Category: Top Posts

Are You a Directionally Biased Kisser?

(Credit: Shutterstock)

(Credit: Shutterstock)

Your brain is an organ of two halves – the left side and the right side. And there are many brain functions, such as language skills or which hand you write with, which are organized mostly in one side of the brain or the other.

Simple behavioral tests have now allowed us to see how this organization is revealed through biases in how we see and interact with the world – and each other – often without us being aware of it. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Mind & Brain, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: psychology

A Day Isn’t Actually 24 Hours And Other Weird Solstice Facts

By Eric Betz | December 21, 2017 3:21 pm
(Credit: Shutterstock)

(Credit: Shutterstock)

Those of us brave souls who inhabit America’s northern climes know that it’s not the cold that brings on the winter blues. You go to work and it’s dark. You leave work and it’s dark. The sun? What’s that?

Indeed, as I post this at 3:30 p.m., the sun is already nearing the horizon. The sky above is dark. Today — the Winter Solstice — the sun will set at 4:20 p.m. here in Milwaukee. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, Top Posts

Is Your Computer Being ‘Cryptojacked’?

By Bill Buchanan, Edinburgh Napier University | December 20, 2017 12:42 pm
File 20171218 27544 1no0fzc.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

What’s going on in your computer? (Credit: Shutterstock)

Nothing comes for free, especially online. Websites and apps that don’t charge you for their services are often collecting your data or bombarding you with advertising. Now some sites have found a new way to make money from you: using your computer to generate virtual currencies.

Several video streaming sites and the popular file sharing network The Pirate Bay have allegedly been “cryptojacking” their users’ computers in this way, as has the free WiFi provider in a Starbucks cafe in Argentina. Users may object to this, especially if it slows down their computers. But given how hard it is for most companies to make money from online advertising, it might be something we have to get used to – unless we want to start paying more for things. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts

A Semi-Autonomous Cricket Farm to Feed the World

By Carl Engelking | December 19, 2017 4:12 pm
A feeding bot rolls through the racks of crickets at Aspire Food Group's test farm in Austin, Texas. (Credit: Aspire Food Group)

A feeding bot rolls through the racks of crickets at Aspire Food Group’s test farm in Austin, Texas. (Credit: Aspire Food Group)

When Gabe Mott, Shobhita Soor and Mohammed Ashour proposed building a commercial-scale cricket farm optimized with robots and data, the idea earned the McGill University students the $1 million Hult Prize, the largest student competition for social good, in 2013.

But when it came to launching the concept, they needed to leave convention behind, including most of what had been written in science journals about rearing billions of crickets. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Living World, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: food, sustainability

Science Under Siege But Surviving — a Trump Timeline

By Gemma Tarlach | December 19, 2017 1:42 pm
(Credit: Shutterstock)

(Credit: Shutterstock)

For many who value science, 2017 will be remembered as the dawn of a new era. January saw the inauguration of Donald Trump, a president who has denied climate change and filled his inner circle with anti-science activists. But the year was as much an awakening as an annus horribilis: Researchers and citizens alike, in the U.S. and beyond, chose to speak out at rallies, on social media and even in the political arena — unprecedented numbers of scientists are considering a run for office.

In a year of surprises, setbacks and signs of hope, here are some of the most memorable and consequential moments from just the first several months of the Trump administration: Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Top Posts

Satellite ‘License Plates’ Could Prevent a Disaster in Low Earth Orbit

By David Palmer | December 18, 2017 1:44 pm

space-junk

Space may look vast, but it’s actually pretty crowded near Earth.

As of a couple of years ago, more than 1,300 active satellites orbited Earth, in addition to tens of thousands of dead satellites, discarded rockets and other bits and pieces that have accumulated in space in the 60 years since Sputnik, ranging in size from softballs to school buses. When we turn on a new radar in a few years that can see even smaller pieces, we are going to see millions of them. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: space junk

Climate Change, Disease and the Fall of Rome

By Kyle Harper | December 15, 2017 11:01 am
fall-of-rome

This painting (circa 1836) titled “Destruction” is one painting depicting in a five part series by Thomas Cole called “The Course of an Empire.” (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

At some time or another, every historian of Rome has been asked to say where we are, today, on Rome’s cycle of decline. Historians might squirm at such attempts to use the past but, even if history does not repeat itself, nor come packaged into moral lessons, it can deepen our sense of what it means to be human and how fragile our societies are. Read More

A Geoengineered Future Is Downright Scary

By Nathaniel Scharping | December 13, 2017 2:06 pm
(Credit: kazuend/Unsplash)

(Credit: kazuend/Unsplash)

Catastrophic climate change seems inevitable. Between the still-accelerating pace of greenhouse gas emissions and the voices of global warming deniers, hitting the targets laid out in the Paris Accord to slow the pace of a warming climate feels increasingly elusive.

To hit even the 2 degree Celsius cap on a global temperature increase, emissions would need to peak in 2020, or less than three years from now, and keep going down after that. We could do it, but will we? Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Top Posts

The Mysterious Asteroid Behind the Year’s Best Meteor Shower

By Eric Betz | December 13, 2017 10:35 am
Geminids over ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile in 2013. Image: ESO/G. Lombardi

Geminids over ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile in 2013. (Credit: ESO/G. Lombardi)

Step outside after dark this week and you can watch chunks of an asteroid burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. Behold, the Geminid meteor shower, which is renowned as the year’s best.

At peak Geminids, you could catch a shooting star every minute, and this year the moon won’t be bright enough to foul the show. That main action arrives just past 9 p.m. local time Wednesday and lasts until dawn. “The Geminids are rich in fireballs and bright meteors so that makes them very good to observe,” says Bill Cooke, who runs NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, Top Posts

We Can Do Better Than Road Salt

road-salt

(Credit: Shutterstock)

Marshes, streams and lakes lie alongside many of the roads and highways that zigzag across North America. Plants and animals inhabit these water bodies and can be exposed to many of the substances we put on those roads, including road salt.

Rock salt helps keep roads safe when winter storms hit, reducing winter road accidents. But it can also have serious, negative effects on aquatic ecosystems. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: pollution
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