Page 3.14

Archives for October, 2011

Popular Anti-Science

On Class M, James Hrynyshyn reports a counter-intuitive survey conclusion: people who are more educated about science are less likely to be worried about climate change. The study posits that views on climate change are “cultural” and not purely scientific, making people want to “fit in” to a skeptical mainstream. But James writes, “Surely embracing…

Leaving Light in the Dust?

Last month, a team of researchers announced that their neutrinos appeared to be travelling faster than the speed of light. Ethan Siegel explains that the mass of a neutrino is “less than one-millionth the mass of the electron, but still not equal to zero” and “should move at a speed indistinguishable from the speed of…

Past and Future Forecasts

Meteorology still depends on a bit of clairvoyance, but in the 19th century many sailors, fishermen, and farmers “had to rely on storm glass, an inexpensive and profoundly inaccurate divining tool.” The mixture of “camphor crystals, potassium nitrate, ammonium chloride, water and alcohol” transitions from “solid to crystalline under circumstances that still aren’t full understood.”…

Hungry, Hot & Crowded

On Casaubon’s Book, Sharon Astyk asks if we can stomach a new kind of cuisine— in case, you know, a massive volcanic eruption wipes out all our staple grains. Instead of wheat, corn and rice, “we probably would begin getting comfortable with acorn pancakes and turnip stew with taro dumplings.” But Sharon says that even…

Kepler Doubles its Prospects

The planet-hunting spacecraft known as Kepler has detected the first definitive exoplanet in a binary star system, and lead author Dr. Laurance Doyle has all the details on Life at the SETI Institute. He writes, “Perhaps half the stars in the galaxy are in double star systems. Understanding that planets can form in close binary…

Cortical Hardware and Software

On Developing Intelligence, Chris Chatham shares a new study which demonstrates that performing new tasks actually reverses the accustomed workflow between different parts of the brain. Chris writes “Cole et al demonstrate that the causal influence is from [the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex] to [the anterior prefrontal cortex] during the encoding and performance of a novel…