Sunday, July 6, 2008

Interesting Science News

1. "Mind-reading machine knows what the eye sees"
"A device that reveals what a person sees by decoding their brain
 activity could soon be a reality, say researchers who have developed
 a more sophisticated way to extract visual stimuli from brain signals."

2. "Brain region lights up for power and profit"
"When the scientists compared the two sets of brain scans, they found
 that the striatum showed bursts of activity as a result of both profit
 and praise."

3. "Are Smart People Drawn To The Arts Or Does Arts Training Make People
"Participating researchers, using brain imaging studies and behavioral
 assessment, identified eight key points relevant to the interests of
 parents, students, educators, neuroscientists, and policy makers."

4. "Conquering Your Fears, One Synapse at a Time"
"Every time a long-term memory or an associated emotion, like fear, is
 retrieved, proteins found in the synapses between neurons are degraded,
 allowing that memory to be updated by incoming information."

5. "Fighting the Urge to Fight the Urge"
"Every day, we pressure ourselves to control our impulses ... Meanwhile,
 we can't ride the subway, turn on the TV, or open a magazine without
 finding an ad urging us to self-indulge. Balancing these two competing
 forces sometimes seems impossible. A new report from two Canadian
 researchers suggests why: Our capacity for self-control is far
 shallower than we realize."

6. "Housework helps combat anxiety and depression"
"One 20-minute session of housework or walking reduced the risk of
 depression by up to 20 per cent. A sporting session worked better,
 reducing risk by a third or more. Failing housework or sport, says
 Hamer, try to find something physical to do. 'Something - even for
 just 20 minutes a week - is better than nothing.'"

7. "The Physics of Whipped Cream"
"Whipped cream performs this rapid changing act because of a phenomenon
 called 'shear thinning.' When part of the foam is forced to slide or
 'shear' past the rest of the foam, the foam 'thins.' It becomes less
 like honey and more like water, allowing it to flow easily until the
 shearing stops."

8. "Is It Wednesday? Better Bring an Umbrella."
"This is due to microscopic particles of soot and other pollutants that
 heighten rainfall, Rosenfeld concludes. Particulate emissions peak in
 the middle of the workweek because that is when there is more traffic
 and higher demand for electric power, according to the Environmental
 Protection Agency (EPA)."