February 23, 2012

More on “Faster Than Light” Neutrinos
It appears that the faster-than-light neutrino results, announced last September by the OPERA collaboration in Italy, was due to a mistake after all. A bad connection between a GPS unit and a computer may be to blame. (Edwin Cartlidge, ScienceInsider)

Hidden Benefits of Rituals of Self-Denial
One of the open secrets of all religions is that even if you don’t care for the priestly raiment in which their traditions come draped, some of them can be very healthy all the same. And those, like Lent, whose secular message is nothing more complicated than practicing self-control, can be among the most salutary of all—something science is beginning to prove. (Jeffrey Kluger, TIME)

Hurt Feelings
Physical pain has two aspects: the sensory experience of pain and the emotional component, in which your brain decides how negative or distressing the pain is. This emotional component of physical pain is similar to the pain experienced as social pain. However, severe social rejection, like being dumped by a romantic partner, can also be processed in the part of your brain that handles the sensory component of pain. (Rick Nauert, Psych Central)

Happy Countries
According to Roly Russell, an interdisciplinary scientist at the Sandhill Institute for Sustainability and Complexity in Grand Forks, British Columbia, a nation’s human capital (social structures) and natural capital (nature) are more influential in determining happiness than financial capital (income). (Mark Fischetti, Scientific American)

A Proposal to Model the Entire Human Brain
“Brain researchers are generating 60,000 papers per year,” said Henry Markram as he explained the concept in Bern. “They’re all beautiful, fantastic studies—but all focused on their one little corner: this molecule, this brain region, this function, this map.” The Human Brain Project would integrate these discoveries, he said, and create models to explore how neural circuits are organized, and how they give rise to behavior and cognition—among the deepest mysteries in neuroscience. (M. Mitchell Waldrop, Nature)

Category: Field Notes


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