Mon March 17, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

A New Window On The Big Bang Has Been Opened

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 11:49 am

BICEP2 telescope at twilight, which occurs only twice a year at the South Pole." href="/post/new-window-big-bang-has-been-opened" class="noexit lightbox">
The BICEP2 telescope at twilight, which occurs only twice a year at the South Pole.
Steffen Richter Harvard University

It's not every day that a new window on the birth of the universe is thrown open. It's not every day that human beings get the chance to leap into the void and have their conceptions of space and time stretched to the limits. It's not every day that we see the wildest dreams of scientists realized, written into the fabric of space and time and light.

Today appears to be one of those days.

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Mon March 17, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The Green You See Is Not The Green You See

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 11:47 am

In this perceptual illusion, regions of the image in peripheral vision appear to be in motion. In fact, the entire image is static.
Courtesy of Akiyoshi Kitaoka

St. Patrick's Day is my excuse to present you with the following illusion in green, courtesy of Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a psychology professor at Ritsumeikan University in Japan.

This image includes two spirals in different shades of green, one a yellowish light green and the other a darker turquoise green. Right?


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Sun March 16, 2014

Photo Identification: The 'Best And Worst Way' To ID People

Originally published on Sun March 16, 2014 6:35 pm

How easy is it to spot a fake ID?
Lai Seng Sin AP

As an international armada of planes, ships and helicopters continues to comb the Indian Ocean for any sign of Malaysian Airlines flight 370, now missing for more than a week, Interpol confirms that two passengers aboard that flight were traveling on stolen passports.

Aviation experts say the incident highlights a major security gap at many airports: It is simply too easy to board a flight using someone else's photo ID.

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Sun March 16, 2014
Shots - Health News

Parenting In The Age Of Apps: Is That iPad Help Or Harm?

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 11:32 am

With tablet technology still relatively new, pediatricians are trying to understand how interactive media affects children.

When it comes to media, parents all want to know: How much is too much for my child?

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Sun March 16, 2014
All Tech Considered

Physicists, Generals And CEOs Agree: Ditch The PowerPoint

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 3:53 pm

John Paul Chou (right), a physics professor at Rutgers University, uses a whiteboard and answers questions during a forum at Fermilab.
Amanda Solliday Fermilab

About six months ago, a group of physicists in the U.S. working on the Large Hadron Collider addressed a problem they've been having for a while: Whenever they had meetings, everyone stuck to the prepared slides and couldn't really answer questions that weren't immediately relevant to what was on the screen.

The point of the forum is to start discussions, so the physicists banned PowerPoint — from then on, they could only use a board and a marker.

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Sun March 16, 2014

Not-So-Objective Scientists Cling To Accepted Wisdom

Originally published on Sun March 16, 2014 11:32 am



Scientists are usually portrayed as highly rational seekers of the truth - and they are that. But they also have qualities that make them more similar to you and me than you might think. NPR's Joe Palca has a story that reveals that quite dramatically. Joe's been immersed in an NPR series called Joe's Big Idea, where he explores the minds and motivations of scientists and inventors. And from time to time, he drops by to share some of the interesting things he's learned. Hi, Joe.


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Sat March 15, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Beware Of The Quick-Fix Mirage

Just because you can get your body or your mind in shape doesn't mean you will actually do the hard work necessary to succeed. Inertia is powerful thing.

An article last week in The New York Times reported that the scientific jury is still out on brain-fitness programs. It seems that playing computer games designed to work your powers of perception, memory and attention can lead to significant and lasting improvement in one's ability to play those very games. But the benefits don't transfer. You may perform the relevant tasks like a 20-year-old, but you'll still have the mind of a 60-year-old.

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Sat March 15, 2014
Author Interviews

Why'd The Scientist Cross The Road? To Figure Out Why You're Laughing

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 6:03 pm


Here's a joke: A man is sitting on the porch with his wife one night when, out of the blue he says, "I love you." His wife says, "Was that you? Or was that the beer talking?" The man says, "That was me — talking to the beer."

Maybe you laughed at that and maybe you didn't, but either way, cognitive neuroscientist Scott Weems wants to know whether you found it funny. In his new book HA! Weems explores the science "of when we laugh and why."

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Sat March 15, 2014


Sat March 15, 2014
The Salt

Rethinking The Five-Second Rule: With Carpet, There's No Rush

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 5:47 pm

Bacteria don't wear wristwatches. But they can take their sweet time hopping onto a potato chip.
Greg Williams/Wikimedia Commons

Many of us will happily eat a gummy bear or cookie after it falls on the floor, as long as we snatch it up quickly. Say, five seconds or less, right?

Well, science just gave us another excuse to continue this food-saving habit, especially when it comes to carpet-dusted snacks.

Biology students at the Aston University in Birmingham, U.K., measured how quickly two common bacteria hop aboard foods dropped on tiles, linoleum and carpet.

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