Thursday, March 26, 2009

Science Report, March 2009

1. "They Tried to Outsmart Wall Street"
"They are known as 'quants' because they do quantitative finance.
 Seduced by a vision of mathematical elegance underlying some of the
 messiest of human activities, they apply skills they once hoped to
 use to untangle string theory or the nervous system to making money."

2. "Brain quirk could help explain financial crisis"
"With hindsight, the causes of the current global financial meltdown
 seem obvious, even predictable. Now, brain imaging offers one
 explanation for why so few investors challenged foolhardy fiscal

3. "For a Creativity Boost, Go Hang Out in a Blue Room"
"When you need to brainstorm ideas for a big project, get yourself to
 a room that's painted blue. But when it's time to proofread the final
 product, find a red room. Those are the implications of a fascinating
 new study that measured the effect that colors have on cognition."

4. "In pain? Take one masterpiece, three times a day"
"The power of art to heal emotional wounds is well known, but could
 contemplating a beautiful painting have the same effect on physical

5. "Patternicity: Finding Meaningful Patterns in Meaningless Noise"
"Why the brain believes something is real when it is not."

6. "Déjà vu: Where fact meets fantasy"
"Subjective, strange and fleeting, not to mention tainted by paranormal
 explanations, the phenomenon has been a difficult and unpopular one to

7. "Six degrees of separation? We can only manage five"
"The human brain simply may not be wired up to deal with lots of
 different levels of value. A series of psychological experiments, many
 dating back to the 1950s, shows that we cannot distinguish between more
 than about five degrees of ... well, almost anything."

8. "How to Avoid Choking under Pressure"
"Afraid of crumbling when it counts? Try not to think so hard."

9. "Bored? Your brain is disconnecting"
"When your mind wanders during a boring task, it may be because parts
 of your brain simply disconnect."

10. "The Serious Need for Play"
"Free, imaginative play is crucial for normal social, emotional and
 cognitive development. It makes us better adjusted, smarter and less