March 3, 2011

How Chimps Use Laughter
Chimpanzees mimic the laughter of their playmates even if they do not find the situation as funny, scientists said today. Research by Marina Davila-Ross, of the University of Portsmouth, has shown that the apes do not just ape the expressions of their social partners. The psychologist said the chimpanzees appeared to use laughter to strengthen social bonds, just like humans. (Daily Mail)

The Age of the Universe
Today, cosmologists have a variety of methods for aging the universe, most recently the detailed measurements of cosmic microwave background radiation—the afterglow of the big bang—made in the last decade. And all these methods seem to agree on one thing: the universe has existed for around 13.75 billion years. (Melvyn Bragg, In Our Time, BBC Radio 4)

Is the Theory of Supersymmetry in Trouble?
Gordon Kane, a theoretical physicist at the University of Michigan, has spent about 30 years working on supersymmetry, a theory that he and many others believe solves a host of problems with our understanding of the subatomic world. Yet there is growing anxiety that the theory, however elegant it might be, is wrong. Data from the Large Hadron Collider, a 27-kilometre proton smasher that straddles the French-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland, have shown no sign of the “super particles” that the theory predicts. (Geoff Brumfiel, Nature News)

How Climate Change Is Viewed in Uganda
Opposing the scientific consensus on climate change has become something of an article of faith for the socially conservative religious right in the United States. But in Uganda—a deeply religious and superstitious nation infamous for its rampant homophobia—climate change skepticism is nowhere to be seen. (Adam Corner, New Scientist)


The exhibition at PPOW Gallery, titled “Spirituality,” is intended to show that David Wojnarowicz had much more to say on the subject of religion than was contained in the four-minute adaptation shown in Washington, D.C., which came under fire for its brief depiction of ants crawling on a crucifix. (Pia Catton, The Wall Street Journal)

Category: Field Notes


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