"...for the loss of a right arm six hundred pieces of eight; for the loss of a left arm five hundred pieces of eight; for a right leg five hundred pieces of eight; for the left leg four hundred pieces of eight for an eye one hundred pieces of eight; for a finger of the hand the same reward as for the eye."One thing you may have noticed: lefties got a rotten deal!
We found stuff that causes meningitis, food-borne illness, skin, hair, eye infections... fecal contamination, coliforms, quite a few things can make children ill, and several of which are multi-drug resistant and potentially fatal.
Colin Firth and Natalie Portman sort of have a lot in common. For one thing, they are both actors. In fact, they are both Oscar-winning actors. They are both presenting awards at the 84th Annual Academy Awards ceremony this weekend. And...they both are authors of scientific papers?
It's true. Just when you thought they couldn't get any cooler, these actors turn out to be interested in science too.
Colin Firth's involvement with research started when he was a guest editor for a BBC radio program a couple years ago. On the show, he commissioned a researcher to compare the brains of a liberal and a conservative politician with MRI. When the test was replicated with more subjects, the researchers saw correlations between a subject's political affiliation and the amount of grey matter in certain areas of the brain.
Smarty pants Natalie Portman got involved with neuroscience research as an undergraduate at Harvard. She helped with a project on new brain-imaging technology that was used to study object permanence in babies. Infants who have object permanence understand that when a toy is hidden under a blanket it doesn't cease to exist.
While Firth and Portman's Academy Awards have little to do with their own neuroscience exploits, the awards could qualify the actors to be subjects of scientific study, themselves. Apparently the fame and fortune that comes with an Academy Award changes an actor's life so drastically that scientists have found it important to study them. Either that or we common folk are interested in pretty much anything having to do with stardom.
One such study showed that male Oscar-winners have more kids. The men each produced a whopping average of four children, compared to the national American average of 1.2. The researcher came up with three possible explanations of this trend: 1) The winners are considered guaranteed good mates because of their status. 2) The winners now have more time for a family. 3) The winners are actors, so they were probably really good-looking to begin with.
On the flip side, a different study showed that Best Actress winners are more likely to get a divorce after they win the prize. The researchers analyzed the marriages of 751 nominees for Best Actress, and they found that the actresses who won the title had shorter marriages compared to the actresses who were simply nominated. Interestingly, the trend was not seen in the marriages of men nominated for Best Actor. The study speculates that the results are caused by an upset of traditional gender roles when the female partner gains prestige.
Not only do the Academy Awards inspire scientific discovery, they also explicitly celebrate it.
Two weeks ago, the Academy held its annual ceremony dedicated to celebrating the science and technology behind motion pictures. In the past, the Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation has given awards for such work as Dolby Digital surround sound and IMAX screens. Unlike the actual Academy Awards, recipients are not usually recognized for work they did in the previous year. Instead, the Academy only awards those whose work has has a important and lasting contribution to movie-making.
I guess they don't call it the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for nothing!
"We are now in a position to say with some confidence that ignition will happen in the next 6-18 months," stated [Dunne], adding that he felt personally that the breakthrough was likely to happen in around nine months.The vehicle of what would be a monumental step forward for energy production is called Laser Inertial Fusion Energy (with the awesome acronym "LIFE"). LIFE functions by firing a powerful laser at a small, centimeter scale chamber. The laser generates massive pressures within the chamber and creates temperatures of over 4 million degrees Celsius. Miniscule deuterium-tritium fuel pellets will be rapidly inserted into the chamber, and the aforementioned conditions will induce the deuterium and tritium to fuse together, creating helium, a free neutron, and massive amounts of energy.
1205 male and female faces were collected by two research assistants naive to the hypothesis regarding attractiveness. Twenty white psychology students rated each face on its attractiveness on a 9-point scale (5 being of average attractiveness). The averaged results were that the mixed-race faces were perceived as being significantly more attractive than either the white or black faces.In his discussion, Lewis noted that of the photos in the top 5% of attractiveness, 74% were of mixed-race people. If the study's distributions were extrapolated to the general population of the United Kingdom, it would have been expected that mixed-race people would comprise no more than 9% of the top 1% most attractive.
Taken together, these findings strongly support the conclusion that negative faces are more effective at involuntarily attracting or capturing attention than are positive faces... The present results suggest that even when participants are not deliberately looking for faces, negative faces also capture attention more effectively than positive faces.While it is difficult to accurately characterize Blankenship's face without words like "constipated," "bugaboo," or "hysterical," the obvious frown makes his expression an undeniably "negative" one. So -- with Eastwood's study in mind -- it is indeed possible that the over-sized replica of Blankenship's face may cause many an opposing player to shoot a "brick" instead of a "swish."
Humans have a very simple definition of "cute": anything that remotely resembles a human baby. We think big heads are cute because our babies are born with freakishly large brains. Forward-facing eyes are cute because our babies have forward-facing eyes. We even find clumsiness cute because our babies are born without coordination (and some never achieve it).
When cuteness is retained after an animal reaches adulthood, it is called neoteny.
Neoteny is exhibited by a wide range of animals: humans to tree frogs, manatees to penguins. A species' livelihood or an individual's well-being can both be drastically affected by characteristics of neoteny--for better or for worse.
Extinction is less likely
"Ugly" creatures (like the one on the right) aren't quite so lucky. Though many are not even closely related to Homo sapiens, endangered species without neoteny are neglected simply because they don't resemble human babies.
Can thrive in modern society
In humans, the psychological characteristics of neoteny have become more and more prominent. Some experts have attributed it to a single source: college. Traditionally, humans began to reach cognitive maturity in their late teens and early twenties, but college students trade in life experiences to pursue higher education.
Copious shenanigans and ridiculous antics make it clear that maturity is certainly lacking in college life. Researchers say, however, that psychological neoteny is actually essential for higher education. In order to maintain a receptive attitude and an ability to learn lots of new information, college students have to hold on their childlike characteristics.
This cognitive flexibility is an advantage even after graduation. Cute-minded adults can better adapt to the frequent social and professional changes that are required in today's culture.
Might forget to grow up
Not surprisingly, postponing maturity might also work against
a person. And they might never grow up entirely.
Bruce Charlton, founder of the psychological neoteny theory, told Discovery, "People such as academics, teachers, scientists and many other professionals are often strikingly immature outside of their strictly specialist competence in the sense of being unpredictable, unbalanced in priorities, and tending to overreact."
Who knew scientists may have something in common with Peter Pan?
Perceived as submissive
cuteness has become an integral part of the culture. Colorful pictures
of adorable cartoons can be found on everything from hair accessories to
cooking utensils to men's underwear. The Japanese term for this
obsessive cuteness, kawaii, encompasses not just a style but a behavior.
critics of the movement are concerned that the kawaii attitude
squelches self-assertiveness in favor of helplessness and innocence.
Hello Kitty's lack of mouth, for example, may equate cuteness with an
inability to speak for yourself.
In an article for Wired, science writer
Mary Roach asks Hello Kitty designer Yuuko Yamaguchi about the
character's missing feature. "It's hidden in the fur," Yamaguchi says.
Hmmm. See if you can spot it.
May become disfigured
Recent popularity of tiny lap dogs has caused people to breed dogs for their cuteness. So-called "toy" and "tea-cup" varieties have sprung up as breeders try to produce adult dogs that look like puppies.
These new breeds are so small and helpless that it's hard to remember they are descended from wolves. In fact, scientists say toy dogs have been bred to look so young that they resemble not simply infant wolves but fetal wolves.
The dogs' fetal qualities, like large heads and short muzzles, can even cause health problems. In some breeds, the jaw bone is too small to hold all the dog's teeth, which causes dental complications. In other breeds, the brain can simply grow too big for the skull. Talk about cute.
"...an exaltation of larks is a poetic comment on the climb of the skylark high into the sky while uttering its twittering song; a murmuration of starlings is a muted way to describe the chattering of a group of those birds as they come into roost each evening; ...a spring of teal is an apt description of the way they bound from their nests when disturbed."
"There is already evidence that epigenetic transgenerational inheritance can also occur in humans in response to food supply and smoking. Nevertheless, until the epigenetically changeable targets in humans are defined, it will not be possible to determine if such associations are directly mediated by epigenetic changes..."
In the first phase of development we were really enthused by all the things we could control with our mind. We were making things activate, light up and work just by thinking. We brought to life a vast array of prototypes and products... like thought-controlled home appliances or slot car games or video games or a levitating chair.
With humanized technology we can monitor the quality of our sleep cycles. When our productivity starts to slacken, we can go back to that data and see how we can make more effective balance between work and play. Do you know what causes fatigue in you or what brings out your energetic self, what triggers cause you to be depressed or what fun things are going to bring you out of that funk? Imagine if you had access to data that allowed you to rank on a scale of overall happiness which people in your life made you the happiest, or what activities brought you joy. Would you make more time for those people? Would you prioritize? Would you get a divorce?Garten envisions a world where technology serves as a vital tool for introspection. She wants to develop brain scanners and interpretive software can show us what's really going on inside our minds.
Gesture is a unique case because, although it is an action, it does not have a direct effect on the world the way other actions usually do. Gesture has its effect by representing ideas. We have argued here that actions whose primary function is to represent ideas--that is, gestures--can influence thinking, perhaps even more powerfully than actions whose function is to affect the world more directly.Another study used an entirely different angle to observe the impact of gesture on thought. This study's somewhat whimsical goal was to see if acting out metaphors about creativity could produce creativity itself. For one of the experiments, the researchers fashioned a box and then tested to see if subjects thought more creatively when sitting inside or outside it. They were literally "thinking outside the box." Get it?