In case you missed them, here are my picks from ResearchBlogging.org’s Psychology and Neuroscience posts from the past week.
- Mice navigate a virtual-reality maze. Go for the amazingly cute video. Stay for the science!
- Brain imaging for lie-detection doesn’t live up to the hype. Remember all those stories about fMRI lie detectors a couple years back? BPS Research Digest shows why fMRI is no better than an old-fashioned polygraph.
- How good are you at trading stocks? Apparently the length of your fingers can do a good job predicting your success as a stock trader. Honest.
- Many people (especially men) say they enjoy the occasional sexual banter at work, as long as it isn’t outright harrassment. Andrew Patrick looks at a study showing that even “enjoyable” sexual behavior at work isn’t a good thing.
Also, if you’re a member of ResearchBlogging.org, be sure to check out our new widget (like the one on the right of this blog). Now you can place the widget on your own blog so your readers can see the latest posts in your favorite topics, like “Psychology,” “Neuroscience,” and “Health.”
It seems the more we learn about Saturn’s other moons, the stranger they become–Phoebe no longer appears to be the oddest one. Iapetus resembles the Taoist symbol of yin and yang, with one hemisphere covered in dark organic material and the other sheathed in bright white ice. It also has a curious ridge of mountains more than 10 kilometers tall stretched along its equator, making it look like a giant walnut. Titan, by far the largest of Saturn’s moons, is the only body in the solar system other than Earth with a dense nitrogen-rich atmosphere. There, it’s so cold that water ice is hard as rock, and substances like ethane and methane form their own “hydrological” cycles like water does here on Earth. Scientists suspect Titan might even be capable of supporting exotic forms of carbon-based life.
But Phoebe may not be so easily dethroned. The moon was back in the news recently when an October 7 report in Nature revealed that Saturn has a previously undiscovered ring, vastly larger than all the others but invisible to most telescopes. The next day, Dave Strickland, an astronomer at Johns Hopkins University, explained the research on his blog.
Saturn’s new ring, spotted in infrared light by the Spitzer Space Telescope, was almost inconceivably large–36 million kilometers in diameter, or a quarter of the distance from the Earth to the Sun.