Men and Women Ain’t So Different
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus….or are they? Couldn’t we all just be from Earth? Finally science has produced evidence that supports what we already knew — the whole “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” trope is false. According to a new study from the University of Rochester, men and women don’t have such distinct psychological characteristics after all. Watch Laci and Trace as they delve into the classic gender debate.
by DNews Channel.
Image source via PetaPixel.com
If Higgs Boson Calculations Are Right, A Catastrophic ‘Bubble’ Could End Universe
by EYDER PERALTA
For a universe so old and so illustrious, the end may be boring and lightning quick: According to one Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory theoretician, if what we know about the Higgs boson subatomic particle is true, the universe may come to an end when another universe slurps us up at light speed.
“If you use all the physics that we know now and you do what you think is a straightforward calculation, it’s bad news,” Joseph Lykken said at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston on Monday. “It may be that the universe we live in is inherently unstable and at some point billions of years from now it’s all going to get wiped out. This has to do with the Higgs energy field itself.”
Here’s how he explained his theory to NBC News’ Cosmic Log:
“He said the parameters for our universe, including the Higgs mass value as well as the mass of another subatomic particle known as the top quark, suggest that we’re just at the edge of stability, in a ‘metastable’ state. Physicists have been contemplating such a possibility for more than 30 years. Back in 1982, physicists Michael Turner and Frank Wilczek wrote in Nature that “without warning, a bubble of true vacuum could nucleate somewhere in the universe and move outwards at the speed of light, and before we realized what swept by us our protons would decay away.”
“Lykken put it slightly differently: ‘The universe wants to be in a different state, so eventually to realize that, a little bubble of what you might think of as an alternate universe will appear somewhere, and it will spread out and destroy us.’”
According to Discovery News, Lykken said if this happens, it’ll happen at light speed, which means if anyone is around to witness it — our solar system will be long gone — they’ll be gone before they realize it…
(read more: NPR) (image: CERN)
Holocene (where we currently are)
In honor of Darwin Day today, it’s always a good time to remember that even Charles Darwin had days when he hated everybody and felt like a big idiot stupidhead:
“But I am very poorly today & very stupid & hate everybody & everything. One lives only to make blunders.– I am going to write a little Book for Murray on orchids & today I hate them worse than everything so farewell & in a sweet frame of mind,
I am ever yours
(via Brain Pickings)
What Do Fish Thoughts Look Like?
Like us, zebrafish get hungry. But unlike us they have to engage full-on hunting mode instead of just walking to the fridge to get a snack. By observing a fish brain while it hunts for dinner, Japanese scientists have seen exactly what thoughts look like on the scale of single neurons.
Zebrafish, a common model organism used in biology labs around the world, were held in place while a paramecium snack swam in front of their eye. The scientists were able to genetically engineer the fish’s neurons to glow green when activated, and because the fish are nearly transparent, they could use sophisticated microscopes to map which neurons were firing.
What you’re looking at is the thought pattern of a zebrafish tracking its prey! This is the “thought” that represents “yum yum dinner”. It’s super-important to know that no single neuron holds a thought. Anything that we think or feel exists as a network of neurons firing (or not firing) in a very particular pattern. Understanding that pattern can help us map how an abstract thought is written in “meatspace” so to speak.
The only catch is taking the pattern you see and making it understandable. That fish thought above? That’s the thought, but we have no clue what it means yet. Like following a road map without labels, this trip through the brain is still a confusing one.
How We See Color
One of the most mind-boggling parts of color theory is the observation that two different colors of light, when mixed, can create a new color. For instance, red and green light shining together, like from the pixels of a TV or computer screen, give the perception of yellow. This is a phenomenon called “additive color” mixing, illustrated below:
It turns out that the word “perception” is the key there. Different colors of light each have their own characteristic wavelength and the yellow coming from your monitor is still red and green wavelengths traveling simultaneously toward your eye. The perception of yellow, or any “in-between” color, comes from simultaneously activating more than one kind of “cone” color receptor in the back of your eye. See how yellow, which by itself would have a wavelength of around 570 nm, falls between the red and green cone receptor ranges:
That explanation up there is thanks to another great video by the folks at TED Ed. Check out my previous vision posts here, including OK Go and Sesame Street explaining primary colors, a fun test of your ability to tell colors apart, and an exploration of the idea that Vincent Van Gogh may have been colorblind.
Also, XKCD did a really fun color survey to discover what people in different cultures and from different backgrounds called different hues. The results are amazing (below), be sure to read about the whole project here.
“Call it a Saturnian version of the Ouroboros, the mythical serpent that bites its own tail. In a new paper that provides the most detail yet about the life and death of a monstrous thunder-and-lightning storm on Saturn, scientists from NASA’s Cassini mission describe how the massive storm churned around the planet until it encountered its own tail and sputtered out. It is the first time scientists have observed a storm consume itself in this way anywhere in the solar system.
“This Saturn storm behaved like a terrestrial hurricane - but with a twist unique to Saturn,” said Andrew Ingersoll, a Cassini imaging team member based at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, who is a co-author on the new paper in the journal Icarus. “Even the giant storms at Jupiter don’t consume themselves like this, which goes to show that nature can play many awe-inspiring variations on a theme and surprise us again and again.”
Earth’s hurricanes feed off the energy of warm water and leave a cold-water wake. This storm in Saturn’s northern hemisphere also feasted off warm “air” in the gas giant’s atmosphere. The storm, first detected on Dec. 5, 2010, and tracked by Cassini’s radio and plasma wave subsystem and imaging cameras, erupted around 33 degrees north latitude. Shortly after the bright, turbulent head of the storm emerged and started moving west, it spawned a clockwise-spinning vortex that drifted much more slowly. Within months, the storm wrapped around the planet at that latitude, stretching about 190,000 miles (300,000 kilometers) in circumference, thundering and throwing lightning along the way. ”
Immune Response Caught on Film
Olena Kamenyeva, of the National Institute of Health’s NIAID, won the Small World in Motion Photomicrography Competition. Kamenyeva’s video, titled “Sensing danger,” shows the immune response in the lymph node of a mouse. Kamenyeva says this video is representative of efficient innate immune reaction in the lymph node, which typically has been studied for the development of adaptive immune response.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/videos/2013/01/immune-response-caught-film
The oldest portrait of a woman ever found, dating from 26,000 years ago, carved in mammoth ivory and proving that even our early ancestors could capture the expressive nature of the human face in a style that was uniquely meaningful to them.
Read more about how researchers are studying artifacts like these through the lens of art rather than solely through anthropology at Short Sharp Science.
Stunning work. Which do you think is more exquisitely built? The cosmos or the human form?
One is a seemingly infinite collection of various condensations of matter, all expanding outward from the same genesis, existing independently across immense distances that turn even the simplest observations into time travel.
The other is a localized collection of biological units, each dependent on the summed contributions of the whole, and even on the contributions of life beyond itself, in order to exist at all. As the cosmos does, it arises from a single genesis, but its growth and organization rely on an intensely intricate choreography of signals, relationships and cooperation across distances small enough that we don’t distinguish them from the body as a whole.
One is built out small bits of the other, but the larger, in a way, does not exist except that it has been named by the smaller.