugs. Caving into peer pressure. Stereotypes can fuel teen misbehavior
Reading through some of the contributions on class and atheism I am struck by a glaring omission. Brown's opening salvo has been to argue that atheism can be a class thing worn for the status it presumably imparts in certain circles – thus implying that there might not be an intrinsic, intellectual reason for choosing atheism. Nick Spencer shows that there is indeed a correlation between educational level and atheism. In the US this phenomenon is far more pronounced: a recent Pew survey shows that among scientists in the US only one-third believe in God , as opposed to 83% in the general population. Atheism: class is a distraction
The Chemistry of Information Addiction Image: Florea Marius Catalin My mother is a more patient human being after having raised a child who incessantly asked, “Are we there yet?” That information, often out of reach for a frustrated toddler, carries with it a feeling of reward. The majority of us are all too familiar with the urge to know more about the future, whether it is an exam grade, an experimental result, or the status of a new job. Prior knowledge frequently has no effect on the actual outcome of the event – we’ll get the same grade regardless – and yet we still desperately want to know.
Where's the Beef? Primary Sources The Editors lllustration of different food quantities with the same caloric value, from "The Wonders of Diet" Excerpt from "The Wonders of Diet," Fortune magazine, May 1936 FOOD LEGENDS More food notions flourish in the U.S. than in any other civilized country on earth, and most of them are wrong.
Authors: Ellen Nolte, Ph.D., and C. Martin McKee, M.D., D.Sc. Journal: Health Affairs, Jan./Feb. 2008 27(1):58–71 Contact: email@example.com Summary Writers: Deborah Lorber In the Literature Measuring the Health of Nations: Updating an Earlier Analysis
7 Widely-Used And Open Source E-Learning Applications Whether it is a university like Albertus Magnus, a company or any other organization, e-learning is a great way to spread knowledge & measure the results efficiently (in means of time & money). There are various open source e-learning applications that can be installed easily, have a wide user community & offers a complete system. Here are 7 of them which you will like: eFront eFront is a complete e-learning software with a good looking Ajaxed interface. It enables admins to create & manage lessons easily with various tools like: