Science & Technology
Rats in lab exhibit reciprocal altruistic behavior: more prone to help if they themselves received help before.
WASHINGTON -- Two NASA spacecraft now have new assignments after successfully completing their missions. The duo will make new observations of comets and characterize extrasolar planets. Stardust and Deep Impact will use their flight-proven hardware to perform new, previously unplanned, investigations.
Tue, 03 Jul 2007 23:18 CDT
Bois Cheri, Mauritius - The remains of a dodo found in a cave beneath bamboo and tea plantations in Mauritius offer the best chance yet to learn about the extinct flightless bird, a scientist said on Friday.
|What scientists assume a living Dodo looks like.
Comment: How ironic that scientists will have DNA with which to clone a new Dodo just in time for it to become extinct again.
Tue, 03 Jul 2007 14:35 CDT
Nearly 12.5 million light-years away, in the dwarf galaxy NGC 4449, stellar fireworks on display have been captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.
NGC 4449 belongs to a group of galaxies in the constellation Canes Venatici, 'the Hunting Dogs'. Astronomers think that NGC 4449's episode of star formation has been influenced by interactions with several of its neighbours. It is likely that the current widespread starburst was triggered by interaction or merger with a smaller companion.
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys observed NGC 4449 in the visible (blue and green), infrared, and hydrogen-alpha regions of the spectrum.
Hundreds of thousands of vibrant blue and red stars are visible in this new image. Hot bluish white clusters of massive stars are scattered throughout the galaxy, interspersed with numerous dustier reddish regions where star formation is taking place. Massive, dark clouds of gas and dust are silhouetted against starlight.
The tomb of China's first emperor, guarded for more than 2000 years by 8000 terracotta warriors and horses, has yielded another archaeological secret.
Archaeologists have confirmed that a 30m-high building is buried in the vast mausoleum of Emperor Qinshihuang near the former capital, Xian.
Mon, 02 Jul 2007 12:18 CDT
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have shed new light on how the brain and eye team up to spot an object in motion and follow it, a classic question of human motor control. The study shows that two distinctly different ways of seeing motion are used - one to catch up to a moving object with our eyes, a second to lock on and examine it.
"Without the ability to lock our eyes onto a moving target, something called smooth pursuit, athletes cannot 'keep their eye on the ball,' and a person walking down the street cannot examine the facial expression or identity of a passerby," said Jeremy Wilmer, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology in Penn's School of Arts and Sciences and lead author of the study.
Researchers found that volunteers showed a range of capabilities when it came to sensing and following motion, and the careful measurement of such differences produced novel insights into the workings of the smooth pursuit system.
Hackers hit the heart of the Internet yesterday when they launched an attack on three of the 13 root servers that are responsible for directing all web traffic. The computers were disabled for 12 hours before resuming routine operations.
The hackers hit the UltraDNS company, which directs traffic to websites containing the .info and.org suffixes. The attacks went unnoticed for several hours because legitimate traffic remained unaffected.
Sûnnet Beskerming researchers observed an interesting deviation in global network traffic
over the last 24 hours, particularly for South American, Asian, and Australian networks. Normally, global Internet traffic (as observed by the Internet Traffic Report) oscillates around nine per cent packet loss, with global response times of 138 ms, and the internally derived traffic index at around 79.
Sustained over the last 24 hours, the traffic index has dipped almost five per cent, packet loss has climbed to 11 per cent, and the global response time to almost 150 ms.
Normal spikes and dips as observed on the Internet Traffic Report show up as no more than three- or four-hour blocks of odd results before settling back into normalcy. This latest spike and dip has been sustained for at least 18 hours, with a rapid ramp up in the six hours prior to the peaks (and lows) being reached.
Robert Roy BrittSpace.com
Fri, 29 Jun 2007 14:37 CDT
This weekend's full moon hangs lower in the sky than any other full moon of 2007, according to NASA, and it's a good time to be fooled.
When low on the horizon, the Moon can appear to be larger than when it's higher in the sky. It's all an illusion, scientists say, and it does not involve any enlarging effects of the atmosphere. Rather, it's all in your mind.
Here's how it works:
Our brains think things on the horizon are farther away than stuff overhead, because we're used to seeing overhead clouds that are close compared to those on the horizon. In the mind's eye, the sky is a flattened dome.
With this dome as a reference, we expect something on the horizon (such as the moon) to be farther, and because it is actually no farther than when overhead, our brains goof and imagine that it is larger.
Skeptical? You can test this from home.
Sat, 30 Jun 2007 17:12 CDT
Evolutionary Psychology and Neuroscience disciplines are set merge into a unified field known as Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience or ECN. ECN may produce novel integrated micro, macro models of brain-behavior relationships based on the principles of general Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology and the findings of Neuroscience. Applications may range from predictive human behavior models to neuroweaponry.
Comment: Evolutionary psychology to quote a professor I know, is "neither evolutionary or psychology." It's more like trying to come up with scientific explanations for maintaining the status quo of the selfish elites in power. A big field being pushed in some universities is neuroeconomics, a subset of this ECN business. What is known is often so puzzling that to aggressively pursue this means PTB are really desperate to maintain every shred of control possible. The people who make it big tend to be those that run studies and write theories explaining the behavior of machines, how to be better machines, and why it is beneficial. As if that is all we can aspire to. They forget that if selfishness reaches a particular threshold in a given population, is not evolutionarily stable. There are myriad of things already on the market that alters the function of the brain behavior but I guess that just isn't enough. We must all be psychopaths or completely programmed sheep down to how fast we should think about the things they want us to think.