Arthur McDonald of Canada and Takaaki Kajita of Japan were awarded Nobel Prize in Physics Tuesday for discovering that subatomic particles called neutrinos can switch from one kind to another. NPR has more about the win and how it could change physics in a big way.
Maintaining a fire tower lookout can be costly for wildfire agencies, but in the West, many towers are still staffed by seasonal employees. Now the Oregon Department of Forestry is phasing out human lookouts in exchange for highly sensitive cameras. These cameras have the potential to change the way fire departments detect fire nationwide.
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 6 (UPI) — New research suggests at least some ancient bird species were capable of the kinds of aerial maneuvers modern flyers perform. —> Read More
Once a ghostly disaster zone, the area is beginning to resemble a nature preserve, researchers find. —> Read More
A larger percentage of Texas workers are getting health insurance through their employers now than before the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a new report released today by Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and the Episcopal Health Foundation. —> Read More
If you’re looking for a good excuse to curl up and binge-watch “Mad Men” on Netflix, science has your back. Award-winning TV dramas may help increase emotional intelligence, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Oklahoma examined people in two separate experiments. For the first test, they instructed participants to make the ultimate choice by watching either a TV drama (“Mad Men” or “The West Wing”) or a nonfiction documentary (“How The Universe Works” or a segment from Discovery’s Shark Week).
After watching the show, participants then took a common psychological test that measures emotional intelligence. As part of the assessment, the participants observed 36 pairs of eyes and were asked to judge the depth or level of emotion each pair expressed.
The process was repeated in the second experiment with new volunteers. This time researchers had participants watch “The Good Wife” or “Lost” for a TV drama or “Nova” or “Through the Wormhole” for a nonfiction program. They also added a control group consisting of volunteers who took the assessment without watching any TV.
The study found that people who watched the fictional dramas performed better on the emotional intelligence test compared to those who watched the documentaries or nothing at all. In other words, the results suggest that watching these sort of narratives may lead to more empathy or a better understanding of others.
The findings somewhat mirror previous research conducted on fiction and empathy. A 2013 study found that reading literary fiction may lead to better scores in emotional intelligence. However, the research has been criticized given the literary options were vastly different. As Melissa Dahl at the Science of Us accurately points out, the fiction piece given to participants offered insight into the complexity of humans, while —> Read More
Runner’s high triggers the same part of the brain as MARIJUANA: Study finds exercise activates our cannabinoid receptors
A study, led by Oxford University, found that mice who had their cannabinoid receptors blocked were unable to experience ‘runner’s high’ after exercising. —> Read More
The Society for Conservation Biology’s North America Policy Program
The world’s oceans are facing an unprecedented plastic crisis, and your morning routine may be inadvertently adding to it.
Plastic in the ocean is hard to track and quantities are growing every day, but scientists have estimated that concentrations can be as high as 580,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometer (223,880 per square mile). Plastic pollution has become so ubiquitous that over 90% of seabirds and most sea turtles have eaten plastics in their lifetimes, with numbers increasing every day. If you’re like me, you probably imagine that this plastic problem stems from the large pieces of debris we’re likely to see washed up on beaches such as plastic soda bottles, shopping bags, and lighters. But while large pieces of plastic debris are certainly an issue, this huge problem boils down to some much smaller pieces: microplastics. Microplastics are technically under 5mm in size (about half the size of a grain of rice). They can be a result of those larger pieces of plastic breaking down into smaller pieces over time, or can be the result of already small plastics entering waterway. This is where you and I come in, because we might be unwittingly contributing to the microplastic problem in local and global waterways simply by washing our faces or brushing our teeth.
I only realized that I was probably polluting plastic into the ocean when my friend and colleague, Dr. Chelsea Rochman, told me about her research. Chelsea is a marine ecotoxicologist and environmental chemist, and she specializes in studying how plastics get into our waterways and what the impacts of those plastics are on —> Read More
Every year, $400 billion in federal and state funds are distributed to state, county and local communities for infrastructure, public safety, community development and social services. When it comes to determining how the money is distributed, accurate data are paramount. Those looking for data and analytical reports often turn to the American Community Survey (ACS) from the U.S. Census, which provides data such as unemployment, median household income, and housing prices for multi-year periods. Now, using sophisticated statistical methods, University of Missouri researchers have developed a system that improves ACS data, allowing end users to more accurately analyze critical information in predefined geographic areas, making it easier for city, county, state and federal planners to use estimates in policy decisions. —> Read More
NASA selected 55 student teams from across the nation to participate in the 2015-2016 NASA Student Launch challenge, to be held April 13-17 near NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.