March 1, 2012

Does Winning Make Us Act More Aggressively?
“It seems that people have a tendency to stomp down on those they have defeated, to really rub it in,” said Brad Bushman, an Ohio State University professor and a co-author of the study. “Losers, on the other hand, don’t really act any more aggressively than normal against those who defeated them.” (Rick Nauert, Psych Central)

Eight Questions of Consciousness
Anil Seth: Consciousness is at once the most familiar and the most mysterious feature of our existence. A new science of consciousness is now revealing its biological basis. Once considered beyond the reach of science, the neural mechanisms of human consciousness are now being unravelled at a startling pace by neuroscientists and their colleagues. (guardian.co.uk)

Explaining How Matter Prevailed Over Antimatter
The big bang created a lot of matter—along with the same amount of antimatter, which wiped out everything and brought the universe to an untimely end. That’s what accepted theoretical physics tell us—though things clearly didn’t work out that way. Now, results from a U.S. particle smasher are providing new evidence for a subtle difference in the properties of matter and antimatter that may explain how the early universe survived. (Jon Cartwright, ScienceNOW)

Earthshine and the Search for Life on Other Planets
Astronomers have managed to detect the telltale fingerprints of organic life on Earth using a new technique that examines sunlight reflected onto the moon by our planet. The so-called “earthshine” observations may pave the way for a similar tool to help spot signs of alien life in the universe, scientists say. (Denise Chow, Space.com)

New Atheist Billboards
American Atheists, a national organization, will unveil the billboards Monday on Broadway in heavily Muslim Paterson, New Jersey, and in a heavily Jewish Brooklyn neighborhood, immediately after the Williamsburg Bridge. “You know it’s a myth … and you have a choice,” the billboards say. The Patterson version is in English and Arabic, and the Brooklyn one in English and Hebrew. To the right of the text on the Arabic sign is the word for God, Allah. To the right of the text on the Hebrew sign is the word for God, Yahweh. (Dan Merica, CNN)

BOOKS
The Righteous Mind

Americans, it seems, have never been more polarized about religion and politics. With minds made up and combat-ready, we have a hard time bridging the chasms that divide us. In The Righteous Mind, Jonathan Haidt, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, explains why. A moral perspective, he argues, is a feature of our evolutionary design. Morality has made it possible for human beings—unlike any other creatures—to forge large, cohesive, cooperative groups. Morality also blinds as it binds, producing conflicts between groups, tribes, and countries. (Glenn Altschuler, NPR)

Category: Field Notes

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