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Neuroskeptic

New Human Rights for the Age of Neuroscience?

By Neuroskeptic | April 29, 2017 6:55 am

Do we have a human right to the privacy of our brain activity? Is “cognitive liberty” the foundation of all freedom?

An interesting new paper by Swiss researchers Marcello Ienca and Roberto Andorno explores such questions: Towards new human rights in the age of neuroscience and neurotechnology

Ienca and Andorno begin by noting that it has long been held that the mind is “a kind of last refuge of personal freedom and self-determination”. In other words, no matter what restrictions might …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: ethics, law, papers, select, Top Posts
A prototype of the Lilium Jet takes off on a vertical takeoff and landing test flight. Credit: Lilium

Lovesick Cyborg

The Electric Lilium Jet Hints at Future Air Taxis

By Jeremy Hsu | April 28, 2017 11:40 pm

The old science fiction fantasy of a flying car that both drives on the ground and flies in the air is unlikely to revolutionize daily commutes. Instead, Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs and aerospace companies dream of electric-powered aircraft that can take off vertically like helicopters but have the flight efficiency of airplanes. The German startup Lilium took a very public step forward in that direction by demonstrating the first electric-powered jet capable of vertical takeoff  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: technology, top posts

ImaGeo

The first true-color images of Saturn taken during Cassini's close encounter are coming in — and they're beautiful!

By Tom Yulsman | April 28, 2017 12:38 pm

We’ve already been treated to spectacular black and white closeup images of Saturn, beamed home to Earth by the Cassini spacecraft after it dove between the planet and its rings. Now, we’re getting to see what things look like in true color.

Among the first of these images is the one above, processed by Sophia Nasr, an astro-particle physicist working on dark matter. She will begin her PhD studies in physics at UC Irvine in September 2017. (For her full bio, see the end of this post.) I  …

Inkfish

Recluse Spiders Have the Only Self-Powered Silk Spinners

By Elizabeth Preston | April 28, 2017 12:22 pm

Even if you detest spiders—even if a photo of one makes you recoil from your screen—pause for a moment and consider the sheer machinery of these creatures. They coordinate the movement of eight legs and up to eight eyes at once. They are their own miniature textile factories, pumping out silk thread from an intricate set of appendages. And while most spiders use their legs to help spin the thread, or glue one end to a surface to pull it out, recluse spiders don’t need the help. They have …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: bugs, evolution, magic, top posts
MORE ABOUT: Animals, Evolution, Gadgets

Dead Things

Visit Prehistoric Scotland With A Couple Clicks

By Gemma Tarlach | April 28, 2017 11:52 am

A recently released app featuring the latest research on prehistoric Scotland’s hillforts gets you close to the archaeological action with drone footage, 3D artifact renderings and plenty of other eye candy.

Happy Friday, everyone…start your weekend right with a fascinating and slick bit of desktop time travel: the SERF Hillforts Project app, a digital treasure trove courtesy of the Strathearn Environs and Royal Forteviot Project and its partners. Launch the app and enjoy the views of  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: archaeology

D-brief

How Bioluminescent Fungi Glow In the Dark

By Nathaniel Scharping | April 28, 2017 10:51 am

Take a moonlit walk through the woods, and you may notice small, glowing green mushrooms brightening your path near the bases of trees and in the underbrush.

There are roughly 80 species of bioluminescent fungi scattered throughout the world, and 2015 study indicated they likely glow in the dark to attract spore-spreading bugs. But how they do it has been unclear, and a new study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances indicates that, when it comes to lighting up the nig …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World
MORE ABOUT: fungi

Seriously, Science?

Flashback Friday: What the shape of your nose says about your quality as a mate.

By Seriously Science | April 28, 2017 6:00 am

Photo: flickr/jbcurio

Compared to the noses of most other primates, the human nose is quite large and easily broken. Why have we evolved such a risky appendage? According to this study, it might be because of sexual selection — in other words, a nice nose acts as an indicator of an individual’s fitness as a mate. To test this hypothesis, the authors photoshopped either a man’s nose or mouth so that it looked slightly asymmetrical in some photos (see figure below) and then asked subj …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: smell you later

ImaGeo

Watch a dust storm kicking up over Mexico and the southwestern United States, as seen from space

By Tom Yulsman | April 27, 2017 6:14 pm

Right after Earth Day, I published the first installment of what I said would be semi-regular posts showcasing the dazzling imagery now being produced by the new GOES-16 weather satellite.

As promised, here’s a new one — a spectacular animation. On March 23rd, the spacecraft observed a major dust storm over Mexico and the southwestern United States. The dust was picked up by strong southwesterly winds related to a deep trough over the western U.S.

SEE ALSO: Here’s the first  …

Citizen Science Salon

Help accelerate biomedical research from the comfort of your couch

By Jenny Cutraro | April 27, 2017 5:35 pm

 

No scalpel required!

Learn how to identify images of clogged blood vessels to accelerate Alzheimer’s research or trace 3D images of neurons to shed light on how these structures influence behavior.

SciStarter’s editors hand-picked five, biomedical research projects we think you’ll love. You can do these free projects and contribute to research all from the comfort of home!

Find more projects and events …

D-brief

Ecstasy Could Help Adults With Autism Cope

By Liza Gross | April 27, 2017 1:08 pm

For some people with autism, the idea of facing social situations can be so unnerving it impairs their ability to finish school, hold a job or form relationships. And conventional medications and psychotherapy for anxiety often fail. But early results from a new study suggest that MDMA — commonly known as Ecstasy or Molly — may help adults with autism manage disabling social phobias.
Feeling Connected
MDMA is unique among psychedelics for its ability to help people connect and communic …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Mind & Brain, top posts
MORE ABOUT: drugs, mental health
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