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Neuroskeptic

Op, Op, Op. The Neuroscience of Gangnam Style?

By Neuroskeptic | January 16, 2017 3:29 pm

“Our results revealed characteristic patterns of brain activity associated with Gangnam Style”. So say the authors of a new paper called Neural correlates of the popular music phenomenon.

The authors, Qiaozhen Chen et al. from Zhejiang in China, used fMRI to record brain activity while 15 volunteers listened to two musical pieces: Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ and a “light music” control, Richard Clayderman’s piano piece ‘A Comme Amour’.

Chen et al. say that Gangnam Style was associated with ” …

D-brief

After a Cave Turns Deadly, Scientists Seek Answers

By Anna Bitong | January 16, 2017 2:04 pm

A deadly mystery lingers in a cave in northern Spain. A sign at the entrance warns visitors not to enter.

For decades, speleologists have trained inside CJ-3, a 164-foot-deep cave in Cañon del Río Lobos Natural Park in the Soria province. But in 2014, visitors to the cave experienced something new at the bottom: they nearly suffocated, and one person fainted. The oxygen levels had suddenly, and inexplicably, dropped.

The unusual incident prompted park officials to contact geologist …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

D-brief

Bulge in Venus' Atmosphere Likely Caused by Gravity Waves

By Nathaniel Scharping | January 16, 2017 1:56 pm

A massive, bow-shaped wave was spotted for the first time in the highest regions of Venus’ atmosphere, perplexing astronomers.

The structure was captured by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in some of the first images returned by their Akatsuki orbiter following a troubled orbital insertion in late 2015. Using both infrared and UV imaging, researchers spotted the prominent feature in the planet’s upper atmosphere, where winds whip by in excess of 200 miles per hour. Any feat …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics
MORE ABOUT: solar system

Seriously, Science?

Scientists perfect a microbiological recipe for artificial farts.

By Seriously Science | January 16, 2017 6:00 am

I don’t know about you, but after accidentally farting in a stranger’s face during a math lecture (don’t ask), I dream of a future where fart-neutralizing pants are readily available. But before we can design these desperately needed products, we must first develop realistic artificial farts with which to test them. That’s where these Danish scientists come in. They used common lab strains of different species of bacteria to develop a “recipe” that yields a realistic fart odor when grown an …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: ha ha poop, Scat-egory

ImaGeo

A wimpy La Niña is on the way toward La Nada status

By Tom Yulsman | January 14, 2017 3:48 pm

La Niña typically cools the Pacific. But this time, large swathes of warmer-than-average sea temperatures have muted the cooling.

The surface waters of the Pacific Ocean have been considerably warmer than average lately — with one exception: a small spear of coolness along the equator that’s characteristic of La Niña.

Apparently, all that warmth has prevented the current La Niña — a cool phase in the Pacific that influences weather worldwide — from gaining much strength. In  …

Neuroskeptic

What Can fMRI Tell Us About Mental Illness?

By Neuroskeptic | January 14, 2017 10:53 am

A remarkable and troubling new paper: Addressing reverse inference in psychiatric neuroimaging: Meta-analyses of task-related brain activation in common mental disorders

Icahn School of Medicine researchers Emma Sprooten and colleagues carried out an ambitious task: to pull together the results of every fMRI study which has compared task-related brain activation in people with a mental illness and healthy controls.

Sprooten et al.’s analysis included 537 studies with a total of 21,427  …

D-brief

NASA Has the Asteroid Protection Plan, But Where's the Money?

By Nathaniel Scharping | January 13, 2017 3:48 pm

Asteroid impacts have the distinction of being one of the few sci-fi concepts that will definitely happen at some point. But despite the clear and present (although potentially far off) danger of getting smacked by an asteroid, we’ve devoted few resources to averting such a catastrophe.

As Discover reported in 2013, NASA’s budget for such operations is barebones, and it’s unclear how that might change under the Trump Administration. NASA in 2015 cut funding to the Sentinel mission  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

Seriously, Science?

Flashback Friday: The mysterious dancing epidemic of 1518.

By Seriously Science | January 13, 2017 6:10 am

In their free time, some scientists and doctors like to try to figure out causes of medically-related historical events. For example, the authors of this study investigate what may have caused the crazy dancing “epidemic” of 1518 in Strasbourg: “Some time in mid-July 1518 a lone woman stepped into one of its narrow streets and began a dancing vigil that was to last four or even 6 days in succession. Within a week another 34 had joined the dance. And by the end of August, one chronicler …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: old-skool

Citizen Science Salon

Turtle Crossing in Wisconsin

By Guest | January 12, 2017 2:16 pm

By: Russ Campbell

Why did the turtle cross the road? Change the “why” to a “where,” and conservation biologist Andrew Badje just might be able to tell you. Through his work with the Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program, Badje collects turtle road crossing data to help map populations, especially at precarious road and rail crossings.

How and why was the Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program created?

Seeing how I was coordinating a few citizen science projects and performing …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Environment

D-brief

With the Flip of a Switch, These Mice Attack

By Nathaniel Scharping | January 12, 2017 12:17 pm

With a flash of light, researchers have induced mice to pounce on anything in their line of sight.

Researchers from Yale University and the University of São Paulo isolated the regions of the mouse brain that control both hunting and biting, and say they can activate the neurons involved on command. The research should help illuminate another small part of the neural pathways that connect the outside world to our internal computations.
Between the Action and the Reaction
In this case …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Mind & Brain, top posts
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