January 18, 2019

Science

"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."

"Israel is in the midst of an ambitious mass-transit project, a new light-rail network... But the project has drawn the ire of environmentalists, who say it threatens a precious resource: Tel Aviv’s towering, glossy-leafed ficus trees."

"Scholars are now interested in whether having a vocabulary item for a concept influences thought in domains far from language, such as visual perception."

" In a new article for Science Advances, Anita Radini, an archaeologist at Britain’s University of York, published evidence showing the presence of lapis lazuli—an ancient, rare, lovely blue stone pigment—on the teeth of a medieval German nun."

"Hangovers aren’t really about dehydration. If that were the case, you could simply drink a lot of water and be on the mend. Sure, booze is a diuretic, but even more important is the inflammation..."

"Flat earthers, who believe the Earth is a large disk, may be shocked to find the ship’s navigation is based on a spherical planet."

"Have you ever started crying at a live show? Not because it’s sad or even all that emotional, but because the spectacle is so overwhelming that it feels like all your synapses are firing at full capacity..."

"We can’t step outside the box in order to look within, because the box is all there is. A First Cause is not only unknowable, but also scientifically unintelligible."

"It’s hard to study a substance that until very recently has been almost universally illegal. And the few studies we do have were done mostly in the nineteen-eighties and nineties, when cannabis was not nearly as potent as it is now."

"As the reticular system becomes more activated, so too does the feeling of flying or falling. This is why you might dream that you're falling ever faster — then wake up just before you hit the ground."

"In scientific, as well as popular descriptions today, genes “act,” “behave,” “direct,” “control,” “design,” “influence,” have “effects,” are “responsible for,” are “selfish,” and so on, as if minds of their own with designs and intentions."

" One mammogram in ten produces a false positive result. The psychological distress that results is one problem; false positives also make women want to give up on screening. "

"The birds, which have come from Russia and eastern Europe, form dark, shifting shapes known as murmurations as they swirl through the skies of southern Israel."

"The denial of climate change and the denial of racism rest on the same foundation: an attack on observable reality."

"Freud’s notion of a dark, libidinous unconscious is obsolete. A new theory holds that the brain produces a continuous stream of unconscious predictions."

"...woolly mammoth research is just one of several de-extinction projects—there are about ten underway now—that aim to use genetics to restore lost species. "

"Philosopher Peter Carruthers insists that conscious thought, judgment and volition are illusions. They arise from processes of which we are forever unaware."

"Loeb is well aware that most scientists recoil from anything that sounds like UFO craziness, but he believes an overabundance of skepticism has cut them off from out-of-the box ideas."

"The new space race is under way, but unlike the original two-state heat of the 60s, today’s space race is a veritable tournament, with Europe, India, China and Japan competing with Russia and the US to colonise pieces of our extraterrestrial world."

"I want to suggest an answer to a single question, one that hardly covers the whole philosophical territory but is an important aspect of it. Would human extinction be a tragedy?"

"The approach, built on advances in gene research and data analytics, holds transformative possibilities for cancer treatment and could upend the way medicine traditionally has been practiced."

"Dark energy is the term that scientists have given to the mysterious ‘something’ deemed responsible for the accelerating expansion of the Universe."

"An intelligent fish has stirred up a debate about how to measure self-awareness among animals—and what self-awareness even is in the first place."

"Science is essentially the search for and recognition of reality. Each year, there are those who ignore this endeavor entirely, preferring fictitious narratives to concrete truths."

"Thankfully, in science, we don't need to be there ourselves to have proof. Here are four different pieces of evidence we can point to that demonstrate the Moon landings actually occurred."

"Changes in colony behaviour due to past events are not the simple sum of ant memories, just as changes in what we remember, and what we say or do, are not a simple set of transformations, neuron by neuron."

"The designer babies have thus been called the “future-we-should-not-want” for each new reproductive technology or intervention. But the babies never came and are nowhere close. I am not surprised."

"One hundred years after the demise of the passenger pigeon, California-based non-profit Revive & Restore is attempting to bring the species back to life."

"People with a lot of self-control — people who, when they happen upon a delicious food they don’t think they should eat, seemingly grin and bear the temptation until it passes — have it easy."

"Life on the sprawling grasslands precipitated a shift from individualistic ways of living to more cooperative ways. This was the birth of what you might call “social intelligence,” and it changed the way our minds work."

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JJ Editor's Picks

"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."

"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."

"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"

"Two new documentaries take on Billy McFarland and his disastrous music festival... the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing."

"Eating out, ordering in. Throw in a bagel here, a coffee there, and it all adds up. "It's definitely a challenge for people my age to save on food.""

"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "

"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."

"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."

"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."

"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."

"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."

"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"