February 29, 2012

Is This Engraving Part of the Oldest Known Archaeological Evidence of Christianity?
In an ancient tomb located below a modern condominium building in Jerusalem, archaeologists have found ossuaries—bone boxes for the dead—bearing engravings that could represent the earliest archaeological evidence of Christians ever found. (Wynne Parry, LiveScience)

“Enclothed Cognition”
Wearing a white lab coat—a piece of clothing associated with care and attentiveness—improved performance on tests requiring close and sustained attention. Importantly, the effect was not found when the garment in question was identified as a visual artist’s coat. “The clothes we wear have power not only over others, but also over ourselves,” Northwestern University scholars Hajo Adam and Adam Galinsky write in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. (Tom Jacobs, Miller-McCune)

Religiosity and Depression
Some research has suggested that religious people may have a buffer against major depression—but new findings cast some doubt on that. Researchers said people who develop depression might be more likely to stop going to services, which could explain why those who regularly go to religious services have lower rates of depression than the less devout. The new study found evidence of just that. (Amy Norton, Reuters)

The God Wars
Bryan Appleyard: Two atheists—John Gray and Alain de Botton—and two agnostics—Nassim Nicholas Taleb and I—meet for dinner at a Greek restaurant in Bayswater, London. The talk is genial, friendly and then, suddenly, intense when neo-atheism comes up. Three of us, including both atheists, have suffered abuse at the hands of this cult. (New Statesman)

How Many Neurons Are There in the Human Brain?
When a researcher in Brazil called Suzana Herculano-Houzel started digging, she discovered that no one in the field could actually remember where the 100 billion figure had come from—let alone how it had been arrived at. So she set about discovering the true figure. (James Randerson, guardian.co.uk)

The Happiest U.S. States in 2011
For the third year in a row, Hawaii ranked first place in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. (Monica DyBuncio, HealthPop, CBS News)

Brian Greene at TED2012
Superstring theorist and physicist and the co-founder of the World Science Festival, Brian Greene splits his visually rich, action-packed talk into three distinct sections, all in the name of convincing us of the existence of the multiverse, the possibility that way beyond the earth, the Milky Way, we’ll find that our universe is part of a vast complex of universes we call the multiverse. (Helen Walters, TED Blog)

Category: Field Notes


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