Science

The Science of ‘Paying It Forward’

Written by on March 16, 2014 in Sci-Tech, Science with 0 Comments
The Science of ‘Paying It Forward’

In recent years, social scientists have conducted experiments demonstrating that the effect of a single act of kindness can in fact ripple through a social network, setting off chains of generosity that reach far beyond the original act. But whether it is enough to merely witness a generous act, rather than actually benefit from one, has been an open question.

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Einstein’s Lost Theory Describes a Universe Without a Big Bang

Written by on March 11, 2014 in Sci-Tech, Science with 1 Comment
Einstein’s Lost Theory Describes a Universe Without a Big Bang

In 1917, a year after Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity was published—but still two years before he would become the international celebrity we know—Einstein chose to tackle the entire universe. His calculations told him that the universe could not stay static: it had to either expand or contract. Einstein chose to ignore what his mathematics was telling him. The story of Einstein’s solution to this problem—the maligned “cosmological constant” (also called lambda)—is well known in the history of science. But this story, it turns out, has a different ending than everyone thought: Einstein late in life returned to considering his disgraced lambda. And his conversion foretold lambda’s use in an unexpected new setting, with immense relevance to a key conundrum in modern physics and cosmology: dark energy.

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The Baloney Detection Kit: Carl Sagan’s Rules for Bullshit-Busting and Critical Thinking

Written by on March 10, 2014 in Sci-Tech, Science with 1 Comment
The Baloney Detection Kit: Carl Sagan’s Rules for Bullshit-Busting and Critical Thinking

Through their training, scientists are equipped with what Carl Sagan calls a “baloney detection kit” — a set of cognitive tools and techniques that fortify the mind against penetration by falsehoods. The kit is brought out as a matter of course whenever new ideas are offered for consideration. But the kit, Sagan argues, isn’t merely a tool of science — rather, it contains invaluable tools of healthy skepticism that apply just as elegantly, and just as necessarily, to everyday life. By adopting the kit, we can all shield ourselves against clueless guile and deliberate manipulation. Sagan shares nine of these

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Stonehenge: Built For Music?

Written by on March 6, 2014 in Sci-Tech, Science with 0 Comments
Stonehenge: Built For Music?

The prehistoric monument Stonehenge may have been built as a giant xylophone, researchers have claimed. The Royal College of Art spent months tapping more than 1,000 types of rock to study the monument’s musical qualities. Most rocks produced a “dull thud” while the bluestones, which formed the earliest stone circle, were found to “sing” when struck. The rocks made a range of metallic sounds like bells, gongs and tin drums, the study confirmed. Read more: Rock ‘n’ roll: Stonehenge may have been a giant xylophone

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Scientific Research Suggests We Unconsciously React to Events Up to 10 Seconds Before They Happen

Written by on March 5, 2014 in Sci-Tech, Science with 0 Comments
Scientific Research Suggests We Unconsciously React to Events Up to 10 Seconds Before They Happen

Can your brain detect events before they even occur? That was the stunning conclusion of a 2012 meta-analysis of experiments from seven independent laboratories over the last 35 years, which found that the human body “can apparently detect randomly delivered
stimuli occurring 1-10 seconds in the future” (Mossbridge, Tressoldi, & Utts, 2012). In the studies, physiological readings were taken as participants were subjected to unpredictable events designed to activate the sympathetic nervous system (for example, showing provocative imagery) as well as ‘neutral events’ that did not activate the nervous system. These readings showed that the nervous system aligned with the nature of the event (activated/not activated) – and what’s more, the magnitude of the pre-event response corresponded with the magnitude of the post-event response.

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Women’s Brains More Resilient

Written by on March 4, 2014 in Sci-Tech, Science with 0 Comments
Women’s Brains More Resilient

Women are able to carry higher levels of genetic defects without getting brain development disorders such as autism, supporting the possibility of a “female protective effect,” finds a new study. The study gives clues as to why 50 percent more males typically have an intellectual disability than females, and why boys are four times more likely to have autism than girls.

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What Happens When We Exceed the Universe’s Speed Limit?

Written by on March 3, 2014 in Earth & Space, Sci-Tech, Science with 0 Comments
What Happens When We Exceed the Universe’s Speed Limit?

As far as universal limits go, the speed of light gets all the glory. But did you know there is a different speed limit for particles? It’s called the GZK limit, and some people think it has already been exceeded. Which has some pretty weird implications for the laws of the universe.

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Baby’s Rare Brain Tumor Had Teeth

Written by on March 2, 2014 in Sci-Tech, Science with 0 Comments
Baby’s Rare Brain Tumor Had Teeth

A 4-month-old infant in Maryland may be the first person to have had teeth form in his brain as a result of a specific type of rare brain tumor, according to a new report of the case. The boy is doing well now that his tumor has been removed, and doctors say the case sheds light on how these rare tumors develop.

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Scientists Turn Off Pain Using Nothing But Light

Written by on February 27, 2014 in Sci-Tech, Science with 0 Comments
Scientists Turn Off Pain Using Nothing But Light

A team of scientists has developed a way to turn pain on and off using light. They used a technique known as optogenetics to insert light-sensitive proteins called opsins into the nerves of lab mice. After a couple of weeks, the nerves became light-sensitive. One color of light would increase the sensation of pain; another would decrease it. This bears huge implications in a number of fields, from neuroscience to psychology, and could help millions of people who suffer from chronic pain.

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Are The Robots About To Rise? Google’s New Director Of Engineering Thinks So…

Written by on February 25, 2014 in Sci-Tech, Science with 0 Comments
Are The Robots About To Rise? Google’s New Director Of Engineering Thinks So…

Ray Kurzweil popularized the Terminator-like moment he called the ‘singularity’, when artificial intelligence overtakes human thinking. But now the man who hopes to be immortal is involved in the very same quest – on behalf of the tech behemoth Google.

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Michio Kaku: This is Your Brain on a Laser Beam

Written by on February 24, 2014 in Sci-Tech, Science, Technology with 0 Comments
Michio Kaku: This is Your Brain on a Laser Beam

Dr. Michio Kaku returns to Big Think studio. Kaku explains how we might transfer our consciousness to laser beams to explore the universe at the speed of light.

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Crystal Found in Australia Confirmed As Oldest Known Piece of Earth

Written by on February 24, 2014 in Sci-Tech, Science with 0 Comments
Crystal Found in Australia Confirmed As Oldest Known Piece of Earth

With the help of a tiny fragment of zircon extracted from a remote rock outcrop in Australia, the picture of how our planet became habitable to life about 4.4 billion years ago is coming into sharper focus. READ MORE: Oldest bit of crust firms up idea of cool early Earth

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People Who Believe Hell Are Less Happy

Written by on February 24, 2014 in Sci-Tech, Science with 0 Comments
People Who Believe Hell Are Less Happy

A new study links believing in hell, and perhaps even thinking about it, with lower levels of happiness and satisfaction in life.

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An Experiment That Might Let Us Control Events Millions Of Years Ago

Written by on February 23, 2014 in Sci-Tech, Science with 0 Comments
An Experiment That Might Let Us Control Events Millions Of Years Ago

Most of us have heard of the famous double-slit experiment. Usually it’s played out in a lab in seconds. But there’s one version, dreamt up by physicist John Archibald Wheeler, which can be played out over much of the galaxy, over millions of years. His thought experiment suggests that we could retroactively determine the fate of ancient photons.

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Spirit Into Matter — The Geometry of Life

Written by on February 23, 2014 in Eco-Friendly, Science with 1 Comment
Spirit Into Matter — The Geometry of Life

Foster Gamble in a short video clip of scientific exploration — illustrating how consciousness comes into form, and its importance in harnessing the energy of the future.

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