June 5, 2012

Men With Wide Faces
Movie star Chris Hemsworth plays a macho guy as both the huntsman in Snow White and the Huntsman and Thor in The Avengers. But new research suggests that men with Hemsworth’s broad-faced, square-jawed look aren’t all aggression and brawn. In fact, men with wider faces are more likely to sacrifice for their team, according to the study, published online in the journal Psychological Science. The findings suggest that people’s first impressions of macho men—that they’re uncooperative, cold, and even dishonest—aren’t so accurate. (Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience)

Out of Asia
Researchers agree that our immediate ancestors, the upright walking apes, arose in Africa. But the discovery of a new primate that lived about 37 million years ago in the ancient swamplands of Myanmar bolsters the idea that the deep primate family tree that gave rise to humans is rooted in Asia. If true, the discovery suggests that the ancestors of all monkeys, apes, and humans—known as the anthropoids—arose in Asia and made the arduous journey to the island continent of Africa almost 40 million years ago. (Ann Gibbons, ScienceNOW)

Venus Transit
As fleeting as they are, transits of the past provided invaluable information about our place in the solar system—and, astronomers hope, this transit could help us glean more information on planets elsewhere in the galaxy. (Mark Anderson, The Crux, Discover)

Talking About Zombies
What made search terms like “zombie apocalypse” trend day after day last week in multiple corners of the Internet, fueled by discussions and postings that were often framed as humor? (Tamara Lush and Vicki Smith, Associated Press)

S&R in Sir Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus”
In the film, an Earth-based crew is sent on a long journey to a nearby star system to explore a planet believed to host an advanced civilization. The film asks not just how realistic such a premise is, but more complex questions: Did aliens create the human race? If so, does that negate the existence of God? Or, did God create the aliens? (FoxNews.com)

Q&A
Jon Spaihts

Scientific American spoke with Prometheus co-screenwriter Jon Spaihts about the film’s scientific pursuits, its portrayal of late 21st-century technology, and the dangers faced by humans in such a hostile cosmos. (Larry Greenemeier)

OPERA
Kepler

The work’s point, driven home in long, pointed sequences in both acts, is Johannes Kepler’s notion that religion and science should be regarded as complementary rather than contradictory. He regarded himself as a religious man but argued that the Bible should not be read as a science text. (Allan Kozinn, The New York Times)

Category: Field Notes

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