Posts Tagged: It’s Science!
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Just Lie to Yourself: Science

[Scientists] found similar differences among another group of campers, who were instructed to to listen to music as they walked. The guide told them to focus on the music, asking them, for instance, where they heard the music more clearly.Wansink documented that the music-focused walkers consumed far fewer M&M's offered up as a snack after the stroll, compared to participants who had just focused on the exercise of walking.

Some other possible life tips based on this research: While at work, drink—your shift will feel like a party, and you won't need to go out afterward. Instead of "doing chores" around the house, tell your friends, and yourself, that [...]

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Who Will Rescue Time from the Physicists?

Lee Smolin thinks that time is real. If that strikes you as unusual, you haven’t spent much time with theoretical physicists, who tend to think that the passing of time is either an emergent property of the universe, or, perhaps, an illusion.

“Some of my colleagues suggest that time is an approximate description of the universe,” Smolin, a theoretical physicist at the Perimeter Institute, writes in Time Reborn. “A description that is useful on large scales but dissolves when we look too closely. Temperature is like this.” The reason that some physicists have rejected time, he argues, is that they have mistaken mathematical [...]

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The Capacity Of Baseball Stadiums In Real Numbers

Left: Dodger Stadium. Right: Michael Jordan's house.

Dodger Stadium 56000 Los Angeles Dodgers Square footage of Michael Jordan's house

Coors Field 50480 Colorado Rockies Prison inmates in the state of Ohio

Yankee Stadium 50291 New York Yankees Population of Welland, Ontario, according to this sign

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Bodies Given To Science

Sometimes when we walk through the mall, my boyfriend Scott will whisper: “How many people here do you think have held a human heart?” Or: “Do you think that guy ever removed a brain?” Scott has held a human heart and he says it's heavier and whiter than you would think. He will remove a brain from a female cadaver in March.

Scott is in his second year of pre-med. He, along with two other students, based on their high grades in anatomy class, are the body preppers for this semester’s anatomy lectures. The dissections are supervised by two part-time anatomy professors. One practices as a physician’s assistant, [...]

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When Will The Machines Start Predicting Bestsellers?

In November, Knopf bought a 900-page debut novel by Garth Risk Hallberg for almost $2 million. It’s a tremendous gamble, regardless of the book’s quality, if one that many publishers were happy to make: more than 10 houses bid more than $1 million, according to the Times. Predicting a novel’s fate in the commercial or critical marketplace is a fool’s gambit, as indicated both by works like the first Harry Potter novel, which was repeatedly rejected before becoming, well, Harry Potter, and by expensive flops like Charles Frazier’s Thirteen Moons. The novelist Curtis Sittenfeld said, "People think publishing is a business, but it’s a casino."

But what if publishers [...]

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Drinking Makes You Thin And Healthy And Don't Read Any More

"[Y]ou may be surprised to learn that there’s no scientific evidence whatsoever to support the idea that alcohol makes you put on weight. That’s hugely counter-intuitive, I know, because alcohol certainly is said to contain lots of calories. But the curious fact remains that alcohol isn’t fattening. Here’s just some of the evidence." — Now you could click through to see what this evidence says and decide for yourself whether or not Science writer Tony Edwards' claim that alcohol is actually good for [...]

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Our Friends Introduced Us To This Wonderful Band

A few months ago, Awl Music switched over to a new kind of curation. (Yes, sorry, "curation." You know: choosing videos.) Instead of picking videos one at a time, by hand (by mouse?) we started picking shows from YouTube and Vimeo, and set the site up to automatically post new episodes from the shows that we like. Right now there are 8 shows that get fed into the stream: La Blogotheque, a live music series produced by the French music website of the same name; Beat Making Lab, a PBS Digital Studios program in which some guys introduce a compact electronic music studio to various cultures [...]

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The Beauty of a Pissing Contest

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, writer Cat Ferguson tells us more about a weeklong pissing contest she undertook with her roommates.

i told my roommates about this study and now they're measuring how long it takes them to pee http://t.co/XaLLEnn7Hp pic.twitter.com/MtliELwqEQ

— cat ferguson (@biocuriosity) June 25, 2014

Cat! So what happened here?

I just moved back to New York City after moving away in 2010 for school. I’m subletting in a loft where I don’t have walls or a door, which is a little terrifying and weird, especially [...]

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Of Mice and Men Must Die

"In research published online April 28 in Nature Methods, the scientists report that the presence of male experimenters produced a stress response in mice and rats equivalent to that caused by restraining the rodents for 15 minutes in a tube or forcing them to swim for three minutes. This stress-induced reaction made mice and rats of both sexes less sensitive to pain. Female experimenters produced no such effects." The senior author of the paper, Jeffrey Mogil, suggests that the "problem is easily solved" but curiously, he doesn't suggest the easiest solution of all, which is to simply ban men.

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What Time Is "Primordial Gravitational Waves"?

Later today, science-type people are going to make an announcement that they promise is super-exciting and also possibly intelligible to the non-science community. The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the rumors have it, will be talking about evidence for "primordial gravitational waves." Now is the time to bone up on your weird science, so that you can have an opinion about it, or what else is the point of living?

Here's an explanation from a few years back: So-called gravitational waves are a prediction of Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity—moving objects perturb spacetime, generating waves like a boat moving across a lake….Such primordial waves might offer [...]

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Being Cold and Shivering Is Technically Exercise: Science

"Shivering in the cold sparks a series of biochemical reactions deep within the body that alters fat cells and bolsters metabolism, much as formal exercise does, according to a fascinating series of new experiments. The findings intimate that exercise and shivering are related in ways not previously suspected." Unfortunately, this study also finds that working out in the cold is no better than working out in a comfortable environment. Also God clearly does not want us to be healthy; every conceivable route to a fitter body is littered with land mines of pain and discomfort. Just stay in bed and order a delivery meatball sandwich. It's what He [...]

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Coffee Drinkers Never Forget

"Caffeine enhances consolidation of long-term memories in humans," says some guy who comes from Science, which is all well and good until you remember that your long-term memories are full of disappointment, sadness and outright horror, at which point you may also recall that there is a solution to erasing those memories, [...]

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The Bog People Were Waiting

A good six thousand or so years ago, Northern Europe was covered in swamp-like, stagnant pools of dead plant. These bogs happened to be great places to get rid of stuff, and so our ancestors, being not much different than we are today, really, filled them with refuse and the occasional body.

We're not exactly sure why those bodies were put there. The prevailing theory is they were human sacrifices, but it's entirely possible that bogs were just convenient places to store dead people. Either way, there they stayed, buried and preserved for thousands of years, just waiting for the chance to scare the crap out of an eight-year-old girl [...]

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Four Important Things For Us Dumb People To Know About Space Before Seeing "Gravity"

Are you stupid about science and things? I am! I can barely do math. So after several years of study, I can tell you, fellow dingbat, what you need to know about space before seeing terrifying and wonderful space movie Gravity. It really is as good as everyone says. Here's one tip about seeing this film: when you can, keep your eyes on the horizon line. I was worried I was gonna heave a little, in part from visual orientation problems but also from anxiety. Throwing up in a movie theater is the third worst place to throw up. The second worst is the subway. We'll get to the [...]

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That Big Study About How the Student Debt Nightmare Is in Your Head? It's Garbage

The worries are exaggerated: Only 7% of young adults with student debt have $50,000 or more. http://t.co/Aavawc8KpC

— David Leonhardt (@DLeonhardt) June 24, 2014

Doesn't that sound like a fact? Well, it's something that might be a fact.

The Brookings Institute Institution (!!!) is here to tell you that the whole fable of debt-panicked young people in America is a lie! And their study comes complete with a huge announcement in the New York Times, which puts a rather snide slant on the whole thing. It's all in your head, millennials! "Only 7 percent of young-adult households with education debt have $50,000 or more of it," [...]

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To Boldly Go

I have to say, I bet if you made some kind of vitamin-water drink called "Astronaut Pee" you would probably do brisk business among both the kids who like edgy/gross things demographic and those who are easily susceptible to claims about "ions" and "osmosis" and "Science." Given NASA's crash for cash right now it seems like it might be something worth looking into.

Photo by iurii, via Shutterstock

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Smell You Later, In Line, At The Airport

"'There are recognizable patterns of each person’s body odor that remain steady….Therefore, every person has his/hers own odor and this would allow his/her identification within a group of people at an accurate rate higher than 85%. This result leads the way to improve personal identification that is less aggressive than other biometric techniques being used today.' The system could eventually be installed in airport to 'sniff' passenger as they pass through."

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Sucker Yourself To Sleep

You know what, if you had a bunch of people from Science come to my house and lecture me about slumber I would probably fall fast asleep too.

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Science 84% Sure Of What Makes A Book Sell

"Scientists have developed an algorithm which can analyse a book and predict with 84 per cent accuracy whether or not it will be a commercial success," and Jennifer Weiner has already accused them of sexism.

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Another Reason To Regret Not Becoming A Scientist

"A whisky sipped in a room smelling of fresh-cut grass with the sound of sheep 'baa-ing' in the background tastes different from having the same drink in a sweet-smelling, red room with piano music playing, research suggests."