Olaf Blackwood

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Inside Out: a crash course in PhD philosophy of self that kids will get first

Pixar’s latest animation is a remarkably intelligent treatment of one of the most complicated and confusing issues in philosophy: the self<p>When you go to see a Pixar film you know you’re going to see something clever, funny and inventive. What you don’t expect, however, is to see a remarkably …

Russell Brand to Brian May: 'Did you put Freddie Mercury under this kind of pressure?'

The night Russell Brand was put on the spot by Queen guitarist Brian May<p>Have you heard the one about the two celebrity millionaires hoping to revolutionise our economic and political system?<p>On Tuesday night, during a live Q and A streamed to cinemas across the country, Queen guitarist Brian May …

Dark matter may not be completely 'dark' after all, say scientists

A clump of dark matter appears to be lagging behind its galaxy suggesting it is interacting with something else...but what?<p>Dark matter may be having an even bigger impact on the Universe than previously thought, after scientists found the first signs that it interacts with something other than …

Surrounded by sound: how 3D audio hacks your brain

In his warmly lit apartment, a pair of speakers loomed over me as I sank into a leather couch in the living room. Sitting in an adjacent chair, Choueiri swiped through his iPad to set up a binaural audio demonstration. Moments later, Amber Rubarth’s folksy voice filled the room as she sang an …

Just A Bit Of DNA Helps Explain Humans' Big Brains

Scientists studying the difference between human and chimpanzee DNA have found one stretch of human DNA that can make the brains of mice grow significantly bigger.<p>"It's likely to be one of many DNA regions that's critical for controlling how the human brain develops," says Debra Silver, a …

A way forward to solve the hard problem of consciousness

I participated in the Greenland consciousness cruise referred to in your article (The I in mind, 21 January). The majority of the participants were in the Daniel Dennett camp, according to which proper respect for science requires us to deny the very existence of consciousness. David Chalmers …

Scientists Slow Down The Speed Of Light As It Travels Through Air

"Faster than the speed of light” might be more of a relative statement now<p>Light passes through air at about 299,000,000 meters per second, an accepted constant that hasn’t been challenged—until now. By manipulating a single particle of light as it passed through free space, researchers have found a …

University of Glasgow

How movies embraced Hinduism (without you even noticing)

Interstellar,Film,Culture,Star Wars: The Force Awakens,Hinduism,Religion,World news,Steve Jobs,Technology,Christopher Nolan<p>From Interstellar to Batman and Star Wars the venerable religion has been the driving philosophy behind many hit movies. Why?<p>Interstellar’s box office total is $622,932,412 and …

Scientists Have Finally Discovered Why No One Can Remember Being A Baby

Infants' memories may be wiped clean by the genesis of new brain cells, a study in rodents suggests.<p>The findings offer an explanation for why people can't recall memories from early childhood, a century-old mystery.<p>The study's authors "make a very interesting and compelling case," says …

The Brain

Did the Big Bang create a parallel universe where time goes backwards?

Radical new research suggests that at the same time the Big Bang created our universe, another where time goes in the opposite direction was also born<p>A scientific breakthrough could redefine how the universe is understood.<p>Radical new research led by a British scientist has suggested that there may …

Astronomers solve mystery of the universe’s missing stars

There are not enough stars in the universe and now astronomers think they know why.<p>Using the Hubble space telescope, they have discovered a distant galaxy in which star formation is itself driving the raw materials for more stars out into space at two million miles per hour – and in the process …

Psychology: A simple trick to improve your memory

Want to enhance your memory for facts? Tom Stafford explains a counterintuitive method for retaining information.<p>If I asked you to sit down and remember a list of phone numbers or a series of facts, how would you go about it? There’s a fair chance that you’d be doing it wrong.<p>One of the interesting …

The Brain

Behind the scenes of a 'shocking' new study on human altruism

How much money would you give up to prevent a stranger’s pain? And how does this compare to what you’d pay to prevent your own pain?<p>With colleagues at University College London I addressed this question in a recent study. We were interested in quantifying how much people care about others, relative …

Electrical brain stimulation beats caffeine – and the effect lasts longer

Researchers in the US have used electrical brain stimulation to boost the vigilance of sleep-deprived military personnel working on an airforce base.<p>Experiments on 18- to 42-year old men and women on active duty found that half an hour of electrical brain stimulation improved their performance …

Psychology: How many senses do we have?

We often talk of having five senses as a universal truth. In reality, there may be more – or fewer – depending on the way you look at the question. Christian Jarrett explains the controversy.<p>Some myths about the brain, such as the idea we only use 10% of our grey matter, are notorious, especially …

Human cognition-affecting virus discovered

Researchers at the John Hopkins Medical School and the University of Nebraska have discovered a virus that infects our brains and "makes us more …

Wearable tech to hack your brain

The technology sounds simultaneously fake and dangerous: Strap on a headset and send targeted electrical currents into your brain for about 15 minutes to get more energy, improve your focus or calm down.<p>Brain stimulation is a very real but still unproven area of technology for tinkering with the …

Evidence Found Of A Particle That Is Its Own Antiparticle

In the future, the exotic particle could go into quantum computers.<p>There's a particle that physicists theorize exists that acts simultaneously as both matter and antimatter. Whoa! The particle is called the Majorana fermion, and a team of physicists is announcing today that it's seen some evidence …

Dolphins Aren't Just Smart—They Can Sense Magnetism, Too

Scientists show that dolphins—like birds, bees, and many other animals—are attuned to magnetic fields.<p><b>An astonishing variety of animals can sense</b> the Earth's magnetic field—the list includes birds, salmon, frogs, sea turtles, honeybees, salamanders, lobsters, and rodents. You can add dolphins, too. …

Astounding Auroras, Hiding Black Holes, And More Amazing Images Of The Week

Black Holes

Spooky Action In Threes: Physicists Entangle Three Particles Of Light

The entangled triplets are unusually stable.<p>As if it weren't hard enough already to imagine it in twos, physicists have entangled three photons with each other. Entanglement is a counterintuitive quantum physics phenomenon, in which a particle influences all the others with which it's entangled -- …

Quantum Physics

Google has open sourced a tool for inferring cause from correlations

Google announced on Tuesday a new open source tool that can help data analysts decide if changes to products or policies resulted in measurable …

'Primordial Soup' Computer Model Tracks The Beginning Of Life At The Atomic Level

Scientists zero-in on how a lightning zap could give rise to living things.<p>In the early 1950s, a chemist named Stanley Miller mixed up a bunch of gases including methane, ammonia and hydrogen. That's kind of stuff that had been on Earth before life began. Miller zapped those gases with electricity, …

Chemistry

What does it feel like when everyone else finds the Higgs, and you don't? | Jon Butterworth | Life & Physics

A short film on the ups, but mainly downs, of a difficult search.<p>A couple of weeks ago we hosted a small-ish meeting at UCL, the sixth “Boost” workshop. I’ve written about these before and I enjoy them a lot. It was great to welcome lots of friends and colleagues to my own university this time (and …

Brain-to-brain 'telepathic' communication achieved for first time

Team of US-led researchers successfully achieves brain-to-brain communication between humans from India to France<p>For the first time, scientists have been able to send a simple mental message from one person to another without any contact between the two, thousands of miles apart in India and France.<p>…

Building Me: A Puzzlement

It's a puzzle — the deepest puzzle I know. The question is: What are we?<p>One answer, from physicist-novelist Alan Lightman, is we are stuff. Just stuff.<p>"Let me explain. A highly unpleasant idea, but one that has been accepted by scientists over the last couple of centuries, is that we human beings, …