Ben Friesen

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Why I Changed My Mind About Confederate Monuments

Empty pedestals can offer the same lessons about racism and war that the statues do.<p>Six years before it would become the inspiration for bloody protests, the Robert E. Lee monument in Charlottesville, Virginia, was vandalized. The 2011 incident capped off my 11-year residency in the small …

How Constraints Force Your Brain To Be More Creative

When we have less to work with, psychologists have found that we actually begin to see the world differently.<p>For decades, the dominant view among psychologists was that constraints served as a barrier to creativity. Anybody who spends a short time working under a confining bureaucracy, dealing with …

Creativity

Israel's "flying car" passenger drone moves closer to delivery

YAVNE, Israel (Reuters) - After 15 years of development, an Israeli tech firm is optimistic it will finally get its 1,500 kg (1.5 tonne) passenger carrying drone off the ground and into the market by 2020.<p>The Cormorant, billed as a flying car, is capable of transporting 500kg (around half a tonne) …

Drones

VR Is Totally Changing How Architects Dream Up Buildings

From the Lower Manhattan offices of New York architecture firm SHoP, you can explore buildings around the world—including ones that don't yet exist. …

US military successfully tests electrical brain stimulation to enhance staff skills

Study paves way for personnel such as drone operators to have electrical pulses sent into their brains to improve effectiveness in high pressure situations<p>US military scientists have used electrical brain stimulators to enhance mental skills of staff, in research that aims to boost the performance …

The Brain

Massive cyberattack turned ordinary devices into weapons

A cyberattack that took down large swaths of the internet around the world on Friday was carried out, in part, by unsuspecting devices connected to the internet.<p>Security firm Flashpoint said it believes that digital video recorders and webcams in people's homes were taken over by malware and then, …

Cybersecurity

The Mind-Blowing Way These Tribesmen and Wild Birds Work Together

A little cross-species camaraderie.<p>Calling to each other with chirps and yelps, a species of bird and a tribe of humans in southeast Africa forage for honey in unison. The birds lead the way to hidden beehives, which are camouflaged among high tree branches. The tribesmen crack open the hives and …

Thousands Got Naked and Painted Their Bodies Blue for Climate Change

If you were taking a morning stroll through the British town of Hull over the weekend, you might have been shocked to find a surreal, Smurf-like …

Sea Level

Mind. Blown. Brain-controlled drone race pushes future tech

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Wearing black headsets with tentacle-like sensors stretched over their foreheads, the competitors stare at cubes floating on computer screens as their small white drones prepare for takeoff.<p>"Three, two, one ... GO!" the announcer hollers, and as the racers fix their …

Brainwaves

Did The FBI Transform This Teenager Into A Terrorist After Reading His Emails?

How the case of conflicted teenager Mohamed Mohamud — convinced by the FBI he was bombing a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon — could determine whether the American government is allowed to spy wholesale on its citizens.<p><b>On Nov. 4, 2010,</b> a small cell of al-Qaeda operatives …

Seven countries that are surprisingly hard to visit

Others seem entirely uninterested in tourism dollars, making it extremely difficult for foreign visitors to enter.<p>We've found seven countries that make it incredibly difficult to obtain tourist visas.<p>Note that this list is not comprehensive: We've excluded countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria …

Sea Level

The FBI is looking for a star Ohio State professor from China with NASA ties who disappeared

Professor Rongxing Li, 56, unexpectedly resigned from his position in the OSU Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geodetic Engineering in February 2014.<p>Li told OSU that he was going back to China to take care of his sick mother, and no one has heard from him since.<p>A month before resigning, Li …

China

Four future space technologies that will change the world in your lifetime

From ending natural disasters, to flying to Sydney in an hour, scientists are working on future technologies to solve some of humanity's biggest challenges<p>Imagine a world where severe storms, tornadoes, and flash flooding are no longer a threat to human life. Or a time when flying from London to …

Elon Musk says humanity is currently running 'the dumbest experiment in history'

People are running "the dumbest experiment in history" by continuing to burn fossil fuels,Elon Musk said in an interview earlier this year with Wait …

What’s in all that e-cig vapor?

Wander into a vape shop in the mall or online, and you can find a smorgasbord of flavors: cotton candy, vanilla custard, even Unicorn Milk or Katy Perry’s Cherry.<p>Flashy flavors have helped e-cigarettes, designed to vaporize a nicotine solution, grow into an industry with an estimated $3.5 billion …

Public Health

What is it like to have never felt an emotion?

Some people seem to lack the capacity to feel joy, sorrow or love. David Robson discovers the challenges and surprising advantages of “alexithymia”.<p>Caleb is telling me about the birth of his son, now eight months old. “You know you hear parents say that the first time they looked at their kid, they …

Psychology

Be wary of studies that link mental ill health with creativity or a high IQ

The idea that genius and madness are intertwined is an ancient one. But in truth, in this desperately underfunded field, we don’t even have objective tools to diagnose disorders of the mind, let alone back up claims such as this<p>The idea that highly creative or intelligent individuals are especially …

Mental Health

Researchers found a link between creativity and psychosis

Throughout history, humans have associated creativity and madness. There's something about the ability to see the world in a whole new way that we associate with both artists and those who have lost a grip on reality.<p>In a study published June 8 in Nature Neuroscience, researchers say they have now …

Creativity

16 things Europeans find strange about America

No matter how many times a European visits the States, there are some Americanisms that Europeans simply cannot get used to.<p>Here are 16 things that Europeans find strange about America.<p>When a sales clerk in the States says "how are you" it's not a question, but a way of saying "hello." No matter …

Ice Cream

Bernie Sanders Has a Secret

Vermont, his son and the hungry early years that made him the surging socialist he is today.<p>One morning last month in Burlington, Vermont, at the law office of John Franco, one of Bernie Sanders’ best friends since the 1970s, Franco talked to me at length about Sanders’ commitment and his …

Middle-class

The Islamic State One Year Later: Who's Winning the War?

Islamic State's Projection of Territory Under Its Control by 2020<p>June 29 marks the first anniversary of the proclamation of Islamic State (IS). It has been a busy year. After conquering an area covering over 80,000 square miles and including a population of approximately 10 million people, IS has …

Middle East

2 Things That Lead to a Happy Life, Backed By Research

I’ve posted a number of times about two nearly-lifelong studies: the Terman Study (covered in The Longevity Project) and the Grant Study (covered in …

Happiness

The Pope’s Moral Case for Taking On Climate Change

Francis’s first encyclical is a cry to save the environment—and make a priority of theology over politics.<p>“The majority of people living on our planet profess to be believers.” It is a statement of fact, an intellectual premise, a gentle claim of territory. In his new encyclical on environmental …

Christianity

America's Largest Mental Hospital Is a Jail

At Cook County, where a third of those incarcerated suffer from psychological disorders, officials are looking for ways to treat inmates less like prisoners and more like patients.<p>It was 9 o’clock in the morning at Cook County Jail, but in the subterranean holding cells where dozens await their …

Mental Health

Long-term study shows why bullying is a public health problem

Bullying may be responsible for nearly 30% of cases of depression among adults, a new study suggests.<p>By tracking 2,668 people from early childhood through adulthood, researchers found that 13-year-olds who were frequent targets of bullies were three times more likely than their non-victimized peers …

Why Is It So Hard to Track Police Killings?

Two newspapers succeed where the federal government has failed, and new legislation seems unlikely to solve the problem.<p>The recent spate of highly publicized killings of black men by police officers has driven many people to wonder how common such police violence is. Incredibly, no one knows—not …

Justice

Activist Punks Saudi Arabia With Gay Rights Party

"Prosecuting and imprisoning people for homosexual conduct are flagrant human rights violations," remarked Scott Long, of Human Rights Watch in April of 2005. "Subjecting the victims to floggings is torture, pure and simple."<p>His remarks came after the government of Saudi Arabia sentenced dozens of …

Human Rights