“Elaborated Intrusion theory (EI theory; Kavanagh, Andrade, & May, 2005) posits two main cognitive components in craving: associative processes that lead to intrusive thoughts about the craved substance or activity, and elaborative processes supporting mental imagery of the substance or activity. We used a novel visuospatial task to test the hypothesis that visual imagery plays a key role in craving. Experiment 1 showed that spending 10min constructing shapes from modeling clay (plasticine) reduced participants’ craving for chocolate compared with spending 10min ‘letting your mind wander’. Read More
The intersection of art and science can be a bit on the weird side (tiny jackets made of stem cells, anyone?). But if this new art project works as advertised, it’s pretty neat.
This piece of retainer-like jewelry is the creation of Aisen Chacin, a student at Parsons School of Design in New York. It differs in one very important way from the standard rapper’s grill: it includes a motor hooked up to the headphone jack of an iPod that lies flush against the wearer’s palate. To play your tunes, you manipulate the iPod’s controls with your tongue, and, thanks to the pulsing of the motor against your teeth, you can hear the music.
That’s thanks to a phenomenon called bone conduction, which allows sound to be transmitted to your hearing apparatus by the vibration of bones rather than the vibration of air hitting your ear drum. It’s why your voice on a recording sounds different than the voice you hear when you speak, and it’s the basis of certain hearing aids, as well as some headsets worn by divers so they can receive messages from people out of the water. In fact, it was Hugo Gernsback, renowned editor of pulp science fiction magazines and namesake of the Hugo Awards, who, in 1923, came up with the idea of a bone-conducting hearing aid. You can see drawings of it here.
“Komodo dragons, the world’s largest lizard, dispatch their large ungulate prey by biting and tearing flesh. If a prey escapes, oral bacteria inoculated into the wound reputedly induce a sepsis that augments later prey capture by the same or other lizards. However, the ecological and evolutionary basis of sepsis in Komodo prey acquisition is controversial. Read More
When you pour yourself a nice pint of Guinness, there’s only one thing running through your mind, right? As the brew settles, why do the bubbles sink down instead of rising up?!
Okay, so the “Guinness cascade” may not have been your primary concern, but the gravity-defying bubbles did intrigue a few mathematicians at the University of Limerick, who explored how the shape of the Guinness glass affected the flow of bubbles in an article they posted at the pre-print arXiv.
Credit: Alexander & Zare
The Guinness cascade is not a new phenomenon, and a basic explanation already exists. All things being equal, the bubbles of gas in a liquid like soda or beer rise because gravity exerts more force on the denser liquid around them. But it turns out that where the bubbles are in the glass makes a big difference in their behavior. The bubbles near the walls of a container stick to the glass, which drags on them and slows their upward motion. The bubbles in the center of the cup, in contrast, can rise unimpeded. As they move, they exert a slight drag force on the surrounding liquid. This motion forms a column that circulates the beer in the center of the glass upward, while forcing the beer—and the bubbles—along the wall to sink down.
In fact, this effect happens in other liquids as well, but in a glass of Guinness, the cream-colored bubbles stand out particularly clearly against the dark drink.
When bacteria attack a host, they aren’t a conversation about whether to go after a particular cell; they’re doing something called quorum sensing, which means that just by sensing what others around it are doing, an individual starts doing a certain thing. Social insects use a similar technique to pick out a new nesting site.
Now, thanks to some elegant nature-inspired programming by MIT researchers, a pack of bipedal robots are using quorum sensing to execute a complex behavior that human groups have tried—and, by and large, failed—to perform for decades: The robots can do the Thriller dance in unison—and, what’s even more impressive, if one misses a few steps, it can rejoin the other dancers without a hitch.
This sort of technological synchrony, Technology Review’s arXiv blog points out, could make such robots invaluable in construction or manufacturing tasks that require high levels of cooperation. That would be well and good, but after seeing those moves, we’re just wondering what other dances they might know—and whether they do bar mitzvahs.
“Respiratory exposure to diacetyl and diacetyl-containing flavorings used in butter-flavored microwave popcorn (BFMP) causes lung disease, including bronchiolitis obliterans (BO), in flavorings and popcorn manufacturing workers. However, there are no published reports of lung disease among BFMP consumers. We present a case series of three BFMP consumers with biopsy-confirmed BO. Read More
“As nation-state leaders age they increasingly engage in inter-state militarized disputes yet in industrialized societies a steady decrease in testosterone associated with aging is observed – which suggests a decrease in dominance behavior. The current paper points out that from modern societies to Old World monkeys increasing both in age and social status encourages dominant strategies to maintain acquired rank. Read More
“Research has shown that with some nonhuman primates, red is associated with greater sexual attractiveness of females, and recent studies found that a woman with red clothes increases attraction behavior in men. However, the mechanism that explains such behavior was not studied. In this experiment, we hypothesized that men overestimated women’s sexual intent when wearing red clothing. Read More
“The aim of this study was to look at changes in seasonal heat tolerance due to acclimatization produced by different types of clothing. A group of 12 female adults served as subjects in the study which lasted for 3 months from April to June during which the ambient temperature gradually rose. Of the group 6 of them (skirt group) wore knee-length skirts daily, and the others (trouser group) were dressed in full trousers during this acclimatization period. The heat tolerance before and after the acclimatization period was compared between the two groups under conditions in which relative humidity was 30% and ambient temperature was raised to 37 degrees C. Rectal temperature, mean skin temperature and the loss of body mass caused by sweating were measured in the two groups. Read More