In this post: the large version of the Medicine & Health, Brain & Behavior and Technology channel photos, comments from readers, and the best posts of the week.
Medicine & Health. From Flickr, by Vox Efx
Brain & Behavior. Neurons in the brain. By Benedict Campbell at Wellcome Images, via LoreleiRanvig on Flickr
Technology. From Flickr, by jurvetson
Reader comments of the week:
In Energy Equivalence, Jim of Dr. Joan Bushwell’s Chimpanzee Refuge does the math to show that Americans have at least 3.713 kjoules of energy stored as excess fat. He also calculates the kjoules imported every day from Saudi Arabia, in the form of crude oil, and notes that we could fuel ourselves for four days without Saudi imports at all, if we were somehow able to convert the extra fat into usable energy.
Reader mxracer652 takes this observation a step further:
I’ll start the campaign:
Convince your fat neighbors to let you ride them to the store! Energy independence now!
Over on the Brain & Behavior channel, the Neurophilosopher shares a few examples of animals using cognitive skills they are usually supposed not to have, in 5 amazing feats of animal intelligence. From an elephant that responds to its reflection in a mirror to a crow that fashions a hook out of a regular old twig, the creatures challenge our definitions of human intelligence.
Reader The Balanced Health Guy believes it’s a tough line to draw:
What you show is that there is less separation between us and the animal kingdom than we care to acknowledge. Anybody that has a dog or cat knows that these animals establish a form of communication that’s all their own.
So I guess that question is this: does exhibiting these skills make them more human, or does it make us more like animals?
And in Technology news, Effect Measure explains in Why fever screening at airports is unlikely to work that while keeping sick people off airplanes is a great idea in theory—especially for controlling pandemics— the available technology is not yet up to par. Using infrared scanners on the forehead to measure body temperature, French researchers found that 84-90% of fever “positives” identified by the scanner were not in fact fevered. Some readers are also worried about compromised privacy with the devices.
Reader g336 isn’t too concerned about that, but he has some reservations of his own:
And the passengers who are identified by these remote sensors as having fevers will be offered homeopathic remedies, right?
Seems to me that any company promoting a device of that type with a claim of accuracy is engaged in fraud and misrepresentation of the product and ought to be prosecuted unless they can produce supportive findings from an accredited independent testing lab.
As for privacy invasions, sticking something in your ear pales into insignificance next to having the border guards copy the entire contents of your hard drive. Or having to pull down your pants and give a working demonstration of your “private” parts under the watchful gaze of your employer in order to prove that you’re “pure enough” to work for them. Ears are “public parts”, after all.
Some other Medicine & Health posts we thought were cool this week were:
From the Brain & Behavior channel:
And from the Technology channel:
Look for highlights from other channels coming up!