December 5, 2012

“Pinocchio Effect”
Psychology researchers from the University of Granada in Spain used thermography to study the temperature of people’s faces in experiments. They said they found a jump in the temperature around the nose and in the orbital muscle in the inner corner of the eye during lying. They also found that face temperature drops for people performing a difficult mental task and rises for people experiencing high anxiety. (LiveScience)

Hurt Feelings
Betrayal, rejection, and lost love are a fact of life, but it is only in the past 10 years that we have begun to unravel the basis of these hurt feelings in the brain. Scientists have found that the sting of rejection fires up the same neural pathways as the pain from a burn or bruise. Besides explaining why some people have thicker skins than others, this fact reveals an intimate link between your social life and your health—you really can die of loneliness. (Lisa Raffensperger, New Scientist)

Religiousness of America
A Gallup survey shows that 77 percent of Americans still claim a religion, despite the trends toward “unbranded” religion. It also indicates Americans tend to get more religious with age, and speculates that our aging population might also spell an increase in reported religiosity. “There’s a change in how Americans approach religion,” said Frank Newport, the editor-in-chief of Gallup and the author of its new publication, God is Alive and Well: The Future of Religion in America. “But underneath it all, the percentage who say they believe in God hasn’t changed much.” (David Sessions, The Daily Beast)

What Makes a Genuine Scientific Debate
Dave Hone: Not every disagreement in science is a scientific debate, and a tiny but vocal minority should not be given parity without a parity of data and evidence. (Lost Worlds, guardian.co.uk)

Another Creationist Strategy
Senator Dennis Kruse, who tried and failed in the last legislative session to let schools teach creationism along with evolution, said he’s trying a new approach: Requiring teachers to provide evidence if students challenge their science lessons. Kruse, an Auburn Republican who is chairman of the Senate Education and Career Development Committee, said he will dub it “truth in education.” “If a student thinks something isn’t true, then they can question the teacher and the teacher would have to come up with some kind of research to support that what they are teaching is true or not true.” (Mary Beth Schneider, The Indianapolis Star)

When Dinosaurs Originated
The dawn of the dinosaur era was thought to start around 230 million years ago, but a new discovery moves their origin 15 million years further back in time. (Brian Switek, Nature)

Green Patriarch
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, has preached that caring for the environment is a religious imperative, and for more than a decade, he has made a point of bringing together theologians and scientists like Jane Goodall for debates and briefings. This year’s reports of record melting of the earth’s ice sheets and extreme droughts have given a new urgency to Bartholomew’s messages about the degrading natural world. (Marlise Simons, The New York Times)

Category: Field Notes

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