Sarah Dimento

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A Neuroscientist Explores the "Sanskrit Effect"

A hundred dhoti-clad young men sat cross-legged on the floor in facing rows, chatting amongst themselves. At a sign from their teacher the hall went …

Brain Cells Share Information With Virus-Like Capsules

The Arc gene, which is critical for animals’ ability to learn from experiences, has an incredible origin story.<p><i>Updated: January 12, 2018, 5:05 P.M. ET</i><p>When Jason Shepherd first saw the structures under a microscope, he thought they looked like viruses. The problem was: he wasn’t studying …

Biology

Ten Things I Learned from Ursula K. Le Guin

“All of us have to learn how to invent our lives, make them up, imagine them. We need to be taught these skills; we need guides to show us how. If we don’t, our lives get made up for us by other people.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, <i>The Wave in the Mind</i>, 2004.<p>Ursula K. Le Guin was one of the first …

Books

The good guy/bad guy myth

Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?<i>By Catherine Nichols</i>Read at Aeon

Bill Moyers

There’s a reason using a period in a text message makes you sound angry

When it comes to texting, the period gets a lot of attention.<p>People have begun noticing slight changes to the way our smallest punctuation mark is deployed, from declarations that it’s going out of style to claims that it’s becoming angry.<p>What they’re actually noticing is written language becoming …

Language

When Science Fiction Meets Social Science

In 1980, Robert A. Heinlein wrote, “The most difficult speculation for a science fiction writer to undertake is to imagine correctly the *secondary* …

30 years after Prozac arrived, we still buy the lie that chemical imbalances cause depression

Some 2,000 years ago, the Ancient Greek scholar Hippocrates argued that all ailments, including mental illnesses such as melancholia, could be explained by imbalances in the four bodily fluids, or “humors.” Today, most of us like to think we know better: Depression—our term for melancholia—is …

British Philosophy

Why Bitcoin is Stupid

Well, shit. I’ve been watching this situation for a few years, and assuming it would just blow over so we wouldn’t have to talk about it here in this …

Bitcoin

How Humans Use 'Strategic Ignorance' When Facts Get In The Way

Social science research explores how our minds push away information that gets in the way of our feelings and desires.

The majority of US workers live in "employment monopsonies" where there is little or no competition for workers

In Labor Market Concentration, a new working paper from economists at U Penn, U Navarra and the Roosevelt Institute, researchers analyze a large US …

Incredibly creepy skull-shaped asteroid is going to cruise by Earth next year

Giant rocks hurtling through space are probably scary enough all on their own, but when one of them looks like a human skull, well, that’s just …

Yacob and Amo: Africa’s precursors to Locke, Hume and Kant – Dag Herbjørnsrud

The ideals of the Enlightenment are the basis of our democracies and universities in the 21st century: belief in reason, science, skepticism, …

German Philosophy

Retractable solar sails to help power "world's most eco-friendly cruise ship"

Peace Boat has been sailing the world since 1983, laboring to build a culture of peace through education. Now they have unveiled a new Ecoship, …

Can these water-gathering devices help avert 'pipeageddon?'

Automatic water generators and water harvesters are designed to suck drinking water from the air.<p>Americans take tap water for granted. We tend to assume we can have all the potable water we want with the twist of a tap. But with rising temperatures and population growth depleting freshwater sources …

Batteries can’t solve the world’s biggest energy-storage problem. One startup has a solution.

Copenhagen, Denmark<p>Sometimes, there can be too much of a good thing.<p>Every so often, from California to Germany, there’s news of “negative electricity prices,” a peculiar side effect of global efforts to generate clean energy. Solar farms and wind turbines produce varying amounts of power based on …

Copenhagen

Corals grow in patterns, even if we can’t always see them

There’s a method to the reef madness.<p>The colorful riot of a coral reef might seem chaotic, but new research indicates that it’s actually far from random. Scientists have created 3D maps of 17,000 square feet of reefs and discovered that corals grow in patterns. Some species huddle close together, …

Oceans

A Geoengineered Future Is Downright Scary - The Crux

By Nathaniel Scharping | December 13, 2017 2:06 pm<p><i>(Credit: kazuend/Unsplash)</i><p>Climate change seems inevitable. Between the still-accelerating pace of …

Climate Change

Inside China's Vast New Experiment in Social Ranking

In 2015, when Lazarus Liu moved home to China after studying logistics in the United Kingdom for three years, he quickly noticed that something had …

Women in Tech

‘I see colours you cannot perceive or imagine’

Some women are born with hyper-sensitive eyes that can see the world in ways most of us cannot even imagine. What’s it like to live with this gift?<p>A few years ago, the artist Concetta Antico discovered that she was carrying a genetic mutation that gave her astonishingly sensitive perception of …

Italy

'He began to eat Hermione's family': bot tries to write Harry Potter book – and fails in magic ways

After being fed all seven Potter tales, a predictive keyboard has produced a tale that veers from almost genuine to gloriously bonkers<p>JK Rowling must be thanking Dumbledore that she has her Cormoran Strike series to fall back on, after a predictive keyboard wrote a new Harry Potter story using her …

70 Percent Of People Say They Can Hear This Silent Gif. So What The Hell Is Going on?

Gifs are short, silent animations. Unlike videos, they carry no sound files within them. Which is why it's extremely odd that a lot of people online …

Our Massive Wine Glasses Are Out Of Control

They’ve ballooned by 7x in the last 300 years–a phenomenon that illustrates how design influences what we eat and drink.<p>Gulp. New research has discovered that the average wine glass is 7x larger than it was in 1700. And we’re probably drinking more as a result.<p>As highlighted by <i>The Guardian</i>, …

Glowing Plants Will Replace Lights, Make World Like 'Avatar', Says Study

"The vision is to make a plant that will function as a desk lamp."<p>By on<p>Filed Under Biology, Engineering & Experiments<p>The revolution will not be …

A lot of dead people apparently supported ending net neutrality

People have taken to Twitter to post their findings that their deceased friends and relatives somehow came back to life to leave comments in support of the FCC’s decision to end the open and free internet. Scientists have yet to weigh in on this unbelievable miracle. In related news, <b>the New York</b> …

China is the acid-test for a technology that could save the world from catastrophic climate change

Dongying, China<p>From smog-choked cities to sludge-filled rivers, stories about China’s environment in recent years have painted a bleak picture. But China is not the first country to put economic development above protecting the environment. All of today’s wealthy countries, including the UK during …

China

10 Schools of Philosophy and Why You Should Know Them

For your reading pleasure, here are ten schools of philosophy you should know about. Some of them are commonly misunderstood, and we correct that …

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Luxurious eco-resort overlooks Sri Lankan’s most famous wildlife park

Sri Lanka’s most celebrated wildlife park is famous for leopards, elephants, and sloth bears—and now Yala National Park is also known for a stunning, …

NASA And Google Just Announced They've Found Another Solar System Like Ours

It also has 8 planets.<p>NASA and Google announced a "major discovery" on Thursday: another solar system with eight planets.<p>That finding is due to the …

Universe

Why Your Brain Hates Other People - Issue 55: Trust

As a kid, I saw the 1968 version of <i>Planet of the Apes</i>. As a future primatologist, I was mesmerized. Years later I discovered an anecdote about its …