Animals aren’t tools for thinking. Animals are some of the basic building blocks of thought itself
When he’s teaching, my friend the writer William Fiennes sometimes asks students to write about an encounter they have had with an animal at some time in their lives. What they soon discover is that the animal is always some unspoken aspect of themselves. The rat in the compost bin. The teenage girls escaping from a predatory geography teacher who stumble on a sheep giving birth. The deer shot by two boys who’ve stolen a gun.
Put an animal in a story and it is never just an animal. [more inside]
Macro photos of insects stinging.
What it says on the label - don't click if seeing insects biting and stinging squicks you out. Remarkable photos though.
Secrets of T-Rex sex!
An interview with John Long, author of The Dawn of the Deed: The Prehistoric Origins of Sex
. Long's four-part series on Evolution: This View of Life - 1) Down and Dirty in the Devonian
; 2) Palaeozoic Paternity Problems
; 3) From Bones to Behavior
; 4) From Clasper to Penis
. Also a Scientific American video
("Long discusses a fossil central to this new view of the origin of copulation and live birth: a 375-million-year-old expectant mother fish dubbed Materpiscis attenboroughi
How Creativity Connects with Immorality Are creative types more likely to cross moral boundaries?
Your Brain in Love and Lust
- This Valentine's Day, Scientific American traces the flow of chemicals in the brain during different phases of romance and describes surprising insights from the science of attraction.
At the beginning of last month, Scientific American unveiled a new network of 47 blogs with 55 bloggers
. Their latest posts can be found here
. [more inside]
Phytoplankton Population Drops 40 Percent Since 1950.
Estimates are that the population of these little critters that form the base of the global food chain and that "also gobble up carbon dioxide to produce half the world's oxygen output" is declining by roughly one percent annually. One possible causal factor cited for the decline is global warming. The latest findings on that issue are out, too, and in case you were still wondering: Ten key indicators show global warming "undeniable"
. [more inside]
In his Scientific American column Bering in Mind
, Jesse Bering wrote an article about why we masturbate (previously
). Emily Nagoski, a self described feminist "with strong opinions and a big vocabulary", took offense to a line in the column in which he expressed disgust about the idea of researchers gathering and studying vaginal secretions
, and wrote about it in her blog Sex Nerd
, accusing him of anti-feminism. Bering responds. [more inside]
And scientific researchers appear to be slowly conceding that zoophilia may be a genuine human sexual orientation.
Scientific American's Jesse Bering research into zoophiles, prompted by a "an unusually erudite reader ... a self-professed zoophile" leads to more questions than answers: Are zoophiles attracted only to sexually mature animals—and if not, does this make them “zoopedophiles”? Do zoophiles find particular members of their preferred species more “attractive” than other individuals from those species, and, if so, are they seduced by standard beauty cues, such as facial symmetry in horses? What is the percentage of homosexual zoophiles (those who prefer animal partners of the same sex) over heterosexual zoophiles?
It became necessary, one day, at Willet's Point, to destroy a worthless mule, and the subject was made the occasion of giving instruction to the military class there stationed. The mule was placed in proper position before the camera and duly focused. Upon the animal's forehead a cotton bag was tied containing six ounces of dynamite.....
Instantaneous Photography, 1881 style
. From Scientific American, September 24, 1881: (a) Text
(b) Engravings: Before the Explosion
; After the Explosion
. (c) Photographs: The Explosion
. images from stereoviews.com; link via things magazine.
"He asks each of them to write down...any dollar integer between 2 and 100 without conferring together. If both write the same number...he will pay each of them that amount. But if they write different numbers, he will ... pay both of them the lower number along with a bonus and a penalty--the person who wrote the lower number will get $2 more...and the one who wrote the higher number will get $2 less.... For instance, if Lucy writes 46 and Pete writes 100, Lucy will get $48 and Pete will get $44."
What amount would you choose?
And what does your answer tell us about the limits of Game Theory
Anyone interested in climate change
or is still wondering about it's potential effects and possible solutions should check out this must-read Special Issue of Scientific American. Here is a freebie article they have posted online called A Climate Repair Manual.
Gbalf Xozmn Ram
Rqzyk Wtacu Lkugc Aaxjx Owkyu Dkoxk Zamdg Bnuio Nmrxk Zmqyf Nqeog Ziqxf Gutxe Nkmxd Gzmqj Brqge Kxkfs Qqzui Nactg Djfnq Eenaa Xjnk
"Almost half the children committed one or more of these mistakes. They attempted with apparent seriousness to perform the same actions with the miniature items that they had with the large ones. Some sat down on the little chair: they walked up to it, turned around, bent their knees and lowered themselves onto it. Some simply perched on top, others sat down so hard that the chair skittered out from under them. Some children sat on the miniature slide and tried to ride down it, usually falling off in the process; others attempted to climb the steps, causing the slide to tip over.
(With the chair and slide made of sturdy plastic and only about five inches tall, the toddlers faced no danger of hurting themselves.)"
Scientific American to stop reporting science, more creationism. There's no easy way to admit this. For years, helpful letter writers told us to stick to science. They pointed out that science and politics don't mix. They said we should be more balanced in our presentation of such issues as creationism, missile defense and global warming...But spring is in the air, and all of nature is turning over a new leaf, so there's no better time to say: you were right, and we were wrong.
Advanced methods of bomb detection and investigation.
New equipment developed to scan cars and people, such as a parking lot device which quickly bathes the car's trunk in invisible neutrons, a procedure that makes materials inside the trunk emit gamma-rays
that would indicate the presence of explosives.
Also, a bomb disposal robot which take[s] fingerprints before blowing [a] package up
Perpetuating a common misconcetion about the "Morning After" pill and RU-486 Avrum Bluming, determined that my mom should try an experimental treatment, mifepristone, a synthetic antiprogestin better known as RU-486, the "morning after" contraception drug.
In a little throw-away line, Scientific American columnist Michael Shermer perpetuates the idea that RU-486
and the "Morning After" pill
are the same thing. They are entirely different
. In fact, mifepristone is not a contraceptive at all. Regardless of anyone's opinion about these two products, shouldn't Scientific American know better than to mistake the purpose of an FDA-aproved prescription drug?
In space, you can hear a black hole sing
). Using the Chandra X-Ray Observatory
, astrophysicists have detected a supermassive black hole in the Perseus Cluster
which has been "playing" a B-flat for 3 billion years.
Fascinating as this seemingly counterintuitive discovery (sound carrying through space) is, the real significance lies in that these "sound waves" may explain
why the superhot gases in such regions aren't cooling down and forming more stars.
In an infinite universe
there's a copy of you reading this post - in Latin. The Scientific American updates current cosmological thinking on Parallel Universes - The key question is not whether the multiverse exists but rather how many levels it has
- and reaches some startling conclusions.
15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense
From Scientific American..."Opponents of evolution want to make a place for creationism by tearing down real science, but their arguments don't hold up.
Besieged teachers and others may increasingly find themselves on the spot to defend evolution and refute creationism. The arguments that creationists use are typically specious and based on misunderstandings of (or outright lies about) evolution, but the number and diversity of the objections can put even well-informed people at a disadvantage.
To help with answering them, the following list rebuts some of the most common "scientific" arguments raised against evolution. It also directs readers to further sources for information and explains why creation science has no place in the classroom."
SEX DIFFERENCES IN THE BRAIN: Men and women display patterns of behavioral and cognitive differences that reflect varying hormonal influences on brain development
Sugar and spice versus snips and snails and puppy dog tails. Or was it masculinizing androgens 'organizing' behaviour at critical periods? At least now there is a scientific explanation of why my girlfriend beats me while watching Pat spin the wheel.
Cute hyper-referenced spiel whose tech issues are more seriously discussed elsewhere - http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/fr/616339/posts?page=1 (which is itself probably a plagiarism)
"We have entered the Century of the Environment,
in which the immediate future is usefully conceived as a bottleneck: science and technology, combined with foresight and moral courage, must see us through it and out."
Or so says Edward O. Wilson in February's Scientific American. Consumption and production can NOT be infinite, no matter what "near-horizon timelines" predict. But will capitalism rise to the occasion and will the free market fix the wrongs it's committed?
[Inneresting Scientific American article about Hypnosis]
including video of a real-live scientific hypnosis session
Have you ever been hypnotized? Has your sister? If not, would you like to be? If so, was it cool? Did it help you control your insatiable craving for prawns?
The Semantic Web is Coming....
There's a new web coming...and this one will surf you
. Smart agents will be all the rage, managing your appointments and finding showtimes for movies they know you'll like. What do you want the internet to be? [From Scientific American
Some naval experts believe that supercavitating systems could alter the nature of undersea warfare, changing stealthy cat-and-mouse stalking contests between large submarines into something resembling aerial combat, featuring noisy high-speed dogfights among small, short-range "subfighters" shooting underwater bullets at one another after having been launched from giant "subcarriers."
A Scourge of Small Arms
"The root causes of ethnic, religious and sectarian conflicts around the world are of course complex and varied, typically involving historical grievances, economic deprivation, demagogic leadership and an absence of democratic process. Although small arms and light weapons are not themselves a cause of conflict, their ready accessibility and low cost can prolong combat, encourage a violent rather than a peaceful resolution of differences, and generate greater insecurity throughout society--which in turn leads to a spiraling demand for, and use of, such weapons."