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Chimpanzees Take a Huge Step Toward (Some) Human Rights

According to a New York judge, two chimpanzees now have a right that until Monday was reserved for humans. The chimps, used in research at Stony …

24+ Brilliant New Words We Should Add To A Dictionary

When languages evolve, it's important that scholars and dictionaries keep up. The internet has spawned a new crop of words for stuff, and while you …

Accepting the Life-Changing Power of Coincidence

But after about 30 seconds, he found that he was able to draw a breath. He felt pain in his arms and legs. Although he still couldn't move, this was promising. His nerves were awakening. He began yelling for help, but he was deep in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains, where bears outnumber people. …

Hoka-Vibram Doublers

Can you be minimalist and maximalist at the same time?<p>Running shoe research was a really hot topic for a few years -- all the controversy that followed the rise of minimalist running, all the studies that were launched, and so on. These days, you don't hear so much about it. There's still lots of …

New Hampshire

Why Do Bad Medical Treatments (and Training Aids) Spread?

Feedback bias means we're more likely to tell others about successes.<p>Why do ineffective (and sometimes harmful) medical treatments persist? That's the question posed by Swedish researchers in a paper I just came across in (this is a new one to me) the <i>Journal of Medical Internet Research</i>. It's an …

Medicine

Leonardo’s Brain: What a Posthumous Brain Scan Six Centuries Later Reveals about the Source of Da Vinci’s Creativity

One September day in 2008, <b>Leonard Shlain</b> found himself having trouble buttoning his shirt with his right hand. He was admitted into the emergency room, diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer, and given nine months to live. Shlain — a surgeon by training and a self-described “synthesizer by nature” …

The Best Science Books of 2014

On the heels of the year’s most intelligent and imaginative children’s books come the most stimulating science books published this annum. (Step into the nonfictional time machine by revisiting the selections for 2013, 2012, and 2011.)<p>1. THE ACCIDENTAL UNIVERSE<p><i>“If we ever reach the point where we</i> …

Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Catalog of Beautiful Untranslatable Words from Around the World

<i>“Words belong to each other,”</i> Virginia Woolf said in the only surviving recording of her voice, a magnificent meditation on the beauty of language. But what happens when words are kept apart by too much unbridgeable otherness? <i>“Barring downright deceivers, mild imbeciles and impotent poets, there</i> …

E.O. Wilson on How We Give Meaning to Life

Just as the fracturing of our inner wholeness ruptures the soul, a similar fissure rips society asunder and has been for centuries — that between science and the humanities. The former explores how we became human and the latter what it means to <i>be</i> human — a difference at once subtle and monumental, …

45,000-Year-Old Bone Pinpoints Era of Human-Neanderthal Sex

DNA from an ancient man in Siberia shows how Stone Age people spread into Asia.<p>Unearthed by an ivory carver from a Siberian riverbank, a man's 45,000-year-old thigh bone reveals when people first mated with Neanderthals, an international genetics team reports Wednesday.<p>The Ust'-Ishim man's thigh …

Terry Gilliam on His Epic New Dystopian Film The Zero Theorem

Author: Bo Moore. Bo Moore Culture<p>Date of Publication: 09.18.14.<p>Time of Publication: 6:30 am. 6:30 am<p><b>Terry Gilliam isn't</b> a fan of the real world. The …

Watson Analytics merges big data with natural language tools

IBM has announced the launch of<p>Watson Analytics, a cloud-based natural language service that aims to simplify and streamline predictive data …

How Does EPO Work?

Danish scientists test the banned endurance drug.<p>There's a new study from Danish researchers at Aarhus University, published in <i>Experimental Physiology</i>, that explores how the endurance drug of choice, EPO, works.<p>The simple picture is that EPO stimulates the production of red blood cells, which …

Cycling

A Guide for the Perplexed: Mapping the Meaning of Life and the Four Levels of Being

<i>“Never to get lost is not to live, not to know how to get lost brings you to destruction,”</i> Rebecca Solnit wrote in her sublime meditation on how the art of getting lost helps us find ourselves, <i>“and somewhere in the terra incognita in between lies a life of discovery.”</i> But the maps we use to …

A Field Guide to Getting Lost: Rebecca Solnit on How We Find Ourselves

<i>“On how one orients himself to the moment,”</i> Henry Miller wrote in reflecting on the art of living, <i>“depends the failure or fruitfulness of it.”</i> Indeed, this act of orienting ourselves — to the moment, to the world, to our own selves — is perhaps the most elusive art of all, and our attempts to …

16 Oldest Surviving Examples Of Everyday Things

We enjoy quite a few unprecedented technologies today, but much more of the stuff that we use has been around for ages. Ancient humans may not have …

Nunavut

GMO Facts: 10 Common GMO Claims Debunked

Learn About These GMO Facts<p>Later this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture may approve the Arctic Granny and Arctic Golden, the first genetically modified apples to hit the market. Although it will probably be another two years before the non-browning fruits appears in stores, at least one …

Agriculture

Rethinking the Placebo Effect: How Our Minds Actually Affect Our Bodies

In 2013, Neil deGrasse Tyson hosted a mind-bending debate on the nature of “nothing” — an inquiry that has occupied thinkers since the dawn of recorded thought and permeates everything from Hamlet’s iconic question to the boldest frontiers of quantum physics. That’s precisely what <i>New Scientist</i> …

Alan Watts on the Difference Between Belief and Faith

A century and a half before Carl Sagan explored the relationship between science and religion, Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer, contemplated the subject in a beautiful letter. Two centuries later, Alan Lightman crafted an enchanting definition of secular spirituality. This …

Over 40 Percent Of Americans Believe In Creationism, Survey Says

42% of Americans hold the creationist belief that God created humanity as it currently exists a mere 10,000 years ago, according to a Gallup poll from May 2014.<p>The Gallup data shows that a distinct majority of Americans have held the belief that God played a role in human origins since they first …

Baking Soda and Beta-Alanine

Two supplements counter muscle acidity and fatigue. Do they work?<p>A new study in the <i>European Journal of Applied Physiology</i>, from researchers at Victoria University in Australia, takes a look at two commonly used performance aids: beta-alanine and baking soda. What's interesting is that both are …

Research

Brain Evolution Study Shows Humans Sacrificed Brawn For High Intelligence

Humans may be smart because energy once devoted to brawn was given up for brains, researchers say.<p>The most powerful computer known is the brain. The human brain possesses about 100 billion neurons with about 1 quadrillion — 1 million billion — connections known as synapses wiring these cells …

Out Today: The First Catalog Of All The Proteins In The Human Body

Say hi to the proteome.<p>Two teams of scientists are publishing today first drafts of the human proteome. The proteome is a catalog of all of the different proteins the human body makes. This is a big accomplishment. How big? Let’s look at some numbers from just one team:<p>The scientists in this team …

Genetics

Protein and Muscle: The Basics

Which factors matter and which don't?<p>What's the best way to build muscle? There are plenty of ideas out there, but a review in the current issue of <i>Sports Medicine</i>, by McMaster University researcher Stuart Phillips, boils it down to the essentials. Here are a few key points:<p>- Your muscles are in a …

Nutrition

US Navy funds morality lessons for robots

As we all learned from the 1986 film <i>War Games</i>, machines have the upperhand in warfare when it comes to making logical decisions (such as, the only …

The Mathematics of Murder: Should a Robot Sacrifice Your Life to Save Two?

It happens quickly—more quickly than you, being human, can fully process.<p>A front tire blows, and your autonomous SUV swerves. But rather than veering left, into the opposing lane of traffic, the robotic vehicle steers right. Brakes engage, the system tries to correct itself, but there’s too much …

Robotics

The 10 Best Things From May 2014

Gear & Gadgets