Why Do We Count? The abacus is a tool, just like the calculator is a tool.
Your smartphone’s calculator app — that’s a tool, too. But are numbers themselves a tool? That’s the case Caleb Everett makes in his new book, “Numbers and the Making of Us: Counting and the Course of Human Cultures.” Everett, a professor of anthropology at the University of Miami, shows that numbers — or the words and symbols we use to represent specific quantities — emerged through a series of slow historical steps. Numbers may feel instinctual. 3-D Fractals Offer Clues to Complex Systems. If you came across an animal in the wild and wanted to learn more about it, there are a few things you might do: You might watch what it eats, poke it to see how it reacts, and even dissect it if you got the chance.
Mathematicians are not so different from naturalists. Rather than studying organisms, they study equations and shapes using their own techniques. They twist and stretch mathematical objects, translate them into new mathematical languages, and apply them to new problems. As they find new ways to look at familiar things, the possibilities for insight multiply. That’s the promise of a new idea from two mathematicians: Laura DeMarco, a professor at Northwestern University, and Kathryn Lindsey, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago. The future of medicine.
Tristan Harris: How better tech could protect us from distraction. TED Talks 2012: Donald Sadoway. Bellies full of microplastic rob baby fish of their basic instincts. Larval European perch that has ingested microplastic particles (light-colored spheres on bottom side).
Photo by Oona Lönnstedt When exposed to microplastics, baby fish stop eating natural food and prefer consuming the pollutant, according to a report from ecologists at Uppsala University in Sweden. The dietary switch derails the basic instincts of the fish, the researchers found, elevating the likelihood of being caught by predators. The findings may explain why populations of European perch (Perca fluviatilis) — the main species analyzed in the study — have declined in the Baltic Sea.
“Perch are common and popular recreational fish in Sweden,” said Oona Lönnstedt, an Uppsala ecologist and the project’s leader. If this process takes place in the marine ecosystem, plastics can affect the health of food webs, which include humans as an apex predator. The trend is especially true for young perch, and the cause remains unknown. Tony Fadell: The first secret of design is ... noticing.
Science & Environment. ScienceDaily: Your source for the latest research news. NOVA - Official Website. Exploring the Life and Legacy of Percy Julian In the fall of 2015, two seventh graders from Houston contacted NOVA seeking information about Percy Julian, the subject of their National History Day project.
Their... Read Full Post From Education Blog | Dec 14, 2016 Matt Denton "I don't exactly know why it is that everyone finds BB-8 so cute and lovable. " From SLOSE | Dec 14, 2016 Did the Universe Start with a Bounce Instead of a Bang? A small group of physicists hoping to explain the origin of the cosmos are exploring theories other than the Big Bang. From NOVA Next | Dec 14, 2016 Methane Emissions Have Surged in the Past Two Years, Startling Scientists Methane emissions contribute to global warming more than 20 to 30 times as much as similar volumes of carbon dioxide. Recent Science News. PBS NewsHour. Wallpaper Camera Wraps Around Any Surface.
What if you could wrap a camera around your car (or tank) for a 360-degree view or encircle a streetlight to boost security?
You might even use it as wallpaper to check out what’s happening in the room next door. This idea may have taken a step closer with a new thin flexible sheet camera design by researchers at Columbia University. While they are still working on prototypes, they say they have overcome several obstacles that have tripped up previous efforts and hope to have a real camera soon. 11 Bizarre Sources For Alternative Energy “We are exploring ways to capture visual information in unconventional ways,” said Shree Nayar, a professor of computer science at Columbia.
Nayar also foresees a flexible sheet camera the size of a credit card, allowing you to take a photo on one side with an imaging display on the other side. In previous sheet-sized imagers, the individual sensors have been stiff and rigid. Nonverbal Communication for Human-Robot Interaction: Henny Admoni. Robotics has already improved lives by taking over dull, dirty, and dangerous jobs, freeing people for safer, more skillful pursuits.
For instance, autonomous mechanical arms weld cars in factories, and autonomous vacuum cleaners keep floors clean in millions of homes. However, most currently deployed robotic devices operate primarily without human interaction, and are typically incapable of understanding natural human communication. As robotic hardware costs decrease and computational power increases, robotics research is moving from these autonomous but isolated systems to individualized personal robots. Robots at home can help elderly or disabled users with daily tasks, such as preparing a meal or getting dressed, which can increase independence and quality of life. Robots for manufacturing can act as intelligent third hands, improving efficiency and job safety for workers. To be good social partners, robots must understand and use existing human communication structures.