Posts from the ‘science and technology’ Category

To reflect the ongoing structural changes in the adolescent and twenty-something brain, many journalists and scientists use words and phrases like “unfinished,” “work in progress,” “under construction” and “half-baked.” Such language implies that the brain eventually reaches a kind of ideal state when it is “done.” But there is no final, optimal state. The human brain is not a soufflé that gradually expands over time and finally finishes baking at age 30. Yes, we can identify and label periods of dramatic development—or windows of heightened plasticity—but that should not eclipse the fact that brain changes throughout life.

[…]

Whether we can, at this moment in time, meaningfully link this life stage to neuroscience seems a tenuous proposition at best. By itself, brain biology does not dictate who we are. The members of any one age group are not reducible to a few distinguishing structural changes in the brain. Ultimately, the fact that a twenty-something has weaker bridges between various brain regions than someone in their thirties is not hugely important—it’s just one aspect of a far more complex identity.

The Neuroscience of 20-Somethings by Scientific American’s Ferris Jabr (via explore-blog)

As with most things related to the human condition, it is nearly impossible to describe it with one or two words. The brain, an incredibly complex organic computer, can certainly not be summed up by “half baked” at any stage.

A scientist is never certain. … We absolutely must leave room for doubt or there is no progress and there is no learning.

Richard Feynman (via explore-blog)

A key difference between knowing and believing.

explore-blog:

“Because of what you have done,” the President told the astronauts, “the heavens have become a part of man’s world. And as you talk to us from the Sea of Tranquility it required us to redouble our efforts to bring peace and tranquility to earth.”

Men Walk On Moon – the original New York Times moon landing front page story, July 21, 1969.

Lions and gerbils sleep about thirteen hours a day. Tigers and squirrels nod off for about fifteen hours. At the other end of the spectrum, elephants typically sleep three and a half hours at a time, which seems lavish compared to the hour and a half of shut-eye that the average giraffe gets each night.

[…]

Humans need roughly one hour of sleep for every two hours they are awake, and the body innately knows when this ratio becomes out of whack. Each hour of missed sleep one night will result in deeper sleep the next, until the body’s sleep debt is wiped clean.

The science of sleep. Also, whoa giraffes.  (via explore-blog)

How I wish to have a giraffe’s sleeping pattern

Life for the winner is more glorious. It enters the next round of competition with already elevated testosterone levels, and this androgenic priming gives it an edge that increases its chances of winning yet again. Though this process an animal can be drawn into a positive-feedback loop, in which victory leads to raised testosterone levels which in turn leads to further victory.

The science of “the winner effect” and why success breeds more success. (via explore-blog)

explore-blog:

NASA’s Curiosity Rover lands safely on Mars. Here’s what it took and how it happened.

Success! Can’t wait for the data to start coming in.

explore-blog:

“…like a primordial Earth in deep freeze.” Brian Cox describes his favorite wonder of the universe, Saturn’s moon Titan.

Also see Cox explain entropy and the arrow of time with sand castles and glaciers.

( The Kid Should See This)