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Neuroskeptic

Does Psychology Need SWaG? The Ethics of Naturalistic Experiments

By Neuroskeptic | January 21, 2018 10:59 am

Diederik Stapel. Brian Wansink. Nicolas Guéguen. Anyone who’s been following recent debates over research integrity in psychology will recognize these as three prolific and successful academic psychologists who have suffered a total (Stapel) or ongoing (Wansink, Guéguen) fall from grace in the past few years.

If you’re not familiar with these cases, you can start by reading over Nick Brown’s blog. Brown has been at the centre of the investigations into irregularities in Wansink and Guéguen …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: ethics, methods, science, select, Top Posts

D-brief

Your Weekly Attenborough: Ctenocheloides attenboroughi

By Nathaniel Scharping | January 19, 2018 5:10 pm

Some species are so rare, so secluded or timid that they flit through our consciousness like a ghost. Perhaps they’re known from no more than a single specimen, others, undoubtedly, exist only in the hazy halls of rumor. The diversity of life is too great for us, a single species, to pin every bit of biodiversity under the spotlight of science.

Take as an example the ghost shrimp, Ctenocheloides attenboroughi (click through for a picture). The species is known from a single individua …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

D-brief

For Mars, NASA Is Thinking Nuclear

By Bill Andrews | January 19, 2018 4:35 pm

Everyone knows NASA has a tough job. Slipping “the surly bonds of Earth” is just the beginning for them. And while getting to the moon, and even Mars, is technically possible right now, one of the biggest problems remains finding and using a decent power source.

So why not use nuclear power?

Nuclear Know-how

No, really. A small nuclear reactor might be the perfect solution, in addition to being pretty safe and clean. Nuclear power, unlike the weaponry, is actually one of the saf …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: space exploration
Captain Phasma stands with several of her First Order stormtroopers in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." Credit: Disney

Lovesick Cyborg

Why Star Wars Space Nazis Shun Killer Robots

By Jeremy Hsu | January 19, 2018 2:50 pm

Star Wars films tend to dwell upon space fantasy adventures that mix starships with space wizards wielding laser swords in a galaxy far, far away. Despite that focus, a number of Star Wars films also happen to feature another staple of science fiction: killer robots.

Fictional killer robots often represent either the agents of greater villains or the primary existential threat to humanity in many science fiction films. Iconic Star Wars villains such as Darth Vader and Kylo Re …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: technology, top posts

D-brief

Electronic Skin Puts the World in the Palm of Your Hand

By Charlotte Hu | January 19, 2018 1:45 pm

Someday, physically touching our electronic devices will be as archaic as standing up from the recliner to change the channel. Voice recognition systems and home assistants can turn on lights, pull up podcasts and order paper towels on command. Cameras in video game systems and televisions can do our bidding with a gesture.

And to the list of hands-free methods of component control, we can add electronic skin.

E-skins have been garnering a lot of attention from software and material en …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts

The Crux

Flu Season Has Exposed Life-Threatening Flaws in Medical Supply Chains

By Morten Wendelbo and Christine Crudo Blackburn | January 19, 2018 10:18 am

Flu season in the U.S. typically peaks in February, but this year’s outbreak is already one of the worst on record. As of Jan. 6, 20 children have died from the flu, and overall mortality caused by the flu is already double that of last year’s.

One reason the flu is so severe this season is that the dominant strain is H3N2, which has an impressive ability to mutate and is particularly aggressive against Americans over 50.

Making the threat worse is the fact that most of the IV sali …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: medical technology

Seriously, Science?

Flashback Friday: Overweight Waiters Sell More Dessert

By Seriously Science | January 19, 2018 6:00 am

It’s January again, which means many people are trying to lose weight. Previous studies have shown that you are likely to eat more if you are dining with an overweight companion. But what if you are at a restaurant and it’s your server who is overweight? In this study, the researchers observed almost 500 interactions between diners and servers in 60 restaurants. They found that diners waited on by someone a high BMI (body mass index) were four times more likely to order dessert, and order …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: eat me

D-brief

Why 1 Second Is 1 Second

By Nathaniel Scharping | January 18, 2018 2:49 pm

Just what is a second, exactly? The question has been open to interpretation ever since the first long-case grandfather clocks began marking off seconds in the mid-17th century and introduced the concept to the world at large.

The answer, simply, is that a second is 1/60th of a minute, or 1/3600th of an hour. But that’s just pushing the question down the road a bit. After all, what’s an hour? That answer is related to the best means of time-keeping ancient civilizations had — the move …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: physics

The Crux

What Happened the Last Time Antarctica Melted?

By Eric Betz | January 18, 2018 2:34 pm

Earlier this week, an international team of geologists and climate scientists parked their ship off the coast of West Antarctica and started drilling. Their mission: To find out why glaciers here melted millions of years ago and what that can tell us about what’s happening today.

Over the next couple months, their ship, the International Ocean Discovery Program’s JOIDES Resolution, will drill at least five core samples reaching thousands of feet below the Ross Sea. These cores will le …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: climate change

D-brief

Hunter-Gatherers Are Masters of Smell

By Matt Benoit | January 18, 2018 2:15 pm

What’s easier for you: identifying what color something is, or identifying a smell from a source you cannot see? If you’re like most people, color comes more easily.

That, however, isn’t the case for all humans. According to a new study published Thursday in Current Biology, those who practice a hunter-gatherer lifestyle have an edge when it comes to naming a particular funk.
Evolving at the Speed of Smell
So why are people often better at describing what they see versus what th …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Mind & Brain, top posts
MORE ABOUT: Senses, smell
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