Science & Technology

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Altered Images: New Research Shows That What We See Is Distorted by What We Expect to See

New research shows that humans “see” the actions of others not quite as they really are, but slightly distorted by their expectations. Published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the study could explain why people get others’ actions so wrong and see ambiguous behavior as meaningful, according to authors from the University of Plymouth School...

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How Your Brain Decides Between Knowledge and Ignorance

We have a ‘thirst for knowledge’ but sometime ‘ignorance is bliss’, so how do we choose between these two mind states at any given time? University College London (UCL) psychologists have discovered our brains use the same algorithm and neural architecture to evaluate the opportunity to gain information, as it does to evaluate rewards like...

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How Physics Explains the Evolution of Social Organization

A scientist at Duke University says the natural evolution of social organizations into larger and more complex communities that exhibit distinct hierarchies can be predicted from the same law of physics that gives rise to tree branches and river deltas. In a paper published June 15 in the International Journal of Energy Research, Adrian Bejan outlines...

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How a Thrill-Seeking Personality Helps Olympic Athletes

One of the main draws of the Winter Olympics is the opportunity to witness some of the most exciting and nail-biting athletic feats. The daring events include the bobsled and downhill skiing. Then there’s the terrifying skeleton: Imagine barreling down a narrow chute of twisted ice-coated concrete at 125 miles per hour. Now imagine doing...

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Americans Are Saving Energy by Staying at Home

Information and communication technologies are radically transforming modern lifestyles. They are redefining our concept of “space” by turning homes and coffee shops into workspaces. (This article was written in a coffee shop.) Instead of going to the theater, many people sit in the comfort of their homes and stream movies. Online purchasing of food, groceries...

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Volkswagen Manipulated Study on Diesel Pollution Using Humans and Monkeys

Volkswagen, the world’s largest carmaker, along with BMW and Daimler, funded experiments in which cynomolgus monkeys and humans breathed in car fumes for hours at a time to produce scientific research data showing that the pollutant load of nitric oxide car emissions from diesel motors had measurably decreased, thanks to modern cleaning technology. We now...